Chapter 8: Meeting Up Again
"Move your lazy ass out of that bed, Mia." I heard Dally's voice coming from somewhere off to my right. I had flopped onto my stomach at some point during the night, and when I opened my eyes, everything was black.
"It's still nighttime, Dally." I grumbled. "Go back to sleep." I felt a hand on my shoulder and was roughly pulled up from the bed, light suddenly blurring my vision. "Oh." I muttered, and was dropped back down. "What is wrong with you? You don't need to be so rough, alright?" I pulled myself back up in the bed, rubbing at my eyes and stretching my arms over my head.
"Just get moving." Dally said and disappeared out the door of the room, and I heard his footsteps clomping down the stairs. I rolled my eyes and moved out from under the blankets.
I thought about the night before as I dug jeans and a shirt out of the dresser and figured his snappy, rough attitude was him making up for being so... Odd last night.
"Mia!" I rolled my eyes and grabbed my sweater and wallet, grabbing my switchblade last minute.
"I'm coming! Keep your pants on, Dally." I snapped as I jogged down the stairs and over to the door. Dally was standing there in his faded blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and his old jeans jacket.
"You're getting slower." I narrowed my eyes at him as I grabbed my boots and yanked them on forcefully.
"You're getting more impatient. Is it your time of the month, Dally? Do we need to run to the store?" I narrowly missed his fist flying at me. "Calm down. Let's get moving, since you're clearly in a rush. It's not like they're going anywhere." Dally rolled his eyes and we walked out the door to Buck's rusting car. "Where is Buck? Does he know we're talking his car?" Dally slid into the driver's seat and turned the key.
"Who care, get in." I dropped down into the seat and leaned back as Dally pulled out of the yard and started across town.
"Do you even know where we're going?" I asked. We'd never actually gone up to this church; Dally and I weren't really into the country.
"I'll figure it out." He said, and I closed my mouth, closing my eyes to catch the last few minutes of sleep I needed to wake up.
When we finally got there, Dally was grumbling about the lack of buildings and the quiet. I had to agree with him though, the whole place looked like something out of a movie; the houses close to the hill looked ready to fall over, and the fields looked overgrown with grass. Than there was the church itself. The place looked completely abandoned, which was a good think I guess. It wouldn't have been a good thing if we'd sent them to regularly used church. But the place gave me the creeps.
"Man, this place is a wreck." Dally commented as we got out of the car a little ways from the church. "We sent them to this dump?"
"You're idea, not mine." I said as I walked towards the front of the building. "How did they get in?" I wondered and Dally shrugged before whistling. A long, low note, followed by a sudden, sharp note. We used it along with Tim's gang as a common way of finding out who was an ally or an enemy.
A moment of silence passed, and I was starting to think that something happened when Johnny came around the backside of the church. The look of relief on his face was probably the same as what was on mine.
"Hey, Johnnycakes." Dally said with a smirked as Johnny came over and he ruffled his hair. I smiled as I wrapped an arm around his shoulders and gave him a tight squeeze.
"See you got your hair cut." I said as I looked him over. He didn't look too bad, maybe a bit skinnier than the last time, but not too bad.
"Yea, Ponyboy got his cut too." He said, and scratched at the back of his head. "We bleached it out too." I blinked in surprise, trying to picture Ponyboy with bleach blonde hair.
"This I gotta see." Dally said, and Johnny lead us around the back of the church to a door that was proper open with a brick. I stepped through before Dally, taking careful steps, since the floor looked ready to give way at any sudden movement.
The inside of the church was a dusty gray color, with nearly ever surface covered in cobwebs. I cringed as I looked around, and them looked down at the rows of old wooden pews. Ponyboy was sprawled out on one of them, using Dally's jacket as a pillow.
We walked closer and Dally gave him a nudge in the ribs with the toe of his boot.
"Glory." He said, and I could tell he was trying not to laugh. "He looks different with his hair like that." I nodded as Ponyboy started to stir in his sleep.
"I wouldn't recognize him with the blonde hair if I didn't already know it was him." I said as he pulled himself up into a seated position, rubbing at his eyes and yawning. He blinked at us a few times before his eyes came into focus.
"Hey, Dally!" He said, and turned to grin at me. "Hiya, Mia." I smiled at him and dropped down beside him on the bench.
"Hey, Ponyboy!" Dally said from where he was standing in front of us. "Or should I say Sleeping Beauty?" I snickered and leaned back.
"I think Sleeping Beauty works better in this case." I said, grinning as I ruffled his hair around a bit.
"How's Sodapop?" Ponyboy started his rant of questions. "Are the fuzz after us? Is Darry all right? Do the boys know where we are? What..."
"Hold on, kid." Dally said. "I can't answer everything at once. You two want to go get something to eat first? We skipped breakfast and I'm half starved." I rolled my eyes.
"You're starved?" Johnny nearly squeaked from where he was sitting, propped up on the edge of an old table they must have found somewhere. I couldn't imagine what they'd been eating for the past couple of days; no fridge to keep anything cold would mean that it probably wasn't the greatest food.
"Is it safe to go out?" Ponyboy asked, sounding liked he'd been coupes up her for months rather than just a few days.
"Yep." Dally said as I watched him searched his pockets for a cigarette. When he found none, he looked at me and I shook my head. I'd been nearly chain smoking for the past couple of days, and I was all out again. Plus Dally was Too lazy to go out and buy his own pack, so he stole off of me."Gotta cancer stick, Johnny?" Johnny tossed a full pack at him, and my jaw dropped.
"Hand one over." I said as I stood up. "You've been stealing half my packs lately anyway." Dally rolled his eyes and held the pack out to me, I swiped the whole thing, and received a stone cold glare in return. But I pulled a cigarette out for him and one for me before stuffing them into the pocket of my jacket. "We're even now." I said as he pulled out his lighter.
"The fuzz won't be lookin' for you around here?" Dally said as he flicked open the lighter and lit the end of the cigarette before holding it out for me to light mine. "They think you've lit out for Texas. I've got Buck's T-bird parked down the road a little ways. Goshamighty, boys, int you been eating anything?" I looked them both up and down, Ponyboy was just as skinny as Johnny was, and neither of them had been that big when we watched them run off into the night 4 days ago. Johnny looked surprised by the question.
"Yeah. Whatever gave you the idea that we ain't?" Dally shook his head and took a drag before letting the smoke curl up to the ceiling.
"You're both pale and you've lost weight. After this, get out in the sun more. You look like you've been through the mill." I rolled my eyes, and I could see that Ponyboy was about to say something. I could easily guess what it was; Dally wasn't looking too sharp either. I realized that the clothes he was wearing, were the same ones he'd been in for the past couple of days, and he hadn't shaved at all during the week. He was starting to get a stubble of a beard growing in, and I inwardly groaned. I hated it when he didn't shave, he just didn't have the face for a beard. Plus his hair was a mess, he hated going to get it cut, so I tended to do it for him instead, but I hadn't had the patience lately to deal with trying to make him sit still long enough for me to cut it. It was like dealing with a child.
I remembered the letter from Soda in my pocket, and reached for it.
"Hey, Ponyboy" I said as I pulled it out and flattened it a bit. "I gotta letter for you."
"A letter?" He looked confused as he took it from my hands. "Who from?" Day rolled his eyes.
"The president, of course, stupid." He said sarcastically. "It's from Soda."
"Sodapop?" He asked in pure surprise. "But how did he know...?"
"He came over to Buck's a few days ago after work." I said. "He seems to assume we know where you are because of our regular act of walking around trouble. Dally told him that we didn't know where you were, but he didn't believe him. He gave us the letter, figuring we'd be coming to check on you." I paused, thinking about how badly Darry was taking it, even if the pain didn't all show. "Kid, you ought see Darry. He's takin' this mighty hard..." I trailed off when I realized he wasn't listening anymore, instead, he was fully engrossed in the letter.
I stood beside Dally, smoking away at my cigarette as Ponyboy read the letter, and I was just about to suggest making for the car to get food when Ponyboy looked up.
"How come you got hauled in?" He asked, and I smirked.
"Shoot, kid." Dally grinned wolfishly as he took a drag from his own smoke. "Them boys at the station now us by now. We get hauled in for everything that happens in our turf. While we were there I kinda let slip that y'all were headin' for Texas. So that's where they're lookin'." Dally took another drag from his cigarette and started to cuss at it for not being a Kool. I looked over at Johnny, who was watching Dally with big eyes full of admiration.
"You sure can cuss good, Dally."
"Sure can." I saw his ego get a bit bigger at the praise for his vocabulary. "But don't you kids get to pickin' up my bad habits." I snorted.
"If they were to pick up your bad habits, Dally." I said. "We'd have a big problem. You cause too much trouble to be an influence on kids." He smirked as he gave Ponyboy a hard rub on the head.
"Kid, I swear it don't look like you with your hair all cut off. It used to look tuff. You and Soda had the coolest-lookin' hair in town." Ponyboy's face went sour.
"I know." He said. "I look lousy, don't rub it in."
"You don't look that bad." I said, though I was having a hard time with the different look.
"Do y'all want somethin to eat or not?" Dally asked impatiently.
"You better believe it." Ponyboy said as they jumped up and started for the door.
"Gee." Johnny said as we started out the back door towards the car. "It sure will be good to get into a car again." I saw the light in Dally's eyes flare up, and I mentally banged my head against a wall.
"Well." He drawled out. "I'll give you a ride for your money." I groaned out loud, as we piled into the car.
"This isn't going to be good." I said as Dally turned the key and revved the engine.