Chapter Thirty-One: We're Family

Dally had bared his heart to Johnny Cade. He had admitted he was quite fond of the boy. He even appeared vulnerable which was something Dallas Winston never wanted to send out. Feeling emotionally exposed was not a part of Dally's world. That was for other, less "tuff" greasers to experience. Dally wore his heart not on his sleeve, but protectively wrapped underneath the numerous scars of his past. He guarded his feelings carefully and viewed other people's compassion with suspicion. After all, he was in control in most situations and he preferred it that way.

Johnny was the only one who ever caused him to sway even in the slightest. Johnny didn't know it, but Dally admired him beyond mere words could convey. Johnny had no idea how strong he was. He was not aware of how freakin' brilliant he was nor did he believe himself to be courageous in any way. But Dally did. Dally thought Johnny was the toughest guy he knew.

Dallas Winston filled up the small shot glass again with more whiskey and toasted to Darry, "To gettin' out of the slammer, man. To comin' home to find your whole fuckin' world has been turned upside down."

Darry looked down at the table top surface wondering what he could say yet no words came to him.

Of course Dally didn't really have romantic feelings for Johnny. He thought he might after he'd kissed the boy late that night in the lot a few months earlier. But it was just the moment and he was drunk and fired up from the evening. Albeit it was a mistake, Dally was glad it happened. Knowing full well he could fight for Johnny's affection if he really wanted to and that Johnny would be just as interested in him, Dally knew deep down he wasn't 'that way.' Besides, just thinking about Sylvia's tits in a tight sweater top sent his hormones raging. Nah, he liked chicks.

Two-Bit sat down at the table finally, "So, are you gonna stop comin' around here, Dal?"

Dally shot back one more shot. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand roughly, "Hey, what you guys do in your private lives ain't none of my business. I don't understand it, I don't wanna understand it. You look happy and that's all. The house looks like a freakin' magazine cover so I guess you all are domesticated housewives."

Soda chuckled while Steve gave Dally an amused, but cautious grin.

"Does that mean you're okay with it?" asked Darry not really caring what the answer was. He wasn't about to give up his relationship with Two-Bit just because it offended Dallas.

"Do you care?" asked Dally.

"No," Darry admitted.

Dally smiled, "Then I don't neither."

The guys grinned then, feeling relieved.

"Cool Dal," said Sodapop. "I'm glad to hear you won't bash our heads in-"

"Hold it, hold it," Dally announced. "There will be some rules laid down though."

Darry stopped smiling, "Rules? What the hell does that mean, Winston?"

"This shit is all new to me, man. Have some common courtesy, Darrel."

"What the fuck are you talkin' about?" Darry questioned with a curious smirk.

Dally eyed them all for a moment before continuing, "No lovey-dovey crap around me. Give me time to get use to this. That's all I ask, man. Just give me time."

Two-Bit nodded in compliance along with Soda and Steve, but Darry thought to himself for a moment. Finally Darry looked at Dally, "You've got a deal. Anything to make this transition easier for you. We don't wanna lose you as a friend, Dallas. That's what worried us the most."

"Man," Dally stood up and began to walk away, "we've been through too much shit not to be friends, Curtis."

"You got that right," Darry replied smiling.

"Where ya goin' Dal?" asked Steve.

"To go find Sylvia and get drunk at Buck's. See ya 'round."

"See ya," Two-Bit waved.

"Bye Dally," Soda said.

"Later Dal," Steve called out.

"We're cool right?" Darry hollered as he watched Dally disappear from the other side of the screen door.

Dally poked his head in, "We're family, man."

"Family," Darry nodded with a wave.

Dallas left lighting a cigarette as he walked toward Buck's place. He was still shaken up at the whole ordeal. He really wished things hadn't changed so much, but he couldn't be mad at them. If someone would have told him he wouldn't have thrown a few punches or broke a few priceless Curtis heirlooms, he wouldn't have believed anyone. He's always been able to predict his emotions in every way, but this time he had completely shocked himself. His reaction to the news was one of sheer disbelief and remorse. The shit about your life flashing before you eyes was true. He saw his entire friendship with the gang come at him in quick, blurry pictures. Dally wasn't sure if they were blurry because of sadness or denial. His first thoughts were how he could drop them as his friends. If anyone finds out about them, they'd be singled out and socially banished in their neighborhood. But now Dally felt on the protective side. They were still his friends and if anyone messed with them there'd be hell to pay. If they 'loved' each other that much to risk everything, they must be serious. And things were better.

When a beat up Mustang pulled along side Dally he stopped, but his smile did not fade. Sylvia leaned out the window. Her make-up overly done, the young woman purred, "What's goin' on, Dallas?"

"Two-Bit's got a job!" Dally chuckled with a smirk.

Sylvia frowned, "What the hell is the world comin' to?"

Dally laughed out loud. His banter bounced off the walls of the empty buildings along the street. He hopped in the car with Sylvia without a word. For the moment, the shadow of the car casted against the bricks upon the old hardware store. It stretched out long and twisted against the broken bricks that were oddly decorated with graffiti. As the car pulled away, Dally noticed the moon bright over head casting it mysterious hue of circular brilliance. He won't tell their secret. He'd never tell. It was just the way things were done around these parts. Boys don't kiss...and tell.