-1Chapter 1

Darry's a jerk. I hate him, I really, really do. Our parents died, and today I'm sitting in the back of his truck as he heads over to the boys' home to dump us. I'm currently sitting with my arms crossed over my chest, staring (glaring) out the window. I haven't said a word since they died three days ago. I cried silently too. Darry doesn't care, he's going to go to college and 'make something of himself', is how he put it. Soda's sitting next to Darry, being far from quiet. Actually, he's barely stopped screaming since after the funeral, when our 'brother' told us that he planned on leaving us. They've been in an argument since then, which was three hours ago. We've only been in the car for an hour. Darry's just holding the steering wheel real tight, his face red with rage as Soda screams at him. I don't even know what they're talking about anymore, I tune them out. Soda turns to me, his face falling from rage to compassion.

"Pony, don't worry, baby. I'm going to take care of you." We both know it's a false hope, but he says it anyway. My brother Sodapop is two years older than me, he's always optimistic like that, even after living on Tulsa's North Side for fourteen years. They will probably split us up and the extent of our relationship will be occasional phone calls. We're brothers, we're closer than anything. They're going to rip us apart.

The truck pulls to a stop in front of a large, stone, rectangular building. Soda jumps out abruptly and slams the door. I watch Darry close his eyes and I know he's trying not to get angry. What does he have to be angry about? He's going to college and living his dream. I think my heart will break from the tragedy (sarcasm). I look at him for a minute before climbing out of the truck quietly and closing the door, saying in almost a whisper,

"I love you, Darry." I have no idea why I say it. But Darry's face looks almost guilty for a minute. I grab mine and Soda's bags and run up the stairs to meet him. He's ringing the doorbell. I shrug his duffel off my shoulder and hand it to him wordlessly. He smiles at me slightly and throws it over his shoulder, putting a hand on my shoulder just as the door opens. A lady looks at us in boredom,

"You must be the Curtis boys." She says, to which we nod. She turns and starts walking without comment, we shuffle behind her. She throws open one door, there's a small bed and a chest of drawers, the whole room's white and reminds me of three things: a hospital, an asylum, or a jail. None of them are pleasant. She motions to Soda,

"This is your room. All children between the ages of thirteen and fifteen are on this floor. You may not leave this floor except for meals, which is served in the cafeteria down two flights of stairs." Soda looks at me, and I ease my shoulder out of his reach, making myself look brave. He puts his hand back on my shoulder and looks me in the eye,

"You be good, Ponyboy." I nod, fighting the tears in my eyes. He enters the room and shuts the door abruptly.

She leads me up two flights of stairs and throws open a door that reveals a room identical to Soda's. I walk in and hear the door close. I look around the room before heaving a sigh and setting up camp, wondering how long I'll be here. I lay back in my bed and stare at the ceiling idly, having nothing better to do.