The next day when Pony got home from school *cough* I mean the movies, he hurriedly cleaned up the kitchen, did the dishes, and cleaned his and Soda's room. He had to get on Darry's good side because he really wanted back on the track team. He was about to start dinner but Darry got home before he could.

"Hi Darry!" He said, smiling as his big brother walked in.

"What'd you do?" Darry asked, immediately wanting to know why Pony was being so nice all of the sudden.

"Nothing." Ponyboy said, defensively.

Darry shook his head. "Whatever." He said. "Did you do your homework?"

"Yeah." Pony said, softly.

"All of it?" Darry asked. It seemed to Pony like Darry wanted to know every single fault.

"Yeah." Pony sighed.

"Let me see your math."

"We, um didn't have any math." Pony said.

Darry looked at him suspiciously. "You know come to think of it I ain't seen you doing any homework in the last week."

"We just ain't had much lately so I've been finishing it before you get home." Pony said.

"Why haven't you had much. You usually have two hours a night." Pony shrugged. "Are you lying?" Darry asked.

"No." Pony said inwardly shaking at the fact that Darry was catching on a little. He knew he'd be mice meat if he found out. Serious trouble. "What makes you think that?"

"You'd better not be." He said, sternly.

"I ain't." Ponyboy said, sounding so certain he surprised himself at how good he was getting at lies. "Have you decided weather of not you're gonna let me go on the track team?" Pony asked. He was getting awful impatient waiting for an answer about this and annoyed that Darry hadn't noticed how clean he made everything. Why did Darry have to think about it. Why couldn't he just let me. It ain't that hard is it? All he's gotta do is say 'Yeah, you can.' Simple enough right? So why wouldn't he just say that!?

"No." Darry said.

"No as in I can't?" Pony asked, terrified.

"No as in I haven't decided." Darry said.

"Please?" Pony started.

"Ponyboy, I've had a long day. Please don't bother me about this now."

"Oh c'mon Dar." Pony said. "Just say yes. The team needs me."

"You're pushing your luck." Darry said. Pony frowned and crossed his arms, glaring at Darry, who was reading the newspaper. "And don't give me that look." Darry said. How'd Darry know? Pony asked himself, silently.

"It ain't fair that you won't let me do one of the main things I love to do. You should be glad that's what I do in my spare time instead of stealing stuff for a hobby like Two-Bit."

Darry sighed. "That's not the point. The sole reason I made you leave track is because of all the trouble you've been causing lately. I'm out of ideas for how else to deal with it."

"Why do you have to 'deal with it' anyways?" Pony asked. "I won't do it again. Why can't we just leave it at that?"

"Pony, you stayed out till three a.m., you went slashing tires, you got in a knife fight, you went to Buck's, and you trashed someone's house. So I'm just supposed to let you get away with all of that with a 'I'm sorry'? Well, it ain't happening little buddy. Oh and I forgot something else. You lied to me about what you did too."

"I wasn't the one that trashed the house and I didn't lie. I just didn't tell you everything."

"That's the same thing." Darry said.

"I don't think it is."

"Well, I do and what I say goes around here. You got it?"

"Quit it you guys. I got a headache." Soda moaned, from his position on the couch where he was half asleep.

"Sodapop, are you all right?" Darry asked, realizing that he'd been lying there coughing ever since Darry got home and who knows how long before that. "Uh huh." Soda said. Darry got up anyways and felt his forehead, surprised at how hot he was. "You feel warm."

"I ain't sick." Soda insisted, rolling over onto his stomach. Darry went to get the thermometer.

"You ok, Soda?" Pony asked.

"No. My stomach, my throat, and my head all hurt. If you tell Darry I told you that I'll pound you." He said, muffled, into the couch pillow.

Pony laughed. "I won't."

"Here, put this in your mouth." Darry said, coming back out and handing the thermometer to Soda. Soda did, reluctantly. Darry took it out a minute or two later and looked at it. "Soda," he said, a concerned expression growing across his face. "get in bed and stay there, I mean it."

"Why?" Soda asked, yawning.

"Now, Sodapop. You've got a fever of a hundred and three. I'm gonna call the doctor."

"I'll be ok." Soda said.

"Shut up and go lie down." Darry said.

"I am lying down." Soda said, smiling.

"In your bed." Darry said, annoyed.

"Ok, ok." Soda mumbled, walking off. Darry went over to the phone.

"I'm tired of waiting for you to make up you're mind. I'll just show up at practice tomorrow and you can't do anything about it." Pony said.

"Ponyboy, I do not have time for this right now." Darry said. There was a knock on the door all of the sudden. Darry answered it.

"Hi, is Steve here? I've been looking for him everywhere." Evie said.

"No, he ain't here." Darry said. "Soda!"


"Did Steve mention where he was headed after work?"

"Nope! Why?"

"Don't worry about it. Just go back to sleep." Darry looked back over at Evie. "Sorry. I'll tell him you're looking for him next time I see him though." Darry said.

"Just tell him that if he doesn't call me in the next twenty four hours he won't get me back even if he crawls on his hands and knees!" Evie said angrily and marched out of there.

"I wonder what's going on with those two." Darry said, shutting the door. Ponyboy didn't say anything. Frankly he didn't care about Steve's love life.

"Who was that?" Soda asked, walking out into the living room.

"Evie was looking for Steve. Didn't I tell you to stay in bed?"

"Yeah, yeah." Soda mumbled, heading back to bed.