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Saturday, March 12, 2016

A History Of Friendship - PART SIX

Just a little reminder, everyone.  Tomorrow morning at 2:00 am, set your clocks ONE HOUR AHEAD.  Your cell phones and computers should do this automatically.  Despite what Cher says, you do NOT turn back time.  Think like Kenny Chesney instead and live life in fast least for one hour.

And now, part 6 of "A History Of Friendship".

In the school gymnasium, Reggie had just run inside, knowing that he was late for football practice, hoping that Coach Kleats would keep his cool.  He immediately saw Moose and ran towards him.
   “Yes, I know I'm late.”  Reggie told Moose.  “I know that I'll have to do more laps around the gym.”
   “Don't worry.”  Moose said.  “Coach ain't here.”
   “Oh, thank goodness.”  Reggie said, relieved.
   “Clay and Johnny are late too.”  Moose explained.
   “What?”  Reggie asked.  “That's odd.  Clay and Johnny were late for Friday's practice session as well.  I wonder what's going on with those two?”
   Just as Reggie pondered this, Clay and Johnny quickly entered the gym.
   “Good.”  Clay said.  “It looks like Coach Kleats isn't here.”
   “All right.”  Johnny said.  “No extra laps for us.”
   “And, just what was it you two were doing that was more important than football practice?”  Reggie asked.
   “Oh...we were just hanging out with someone.”  Clay said with a smirk.
   “Yeah.”  Johnny said.  “We had something to tell him.”
   Reggie looked at them suspiciously.  “Really...”
   “Yeah, really.”  Johnny said.
   “And, who are you?  Coach's spy?”  Clay asked.
   “No, of course not.”  Reggie said.  “If anything, I was late myself.  But, the Riverdale vs. Central homecoming game is coming up soon, and Coach Kleats really wants us to win it.  We have to try and make it to practice on time.”
   “You're right, Mantle.”  Clay said.  “We're sorry.”
   Just then, Coach Kleats entered the gym.  “All right, team.  We have just a few days until the homecoming game, so we need to make sure that we are ready.  I want all of you to start by running ten laps around the gym.”
   “Yes, Coach.”  the team said.
   “ more thing.”  Coach Kleats said.  “Since Mantle, Brock, and Sangria were late for practice, they will do an additional fifteen laps.”
   “What?”  Johnny exclaimed.
   “That's not fair!”  Clay whined.
   “How did you know?”  Reggie sighed.
   “I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night.”  Coach Kleats said with a smile.  “Get running, boys.”
   Reggie nodded his head.  “You heard the coach.”
   As Reggie joined the rest of the football team doing laps, Johnny approached Clay.  “I told you we were gonna be late!”
   “Relax.”  Clay said.  “Picking on that Wembley geek was worth the extra laps.”
   “HEY!”  Coach Kleats said.  “Brock and Sangria, you better start doing laps now.”
   Johnny started to run.  “Picking on Wembley certainly is fun...but what if someone finds out?”
   “Relax.”  Clay said.  “We're doing this without anyone knowing, and we have Wembley so scared, he's not going to say anything.  Who's gonna know?”

   Meanwhile, in the school library, Archie, Jughead, and Betty were seated at one of the tables.  Jughead kept checking his watch, looking impatient.
   “I wonder where Wembley is?”  Jughead said.  “He said he'd meet us here to work on our projects with us.”
   “Maybe he's running late?”  Archie suggested.
   “No.”  Jughead said.  “I can't put my finger on it, but something's not right.”
   “You think that something happened, didn't you?”  Archie asked.
   “Archie, I heard Reggie and Moose talking about another football practice.”  Jughead said.  “A practice that is going on right now.  It's just too much of a coincidence.”
   “Juggie.”  Betty said.  “Archie kind of filled me in on what's been happening.  I just can't believe that Wembley has had to go through so much.”
   “Nobody knows.”  Jughead said.
   “I think for whatever reason, Wembley has a lot of trouble opening up to people.”  Archie said.
   “Can you blame him?”  Jughead said.  “I mean, he had to deal with the loss of his parents, moving to another country, and now he has to deal with people making fun of him.”
   “We don't know that for certain.”  Archie said.
   “I just think he's had too much happen to him.”  Jughead said.  “All he needs is to have some really good friends to confide in.  To make him feel like he's not completely helpless in this.”
   “You're doing a good job right now.”  Betty said.
   “Yeah, you've gone above and beyond for this kid.”  Archie said.
   “Let's just say that I know what he's going through.”  Jughead said.
   “Yeah, about that.”  Archie said.  “You keep saying that you can relate to Wembley and you know what he's talking about, but I'm not sure exactly what you mean.”
   “Oh...that...”  Jughead said.  “Well, you see...”
   But before Jughead could answer, Veronica entered the library.  “Oh, good!  I'm so glad all of you are here.”
   Archie looked shocked.  “, Veronica.  Yeah, I know what you're going to say.  You're still...upset over Saturday.  I know.  I promise you that I will make this up to you.  I'll buy you flowers, I'll give you chocolates, whatever it is, I will make this up to you, just please don't be mad at me.”
   Betty and Jughead looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
   Veronica looked annoyed.  “Archie, stop talking, please.  This doesn't even have anything to do with you.”
   “Then what is it?”  Archie asked.
   As Archie asked that question, Wembley happened to approach the table in the library that Betty and Jughead were still sitting at.  He looked visibly shaken.
   “Wembley!”  Jughead said.  “You're here!”
   “Something wrong?”  Betty asked.
   “I'm...not feeling good.”  Wembley said.  “I know that I promised that I was going to meet you here in the library to work on our projects, but I'm not feeling well.  I'm gonna go home early.”
   “You sure?”  Jughead asked.  “You sure it's not anything else?”
   “Yeah, it kind of looks like more than you just being sick.”  Archie said.
   “No, I really am sick.”  Wembley said.  “I'm sorry.”
   Wembley started to leave, but Veronica turned towards him and said “Why don't you tell them the REAL reason.”
   Wembley turned towards Veronica.  “That is the real reason.”
   “Oh, really.”  Veronica said.  “It wouldn't have anything to do with the 'talk' you had with Clay and Johnny, did it?”
   “What?”  Betty exclaimed.
   Jughead sighed.  “I knew it.”
   Wembley looked angry.  “Veronica, you don't know what you're talking about.  I really need to go.”
   “Wembley, I saw everything.”  Veronica said.  “I saw Clay and Johnny take your backpack and shove it in a garbage can.”
   “What?”  Archie said.
   “Wembley.”  Jughead said.  “Is this true?”
   Wembley stared down at his shoes.
   “Wembley, talk to us here.”  Jughead said.  “We're your friends, remember?  You can tell us everything.”
   Wembley sighed.  “You have any idea how hard it is to be the new kid?  How hard it is to make friends?”
   “I know all too well, Wembley, but guys like Johnny and Clay aren't your friends.”  Jughead said.
   “Not after what I saw.”  Veronica said.  “It was really horrible, and I'm sorry that you had to go through that.”
   “Wembley, how long has this been going on?”  Betty asked.
   Wembley remained silent.
   “Has this been going on a long time?”  Archie asked.
   Jughead sighed.  “This has been happening since you started at Riverdale High hasn't it?”
   Wembley nodded.  “I didn't know what to do.  I figured that if I just sat back and did nothing, that it would eventually stop, like it did at my old school.”
   “But, it hasn't...has it?”  Betty said.
   Wembley looked like he was about to cry.  “No.”
   “Wait a minute.”  Jughead said.  “You mean to tell me that this has happened before at other schools?”
   “Jughead, you have to understand.”  Wembley said.  “When I was younger, after my parents died, I moved around a lot.  I was lucky if I only had to attend four schools a year.  It wasn't easy to make new friends, so I basically just kept quiet.  When my uncle and aunt finally decided to settle in Riverdale a year ago, I thought that I could finally start to open up to people, but at Hadley High, the kids used to make fun of me there, so I just closed up.  It's been like that since I transferred to Riverdale High.”
   “I'm guessing you transferred to this school from Hadley because of the bullying.”  Betty said.
   “Yeah.”  Wembley said.  “I thought that this school would be better than Hadley High, but those guys from the football team did all the same things that the kids at Hadley did to me.”
   “Is it the whole football team doing this?”  Jughead asked.
   “Yeah, our friends Reggie and Moose are on the team, and I can't see them doing anything that horrible.”  Archie said.
   “Well, Reggie calls me names.”  Wembley admitted.  “But, it's mostly Clay and Johnny doing the worst.  I don't think the other members of the team even know that they're doing it.”
   “I knew Clay was bad news.”  Veronica said.  “I once went on a date with him.  It was the worst date that I had ever had.  He was so rude, and boorish.  I'll never make that mistake again.  Looks like Johnny's following in his footsteps.”
   “Wembley, this is serious.”  Jughead said.  “You have to tell someone about this.”
   “No, it's fine.”  Wembley said.  “It's nothing.”
   “Dude, someone taking your backpack and throwing it in the garbage isn't nothing.”  Jughead said.  “I'm guessing that Clay and Johnny were bugging you when I first met you, didn't they?”
   “I don't want to talk about this.”  Wembley said.
   “Wembley, you have got to tell Coach Kleats.”  Archie said.  “Or, Miss Grundy, or Mr. Weatherbee.”
   “We'll all go with you.”  Betty said.
   “Absolutely.”  Veronica said.
   “I tried going to the teachers at Hadley High, and they didn't do anything.”  Wembley said.  “In fact, it just got worse.”
   “That was Hadley High.”  Jughead said.  “This is Riverdale High.  The teachers really care about the students here, and I know that if you gave them a chance to help you, they would.”
   “I don't know.”  Wembley said.
   “Wembley.”  Jughead said.  “What Clay and Johnny are doing is wrong.  They don't have the right to make anyone feel bad.  And, they certainly don't have the right to pick on you.  You have the power to change this.  Let us help you.”
   Wembley looked around at Jughead, Betty, Archie, and Veronica and realized that maybe, just maybe, they knew what they were talking about.
   “Would you all come with me?”  Wembley said.  “To Mr. Weatherbee's office?  It might be easier for me to talk about it if I had you guys with me.”
   “You got it.”  Jughead said.
   “You're doing the right thing, Wembley.”  Veronica said.
   Wembley sighed.  “I hope so.”
A few days passed.  It was now early Thursday morning.  The day before Miss Grundy's history assignment was due.  And over by their lockers, Veronica was showing off her project to a very surprised Betty.
   “And, this credit card is from Fjordstorm's, and this one from Lacey's, and this one...this one is from Beeman Barkus!”  Veronica exclaimed in glee.
   Betty was shaking her head.  “Veronica, you're doing your history project on credit cards?  It's supposed to be something from the twentieth century that is meaningful.”
   “Well, Betty, credit cards were invented in the twentieth century, and since I got my first one, I've never had so much joy and meaning come into my life.  You were right, Betty, this project was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see the joy in everyone's faces when I show off this project.”
   “The only 'C' is see is the one that Miss Grundy will give you as a grade.”  Betty said, with a chuckle.
   Veronica just rolled her eyes.
   Just then, Archie and Reggie approached Betty and Veronica.  “Hey, girls.”  Archie said.
   “Archie, Reggie.”  Veronica said.  “Good.  I need your honest opinion.  I'm going to do my history project on my credit cards, but Betty doesn't seem to think that my project idea is a good one.  What do you think?”
   “”  Archie said.  “...that all depends on how well you're doing in history class.”
   “If you're coasting, you may need to hold on for dear life with a project like that.”  Reggie snapped.
   Veronica grew angry.  “Oh, you people are so critical!”
   And as Veronica stormed off, Betty chuckled.  “I do believe she'll be pulling an all-nighter tonight.”
   Just then, Clay and Johnny approached the group.  Both of them looked incredibly upset.
   “How could Coach Kleats do this to us”  Johnny yelled.
   “This is so unfair.”  Clay whined.
   “What happened?”  Reggie asked.
   “We're benched from the homecoming game!”  Clay yelled.
   “Really?”  Reggie exclaimed.
   “I wanna know who the heck told the coach lies about us.”  Johnny said.
   “Yeah, getting pulled off the team for harassment!”  Clay said.  “What proof do they have?”
   Archie and Betty exchanged a look as Reggie tried to calm them down.  “Okay, Clay, Johnny, what happened?  From the beginning.”
   “I don't know.”  Johnny said.  “All I know is that yesterday we were called into Weatherbee's office, and in the office was Coach Kleats.”
   “And, it was there that they accused us of bullying a student, which we denied, of course.”  Clay said.
   “And, before you know it, Coach pulls us from the game.”  Johnny said.
   “I don't understand it.”  Clay said.  “This is the biggest game of the whole season, and we have to miss it.  Why does Weatherbee and the rest of the school seem intent to sabotage our football team?”
   “We're going to lose the game now thanks to this.”  Johnny said.
   “Look.”  Reggie said.  “Did you want me to talk to the coach about this?”
   “Do what you want, Mantle.”  Clay fumed.
   “All I know is that whoever went to the principal will hear about it from both of us.”  Johnny shouted.
   As Clay and Johnny stormed off, Reggie looked like he was angry himself.  “I don't believe this!  Clay and Johnny are benched from the team just days before the homecoming game!  How could Weatherbee do this?”
   “Sorry to burst your bubble, Reggie, but those jerks had it coming.”  Betty said.
   Reggie turned towards Betty.  “You say this as if you know what's going on.  Like you know who ratted those two out.”
   Archie and Betty stared in silence at each other.
   “You do...don't you?”  Reggie exclaimed.  “Do you have any idea what this does?  To have two of our best players benched because of some gossip?  We could lose the game and the season because of this!”
   “Clay and Johnny brought this on themselves.”  Betty said.  
   “Why do you keep saying this?”  Reggie asked.
   “Because we're the ones who went to Weatherbee about Clay and Johnny.”  Archie said.
   “Why would you two do that to them?”  Reggie exclaimed.  “What did they ever do to you?”
   “Reggie, are you really that blind?”  Archie exclaimed.  “You know what they've been doing to Wembley Morris?”
   “They have been teasing him and picking on him ever since he got here.”  Betty said.
   “I don't know what you're talking about.”  Reggie said.
   “Give me a break.”  Archie said.
   “Just ask Veronica.”  Betty said.  “She saw them take Wembley's backpack and shove it into a garbage can.”
   “They're bullying Wembley, and eventually, it was going to catch up with them.”  Archie said.
   “Look, I'm not defending what they're doing to that Wembley kid, but don't you get it?”  Reggie exclaimed.  “You went to the principal and totally blew a little innocent teasing out of proportion and now we're going to lose the homecoming game.”
   “I'd rather have the rest of the football season be cancelled if it means that Wembley won't have to endure any more bullying from anyone.”  Betty said.
   “I can't believe you'd stand here and make us look like the bad guys here.”  Archie said.
   “I don't mean to.”  Reggie said.  “But, again, what they're doing is harmless.”
   “Oh, really?”  Archie exclaimed.  “If it's really that harmless, why is Wembley afraid to talk to anybody except Jughead and I?”
   “Reggie, you may see bullying as physical injuries, but emotional bullying is just as horrible and there is no excuse for it.”  Betty said.  “Why can't you see that what Johnny and Clay did was wrong?”
   Reggie shook his head as he started to leave.  “I need some air...”
   As Reggie left, Archie was trying not to blow up.  “How can he stand there and defend those two bullies?”
   “Archie, don't let this stress you out.”  Betty said.  “Maybe Reggie's just blinded by the whole idea of team unity that he can't see things for the way they are.”
   “It just makes me so frustrated.”  Archie said.  “I never thought anything like this happened at Riverdale High.  Now that I've seen it first hand, I hope I never see anything like this again.”
   “Well, Mr. Weatherbee obviously punished Clay and Johnny for this.”  Betty said.  “Hopefully, they've learned from it.”
   “I don't saw how angry those guys were.”  Archie said.  “I'm kind of glad that we told Reggie that we ended up reporting them.”
   “That was a smart move.”  Betty said.  “Because if those two ever found out that it was Wembley who really reported them, it's going to make things much worse.”

   At the same time, Jughead was being thrown out of the school cafeteria by Ms. Beazly.
   “Jughead Jones, for the last time, the cafeteria does not open for breakfast!”  Ms. Beazly said.
   “Can't you make an exception just this once?”  Jughead said.  “Can't I have a muffin?  A banana?  A stick of gum?”
   “Out, Jughead.”  Ms. Beazly said, closing the door behind him.
   As Jughead tried to get back into the cafeteria, Wembley happened to sneak up behind him.  “Jughead, if you really want food, I can give you a dollar for the vending machine outside.”
   “Hey, Wembley!”  Jughead said.  “How have you been doing?
   “A little better.”  Wembley said.
   “Good.”  Jughead said.  “So...were we right about Mr. Weatherbee or what?”
   “Yeah, you were.”  Wembley said.  “I'm glad I talked to him about what Clay and Johnny were doing.  It seemed to help, and he was very kind.”
   “I told you.”  Jughead said.  “You had nothing to worry about.”
   “I don't know about that.”  Wembley said.  “I told him everything.  I named names and everything.  I'm just worried that they might try something else.”
   “They wouldn't dare.”  Jughead said.  “Word is that they've been benched from the homecoming game because of what they did to you, and I'm pretty sure that if they try anything else, they'll get thrown off the football team entirely.  I wouldn't worry.”
   “I just really wanted to thank you for all of this, Jughead.”  Wembley said.
   “You have nothing to thank me for.”  Jughead said.  
   “No, really.”  Wembley said.  “You, Archie, Betty,'ve all been great, and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have had the courage to do anything about it.”
   “Well, hey.”  Jughead said.  “Don't mention it, really.”
   Jughead then noticed that Wembley was carrying a red box in his hand.  “Is that...?”
   Wembley nodded.  “'s my project for Miss Grundy's class.”
   “You brought in the jewelry box.”  Jughead said.
   “I did, I did.”  Wembley said.  “I know the project isn't due until tomorrow, but I decided to bring it in today so I could work on it during study hall.”
   “Yeah, I brought my project in early too.”  Jughead said.  Miss Grundy said that she would lock them in her classroom overnight if we wanted to.  I am kind of surprised you chose to bring something that has such value to you.”
   “Well, that was what the assignment was about.”  Wembley said.  “And, this is my most prized possession.”
   “I'm sure the class will enjoy it.”  Jughead said.  “And I bet you're going to get an A.”
   Wembley smiled.  “I hope so.”
   “So, do you need any help working on the project?”
   “No, not really.”  Wembley said.  “My study hall is in the same classroom as Miss Grundy's...I have a full period to work on the oral report.  I'll just head there and work on it.”
   “Okay, then, I'll catch you later.”  Jughead said.
   “Bye, Jughead.”  Wembley said, as the two of them went their separate ways.
   However, Wembley was unaware of the fact that he had just made a big mistake.  He walked towards his locker, unaware that Johnny Sangria had overheard the conversation between himself and Jughead.
   “So, it was that whiny Wembley who ratted us out.”  Johnny said.  “I should let Clay know this...he made a big mistake...”

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