Chapter 6: Rumor Has It
It was almost supper before they let us out the next day, and I was fuming. I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before, and I couldn't even think of stomaching the food they'd slid through the bars at us the night before or throughout the day, except for enough to keep my stomach half quiet.
"Buck could cook something better than that." I'd said to Dally as he poked at the mound of slop.
"Buck can't cook." He said, and shoved the food away. "And neither can anyone who works in this dump." He'd looked at me, and then turned my face to look at me cheek. "That still doesn't look good. You'll have to clean it when we get back." I touched at it, and flinched. For such a small cut, it hurt like hell.
Now we were forced to walk back to our side of town, since we obviously didn't have a car and there was no way the fuzz were going to waste their time driving us around.
"I'm hungry." I whined, and I rubbed at my growling stomach.
"Shut up!" Dally snapped. He had always had a very short temper, but when he was over tired and hungry, he was a bomb. "You got money? Cause I don't. I didn't grab my wallet on the way out yesterday." I sighed as I dropped down on a bench.
"No, I didn't grab mine either. I feel like my stomach is trying to eat itself." I said as I curled up. "You know the last time I felt like this was when we first got here. We were going to rob some food out of that store when Mr. Curtis happened to walk in and catch us. Remember?" Dally didn't say a thing, just looked around.
"I'll be right back." He said and walked across the street the store and disappeared inside.
I sat there trying to think of something that would keep my mind off of my empty stomach when Dally came out of the store and jogged across the street. He held out a chocolate bar and a Pepsi.
"You're a life saver, Dally." I said as I ripped into the bar and swallowed half of it in one bit. Dally stood in front of me with his own bar and drink, a smirk on his face.
"I know." He said, and I rolled my eyes at his ego. But I didn't say anything as I finished the bar and popped open my drink before standing up.
"Come on, we better get going, I'm sure the gang is already wondering where we've been." Dally nodded and we continued on our way back towards our side of town.
"Where have the two of you been?" I couldn't say I was surprised by Darry's reaction as Dally and I walked through the door of the house about a half hour later. Considering his brother was gone, and he didn't know where he'd went, he was probably going a bit crazy.
"The fuzz picked us up yesterday." Dally said. "I'm bettin' you all know why." Everyone was at the house- except for Two-Bit- and they all nodded. I would have thought they'd all been holed up in a cave if they hadn't heard about the kid getting killed.
"You know how it is, they blame us for everything." I said as I made a beeline for the fridge. I pulled out the half eaten cake and the chocolate milk before closing the door with my hip and setting it on the counter. I sliced a large piece for myself before turning to find Dally standing right by my side. He was almost drooling; and I almost laughed as I cut him a large slice. He took it and didn't even bother using a fork to eat it.
"They thought we'd know what had happened." Dally said around a mouthful of cake. "Told them we didn't know anything."
"What happened to your face, Mia?" Steve asked as I sat down beside Dally and dug into my cake.
"They didn't like my answers their questions." I said, and Darry came over to inspect it. "Dally cleaned it up a bit yesterday, but I need to do a better job on it later." Darry turned my face into the light, and I struggled to eat my cake while he examined the cut.
"Soda, go get the first aid kit. I might as well clean it now while you're here." I was about to protest, but remembered that Ponyboy was gone; if cleaning my cut got his mind off his brother for a few minutes, whatever.
"Let me eat my cake." I said I I shoveled the rest into my mouth. Darry shook his head as Soda came back with the kit and he opened it.
Just as he was about to clean it with some alcohol stuff, Two-Bit burst through the door.
"You won't believe this!" He cried as he came charging into the kitchen and made a beeline for the fridge, grabbing the last beer that was sitting on the lower shelf. "I was just talking to Jeremy, and he heard from Jackson who heard from Tony, who got it from his broad who's brother works down at the station that they got a lead on them kids who got that kid in the park." I nearly choked on my chocolate milk as he came over to the table.
"What?" I asked. "How can you believe anything that's gone through that many people?" Dally gave my leg a sharp kick under the table, and I just rolled my eyes and went back to drinking my milk like indent really care that much.
"Anyway," Two-Bit said after pausing. "I guess some kid came in and gave a description of kids who killed that other kid, and if you ask me it sounded damn nearly exactly like Johnny and Ponyboy." Everyone went silent for a moment before Two-Bit continued. "But that ain't all. I guess they hauled in a couple people who said that they'd heard from some guy who heard from someone else that they were running to Texas." I didn't have any words to say as everyone's jaw dropped to the floor; even Dally looked mildly surprised.
"What if..." Soda was standing in the doorway, and I could see him trembling slightly. "What if it's Ponyboy and Johnny? If they get caught in Texas, they'll be in real big trouble." He looked ready to cry.
"It can't be them." Steve said, more to comfort his friend than anything else. "Come on, Soda. Neither of them could hurt a fly, they'll be back soon." Two-Bit stood up.
"Well I'm going to Texas to look anyway. If it is them, I'll bring them back so that no one knows they took off out of the state." I rolled my eyes a bit, trying to find a way out of this in my head. I couldn't say anything too drastic, or they'd all know Dally and I knew something.
"That's a good idea, Two." I said sarcastically. "So you get to Texas- which is probably crawling with cops from all over that state and ours. You get into the state no problem- you got nothing to hide at that point, but then you find them. How do you plan on getting them back into Oklahoma without the fuzz finding them and arrest you for harboring fugitives? Cause you know they're checking all vehicles inside and out that are coming and going from Texas if they think that's where they went. Plus if it's not them, -which I highly doubt it is if you ask my opinion- you've just wasted a lot of time down there when you could be here looking for them." It sounded logical without making it sound like I knew something, which was what I'd been aiming for.
Everyone stood quietly until Two-Bit sat back down.
"You and your damn logic." He said, and it's been a long time since I'd heard such a lack of humor in his voice. I shrugged and yawned.
"Just pointing out the facts before you run off and do something stupid- like I know you would." I stood up and dropped my plate into the sink. "I'm ready to go back to Buck's place, Dally." I said. I was so tired, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
"Alright." He said and stood up to drop his own plate into the sink. "See y'all later." He called over his shoulder as we walked out the door. It had been a fast visit, but long enough to wear me down even more than I already was beforehand.
"I can't believe what I just heard." I said as I rubbed my hands over my face. "That was just... I don't know. I didn't need to hear that." Dally didn't say a word as we walked through the yard to the front door of Buck's place. A few party people had started to arrive, and I was tempted to shove them all out the door and say that there was no party tonight. But Dally walked over to the makeshift bar and grabbed two beers, popping one open and handing it over to me.
"Loosen up a bit, baby." He said with a smirk and he opened his own beer. "Forget the boys. Forget the gang. Forget the fuzz. Forget everything. Just relax for a bit." I smirked as I leaned back against the wall.
"So I get to forget about you for a bit? What a pleasure this is." Dally grinned like a predator with his prey in his sights and leaned on the wall, blocking me in with his arms and his chest close to mine.
"OK, maybe not everything." He said and I couldn't help but laugh as I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him in tight for a kiss.
It was time to relax; just one night to relax.
The sunlight that streamed through the window hit my eyes and I groaned, rolling over. I was surprised when I hit something solid, but warm and peaked an eye open to see Dally lying there. I draped myself over his warm chest, pulled the blanket up higher and closed my eyes again.
The next time I woke up, it wasn't light anymore. I knew it want that late, but for the sound of rain outside, I knew that clouds must have rolled in since I last woke up.
"You've slept most of the day away, Mia." I rolled over onto my back to see Dally standing in the doorway, a towel draped over his bare shoulders while he used one end to dry at his wet hair. I stretched my arms over my head and shivered at the cold.
"You could've woken me up." Dally smirked as he walked over to the dresser and kept drying his hair.
"I'd rather wake a grizzly bear." He said and I rolled my eyes as I sat up in the bed. I still had a slight pounding in my head from the night before, but it wasn't bad.
Just as I was standing up to find clothes to wear for the day - or what was left of it - there was a knock on the door.
"I'm starting to think people think this is a come as you want kind of place." Dally grumbled as he tossed the towel onto a chair that sat in the corner. "Who is it?" He called out as I grabbed one of his shirts to cover my small tank top that I'd thrown on the night before in the dark.
"Soda. I wanna talk to ya." Dally and I shared a quick look, and that was when I saw Ponyboy's sweater from the other night lying under Dally's towel. I grabbed it and tossed it under the bed, just as he opened the door.
Soda stood outside the door, water dripping from his hair and onto his DX shirt. He looked like he hadn't slept the night before.
"Hey, Soda." I said, tugging the end of Dally's shirt down a bit. "What are you doing here?" Soda shook out his hair a bit.
"I, uh, just wanted to, uh, give you this." He handed Dally a letter that he then handed to me.
"What's this?" I asked as I held the letter in my hands, flipping it around in my hands.
"It's a letter for Ponyboy." I looked up at him, and caught Dally looking at me out of the corner of his eye.
"Why are you givng it to us?" I asked. "We're about as likely to get it to him as you are at this point." Soda gave me one of those smiles where you realized that he wasn't as dumb as you'd thought he was.
"I figured the boys came to you guys for help, you know, since you seem to know everything about getting around trouble." He looked down at the ground. "When, um, you go see them, wherever they are, just give Ponyboy the letter, alright." He looked at Dally. "I'd love to give it to him myself though..." His sentence trailed off, and I knew what he was waiting for, but there was no way Dally would give up anything. They didn't call him cold as stone just because he made him look good, his emotions were locked away in a box that never came down off the shelf; and when they did, they were on extremely high alert.
"Sorry, Sodapop." He said as he leaned against the door. "We don't know where they are." I held out the letter.
"Here, I'm sorry we couldn't help you Soda." But he shook his head and took a step back.
"Keep it." He said as he headed for the stairs. "I know you better than you think I do." Once he was gone, Dally closed the door and locked it.
"Great." He muttered. "Now Soda thinks we know where those boys are." I pulled a pair of jeans out of my drawer and pulled them on before digging a shirt out.
"I'd like to point out that he does know that we know where those boys are. He just doesn't know of sure that he knows that we know where they are." Dally grumbled and slammed a fist down on the top of the dresser. "It was easier to keep a secret in New York." He snapped and I grabbed everything I needed for a quick shower, leaving him to his ranting.
News was still flying around about the boys and there seemed to be a cop car sitting at every street corner.
"How long do you think they'll keep this up?" I asked as we walked into the Dingo for food.
"I don't know. But they shouldn't be at it too long." He said, just as Tim Shepard walked up to the booth we were sitting in. He slid in beside me and draped an arm across my shoulders.
"And how's my favorite girl?" He asked with a grin that seeped trouble.
"Not so happy now that your here, idiot. Get out." I shoved his arm away from me and moved away from him. Tim just sat there smirking, so I scooted my way out of the booth and over to Dally's side. His arm wrapped around my shoulder and leaned back in the seat.
"What do you want, Shepard?" He snapped. Dally's temper level: food needed. A waitress just happened to show up at our table at thatmoment and Dally ordered a lot of food, which I ordered a coke and fries.
"Heard that you guys got hauled into the station the other day." He said. "Adding murder to your rap sheet?" I sneered at him.
"Not really." I said. "But kicking your butt across the state would be a nice addition." Tim chuckled and stood up.
"Just thought you'd want to know that most of the cops are planning to move over to Texas to help catch these killers. It's gonna be every man for himself. No cops around to tell us what to do." I rolled my eyes.
"They can't all leave." I said. "That can't be legal." Tim shook his head, a smirk plastered on his face.
"Who cares, it's gonna be fun. You two planning anything special for the occasion?" I looked at Dally who looked at me; I smirked.
"Sleep." I said said and Dally shook his head, but I saw the smirk on his own face.
"I like the sound of that." Tim chuckled.
"Right, cause you guys would sleep that much. Rumor has it you barely sleep at all." It was a bit to the gut that something like that was going around town, but then I realized the source of the information and smirked.
"Rumor also has it that your sister does, I hear she sleeps everywhere she goes." Tim sneered and flipped me the finger before walking away. I couldn't help but laugh a little; if there was one thing Tim Shepard hated to be reminded of, it was that his sister had a reputation; and not a good one.
"So if all the cops are leavin for Texas," Dally said after I'd moved back over to my side of the booth and our food had been delivered. "Then there ain't gonna be any around here. Things will probably mellow out in the next couple of days, and we can go check on the boys." I nodded, sipping at my coke.
"So what are we going to do with them after this?" I asked. "I mean, we can't keep them there forever, it's an old church, not a house. They can't stay there over the winter cause people will see the smoke and know something's up." Dally shrugged, his mind on his food and not on anything else. I rolled my eyes and munched on my fries. The only thing left to do at this point was wait for the cops to be gone from the street corners, and for the talk to die down a bit more.