TEN || OVER MY DEAD BODY

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"God bless Reggie Mantle and his inferiority complex. His car's a lot like him. It's beautiful to look at but not much going on under the hood." Betty said as she and Fallon worked on the car that Reggie Mantle had begrudgingly agreed to let the Serpents use after Fallon had worked her magic on him.

"Um, crescent wrench, please." She said awkwardly as Jughead refused to look at her while handing her the tool.

"Thank you. So, this is what Serpents do for fun, huh? Street-race rival gangs?" She tried, and Jughead snapped.

"Just go ahead and say it, Betty."

"You said you weren't gonna join them, Jug."
She said quietly, and Jughead whirled on her.

"And you said you loved me, and then you dumped me via Archie. Which, by the way, way worse than via text."

"He's got a point, Blondie." Fallon said from the underbelly of the car, which was the part she was working on.

"I'm sorry, Jughead." Betty sighed. "It won't make any sense but everything around us was imploding, and I did it to protect you."

"Betty, you did the one thing that could actually hurt me." Jughead said in a quieter voice, betraying the real hurt behind it.

"I will explain everything to you, Jug, I will. But right now, I just wanna get you through this race." She said, and Jughead sighed, continuing to ignore her as she and Fallon did their best to repair Reggie's car.

____

The sun was blazing hot over the Quarry Road as Serpents, Ghoulies, and Northsiders alike gathered to watch Fallon "Ghost Rider" Fogarty take on Malachi and his Ghoulies in a demolition drag race.

"All right, let's do this!" A Serpent yelled, making everyone cheer raucously.

"Not the kind of drag race I ever imagined myself going to, but at least the guys are hot." Kevin murmured to Betty, and she giggled as someone turned the music blaring from a set of speakers up louder.

"Don't worry, Pea, we got this." Fallon told her boyfriend as he leaned down to kiss her as if it was the last time. "Just make it back to me." He begged quietly, and she nodded, steely determination in her eyes. "Preferably in one piece, Blue Eyes."

"Before you get in the car, I need you to know I never stopped loving you, Jug. I'm not sure I can. Also remember, tell Fallon to not ride the clutch, and don't let it slip between gear shifts. But she probably already knew that." Betty told Jughead, and he sighed, taking her face in his hands. "You're an enigma, Cooper."

Jughead had asked Archie to ride with them a few days earlier, just in case the Ghoulies tried something, and he'd obliged, slipping into the back seat.

Fallon climbed into the driver's seat, Jughead riding shotgun, starting the engine with a roar and guiding the car up to the starting line.

"Let's do it!" Tall Boy screamed, egging the crowd on. Get these cars up in a row! Race over Herk Harvey Bridge to Dead Man's Curve. First one back here wins."

"

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