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Friday, March 11, 2016

A History Of Friendship - PART FIVE

The following Monday at Riverdale High, Jughead and Archie were trading tales about what had happened on Friday night.
   “So, you ended up having to wait until ten o'clock to see 'Zombie Assassin 7”?  Jughead exclaimed.  “I can't imagine that went over well with your parents, Arch.”
   “Actually, it wasn't that horrible.”  Archie said.  “Mainly because Chuck and I called home to let our parents know that we'd be catching the late show.  I think Moose did too.”
   “And, Reggie?”  Jughead asked.
   “Last I heard, Reggie was grounded for two weeks for missing curfew.”  Archie said.  “Worst part about the whole thing was that the movie wasn't that great.  It was a huge disappointment from the last few films.  You didn't miss much, believe me.  It was even worse on the weekend when my dates with Veronica and Betty were a total mess.”
   “Not even gonna ask about Betty and Veronica...”  Jughead said.  “...but that's too bad about 'Zombie Assassin 7'.  It's probably for the best.  Besides, what I had to do was more important anyway.”
   “Did you make any progress with Wembley at all?”  Archie asked.
   “I wish I did.”  Jughead said.  “I didn't get any information about whether or not the football team was harassing him, but I did learn more about his background.  It's really sad.  He lost his parents at a young age, and from what I understand, he's been living with his aunt and uncle for the past few years.  They live above a warehouse on Duncan Street.”
   “That sounds horrible.”  Archie said.  “No wonder Wembley hasn't really been all that outgoing here.”
   “He seems to be making the most of it.”  Jughead said.  “He seems grateful to be living where he is, and he by far has one of the coolest bedrooms I've ever seen.  But, I can't help but get the feeling that there's something he's keeping from me.”
   “You seem to think that if the football team is picking on him, he's not willing to volunteer that information to you or anybody else, right?”  Archie asked.
   “Exactly.”  Jughead said.  “I mean, I didn't press on or anything like that, but I just wish I knew what exactly he was keeping.”
   “I may be able to fill you in a bit.”  Archie said.  “And, I'm warning you ahead of time that you probably won't like it.”
   “What do you mean, I probably won't like it?”  Jughead asked.
   :”It involves Reggie.”  Archie said.
   “Great, this just gets better and better.”  Jughead said.  “What did you find out?”
   “Well, nothing set in stone.”  Archie said.  “But, when we were waiting in line at the movie theatre to get in, the subject of Wembley came up, and Reggie didn't seem to have that much of a high opinion of Wembley.  He accused him of being too snobby and stuck-up.”
   “Reggie whining about someone being snobby and stuck-up?!?”  Jughead exclaimed.  “Has he not looked in the thirty-six mirrors he loves so much?”
   “My thoughts exactly.”  Archie said.
   “Nice to know that Reggie actually made an effort to get to KNOW Wembley before judging him.”  Jughead said, sadly.
   Archie nodded.  “That's exactly what I said.  Chuck and Moose also tried to make that point too, and I think that even Reggie knew that he was kind of crossing the line.  But, then his buddies from the football team arrived.  Clay Brock and Johnny Sangria.”
   “And, what happened?”  Jughead asked.
   “Well, nothing, really.”  Archie said.  “Aside from some whining from Clay, Johnny, and Reggie about missing the 7:15 show, not much.  Though I did bring up the subject of bullying in a general sense, and the one thing I got was that the football team's definition of bullying doesn't exactly match mine.”
   “That still doesn't prove that the football team is bullying Wembley.”  Jughead said.
   “Maybe not, but I think that the two of us need to keep our eyes open.”  Archie said.  “I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about both Clay and Johnny that I'm not comfortable with.”
   “And, I hate the fact that Reggie is caught up in this too.”  Jughead said.  “I mean, Reggie hasn't exactly been the nicest person to walk through the halls of this school, but I never thought that he'd be the kind of person to maliciously tease and bully someone either.”
   “Again, we don't know the whole story yet, so we need to hold off forming an opinion about Reggie until we know for sure what is going on.”  Archie said.
   Jughead nodded.  “I just hope that we're completely wrong about this, and that Wembley's just extra shy...but something in my gut tells me that it's more than that.”
   Archie sighed.  “That's what bothers me.”

   Jughead and Archie headed down the hallway and turned the corner just as Reggie was leaving the shop class workroom.  Reggie was speaking with the shop teacher, Mr. Krosskutt.
   “Reggie, I'm very impressed by your work in the woodworking portion of the course.”  Mr. Krosskutt.  “You seem to be the only one in the class who has done perfect or near-perfect work.”
   “What can I say, Mr. K?”  Reggie said.  “When I do things, I do things well.”
   “However, your ego still needs a little bit of deflating, I see.”  Mr. Krosskutt sighed.  “At any rate, I just wanted to ask you if you wanted to help some of the other students with some of their projects.  Particularly with Dilton Doiley.  The lad might be skilled in chemistry, physics, and machinery, but his woodworking skills are a hopeless case.”
   “I shall do my best.”  Reggie said.
   “Good.”  Mr. Krosskutt said.  “I will see you and Dilton both in class later today.”
   As Mr. Krosskutt walked back into his classroom, Reggie noticed that Betty and Veronica were approaching.
   “Hey, Bets, Ron.”  Reggie said.  “Need an escort to class?”
   “Only if you want to.”  Veronica said, sharply.
   “What's with her?”  Reggie asked.
   “Oh, she's still trying to figure out what she's going to do for Miss Grundy's assignment due this week.”  Betty said.  “That, plus Archie ran out of money on their movie date this weekend.
   “Can you believe Archie asked me...Veronica go HALFSIES on our movie date?”  Veronica scoffed.  “I've never been so humiliated in my whole life!”
   “At least he had enough money for you to go halfsies with.”  Betty said.  “I ended up paying for our whole movie date.”
   “You're taking this rather well.”  Reggie said to Betty.
   “Yeah, well...I wanted to see the vampire movie anyway.”  Betty said.  “Besides, when you've gone out with as many dates with Archie, you expect things to be unconventional.  But, he did promise he'd make up for it.”
   “I'll believe that when I see it.”  Veronica said.  “I'm so angry with Archie Andrews, I don't care if I ever see him again.”
   “Great...more dates for me!”  Betty thought to herself with a smile.
   “And, get that silly grin off your face, Betty Cooper.”  Veronica sneered.  “As if I don't already know what you're thinking.”
   Betty shook her head.  “And, on that pleasant note, I have to go meet with Jughead and Archie to work on Miss Grundy's homework assignment.”
   As Betty left, Veronica angrily stared towards her.  “I hope the only dates you study with Archie are HISTORY dates!!!”
   Reggie just chuckled.  “Ron...all this could have been avoided if you had gone to the movies with me.”
   Veronica was fuming.  “Oh, be quiet, Reggie.”
   Veronica then stormed away from Reggie as he shook his head.  “All this could have been avoided if she had gone out with ME instead of Carrot-Top.”
   Reggie had looked at the clock in the hallway and realized that he was running late for yet another football practice.  “Great.”  he muttered.  “I completely forgot that we had a practice during lunch.  Guess I'd better eat and run.”
   Reggie quickly turned the corner and almost ran into Wembley.  “Move it, goober.” he shouted as he darted past.
   Wembley just stared at Reggie as he left.  “Geez...he's in a hurry...”
   Thinking nothing of it, though, Wembley turned the corner of the hallway that Reggie had just been in and was about to head to the library to meet up with Jughead to work on their class project when he heard a couple of voices that he hoped he didn't have to hear.
   “Yo, Johnny...look's Whiny Wembley!”
   “More like Wah Wah Wembley to me, Clay.”  
   Wembley's whole demeanor changed as Clay Brock and Johnny Sangria approached Wembley.  “Excuse me, I have to go.”
   “What's the rush?”  Clay said, stepping directly into Wembley's path.  “We just wanna talk.”
   “I don't have anything to say.”  Wembley said, attempting to walk in the opposite direction.
   “Not so fast.”  Johnny said, as he got closer to Wembley.  “You're not going anywhere right now until we talk to you.”
   “Seems like you don't talk at all.”  Clay said.  “That's very, very, weird.”
   “Too weird.”  Johnny said.
   With Clay and Johnny on opposite sides of him, Wembley was effective stuck.  “Guys, just please...leave me alone.”
   “Why?”  Clay said, sarcastically.  “We only want to be your friend.”
   “Friends don't block people in the hallways or talk down to them.”  Wembley said.
   Johnny pushed Wembley up against a block of lockers.  “You dare talk back to us?”
   “You better watch what you say, Wembley.”  Clay warned.  “We're on the football team.  You know, the team with all the biggest and strongest guys in the school.  I'd hate for you to have them on your bad side.”
   “Why are you doing this?”  Wembley asked.
   “Because you're the weirdest kid in school, and we don't want weird kids who don't speak in our school.”  Johnny said.
   “Does it not bother you that in the short time you've been here, nobody has wanted anything to do with you because nobody likes you?”  Clay asked.
   “It should.”  Johnny said.  
   Clay then grabbed Wembley's backpack.  “Let's see what you brought for lunch today.”
   “Give that back!”  Wembley shouted.
   Johnny held Wembley back.  “What's he got?”
   Clay scoffed.  “Just a stupid sandwich and an apple.  Garbage.”
   Clay then took Wembley's backpack and shoved it into the nearby garbage can, with Clay and Johnny laughing the whole time.
   “We'll catch you later, Whiny Wembley.”  Clay said with a sneer.  “I quite enjoyed this chat.  Let's get some real food, Johnny.”
   Clay and Johnny laughed out loud as Wembley, shaken, grabbed his backpack out of the trash can and sadly walked down the hallway.
   However, fate had a funny way of bringing attention to the situation.
   And, in this case, fate was wearing black pumps and a designer purse.
   Veronica Lodge had seen the whole event take place from the background...and suddenly, she wasn't as mad at Archie anymore.

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