I starred up at the clock. It was amazing that time seemed to speed up when you were sleeping, but when you are wide-awake and worrying minutes feel like hours. I had already smoked almost an entire pack of cigarettes. I figured Pony would have made it by curfew, but a half hour later he still wasnt here. Soda had been in his room, since our conversation. I had made a round of calls; my stomach was throbbing. My head was already pounding and my hands were trembling.
Hes late. A familiar voice said. My head shot up. If Darry was still pissed, it didnt show every ounce of anger was now replaced with three ounces of worry. Darry was a worrier, and it showed on his facial expressions.
Calm down. Im going to give him five more minutes, then I am going to hunt him down. I patted the place next to me on the couch.
Darry sat next to me but he wasnt looking at me. Im going to go crazy if something happens to him. He was shaking a lot harder than I was. I cant.
I know, Darry. I cut him off and threw an arm around him. Believe me, I know.
Whyd you come back? If living with us was so bad? He found a place on the wall to stare at.
My substance issues have nothing to do with you guys. Alcohol was a demon I never faced but should have a long time ago. After the war, the flash backs, and everything; it was like my anger management had just left me. I stopped for a minute when I heard my voice crack. I somehow thought medicating myself, would be better than dealing with my problems.
Thats the stupidest thing, I have ever heard of. You should have gone to the doctors or something.
I tried to talk to my parents. They dont want anything to do with me right now, because of my views about politics.
I heard him heave his breath out. You didnt need your parents to walk into a doctors office.
God, I wanted a drink. Damn it, Darry! You have no idea, this isnt easy. I kicked the coffee table. I was about to start yelling, but the phone rang. Hello
Thats not very friendly. It was a voice I had hear but couldnt put a name to it.
Who is this? I dont have time for games.
I dont want to play a game. I just wanted to inform you, that Pony was at the park, east end by the swings. Its Tim.
I bit my lip down. Thanks. I appreciate it. Ill go get him.
I hung up the phone. Darry, Im going to get Ponyboy. Hes at the park.
Darry jumped off the couch. Maybe I should go.
No, this thing, this is my fault. I got my keys and hopped in my truck.
I pulled to the back parking lot. It looked above the swings. It was kind of odd, because Pony was just sitting on the swing. He looked like the lonely kid on the playground. I guess right now he was.
I walked down the hill toward him; he jumped of the swing and turned around. I could tell he was already annoyed. What are you doing here?
What do you think? Its after your curfew?
I dont need one. Im not a little kid anymore. He said.
Then why are you acting like one? I asked digging around in my pockets for a cigarette.
Why am I acting like one? Im the only one that can be honest anymore.
Ponyboy, relax your tone. I quickly added please. I didnt want to be set off from him, I wasnt sure if I was capable of controlling my anger.
Everything you said back in that living room was right about everyone. But if you want to be treated like an adult, you have to act like one. Running out like that, and scaring the shit out of Darry; thats something a kid would do.
He shoved his hands in his pockets. You guys just dont get it. This isnt what things were like when you were my age.
I bit my lip. Once again, he proved his point. Youre right Pony, the reality is Darry and I dont want you to loose your childhood, and yes I say childhood because that doesnt end until your out of college, and have actual responsibility. These pass few years; its been hell for you. I guess we thought that if we treated like you were a kid, then youd be one.
Life isnt that easy. Im not a kid anymore; you guys need to stop treating me like it. I dont know how I have to prove it to you.
Ponyboy, I know you feel grown up, I get your going through a lot of changes and other things. But believe me, you dont want to grow up this fast. Youre right you arent two, but you also arent an adult yet. But Ill give you the choice. You can stay here, or you can come home, and as a family we can talk about this. I turned around and headed back to the car. Ill give you five minutes.
I sat in the car waiting for him. I shut my eyes, and almost prayed that he would come. I really wasnt in the mood to deal with all this. I gripped the steering wheel until my knuckles went white. The car door opened; Ponyboy slid into the seat next to me. The car ride home was silent. When I had my brothers piled into the living room, you could cut the tension with a knife.
Alright. It was the first time where I was at a complete loss of what to say. I jumped out of my chair. Guys, who I was before I came here. I wasnt a good person. I stopped talking and tried to collect my thoughts. This was a lot harder to explain than I thought. I always turned to drinking when things got rough for me. It was just never a problem before. Then after the war, my anger management went away. I did some horrible things, some really horrible things; that I will never forget. They haunted me even in my sleep; things just triggered them. When I started lashing out on you three, I was afraid I was going to really hurt you guys. I felt tears roll down my face. I tried to wipe them away, but it didnt work Shit. I threw my head in my hands.
Its okay. I felt Ponys arm come across my shoulders.
I looked up at the ceiling. I dont want to hurt you guys. I smoked grass to take the edge off. I need to get my stuff straightened out. I cant be in this house until, it Im right again.
Where are you going? Soda asked. You cant just leave.
California. I have too Soda, I cant put you guys at risk, you havent seen the worst of my temper. You cant be here when it comes out.
So, youre going back to your parents? That doesnt make sense! I heard Ponys voice crack.
No, Im not allowed to go back. I tried to go there for help, but with the articles Ive been writing, they dont even want to speak to me right now, much less help me. Im going to a place in San Francisco. I can get some help there. I stared at the floor.
What if this place cant help you? Pony asked.
I bit my lip. Then I cant come back.
Why cant you just stop? Darry asked.
Darry, fucking look at me. You see this. I held my hands out that were shaking. I cant stop, until I drink something.
When are you leaving? He asked.
In three hours. I got up to pack my stuff. I needed to get out of there. I threw everything I could thing of in my suitcase.
How long are you going to be there? Darrys voice came from behind me.
Im not sure. I said turning around to face him. Im sorry, Darry.
Its nothing you can control. His voice was tight. I just wanted you to know that you can always come back. Even if you arent fully cured, no matter what your views are about anything are. Youre always going to be our brother.
I didnt know what to say. I just hugged him hard. It didnt take long for Soda and Pony to join in. Here, this is the check book it has my bank account to the rest of my trust fund.
We cant Darry started.
Take it. I demanded. That has more than my savings with what I earned from working.
How are you paying for everything? Pony asked. He had a concerned tone in his voice.
The money from selling the Cadillac. I dug around in my pockets for the keys to my truck. Darry, here let Soda drive you old truck.
There was a blast of a car horn. They all looked up at me for answers. Thats my cab.
Call us when you can. Pony hugged me.
I kissed the top of his head, and grabbed Soda. You guys better be good, and think about Darry before you speak or take action. I hugged Darry. I have to go, I love you guys.
I was almost to the living room when I heard Darry say Looks likes it is just the three of us for a while.
A/N: I want to apologize because in the last chapter I forgot to go back and replace the word break with divider lines. This is the last chapter. I feel this story is finished. I may write a really short sequel.