"Where do you think you're going, young lady?" Sodapop Curtis asked me.

"Out," I replied defiantly, arms folded across my chest.

"Not like that you're not!" Soda cried, indicating my outfit, which consisted of tight jeans and a low-cut belly shirt. Being my older brother, he could get very protective. Actually, so could Ponyboy, who was a year younger then me. As for Darry, my eldest brother…well, he was very strict with all of us. I ignored him and headed for the front door.

Darry, who had witnessed everything from the kitchen, finally spoke up. "Rachel Lee Curtis!" he scolded. "Ever since mom and dad died, you've bee walking around here thinking you can do whatever the hell you want, and I'm sick of it!"

"Darry!" Soda yelled before he could say anymore. I froze, my eyes locked with Darry's. Ever since the accident that had claimed our parents' lives, nobody spoke of them around me. I knew what the doctor had told my brothers-that I wasn't ready to accept the fact that they were gone, and the best thing to do would be not to talk about it in front of me. He assured them that this was completely normal. Thus, everyone, myself included, was shocked by Darry's outburst., and all eyes fell on me.

"Screw you," I snapped in a malicious tone before storming out the door. I took a walk to the park where I sat atop the jungle gym and lit up a cigarette.

"You ain't supposed to be smoking," a voice called out. A figure emerged from the shadows, which I immediately recognized as Pony's.

"Sue me," I replied sharply, my blonde hair blowing in the wind.

"C'mon," my brother coaxed. "Let's just go home."

I shook my head. "Naw…you go on ahead. I need some time alone to cool down. I'll be home soon."

"Fine," Ponyboy sighed, knowing that it was useless to argue with me. I was more stubborn then any of my brothers, and they knew to pick and choose their battles. "Be careful," he added before reluctantly walking back to the house.

"I will," I called to his retreating form.

A few minutes after Pony left, a red convertible came to a stop right in front of me. I tensed up visibly, wondering what the Soc's were doing here at this time of night. The window rolled down, revealing none other than Dallas Winston, and I relaxed once again. "Curtis, get your ass in here," he called to me. I jumped into the passenger seat, not asking where the car had come from. From what I had heard, Dally had stole it last night, and gave Pony boy a ride to school today. "Darry'll skin ya if he finds out you smoke," Dally informed me, indicating the cigarette that I was still holding.

"Yeah, well, Darry has got a stick up his ass," I commented.

"Amen to that."