I’m at the fanciest Italian restaurant in Riverdale (weirdly, I can also order lobster here). Across the table is my Valentine’s date—high school heartthrob and continual teenage crush Jason Blossom.
No, wait. It’s no heartthrob at all, it’s everyman Archie Andrews, looking extra freckled and earnest in the kind glow of the candlelight.
I say, “Are you sure you don’t want to just split an appetizer?”
“Order the lobster!” he says, a little wildly. “I can pay for any of it!”
I realize he has probably sold his car to pay for this date. Just then, a light on my super-high-tech smart-watch flashes. “Sorry!” I say, standing abruptly and causing a small fire when the candle tips over after I bump the table. “Ladies—powder—back in a sec!” Despite this being the third time I’ve left him for forty-five minutes under slim and shaky pretenses, he buys it once again.
As a bonus to the chaos of my departure, he’s too busy trying to put the fire out with the bread basket to notice I am sliding a mask onto my face and leaving through the swinging kitchen doors. A blonde in black leather on a motorcycle is waiting for me: I swing on behind her, and we roar off into the night.
Thirty seconds later, I am catsuit-clad, swinging along a rappel rope in Gotham with Dick Grayson, only he’s in costume now, so his name is Nightwing, and he is mysterious and shadowy and a regular Mr. December in the annual Dreamboats of DC calendar. Who knew Gotham and Riverdale shared a town line? We drop from the sky onto the shoulders of two thugs advancing on a hapless professor. I know he is a professor because he wears tweed and his glasses keep slipping down his nose thanks to his nervous shaking. He is the third victim we have rescued tonight, and he promptly scampers to write a scathing op-ed for the Gotham Gazette about crime in the streets.
Dick flashes me a grin. “Happy Valentine’s Day!” he says, as he sucker-punches a miscreant rushing him from behind.
“Behind you!” I say, and as he turns, I edge into an alleyway, run for the long black car that idles on the street: the blonde is waiting for me again, this time in a chauffeur’s outfit. I change back into my date dress in the back seat. We break every speed limit in both Gotham and Riverdale getting me back to the restaurant, which is now French, and also on fire. I run up to Archie to apologize, and he looks at me blankly, covered in soot and more sincere than ever. “I thought you were in the bathroom,” he says. “Why are you wearing a mask?”
As I sputter, Dick flips off the roof of the burning building, collars a pickpocket no one else had noticed, and looks at my skirt and heels. “Why aren’t you wearing your catsuit?” he asks.
The jig is up! A helicopter hovers overheard to lower a rope ladder; I grab on and climb up as we fly away into the night.
Later, at a Pop Tate’s Chocklit Shoppe analog that also serves hard liquor, Zinda Blake and I share a bourbon vanilla milkshake and a basket of chicken fingers and fries. I congratulate her on her driving, flying, and general wingman skills, and she tips her chauffeur cap at me. We toast the end of Valentine’s Day with the clink of beer bottle necks.
The bar fight that starts shortly after is mostly not our fault.