Chapter Three - Coming Home Again

I embraced Sodapop into a hug without a thought. The car started up and Uncle Tom drove out of the parking lot.

"Oh my god! Soda! Two-Bit!!"

For the first time in forever, I was actually seeing two of my best friends of Oklahoma. I thought I was dreaming; but it was real. Of course, I should have known that Aunt Kathy was going to do this.
Along with me, Aunt Kathy was a second mother to the guys too. She took care of us all and made sure nothing really ever bad happened.

I felt Soda hug me back. "Little Red, it's awesome to see you again!"

I let go of him and looked up at both of them.

"Wow! It's been so long!" I said. "How've you two been?"

"We've been alright; hangin' in there. Same old guys still here." Sodapop said. "What about you? Lookit you!"

"What about me?" I raised an eyebrow and grinned.

"Hair? Make-up? Jewelery? What happened to the tomboy Jessika?" Sodapop pointed out.

"Hey! I'm still the same rough-housin' girl." I punched Soda in the arm playfully. "I've just gotten... dressed up a little that's all."

"It doesn't look bad." Two-Bit complimented. "Just promise us you're not goin' soft on us."

"Pff! You both must be crazy if you think I am goin' soft!" I scoffed.

They both knew I was just playing and laughed. Sodapop then said to me "What do you think about comin' over our house and seeing the others?"

"Yeah, I kind of slipped it out that you were coming..." Two-Bit confessed.

"Uh, well I got to go unpack when I get to my aunt and uncle's house though." I told them.

"It won't take you that long Jess." Uncle Tom said. "And it's not like you have to unpack right away. You can do it tonight if you want."

"I know, but I'd rather just get it out of the way that's all." I answered him.

"Whenever you get done, just come on over. You know where our house is." Soda said.

"I won't be long, but alright." I smiled.

Uncle Tom dropped Soda and Two-Bit at Soda and his brother's house. Arriving at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Tom's house, the three of us were greeted to the sound of Peanut's barks. Peanut was their Golden Retriever. He was a real friendly dog to the family.

Since there was only one guestroom, Jason and I had to sleep downstairs in the living room. But we did keep our bags the guest room so we had space. The only thing I took out of my bag at the moment was my flip-flops so I could change out of my sneakers.

I went back downstairs and into the kitchen to see that my mom and aunt was cooking dinner.

"Hey kiddo, you hungry?" Aunt Kathy offered food. "We're cookin' steak tonight."

"Could you put my plate in the microwave for now?" I requested. "I'm going over the guys' house and see them again."

Mom was cooking the steak as Aunt Kathy worked on the asparagus. "Who?"

"The Curtis family. Remember mom?" I tried sparking her memory.

"Oh! Okay." She nodded. "Well be home around eightish."

I read the clock; it said 6:45pm.

"'K, I'll see you then." I gave her a kiss on the cheek.

"Alright. Love you dear." she said.

"Love you too Mom. Love you Aunt Kathy." I responded to both of them.

"Love ya." Aunt Kathy replied. "Have fun."

I was out the front door and walked about five houses down. The Curtis' place hasn't changed much from when I lived here. I stepped onto their driveway and headed for the front door.

I knocked five times and waited for someone to show up. I heard footsteps, and the door knob started to turn. It swung open and a tall, muscular man answered the door. He had dirty-blondish looking hair and grey eyes. The man looked about in his twenties, and it could be only one person: Darrell Curtis.

"Little Red!!" he attacked me with a bear hug.

"Hey -- Darry. How's it?" I said practically getting the wind knocked out of me.

"Ah! Welcome home girl!" Darry spun me around a couple times.

"Thanks -- Uh Dar' -- could you let me down?" I gasped.

"Oops. Yeah sorry about that..." Darry set me down back on my feet. "Come on in."

We both stepped inside; I spotted Two-Bit sitting on the couch along with three other boys.

One was rather short, with black hair like mine (but mostly on his forehead) with black, innocent looking eyes just stained with fear. The other one was a tall and slender boy with a short brown hair, dark eyes, and an elfish-looking face. The third one, was about at an average height. He had the same color hair as Darry, though his was slick back with grease. From my memory I took it was Johnny Cade, Ponyboy Curtis, and Dallas Winston.

"Hey! She's here!" Two-Bit said seeing me with Darry.

"Well it's about goddamn time." Dally joked.

"Oh quiet Dally." I laughed.

"Welcome back Jessika, how've you been?" Ponyboy greeted me.

"Thanks Ponyboy, it's great to be back. " I smiled.