More than Admiration

Chapter One

As I stepped out into the heavy rain from the dim light of my house, I had only two things on my mind: band-aids and a place to sleep. I was thinking about going to the vacant lot two blocks away but with the rain being so heavy I knew I wouldn't be able to close one eye. I could go back into my house and try to sneak back up to my room but I knew there was a good chance I would get caught and get a good beating. That left only one other option, so I sighed and made my way to the Curtis house.

Don't get me wrong I like the Curtis brothers. Ponyboy, the youngest one, was my best friend and the oldest one, Darry, took good care of me when I was hurt but there was just something about the middle brother, Sodapop, that always got me flustered.

I didn't like the feeling that grew in the pit of my stomach when he looked at me. I didn't like the way my face involuntarily flushed when he spoke to me. I hated it! It scared me to be honest because I had heard of what these feelings meant when Dally had been talking about Sylvia when he had first met her and a guy shouldn't be feeling those feelings for another guy.

Even if I didn't like it there was no doubt that I had fallen for Sodapop Patrick Curtis, there was just no way past it. Ever since Ponyboy and I came back from Windrixville and my trial, I had been so much closer to Soda. He and Ponyboy had been the ones who gently talked me through all the trouble and they had always been there to calm me down when I got too upset. Since then me and Soda have been really close and it all went downhill from there.

Can you really blame me though? I mean he's great person. He cares about me and he's always there to understand or cheer me up. And his looks are nice too. He has such beautiful golden hair that he always slicks back and honey brown eyes that were filled with personality and affection. I couldn't help myself really. He was just so irresistible. Yeah, that's a good word… irresistible. I guess his new girl Rhonda thinks he's pretty irresistible too.

I don't dislike many things but Rhonda is definitely one of them. I didn't really know how to handle her. She was so off the wall, she was crazy. She scared the heck out of me. She talked loudly and drank and smoked way too much. She stole all the time, no matter if she needs the items she was stealing or not. And she claimed to be a natural blonde but I knew she was lying from the way her roots always got dark every couple of weeks.

I shook my head and started walking to Curtis house faster. I hate to think about Rhonda and the rain was getting harder. I started to shake and my finger tips started to tingle. Man it was sure cold!

I was around the corner from my destination when a cherry red Corvair pulled up beside me. I got goose bumps, but not from the cold, and started to walk faster. The car got slower and slower so I ducked my head and slouched, wishing I could just blend in with the rain. I'm not that lucky though.

One by one six Socs filed out of the car. Each of them had to be at least 6 feet tall; they towered over me by a good foot. They were built like monsters too. Their biceps were the width of my head and they were as thick as trees. I knew as soon as they circled me that my pocket knife and I weren't gonna win this.

"Are you the bastard who killed Bob Sheldon?" One of them growled as they slowly got closer and closer.

I started to shake. I know better than anyone not to show fear in front of the enemy but this was just too much like the last time I got jumped by some of these guys.

"I-I didn't mean to," my voice quivered as tremors racked my body, "he was gonna kill my friend and I didn't know what to do."

"Well," the same Soc began to talk, "Bob was our buddy and we don't like it when filthy greasers like you mess with us." And just like that the charged at me. They were like human bulls; I remembered learning about things like that in English class when I went to school. I remember they were called Minotaur. Blood thirsty, hideous beasts that fed on human flesh. Usually the flesh of an unwilling sacrifice. That unwilling sacrifice was me.

They hollered and roared as they attacked like they were seeing red. They took to torturing their victim and kicked and punched, and pushed and pulled. They beat me to a bloody pulp; within seconds I was on the ground sobbing for them to stop but they wouldn't budge. I realized after a while that I wasn't Theseus, I was no Greek hero, I couldn't stand up and I couldn't fight back, so I screamed. I screamed for Sodapop, Ponyboy, Dally, or anybody around who would be willing to save me.

For a couple of seconds that felt like forever, no one came and for a minute, I thought no one would. But as soon as I doubted them my heroes came.

Around the corner, without missing a beat, came the gang, Soda and Pony leading the way. Soda was carrying a foot long pipe, Pony, Two-bit and Steve were running with busted pop bottles, Dally had his blade switched out and ready, and all Darry needed were his fists.

Soon the pack of Socs was gone and I was being lifted up off the ground by Sodapop with a worried looking Ponyboy at his shoulder. What had happened between them running to the rescue and now, I couldn't tell you. Everything was very fuzzy and it sounded far away. Ponyboy had asked me if I was okay and it took me a second to process the question. I tried to tell him I would be fine but all that came out was a rattling wheeze.

All the pain intensified after a second and I sobbed harder than I had before. My insides felt as if they were on fire. Flames licked up and down my ribs and curled around my lungs. Everywhere was this painfully unbearable heat. Everything was aflame except for my stomach; it was ice cold and just as painful as the rest of me.

Sodapop, seeing my distress, hugged me closer and I put my arms around his neck and pulled myself close as I possibly could and just cried. I was scared and in pain, and even if he didn't know it, I needed him to hold me.

I cried into his shoulder, staining his shirt and Soda didn't let me go or loosen his grip. I was grateful for that.

As I cried I realized that everything, the beating, the pain and Soda holding me as I cried, was the same as last time. I cried harder at the unfairness of it all. Why couldn't I ever get a break? The only good thing I had was Soda, Pony and the gang. They were the only things I cherished.

Sodapop rubbed and patted my back, trying to comfort me. "Your okay. Their gone now. You're safe, I've got you. Everything's gonna be alright, Johnnycake." He talked to me in a low, steady and gentle tone. I tried to say something back but it just came out as a muffled gurgle noise.

My mouth filled with blood and I started to throw up blood everywhere; all the way down my chin and all over Soda's shirt.

"Johnny? Johnny are you okay?" Soda's voice was nearly hysterical. I tried to move to try and wipe my blood off his shirt but he held me still.

"I'm sorry S-Soda. I d-didn't m-mean to." I was surprised at how hard it was to talk. Blood kept on rushing up my throat and flooding my mouth.

"No Johnnycake. No it's alright... we gotta get you to a hospital." He picked me up and started to

Soda ran to the truck with me in his arms and the rest of the gang followed close behind. Soda and Pony crawled into the front with my head in Soda's lap and Pony supporting my legs. The rest of the gang jumped into the bed of the truck.

As we went to the hospital every pain in my body intensified. My eyes started to roll around inside of their sockets. Everything started to fade around the edges.

"C'mon Johnny keep your eyes open." Soda was patting my cheek gently trying to keep me awake. "Stay awake honey."

I smiled a little because he called me 'honey' then everything faded and went dark.