Disclaimer: I don't own the Outsiders.
Summery: Sequel to Keeping the Moon. Roxy, who is happily engaged, returns to Tulsa ten years later for Aunt Candace's funeral. There her world turns upside down when she finds out that a certain greaser hasn't forgotten her.
Author's Note: this is the sequel to my first ever fan fic Keeping the Moon. While I was writing Keeping the Moon I was thinking about a sequel, since people seemed to like the first one so much. Originally my other story Black Roses Red was supposed to be the sequel, there was going to be a sub-plot about Roxy and Dally. But I realized that it really didn't fit in with the message of Black Roses Red so I put the idea out of my mind, until I thought of this.
Chapter One: Back to Tulsa
I walked into the airport terminal wheeling my big black suitcase behind me. I hadn't been back here in ten years; excluding the two day trip I made to see Darry and Olivia get married nine years ago but that hardly counted. I smiled almost fondly at the memory of my fifteenth summer, the one I spent here in Tulsa, but that lead to me thinking about why I was back which caused the smile to turn into a sad frown and a lump to form in my throat. I shook myself as I made my way to rent my car.
As I waited in line at the car rental desk I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror behind the desk. I looked a lot different than I had ten years ago. My hair, which had turned a brown color naturally over the years, was cut into a chin-length bob with long bangs that framed my face. It was much different from the honey blonde colored hair that I had sported back then. I was taller, thank goodness for that growth spurt, and less gawky, finally growing into my long legs, and more confident. No matter what anyone else tells you the secret rule is true, believe you are beautiful and so will the rest of the world. However as much as I liked how I had changed, I knew I laughed less and crow's feet were beginning to form under my eyes. Time was going by faster and faster.
I pulled up to the local DX station that was near my aunt's house to fill up my rented station wagon. "Hello?" I called as I entered the building to pay. A man came in from the garage.
"Well I'll be!" the man said. He was wiping his greasy hands with a rag and he looked vaguely familiar. I cocked my head to one side as I dug in my purse for money to pay for the tank of gas. Finally it hit me.
"Steve?" I asked as I handed over the money. He nodded and shook my hand. It was hard to believe it was the same Steve I had known at fifteen. He was still tall and lean and sort of cocky. But I saw his age in the worry and laugh lines on his face. And his hair was different. Ten years ago he had his hair greased into swirls that he took pride in. Now his hair was shorter and cleaner cut. I guess even greasers have to grow up sometime.
"Hey Soda! Guess who finally showed up?" Steve called to the back.
"Soda works here too?" I asked Steve before Soda came barreling in from the back at lightning speed. He came around the counter and scooped me up into a big hug and spun me around. I laughed and kissed him on the cheek.
"Miss Roxanne, I missed you!" he said setting me down and grinning. Soda looked more or less the same; his face was still reckless and thoughtful at the same time. But it looked older and more worn. But that smile was still the one that he grinned at seventeen.
"I missed you guys too. It's been too long." I said as Steve handed me a Pepsi. I smiled. "What are you guys up to?"
"Well we own the DX together now." Soda said. I smiled. I knew that they were happy about owning the station they had worked at when they were seventeen.
"And Soda is living with his girlfriend." Steve said.
"Really? Do I know her?"
"No, her name is Erika. I met her five years ago. But that isn't as exciting as Stevie getting married." Soda said ruffling Steve's hair.
"Congradulations! Is it Evie?" I asked. Steve nodded and smiled but Soda pursed his lips together and was quiet for a moment. I knew he was thinking about that night at the fair when Sandy had broken up with him over something Evie had said to me. That night still was clear in my mind. I cleared my throat, "I'm sure you to are very happy. Do you have any kids?"
"Yeah, we do. Ian is 7 and Becky is 5." Steve said taking out his wallet to show me pictures.
"You can really see Evie in them." I commented handing the pictures back with my left hand. Soda cocked his head to one side as he took hold of my hand.
"Miss Roxanne why didn't you say you were married?" he asked. I bit my lip as he and Steve whistled over my rock. I took my hand back and studied my ring. It wasn't anything spectacular but it was very special to me. I moved my hand slightly, letting the diamond catch the light from the window. It sent little rainbows all over the counter and I smiled fondly at it for a moment.
"I haven't gotten married…yet. I'm just engaged." I said digging through my purse for the picture of my fiancé Daniel and me. We were on Lake Erie on his boat. My head was resting on his shoulder and he was looking at me and not at the camera.
"Wow. Our little Roxie's getting married to real catch." Steve commented, referring to the boat. "When's the wedding?"
"Next May. You all will have to come of course. I haven't picked out my invitations yet though but you are all invited."
"Does Dally know?" Steve asked. He always did have a thing for not thinking before he spoke. I bit my lower lip.
"No." I said putting the picture back into my bag. I didn't say anything more. Steve and Soda glanced at each other. I cleared my throat and asked questions about Ian and Becky to change the subject but Soda looked over to me and gave me a meaningful glance.
Although I was glad to see my old friends, Dally was part of the reason I was dreading to come here. I knew I would have to tell him but I was scared to. Dally had been my first kiss, my first love. We had written to each other for a few years but then lost touch after my sophomore year in college. Then I met Daniel one night at a frat party and we fell in love. I hadn't received a letter from Dally in seven years. For all I knew he didn't live in Tulsa anymore. Or maybe he was married and no one bothered to tell me.
Half an hour later I left the DX to go to my Aunt's house. As I pulled up in front of it I heard someone calling my name. It was coming in the direction of the Curtis's old house. I squinted to see that it was Olivia. It had to be her with the short black hair and tall frame.
"OLLIE!" I squealed as she ran to the gate.
"ROXIE!" she screeched back, opening the gate. I embraced her tenderly. She was one of the closest things I've ever had to a sister. "I was wondering when you'd be coming. Are your parents here?"
"No. They moved down to Florida a few years back. They aren't in the best of shape and the doctor said that it wouldn't be good for them to travel. So it's just me." I said glancing over to my Aunt's quiet house. I bit my lower lip and Olivia hugged me again. She brushed a tear out of the corner of her eye and then tried to smile.
"Come on Roxie, Darry will want to see you." Olivia said taking my hand and leading me into the house. The Curtis's house looked much nicer than it had ten years ago, maybe it was the fact that a woman lived there now and not just three parentless boys. Things looked less beat up and I noticed there was a lock on the door now. Darry came from around the corner and he smiled. He looked the same, only older and more worried, if that was even possible. But his eyes were no longer like ice; I guess it took being a father to make them melt.
He squeezed me tightly and then held me out at arms length, studying me. "Roxanne Parkinson you look very grown up."
"Thank you Darry. Now where are Haven and Halley? I need to see my nieces!" I said. Olivia called for them and two little girls entered the room from Ponyboy's old bedroom. Haven, who was 8, looked like Darry with her coloring and her eyes the same color as his, although hers were warmer. Halley, who was 6, looked like her mother with her dark hair and but her eyes were her father's. Haven was bolder than her little sister who was very shy.
"Haven, Halley, this is your Aunt Roxie. She's friends with me and Mommy." Darry said. Haven came over and gave me a warm hug; she was definitely her mother's daughter. Halley was much more guarded. She clung to Darry like Velcro and buried her face in his pants leg.
I stayed for dinner. We made idle chitchat about Daniel, my wedding, Darry's roofing company, and Haven and Halley. There was no mention of Aunt Candace in the conversation and for that I was glad. I needed to think about one thing besides that for at least a half hour.
After dinner I bid the Curtis' goodnight, I was tired and besides they had to put Haven and Halley to bed, so I headed over to my Aunt's house. For a moment I stood out in the street, the exact place I had been when I had received my first kiss from Dallas Winston. I shook my head, scolding myself for thinking about him and got my suitcase out of the trunk. The gate was rusty; I would have to ask Darry to oil it for me.
I knew the path from the gate to the front door very well. I knew it took exactly eighteen steps. I hoisted my bag up the steps onto the porch and then dug around my purse for the key I had received in the mail. After finally finding it I slid it easily into the lock and swung open the door.
My Aunt Candace had died from a heart attack. She was sitting at her drawing board in her sunny art room when she slumped over. Ponyboy had been the one to find her. He was going over to see if she needed him to run any errands for her. In her will Aunt Candace had left everything to me: her house, all the money from her card making company, all her stuff, everything. I arrived in Tulsa two weeks later to plan the funeral and go through her processions.
I choked back sobs as I drug my suitcase into the spare room, the one I had stayed in when I had stayed with her ten summers ago. I called Daniel briefly to let him know I was there. He was a busy doctor and he couldn't get away from work to come to the funeral, which was in two days. But he promised that he would try and come to help me sort through Aunt Candy's things if he could one weekend.
After I hung up with Daniel I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed. I allowed myself to cry freely, until I fell into a restless sleep.