The fuzz weren't at all thrilled when I was hauled in late that afternoon, my hair a greasy mess, my eyes wide and showing clear signs of exhaustion. The questions made no sense to my half asleep mind. I told them straight out I knew nothing, and just wanted to go home. That was when even more questions popped up tho, questions I never thought I'd be asked, let alone forced to answer.
"Our records show you ran away at 16, where have you been staying?" the nicer of the two officers asked.
"Ya know, wherever I can," I said, not giving out any more detail than that.
"Where were you when your sister died last month?" he asked.
"Ya know, around and about," I said tiredly. These were not the type of questions I expected to answer.
"Did you have anything to do with that?" the angry cop asked.
"Are you kidding? I didn't even know she was dead until yesterday," I growled.
"And you had absolutely nothing to do with that?" he asked again.
"No. I don't even recall being in that part of town at all that month," I said.
"We hear you've been seen around Dallas Winston, you two a thing?" the nicer one asked.
"No sir," I said, fighting back a laugh. That was the stupidest thing anyone's ever asked me.
"How close are you to the Curtis boys?" the angrier one asked. I didn't like him, and didn't answer his question either.
"Kaylly, we need you to cooperate. Ponyboy and Johnny Cade have been missing since last night, we need to know their whereabouts. They're wanted for a serious crime," the nicer one asked. He looked at me with soft, dark brown eyes, that made me remember Sodapop.
"I told you, I don't know where they are. I haven't seen them since yesterday morning," I said, which was about as truthful as it'd get.
"And you have no idea where they could be?"
"No sir, I told you, I ain't know nothing," I said, yawning tiredly.
"If you know something and you're not telling us..." he started before his partner cut him off
"I have no problem arresting you right here, as an accomplice. You're gonna tell us what we need to know, or you're going to jail," the other one snapped, slamming his hand down on the table.
"I. Don't. Know. Anything!" I practically screamed. I was tired, scared, and just wanted to go back to the house and sulk.
"Let 'er go Shawn, she ain't gonna tell us nothin'" the nice officer said, as he stood up and motioned for me to follow. I did willingly, and sighed when he told me "If you remember anything, please, give us a call."
I unchained Killer from where I had stashed him earlier that afternoon, just a block from the station, then made the long walk home. I was beyond tired, but I knew I wasn't going to be sleeping much until the boys came home, or at least, until Dally took me out to see them, wherever they were. I was worried beyond anything I've ever felt before, and I didn't dare let it show.
Darry looked up from the paper when I walked in, but said nothing, seeing that I was too tired to talk.
"Why don't you try to sleep?" Soda said tiredly from his perch on the arm chair.
"'cause I ain't gonna be able to," I sighed and sank down to the floor, leaning against the couch. Killer laid down next to me, his head on his paws. Even the dog was worried, you could see it in how quiet the normally very vocal dog was.
"They gotta be alright," I heard Darry moan.
You'd think it had been a lifetime since we saw them, with how tired the gang was. No one had been sleeping much that week, and even the happy go lucky Two-Bit was down in the dumps. We all took turns going out looking for them, even though we knew it was a lost cause. Dally was tight lipped as ever, and didn't say much of anything to anyone, except to lead the police of a wild goose hunt. We didn't see much of Dally that week, and when I finally ran into him on the 5th day, I made sure to bring along the news paper.
"You seriously told them Texas?" I laughed, throwing the news paper at him. He cracked a grin and smiled.
"Guess what?" He said sheepishly.
"What now?" I asked, way past exhausted.
"We're gonna go see 'em today," he said happily, doing some weird sort of dance. I thought he was high, then realized maybe I was just seeing things. Lord knows I was tired.
"Buck loaned me the T-Bird, we're gonna go see 'em!" he said with a goofy grin. I nodded half heartedly. I was more than ready to see the boys, but I wasn't feelin' too hot after 5 days of little to no sleep.
I stared blankly out the window while he drove. Killer was in the backseat, his tongue lolling out of his mouth. He loved the country. I, on the other hand, thought it was too quiet. Then again, spend most of your life at the Curtis' house, and you grow used to noise.
"Why'd you send them out here?" I asked tiredly, leaning my head against the cold window.
"Needed them far away," Dally said simply. Of course. Dally was always good at getting people outta trouble.
We pulled up in back of an old church, that looked ready to cave in any minute. I let Killer outta the car, and laughed when he rolled over in the dust.
"Silly dog," I laughed as I clipped his leash on. Didn't need him running off in the middle of no where. Dally lead the way into the church, and I was shocked to see Ponyboy and Johnny lookin' so young and innocent. I knelt down next to Pony and gave him a light shake.
"What the...!" he woke with a jolt. I pulled back, and waited for him to fully wake up, before hugging him tighter than I ever hugged anyone before.
"Sodapop wrote you a letter," Dally said, handing Pony a piece of neatly folded paper. Ponyboy read it silently to himself, before reading it aloud.
Well I guess you got into some trouble, huh? Darry and me nearly went nuts when you ran out like that. Darry is awful sorry he hit you. You know he didn't mean it. And then you and Johnny turned up missing and what with that dead kid in the park and Dally getting hauled into the station, well it scared us something awful. The police came by to question all of us and we told them as much as we could. Kaylly looked like she knew somethin' but didn't tell no one anything. I can't believe little old Johnny could kill somebody. I know Dally knows where you are, but you know him. He keeps his trap shut and won't tell me nothing. Darry hasn't got the slightest notion where you're at and it is nearly killing him. I wish you'd come back and turn your selfves in but I guess you can't since Johnny might get hurt. You sure are famous. You got a paragraph in the newspaper even. Take care and say hi to Johnny for us.
I felt tears slide down my cheek. I knew first hand how hard it was on the guys. Everyone sure was worried about them, and even though Dally kept his trap shut real nice, he couldn't hide it that well. Sodapop knew almost as fast as I did, that Dally knew exactly where they were.
"Golly," Ponyboy muttered. I hugged him again, then went over to Johnny and gave him a huge hug too.
"Boy, you damn near killed us," I joked, messing up his hair. "And here I thought it'd be Dally who finally killed a Soc!"
Dally insisted on getting the guys something to eat, and I didn't object. I crammed in the backseat with Killer, letting the boys ride up front. They both looked so much skinnier, it was scary. I ain't never seen kids look that skinny before, not even the ones who barely ever saw a home cooked meal.
I must have dozed off, because next thing I knew, Dally was cursing something fierce.
I saw the fire, and gasped, and before we knew it, Ponyboy and Johnny were running towards it. Slamming the door hard, I ran after them, Dally right beside me.
"Damnit!" I hissed when we reached the window. Ponyboy and Johnny were already inside. I pulled myself through, ignoring the hot glass that sliced into the skin of my arm. I covered my mouth with the sleeve of my shirt, and looked around. I spotted them, passing the kids closer to the window.
"Get ready" I told Dally without hesitation. I handed him the first of the screaming children.
"The roof! The roof!" someone outside screamed. I looked up, and saw the roof starting to give way, right as Johnny handed me the last kid. I yelped as hot embers landed on my face. Johnny said something I didn't quite catch, and I didn't stop to figure it out. I grabbed him by the arm, and pulled him forward, nearly throwing him out the window. Dally grabbed him, and slapped the flame from his sleeve.
Finding Ponyboy was harder. One minute he was right behind me, handing kids to Johnny, to hand to me, the next, he was no where to be seen. I cursed and coughed and rooted around, the smoke making it damn near impossible to breathe. I finally found Ponyboy, laying on his back, limp as a sack of potatoes. I pulled him as hard as I could, coughing and wheezing, trying my hardest to get him out.
"Kay! The roof!" Dally barked from outside the window. He was half through it by now, and I had to give him a hard shove to get him back out. His arm was on fire, but he didn't seem to notice. The roof began to make a really awful cracking sound, and I had a choice to make, without any time to consider it. I gave Ponyboy another tug, and pulled him as close as I could, when suddenly, the roof caved in. I rolled out of the way, and felt strong hands hoist me out of the window.
I tried to breathe, but couldn't. I closed my eyes and prayed it was another nightmare. Prayed that I'd wake up and it'd all be over. I guess I blacked out, because next thing I knew, I was jerking awake in an ambulance, someone squeezing my hand tightly. I took a painful breath, and let the darkness of my mind keep the pain away.
I was admitted and released just as quickly as Johnny. We both suffered only minor burns, though I'd lost 4 inches of hair in the fire. The doctor told me to take it easy for a few days, to let my lungs heal from the fire, but that I was otherwise okay.
"You got lucky," he said as he read over my chart.
"How are my friends?" I asked tiredly.
"The young one, the blonde, he's in surgery right now. The big one's gonna be fine, just a burned arm. Burned it bad, but he'll live. The little one, uh...what's his name..." the doctor said.
"Johnny, Johnny Cade," I filled in for him.
"Johnny's alright. Shaken up, but very alive," he said, putting on one of those horrible doctor smiles.
Johnny and me were sitting out in the waitingroom sharing a smoke when I spotted Darry and Sodapop. I lightly nudged Johnny, who looked up, his eyes wide and full of fear. That kid was never gonna be okay, not after everything he'd been through.
"Where's Pony?" Soda gasped, seeing our burned clothing.
"Still in surgery I reckon," I said with a sigh. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Soda asked, sitting down next to me, his eyes full of tears.
"For not being able to get 'im out in time. The roof, glory, the roof just fell in on us," I sobbed. I felt a hand on my back, and relaxed. I knew it was no good crying, and for the sake of everyone, I sucked it up as quickly as it came. "Doctor said he might be okay, if all goes well," I said putting on a brave face. "Dally's arm got burned up pretty bad, but he's gonna recover jus' fine," I added as an after thought.
"How 'bout you and Johnny? You two okay?" Darry asked warily.
"We're okay," I said, giving Johnny a pat on the back. "Johnny here's lucky he weighs nothin'," I added with a smile.
"How'd it happen?" Soda asked tiredly.
I spent the next hour telling them all I could. By the time the reporters showed up, I was too tired to comply.
"Go away" I mumbled, my head resting on Darry's shoulder.
"We have ques-" the reporter started.
"I ain't answerin' questions tonight," I muttered, my eyes growing heavier by the second.
"I have to ask, what were you thinking, following those three to the fire in the first place? You're small, you couldn't have helped much," she said with a sharp tone to her voice. I looked at her angrily, but said nothing.
"She saved my life," Johnny whispered from beside me. I looked at him, and felt tears welling in my eyes again.
"Ma'am, we stick together. I wasn't thinkin' about myself. I was only thinkin' about getting those kids out," I said tiredly.
Soda took over and kept the crew laughing, while I dozed off. I woke some time later, to a very wet nose pressing against my hand.
"Where'd you get to?" I asked the dog tiredly. I hadn't expected to see him again, since no one thought to get him outta the car back up in Windrixville.
"Someone musta thought to bring him here," Johnny said tiredly from his spot next to me.
"Mmm, glad they did," I murmured, too tired to even try to continue to conversation.
From what I gathered, we were told to go home some time in the middle of the night, because I woke the next morning, on the couch with Sodapop sitting next to me. He looked tired and sad, but forced a smile when he saw I was awake.
"Hey," I said softly, my throat sore. I sat up and itched my arm, which was still caked with ash from the fire.
"We're gonna all go down to the hospital soon, you wanna come?" he asked.
"Yea, let me shower first tho," I said, getting up slowly, trying to wake up more. "Any word on Ponyboy?" I asked.
Soda looked real sad then, and I got real worried. Something wasn't right.
I pushed the thoughts aside and took a shower anyway. I was feeling lousy, and really needed to clean up. I let the hot water sting my skin, and noticed the blackish patches the flaked off. I watched as my hair started to break, leaving crisp strands in the tub. I looked up into the water, letting it soothe the pain from the tiny burns and cuts caused by the falling embers. Once the water started to run cold, I changed into a pair of Soda's jeans and one of his long sleeved shirts. I hadn't had time to wash any of my clothes those last few days, and didn't care that they were a million sizes too big on me.
It was when I was running the brush through my hair, that it hit me. My hair used to be long, almost all the way down my back, now it fell in uneven chunks, no longer than my shoulders. I'd singed more than I thought in the fire. I fluffed it out, and decided to leave it alone. My back hurt, and my hands were still trembling, whether from shock, or exhaustion I wasn't sure.
I sank to the floor beside the bathtub, and let my head rest against the cool surface. I felt tired, scared, and sick to my stomach. Maybe I just needed some time to think. Or maybe my body was finally telling me it was time to get everything out in the open.
I found myself wondering why bad things always happened to us Greasers. Why we got beat, or ended up dead, or got raped or mugged or whatever. What did we do to deserve it? Why did it always happen to us? Not even just us older kids. No. It happened to kids Johnny's age. Kid's as young as Ponyboy.
"You okay in there?" a voice came from the other side of the door. I knew straight off that it was Darry. I said nothing, and didn't even flinch when he pushed the door open, and slowly walked towards me. He was doing it again, acting like I was a wounded animal or something. He'd been like that since the night he hit Pony. Like he was afraid to even touch me.
"Kay?" he asked worriedly.
I said nothing, just stared blankly at the door. I didn't even fully register that he was talking to me at that point. I felt myself trembling, and it scared me, 'cause I couldn't stop.
"She okay?" Soda asked, having heard Darry's concerned tone.
"I don't right know," Darry admitted, kneeling next to me, his hands on my shoulders.
"Move over," Soda told him. Soda sat down next to me, and put an arm around my shoulders. He pulled me close, so my head was resting on his shoulder. I couldn't say anything. It was like someone had sucked all the life outta me. I was shaking and staring blankly, and vaguely felt like a fool. But there was no stopping it.
"It's gonna be okay, Kay, it is," Soda kept saying softly, but I wasn't really comprehending that. I felt eyes watching me and looked up to see Two-Bit standing in the doorway, Steve and Johnny behind him. If you've never seen Two-Bit scared, you couldn't begin to imagine the look on his face. Steve looked sick, and Johnny, well Johnny looked like a kicked puppy.
Two-Bit pushed his way in, and knelt next to me, his eyes glassy. He grabbed my hand and squeezed tightly.
"Everything's gonna be okay, Kay, you'll see," he said real softly. His words didn't make sense. How could everything be okay? Ponyboy might die. Am I the only one who got that? Ponyboy might die! I felt myself shake even worse at that thought. Soda must of too, because he pulled me close again and started rubbing circles in the center of my back, something that used to always calm me down, especially after my mom died.
I ran to the lot and sank to my knees, my heart racing, tears rolling down my cheeks. She was supposed to have another 6 months. She wasn't supposed to die yet. She was so strong for so long...
I heard footsteps coming up behind me, and a firm hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Sodapop staring down at me, his eyes saddening as soon as he saw my expression. Soda must of sensed something was wrong. He was always doing stuff like that, knowing just where to find me, right when I needed him. He sat down on the fold asphalt and pulled me close, his fingers making small circles in my back. Through the sobs, I forced a smile. I felt my heartrate slow and the tears subside.
"You're gonna be okay, Kay. She's better off now," he whispered. How he knew she was dead, to this day I'll never know. "She loved you so much," he added.
I ended up sleeping on their couch that night. Their mom had treated me real nice, and their dad had talked me through all the emotions that were running wild in my brain. God, I loved those people.
My eyes closed as tears began to roll down my cheeks. Maybe it was stress, or exhaustion, or shock. Or maybe my mind was just tired of staying strong. Maybe I was just tired.
A/N;; this chapter, nearly killed me to write. I must have rewrote it a dozen times, before finally piecing it together. The first time through, it was so rushed, it was like 3 chapters in one. So I revised, and realized it was over 3,000 words! Super long chapter, but it shows a different side of things, in a way. Don't worry, the next chapter is the hospital scene, and NO! I didn't cut the rumble out! :) Thanks to those who have given feedback, it really makes a difference! I know, 4 chapters in 2 days?! Haha, when the creative juices start flowing, I just can't help but put them up! As always, feedback is greatly appreciated! I can't wait to hear what you all think, so matter how nice or how harsh it is!