There should have been enough to do that night that I could have been amused for hours. But I wasn't. I didn't want to party and I had already saw the movie at the double so I went looking for amusement elsewhere. But in a town this small amusement is hard to find in legal pursuits, and I knew better than to meet the cops on the wrong side of things. When I left the house I had a whole pack of Marlboros so I started smoking away. By the time I finished the third one in a row my stomach was angry with me. I knew it had been a stupid idea, but I was a stupid girl. I got up off the swing I had been in and walked around gulping in the night air.
My feet took me right by the double just as everyone was leaving. I saw people I knew and people I didn't; up ahead I saw three boys I knew and liked well. It was Ponyboy Curtis, Two-Bit Mathews and Johnny Cade. There were two girls walking with them, a short one talking to Two-Bit, and a red head talking to Ponyboy. Johnny was walking along in the middle with his hands in his pockets and his head down watching his feet.
I ran a little to catch up with them.
"Hey." I shouted.
All five of them turned and looked my direction.
"Hey Lose. Two-Bit said when he realized who had yelled.
'Lose' wasn't my real name. It was short for Lucy. They said I took off every time I got lose from my mom, hence the nickname. It was the truth. The only reason I was roaming the streets at this late hour was because my mom was at work. She worked the night shift, and didn't get home until 6 a.m., so I was lose and free to roam.
"Two-Bit. Pony. How's it going Johnny?" I greeted.
Pony didn't say much, I think he said 'hi' or something like that, but Two-Bit slapped Johnny on the shoulder playfully and said, "You scared the daylights out of Johnny."
Johnny did look flightier than usual.
"What's the matter Johnny? You scared of lil' ole me?" I asked jokingly.
A smile lit up his whole face, black eyes and all.
"I guess I am a little jumper than usual." He said.
"Where are you boys headed?" I asked hoping for something fun.
Two-Bit answered, "We are taking these two ladies home, to the north side."
I raised one eye brow naturally but I was glad to show him he wasn't the only one who could do that little trick.
"Seriously." He said with a sort of smug grin.
"Mind if I tag along?" I asked.
He said no so I went. Anyway I had till 6a.m. and it was the weekend, I could sleep tomorrow and if three of my greaser friends were going to take two Soc girls home, I wanted to see it.
Pony was talking nonstop to the red head and Two-bit was so busy making the other girl laugh he was impossible to have a conversation with. That left me and Johnny. Quiet Johnny. It was a boring walk for about five minutes till the red head said, "Well, they spotted us." And a blue mustang stopped beside us. I automatically knew it was full of Socs. I was right. I wasn't scared for my sake; I knew they wouldn't hurt me. I was neutral. My dad was rich and I had nice things and I didn't get in trouble, so I wasn't a greaser. But I wasn't a snob and my dad left us when I was a baby and my mom had to work nights, so I wasn't a Soc.
I was standing back and wondering what to do. I knew who Bob was but I didn't know him well. I went out with Randy once and had a nice time. I had no intentions of fighting with either side, but I certainly wasn't going to side against my friends.
Once my mom got off work early and caught me leaving Two-bit's house at 5:30 in the morning and got pissed. Before I could even start explaining myself Two-Bit spoke up and took the blame saying he had asked me to come over and help him with some math homework. He even produced a sheet of problems. I had never saw that piece of paper before.
It was Two-Bit who got my attention, "Pity the backseat." He said and smashed the bottom off a pop bottle and shoved it into Pony's hand for a weapon.
Johnny quickly sucked air in his mouth and grabbed the side of my tee-shirt. That startled me more that the breaking glass. For an instant I thought he was trying to protect me, like he was going to pull me away from the fight. But when I instinctively looked at him he was white and his eyes were round. A moment later the red head said, "Ok. We'll go with you."
"Why?" Two-Bit asked. He sounded disappointed.
"I hate fights." She said exasperated.
She pulled Pony aside and they talked in low voices. Two-Bit kept staring at the Socs with his switch pulled, and Johnny stayed tense with his fingers tangled in my shirt. Soon they all got in the car and it pulled away.
The four of us started walking again.
"What are you fellas gonna do tonight?" Two-Bit asked.
I didn't bother to point out I wasn't exactly a 'fella'.
Pony answered, "Go home, I guess."
Two-Bit ran after a hat blown by the wind.
"I may get drunk. See you boys later." He said and jogged off giggling.
Now he was just being mean.
Ponyboy, Johnny and I stopped in front of Johnny's house since it was first up, and we could all hear shouting coming from inside.
"I hate when they fight." Johnny mumbled. "Let's go to the lot." He said popping Ponyboy lightly on the arm.
I wasn't invited but I wasn't un-invited either so once again I tagged along.
"Wait up." I said.
And they did.
It was a cool and windy night. We all three had our arms crossed and pulled tight to our bodies for warmth. I felt dumb for not at least wearing long sleeves, but after looking at Pony's sleeveless shirt I felt better.
"You'll freeze to death, Lucy. Here" Johnny said slipping off his jeans jacket and trying to hand it to me.
I might be cold but at least I could go home and get warm. Johnny couldn't even do that.
"Na, man. You'll get cold." I said pushing the jacket back at him.
"I can take it better than you can." He said pushing it back.
Was that a snub? No, it was just Johnny's logic for being nice.
I don't know how long we sat in the lot. Ponyboy was disappointed that they didn't get to take the girls home.
"How long did it take you to ask her out, Ponyboy?" I asked.
I was really wondering if Darry knew.
Pony turned red. "Ask her out?"
Johnny giggled a little bit like he couldn't help it. I think that was the first time I had ever heard him actually giggle, like Two-Bit.
"Didn't," Pony said pulling at grass blades. "That big guy, Bob, that's her boyfriend."
Now it made since.
"Was that Cherry Valance?" I asked.
I wondered why she was walking with Ponyboy.
He nodded. "Do you know her?" He asked.
'Duh, Pony.' That's what I wanted to say. But instead I said, "I have heard of her. People say she's a snob."
He looked as if I had slapped him.
"That's not true." he said indigently. Then he dreamily added, "She watches sunsets."
Then he flipped over on his stomach and rested his chin on his crossed arms. Me and Johnny were quite for a long time and didn't know Pony had fallen asleep until Johnny broke the silent.
"Pony it's gettin' kinda late." He said.
But there was no response. Johnny moved his arm to wake him but without really thinking I gripped his arm to stop him.
"No," I said and we both looked at my two hands around his bicep. "Let him sleep for a minute. Let's talk."
It was an awkward moment. Our faces were close and we were breathing in each other's faces. His arm was bigger than I expected, muscly-er, and he had pretty lips.
"M'kay." He breathed.
His breath smelled like cigarettes and little else. I'm sure mine did too. I sank back where I was so our faces weren't so close.
"What ya wanna talk 'bout?" Johnny asked.
Look at that he could speak first.
"I was wondering Johnny, a while ago, when the Socs pulled up, why did you grab my shirt like that?"
He didn't speak for a minute he just stared right at me. It was a little unnerving. Then he looked down and started to pick at the bottom of his sneakers.
Then he started to speak, "Well. I was scared. My first thought was to run if a fight broke out, and I don't know. I was gonna take you with me I guess."
When he was done answering he looked back up at me and smiled slightly. I smiled too, I couldn't help it.
"That's sweet Johnny Cade."
I thought about that for a minute. It wasn't just that he wanted to protect me or that he was scared. It was both.
Huh, look at that. Little Johnnycake, the jumpy quite one didn't want me to get hurt. I was flattered to say the least. I was smiling again.
"Ya know, you ant got to worry about me. The Socs won't hurt me. They know who my dad is. I'm kinda neural when it comes to what side of the fence I'm on." I said.
Johnny looked down again, he looked disappointed.
"I know." He said quietly.
I could tell I had said the wrong thing. Did that sound like I was two-faced? Or like I was saying I was too good to be a greaser? That wasn't what I meant to say at all. I had friends on both sides and didn't belong to either.
"Johnny," I had sat up again, my hand was on his arm again, and our faces were close. He was looking in my eyes again. My words were hard to get out. "You and Ponyboy and Two-Bit are my friends, so is the rest of the gang. I would have taken your side tonight if it had come to it. I knew before Two-Bit broke that bottle."
I wasn't looking at his eyes anymore; I was looking at his lips. He seemed distracted too. Gosh they were pretty. Our mouths got closer and the air warmer. We were kissing. His lips were soft too and he kissed me so gently. 'Why haven't we done this before?' I wondered briefly but instantly my mind was back on the warm, sweet, soft, gentle- oh God those lips I thought. I didn't want it to end, and it didn't.
Johnny pulled back and looked at me.
"Johnny," I whispered. "Have you ever done this before?"
He nodded, "Once." He said, and his voice was horse. "It was Dally's girl."
I laughed a bit. I'm sure there was a funny story to go along with that, and I would find it out. But not now. Kissing him was amazing, and I wanted this boy for the long run.
"I got to wake Pony up, Darry will flip." He said and kissed me once more before he started shaking the other boy awake.
"Mmm?" Ponyboy asked sleepily. "What time is it?"
Johnny looked around. "I don't know, man. We fell asleep too. It's late though, you better get home."
Pony did as he was advised and immediately ran stumbling from the lot. I sort of raised an eyebrow at him. I knew he only said it because he was shy, but I could still have some fun with him.
"Sleeping?" I asked and smiled at him.
He smiled too and looked down.
"Is that what you are calling it? Gah, I'd sure like to see what would happen if we were both awake." I joked.
He smiled and got a little red, "Shut up Lucy." He said playfully and sat down next to me and slid his arm around me.
I snuggled down into the crook of his arm and laid my head against him and put my hand over his heart. Then I realized something.
"Johnny!" I said kinda quickly and he startled. "I still have your jacket. You're so cold."
He really was, he felt like ice.
"Oh, I'll be alright." He said.
I knew he would be and there wasn't any chance of getting him to take the jacket back. Sweet, shy and scared he might be, but he was definitely tough! Yep that was my Johnny. Wait, my Johnny?
"So," I started. "Does this mean we are kinda going together now?"
I wanted to know his thoughts on the night's kiss; I knew I wanted to spend every minute with him. He was quite for a minute before he answered.
"Yeah. I guess now your kinda my Brown Eyed Girl." He said and then kissed the top of my head.
"That's very witty." I said, with a smile.
"Come on Brown Eyed Girl, I'll walk you home." He said standing up and reaching for my hand.
I wanted to protest and I guess he could tell because he added, "I'm not going to let you stay out here all night."
So I reluctantly took his hand and he pulled me up. We walked hand in hand and mostly in silent until we reach my door. The good night kiss wasn't as awkward as I expected.
He leaned in, pecked my lips once and said, "See you tomorrow."
The porch light provided the best light I had seen him in all night. His greasy, black, long curly hair. His dark eyes. His tan completion. 'I'm luck' I thought to myself. As he turned away to leave I remembered the jacket.
"Wait, your jacket." I said grabbing his hand to stop him.
He smiled at me again.
"Na. You keep it. I'll prolly go to Pony's house. Besides, I want everyone to know who's wearing it." He said.
I about melted. I quickly kissed his cheek and ran inside. The last I saw of his face, he was smiling.