12. Dance With the Devil

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A/N: Same note as before. I'm in a funk. I'll probably come back and fix these later, but I need to get back to normal for now. 


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            I was walking through Southside after school, thanking god that all my friends were at the quarry and that my chances of being spotted entering Ghoulie territory were slim. I just wanted to drop off this envelope and get to the quarry so that I could act like a teenager for at least a little while. After what seemed like forever, I stopped in front of my destination.

It looked like the Whyte Wyrm, if safety codes were completely ignored and Hog Eye stopped caring to maintain the front of the building. I was about to walk in when my phone buzzed.

Sweetest Pea: Where are you at? The water's great and if you take too long we're just going to have to leave so I can get ready for dinner with Satan.

Me: Sorry! I have a quick errand I have to run, I promise I'm hurrying and I'll be there soon.

Sweetest Pea: Ok babe. See you soon.

I frowned as I jammed my phone back in my backpack and walked into the bar with my guard all the way up. A bartender asked me, "Are you lost, little serpent? It's dangerous for the likes of you out here. Ever since that stunt that Jones kid pulled at that drag race, we use Serpent skins for belts."

"I have a package to deliver to a Penny Peabody?" I held up the envelope and maintained eye contact. I was terrified, especially because now all eyes were on me. The crowd turned to the bartender, waiting to see how she responded.

"Back office," she smirked as she cleaned off a glass with a towel, "I'd get my business done and get lost if I was you, snake."

I nodded and made my way to the only office in the building and knocked on the door. A blonde woman wearing jeans that looked too young for someone her age and a leather jacket opened the door seconds later with a big grin on her face.

"Allyson Lodge?" She smiled wider. It made her look more menacing, especially because her grin didn't even come close to meeting her eyes. I held back a shudder and nodded, still trying to maintain my tough façade.

"Penny Peabody," she stepped aside and gestured for me to take a seat, "I'm helping Hiram with his acquisitions here on the Southside of town. He told me you'd be my courier. Next time don't bring that jacket."

I nodded and sat down, "Is this all you need? I have places to go... people to see, ya know?"

"I just want to illuminate to you what will happen to your friends if you get the Serpents involved," she pulled out a folder and began laying out photos across her desk. She smiled and put a picture of Sweet Pea and me that was clearly taken from a window without our knowledge right in front of me.

"See, Allyson, I know who you hang out with. And I have an axe to grind with all of them. So, if you tell any of them that your dear uncle is using me as his lawyer and you're playing courier...well, I hate to think of how much blood Sweet Pea would lose if that tattoo on his neck got removed...and even then, of the infection he could get from the knife...so close to a major artery. It would be tragic," Penny looked up from the picture of us on his kitchen counter and smirked at me, "So these visits, they're our little secret."

I clenched my fists and gritted my teeth, but I nodded. I knew that where I was, if I tried to fight her I would be outnumbered, and a quick death would be lucky. She had me backed in a corner and she knew it.

"Are we done here?" I looked up at her from the pictures on her desk, "I've got things to do today, and sitting here listening to you threaten the people I love definitely wasn't one of them."

Penny nodded at me and the smile that didn't reach her eyes came back. She stood up and walked me to the door of the bar as all of the ghoulies watched her. When we reached the door, the Snake Charmer smirked at me and said, "Until next time, Allyson. And remember, our little secret."

I frowned and didn't respond, choosing to walk away instead. As I walked, I tried to think of a way out of the mess I had found myself in. I knew that the best thing to do was to tell the Serpents, if no other reason than I would be protected from blame if all of this shit hit the fan. I knew this was logically the best thing to do, but all I could think about was Penny's threats- and how easily it could be carried out. Just from the numbers in that bar, the Ghoulies outnumbered the Serpents by a vast margin. For that reason and that reason alone, I chose to stay quiet.

My thoughts kept me company until I got back into Serpent territory, and as if on cue my phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out and smiled when I saw texts in the group chat that Fangs had started to make fun of Reggie at basketball games.

Fangs: Ally- Cat. Where the fuck are you? Even Betty and Jug are here now. Sweets is sitting on a rock pouting like a girl.

Sweetest Pea: Am not, ass. But for real. Where are you, Cat?

Me: Almost there, babe. Sorry, my errand took longer than I thought it would. But we've still got plenty of time before we have to get you ready for dinner tonight.

Sweetest Pea: Ok. Bring that ass. I need cuddles.

Fuck. That was in the group chat.

I busted out laughing and put my phone in my pocket as I made my way down the path to the quarry. When I saw Sweet Pea sitting on the same rock we were sitting on the first time we kissed, I smiled and slowed my steps, being careful not to make noise. Toni looked up from her conversation with Betty and Jughead and locked eyes with me. I put my finger to my lips and darted my eyes at Sweets, making a barely audible "shhhh" sound as I crept up behind him.

I crawled up on the rock, got right behind Pea and put my hands over his eyes and whispered, "Did you miss me?

Sweet Pea somehow pulled me into his lap and smiled gently at me before planting a soft kiss on my lips. He looked me in the eyes and whispered, "Always, Cat," as he stroked the side of my face.

I blushed and opened my mouth to respond when I felt water hit the side of my face and looked up to see Fangs with a big grin on his face, "Get a room, you two! Something about seeing Sweets being...well... sweet is just WEIRD."

Sweet Pea only rolled his eyes and kissed me again as he gave Fangs the middle finger. As he pulled away I whispered, "We could always go a little early... Maybe you could help me figure out where to put my next tattoo...," I bit my lip and nibbled his ear lobe as I trailed off. Sweets only shuddered in response as he picked me up and slung me over his shoulder. As he got me on his bike, our friends (Betty and Jug excluded, as they were on another rock having what looked like a pretty serious conversation) started making catcalls and whooping noises. Sweets only looked at me as the bike started, rolled his eyes and then took off without a word.

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