Disclaimer: I do not own the Outsiders. This story was written for entertainment, not profit.
A/N: Thanks for reviewing the last chapter, those who did. Also, a first version was posted earlier and reviewed but was replaced and those reviews were lost. My apologies and thank you for those as well. I hope everyone enjoys this next chapter.
Take Care of Yourself, Kid
Chapter 2: You Drinking My Milkshake?
The Dingo had the best milkshake I had ever tasted. Sitting at the bar there I sipped mine slowly. Emily devoured her burger and fries while throwing sideways flirtatious glances at the boys in a booth a little ways away from us. They sniggered, punching each other playfully, darting glances our way. They were good looking enough, but just a little too young for us. Emily was just teasing them, having a little fun, warming up for the night when the real games would begin. I grabbed one of the fries we were sharing from the blue, plastic basket. She put too much salt on them again.
The boys were going to come over to us; I could feel it, so I stood, grabbing my shake and swallowing the last of my burger. Giving Emily a look, I turned up to go. She threw back her head to swallow the rest of soda and followed me out the door, the rest of her burger in hand. We were almost out the door when something stopped us.
"Hey. Hey you!"
I paused. Emily tapped my shoulder. Shaking her off, I kept walking. I did not want a fight tonight.
"I said hey, Greaser. I'm talking to you!" I froze. On the outside, I looked cool and calm enough, but on the inside I was in a tizzy. What the heck do I do? Slowly, frowning my toughest frown, I turned to look at the antagonist. It was a tall, thin girl with brown hair. A soc by the look of her in her tight little prep school skirt and smug expression.
"Yeah?" I asked coolly.
"You drinking my milkshake?" she smirked. It was clearly a joke, bait. I didn't take it. I spat it out, figuratively, by turning again to leave.
"You hear me?" She demanded, barely containing laughter. I could tell what she was doing and it made me mad. She was testing me. Some cocky little Soc thought she was tuff over on the south side and decided to come over to north side and challenge me, make a scene. I had no choice. A greaser cannot back away from a challenge. They have their reputation to think about and around here that's what matters. I couldn't back down now. All eyes on me, I turned again to face her.
"You got a problem Soc?" I asked, voice low, head ducked dangerously just like Two-Bit did when he got mad. Leaning against the door frame, blocking anyone from entering, Emily stood behind me. She watched the exchange with an arrogant, knowing grin, but on the inside she was anxious. I could it feel it from there. She hated fights. If I could talk this Soc down, make her feel like small and foolish, we might not have to fight this girl. Something, though, told me that wasn't going to happen this time. She had come with only one friend, instead of with a posse, which meant one important thing: she was not afraid. To be honest, it kind of made me feel a little respect for her. Who was this girl anyway?
"Yeah, she laughed. I got a problem."
I paused, just long enough to make them wonder. The usually rowdy Dingo was silent, so quiet you could actually hear the quarters sliding down into the juke box in the corner. The guy slipping them in stopped. He did not press a button. Everyone waited.
I paused to let them get nervous, staring them down unwaveringly. Most people shied away from the harsh eye contact which was Dally, Steve's and Darry's secret weapon. This girl looked me right in the eye the whole time. It was like the intense part of a shoot out scene in a Western right before the cowboys draw. I could practically hear the music from High Noon whistling in the back ground.
"What's that?" I asked dryly, pretending to be amused as well.
"Can you tell me where to find somebody?"
"That depends. Who are you looking for?"
"We got a lot of those around here. You're gonna have to be a little more specific." I replied. Two-Bit and Dally had both showed me that a very handy way to 'keep face', as they called it (or to stall for time in a sticky situation) was to be a smartass.
"This kid," she said coolly, taking a cigarette from her belt and lighting it up. The clerk told her not to smoke in here. She ignored him. "This greaser plays baseball."
"A lot of greasers play baseball." I told her.
"This one is good. This greaser," she laughed. "This one is gonna make it to the World Series one day."
"Maybe you should try looking on the baseball field then." I told her impatiently, ready to get out of there.
"This greaser likes Elvis. You know any greasers that like Elvis?"
"I don't know one that doesn't." That was it. I was leaving.
"This one has a nickname." She called after me. Still facing the door, I was grinding my teeth as I asked through them: "Oh yeah? What is it?"
"It's um," she laughed again. "Original. I can't remember, but their last name I know."
"What is it?" my voice was quiet and dangerous. This girl was really getting to me.
"Curtis." She said, triumphantly, watching recognition spread across my face.
"Which one?" I raised an eyebrow sharply. "What you want with them?"
"This one owes me somethin'."
"What do they owe you?"
"A name. What do you mean a name?"
"I mean a tough name. A name like Sodapop. You know someone who owes me name, greaser?" The last word had a sick emphasis places on it, a disdainful one.
I shook my head, as puzzled as everyone else. "Nope." I answered, looking mean. What was she getting at? Was she making fun of Soda? "Do I know you?" I asked.
"Do you?" she dared. A couple people made 'ohh-ing' noises.
"What's your name?" I demanded simply.
"Guess." She dared me, blowing out smoke.
"I don't guess." I told her. "What's your name Soc?" I snapped.
"Nelly." She replied, smiling. Smiling? Wait-Nelly?
"Nelly?" I asked.
"Hey greaser, long time no see."
"Yeah. You miss me much?"
"No way." I shook my head in disbelief. She hopped down at last from her seat, cigarette tagging along, and followed after me as I headed away from the many faces watching us. Emily looked her up and down, doubtful.
"What kind of trouble are we getting into tonight?" Nell asked happily, opening the door for me.
"Hey Baby," a voice behind me said, it was her friend from the seat at the bar.
"Miles?" I asked, stunned. He looked different, taller.
"Don't call her that anymore stupid." Nelly snapped. "She goes by Kid now. That's why it took forever for us to find you. Kid? Really? That's the best you could come up with?"
"Baby is not exactly the toughest name out there," I shrugged.
"Kid is better?"
"A little," I laughed. It was amazing how fast we could fall back in step, joking like old times. Emily was uncharacteristically quiet. She informed then though that: "She goes by that because that's what Dally called her."
"Dally? Dallas Winston? I heard he was dead."
"He ain't dead." Emily objected defensively. "He skipped town about a month ago. Left Babe his switchblade."
"So I heard." Nelly said, impressed. "Can I see it?" she asked as eagerly as we when had been kids. I flipped it out for a quick look and pocketed it again.
"You that orphan she was friends with on the south side?" Emily asked Nelly, squinting at her.
"Yep. I ain't an orphan anymore though."
"A Soc, huh?" Emily scoffed.
"You could say that." The two looked at each other, hard. I could feel the tension. It was pulsating through the air, so thick you could slice it with a knife and cover your toast with it. From the apprehensive look on Miles' face, he was thinking the same thing: there was gonna be trouble from these two. I could feel it, and I did not want trouble. More importantly, my brothers didn't want trouble either.
"Come on ladies." I interrupted. "There's a game tonight, first one of summer." That settled it for then. A game would take everyone's mind of everything else. There would be no trouble so long as there was baseball. If I could have only known how wrong I was.
A/N: What's going to happen when they reach the ball park? We'll see… Review and I'll post an up-date sooner. There will be more of the boys in this story soon too.