Chapter Twenty-Four.

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My foot kept anxiously tapping on the front step of the courthouse as I waited around for Archie to arrive. 

"I don't know what I'm going to do if Arch is found guilty today..." Veronica replied as she rested her head on my chest in a friendly manner.

"V it's going to work out. We know the chances of him getting out of this is quite unlikely because of your father but if he's found guilty then he'll be protected in there and we'll find a way to get him out." I comforted before softly smiling at Sweet Pea. 

The sun burnt down on us all as we patiently waited another ten minutes for the Andrews to arrive. Giving quick hugs and quiet good lucks we all made our way into the tiny courthouse to hear the juries verdict.

Sweet Pea and I sat in the second row right behind Fred, Jughead, Betty and Veronica as I played with my fingers in an attempt to distract myself from the inevitable.

"All Rise." The judge spoke up as he entered the room causing everyone to stand from the chairs they sat in only moments before to sit down once the judge had sat.

"Has the jury reached a verdict?" Everyone's attention turned to that of the jury as I felt Sweet Pea grab ahold of my hand in a comforting and reassuring matter.

"Your honour, we haven't." A man in his early forties spoke on behalf of the jury, I sighed instantly knowing that the odds in Archie's favour were virtually nonexistent. "We're deadlocked, six-to-six and it's not gonna change." 

I watched as Veronica sat on the edge of her seat looking confused as ever before just like everyone else in that courtroom.

"So be it. The jury is dismissed. Thank you for your service." The judge spoke after a moment or two of complete silence, it felt as though he was just prolonging his sentence knowing what he would have to do next.

I looked over at Archie as I saw him talking to Ms. Andrews, confusion was overshadowing his anxiety at this stage, he seemed to be getting even more frustrated the more his mother spoke, being interrupted by the State attorney.

"Your honour, in lieu of another trial, the state is prepared to offer a deal for a lesser sentence. Instead of prison, time served, plus two years in juvenile detention, if Mr. Andrews will plead guilty to the crime of manslaughter." I saw Mrs. Andrews shaking her head in disbelief and almost humour as I rested my head on Sweet Pea knowing how Archie's brain worked.

"Your honour, no-" Mrs. Andrews stood up to defend her son and her client before Archie stood and interrupted her.

"I'll take the deal." Everyone stood up saying no and objecting to what Archie had just said however he refused to listen. I watched as he looked at his mother sympathetically and I knew he was refusing to drag everyone through this process again for the mere reason that he hated seeing how he exhausted everyone around him as we all worked trying to save him.

"Your honour, I accept the deal."

"Son, just so I have it straight, though it's legally within your rights, you're ignoring the advise of your counsel, your own mother." The judge spoke with a trace of humour in his voice as he waited for Archie to verify what he had just said.

I looked over at Hiram Lodge as a smirk appeared on his face, his plan was coming together and there was now nothing anyone could have done to stop Archie's next words.

"Yes, Your Honour. I'm guilty." I watched as Fred Andrews face fell at the words, he didn't believe they were true but he knew his son was about to be sentenced. I stood up and walked around to Mr. Andrews, hugging him slightly as he processed the news.

"Mr Andrews, the court accepts your plea of guilt. You'll be taken directly from the courthouse to the Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center, where you will serve our your sentence, beginning immediately. This court is adjourned." The judge slammed the hammer down on the table making Archie's sentencing final as everyone sat there in disbelief and shock at the stupidity of Archie Andrews. 

As I stood hugging Mr. Andrews I watched Veronica's face drop as realisation hit that her boyfriend had just been charged with a murder he didn't commit. Mrs Andrews grabbed ahold of Archie and hugged him tight as she broke down in tears, it broke my heart not being able to comfort her too but I only had the capability of comforting one Andrews at a time. 

As the gates opened up Mr. Andrews walked straight to the aisle and spoke to Archie

"Look we're gonna get you out of there bud." Archie didn't speak a word as he was handcuffed and was being led out of the courthouse. 

Veronica screamed Archie's name as he was led passed her, she rushed out of the aisle and tried to reach him, the tears had momentarily been replaced by anger as she tried to get to her boyfriend.

"I love you Veronica" Was all Archie said as she rushed to him, that alone was enough to break my heart. He sent me a sad smile as he saw the tears streaming down my face as I walked closer to V and B. 

"No. You can't take him away. He's innocent. He didn't do anything." Veronica stood at the end of the aisle as Archie was taken from the courthouse, the second Betty reached her she broke down in her arms. The sobs were clear and loud as Betty tried to comfort her but it was no use. I knew that if that were Sweet Pea getting led away I would be doing everything in my power to get him out of custody.

Hiram Lodge now stood at the end of the aisle staring at his daughter with a smug look on his face as he watched her completely break. One motion of Hiram lifting his head up to assert his power was enough to turn Veronica's tears into anger permanently. 

Walking back over to Jughead and Sweet Pea I saw FP Jones, Tom Keller and Fred Andrews all conversing quietly with one another.

"Any big plans yet Jug?" I asked as I leant my head against Sweet Pea's chest.

"There's no way we're letting him serve that full sentence, he's a Serpent now remember?" Jughead looked at the two of us as we nodded in agreement to what he was letting on, something had to be done. 



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