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The Graduation Day Chronicles (Archie fan-fiction)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by hobbyfan, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Preamble: When I began the Archie fan-fics 2 years ago, I unwittingly had date-stamped the series, such that we are now in the gang's senior year. Before you even ask, we will address the "Farewell Betty & Veronica" arc/debacle in the prologue, and go from there. All roads lead to commencement exercises, which will take place later in the month.

    As per normal, all characters, except for my own creations, are copyright Archie Comics and their licensees.
    ======================================================================
    Prologue:

    Betty Cooper was furious. Her so-called best friend, Veronica Lodge, had betrayed her and everyone else by resorting to using her money to buy her way into a foreign exchange program that would at the same time satisfy her desire to travel the world, if not to call attention to herself.

    "The election was rigged!", Betty snapped as she came home with her parents, Hal & Alice. "How could Ronnie stoop so low?"

    "It's not set in stone, dear.", Alice said, reassuring her. "If it can be proven that Veronica bought off the voters, then they'll have no choice but to do a recall election."

    "Your mother's right, honey.", Hal added. "We all know Veronica can be selfish at the worst possible times, and it always gets her in trouble. Her father had to have had a hand in this, using his influence to aid her."

    "Then we'll just have to put Ron in her place, won't we?", Betty sniped. "It's about time she was humbled. Some best friend."

    At New Dimensions Fashions, news of the election had reached owner Barbara Schubert, and she wasn't the least bit happy with the outcome. Not that she would wish ill on either of her employees, but in Veronica's case, well........

    "So that's what Veronica's been doing, playing hooky from work and coming in late.", she fumed to her assistant, Debbie Sawyer. She's been late every other day for three weeks leading up to this election, and it's plain that she and her father decided to buy the election so she could get what she wanted."

    "It won't stand.", Debbie said. "Her friends are upset with her, and I can't blame them. Ronnie & Betty were both given today off, but I'd not be surprised if Betty came in anyway to let off some steam for a couple of hours."

    Meanwhile, Archie Andrews & Reggie Mantle, Ronnie's two suitors, were also adversely affected, and Archie could feel Betty's pain.

    "Betty believes Ronnie greased a few palms to win the election, just for her own selfish ends. This time, Ron's gone too far.", Archie said.

    "I have to agree with you, red. Ronnie crossed the line. We know she wants the attention, but the fishnets today were a little much.", Reggie replied. "I digress. I think if we can meet with the committee, we can probably find out who took the payoffs from the Lodges."

    "They were probably paid enough to keep quiet.", Archie said. "Maybe the police can ferret out the truth."

    At the same time, police chief Robert Bolling, acting on a tip, met with committee chairman Stuart Grossman, who at first denied accepting any bribes. However, Mystyk showed up, and exposed the truth.

    "Why don't you tell Chief Bolling about your lunch meetings with Hiram Lodge earlier this week, Mr. Grossman?", she asked, having read his thoughts. "The Lodges' true colors have always been more green than anything else."

    "Well, Grossman?", Bolling inquired. "Is Mystyk correct?"

    "Y-y-yes, she is. Lodge paid me a fair sum to ensure his daughter would win the election. Getting the rest of the committee on board was not easy, but they signed on."

    "Well, maybe you should consider state's evidence against Lodge for bribery, then. That may make things easier on you."

    "N-n-no, w-w-wait. I have a better idea."

    That idea was to hold the recall election after Grossman came clean at a press conference on July 1. Since Hiram Lodge wasn't planning on returning to the Riverdale Board of Education the following fall, he simply resigned and redirected the funds to the Riverdale PBA and PTA. Two months later, before the start of the school year, the 2nd election was held, and this time, via a fair vote, Betty & Veronica finished in a tie. The foreign exchange program would start in November, giving the girls less than 2 months of classes stateside.

    However, things did not go smoothly for the exchange students sent to Riverdale to take their places. Violette, from Paris, was homesick, and returned to France before the holidays. Banni, from India, fell for boy scientist Dilton Doiley, but also attracted the attention of Forsythe "Jughead" Jones, the last guy anyone would've expected to enter the dating pool.

    On Jughead's recommendation, Banni took an after school job at New Dimensions, where she would sub for Betty in the latter's absence. Midge Klump returned to New Dimensions on November 1, after Kress' Department Store closed its Riverdale location as the chain was downsizing. Midge's mom retired rather than pursue another job.

    Betty & Veronica spent the holidays in London, and contacted their parents via Skype on Christmas Eve. Ronnie was still feeling contrite about what had happened over the summer, but she had mended her fences with the gang just in time. Regrettably, the foreign exchange program came to an abrupt end in March after just 4 months. Banni was reluctant to return to India, especially after she & Dilton double-dated with Jughead and Ethel Muggs on Valentine's Day. For the first time, Dilton felt like he really belonged, but he knew he & Banni would stay in touch via e-mail and Skype. On March 15, Banni returned to India, while Betty & Veronica returned home.
    ====================================================================
    As plans were being made for the senior prom, scheduled for May 23, Riverdale High principal Waldo Weatherbee announced that the school would pay for limo service for couples attending the event, to cut down on student expenses. That came as great news for many of the students, save, of course, for Veronica, who was going to have one of her father's limos used anyway. One week before the prom, she & Betty went shopping for prom dresses with their mothers. To her horror, however, Veronica made a startling discovery.

    "I am sorry, but we will not honor any of your credit cards in this establishment again, Ms. Lodge.", Ruben Dennison, the owner of Dream Fashions, said. "We do not do business with cheaters."

    "How dare you deny my daughter her right to purchase her dress any way she wants!", Hermoine Lodge, Ronnie's mom, fumed. "She has paid for her mistake many times over!!"

    "Uh, mom, let's put the dress back.", Betty whispered. "I think New Dimensions will have what we need."

    "Good idea.", Alice replied. She motioned to Hermoine & Veronica, and the four women left, as Ronnie left her dress on the counter.

    "You'll be hearing from my lawyer about this!", Hermoine fumed as she left.

    At New Dimensions, the girls used their employee discount to buy similar dresses as Alice explained what had happened at Dream Fashions to Barbara.

    "I had a feeling something like that might happen.", Barbara said. "I thought about firing Ronnie myself for her tardiness more than her poor financial judgment, but as Betty said, she's made up for it since returning home. Unfortunately, there are going to be those people who will only see what happened nearly a year ago, and judge her from that point."
    =================================================================
    After returning home, Betty was contacted by her other best friend, Sabrina Spellman, who, like Betty & Veronica, had the day off from work. She and her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, had gone to Dream Fashions right after Betty, Veronica, and their mothers left, and Harvey paid for the dress Ronnie left behind, so that Sabrina would have it for the prom. Just in time, too, since.......

    "Jason Blossom showed up right after we left and pitched a fit.", Sabrina said over the phone. "Seems he's the one who gave Ruben the bad report on Ronnie on purpose. Showed up with some call girl dressed up to look like a high school student, and I think he intends to crash the prom on Saturday night."

    "Should we be surprised?", Betty asked. "Jason thinks he and his Pembroke Academy preppies are better than we are, and he can do no wrong. Even his sister Cheryl's tired of his act. One of us will alert the Bee in the morning, so that he can ensure Jason doesn't show up at the prom. If he does, he's going to jail."
    ===================================================================
    But there was more to that dress than denying Veronica the right to buy it, as Sabrina would discover.........
     
    #1 hobbyfan, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2015
  2. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 1:

    On Sunday morning, Betty sent Weatherbee an e-mail warning him of Jason Blossom's intentions to crash the senior prom. The school principal advised Betty to meet him before homeroom on Tuesday.

    Later that morning, before New Dimensions, which was now open 7 days a week again, began its business day, Barbara hosted a private modeling party for Betty, Midge, Sabrina, and Veronica. However, Sabrina arrived without her dress. Aunt Hilda and Harvey explained why.

    "When I brought Sabrina home yesterday, we noticed there was something wrong with the dress.", Harvey began. "So, we checked it out. Turns out that there were pouches sewn into the inner lining."

    "We turned the dress inside out, and discovered the real reason Jason was looking for the dress. Counterfeit money.", Sabrina added. "Nearly half a million dollars worth. Seems that Mr. Dennison is using the store as a front."

    "Not only that, but the girl Jason was with is Dennison's niece. His brother is running the counterfeiting operation somewhere outside the city, and contracted Jason to be the courier. It just happened that we intercepted the package. Dennison simply refused to sell Ronnie the dress, using her misfortune from a year ago as a cover."

    "If you two are done playing detectives, maybe you can skip to the ending and tell us where the dress is.", Hermoine Lodge said.

    "Police Headquarters, Mrs. Lodge.", Sabrina replied. "Harv was reimbursed for the cost of the dress, and the police raided Dream Fashions last night."

    "They caught Jason and his, ah, date, if you will, but both were bailed out within 2 hours.", Harvey added.

    "I think Sabrina can use her employee discount as the others have, and pick out a better dress.", Barbara offered.

    Sabrina did just that, picking a white chiffon dress for the prom.

    Later, Cheryl arrived and asked to see Barbara, who was in the office. Cheryl had briefly worked at New Dimensions after Regina Vickers left more than a year ago, but resigned six months later after Jason had tried to rob the store on four different occasions. Cheryl was afraid she'd get blamed when she was present for Jason's last attempt. She's since moved on, working at Fashion Fair.

    "Something wrong, Cheryl?", Barbara asked.

    "Yes. My brother was picked up last night, as you know, caught up in a counterfeiting scheme. Now, he's trying to pass the blame to me, as usual. If word gets back to my boss at Fashion Fair, I could be fired come tomorrow.", Cheryl replied.

    "Hmmmm. Seems Jason's had multiple irons in the fire. Did he mention anything about the Riverdale Senior Prom?"

    "Yes. He said he and Dorian, who was with him last night, were planning on going to the prom, and bragged that no one could stop them. That, though, was before they were arrested."

    "I'll talk to your boss at Fashion Fair. Everything should be fine.", Barbara said, reassuring Cheryl before she left.
    =========================================================
    Dorian Dennison returned to her uncle Ruben's house, arguing with Jason all the way. They were grateful to be out on bail, but she knew there was no way they'd get to the prom.

    "Getting busted's ruined everything.", she whined.

    "It's worse than that. You two were late yesterday, and I had no choice but to sell the dress. Now, it's in police impound with the money.", Ruben replied.

    "So I had to change a pair of flat tires.", Jason replied, irritated. "It happens, Mr. Dennison. However, Dori's right. Weatherbee's probably been alerted somehow that we're planning to be at the prom, and he'll have an extra security detail."

    "I think Weatherbee can be persuaded under the right circumstances.", Ruben replied.
    ==============================================================
    However, Ruben's twin brother, Roland, was arrested three days later with the rest of the counterfeit money in his possession, plus the printing press and plates, and the operation was shut down. At the prom, Jason tried to disguise himself and Dorian, but were removed by security not once, but twice.
    ==============================================================
    Thanks to Barbara's intervention, Cheryl's job was saved, and after graduating, she began working a regular schedule at Fashion Fair. She began to distance herself from Jason, whose own graduation was now delayed at least a year, possibly two, for his part in the counterfeiting scheme. Cheryl, then, joined the rest of the gang for a massive graduation party at Pop's Place on June 28, several hours after commencement exercises had ended. Most of the gang had committed to going to college, with Cheryl being one of the exceptions.

    Chuck Clayton, along with Jughead, surprised everyone by accepting a scholarship to attend New York University and pursue his art career. Jughead was more interested, of course, in the culinary arts. Archie & Reggie, in another shocker, were to attend Columbia University, both to continue their journalism careers. Reggie's decision was expected, but Archie's was not. Veronica, Midge, & Moose all were headed for upstate New York. Ronnie was headed for the State University at Albany, while Moose & Midge would be across the river in Troy. Midge would attend Russell Sage College, while Moose would be at Hudson Valley Community College, a 2 year junior college, on a football scholarship. Ronnie had originally intended to leave the country again and attend college in either London or Paris, but decided to stay stateside.

    One last surprise saw Betty & Sabrina both accepted into Northeastern University in Boston. This would allow the girls to work weekends at New Dimensions to pay the rent on their new apartment. Instead of moving into dorms, the girls decided to share a 2-bedroom apartment that the Turner twins once had while at Northeastern. Dilton was headed west to Stanford, leaving him detached from the rest of the gang.

    Realizing that the Archies would be on hold after the summer, Ronnie wondered if the band would ever play again. Archie assured her that would be the case.

    "After the summer festival, we'll be on break while we settle in college.", he said. "Reggie and I are considering doing some acoustic dates as a duo in New York to stay sharp. Like, who knows? Maybe we'll visit you in Albany before Thanksgiving."

    "I would love that.", Ronnie replied.
    ==================================================================
    In chapter 2, we'll focus on Archie & Reggie.
     
    #2 hobbyfan, Jun 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  3. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 2: Archie & Reggie--From rivals to roommates.

    On graduation day, Reggie couldn't stop pinching himself, even as his father was helping him with his cap & gown.

    "Will you hold still, Reggie? This really is happening, you know."

    "Sorry, dad. It seems like I've been at Riverdale High forever.", Reggie replied sheepishly.

    Over at the Andrews house, Archie spent extra time in the shower to make sure everything was nice and clean. He and Moose had spent a few hours at the city dump the day before, trying to find a stolen car belonging to Midge, intended as a graduation present from her parents. As it happened, the boys found the thieves, and would've been in the river if Superteen & Mystyk hadn't shown up.

    "Everything ok in there?", Fred Andrews asked.

    "Coming out in a minute, dad.", came the reply.

    A few minutes later, Archie came downstairs, immaculately dressed in a 3-piece suit under his gown, carrying on a family tradition.

    "I still can't believe you're going to be in New York while Betty stays closer to home.", Alice Andrews remarked.

    "It's better this way.", Archie replied. "Reggie & I are both on scholarships from journalism class. We figured to give the full band a bit of a hiatus and go our separate ways for a while. We won't be back together as a band until Thanksgiving, if everything works out."

    "But you'll still be in touch with Betty and/or Veronica, won't you?", Fred asked.

    "Betty, yes. Veronica, not so much. Last year's scam still stings."

    "So they say. I understand Ronnie had trouble just buying a prom dress last month."

    "Yeah, but blame that on Jason Blossom, who's cooling his heels in juvie. Again."
    ===========================================================
    After going on vacation with Betty in Nova Scotia, Archie spent the summer working with his father. Reggie continued his internship at the Gazette, and broke a big news story right before leaving for New York, exposing a plot to assassinate Mayor Martinez, holding her responsible for rent increases in inner city housing projects, when in truth, the Goldwater Homes had been bought out by a greedy landowner from out of town who wanted to force the eviction of the tenants, so he could tear down the apartments and build a shopping mall on the site. When Martinez caught wind of the scam, she pressed the city council to take action to reacquire the property. The owner, Lorenzo Cosgrove, hired a hitman to kill Martinez, but was thwarted by Pureheart the Powerful. Reggie's own alter-ego of Evilheart had been retired as Reggie had matured into a responsible young adult with his internship.
    ==========================================================================================
    On August 29, Archie & Reggie bade farewell to Riverdale, at least for the next three months, as they left for New York, along with Chuck and Jughead. While classes wouldn't start until after Labor Day, the boys decided to go apartment hunting to make sure they had someplace to stay, aside from college dorms. Archie & Reggie found an affordable one in one of the most expensive parts of the city----Greenwich Village. It helped, though, that Reggie's cousin Richard owned a restaurant nearby, where the boys would work nights in order to make rent money.

    "Man, that was the luckiest of breaks.", Reggie said over dinner one night after moving in. "I had lost touch with cousin Ricky the last few years. Dad didn't know where he'd gone. Before this, the last we knew, Ricky was in Vermont."

    "And, then, to find out he moved here a year ago after a divorce.", Archie added. "Maybe that's why he didn't communicate with the family right away."

    "Hey, you're right. He did say he was ashaned about all that."

    Later that night, the boys pulled out their guitars and started to practice, with an eye toward an open mic night on September 19.

    "Should we continue to use "The Archies", even though it's just the two of us?", Reggie asked.

    "Naw, let's keep more of a low profile for now. If word gets out that at least you and I are here----and bear in mind, they don't know Jug's in town, too---we might not get much private time.", Archie replied. "I thought this over during the summer."

    "Wait a sec. Jug's at NYU. You think he joins us as a trio?"

    "Not right away, Reg. I do see your point, though, but it just isn't the same without the girls. Sure, we could get Chuck to do posters if we opted to go as a trio, but, again, after we'd told everyone in Riverdale we were taking time off......"

    "Hmmmm, you're right. If word got out at home that we guys were playing while the girls are elsewhere, that could cause some problems."
    =============================================================
    But, to borrow the title of an old song, there's a bad moon rising for the guys in chapter 3.
     
  4. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 3:

    At the end of the first week of school, Archie was working at Ricky's 24/7 Diner when he overheard a conversation between Ricky and a man in his office.

    "Word is, Rick, you've got a couple of ringers lined up for open mic night on the 19th. True or false?"

    The speaker was Harry Mills, a music critic for the Village Amplifier, a small press weekly. Business was bad, and Harry was looking for something to sell papers.

    "Ringers? Nah, just my cousin and a friend who are going to school here. They're fine-tuning an acoustic act. 'Sides, they haven't yet confirmed they'll be here on the 19th.", Rick replied.

    "That's not what I've heard.", Harry said. "My sources are never wrong."

    "Only because of the haze he's in when he is drinking on the job.", Archie thought. "He was drunk when he saw us play at Jones Beach last year."

    Later, Archie filled Reggie in.

    "Ricky's stonewalling that lush as long as possible.", Reggie said. "The Amplifier is on its last legs, as no one's been buying that rag since before we got here."

    "Do you remember when he hit on Betty last year at Jones Beach?", Archie asked.

    "Yeah. He hit on Betty and Midge, and Moose would've sent him to the hospital if security hadn't taken him off the grounds. He's working for the Amplifier because no one else wants him due to his drinking."

    "I assume his rep reached Riverdale after we got back?"

    "No, it was before we went to Jones Beach. Dad said Mills should've been in an AA program instead of working. His wife left him, and he's gone through a few so-called one night stands since, if you know what I mean."

    "Odds are he'll be at Ricky's on the 19th. I think we need to go undercover in order to maintain the low profile."

    "Agreed. I can work up some disguises, and we'll just play some cover tunes like everyone else does."
    ==================================================
    A week later, the boys, dressed as 60's style beatniks, played their first acoustic set at Ricky's, covering the Byrds, Bob Dylan, and Scott McKenzie. They closed with an Archies ballad, "Circle of Blue". Luckily for them, Harry never made it. Or would that be, unluckily?

    Using the back stairs to return to their apartment, Archie & Reggie found Harry laid out on the sofa. He'd jimmied the lock on the door, then collapsed. Reggie checked him out, then shook his head.

    "Arch, call the police and an ambulance. Harry's dead."
    ========================================
    It turned out that Harry had suffered a heart attack after straining to get into the apartment. He had only disturbed the sofa and a coffee table, with his note pad lying on the floor. Ricky was not happy after the police left.

    "The question I have, boys, is how did he get in?", he asked.

    "From the looks of things, cuz, he picked the lock on the door, bent on getting a story any way he could. I'd say the door put up quite a struggle resisting him."

    "All that strain on his heart because of his being out of shape.", Archie added. "Thought I saw him munching on a White Castle burger and casing the restaurant before dark."

    "You did, Archie.", Ricky replied. "Harry'd been kicked out of the restaurant a dozen times because of loud, obnoxious behavior in the last three months."

    Later, as the boys settled into bed for the night, they heard someone trying to enter through a window. As Reggie approached, he saw a blur across the window, and the intruder had disappeared. Meantime, Archie had found something in the closet.

    "Reg? I think the police missed something."

    Archie emerged from the closet carrying a box full of...........

    "Heroin!", Reggie exclaimed. "There's got to be at least a couple of thousand dollars worth of this stuff here!!"

    "Odds are whomever had this apartment before us was in the drug trade, and I'm willing to bet that Harry might've known something about that, which led him here."
    =========================================
    The next morning, the boys delivered the drugs to the Greenwich Village precinct. Sgt. Travis Knowles was in charge of the Mills case, and had been trying to find the heroin for some time.

    "You're right, boys, we did miss this when we checked the apartment last night. We had a tip that Mills was hunting for this stuff as a favor for someone.", he said.

    "Someone else tried to break in later in the night.", Reggie recalled, "But next thing I know, the guy's gone."

    "He's in the jug. Someone brought him in anonymously, acting on a tip. Seems like a concerned citizen."

    "From a 3rd floor window?", Reggie thought. "That blur could only mean Superteen's around here somewhere."
    ==========================================
    Well, the boys will get a reunion with the rest of the band in chapter 4, and you'll find out why.
     
  5. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 4:

    The gang had been staying in touch via e-mail correspondence. On October 1, Reggie received an e-mail from Veronica.

    "Says here that she's unhappy in Albany, and is pleading with her father to let her transfer to Harvard or someplace close to home.", he told Archie. "She puts up a brave front, is making new friends, but shies away from one night stands because----surprise, surprise---she's saving herself for when everyone's home over the holidays."

    "Sounds to me like she wants to be under the Christmas tree for one of us.", Archie quipped. "Not me."

    "I know. You & Betty took your time getting back together after the girls came home from the foreign exchange trip, and you had been going steady with her until we left for here. I think Ron's defeating the purpose of being away from us on purpose."

    "Know what you mean. Her diva attitude would get her in trouble outside of Riverdale's borders. Speaking of Betty, she & Sabrina are rooming together in an off-campus apartment, just like us, while at Northeastern. At least they're able to come home every weekend."

    "Don't forget, they've got their jobs to come back to, as well. They're working weekends."

    "All the more reason we'll party next month when everyone's home for Thanksgiving."

    "Sooner than that, pal. The booking director at the Beacon Theater called while you were out shopping. Seems Jughead met the guy recently to get the Bingoes booked there as a favor to his cousin, and somehow, some way, turned it into a double bill. The Archies & the Bingoes, right before Thanksgiving!"

    "Holy Hannah! Did you tell Ronnie about that?"

    "Yep. I did you a favor and sent a copy of the e-mail to Betty also."

    "Great! What's the date?"

    "Sunday, November 22. Jug's aware Betty has to be in Boston for class the next day, so he arranged for a matinee. 2 pm show time."
    ==============================================
    The boys hadn't forgotten about the fact they had discovered a stash of drugs in the apartment. If they did, they were reminded a couple of days later when Reggie was approached by two young men, slightly older than he, as he exited a local music store.

    "I think you've got something of ours, kid.", one man said.

    Realizing they were talking about the drugs, Reggie didn't hesitate to tell them the truth.

    "You fellas didn't exactly empty out the apartment when you moved out. My roomie and I found your smack and turned it over to the police about two weeks ago. I'm sure they're now looking for you."

    "Oh? A wise guy, eh?"

    The next thing Reggie knew, he was being dragged into the alley, and double-teamed by the two boys. Abruptly, two more entered the fray, shifting the odds in Reggie's favor, as Captain Hero & Pureheart appeared. The drug dealers were soon turned over to the police.

    Later, Reggie recounted what had happened to Archie, unaware that, as Pureheart, Archie knew everything.

    "So the last loose end is tied up, then.", Archie said.

    "You might say that. I didn't realize Pureheart and Captain Hero knew about the case. The blur I saw two weeks ago, I thought, might've been Superteen.", Reggie replied. "Either way, they're watching our backs."

    "Indeed they are. From what I heard, neither of the heroes stuck around after dropping off those kids at the nearest precinct."

    "Yeah, they were gone, alright, another pair of blurs."
    ========================================
    Meanwhile, at New Dimensions, Betty relayed to Barbara about the pending gig in New York, and that she would have to be off the day of the show.

    "That means you kids have two gigs that week.", Barbara said. "I understand the school board has arranged for you to play what amounts to a public pep rally for the basketball team on Black Friday."

    "I knew about that one.", Betty replied. "Seems while the boys are in New York, they're taking bookings on the fly."
    =========================================
    On October 16, Archie & Reggie received a letter from Hiram Lodge. In a strongly worded missive, the millionaire father of Veronica wrote that when the band gets together, the boys would try to persuade Ronnie to stay at Albany.

    "I realize she's homesick, and wants to return home already, but, even as I found out when I was her age, these things take time. You boys have adjusted well to New York, and have applied yourselves. I wish I had never doubted you.", he wrote. "By staying in school and taking jobs to support yourselves, you're giving Ron the blueprint she can use in Albany."

    "Who'd ever think he'd ever have anything nice to say about either one of us?", Reggie asked after reading the letter.

    "He also told us why Ronnie wants to come home. Deep down, she's scared, being in a strange town, far as she's concerned.", Archie replied.

    "You know, maybe Jug had the right idea when he met with the talent agent at the Beacon. Maybe Ron should've been doing the same thing, looking for someplace for us to play, so we can gig on the side occasionally."

    "You're right, Reg. Trying to go on the down-low didn't work after all, considering what came out of it. Once we get the gang back together next month, we'll work out a different strategy."
    =========================================
    Ok, so the reunion will wait until chapter 5.
     
  6. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 5:

    The Archies-Bingoes show at the Beacon was sold out in 3 days after tickets went on sale a week before the show. The Archies gathered for a pre-show dinner at the newly renovated Tavern on the Green, with the parents of each of the band members making the trip, except for the Lodges. Before leaving, Reggie took Veronica aside to try to talk her out of transferring out of Albany while Betty cozied up to Archie. It was brought up that Capt. Hero & Pureheart had been sighted two months earlier, but not since. Conversely, there'd been no sign of Superteen or the other heroes since the school year began.

    Bingo Wilkin needed cousin Jughead to play drums since his regular drummer was injured, so Jug played both sets, showing a harder edged style of playing. However, the Bingoes would have to cancel their appearance in Riverdale 5 nights later. After the show, Archie & Betty were alone, and made a promise to each other to get married after college. The question really was, would that promise be kept?
    ========================================
    When the gang returned to Riverdale on the 25th, there was a shocking surprise.

    "Come Sunday, one of us is staying in town.", Reggie announced over a group dinner at Pop's Place. "It's not Ronnie, and it's not me."

    "Then, who is it?", Archie asked. Jughead affirmed it was him.

    "It's not that New York is too big for me. I'm just not ready for a big city college, and my grades were suffering. I'm transferring home to Riverdale City College, effective Monday. Pop's even offered me my old job here as an incentive.", he said, adding that the transfer papers were filed earlier in the day.

    "That's weird, Jug.", Archie said. "You're the one who put the show together on Sunday!"

    "I know, but that was because someone remembered me from last year. I took the initiative from there. Maybe a 2-year school will jump start me."

    "It was something that all of our parents discussed backstage at the show.", Veronica added. "They wanted to see if I was the only one who was homesick and wanted to return. I decided after all to stick it out, after getting some encouragement from Reggie. I know Dad pressed you boys to talk to me, but I already had a heart-to-heart with a school psychologist at UAlbany. I'm even trying out as a cheerleader for the winter."

    "Sabrina and I tried out for the Northeastern cheerleading team as soon as we started.", Betty put in. "We didn't make even the reserve squad. Maybe next year. Hey, here's a thought. If you still think you need to leave Albany after this season, Ron, you can join Sabrina & I at Northeastern next year."

    "Or you girls can join me.", Ronnie countered.

    "Speaking of cheerleading, I thought about joining Sage's team.", Midge spoke up, "but didn't make it past the first tryout. Then, I got a job at TJ Maxx, which is helping Moose & I pay the rent on our apartment."
    =========================================
    Black Friday found Betty & Sabrina back at New Dimensions on the morning shift, leaving them time to prepare for the concert at school later in the evening. Veronica offered to pitch in and help, but was turned down. In a meeting with Barbara, she found out why.

    "It wouldn't be fair for you to be coming in for a couple of days during a holiday break when everyone else is here. Granted, Sabrina & Betty are close by and are here every weekend just about, but theirs is a different case as a result.", Barbara said. "It's got nothing to do with last year, and I know you're still trying to make up for that debacle. We could use the extra hands during Christmas, however."

    "I'll keep that in mind.", Ronnie promised.

    Meanwhile, Sabrina was feeling rather lonely. Betty knew why, but when Veronica inquired, Sabrina, in a rare vulnerable moment, broke down.

    "Harvey's left me.", she said. "Found someone else in St. Louis. He hasn't written a letter in over a month, and the last letter I received had perfume on it."

    "Oh, no! Yours, aside from Midge & Moose, was the only really stable relationship.", Ronnie said. "Anything I can do?"

    "I'm afraid not, Veronica.", Sabrina replied. "This is something I have to do alone."
    ============================================
    In chapter 6, we'll turn our attention to the girls and wind our way back to this point, leading to Sabrina's quest for a reunion with Harvey.
     
    #6 hobbyfan, Jul 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  7. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 6: The girls of Riverdale High

    As exams were wrapping up at Riverdale High, a flier was posted announcing a pre-graduation party, hosted by the Lodge family at their estate. Veronica had distributed 50 invitations to people she thought she could count on to attend the soiree.

    However, on the eve of the party, which was scheduled two days before graduation, Veronica was a bundle of nerves as she went over the RSVP's with Hubert Smithers, the Lodge family's butler/chauffeur/bodyguard/etc..

    "Fifty invitations, and only 10 couples are coming? How could that be?" Veronica whined.

    "There's still a backlash from last year's debacle to be accounted for.", Smithers replied. "You have three that are coming solo."

    "Yes, Reggie's actually my date. Dilton & Jughead can't find dates. Well, actually, Jug's without a date since Ethel's ill and can't attend, as we both found out today."

    "So, that's still 23 people. Not quite a quarter of the goal, but I'm afraid we will have to move the festivities off the property. This house is too big for so few people."

    "You're right about that, Smithers, but who could I call at the 11th hour?"

    That question was answered the next day, when, at rehearsals, Veronica & Reggie met with Mr. Weatherbee. Arrangements were hastily made with the Riverdale CYO to host the party, since they didn't have anything booked that night. Since Weatherbee was also on the board of directors for the CYO, the change was made easily.

    Unfortunately, there was one more last minute defection. Sabrina was called into work that afternoon, leaving Harvey all alone. Emily Palmer had called in sick, unable to work, so Sabrina filled in, knowing she was getting Sunday off anyway due to commencement. When Ginger Lopez started hitting on Harvey, the otherwise shy teen left the party early, taking some food with him to drop off at New Dimensions for Sabrina.

    "What got into him?", Ginger wondered.

    "He's already taken, Ging.", Reggie reminded her. "He's loyal to Sabrina as she is to him. Simple as that. Dilton & Jughead don't have anyone to talk to, so....."

    "I tried that tack earlier. Dilton's not my type, and neither is Jughead. I didn't realize Harvey was taken."
    =============================================================
    At New Dimensions, Spencer Prescott was doing some last minute shopping for his mom's birthday, not for his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Ophelia Sutherland.

    "Why aren't you at the party, Spencer?", Sabrina asked as she rang up his purchases.

    "Why should I give that self-absorbed rich ***** any of my time?", Spencer retorted. "After what Veronica pulled last year, she had some nerve..."

    "Now, Spencer, we're all entitled to forgive and forget. Ronnie's having a hard time as it is dealing with the lack of guests. They moved the party to the CYO because there are so few people attending."

    "So why couldn't you go?"

    "Got called in last minute, so I had to take a raincheck. I'll be at Pop's on Sunday, though."

    "Not me. Veronica's going to be there, too, and I don't want to be in the same room with her again after graduation."
    ====================================================================
    On July 1, Spencer and his family left Riverdale, and Spencer still had hard feelings toward Veronica that he couldn't reconcile. He'd broken up with Ophelia, again, and Ophelia took a summer job at New Dimensions. However, she lasted just a month before her family moved away as well, moving south to Virginia, where Ophelia would be going to college.

    When the store reopened on July 5, Sabrina found a chilling message on the answering machine.

    "Bubble, bubble, toil & trouble,", the caller began, "your reputation will be ruined, and your secrets come out of the rubble!"

    Thinking the call was meant for her, Sabrina replayed the tape for Barbara & Betty.

    "It's not about you, Bree.", Betty assured her. "It's aimed at Veronica."

    "But what other secrets could Veronica have that would ruin her?", Barbara asked. "The message does sound like it would expose Sabrina and her aunts."

    "Let me check with my Aunt Hilda at the Victory Garden.", Sabrina suggested. She called the restaurant, and Hilda had the same notion about calling her.

    "We got the same message you did.", Hilda said. "Every last word. Seems as if someone has an axe to grind with you over something."

    "I have only one suspect.", Sabrina replied. "The question is, though, why would this caller contact us at work and not at home?"

    "Because home would be too obvious if they really know what we are. It's all about embarrassment on a grand scale."

    Meanwhile, Ginger came out of a meeting with a private investigator, Campbell Spaulding, whose business wasn't exactly profitable.

    "By now, Sabrina should've gotten the message, and while she's trying to figure out who'd ruin her, I'll take the one thing that's most precious to her."
    =========================================================================
    So it seems Ginger, rejected by Harvey, wants him in order to get at Sabrina, but why? Ginger's usually in the pack waiting for Archie. And can Veronica vindicate herself? Find out in chapter 7.
     
  8. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 7:

    The next day, Sabrina reported for work, as if nothing was wrong. In truth, she was filling in again, this time for Betty, who had gone on vacation with Archie to Nova Scotia for a week. Barbara, however, could see that something was bothering her, and called her into the office before the end of her shift.

    'I wasn't going to call you in today at all.", Barbara said, "But because you & Betty had made arrangements in advance, I let this go. However, I will give you tomorrow off, to give you some time to work this out."

    "I appreciate it, Barb, but I don't even feel safe at home right now. I understand your concern, and I appreciate it, but I'd rather be working my regular schedule.", Sabrina replied.

    "While you were making a delivery for Mrs. Ogletree, your aunt Hilda called. Seems someone got your private number, and called your home right after you left."

    "I was afraid of that. We have caller ID, though."

    "That didn't work. According to your aunt, the caller didn't leave a number. It was the same message we got here yesterday."

    "Great. We're back at square one."
    ========================
    "I thought I'd save the tape and let you put it on your computer, so you could possibly ID the caller.", Hilda said after she & Zelda came home later that night. "Any luck?"

    "It was just as I thought.", Sabrina replied. "Ginger Lopez. Why target me? I've done nothing wrong to her."

    "She wants Harvey, doesn't she?", Zelda asked. "Seems she's tired of waiting for Archie to break up with Betty, and wouldn't get anywhere hassling Veronica, so who's next who's got a stable relationship?"

    "That would be me.", Sabrina replied. "Someone put her up to this. I'm sure of it."

    Meanwhile, speaking of Veronica, she had a chance meeting with Campbell Spaulding and his brother, Simon, who claimed to be an evangelist in town for a crusade at Riverdale Community Church. They tried to obtain from Ronnie the location of Sabrina's house, but she didn't know, having never been there, so she couldn't share what she didn't know. As the Spauldings pulled away in their car, Ronnie realized something was wrong.

    "I've heard of those two, now that I think of it.", she thought. "A PI and a preacher? Yeah, right, and I'm related to Joan of Arc!"

    Veronica drove past the church on her way home, and discovered that there wasn't a crusade scheduled. There would've been fliers and banners all over the area if there was.

    "They've made their first mistake.", she thought. "Sabrina and I aren't exactly good friends, but she's a co-worker, and I owe it to her to help get to the bottom of this."

    As for Ginger, she was home, alone. Her parents were away on vacation as well, back in Puerto Rico, and not due for another 2 weeks. She begged off the trip, claiming she got airsick the last time she returned home. Curiously, the Spaulding brothers arrived around 11.

    "Any luck?", she asked.

    "None. No one's willing to give up the exact address of the Spellman women.", Simon said.

    "I gave you their home phone, which I obtained from the principal's office at school. I never bothered to memorize the address, and now that could come in handy."

    "But if you placed the call from here, it'd be traced back to you if they have caller ID.", Campbell said.

    "I used a pay phone.", Ginger said. "That way, it won't show up on caller ID."

    "For the sake of satiating our curiosity, why pursue another girl's boyfriend?"

    "Sabrina did me wrong at the beginning of senior year. She reneged on a promise that I could go out with her boyfriend if she wasn't in town. She never left the city once during the season."

    "Some things happen, Ms. Lopez.", Simon replied. "Maybe she thought she'd be taking time off, and never did."
    ========================
    On Tuesday morning, Sabrina's cousin Olga paid a visit, summoned by Hilda & Zelda to help.

    "The Spauldings have been to my shop, seeking information.", she said. "I told them I don't disclose any information on my customers for any reason. They don't know we're related, and they also don't know what I am about to share with you."

    "And that is?" Sabrina asked.

    "They're not what they say they are. They're witch hunters. The detective and preacher gigs are just that. Roles to play to cover their real activities. I doubt very seriously that Ginger is acting all by herself on this, either."

    "Someone had to set this up, using Ginger and her lust for Harvey to lure me in."

    "And I think I know who. When Ginger was at the store on Saturday, I sensed another presence within her."

    Later, Veronica treated Sabrina to lunch, and shared her own theories on the Spauldings. Sabrina had to pretend she didn't know anything in order to protect herself. When she returned home, however, the teen sorceress was in for a rude shock. The door was slightly ajar, and she could sense someone was in the house.

    "I know I locked the doors and windows before I left. I always do.", she thought. Next instant, there was nothing but darkness, as she was clubbed from behind with a wooden staff. When she came to, Sabrina found herself bound & gagged, with Veronica sitting beside her in the same position. Ginger stood before them. Well, at least, it looked like Ginger.

    "Call me Tabla Raisa.", she said. "Because in mere moments, you two will be nothing more than blank slates for me to reprogram."
    =============================
    So who, or, what, is Tabla Raisa? We'll find out next time.
     
  9. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 8:

    The shape changing Tabla Raisa shimmered and transformed into her true self, a young gypsy. Sabrina recognized her immediately.

    "Harvey & I met this girl in Florida during spring break!", she thought to herself. "Odds are, she did something to Ginger and took her place."

    "Ah, I can see you remember me, Sabrina.", Raisa said, grinning. "You're probably wondering what happened to your other friend, Ginger. Well, here she is."

    Ginger stepped out of the shadows, but, aside from her flowing red hair, she was unrecognizable, her face missing.

    "She is my servant, as you two soon will be.", Raisa said. "I needed to make her disappear in order to get close to you and your boyfriend, Sabrina. Make that, soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. He'll soon be mine, as soon as I take your face."

    Raisa stepped forward, but Sabrina fired off a powerful psi-bolt that sent the gypsy into the wall. Using her telekinesis, the teen sorceress freed herself and Veronica, who managed to put Ginger down with a judo throw.

    "This is for your own good, Ginger. We'll free you soon enough.", she said.

    Raisa tried to run to the courtyard, hoping to force Sabrina to fight her in the open, where she could expose Sabrina's powers. However, the door slammed right in front of her. Staggering, she turned, and walked right into a right cross.

    "Sabrina! The jewel on her neck!", Veronica cried.

    "I see it, Ron. I know what that means.", Sabrina replied as she ripped the choker off Raisa's neck, and hurled it into the fireplace. Next instant, Ginger was restored to normal, as Raisa had lost control.

    "W-w-w-where am I?", she asked. "How did I get here?"

    "Time for questions later.", Veronica said. "What do we do with the gypsy? She's a shapeshifter, and if we turn her over to the cops, they'll lose her."

    "Her masters will be waiting for her, but I've got a plan to thwart their scheme once and for all.", Sabrina said. "Without that choker, Raisa is powerless."
    ==================================
    "No word from Raisa. She's been at the Spellman house too long. Capturing their niece should've been a cinch.", Simon Spaulding said as he waited at Goldwater Park around midnight.

    "We've waited this long for the Spellman sisters to be brought to justice, we can wait a bit longer.", Campbell replied. "Be patient just a little more, brother."

    However, a police cruiser pulled up, carrying Lt. Nelson Pierce----and Hilda & Zelda, along with Ginger.

    "That's them, officer.", Ginger said. "They're the ones who grabbed me so their gypsy girlfriend could steal my face!"

    "Witnesses place the two of you in a number of places here in town over the last couple of days when there's supposed to be a evangelical crusade at the church. Seems to me, Simon Spaulding, you should've thought ahead before your little scam. You're under arrest!", Pierce snapped.

    "We did nothing wrong!", Campbell protested as he was handcuffed. "We are innocent. We are doing God's work."

    "No, you're not.", Hilda replied calmly. "It's one scam on top of another. Some call you witch hunters. You pretended to be a detective while your brother posed as a preacher. I doubt seriously that witch hunters would employ a gypsy they've gifted with a soul gem that would take its victims and turn them into mindless drones. They'd just as easily kill gypsies instead."

    "You can't prove a thing!", Simon protested as he was being led into the cruiser. "We'll be back for you, Spellman!"

    As the cruiser pulled away, the air in the park shimmered. "Hilda & Zelda" were gone, as Sabrina & Veronica had impersonated them.

    "Another five minutes or so, and your telepathic illusion would've failed.", Veronica said. "They do sound like they know your aunts."

    "We're not done with the Spauldings yet.", Sabrina cautioned. "Raisa told us everything she knew, that the Spauldings kidnapped her in Florida not long after Harvey & I returned home in March. They know my aunts from somewhere. I just wish I knew where."
    ===============================
    The next day, Hilda filled Sabrina in on the Spauldings.

    "Turns out Olga was wrong about them being witch hunters. They do, however, have a bit of a grudge against your Aunt Zelda & I over a perceived slight from a few years ago.", she said. "Right before we moved to Riverdale, we had a curio shop similar to what Olga has now. They came in with what they said were some rarities from ancient Egypt. I told them point blank that they weren't anything more than reproductions of the originals, and we weren't buying. They tried their act in a couple of other shops in the area, but once word got around, they couldn't make any money, and then it got out they faked the whole discovery in the first place. They've been after us for revenge ever since they were released from prison."

    "And now, they're going back to prison?", Sabrina asked.

    "Yes. Raisa's turned on them, and even though the police didn't believe much of her story, it is spot on."

    "Unfortunately, this adventure has had one side effect.", Zelda said as she prepared to leave for work. "They're the type that won't hesitate to blab to the press about us. They know about our powers, but Sabrina completely fooled them last night."

    "Did she?", Hilda asked. "If what you say is true, then we're all in the soup."

    "Maybe not.", Sabrina replied. "With the popularity of werewolves, zombies, and vampires in popular fiction again, the public has become more accepting of supernatural beings. Maybe it's time we went public."

    "Granted, we have helped the police on occasion, and Sabrina's boss is also a telepath, and, from what I understand, she's dating Lt. Pierce?", Zelda said.

    "Yes, Aunt Zelda. They've been together a year now.", Sabrina replied.

    "Sabrina's got a point.", Hilda said. "This way, if the kids have any issues with the supernatural, they can call on Sabrina for help. She's become part of the gang, anyway."
    ===================================
    When Archie & Betty came home a few days later, Sabrina talked it out with Betty, who suggested that maybe a public revelation wasn't needed after all.

    "This generation has developed some sharp minds.", she said. "If they see something out of the ordinary, they'll take some time and figure it out for themselves. Still, your aunt's idea of you becoming a paranormal consultant for the rest of the kids has some value."

    "It does at that. But would it mean retiring Mystyk after a couple of years?"

    "No, silly. Our masked alter egos are another matter altogether."
    ==================================
    In chapter 9, we'll see how going public affects Sabrina and her aunts.
     
  10. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 9:

    Two days before leaving for St. Louis to begin college, Harvey treated Sabrina to dinner, and gave her a surprise gift.

    "Oh, Harv, you shouldn't have.", Sabrina said, as she accepted the package. "Should I open it?"

    "Wait until we get to the car after dinner, honey.", Harvey replied, putting her hand in his. "I'd rather not make a public spectacle about this."

    A short time later, the couple walked back to Harvey's new car, a black Corvette. Once in, Sabrina opened the package, and her eyes widened in disbelief.

    "Oh, wow! My aunts have been looking for this!", she exclaimed, holding up a DVD compilation of the final season of "Charmed". "Thank you, honey!"

    "That's not all, babe. Look under 'Charmed' for your other gift."

    "Hmmm. 'Bell, Book, & Candle'. I've seen this movie on TV 4 times. Wait a minute. Harv, are you trying to tell me something??"

    "That I know about your powers? Well, I tried to be clever, not subtle. Took me a while to figure things out, but I chose to keep things to myself. To be honest, Sabrina, you're not just a witch in my eyes, but a guardian angel."

    A subsequent makeout session steamed up the windshield before the couple headed for home. When Hilda & Zelda returned from work, they found the "Charmed" DVD on the kitchen table.

    "According to this note from Sabrina, Harvey intended for this to be for us.", Zelda said. "He must've overheard us talking about trying to find it in stores."

    "And he bought Sabrina that Jimmy Stewart movie, 'Bell, Book, & Candle', a personal favorite of mine.", Hilda replied. "He knows about our powers. How long he knew, I don't know, and right now, it doesn't matter."

    "I remember when he decided to try a magic act at school, and Sabrina was his assistant, top hat, fishnet stockings, the whole works. She stood behind him to help with the smaller tricks. After the show, they were making out in the parking lot, and someone told them to get a room not once, but twice. They only were interested in each other, caught up in the moment."

    "Makes you wonder if he knew even then."
    ====================================
    A week after she & Betty moved into their new apartment in Boston, Sabrina finally shared about Harvey owning up to his knowledge of her powers.

    "I've wondered if he's suspected or known for some time.", Betty said. "It only goes to prove what I said before."

    "You're right. In this day & age, there really isn't a need to go public. Folks will discern for themselves, and it makes things easier for my aunts and I.", Sabrina replied.

    Betty took a look around their apartment. They were in the back of the building, facing a dead end street.

    "This actually works for us, too. Nobody's going to come around and play peeping Tom with us.", she said.

    Sabrina glanced out the window.

    "Right again, and I can create a barrier if needed in case someone does come around and start snooping where they don't belong.", she said.
    ===============================
    Meanwhile, Midge, Moose, & Veronica had left for upstate New York the same day Betty & Sabrina had left for Boston. Midge tried to cheer Ronnie up, especially after learning that they both would not return to New Dimensions.

    "We can get jobs up here.", she said. "If things work out the way I think they will, we won't really need to come home for the summer at the end of the season."

    "Are you daft?", Veronica retorted.

    "Hear me out, Ron. You need a fresh start. Moose & I are looking to settle down on our own, away from our parents, and start fresh as well. Senior year almost didn't end well for me, and so maybe I do need to stay away from Riverdale for an extended period. Not only that, but...."

    "I get it. I didn't figure you to be the rebellious type, Midge, but you're starting to sound like you & Moose want to start a family before getting married."

    "Why not? A lot of other kids are doing it around the country. Peggy Lambert dropped out a year ago when she became pregnant, and she was due to graduate with us. She ended up miscarrying six months in, and she & her folks left town. She's going back to school at Center City in the fall to finish her junior season."

    "And you know that how?"

    "She was at the store the other day, shopping. Broke up with her baby daddy after the miscarriage."

    But while Midge & Veronica were talking things over, Moose was settling into his new job, working at an auto repair shop. Monica Hampton, the owner's daughter, and an assistant manager, sat down with him before he left for the day.

    "Daddy says you're a godsend, Moose. He hasn't seen anyone so committed to his work in a long time.", she said.

    "I've got experience in this field.", Moose said. "My dad got me a job at a similar shop last year after I did security part-time for two."

    "That certainly shows. Do you play sports?"

    "I'm trying out for football at Hudson Valley. I was a 4 year starter at Riverdale High as a lineman. Made All-City the last two years."

    "So you are a jock. Just my type."

    "Sorry. I've already got a girlfriend. Excuse me."

    Moose checked out, and left. Two men were milling around the parking lot. Moose had seen one of them talking with Monica earlier, and immediately suspected something was up. However, he said nothing as he walked out to where his car was parked, a block from the lot. Monica, meanwhile, joined the two men.

    "I think we've got our patsy.", she said. "I can have him wrapped around my finger in no time."
    ===============================
    Oh? Don't be so sure.
     
  11. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 10:

    Moose failed to make the football team, and was happy to spend his Saturdays at work. Emphasize the 'was'.

    On September 19, Moose reported for work as he had been on Saturdays, 10 minutes before the shop opened. Once there, however, he discovered two police cruisers on the premises. Good thing Midge was driving.

    "You might want to come in, honey.", he said. "I got a bad feeling about this."

    Moose was right. Monica accused him of stealing the night deposit receipts, which were found in his locker. However, this plot backfired immediately when Moose was questioned.

    "We close at 11 on Friday & Saturday nights.", he said. "Despite that, Mr. Hampton sends me home around 9 each night, so there's no way I could've taken the receipts, not when there's still 2 hours to go in the business day."

    "Oh? How to explain your fingerprints all over this bag?", Monica asked.

    "I'll answer that one for you, you little homewrecking minx.", Midge fumed. "You've got keys to all the lockers, so you planted the money on Moose when he turned you down flat the other day. That's your way of getting revenge on my man!"

    "Prove it, sister!", Monica said, snarling.

    "She doesn't have to, Monica.", said her father, Claude Hampton. "I checked the cameras, and you didn't leave until well after 11. You opened Moose's locker with your pass key and planted not only the money, but Moose's prints on the bag after you lifted them off his coffee mug earlier in the day."

    "Dad! How could you do this to me?"

    "I'd ask that of you, daughter of mine, but I know the answer. You've coveted Moose from the day he got here. Your two buddies are already in jail, and now you're joining them. Not only that, child, but you're fired!"

    Monica was in shock as she was led away in handcuffs.

    "You were right about her friends, Moose.", Midge said as she walked back to her car. "All those hours of extra learning improved your mind and your instincts at the same time."

    "So, I'm a hero, ain't I?", Moose asked.

    "In a way, yeah." Midge replied, kissing him before she left.
    =======================
    Back in Riverdale, later that afternoon, Betty was on the phone with Midge, and hearing all about Moose's near-miss with the law.

    "Am I missing anything back home?", Midge asked.

    "Not much. We finally have a male employee in the store. Kevin Keller was hired two weeks ago to replace Veronica, and Ethel was brought in to fill your slot.", Betty replied.

    "I'd have thought Ethel would've followed Jughead to New York."

    "I thought so, too, but instead, she enrolled at Riverdale City College, so she could stay at home with her folks. I've been exchanging e-mails with Archie, and he & Reggie are playing an open mic night tonight, just for fun. How's Ronnie making out?"

    "She's a little unsettled, as you'd expect. With her money, you'd think she'd go to an Ivy League school, but I think she'll find Albany will suit her just fine."
    =============================
    Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Harvey had a chance meeting with a fellow freshman, Andrea Summers, who was a local girl, opting to attend college in her hometown, rather than see the world. At first, there were no sparks, as Harv had established he was already in a relationship, and had relatives in the area putting him up, rather than live in a dorm. But, the more he & Andrea saw of each other, the more Harvey began to reconsider his commitment to Sabrina. He talked things over with his grandmother, Edna.

    "Andrea's a nice young woman.", Edna said, noting that Andrea's family had moved out of the neighborhood some time back. "In fact, she came home to enroll at the University."

    "Came home, gram? From where?", Harvey asked.

    "Hendersonville, Tennessee, I believe she said, when I met her at the market the other day."

    "Tennessee? Isn't that where my uncle Frank is?"

    "That's right. Ohhh, I knew this was too good to be true. That double dealing uncle of yours is up to something."
    ==========================
    Frank Bannister is the black sheep of Harvey's family. In chapter 11, we'll find out why, and how this will affect Harvey AND Sabrina.
     
  12. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 11:

    Harvey's mind flashed back to when he was in second grade as he discussed things with his grandmother.

    "Uncle Frank was a volunteer put in charge of the safety patrol at school.", he recalled. "Mom & he had a falling out over some small thing, I forget what, but for some reason, he had the Lancaster triplets stealing lunch money from the younger kids...."

    Back in Riverdale, Helen Kinkle was also revisiting those dreary days with Hilda at the Victory Garden.

    "My brother had gotten a divorce from his wife, and took it out on the kids at school.", she recalled. "Had the Lancasters steal the lunch money from the younger kids, which I think is how Betty & Sabrina began to bond."

    "I remember like it was yesterday.", Hilda replied. "One of the Lancasters, Luke, I think, pushed Sabrina off the swing to get to her purse. One of the others grabbed Betty's."

    "We trailed them to the rear entrance that had been closed off, awaiting repairs, and there was Frank, collecting the money. An hour later, he's out of a job, and swearing revenge on me for ratting him out."

    "He's mentally ill, Helen, I think we can agree on that."

    "Yes. He's been in and out of hospitals. He remarried and divorced twice more because of that. Still thinks he can be a better provider for Harvey, despite all that."

    "But didn't he steal from his own nephew, too?"

    "Yes. Moose Mason came to Harvey's aid that day, and put Lance Lancaster in the hospital with a broken arm."

    Helen then received a text from Harvey, notifying her that Uncle Frank might be up to something. After Helen responded, she continued the conversation.

    "Frank's at it again.", she said. "I don't know how he knows Harvey's in St. Louis, but there's a girl there that just came back from Tennessee. Who's to say Frank got a hold of her to do his work?"
    ================================
    The next day, Andrea met Harvey in the rathskeller for lunch. She asked him out on a date, and Harvey, quietly, declined.

    "If you don't mind, Andrea, since I don't know the lay of the land here, I'm going to need some time before we do go to, maybe, a movie or dinner. I'm sure you'd understand.", he said.

    "Yes, I do. It was rather forward of me.", Andrea replied.

    "Oh, don't feel bad. We're still in the first month of the season."

    At a back table, Linden Lancaster was watching, and texted Frank, back in Hendersonville.

    "He's resisting Andi's charms.", Linden wrote. "They're cordial, but that is all."

    "She'll sucker him in.", Frank texted back. "By Thanksgiving, Harvey will be ready to transfer to Tennessee."
    =============================
    At Thanksgiving, Harvey returned home, bringing Andrea with him. She was "just a friend", but Sabrina read between the lines, and it upset her. Hilda offered some solace when she told Sabrina about Frank Bannister.

    "You think Harvey's uncle put this girl up to seducing Harvey?", Sabrina asked.

    "Has to be. He's long wanted Harvey to move to Tennessee to live with him and away from his parents because he thinks he can do a better job. Frank Bannister is ill, Sabrina, but he doesn't understand that.", Hilda replied.

    "Then, it's time we did something about that. I've a feeling Harvey's new friend will be the advance scout for Mr. Bannister, and that's her first & last mistake!"

    On November 28, Andrea walked into New Dimensions to do some shopping. Harvey wasn't with her, but Frank was, having just arrived in town. Kevin waited on Andrea, and held her attention, while Frank made his way toward the storeroom. He was sure Sabrina was in the building somewhere, as she usually worked on Saturday mornings. However, there was no sign of the teen sorceress.

    "This is a restricted area, Mr. Bannister.", Barbara said, emerging from her office. "If you came here looking for trouble, you came to the wrong place."

    "Is Sabrina here?", Frank asked. "She's usually here on Saturdays, isn't she?"

    "She's off today after working a double shift yesterday. I will tell her you were by.", Barbara replied as she led Bannister out of the store.

    As Andrea was getting her receipt, she was getting a psychic message-----from Sabrina, in her other identity as Mystyk.

    "Meet me at the Riverdale Public Library at once."

    Andrea & Frank drove to the library, to find not only Mystyk, but Superteen and Captain Hero waiting for them.

    "Your scam is history, Mr. Bannister.", Hero said. "Did you really think you could deceive your own nephew with an innocent pawn?"

    "You know nothing, you masked fools!!", Bannister thundered as he lurched toward Captain Hero, only to be hoisted into the air by Superteen.

    "Harvey's mother filled us in on everything when she called us.", she said. "Turns out bringing Andrea back to St. Louis was the only smart thing you've done the last three months."

    "No! I've put a lot of time into this. Harvey is entering into an arranged marriage with Andrea before they return to St. Louis, and that's final!!!"

    "Guess again, Uncle Frank!", Harvey called as he arrived with his parents. "It's over!"

    On the other side, an unmarked federal vehicle pulled up, and Bannister was placed under arrest. The charges? Harrassment----and kidnapping.

    Andrea told her story to Chief Bolling. Bannister abducted her three years ago, and had his girlfriend homeschool her with the idea that Harvey would eventually enroll at St. Louis instead of in Tennessee, like Frank wanted. Once she got back to St. Louis, Bannister had Linden Lancaster watching her every move, even following her home. Right before Thanksgiving, she confessed to Harvey that her advances were part of a scam, and she & Harvey, after contacting his parents, arranged a trap.

    In Hendersonville, Kori Kelly, Frank's live-in girlfriend of 4 years, was arrested in connection with abducting Andrea. They had extorted money from the Summers family the whole time. In short, it was just another means of getting easy money.

    On December 1, after skipping school the previous day, Linden Lancaster was arrested for his part in the scheme, and for harrassing Andrea AND Harvey, who fixed Andrea up with Darryl Winters, a tri-captain on the football team, who had wondered why Andrea had ignored him the first three months.

    Back in Boston, Sabrina felt a sense of relief, knowing Harvey hadn't left her after all. She went Christmas shopping after school, bent on rewarding Harvey for his loyalty.
    ============================
    This ends Book One. Book Two begins with Jughead in three weeks.
     

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