I do not own Stand By me nor do I own any of the characters in it unfortunately...I simply think it's amazing!

This is my first ever go at Fan Fiction so I do apologise in advance if it sucks! Please review if you can and be as harsh as you want! I'd love to hear what you think of it. I will hopefully add chapters very soon. Happy New Year to you all and hope you enjoy xxx

It was nearing the end of my shift, auntie frank told me if I just cleared the tables I could get away home before dark. I had worked in Frankie's diner for many years while I was at school and Auntie Frank had become almost like a parent and the diner a second home. Her name was actually Beth Garcia but everyone in Castle Rock called her Frankie as she owned the diner. One time I asked her why the diner was called Frankie's and she told me it was because her Father was a big Sinatra fan. I was putting away my pinafore in the store room when I heard the door opening and the familiar loud voices of aunt franks "boys" flood through the door. I remember it had taken me a while to become comfortable around these boys but since Auntie Frank was so fond of them, I had learned to love them like she did. Just as she was for me, the boys almost regarded Auntie Frank as a mother to them and she took them in as though they were her own. She would always speak lovingly of her "boys".

"Auntie Frank, any leftover? I'm starving" said the first one dodging a table to get to the trays of empty plates Auntie Frank was clearing.

"I won't have you eating no scraps Billy" she laughed "here, why don't you finish off this chilli, I don't want it wasted"

"Hey Auntie Eff, you got any more of this stuff?" said another.

"My, don't your parents ever feed you boys?" Auntie Frank laughed again and remained dishing out all the un-used cooking from the day.

I walked through from the kitchen and leaned over the counter towards them " Who needs a trash can when you got Billy Tessio?" I said grinning.

"Baby! You working tonight?" Billy asked in between mouthfuls.

"Yeah, just finished" I replied pulling on my cardigan. They have called me Baby ever since I knew them. I guess it sounds odd considering I'm 17 but I'm so used to it now.

"Here's your wages Baby, you get home safe now you hear?" Auntie Frank said handing me the envelope. I assured her I would and kissed her cheek.

" Hold on" said a cool voice from the other side of the counter "come here". Ace was the leader of the group. He had the kind of voice that he never needed to raise but it still demanded attention. He was hard looking but painfully handsome, he could get and certainly just about did get every girl in castle rock. I walked round to his stool obediently and he reached around my waist to pull me into him. He always did this when he spoke to me around the Cobras as though to make sure I was closer to him than any of the others. "you're not walking on your lonesome, not tonight" he insisted.

"Why not? I'm fine Ace"

" 'Cause I say so" he said firmly.

"Fuckin' Preps! Place is full of them tonight" Eyeball butted in. "Can't be walking on your lonesome with those jocks around Baby"

"Well I can't stay here, I gotta get home, I promise I'll stay out their way Eyeball" I smiled sweetly down the counter at him. I looked at Ace, he didn't say anymore but took his hand away from my waist.

As I walked home I started thinking about my relationship with the Cobras. I loved them as friends, but to them I felt I was merely a pet. They had always been very protective over me and for most of the time I liked how safe it made me feel. My thoughts were broken by the sound of laughter and a gang of voices. I looked ahead of me to see a group of boys gathered around a blue mustang. They were smartly dressed, much smarter than the cobras ever looked and some were wearing letterman jackets. These must be the "Preps" that Eyeball had complained about earlier. The Preps, as the Cobras called them came from the upper class side of Castle Rock. Some were on their summer break from college and others were Seniors in High School. I thought about crossing the road to avoid them but then again I didn't want to go out my way just cause of a bunch of jocks so I continued to walk up to them.

"Hey Baby" I heard a voice utter. I glanced over expecting it to be followed with some rude remark or laughter but instead I was met with welcoming smiles. Maybe they weren't so bad as I had been led on to believe.

"You know me?" I asked the boy who was leaning on the hood of the car, with his hands in his pockets. He stood up from his place and came closer.

"Diner Girl right? I'm Rick" He smiled reaching out his hand towards me. I nodded and met his hand. He was very good looking, with dark hair combed into place and friendly brown eyes. "What's a girl like you doing walking alone at this time"

"I was working a late shift tonight, I'm just going home" I replied.

"You live around here?" his voice had an element of surprise and he turned to exchange glances with his friends behind him. I had never once felt the need to be embarrassed about where I lived until now. "How about we give you a ride home, see you get home safe?" Rick asked smoothly. It was almost too hard to say no to. I heard whispering behind him from the rest of the group.

"Oh, that's very kind of you but that won't be necessary, really" I replied politely taking a step back.

"I insist Baby" he continued "come on". The other 4 boys jumped around the side of the car and piled in as Rick opened the passenger door and motioned me in. Before I could even take a step, the rumble of a heavy car engine approached and a black car pulled up alongside .

"Shit" I whispered under my breath as Ace emerged from the black car. I looked apologetically at Rick. I didn't want to cause any trouble, I mean these guys were just being polite to me. He simply shrugged and turned to watch Ace swagger towards us.

"Well Well, What the fuck do you call this?" Ace laughed mockingly.

" It's nothing Ace, just leave it" I said as I turned to walk away from both cars.

"Chill out Asshole, we were just gonna give your broad a ride home" Rick retorted.

"You wanna regret saying that?" I heard Ace warn coldly followed by a pause.

"Fuck it, it ain't even worth it" Rick growled as he climbed into the passenger seat of their mustang. "See you around Baby" I heard as the car pulled away. The remaining Cobras in Ace's car shouted obscenities at it until it was out of sight. I continued to walk away from Ace, not just because I needed to get home but because I felt frustrated by the events that just took place. It was then that I realised exactly what my relationship was to the Cobra's. I was theirs; nothing more and nothing less. Although I thought I relished the safety of it, I hated having to live by their rules.

"Baby, get in the car" Ace demanded. I took a few more steps. " won't you just get in the fucking car now!" I spun round on my heels and glared at him. He was so unsympathetic that he probably didn't even care to see the hurt in my eyes. Once again I obeyed him, it was a unique power he had over me; whatever he said I did. I felt tears prick my eyes as I followed him to the car and got in the back seat alongside Billy and Charlie. They looked at me disapprovingly. Eyeball turned round and glared at me from the front seat.

"You promise me you'll stay away from them then you fucking get in their car?" He spat. "What you trying to pull Baby?"

"Nothing. I wasn't. They...They..." I saw Ace's eyes watch me from the rear view mirror "I'm Sorry"

"Damn right you are. I ever catch you pulling something like that again you'll be more sorry" Eyeball scowled as he turned back around. He muttered something to Ace as they swigged their beer bottles.

" Fucking Preps, don't they got enough broads of their own up their end that they can hassle without them taking ours" Charlie sneered. For the next few minutes they proceeded to make degrading comments about the preppy girls that Ace had been with over the years. I was too busy holding back tears to listen or care. The car pulled up in front of my house and without a word I climbed out and ran up my path. Before I could reach my door I felt a tight grip on my arm.

"Let go of me won't you?" I cried "I said I was sorry didn't I?, what more do you want?". I had never cried in front of the boys before and i think Ace was taken aback as he didn't say anything. I took a deep breath . "How am I supposed to live my life if I can't talk to anyone? I'm seventeen, Ace, and the only time I've ever spoken to a boy outside of the Cobra's was to ask whether he wanted fries with his cheeseburger! How am I suppose to date? Do the things a girl my age is suppose to do? Can't you let me be a girl Ace?"

"You are a girl Baby"

"A girl who you treat like a puppy dog, who's called Baby for Christ's sake! How am I ever going to meet someone, settle down, get married when you have me on a leash? " I exclaimed, almost out of breath.

"Why you worrying about this shit Baby?" He said softer than usual "We're just looking out for you, if I knew you had wanted to fucking marry that guy I would of left you to it" He gave a sly smile and looked me right in the eyes. I bit my lip and wiped the tears from my face, he always had a way of ending an argument immediately. "There, I'm glad we got that straightened out" He brought his hands to my face and held my head to look up at him. "You're cute" He smiled slyly again before taking his hands away and returning to the car.

" Hey Kim" I said holding the receiver to my ear "Mom said you phoned?"

"Oh, Hey Darla" Kim answered "Yeah, I did. I called the diner but Frankie told me you had left". Kim was one of my good friends from High school. I hadn't been able to see her much over the summer because I had asked for my more shifts in the Diner and besides, she had been away on a family vacation for three weeks.

"How was the vacation? I bet you've a lovely suntan on you"

"Oh well, I don't know about any suntan but boy I've got some stories to tell you all about" She laughed. I looked forward to catching up with her, just to speak to another girl about girl stuff.

My Mom walked into my room as I was getting ready to go to Kim's. She stood behind me as I brushed my hair in the mirror.

" What are you looking at me like that for?" I giggled looking back at her through the mirror.

"I feel like your just growing infront of my eyes nowadays Darla" She sighed "I just wish your grandma could have seen what a beautiful daughter I made"

"Well, any looks I may have I got from you" I laughed and returned to fixing my hair into neat curls.

I arrived at Kims house to find she had invited our other friends Marcy and Suzie. We spoke for hours about our summers so far. Kim told us all about her "Holiday romance" with a boy who was a year older than her and worked at the hotel they had stayed in. I listened contently and loved how she couldn't stop grinning while telling us about their first kiss. Although while she spoke, I couldn't help but feel jealous and thought about how I longed to experience a romance like that. Suzie told us how she had fallen for her Dad's new apprentice at the garage he runs. She had been sneaking out of her room at night and getting the late bus to the next town to visit him. Marcy, I had noticed, had completely transformed her image. She seemed to be happier to expose her already large cleavage and her dress was noticeably more figure hugging than she would have worn previously. She told us that she was receiving a lot more male attention now than she ever had before and that she was really enjoying it and was seriously planning asking Chuck Michaels out when we return to school. We all laughed until the conversation turned to what I had done this summer. It was then that I realised just how much older my friends seemed compared to me. I didn't have any whirl wind romances to report nor had I changed my image in any way to adapt to my age. I still felt like I did when I was fourteen years old.

"Morning Auntie Frank" I said skipping through the door of the diner "Sorry I'm a little late"

Frankie took one look at me, "Oh my" she gasped.

"You like it?" I smiled twirling around on the spot.

"Is that really you Baby?" she laughed and stroked my new head of hair "You're Blonde!"

"Kim did it last night"

"...and the clothes you're wearing!"

"Marcy's" I stated "You like them?"

"Very womanly, Baby" She said as she looked in disbelief.

"Well then" I said with a straight face "Maybe I'm not such a baby after all"

"No" Frankie replied "Perhaps Lady would be more appropriate"

"Darla" I smiled "Darla will do just fine"

"Darla" Frankie repeated softly and looked at me with approving eyes. I guess the makeover was a success.

It was nine that evening and the diner was more full than usual.

"So that's four cokes and a plate of cheese fries?" I asked the table of girls in front of me, scribbling down the order on my notepad. I heard the door clatter open and to no surprise the Cobras strode in up to the counter, laughing and shouting as they entered.

"Actually, we were just leaving" one of the girls said glaring at the gang of boys as they stood up.

"Why is it we always seem to lose customers when we are blessed with your company?" I asked cheekily as I past the boys on my way to the kitchen.

"Who the fuck is..." Vince started to ask.

"Darla" Auntie Frank answered from along the counter "That's Darla, Don't you recognise her?"

"Darla?" Eyeball snorted "Who the hell is Darla?"

"Baby" Frankie whispered

"I heard that Auntie Eff" I smiled as I returned from the kitchen.

"Sweet Jesus" Eyeball said almost spitting out his coke. A row of shocked eyes gazed at me from across the counter.

"What is it?" I said casually "You're acting like you ain't ever seen me before"

"Yeah I ain't" Ace replied coolly

"You're lookin' good Baby" Vince added

"Darla" Auntie Frank corrected him "We can't be calling her Baby now, look at her"

"Whatever, I'm calling you Marilyn...what's-her-name" Eyeball started to say.

"Monroe?" Billy finished "Marilyn Monroe?"

"Yeah that one" Eyeball replied and returned to his coke. From the corner of my eye I saw Rick and his gang had come in and were sitting at a table. Ace must have noticed my gaze as he looked over to their table and nudged Eyeball.

"Hey look, it's your husband, right Baby?" Eyeball laughed mockingly. I heard Auntie Frank mutter "Darla" in the background to correct him. I scowled at Ace, he must have told the guys what I had cried about when he had returned to the car.

"Whatever" I simply replied and grabbed my notepad and hurried to their table to take their order.

"Hi Rick" I smiled politely across the far side of the table.

"Wow, Baby, You look different" He replied looking round the table at the rest of the guys.

"Different" I laughed "Thanks"

"I would say you looked more but I don't want to say anything for fear I get killed this time" He said sarcastically and pointed to the Cobras behind me. I didn't look but I knew they would all be glaring at us from the counter.

"Ignore them please" I pleaded "I'm so sorry about the other night...I...I..."

"Hey...Hey Baby, don't worry about it" Rick stopped me "When you got a good thing, you wanna keep it, you know?" I looked puzzled at him. "All I'm saying is I'll stay out your way" There was part of me that felt disappointed by his statement; I didn't want it that way. I didn't want people having to stay out of my way because of the Cobras. I finished taking their orders and returned to the kitchen. The tense atmosphere was almost too much to bear out there so I asked Auntie Frankie for my break until Rick and his friends had cleared out.

"Hey Darla, that table earlier left a generous tip for you" Frankie told me as she closed the cashier.

"A man with money" Ace growled "Just what you want, huh Darla?" I sensed a feeling of dissatisfaction with me in his voice. I said nothing but took my pinafore off and said goodnight to Auntie Frank.

I was starting to walk round the corner from the Diner when I saw Ace's empty car parked at the side of the road. I was still fuming from his comments before I had left. I wanted to speak to him, ask him what his problem was with me. Or maybe I just enjoyed arguing with him, to get a reaction from him. I opened the passenger door and climbed in.

After a few minutes I saw the boys emerge round the corner from the diner. Ace must have noticed me in his car as I heard him demanding everyone to leave. My heart pounded in my chest and my stomach turned at the thought of confrontation with him. The driver door opened, climbed in and immediately started the engine. I had expected him to ask me what I was doing sitting in his car, but it was as though he had expected it.

"You don't like my hair" I broke the silence "My clothes - You don't like the way I look Do you?

"I do" was his reply as he continued to drive. There was a long awkward silence; I noticed he wasn't driving me home.

"Ace, where are we going?" He didn't answer, just rolled a tooth pick from one corner of his mouth to the next, his eyes fixated ahead. I suddenly felt very bare and regretted my choice of outfit; I hadn't anticipated I would be sitting alone in a car with Ace when I had put it on. I kept trying to tug my dress down my legs as the leather seats made it creep up. Actually I regretted my decision to get in the car at all now.

We pulled up to The Point – a spot which overlooked Castle Rock. It was beautiful but ruined by the fact it was always occupied by couples making out in their cars.

"Never been up here before" I remarked peering over the dashboard to the town below. I was trying to act nonchalant about him bringing me up here, hiding my nerves. This plan had severely backfired on me.

"course you haven't" He smirked and lighted a cigarette. Another long silence ensued.

"I just wanted to say that..."

"Shut up Baby" He cut me off. I bit my lip and turned my head to look at him as he took a drag of his smoke. "You think 'cause you're bleaching your hair, showing your thighs, your tits, it's gonna make you different? Is that what you're thinking Baby?" I was taken aback by his sudden outburst. His face was really serious. "You think it'll make them jocks like you more? Make you more like them?"

"That wasn't what I was doing Ace" I said quietly.

"Sure...Sure..." He took another long drag of his cigarette.

"I Just want to look grown up" I took the chance to say.

He smirked "You don't look any older to me" he still hadn't looked at me since he had gotten in the car "You just look like one of them fucking princesses from up The View"

"One of them princesses?" I retorted "You mean every single girl you've fucked before?" I surprised myself at my outburst. That was when he looked at me, a hard cold stare for what seemed like minutes. "Sorry" I mumbled breaking the silence. "I guess...I guess I get what you're saying"

"We don't like a change" he said croakily "The Cobras don't like change...is all I'm saying"

"I think Eyeball liked the change" I giggled but Ace remained straight-faced.

"Don't change Baby" He said flicking his cigarette out the car window and starting the engine back up again.