A/N- once again, I don't own the Outsiders. Too bad. Anywho, this is what I have for you guys :) it starts out as some background on Keira. The info will tie into what happened to her dad and the nightmare she had. More Soda action will come later in the chapter and in chapters to come. Be patient my darlings...
Keira watched as the soapy water swirled around the drain before disappearing. She had finished really showering long ago, but she stayed under the warm spray, content to let it soothe her with its warmth. Her mind kept returning to her nightmare.
She never regretted going to the newly formed drug headquarters that night. She never regretted stealing the heroin supply that the guys had acquired from contacts out of the country. She didn't want that shit in her neighborhood. It had turned her best friends, her gang, against each other.
It had started out slow. There was an abundance of grass that popped up. No big deal. You can't overdose from too much weed. You can OD on some of the shit that started streaming in afterwards. She wasn't going to kid herself though. She had tried several narcotics. But she was smart and lucky enough to get over it after trying it once or twice. Some of her gang weren't so lucky. Especially after heroin had made its way to her neck of the woods.
She watched as half of her friends completely shunned the drugs that were pouring into their neighborhood, they said it made you weak. They were right of course, but the other half of her friends wanted a piece of the action, as well as constant means of getting high. So her gang began to shift, began to crumble before her very eyes. The stability of having your best friends behind you no matter what was gone. That made Keira sad enough, without what happened to her best friend.
Keira had watched as a new, ruthless gang began to suck in her drug loving friends. Leo and his crew had decided they wanted to use her neighborhood as a center of operations. There was a warehouse next to the auto shop her dad owned. It had been abandoned about a decade before and Leo wanted to put it to use again. Leo had begun to recruit some of her friends into helping turn the space into a distribution hub. They were paid in drugs and occasionally cash. Keira had wanted no part of it and tried to keep her friends away. This had pissed Leo off to no end. He threatened her almost daily. Keira had been one of the unofficial leaders of her gang and what she had to say held sway. But with drugs involved some of her friends lost their head.
Keira remembered how painful it was to watch some of her oldest friends drift towards Leo and his destructive lures. She had pleaded with them to quit and help her get the drugs out, to keep the younger kids of their neighborhood safe. But some of them couldn't be swayed. She never gave up but she had started to fear for them at an even higher level when she saw what Leo did to those that crossed him. Leo and his crew were ruthless. She had seen it firsthand on several occasions.
The first example of this had been a sixteen year old kid that came from a broken home. He had been beaten on a regular basis by his step-dad until Keira and a couple of her bigger male friends had gone over and taught him how it felt to get the crap kicked out of you. The kids name was David, and try as he might he too got sucked into the drug world. He became a carrier for Leo. His job was to deliver the cut heroin and cocaine to Leo's other operatives in the different neighborhoods. David had gotten jumped one day and the drugs he had been carrying had been stolen by a rival drug ring. Leo had no sympathy, and had ordered Manual and Jay to beat David to a pulp. One blow to the head had been so bad David was sent into a coma never to wake up.
Keira had finally been able to sway her best friend Anthony to quit dealing and using drugs that Leo provided. He had layed low, knowing he was in danger of Leo's wrath. Anthony had stayed with her friends Christian and Frankie and they had thought he would be safe. Keira had kept her ear to the ground making sure to catch any word on if Leo was on Anthony's trail. There had been no warning. It had been the ultimate betrayal by Frankie. He had turned snitch on Anthony, seeing as how he was in deep with Leo. Not even Keira knew that Frankie owed Leo upwards of ten grand for drugs. He had sold out Anthony in exchange for his debt to be wiped out.
Anthony never stood a chance. Keira had been there, keeping Anthony company, trying to figure out a way to get Leo and his crew gone from the neighborhood for good. Christian had gone to work his shift at the bar and Frankie had taken off without a word an hour into Keira's visit. She had felt that something was off when Frankie had turned around before he left the apartment. He stood there for a minute and just stared at Anthony. Keira had caught his eye and before he tore his gaze away she thought she saw some guilt lurking there. She dismissed it even as her feelings of unease grew. She didn't understand why she was so unsettled, she had trusted her friends to keep Anthony safe. She had been wrong.
Keira had placed her head on Anthony's lap and was allowing him to ramble on about what they would do when Leo was gone. He described the neighborhood in the days before the drugs came. Carefree, hard working, honest and friendly. He had a smile on his face that suddenly died when he heard the door being kicked in.
Keira had flown off the couch, ready to attack. She didn't have the gun she carried sometimes on her. She always carried her blade but before she could flick it out she was thrown against a wall and held in place. She tried to fight her way out of the hold but the guy that had her pinned outweighed her and used his body like a solid wall. She kicked wildly as she saw Leo approach slowly followed by Frankie.
Frankie couldn't look at anything but the floor. It seemed like the world was on mute for Keira. She watched as Leo pulled out a heater and put 4 bullets in her best friends chest. He didn't even blink. Keira couldn't hear her own screams. The next thing she knew Leo and his men had left and she was covered in Anthony's blood. She didn't remember calling an ambulance but she had. She had tried to stop the flow of blood but it didn't seem to work. She held him until the medics arrived and took him to the hospital. She had stayed by his side until he was pronounced dead.
She had left the hospital in a daze, covered in her best friends blood and still she couldn't cry.
With a shake of her head Keira turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. She dried and dressed quickly, needing to do something to take her mind off of her memories. She decided she would look for a job. At home she had worked side by side with her dad at the garage he owned. She knew cars backwards and forwards but her specialty was bikes. She wondered if she could get a job working in a car shop. She decided to go look for car shops who needed mechanics. She hopped on her bike on a mission.
After scouring the streets of both the east and west side of town Keira had almost given hope. She had stopped at a few shops and at each one the response had been the same. She had been looked at strangely and either been given a simple "No, we're not hiring," or a laugh that accompanied that statement. As if girls couldn't know how to fix a damn car! Keira had to bite her tongue when she had been laughed at. She really didn't like swallowing her pride and just walking away but she really didn't want to cause a scene.
She saw the DX station on her right and decided that maybe seeing friendly faces would get her out of her foul mood. Anything was welcome at this point. She pulled in and shut off her engine, eyes searching. She spotted Soda helping some girls that looked like they might be seniors at the high school. They were obviously flirting shamelessly with him.
Keira watched with peaked curiosity as she walked towards the open garage. Soda had yet to see her so she continued her perusal of the interchange between the girls and Soda as she leaned on the wall. She had a half smile on her face as she watched. Keira wasn't a jealous person; she generally felt that there was no need as long as her boyfriends were faithful. If they weren't then she split. She didn't do mind games or cheaters, she gave honesty and loyalty and expected it in return. Simple as that.
She didn't quite know where she stood with Sodapop, but she wasn't going to lay claim on him like he was prize cattle if he wanted to be free. So she watched.
Her half smile turned to a full one when she saw Soda return a number that had been passed to him by the blond driver. She couldn't hear what was being said but she saw the girl frown as Soda shook his head.
"He likes you a lot you know," A voice came from beside her and she nearly jumped in surprise. She turned and saw that Steve was watching the scene that she had been watching moments before. Keira didn't know how to answer that so she remained quiet. She looked past him into the garage and noticed he was working on something.
"Need any help?" She asked sincerely. Steve followed her line of sight to the car and turned back to her looking surprised.
"You wanna help with the car?" Steve asked incredulously. Keira just nodded and began walking toward it, seeming to take in what needed to be done. The car had obviously been in an accident and she saw some body damage that needed to be repaired on the front end.
"Any engine damage?" Keira asked as she ran her hands over where the metal had been damaged.
"Naw. It was a pretty minor accident. Purely cosmetic damage." Steve replied.
"Hmm... Have you decided if your going to pull the metal back out or just order a new panel?" Keira was quickly forgetting her crappy encounters with the shop owners she had encountered. She was in her element here.
Steve was still looking surprised and a bit impressed as he answered, "I think I can pull the metal out. The owner is on a tight budget." Keira nodded.
"Yeah, it doesn't look that bad really. So you want some help or what?" Keira couldn't keep the hopeful tone out of her voice. Her eyes looked bright and eager to take a crack at the damage. Steve laughed at her enthusiasm but nodded. He tossed her a grungy set of used coveralls.
"You might want to throw these on." He smirked at her. Keira looked down at what she was wearing.
Plain faded blue jeans and another v-neck t-shirt that hugged her curves. She slipped the coveralls on until they reached her waist. She tied the arms around her middle instead of pulling her arms through the sleeves. Steve was about to ask about that when he saw Keira pull her t-shirt above her head revealing a black tank top.
"I like to have my arms free." She explained when she noticed Steve's stare. She immediately went to the tool bench and selected what she would need. She walked to the car and began to work in earnest. Steve eventually ambled over and began to help. They found an easy rhythm and soon lost track of time.
The sounds of laughter caused Keira to slide out from under the car, tool in hand. She saw Soda approaching with Ponyboy and Two-bit in tow. Steve was already wiping his hands on a work rag indicating that it was break time.
Keira stood and she saw the guys surprised look. Steve smirked at their expressions, having had the same expression only a couple hours ago. He wasn't going to deny that he was impressed with her skills. Soda wore a sly grin as he approached her. She took the rag that Steve had handed her and wiped her hands while smirking at the guys.
"Hey guys. I was just helping Steve with this car." She smiled.
"She's good. I think we got another couple hours on this baby tops. I probably wouldn't have been able to finish it till tomorrow without her." He ruffled her hair with his now clean hands. Keira shot an mock indignant look at him before pulling an elastic out of her hair and letting it cascade down her back.
"Yeah yeah, whatever. So lunch?" She asked, suddenly starving. Soda grinned at her and led her outside where Ponyboy and Two-bit had taken seats on the bumper of Two-bits car.
"So you were helping Steve? I coulda used some help up front you know," Soda whispered in her ear as she took a seat on the hood. He was leaning on the car next to her his hand on her knee as he whispered.
"You looked like you had plenty of company when I got here. I figured they were willing to give you a hand if you needed one." She didn't need to say anything more. Soda knew that was her way of figuring out where they stood.
"I only want your help, " Soda said sincerely looking into her eyes. She saw the honesty in the warm brown depths mixed with hope. She smiled at him and leaned forward to kiss his cheek. "Good to know" she whispered.
"Hey, you two! Stop having secret conversations that we lesser folk are not privy to!" Two-bit spoke up.
"Wow, I didn't know you knew what 'privy' meant Two-bit. You start paying attention in English class?" Ponyboy joked. Two-bit made a grab for him but Ponyboy jumped up and out of arms reach.
"You wanna get mouthy kid? Come here and let's see you say something again," Two-bit said as he continued his pursuit of Ponyboy. The chase was soon over as Steve came to the group with and armful of Pepsi's. He handed them out and soon the gang was munching on whatever they had or just drinking their pop's. She enjoyed the play fighting and laughter that surrounded her. She felt like she was back home in New York before the drugs had taken over. She didn't allow herself any further thoughts on New York and just forced herself to enjoy the new friends she had made.
Keira's sides were hurting from her laughter by the time Two-bit and Ponyboy had to go back to school. She hopped off the hood and waved as Two-bit sped off with Ponyboy in the front seat. She followed Steve back to the garage as Soda went to help someone fill up. They were soon back to work and completed by the time Steve and Soda were scheduled to get off work. Steve had called out to his boss to let him know the car was done. The older man came around and inspected the work as Steve looked on and Keira slipped out of her coveralls.
"Good work Steve, although I didn't expect you to finish this up until at least tomorrow. Way to keep ahead kid." The boss praised.
"I had help sir. Keira here pitched in and we got it done lickity split. She's great." Steve pointed Keira out to his boss. She was just pulling her tshirt back over her head as she caught her name being mentioned. She smiled at the once again shocked look on the boss's face.
"This here girly? You know what your doing?" His tone wasn't rude, just curious.
"Yes, sir. I used to work with my dad. He taught me everything he knew. Although motorcycles are more my specialty." She replied. He looked impressed.
"Well if you work this well with cars I'd love to see you work on a bike. Say, do you happen to want to work for me, say part-time? Another one of our mechanics went off to college recently and we've been short staffed for awhile now."
Keira grinned at the man before extending her hand and saying, " I'd love a job. When should I start?"
"Come by tomorrow 9 am. You'll start then." The boss walked back to his office after spoke.
Steve smiled at Keira before he hollered, "Hey Soda! Get your butt over here!"
Soda came tearing around the corner but stopped short at the gleeful smiles he encountered.
"I got me a new parter. Someone who's gonna take a good load off my shoulders, buddy! Your girl better keep up the good work" Steve said casually, explaining his smile. Soda looked at Keira and it clicked.
"You're gonna work here?"
"Yep, I start tomorrow!" She replied her smile growing. Soda grinned at her in return. "I was actually looking for a job before I came in here today. Funny thing, they all said they weren't hiring or just laughed at a chick fixing cars. Suckers." She wore a devious smirk.
"Well, I'm glad they turned you down, no offense. Now you're stuck with us." Soda put his arm around Keira's shoulder as they exited the garage. Keira smiled up at him and noticed that his eyes were flashing with uncontrolled joy. It made her heart flutter in her chest. She slipped her arm around his waist and said, "You know what Sodapop? I think you may be my good luck charm." She didn't explain further but Soda knew a compliment when he heard one.
Soda walked her to her bike while Steve punched out. Keira noticed the jealous gazes that were being thrown at her by the girls that were waiting in line for gas. Soda followed her gaze and saw the looks Keira seemed to be getting. He chuckled under his breath. As Keira threw a leg over her bike Soda stopped her before she started the engine.
"Where are you headed?"
"I think I'm going to head home. I kinda wanted to hang out with my little brother for awhile. I actually only saw him for the first time today." She looked a little sad when she said this.
"Well, I'm sure he has a bedtime, right?" Soda looked playful.
"Yeah, I'm sure he does." Keira laughed. "Why?"
"You wanna go somewhere tonight? There's a spot I like to go to sometimes and I think you'll like it." He had a mischievous expression that Keira found heart warming.
"Sure. Sounds like a plan. Should I just meet you at your place?" Keira smiled up at him, her excitement growing. Soda nodded his head. She was going to start her engine when Soda once again stopped her.
"I thought we agreed on the proper way to say goodbye," He muttered as he bent his head towards hers. For a split second Keira could almost hear the line of girls hold their breath as they saw Soda leaning towards her. But it all faded when his lips met hers.
The kiss began softly, but grew in intensity. Keira couldn't help but deepen the kiss, she was so enthralled with the feelings that were growing within her. They were both once again set on fire by their chemistry. Soda enjoyed the feel of Keira's full lips against his. He felt her sucking gently on his bottom lip before she pulled away, her lips looking slightly swollen from their intense kiss.
He loved her kiss. He couldn't ever remember a kiss being so good.
Keira looked at him from beneath her thick lashes. She placed one last kiss on his waiting lips before revving her engine and speeding off. Before she was gone she could have sworn she heard a collective groan from the girls who had just witnessed Sodapop Curtis take himself off the market. That thought made her grin like a fool.
A/N- So what do you guys think? Thoughts? Suggestions? Questions? Anything you wanna throw at me is welcome... So just hit that review button and I'll be all ears!