Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder three-deep in the front seat of Darry's pick-up-which stunk of roofing tar-and dripping wet, I realized how much I truly missed our parents.
Even against the pounding of the rain, we could all hear Darry yelling as we pulled into the driveway. Johnny mumbled something about needing to get home and Two-Bit-of course-couldn't let him walk all that way in the rain, so I was sent in to face the wolves alone.
Forced to run from the truck to the porch to avoid the downpour, I stood there for a minute. Then I realized, horrified, that Darry was yelling that loud at Dally. I'd never heard anyone yell at Dallas Winston before.
"Ponyboy, would you get in here?" Darry roared, pushing the screen door open so hard that it crashed into the wall behind it and slapped shut again. I didn't know he'd seen me run up.
Cautiously, I entered the living room. Dally stood before the entryway to the kitchen, his hands clenched in his pockets, looking as cold as ever. I knew it must be taking a lot for him to be able to just stand there and yet Darry yell.
Soda looked slightly crumpled on the couch, his cheeks bright pink. I touched my middle fingers to my chest then turned my hands up and out, looking at him imploringly.
"I'll tell you what happened," Darry roared, and I was almost impressed that he recognized the sign. "Soda decided to take off to Buck's after work to have a few drinks."
I felt my jaw drop. Besides the fact that we'd been lectured countless times against drinking, we'd both been promised beatings within inches of our lives if we were ever caught anywhere near Buck's.
Remembering myself, I turned back to Soda, who looked up at me through thickly-lidded eyes and smirked. I jabbed a finger towards him then lifted my cupped hand to my mouth as if I were drinking.
"You're drunk?" I demanded, suddenly angry that he'd worried us for nothing.
Soda nodded, sloppily beginning to sign an explanation, but Darry cut him off with a wave of his arms.
"Ask him what the hell he was thinking," Darry barked, and I quickly translated.
Soda shrugged, rubbing at his eyes. He touched is fingertips to his chest, then let them slump down. Standing up, he put his palms together beside his head and made a move towards the bedroom.
Darry was across the room in two giant strides, catching him by the arm and slamming him back onto the couch.
"I don't care how tired you are," he roared. "You will sit there until I tell you to move."
Soda looked shocked that Darry had shoved him. The surprise must have sobered him up a bit, because he suddenly exploded into a flourish of erratic signs. At the same time, Dally must have decided he'd kept his mouth shut long enough because he suddenly decided to take up for Soda-which Darry didn't like too much at all.
My head spun as Soda jumped up again, his hands moving a mile a minute, while Darry and Dally stood toe-to-to hollering like nothing I'd ever heard before. I wished wildly for my father to come hulking through the doorway and put everything right again.
Instead, Darry finally let out a yell to end all others; "ENOUGH!" he bellowed, sweeping his arms closed, and a silence fell over the house. He turned to me.
"You tell him I've never been more disgusted in my life," Darry said in a low, even voice. "Tell him that our mother and father would be ashamed of him."
"Look, Dar-" Dally started.
"Tell him!" Darry screamed, and I obeyed.
Soda didn't react for a moment. Then, slowly, his gaze drifted icily to Darry. I held my breath.
"I hate you," he spoke aloud.