"Ponyboy is Soda up yet." Darry asked, pouring his coffee.

"I woke him but he's sill in bed."

Darry walked back to his brothers' room and peeked in. "Soda, its morning time now. Time to get up and have breakfast."

Soda sat up slowly the sleep in his eyes still evident and looked at Darry, expectantly. "Come on, Sodapop. Its time for breakfast."

Soda rose up out of bed and walked over to were Darry was standing for a hug. This was part of the morning routine. The doctors said that children with autism were often distant and unaffectionate but Soda had always been just the opposite.

"Good boy, go to the table." Darry followed him out into the kitchen.

"Darry, I have track today. Who's coming by to watch him until you get home?" Pony asked.

"Two-Bit's gonna come over when Monique leaves. I'll come pick you up at five and we'll come home."

The brothers looked over at the sound of a loud thump on the kitchen table. Soda stomped his foot and stuck out his hand towards Darry. "Sodapop, ask nice." Darry instructed.

"Please." Soda said softly. Darry reached over and handed him his schedule. Soda snatched the list and looked at it carefully, pointing to Saturday and the picture of the television.

"No." Darry corrected. "Today is Friday." Darry pointed at the correct day of the week and than to the list of pictures next to it. "Monique comes to do school with you today." Darry pointed at the illustrations that lined the calendar he'd made out for his little brother.

Pony sat down at the table with his own eggs and braced himself. Soda hated school. He pointed adamantly at Saturday and the television again. Darry shook his head and Soda let out a loud sound of protest. "It's Friday." Darry pointed again. "Tomorrow is Saturday and you watch tv in the morning but on Friday we do school first and we only watch tv if we listen at school well."

Soda, not liking this response one bit put his hands on his head in frustration and stomped his foot loudly. Darry ignored it and sat down at the table to eat. "Pony your math homework is on the coffee table. I looked it over it last night. You need to fix number twenty before you go to school."

"Thanks Dar." Pony mumbled.

"Soda, eat." Darry said. Soda sat quietly for a moment as if he hadn't heard his brother but than picked up his fork to have some eggs.

"Good boy." Darry praised and finished off his coffee.

Pony left to get ready for school and Darry cleaned up while Soda finished slowly. When he did he got up and made to leave the kitchen. "Put your dishes in the sink." Darry reminded. Soda put his hand to his mouth in frustration but obeyed slowly, taking caution to place the dishes in the sink just right, lining the dish and the cup symmetrically.

Two-Bit came crashing in at that moment and Soda grinned widely, tackling his friend. "Hey, Soda!" Two-Bit wrestled him down to the ground.

"Hey don't get him all riled up. I need him to get ready." Darry said.

"Is Pony ready to go?" Two-Bit asked, standing up off the ground. Soda continued to pull on his pant leg.

"Soda, no more." Darry said. Soda continued to pull. Two-Bit just chuckled. "Soda its not playtime." Darry insisted. "You're gonna be here by four right?" Darry asked. Two-Bit nodded. "You gotta be sure you're on time because Monique has to leave."

"Don't worry about it Dar, I've got it covered." Two-Bit reassured him.

Soda who had since picked himself up off the ground was now tugging on Darry's arm and whining. "Soda use your words." Darry encouraged. Soda rarely spoke and wasn't to good at communicating what he wanted appropriately. Soda stomped his foot, urging Darry to understand with lack of words.

"Words Soda." Darry pressed.

"Time." Soda said.

He then picked up his scheduled and pointed to the dresser, holding it up so close to Darry's face that he could hardly see it. "Yes, go get dressed." Darry nodded.

Soda dashed off to his bedroom and Darry followed. "Ponyboy you're gonna have to get a move on if you want to make it on time. Two-Bits in the living room waiting for you." Darry said walking into the boys room.

"I know I'm ready." Pony snatched up his backpack and headed out.

"Don't forget your lunch."

"I won't"

"Soda, no. You wore that yesterday and the day before that." Darry shook his head at the shirt that Soda pulled out of the hamper.

"Yes." Soda said, working the shirt over his head.

"No." Darry insisted, grimacing at the stains that coated the front of his brothers favorite t-shirt. Soda cried out as Darry's hands worked to remove the shirt and throw it back to the hamper. "Find a clean one please."

"Wash it." Soda handed Darry his favorite shirt.

"Yes, I will but right now you need to pick a new shirt." Soda looked disappointed but grabbed a clean red t-shirt from inside his dresser and put it on with minimal trouble. They got through the rest of the morning routine with little trouble outside of brushing his teeth which was never a favored event. Soda checked off his schedule with satisfaction and headed over to the couch when he was through.

"Monique?" Soda asked as he rocked back and forth in anticipation.

"Yes, Soda. She's almost here." Darry went back to finish getting ready, leaving an antsy Soda to stare at the window. "Monique!" Soda shouted, rocking harder when he saw her car pull up.

Darry came out, tool belt in hand. "Morning Sodapop" Monique greeted cheerfully popping through the door. She smiled at Darry.

"Soda, say good morning." Darry prompted. Soda just looked at her, not quit sure if he liked her being there or not. Monique was nice but whenever she came Darry left and he had to sit down at the table and do school.

"I'll see you tonight." Darry kissed Soda on the cheek and hurried out the door.