Pony's POV

"Hurry up! You'll be late for your first day!" Darry hollered from the kitchen.

I moaned. I didn't want to get up. I wanted to sleep!

I covered my head with the blankets and tried to go back to sleep. I should have known better than to do something like that.

"Get up!" Soda screamed as he jumped on the bed. He pulled the blanket away and I was attacked by tickling.

Darry and Soda tickled me over and over again. I tried to get them off me, but I was too busy laughing.

"Stop! Stop! I'm up. I give!" I screamed between laughs.

They were standing over me, smiling.

"Time to get up, kiddo. Big day ahead!" Soda said, bouncing around the room as he found something for me to wear.

I got up, rubbing the spot where I'd been tickled the most.

"You ready for today?" Darry asked me.

"I guess." I had been dreading it. Going to school with a bunch of Socs isn't the best thing for me, considering my history with them. I just hope they won't take it out on me again.

"Don't worry, Pony. You'll be fine." Darry said, giving me a hug.

"I know, Darry." I replied, reaching to take the clothes from Soda's hands.

"Okay. Hurry up! If you're not out of here in five minutes, I'll be coming in to get you!" Soda said pointing a finger gun at me.

"Okay, okay." I mumbled as I got dressed.

I was out in three minutes and I went into the bathroom to brush my hair and teeth.

When I came out of the bathroom, the whole gang was here. I had known Two-Bit and Johnny were there, but not Dallas and Steve.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Sleeping Beauty herself. Get enough sleep your majesty?" Two-Bit joked, cracking himself up, but no one else.

"You're hilarious." I said, trying my best not to sound like I care.

"You want something to eat before you go?" Darry asked from the kitchen before he put away the chocolate cake.

"No thanks." I caught the worried look in his eyes, but I ignored it. He and Soda worried too much about me. It got on my nerves sometimes, but I felt good knowing they cared so much.

"What's up, kid?" Dallas asked over the cigarette in his mouth.

"Not much. How you doin', Dal?" I asked.

"I'm good. You ready for school? Man, I always hated the damn school days." He said, looking off, as though he were remembering how much he hated it.

"Yeah, I guess so." I replied.

"I'm taking you to school today." Two-Bit said.

"Oh, boy. I'm thrilled." I smiled at my own sarcasm.

"Johnny and I are coming, too." Steve said between hitting and being hit by Soda.

I looked over at Johnny, who was smiling as he watched Soda and Steve fight. It always helped that I had school with the gang. Well, except for Darry, Soda, and Dallas. Dally's still high school age, but he got expelled when he turned 16 and he hasn't been to school since.

"You guys better get or you'll be late." Darry said as he buttoned his shirt.

"All right. Let's go everyone." Two-Bit said as he ran out the door.

"Bye, Soda. Bye, Darry!" I called as I followed.

"Bye, Pony!" They both called together.

Johnny and Steve tagged along from behind. We walked down the sidewalk to school.It wasn't very far, so it didn't take us much time.

"See you, Johnny, Steve, Two-Bit." I said as I headed down the hallway to my class.

"Give 'em hell, kid." Steve called. I was surprised that Steve would even say a word to me. Maybe we could get along after all.

"See you, Ponyboy!" Johnny called, too. I was surprised to hear a word out of him.

I walked into the classroom and all eyes turned to me. Everyone wasn't there, yet, but I still felt like I had a hundred eyes on me. I blushed under their staring eyes, and walked in the classroom.

The nice red-head named Cherry was in there. I dreaded being in class with her. I had been there when Bob died, and I was partly to blame. She probably hated me, and I wouldn't be surprised if she did.

I noticed she was sitting by Randy, and I was glad to see him there. I had heard he got out because he gave the cops all the information they needed. They didn't press any charges against Dallas since it was self-defense. I was relieved.

The other Socs ignored Randy. I figured since he had helped me out he wouldn't be too popular with the Soc crowd.

"Pony, sit over here." Cherry said, and I just about jumped out of my skin with surprise. She was talking to me?

I walked over and sat in between Randy and Cherry.

"So what's up, Pony?" Cherry asked, smiling.

"Not much." I replied shyly.

"You feelin' better, kid?" Randy asked.

"Yeah, much better."

"Look, I'm sorry again about what happened. I should have stopped them a long time ago."

"It's okay, Randy." I said, smiling at him.

I looked nervously back at Cherry and I guess she understood my hesitancy.

"It's okay, Pony. Bob and I broke up at the end of the school year. He drank too much anyway. And once I heard it was him who was beating you and the other Greasers up, I couldn't stand the guy. I'm sorry he had to die like that, but I don't blame you for it." She said, and patted my arm.

That really got a blush out of me.

"Okay, class. Time to get out your math books." The teacher ordered.

I smiled to myself as I got my math book out. Maybe things would be getting easier after all.