Black Roses Red

Disclaimer: I don't own the Outsiders or the song Black Roses Red by Alana Grace.

Author's Note: This is the new and improved version of Black Roses Red. The orginal one was taken off the site because I had put song lyrics in it. However I was going to revise it anyway so it turned out to be a good thing. It will probably be boring for those of you who read the original, just a warning. Now without further ado here is Black Roses Red:

Chapter One: Drowning in my Loneliness

Two-Bit Matthews ambled into Ms. O'Conner's third period English class on the first day of school as slowly as possible. He was nineteen and still a junior in high school. Most of his friends had already dropped out but Two-Bit enjoyed going to school, for some reason unbeknownst to the rest of the world. Maybe it was the girls. Will Rodgers High School had its fair share of them. When Two-Bit saw Claire sitting in the front row of his English class he knew she was going to be his third period eye candy.

Claire was conscious that he was looking at her, and it bothered her. Ever since she was a little girl she had been told she was beautiful. In middle school most of the girls hated her because the boys wanted to go out with her instead of them. And now that she was in high school she got asked out every other week by some sap who only liked her because she was easy on the eyes. She had this theory that girls only put up with boys because they needed reassurance that they were pretty. This was the last thing that Claire needed to be reassured of so she politely said no to all her suitors.

Despite of the fact she was pretty and had been asked out more times than she could count Claire had never had a real boyfriend. And the only date she had ever gone on was to a Valentine's dance in middle school with Brett Walker. Claire hadn't trusted a boy since Brett.

Two-Bit headed to the seat behind her; walking closer to her desk than was needed. Claire rolled her eyes; she was used to the little tricks guys played by that time. They would make not so subtle moves like 'accidentally' bumping into her in the lunch line so they could apologize and ask to buy her a Coke to say they were sorry. She could feel Two-Bit staring at the back of her head as he sat down and she shuddered, it was rather creepy. Finally when she could no longer take his eyes bearing into her head she turned around. He was leaning back in his desk with his hands behind his head in an "I'm-so-cool-and-tough" gesture. He was grinning at her in a very cocky way.

"Can I help you?" she asked. She was trying to be pleasant and keep her temper but it was hard with him grinning like that.

Two-Bit cocked one of his eyebrows and spread his grin out so far he resembled the Cheshire cat in Alice and Wonderland. He was looking at her, taking in her knee length skirt with little blue flowers patterned on it, her blue cashmere cardigan which was probably very expensive, and the tiny cross that was hanging on the gold chain around her neck. Even though her long curly hair was brown and not his preferred blonde he still had to admit she was a good looking broad. But he could tell from the way she was dressed that she was a Soc. She had on diamond earrings; no greaser girl owned a pair of real diamond earrings.

Claire pursed her lips and tried to bite back her temper when he answered, "No thanks, I'm just looking," as smooth as you please. Like he was at the department store or something! Claire studied him a minute with her expressive green eyes a moment and then turned around as the teacher came into the room.

"What's your name?" Two-Bit asked her. The bell had rung and Claire was heading to chemistry with her books clutched to her chest when Two-Bit had hurried up to her, plowing over some poor freshman, and put his arm around her.

"Why do you want to know?" Claire asked trying to shrug his arm off.

"Because I want to," he said cocking his eyebrow once again. Claire looked skeptically at him as she tried once again to get his arm off. It was like it was super-glued to her shoulder.

"Claire Belmont," she said finally with a sigh, stopping outside her classroom. He finally released her shoulder before he leaned against the nearest locker and nodded.

"I'm Two-Bit Matthews," he said smoothly, even though she didn't ask him. Claire raised her eyebrows as she studied him. He seemed to be part of the rough crowd, which scared Claire a little. He was one of those boys that her parents had always warned her about. He wasn't super handsome but Claire liked that, she trusted the plain looking guys more than the handsome ones.

"Is that a nickname?" she asked. The second she said it she realized that it was an invitation to start a conversation which would probably lead to him asking her out. He seemed like a sweet guy, she hated the fact that she would have to turn him down.

"Yeah, it is. Maybe if you go out with me tonight you'll find out what my real name is Claire Belmont," he said winking as the bell rang.

"I'm sorry, I can't," she said over the noise of people rushing to class. He shrugged at her before she headed into her classroom to sit down at one of the lab tables. As she took out her notebook and pen a person sat down on the chair that shared the table with hers. Here we go again, she thought as she turned to look at the guy.

He was young looking, couldn't be more than a freshman which was surprising because usually juniors only took chemistry which meant he must be pretty smart. He glanced over at her and gave her a nervous smile.

"Hi," he muttered nervously. Claire sighed miserably, not another one. But he seemed relatively harmless so she decided to throw him a bone.

"Hello," she said sitting up straighter in her seat. She gave him a brief nod and then looked down at her notebook.

"I saw Two-Bit's got his eye on you," the boy commented suddenly. Claire looked up from her notebook and rolled her eyes.

"Yes, I guess he does. Do you know him?"

"He's a good buddy of mine. I'm Ponyboy Curtis." Claire cocked her head to one side in a bemused fashion.

"That's an interesting name," she commented. He nodded politely but the look on his face told her that he was sick of people questioning his name so she cleared her throat. "I'm Claire Belmont. I just moved here from Massachusetts."

"So that's why your accent is so weird. I shoulda known you weren't from around here." Ponyboy said laughing. Claire pursed her lips as she turned her attention to the teacher who had started talking.

"The seats you have chosen are going to be your seats for the entire year so I hope you have chosen wisely. The person sitting next to you will be your lab partner. I suggest you get to know them," the teacher droned in a monotone voice that Claire knew would put her to sleep. She glanced over at Ponyboy and he smiled.

"I guess we're going to be spending a lot of time together then," he said easily.