Author: CldyAlwys PM
Pony and Darry clash when Soda's sent to Vietnam. When things get tough will they man together or fall apart?Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Ponyboy C. & Darry C. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,592 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 19 - Updated: 09-09-09 - Published: 08-24-09 - id: 5328018
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer. The Outsiders belongs to S.E Hinton, not to me and I make no profit by submitting this.
I tried to form the words to tell him to go away, but the muscles in my jaw remained motionless.
I cracked an eye open just long enough to see Darry's large frame hovering over me. Doing my best to ignore him, I curled up into a tighter ball and shifted my body towards the inside of the chair. It couldn't be morning already. It felt like I had closed my eyes not ten minutes ago.
"Ponyboy," Darry sounded again, a little louder this time. "Up and at em', little man, you've got school."
Still, I pretended to ignore him, hoping he would take the hint and leave me alone. I knew there was slim chance of that happening, but that didn't entice me to get up any faster. Ever since Soda left for boot camp, almost two months ago now, I haven't been sleeping too well. The nightmares were only happening about once a week or so, but when they did occur, it was enough incentive to get me to crawl into the arm chair tucked in the corner of Darry's room. I would sit there with a flashlight and a book, blanket over my head and read for hours, either until the sun started to rise or until I drifted off again.
It wasn't the most comfortable chair in the world to sleep in, having bore the worst damage from three boys jumping on it and wearing it down. Most of the stuffing had been yanked out of it and there wasn't much cushion left, but it was inviting in it's own way. We'd had it since before I was born and it remained out in the living room until I was about ten, when my parents had finally decided to buy a newer chair that didn't look or feel so broken in. Since then it had retired to Darry's room and I remember spending many hours curled up in it watching him lift weights on the floor, until he grew tired of my endless questions and finally tossed me out the door. The chair had a familiar feel and smell to it, and I felt safe when I was in it, even now.
Darry didn't make a big deal out of me camping out in his room. The first time it happened I could tell that he was concerned, but he didn't ask too many questions. Boy, was I ever grateful for that. Being fifteen years old and feeling scared enough to spend the night in your big brother's room was embarrassing all on it's own, without being forced to talk about it. But it'd been a long time since I'd had a room all to myself and I think Darry understood that.
"Ponyboy Michael Curtis," he barked, impatiently. "If you're not on your feet in two seconds your going to find yourself on the floor!"
He hadn't been understanding about much else, though. I opened my eyes and stretched, hoping that it was enough movement to prevent him from carrying out his threat. "Can't I have five more minutes?" I asked.
I thought I saw a look of sympathy cross over his face for a second, before his eyes turned indifferent. "That's up to you," he said, as he reached into his closet and pulled out a button up, plaid shirt. "But remember you have practice this morning."
I groaned loudly, wishing the coach didn't insist on being such a hard ass. It was the last day before Christmas break, coach decided it'd be a good idea to hold practice in the morning instead of that afternoon, with the threat that if we weren't there we'd better have a damn good excuse if we expected to remain on the team. He also had a few practices scheduled over the break, to make sure we didn't get too rusty. I for one, was having a real hard time keeping my attention focused on track, but Soda always asked about it in his letters, so I pressed on, trying to put my heart in it.
Reluctantly, I kicked the quilt onto the floor and hoisted myself up, taking the time to stretch out my back. I looked around for my book and the flashlight and spotted them under the chair. I stooped underneath to pick them up, hoping that I remembered to turn the flashlight off before I fell asleep. If I asked Darry to pick up another pack of batteries he was going to hit the roof.
Satisfied with my movement, Darry started to turn towards the door. "I'm leaving in twenty minutes, so get a move on, and make sure that blanket gets folded and put away."
I just nodded and watched him walk out, before making my way to my own room to put my track gear on. I didn't see the point in showering before practice, knowing I would just get sweaty all over again. I gathered up my books and some clean clothes, still barely half awake. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day feeling as tired as I did right now.
I walked into the kitchen to find Darry hunched over the stove. The smell of bacon filled the small room and my stomach growled in hunger. "Eggs are about done," he said, looking me over, carefully, "Want to set the table while you're waiting?"
I didn't, but it wasn't a request. Wordlessly, I pulled a couple of plates and a cup for myself out of the cupboard and set them on the table. I figured Darry already had a mug full of coffee sitting on the counter, next to him, so I didn't bother getting a cup out for him. I reached into the fridge and started pulling out various items for breakfast including the milk, Hershey syrup and the lettuce and tomato for Darry's egg sandwich. My eyes caught sight of the chocolate cake sitting on the middle shelf, but I left it where it was. If Soda couldn't enjoy a slice for breakfast then I wasn't going to either. Darry seemed to feel the same way about it, and Two-Bit was the only one who nibbled on it in the morning. But I still continued to bake up a new one when necessary, refusing to let the tradition die out completely.
I plopped into my seat, dreading the awful silence that always seemed to exist between the two of us. When Soda left he took the life of the house along with him and Darry and I were struggling to cope with what was left. I thought losing mom and dad was the worst thing that could happen to us, but when Soda got his draft notice I knew I was wrong. He was the glue that sandwiched the three of us together and without him, Darry and I were falling apart fast. Now we were forced to suffer through the Christmas season, when neither one of us were in the mood to celebrate.
Darry forked some eggs and a few pieces of bacon onto my plate, before sitting down across from me. I took a small bite of eggs and watched him put his sandwich together.
"Two-Bit agree to give you a ride home again tonight?" He asked, looking up at me.
I shook my head. "His car broke down last night, so we both had to foot it home. Don't worry, Dar," I said, watching his eyebrows furrow together. "I can get one of the guys at work to drop me off, I'll be alright."
I had gotten a job working at the stables, feeding horses, cleaning out stalls, and doing any other work that the owners were to lazy to do. Weekdays were my best bet for tips, considering not too many people had time to exercise their horses like they ought to. I was making a lot of extra money this week, since everyone had other things to do to get ready for Christmas. Unfortunately, Darry would only let me work three nights a week, not wanting my school work to suffer. He didn't care if I spent my whole Saturday there, though, so that's what I was planning to do tomorrow. I didn't see much point in sticking around here anyway, the house seemed so desolate that I could hardly stand it anymore.
He nodded, satisfied with my answer. "If you can't, give me a call," he said, taking a bite of his sandwich. "I'll see what I can do to come pick you up."
"I'm sure I can get a ride, Dar," I countered, wishing he wouldn't hover so much. "Even if I can't, a bus stops not too far away, I can manage."
"Alright, but if you're still not home by eight give me a call."
"I will," I agreed.
"I mean it, Pony, if I don't hear from you by eight sharp, I'm gonna call home and so help you if you're not here to answer the phone. You got me?"
"Yeah I got you," I nodded, not even bothering to hide the sarcasm from my voice. "Geez Dar, it's been near two weeks now since I cut classes. You think if I was going to skip out on my grounding, I'd have done it by now."
"Just remember you still have five more days to go before you're free, little man, and if you want my trust again you have to earn it."
Fed up, I stood up angrily,tossing my dishes, none to gently, into the sink. It was the first time I'd ever cut and he was acting like it was the end of the world.
"You better check that attitude, little brother," Darry warned, looking like he was ready to pop up and throttle me.
"Why do you always have to be down my throat?" I whirled around to ask, feeling picked on. "You didn't make this big of a fuss when Soda went and dropped out. I split for half a day, and you're treating it like I got arrested or something."
"Yeah, I let Soda drop out, and look where he is right now," Darry hollered, hopping up out of his seat, placing one hand on each side of me, forcing me to lean back to look at him. "That's not going to happen to you, you understand me? Not if I can help it."
"You can't stop me from getting drafted anymore than you could stop Soda. Even if he hadn't dropped out, it still would've happened sooner or later," I shot back, hoping it wasn't the dangerous thing to do.
It had to be said, though. I had no idea that Darry blamed himself for Soda's draft notice, but it wasn't fair on him. Soda had wanted to drop out, it was his decision.
Darry's eyes went soft for a moment. "Maybe so, but you're staying in school, and I don't want to hear about you skipping anymore. You can have a year of college completed before you're even eligible to be drafted, Ponyboy. You don't want to blow that chance."
"Alright, Dar," I nodded, "It ain't going to happen again, I already told you it wouldn't, I wish you'd believe me."
He finally stood up, releasing me from my cage. "I'm trying to, kid, but you flat out lied to me and it's gonna take a while for me to trust you again."
I just nodded, turning around to start doing the dishes. Our relationship was so messed up right now, it almost seemed like I had lost both my brothers instead of just one. At least I could still talk to Soda through letters. Every time I tried to have a conversation with Darry, we just butted heads.
"Dishes are going to have to wait," Darry plopped his plate into the sink. "Just soak them. You can scrub em' up when you get home."
"Yeah, alright," I said, following his directions.
Moments later, after being reminded to grab my jacket, we were both out the door, heading towards school. I silently wished that I'd waited until today to skip. I was so tired, I knew I was going to be miserable.