3. Sic Transit Gloria

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    Fortunately, I came into town on a Friday, so I had two days to adjust before being dumped into school. Unfortunately, I woke up to texts from Hiram demanding that I use the day to go see FP and Jughead...and make my presence in SouthSide known. After brewing and drinking the whole pot of coffee, I pulled on the jeans I've worn to every job and thus consider good luck, a plain black t shirt and my Serpents of Mexico City jacket and called my favorite uncle.

"Ally-cat," FP's smile came through the phone, "What's up, kiddo?"

"Hey Uncle," I smiled in spite of my mood, "Are you and Jug busy today? I wanna spend my first full day in Pleasantville with my two-favorite people."

"Well, I've got work at Pop's... did I tell you about my new job at the local diner? If not, well...I just did... but Jug will be home all day. I'm sure he'd love to show you around and maybe you two kids can swing by for lunch or dinner?"

"Sounds good... Jug's at the trailer, yeah?"

"Yes ma'am, he is. I'll let him know you'll be by, maybe tell him to take you by the Whyte Wyrm to meet your American chapter."

"Sounds like a plan! I'll be there in like thirty. Love you, Uncle," I said with genuine excitement in my voice for the first time in days. I may not have been happy that Hiram was going to have any benefit from me meeting the actual SouthSide Serpents, but at least I would be around my people for the first time since 2nd grade.

25 minutes later, I was knocking on my Uncle FP's door with a smile on my face. When Jughead opened the door, I tackled him in a hug.

"JUG! I'm back. For real. I get to finish out high school with you!" I ripped off my little cousin's hat and started giving him a noogie.

Jughead chuckled, then wrestled out from under me and stood up and looked at my jacket.

"Wow, Aunt Jackie wasn't kidding when she said the Serpents have invaded Mexico. What's it like?" my cousin asked as he plopped back on the couch while looking at my jacket.

"Hot," I laughed and shook my head, "And while I didn't find it to be so awful...it makes SouthSide seem like a great place to get caught after dark. Speaking of which, are Ghoulies still an issue?"

"Whoa," Jug raised his eyebrows, "Who told you about that?"

"Are you really surprised? My dad practices total transparency with me, and I know that your dad had more than one call with him about sending reinforcements for rumbles. Hell, we had to tell our guys to stay out of trouble, specifically so we'd have a cavalry to fly in from our home base."

Jughead simply nodded. He and FP had their own opinions about how closely tied I was to my father's operation (That I should definitely NOT be a part of it, and that his implicating me in his crimes even remotely is inexcusable), but they also knew it wasn't an area that was up for debate. I was used to what I was used to, and I had turned out relatively ok for it.

"So," I finally broke the awkward silence hanging over our heads, "where do Serpents hang out on weekends? Your dad said that you might take me to meet the family on the far north of the border."

Jughead thought for a second and then nodded. "We can go to the Wyrm for a while. Tonight, I think Dad wanted me to bring you to Pop's for dinner, and you could meet my friends on the north side. Might make school less awkward on Monday, y'know? Give you some options."

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