Wednesday, March 16, 2016
A History Of Friendship - FINALE
The next day, Archie and Jughead were moving quickly through the halls of Riverdale High. They were late for Miss Grundy's history class after spending their study hall period putting the finishing touches on their projects for class.
“I can't believe that we lost track of time!” Archie exclaimed. “Why did my watch battery die?”
“I don't know, but in all honesty, the class is really the last thing on my mind.” Jughead said.
Archie stopped. “You're thinking about Wembley.”
“He hasn't been in school all day long.” Jughead said. “I can't help but worry about him. I mean, Clay and Johnny have both been suspended from Riverdale High for what they did to Wembley, and Mr. Weatherbee has said that if they go near Wembley again, they'll face expulsion. I would have thought that would have been enough.”
“Jughead, you did everything you could.” Archie said. “You can't fault yourself for that.”
Jughead frowned. “I just wish that...”
But, then Jughead stopped mid-sentence and began to smile as someone approached.
“Wembley!!!” Jughead exclaimed.
“And, here I was thinking that I was the only one late for class.” Wembley said.
“How are you doing?” Archie asked.
“I'm hanging in there.” Wembley said. “When I left Pop's yesterday, I had a really long talk with my aunt and uncle. They aren't mad at me for letting the jewelry box get broken. In fact, talking with them about what had happened really helped.”
“I had a feeling.” Jughead said, smiling. “Judging by your aunt's reaction, I take it they didn't know what was going on.”
“No.” Wembley said. “At first, I felt scared to talk to anyone. But, since I found talking about it with you two so easy, I figured that telling them would be too. Just talking about it helped.”
“Good.” Jughead said.
“And, besides...with Clay and Johnny suspended from school, it'll at least make the next couple of weeks easy to get through.” Wembley said.
“So...” Archie began. “...does this mean you're sticking around?”
Wembley nodded. “It's like you guys said. Maybe I need to trust that you are right...and maybe I need to give you guys another chance too...I'm going to see how it goes. One day at a time, right?”
Jughead smiled. “It's good to see that you're staying.”
“Me too.” Wembley said. “Although, I'm a little nervous about going to Miss Grundy's class without a project.”
Archie and Jughead's eyes widened. “CLASS!!!”
“Come on!” Jughead exclaimed. “We're late!”
Meanwhile, in Miss Grundy's classroom, Veronica was just finishing her oral presentation.
“...so, in conclusion to my project, I really hope that I inspired all of you to put your best foot forward. It wasn't easy for me to slip into the subject, but once I got to talking about it, it felt as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. And, thanks to the wonderful invention of modern shoes, everyone in the twentieth century could get to wherever they wanted to go, and look good doing it! Thank you!”
The class all clapped as Veronica took her seat.
“Thank you, Veronica.” Miss Grundy. “I must certainly say that when you brought in fifty pairs of shoes from your own closet, I was initially worried that you'd make this project into nothing more than a fashion show, but you really demonstrated how our footwear has evolved over the past one hundred years. Very well thought out project.”
“I knew you'd appreciate it.” Veronica said.
:Have to admit.” Betty said. “That was very informative. I really misjudged you.”
“Thank you, Betty.” Veronica said. “Your project was great too.”
Just then, Archie, Jughead, and Wembley ran into the classroom.
Miss Grundy did not look impressed. “Would you care to tell me why you're twenty minutes late for class?”
“We lost track of time.” Archie said.
“We got lost.” Jughead said.
Miss Grundy sighed. “Boys, just take your seats.”
Archie and Jughead sheepishly sat down. As Wembley walked in, Miss Grundy smiled. “Wembley...nice to see you back!”
“Thank you.” Wembley said.
As Wembley walked to his desk, Betty smiled at him. “Nice to see you, Wembley!”
“Good afternoon!” Veronica said.
“Oh...” Wembley said, smiling. “...Hi, Betty...Veronica...”
As Wembley sat down, Miss Grundy began to speak. “Okay, so we've heard from Betty, Midge, Chuck, and now Veronica. The next person on my randomly drawn list of names is Reggie Mantle, but he doesn't seem to be here right now, so we'll go on to the next name on my list, which is...Wembley...”
Wembley sighed sadly.
Miss Grundy looked sad. “Wembley, I know that your project was ruined yesterday, and if you want, I can skip your name and go on to the next student.”
“He doesn't have to.” said a voice from behind her.
Miss Grundy turned around and saw Reggie standing behind her, holding something in his hands.
“Reggie Mantle, you are late for class!” Miss Grundy said, her voice rising.
“I know...I know.” Reggie said. “Believe me, I have a good reason. And, it looks like I got back just in time for Wembley's project.”
“Reggie, what are you talking about?” Archie asked.
“What's going on?” Jughead questioned.
“You'll see.” Reggie said. “Wembley, can you come up here, please?”
Wembley looked shocked. “Um...what?”
“Go ahead.” Betty motioned.
“Yeah.” Veronica said.
Wembley nervously approached the front of the classroom where Miss Grundy and Reggie stood. Jughead and Archie followed.
“What's this about?” Archie asked Jughead.
“Your guess is as good as mine.” Jughead admitted.
Wembley turned towards Reggie. “Reggie, I'm not doing my project...I can't. I mean, I memorized my oral report, but I have nothing to show.”
“That's not true.” Reggie said.
It was then that Reggie placed what he had in his hands on Miss Grundy's desk, and removed the cloth over top of it. And, once he did, everyone in the room gasped in shock while Wembley's eyes bugged out of his head.
There in plain view on Miss Grundy's desk was a blue jewelry box. The same jewelry box that had gotten broken the day before. Fully repaired.
Wembley was blown away as the rest of the class beamed with excitement. “What? I...how? You?”
Reggie just stood there as Archie whispered to Jughead. “I don't believe it!”
Jughead just smiled. “Maybe Mantle has a soft side after all.”
“How in the world?” Wembley exclaimed. “This was smashed into pieces! And, yet it's all here...the blue lid...the blue flowers, the inscription on the bottom! How did you fix it?”
“It took a lot of work.” Reggie exclaimed. “But, I was up for the challenge. In shop class, I was doing really well in the woodworking part, and figured that if I could carve wood, I could do just as good a job gluing it back together. I had some help from Mr. Krosskutt in putting this box back together again. It's not perfect, and there's some cracks in it that I don't think will ever be completely fixed, but I wouldn't stop until I managed to get this box back to as close to the way it was as it could be.”
Wembley was shocked. “You...you did this all yourself?”
“Well, I did have help from the teacher, who by the way signed a note excusing my lateness.” Reggie said, handing Miss Grundy the note from Mr. Krosskutt. “But, I stayed up late trying to get this box back together, and ended up being late for class to fix up one little detail.”
“Which was?” Jughead asked.
“Well, I noticed that when the box was broken, that the part that played the music was broken too...” Reggie said.
“Oh, that was broken for years.” Wembley said, as he went to open the box up. “It hasn't played any music...”
But before Wembley could finish, he heard a faint melody coming from below. When Wembley opened up the box, the song that was inside began to play. And, once he heard the first few notes, Wembley's eyes began to water.
“Oh my...the music.” Wembley said. “The music works!”
“Did I mention that Mr. Krosskutt can fix broken music boxes?” Reggie said. “He managed to get the music playing again in no time!”
“But, why would you go to so much trouble?” Wembley asked Reggie. “You didn't really know me?”
Reggie sighed a deep sigh. “No...but I'd like to. I had no idea that this box had so much meaning for you, and when those guys broke it, I really felt bad. I wanted to fix it back up for you because I knew that It would be something that I could do to apologize to you. I am so sorry that I couldn't stop Clay and Johnny from bullying you, and I am really sorry that I couldn't stop them from breaking this box. I hope that by repairing this box for you that I have shown you that we really do care at Riverdale High, and that I hope that you can forgive me for not being able to help you before.”
The entire class was a bit misty-eyed at this point. Even Miss Grundy looked like she was moved by the whole thing.
Wembley stared at Reggie and smiled. “This is...one of the nicest things that anybody has ever done for me. Thank you so much, Reggie.”
Reggie shook Wembley's hand, trying to keep his composure. “You're welcome, Wembley. And, after school, I hope that you'll come down to Pop's and join the rest of the football team. We all want to apologize to you and let you know that not all of us are like Johnny and Clay.”
Jughead headed over towards Wembley. “You see now?”
Wembley nodded. “You know something...I think I'm really going to like it here.”
Wembley then gave Jughead a hug. “Thank you.”
Jughead smiled. “Welcome to Riverdale High, Wembley.”
“Okay.” Miss Grundy said, dabbing a tissue to her face. “We still have presentations to do. This whole week has been really an...interesting one here.”
“You can say that again!” Archie said.
“Wembley...” Miss Grundy said. “...would you like to do your presentation?”
“Yes...” Wembley said. “I'm ready now.”
“Good.” Miss Grundy said. “Class, take your seats, please.”
Jughead, Archie, and Reggie sat back down in their seats as Wembley began to speak.
“For my class project, I brought in one of the last things that I have from my parents. It's this jewelry box that my father had given to my mother when they were dating. Initially, I was going to talk about why this jewelry box meant so much to me, because of my parents...but seeing all of these cracks in the top...well, it has so much more meaning to me now. This box has a rich history of love, memories, laughter, and joy...and, thanks to some really, really good friends that I have made here, it now has another form of history to it...the history of friendship.”
As Wembley continued with his presentation, Jughead leaned back and winked at Wembley. “You're gonna be all right, kid. I know it.”