The rodeo brings excitment, and Ellie wants to see Dally.
To see what you will do
Everyone's looking at you.
The smoke irritated her eyes as it seemed to plume through the closed door and the planks of the floor. It dried them out almost as much as the dust flying at the rodeo.
The races had been uneventful the day before as all of them piled into the stands, sans Dallas and Darry. Dally was racing, and Darry had to work, though Ellie secretly wondered if he was just looking for an excuse to get out of it. She was sure that was the case when they got there, and Soda complained nearly the entire time, wishing he could ride again. Even after their parents passed away, Darry had firmly put his foot down, despite the fact Soda said he could rake in all kinds of money if he won. Darry reasoned that they wouldn't be able to afford hospital bills if he happened to get hurt again. Soda grudgingly agreed but not without a fight and not without trying to put Darry on a guilt trip every chance he got.
At least Soda's new girlfriend was allowed out of the house on the weekends to keep him busy during part of the show. He was quick to keep her informed of everything that was going on, from the riders to the races to the horses themselves. She seemed impressed by it all, or she was just good at acting like she cared, but Ellie was bored.
It was one of the few things she and Ponyboy disagreed on. He loved the horses and the excitement, but she thought there was too much waiting around between races and the hay, dust and dirt flying around made her sneeze and her eyes itch. Besides, there were too many socs hanging around, just wanting a blue ribbon to take home to place next to their other awards and trophies, while the greasers riding were doing it to make ends meet.
As the next race was beginning, Ellie spotted Dallas lining up with the others. In the years she had known him, she always found it bizarre how different he was when he was at the rodeos. Honesty and Dallas Winston had never gone hand in hand, but these races were different. As the gunshot popped above them and the horses took off, she wondered if it was because he knew how good he was. It was one of the rare opportunities greasers had to really show up the socs, and Dally took that seriously. It was the one thing he was so good at, he didn't need to cheat in order to win. And if anyone ever suggested otherwise, they usually met the floor pretty fast and couldn't chew solid food for awhile.
Still, she liked him better when he wasn't such a hard headed jerk. That rare honesty seemed to have the ability to turn into pure happiness when he would win those races. It was a side of him they only got see when he was riding in the rodeos, and it usually only lasted until he dismounted.
A hand waved in front of her face, fighting for her attention. Startled out of her trance, she looked over to see Pony and Johnny grinning at her.
"Did you hear a word I said?" Pony asked, looking from her and to the track to see what held her attention so steadily. The race was over, ending with Dally galloping over the finishline by a good two lengths.
She shrugged with a smile. "Sorry, I got a little distracted."
"I'll say," he agreed. "Me and Johnny wanna go to the movies tonight, since everyone's probably going to Buck's."
Ellie grinned. "What? You aren't gonna go to the party?"
"Shoot," Pony scoffed. "Darry ain't gonna let me within ten miles of that place. You ain't plannin' on going, are you? I mean, you ain't ever been before."
She shrugged. "I don't know. I was just thinkin' about it. It could be fun."
"I'll never know," Pony said. "But you could see if everything Two-Bit says really happens."
"It does," Johnny said, turning a little red. "Once is enough."
"Yeah, well. I ain't been there once, so it ain't been enough yet," Ellie interjected, sitting on her hands to try and warm them up, hoping Pony couldn't see right through that thin fib.
"So, which are you doing?" Johnny asked.
"Movies or Buck's?" Pony finished.
She sighed inwardly as she turned her attention back to the track as Dally trotted around the ring, heading back toward the stables. That put a kink in her plans to visit Dallas at the party that was clearly growing in numbers if the cheers from the crowd were any indication. Dally trotted his horse by the stands victoriously, nodding up to his friends with a proud grin on his face. His horse's strut was as cocky as he was going to be that weekend; she was sure of it.
"Sure, I'll go," she told Pony. She would visit Dally the next day instead. Maybe that would allow enough time for his ego to shrink a bit from the win.
Will you come out tonight?
The door seemed to pulsate with the music downstairs, and every time someone walked down the hallway Ellie held her breath. She wasn't quite sure what she was doing. She'd walked all the way from home and had snuck into the party without much notice. Dally hadn't been around the Curtises because of all the parties Buck was throwing after the rodeo, blowing his winnings on cheap booze to draw the crowds in. She never would have guessed the party would have still be in full swing on a Sunday night, and she couldn't find Dallas through the crush of greasers. Giving up quickly, she decided to wait for him upstairs.
Sitting on the edge of the bed and listening to the party howl downstairs, she was getting nervous. He had no idea she was there, and she wasn't stupid. She knew that those kisses probably weren't anything to him, even if they were something to her. They sure felt like something. No one had ever kissed her like that or kissed her period. Ellie wondered what would happen if he brought another girl upstairs while she was sitting there waiting.
A shiver went down her spine, and she got up to shut the window. It was freezing outside, and he had left the window wide open. She kept it open as long as she could handle it, but her jacket wasn't doing much good against the breeze that kept wrapping around her.
She pushed the curtains aside and slid the window shut, taking a moment to stare at a few greasers standing around looking at car. To her knowledge, it looked pretty tuff. The hubcaps weren't anything spectacular, but she didn't think Steve would mind lifting them anyway.
"Ellie?" a confused voice addressed her.
She turned around quickly and saw Dallas standing in the doorway. A cowboy hat rested over his blond hair and a beer bottle was stuck in his hand. A little smile spread across her face as he shut the door slowly, looking her over from where he stood.
"Hey, Dal," she finally responded, pleased he was alone.
He gave her a little smirk and leaned back against the door. "What're you doin' here?"
Ellie gave a little shrug and said, "Ain't seen you since we met you at the stables after the rodeo. You've been busy with this party all weekend."
Dally tipped his beer back, draining the last few drops and setting it on the dresser beside him. "Why'd you show up so late?"
"Didn't know I was invited," she returned.
"Hell, it's Buck's. Everybody's invited," he stated. He watched in fascination as she crossed the room and stood in front of him. He looked down at her, the brim of his hat partially obscuring his view so he tipped it back slightly.
"I figured, but I didn't think I could talk Darry into lettin' Pony come with me," she said, tracing little circles in the dust on the dresser with her finger. "You know what?"
"What?" he asked, stepping closer to her.
"You sure can ride those ponies good, Dally," she said casually, looking up at him.
Dally chuckled, wondering if she had any inclination just how dirty that sounded. He figured she knew, though, what with the way her eyes were dancing with the little smile on her lips. The lack of blush on her cheeks surprised him, though. She always blushed when conversations turned like that.
"You think so?" he asked, slipping a caloused hand around her waist and pulling her against him. He leaned down, resting his cheek against hers. He said in her ear, "You ain't seen nothin'."
"I believe it," she said, her knees almost going weak and her voice suddenly breathy and nearly lost to the beat of Johnny Cash pulsating beneath them.
His lips hovered back to hers, and he kissed her once before he pulled away. Her face tried to follow, but he wouldn't let her catch him just yet. He liked that desperate pout on her lips when he left her with less than she expected.
Still holding her against him, he asked, "Who brought you?"
He hadn't seen Steve or even Soda since the night before ,and he was pretty sure Two-Bit hadn't left since he arrived Saturday evening. Besides, he was sure Steve wouldn't have brought her within a mile of the party and then left her alone.
Her face fell a little, and she tried to back out of his grasp. It only made him hold on tighter, preparing for an answer he could already tell he didn't want to hear.
"I took the bus as close as I could get and walked the rest of the way," she said, not looking at him.
"Godamnit, Ellie. You're just askin' to get jumped again," he growled. "What the hell are you thinkin'?"
She sighed, annoyed, and flicked her hair behind her shoulders. She knew nothing was going to happen. Michael and his friends weren't brave enough to venture that far into the East Side and despite what Dally had pulled at school, nothing had really happened to make Michael too mad. Things seemed to be settling.
"I was thinkin' that I wanted to come to the party, and I didn't have a very good explanation as to why, so I couldn't ask one of the guys to bring me," she said. "Nothin' happened."
"You storm into Buck's by yourself, during a party, and you think nothin' was gonna happen?" he asked.
Ellie furrowed her eyebrows and let the idea sink in. Socs weren't the only people he was worried about; he was thinking about the plethora of drunk guys just looking for a one night stand. The thought never crossed her mind, but no one approached her. She wasn't even sure if anyone even noticed her presence.
That moment of sensuality evaporated with his sudden sour mood and a rapid knock at the door.
"Shit," he muttered, letting her go and flinging the door open wide. Sylvia pounced, grabbing his shirt collars and pushing him backwards slightly. "What the hell do you want?" he grumbled, prying her fingers from his shirt and holding her wrists tightly.
"You know what I want," she tried to purr in his ear.
"Yeah, well go find Will and take it from him," Dally told her. "I'm busy."
"With what?" she asked, trying to push him toward the bed. As soon as she asked, she noticed Ellie standing awkwardly against the dresser. She wrinkled her face and looked with disbelief from Ellie to Dally. "You're kidding me, right?"
"Did you hear me laughin'? Get the hell out 'fore I toss you out on your ass," he threatened, giving her a shove back toward the hallway.
Sylvia stood in the doorway, giving Ellie a hot glare, her pale green eyes boring holes into her. Ellie tried to hold one in return, but she looked away, embarrassed.
Fluffing her curls and running blood red fingernails through her dishwater blonde hair, Sylvia rested a hand on her hip and said coolly to Dally, "Well, you have fun with your little girl here. I'm sure Will and I are gonna have some real fun tonight. It's too bad you're so busy, Dal. I'd much rather have that fun with you like old times."
"An' just like old times, you got no problem slumming. Fuck off, Sylvia," he said.
"Yeah, and just like old times you ain't gonna put up much of a fight if I come back around." She folded her arms tightly in front of her, giving him a nice view. She smirked triumphantly as his eyes wandered. "You know she ain't gonna last more'n a week."
Dally smirked at her. "You know from experience, ain't that right?" He gave the door a push, slamming it right in her pretty, harlot face. Ellie still stared at the place her face had been, her teeth gritting in the frustration of both Sylvia and Dallas talking about her like she wasn't even in the room.
"What?" Dally asked, turning his attention back to her.
"Nothing," she said, crossing her arms. She wished she hadn't come. "Maybe I ought to go."
She tried to go around him, but he stepped in her path blocking her exit.
"You ain't walkin'," he told her.
"Two-Bit's here, ain't he?" she asked.
Dally shrugged. "He might be in a room, or he might've gotten a ride home by now. Besides, he'd be too crocked to drive you anywhere."
"So you drive me," she said.
"Can't," he said with a smirk. "Buck's car's in the shop
"You can walk me. It ain't that far," she suggested.
"It's fucking freezing," he said, motioning toward the window. "I ain't walkin' nowhere."
"So what am I supposed to do?" she asked, dropping her hands to her sides.
Dally shrugged and eased her back into the dresser, his hands on her hips and his eyes on the prize.
"You can stay here," he suggested, slipping a thumb under her shirt and caressing her bare skin.
She laughed at the joke, until she realized he was serious. "What? You mean stay all night...with you?"
"Ain't no one else here," he said, his whole hand resting on her hip.
She shook her head and pulled his hand from under her shirt. "I don't think so," she said quickly. She tried to head for the door, but Dally blocked her path again.
He was laughing, and Ellie looked at him angrily.
"Glory, but you can blush," he appraised. He reached up and pulled his hat off, tossing it across the room in one fluid motion. "I think you want to stay."
She shook her head, giving him a stern look. "No, I think Sylvia wanted to stay."
"Forget about her," he said, leaning closer to Ellie. "She just wants to get people all riled up."
"Yeah? Well, it's working," she complained. He grinned and kissed her roughly. His hands had found their way back to her sides beneath her shirt while his lips found their way to her neck, and she tried to give him a shove back. "Cut it out, Dal." He made no motion to stop, and suddenly Ellie felt the back of her knees pinned against the rickety, old bed that sat in the corner. "Dally!" she scolded once more.
He sighed. He was almost as irritated with her as he was amused. "I think you wanna stay with me tonight," he told her once more before releasing his grip on her sides. She tumbled backward as her knees buckled against the bed frame. He grinned down at her. Boy, she had a way of pissing him off, but it was entertaining to see just how far he could push her sometimes.
She sat up quickly, straightening her skirt that had worked its way half way up her thighs. "I still think you're wrong."
"You think I'm wrong?" he asked as he fell onto the bed next to her, stretching out on his back with his hands tucked under his head. She rolled her eyes like he knew she would, and he asked, "How do you plan on gettin' home then? I ain't walking you, and you ain't walking alone."
"So you're saying I'm stranded here?" she asked, weighing her options.
He smirked at her. "That's what I'm saying." He was thoughtful for a moment. "Unless you wanna call Steve or Darry to pick you up." His smile turned into a full-fledged grin, as her eyes slightly widened. He could only imagine how she would try to talk her way around why she snuck to Buck's on her own. He knew just how red she would turn if she had to be picked up from Buck's after spending an evening with Dally.
Darry would shake his head, praise all that was holy that he didn't have a little sister of his own, and say nothing. Steve, on the other hand? He'd go into big-brother mode and want to know everything. Dally happened to know that she would rather roll over dead than to have a conversation like that with Steve, and he couldn't blame her. Steve gave Curly Shepard a black eye once for trying his best to lift Ellie's skirt on the playground when they were all little kids. He'd gotten hell from Tim for a few weeks, but Curly never tried anything like that with Ellie ever again. Steve made sure he looked and never touched from there on out.
Ellie sighed before falling on her back beside him. "Guess I'm stuck here, then."
He wrapped an arm around her. "Guess so."
Everybody's working for the weekend
Everybody wants a little romance.
Ellie scooted closer to Dally, pulling the blankets tight around her shoulders and curling her knees up almost to her chest. He felt her shiver next to him and pulled her closer.
"Why'd you open the window again?" she asked. "It's freezing in here. How do you stand it?"
"Quit gripin'. It ain't that cold," he told her.
"Bullshit," she muttered. "You wouldn't walk me home 'cause you said it was too cold."
"Too cold to walk, but this is okay. You're just too skinny for your own good. 'Sides," he added slyly, allowing his hand to wander down her side onto her hip, "there're other ways of keepin' warm."
She grabbed his hand in what had become a reflexive action in the past hour or so. "We've already been over this," she warned hotly.
"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled into her hair. He didn't mind so much, because he had already gotten her to stay the night with him, which was further than he thought he would get. He expected her to put up such a fight earlier that he would have no choice but to walk her home. However, she gave up the argument easier than he expected. He had been hoping she would cave eventually.
The room beside them suddenly came alive with low moans and the rapid squeak of an old mattress and the headboard banging against the paper-thin walls. Ellie tried to squirm further away, but Dally held her tight against him. He knew her cheeks must be on fire.
"Sounds like Sylvia," he said, close to her ear. "Wanna make her jealous?"
He took an unexpected elbow to the ribs, and she slid out of the bed and glared at him.
"No. I don't want to make her jealous. I want you to take me home," she said, her hands on her hips. "I got school in the morning, Dal."
He didn't move more than to turn on to his back. He gave her a sideways smile and said nothing until the squeaking of the mattress next door was still. Sylvia was usually loud, and tonight, she was louder than usual in an effort to make him jealous or piss him off. Ellie's cheeks couldn't have gotten any redder despite the way she stood there hugging herself in the dark room, as she shivered in the breeze coming through the open window.
"Dally," she said, sharply through her gritted teeth, "take me home."
"You ain't gonna be able to stand walkin' home, Miss Priss," he said, sitting up and nodding toward the window. "Not with only a jacket."
"So be a gentleman, and give me your coat," she insisted, hugging herself tighter and trying to make her teeth stop chattering.
"What am I supposed to wear then?" he asked, toying with her.
"Like I give a shit. Borrow someone's car, and this won't have to be such an ordeal," she pleaded with him.
"I ain't the one makin' this an ordeal. Besides, it's warm enough right here," he said. He reached out for her arm, tugging her closer to the bed.
The moaning and squeaking from the room next door started up again, and Dally couldn't help the laugh that spilled out of his mouth as she bulked at the sound.
"I'm tellin' you, El. They got the right idea. You'll want that window open," he said with a suggestive smirk.
Ellie pulled her arm out of his grasp. "That's it," she declared.
"I'm sleeping on the floor," she stated flatly, reaching for the pillow.
"No, you ain't," he said, grabbing her arms and pulling her onto the bed in one easy motion. "I'll be good."
"Liar," she said, her scoff breathy on his neck. "You're never good."
"You never know," he reasoned with a grin that made his face hurt. "I might surprise you."
Everybody's goin' off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance.
A/N: Wow, sorry we have been so sluggish at the updates lately. Things have been crazy with the end of school, working and retirement parties we planned. We'll get back on track...hopefully. As for now, we hope you enjoyed the frosting.
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