Disclaimer: Nahhh.

--Day Seven--

Halfway through the ride home I decided I was going to go crazy. It had been silent since we left the jail and I couldn't stand it much longer and found it getting harder and harder to stay angry at Soda. And the thought of Soda being mad at me, I couldn't stand that either. It'd been a real slap in the face when Soda had started hollering at me. I'd always assumed that he'd stand by me no matter what, he'd understand my motives, and even if he didn't he'd accept them for the mere fact they were mine. I could deal with Darry yelling at me, that was routine enough, but not him. I couldn't bear the quiet any longer.

"Hey, Sodapop," I said, nudging him in the side with my elbow, praying he didn't hate me. He didn't look at me, just tipped his head in my direction. I took a deep breath and held it, thinking of what I could possibly say. I wanted to say something like, "I'm sorry I got you so angry. I can't stand you being mad at me and I hope you aren't. I don't hate Steve. I thought I did but I don't. He's like a hole in the wall that you hated to stare at but once it's gone you miss it. I'm sorry I only thought of myself." But that sounded awkward and clumsy even in my head, especially the hole in the wall bit. I wondered why I even thought of that comparision in the first place. So instead of saying any of that I said, "So, how 'bout them RedHawks?"

He turned to me slowly and stared at me momentarily with an unreadable expression. Then he cracked a grin and said laughingly, "Well how the hell am I supposed to know? All we did while we were in 'Roe Dylan" was race around some old town, eat cookie dough, and sing show tunes."

"I stand by it, you're both nuts," Darry said cheerfully.

"And I stand by what Soda said, it runs in the family," I teased, vaguely shocked with myself. Didn't I once say that I'd just as soon tease a full grown grizzly? I wasn't worried with Darry getting sore over something so silly then, though. There was no time to. I couldn't stop with the wise-ass remarks after that either. When Darry took a hand off the steering wheel to give me a noogie, I ducked and leaned in Soda saying, "Hey, you might be Superman but don't be takin' your hands off the wheel; another car could be your kryptonite." Thinking over it now, that was a real stupid thing to say considering what memories it could pull to the surface but no one seemed to notice. Heck, I didn't even notice at the time and I said it.

When we got to the house I immediated raced up the steps and into the kitchen to check the ice box for cake. When I found none I lit into Darry playfully.

"What's this? no cake! Why Darry, I'm shocked and ashamed! Did you think that a week could make us lose our taste for chocolate?" As I calculated the number of days we'd been gone in my head I couldn't of been more shocked to find out it had only been a week. It'd felt ten times longer than Windrixville and there was hardly any difference in time.

"I knew I'd forgotten something! God, what is wrong with me?" Darry said, half-serious, half-joking. Soda kicked off his shoes by the door and tossed his into the hall. He took a running leap at Darry, throwing his arms around his neck. Darry hardly even wobbled and yanked Soda off him with ease.

"Easy there, I've still been working this week and my muscles are killing me. I've got something screwed up in my neck; mind trying to work it out?"

Soda crossed his arms on his chest and said sniffily, "Yes, I do as a matter of fact. I've found that planes quite tire me out and-" Darry threw a baby punch at Soda's stomach, causing him to sigh theatrically and to give in as though being held upside-down by his toes.

After a couple minutes of rubbing Darry's shoulder Soda jerked his head in my direction to come over to him. I did so casually. When I reached him he spoke to me in undertones, giving me a plan of action of how to tickle Darry. I completely forget that Darry wasn't ticklish and paid dearly with being tickled myself, Soda immediatly turning Benedict and joining Darry's side.

Later on when I went to bed I found myself tired but unable to sleep for want of memorizing every crack on the ceiling, the exact way the street light shone through the curtains and fell over the comforter, the way my books looked so comfortable in the shelf and just how the pictures sat on my desk. I was so wrapped up in this inward inventory of memories I hardly heard Soda when he whispered my name.

"Ponyboy?" he repeated, shifting up onto his elbow, causing the blanket to slide off my foot. A gust off wind from the open window hit my skin and I pulled it up under the covers.


"I didn't mean it. What I said, you know."

"Yeah, I'm sorry, too," I replied, shutting my eyes.

Soda could always remember that the easiest way to say things is to just go ahead and say it; that the smallest words can say it best.