Faith is Spelled R.I.S.K

Chapter 1

The Search

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Outsiders (although I wish I could own Sodapop if you know what I'm saying.) The only character I own is Alyssa, which is my character. All others are the property of S.E Hinton.

I woke up to the sun shining down on my face, and I sat up groggily. I covered my face to block the bright rays. I heard rattling out in the kitchen, and I figured it was either Darry or Sodapop making breakfast.

I figured it was most likely Darry though, because Soda's been leaving the house early all the time. No one really knows why, not even Steve, and he's Soda's best buddy. We just all figure he's going to work or something, but I highly doubt that. See, I know my brother, and he aint the kind of person that gets to a place, especially work, any earlier than he has to. That's just the way he is. He always manages to wait till the last minute, or until Darry has to shove him out the door (quite literally sometimes).

Darry's more practical. He'll make sure he has all the things he needs for the next morning, laid out and ready the night before. I guess that's why all us Greasers kinda call Darry our unofficial leader. As much as I love Sodapop, I'm not too sure how we would survive with him guiding us. Out of our five gang members, Darry's everyone's first choice. Of course, Two Bit would probably choose himself, cause that's

just he way he is. I'm not so sure about Steve. I don't know much about him. He's always been kind of a mystery to all of us, well, me at least. Soda knows all about them, cause Steve's his best buddy, but other than Soda, Steve kinda keeps to himself.

Ever since we lost Johnny and Dally, our gang's been kinda solemn. I mean, Two Bit will still mess around, and Soda and Steve are always grinning, but it's still different. Like a part of us is missing or something. It just aint the same without Johnny around. Heck, I even miss Dally too.

I rolled out of bed and when I went into the kitchen I discovered that it was, indeed, Darry making breakfast, and that Soda was no where in sight.

"Where's Soda?" I asked, sitting down at the table.

Darry sat a plate of bacon and eggs down in front of me. "He ran off again this morning. I didn't get a chance to ask him where he was going, but he probably wouldn't have told me anyway."

I ate my breakfast in silence, and Darry went to take a shower. I remembered a time not too long ago that me and Darry couldn't have talked like that without some kind of argument breaking out. We can talk better now. We've both matured a bit I guess, and now Soda's not stuck in the middle all the time, which I'm sure he appreciates.

I also remembered another time, ok, so it was about the same time, that Soda was not his usual happy-go-lucky self. You see, his girlfriend Sandy, she ran off to Florida to live with her grandparents. And get this, she was also pregnant, but the catch was, it wasn't with Soda's baby.

Soda had been devastated, and he had been gloomy for weeks, but I think that he's eventually gotten over it, cause he sure don't seem depressed anymore. He hasn't found himself a new woman yet though, which surprises me, cause down at the DX where he works; he's always getting swarmed by a whole bunch of pretty girls. Not just Greasers either, Socs too.

I keep thinking that Soda's hiding something from all of us, even Steve, cause he's been acting mysterious for the last couple of weeks. Smiling a bit more than usual. But, Soda aint that good at keeping secrets, so I figure we'll all find out eventually.

I finished breakfast, and took my plate over to the sink to wash it.

I heard a rap on the front door.

"Come in". I called.

I heard the door open, and soon heard Two Bit and Steve's voices. Then I saw them walk into the kitchen.

"Hey Ponyboy." Steve said. "Where's Soda and Superman?"

Steve's always calling Darry names cause he's always showing off his muscles, but he just never calls him names to his face. He made the mistake of doing that once, and he's learned never to do it again.

"Soda ran off again, and Darry's taking a shower." I said, finishing up the dishes.

"Glory, but that boy is weird!" Two Bit said, pulling a piece of bacon off the frying pan, and shoving it into his mouth. Sometimes I swear he thinks he lives here, cause he's always eating our food.

Steve went into the living room, and I heard him turn the TV on. I think that sometimes he thinks that he lives here too. All these people are always eating our food, watching our TV, even wearing our clothes. It's true, one time, Steve spilled grease on one of his best shirts, and had to borrow one of Darry's, cause Soda's didn't fit him. Steve is skinny, but he's a bit more muscular and broad than Soda.

"Hey Two Bit. Come watch Mickey Mouse." Steve called.

We all know that Two Bit is obsessed with Mickey Mouse. He'd watch it 24/7 if you let him. Maybe it's cause he's really lazy and doesn't do anything else. Of course, we don't let him watch it all day, cause it's our cable bill he's runnin up.

I went in and sat down too. Even I can't resist watching a few cartoons on a Saturday morning. Boy, I have never seen a person stare at something more intently than Two Bit was doing right then. I bet a UFO could've crashed into my roof, and he wouldn't have moved an inch.

Darry came out in the living room then. He stopped when he saw Two Bit and Steve sitting there.

"Are they back again? Do you guys ever go home? Don't you have your own houses?" He asked, seemingly annoyed, even though I caught a hint of a grin on his face. I know he liked Two Bit and Steve, no matter how much he complains about them.

We all love each other in some way, but we still get on each other's nerves occasionally, even Soda. You would think that Soda couldn't annoy anyone, cause all the guys like him, and all the girls drool over him. But, trust me, when you're his brother, and you've lived with him for your whole life, you get to know the little quirks that he does, that tick you off.

I laughed, and Steve playfully punched Darry's arm.

Darry went over to the front door, and put on his boots to go to work. That's the ting about Darry, he's prompt, and organized. I mean, I can be prompt and organized when I want to be, but Darry actually enjoys being that way. Me, I can't stand it, and only do it if someone tells me to.

Steve usually gets a free ride to work everyday, cause he'll come here, and ride to work with Soda and Darry, since they're going to the same place. This morning was no different, and soon as he saw Darry getting ready, he started to get up and get ready too.

"Pony, you keep an eye on this one." He pointed to Two Bit.

Two Bit usually says he'll baby-sit me, but it's usually me doing the babysitting.

Steve walked over to Darry.

"I'm gonna go with you again. I'm gonna go down to the DX and see if I can't round up Soda while I'm there."

Darry and Steve left, and me and Two Bit were alone. We watched TV for awhile longer, and finally, I got bored, and started to get restless. That's the thing about me, I can sit still fine, but after a long time of doing the same thing, I'll start to get bored. I sat up and told Two Bit that if I didn't get out of the house to do something else for awhile, that I would soon go crazy.

Two Bit was reluctant to leave Mickey, but I soon persuaded him to get up and go somewhere with me. Actually, I had to bribe him with chocolate cake, but it got him up.

I decided that I wanted to go see if I could figure out the mystery behind Sodapop. There had to be some explanation to why he was always leaving the house early, and by gosh, I was going to find out what that reason was, if it killed me. Even if I had to carry Two Bit on my shoulders and feed him for a month, I was going to find out, and he was coming with me.

Turns out, I didn't have to carry, after he heard what my plans were, he actually came voluntarily. He was obviously as curious to find out what Soda was up to as I was. He wanted to take his car, cause he didn't want to have to walk, but I talked him out of it. Besides, the DX was only a couple of blocks away ,and I needed the exercise, and so did he.

Last year, you wouldn't have caught any of us Greasers dead walking around town in groups of less than three. That's cause we was always scared that the Socs were gonna come in their Mustangs and Corvairs, and jump us.

That's the thing about our neighbourhood, if you're a Greaser, than you're the poor kid, without the money, and a good family. If you're a Soc, then you're the lucky one at the top with all the breaks. That was the way that Randy, the Soc, had described it to me one time. The Socs and the Greasers haven't had too much trouble with each other lately. We aren't exactly friendly, but we don't jump each other every chance we get. We had it out in the lot about a year ago, the same night that Johnny and Dally died, and now we kind of steer clear of each other. We stay off their turf, and they keep away from ours. At least for now. I still talk to Randy a little, when he's not with his friends. If I'm walking down the road, and he drives by in his car alone, he'll occasionally beep the horn, and wave out the window.

It's amazing to think that it's been almost a year since Johnny killed that Soc in the park, and the whole mess started. I guess it really started though, that night at the movie, when me and Johnny got real close to Cherry Valence and her friend Marcia, who happened to be Bob and Randy's girlfriends. They had been drunk that night and hadn't been too pleased about us trying to "pick up their women", so that's why they came after Johnny and me, and that's when they had tried to drown me, and that's when Johnny stabbed Bob.

It's still weird to think that a year has almost gone by since all that happened. I mean, everyone is almost one year older now. I'm almost 15, and fun loving, happy-go-lucky, always grinning, never gonna grow up Soda, is going to be 18 in a few weeks.

He will be 18 soon too, I should probably start thinking about something to get special for him.

For Darry's birthday last year, I bought him about 4 or 5 muscle shirts, the kind that have no sleeves. I think it was a good choice on my part, cause Soda was sitting on the couch the whole time laughing his head off, and even Darry was trying hard not to grin.

I decided that I needed a plan for uncovering the mystery of Sodapop. I needed an excuse to walk down to the DX, with Two Bit, to look for Soda. Then, I found it. Soda had left his shoes lying in the middle of the floor. The only reason I saw them was cause I almost tripped over them. I swear that Soda would forget his head sometimes if it wasn't attached somehow. I picked up those shoes, and told Two Bit that I had found my diversion.

We started walking down to the DX and once we got there, I only saw Steve standing out front, which was odd, cause Soda is usually outside on the pumps, cause he attracts all the female costumers.

I don't usually get jealous of Soda for being so handsome, but sometimes it's hard living in the shadows. Being in between muscle man and movie star. If I ever meet any girls that I like, and I tell them about Soda, they'll always say that they think he's a doll. That's what Cherry and Marcia had said the night we met them. It really didn't bother me all that much though, cause at that point, I didn't like Cherry at all. But after the night was over, if she would've said that, I would've been really jealous.

I walked over to Steve. " Hey, you seen Soda since you been here?" I asked him.

"Yeah, he was here when I got here. He went inside awhile ago, but I haven't seen him since, so I have no idea what he's doing." Steve said.

Soda was always a really secretive person, but the only problem with that, was that he wasn't that good at keeping secrets, not even his.

Steve wiped the grease off his hands and walked over to us.

"Hey, I'll let you guys in on something. We got us a new person working here. Just started last week. I'll tell ya, she's a looker. I think that your brother's taken a bit of a liking to her."

I had to replay that over in mind, cause I coulda sworn that Steve had said it was a she.

"You say it was a her? As in a girl?" I asked, confused.

"Yea. Can't say I blame Soda for liking her either. She ain't no Soc, that's for sure. She knows her way around cars, and she ain't afraid to get her hands dirty. I think that's why Soda is coming early all the time now. He's got a bit of a thing for her."

I should have known. Soda has been single for awhile now, and I just knew he couldn't resist the ladies, especially the pretty ones. I mean, being a 17 year old, single, handsome guy like Soda, is really hard to resist, for any girl. He's always telling me that the best way to get a girl, is to keep very hands off, of course, he also says that there ain't no harm in looking. Which is good I guess, cause he looks a lot.

"You say he was inside?" I asked.

"Yea, he might be at the cash, but we all know how he is with numbers, so he's probably back in the storeroom. Look for the bathrooms, but keep going all the way back. The sign's on the door." He said.

Two Bit stayed outside with Steve, while I went to look for Soda.

The DX ain't that big, and finding your way around should be real simple. But I'll tell ya, they got that store packed with so much stuff, that it took me almost 5 minutes, just to find the right aisle that would take me to the bathroom.

Still holding Soda's shoes, I found the back door, that had 'Storeroom' written on it. I hesitated, and wondered if I should knock or not. But then I wondered what the point of that would be? What could possibly be going on in a storeroom, that would make someone have to knock. I took a deep breath, and pushed open the heavy door.

As soon as I had one good look inside, I closed that door right quick, and turned around. Maybe I should've knocked, cause when I looked in, I had seen a guy and a girl in there kissing, and now my face was burning and I was right embarrassed cause not only had I seen and disturbed them, I had embarrassed myself real good. I decided that I would look somewhere else for Soda.

But then, I stopped myself, and retraced those last minutes. Something was telling me that I had been in the right place, and that guy had looked right familiar, even though I hadn't seen his face. I didn't recognize the girl at all, but the more I thought about it, the more my mind put together the pieces. All of what Steve had said, had finally sunk in and was beginning to make sense. Soda was apparently in the storeroom. There was a new girl working there, who I had never seen before. Soda had a crush on her. He kept coming to work early, and he was acting secretive. He was also inside, and he was never inside. He was also single. The more I thought about all that, the more that guy took shape, and the more he took shape, the more he looked an awful lot like Soda!

Even though it worked, I couldn't picture my brother doing any thing like that. He did have the same hair though, and the same physique. The last thing I noticed though, that convinced me the most, was that he wasn't wearing shoes.

After I finally came to the realization that it was, indeed my brother, I almost dropped the shoes I was carrying. I almost started laughing too, cause I realized that I had just caught my brother, making out with a girl, when he was supposed to be working.

I thought about leaving them alone, but then I thought that this was way too much fun to be had.

I creaked open the door again. They were still there, and I took another look. It was Soda alright. I concealed my laughter, and counted to three slowly in my head, and then, ever so carefully, I jumped up and yelled "Gotcha!"

That's all for now. Please R&R!

(I probably won't be updating this one for awhile, but I might sometime.)