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4th July

Our story is about a town. A small town. And the people who live in the town. From a distance, it presents itself like so many other small towns all over the world. Safe. Decent. Innocent. Get closer, though, and you start seeing the shadows underneath.

The name of our town is Riverdale.

And our story begins, I guess, with what the Blossom triplets did this summer. On the fourth of July, just after dawn, Jason, Cheryl and the oh so innocent Cynthia Blossom drove out to Sweetwater River for an early morning boat ride.

"Are you scared Jason?" Cheryl asked our brother. To say we were close would be an understatement. We loved each other more than we ever possibly could have. If you didn't witness it, you wouldn't have believed us. We weren't the siblings that fight and argue. We weren't secretive. We were honest and true and loyal to one another. Jason shook his head.

"You sure? I can see you shaking." I teased him. Being the youngest of the three, I was the baby of the group. Not that it bothered me. His smile turned into a smirk as he turned his head the other way to meet my gaze.

"You wish C," he squeezed my hand in reassurance. Jason then helped both Cheryl and I into the boat and began to row across the river. We were a glimmer of white with a hint of red.

The next thing we know happened for sure is that Dilton Doiley, who was leading Riverdale's Boy Scout Troop on a bird-watching expedition, came upon Cheryl by the river's edge. Riverdale police dragged Sweetwater River for Jason and Cynthia's bodies but never found Jason's. They did however manage to locate Cynthia a day later lying unconscious by the shore 200m away from where Cheryl Blossom was found.

So, a week late, the Blossom family buried an empty casket and Jason's death was ruled an accident as the story that Cheryl told made the rounds; Cynthia refusing to talk about it.That Cheryl dropped a glove in the water and Jason reached down the get it. And accidentally tipped the boat. And panicked. And drowned. Cynthia being knocked unconscious by the boat itself as she surfaced for air.

As for us, we were still talking about the 4th of July tragedy on the last day of summer vacation, when a new mystery rolled into town.

"What are you writing?" It was a question. A simple question. But that question began my interaction with Jughead Jones. I hadn't spoken to anyone other than my sister all summer, but I had seen him in Pop Tate's diner every time I made my way in at late hours. I don't know what prompted me to talk to him, or even sit on the other side of the table that night.

"Cynthia?" He asked in shock. He clearly didn't expect me to be sat opposite him or even speaking to him. It's not that we weren't friendly. In fact, we were inseparable until high school. Cheryl ensured that I was part of her popular crowd and that meant me leaving J behind.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt." I apologised. My voice was quiet, vulnerable. On the surface and in public, I always tried to look confident, like I was dealing with my brother's death fine. In reality, I wasn't. This late at night, tear stains were usually easy to distinguish against my porcelain skin. So far, though, I had succeeded in keeping the tears at bay and plucked up enough courage to talk to the boy I had shunned for years.

"It's OK." His eyes showed that he was trying to work me out. Trying to decide if I had any other motives in talking to him.

"So, what are you writing, Jughead?" I asked. His eyebrows raised as I repeated my question. In response, I just smiled at him, trying to show I was being friendly. My sister had a reputation and that meant I carried the same one. Actually, I wasn't as scheming as she was, or nearly as confident as she was. But still, a Blossom must not show weakness.

"Why are you talking to me?" Jughead didn't mean it to be rude. I understood that. However, after keeping to myself all summer and that being one of the first things said to me by someone of my age, I couldn't sit there. My smile dropped. I lowered my head to the table. Straight red hair fell, covering my face. Within seconds of him asking me, I stood and began moving away from Jughead Jones.

"I'm sorry for bothering you, Jughead," I whispered, standing. His voice was telling me to wait as I moved swiftly out of the diner, making my way back to the home where I would be reminded of Jason.

The first day back to school after the summer was always my least favourite time of the year. Of course, it was Cheryl's favourite. She woke me early and made sure I was dressed to live up to the Blossom name. She wore red and black, I chose a deep emerald dress that Jason brought me for our birthday the year before. It was a dark green colour and tight fitting. It was matched with black strappy platform heels that were much too high for school and my hair was pulled into a high bun. I made sure my makeup concealed the tear stains and applied the dramatic red lip that is signature for a Blossom girl.

We, Cheryl and I, had to make a speech about Jason. That meant standing beside my sister silently. Even though I had only my sister I could truly understand, I could tell everyone was uncomfortable with the speech. Despite that, they all cheered when it was announced the Semi-Formal would still be taking place. From my place at the front, I caught the stare of a certain hat wearing boy who had placed himself at the back of the teared seating, his laptop open. His eye rolling stopped when he caught me staring at him. I looked down to avoid his stare.

When we were dismissed, I stayed behind. Jughead made his way down after I told my sister that I would meet her at our lunch table. My heels didn't make a difference when Jughead stood before me. He was still taller than me.

"I'm sorry, for last night." He said, putting his laptop in his rucksack. I swiftly picked up my bag muttering it's fine as I made my way out of the hall to see my sister.

Somehow, I ended up walking towards a table containing the new girl and people I never thought I'd speak to again. Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper used to be my best friends when we were very little. I was closer to Jughead, but we all stuck together. When I went around Betty's house for the first time, her mom said some hurtful things. Instead of letting her explain I shut her out, and the rest of them as well. In my head, if her mom thought that, what did they all think?

It wasn't that I didn't want to speak to them, it was just because of what happened a few years ago. It was something that had left me hating the football team, or at least, the people who weren't my brother. It caused me to block out every single person who was close to me, only relying on Cheryl and Jason. Now all I had was Cheryl.

"Veronica Lodge. I'd heard whisperings. I'm Cheryl Blossom. This is my sister, Cynthia Blossom. May we sit?" Cheryl forced Betty to move up so we could both fit on the small table. Cheryl's overly happy face opposed my blank expression. "So, what are you three hens gossiping about?" Cheryl made some comment after about Archie, but I was too busy studding the way my blue knotted bracelet made from thread held my wrist.

"Extracurriculars. Weatherbee wants me to sign up for a few." Veronica replied.

"Cheerleading. You must, right Thi?" Cheryl asked me. I looked at the new girl from New York and smiled nodding. She looked like the sort that would make the perfect cheerleader. Some girls were made to be cheerleaders in high school. "I am senior captain of the River Vixens, Thi being my co-captain." We convinced both her and Betty to try out, but I knew that Cheryl wouldn't allow Betty to be on the team. After leaving our twitter names, we strutted away.

"What's mini queen bee doing wearing high heels like that?" Veronica said as we were turning to walk away.

"She was put into ballet when she was younger, the heels help her calf muscles from losing strength or something. And because she is petty short without them." Betty replied. I turned my head back and saw her looking my way. She sent a half smile my way and I did the same.

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