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For one moment Evie wonders whether he is worth the arguing, and for one moment Steve lets his guard down after a blazing row with his girlfriend and his father. Steve and Evie. One-shot Prebook
Summary: For one moment Evie wonders whether he is worth the arguing, and for one moment Steve lets his guard down after a blazing row with his girlfriend and his father. Steve and Evie. One-shot Prebook
A.N-I’m English so use British spelling and possibly terminology. Thanks to my betas as ever. This is my first one shot so I hope it has gone well and I love Steve and Evie as a couple and just had this idea. This has been re-edited to correct any grammar issues, etc. and to hopefully make it a better piece.
Disclaimer: I do not own 'The Outsiders', they belong to S E Hinton.
Why did she put up with him? Evie slammed her bedroom door dramatically and sat at her desk, fighting tears. She felt drained -- the arguments with Steve drained her. Her throat was still sore from yelling and the adrenalin that had filled her in the argument was now settling down like the dust after a tornado.
She peeled off her jacket slowly; the heat-wave was overwhelming, and for once in her life she just wished it would rain.
Evie just wanted to forget about him for a while. She looked at the photo slotted in her mirror of the two of them at the homecoming dance last year and picked it up, sighed and placed it delicately on her desk, face down.
She was beginning to doubt it was worth it. In the last month they had spent more time arguing than ever in, and Steve seemed more explosive, more easily provoked and more easily annoyed than usual, which was no easy feat.
She had known Steve nearly all her life; she had been in the same classes as him since Kindergarten, although they hadn’t really spoken to each other until high school -- despite teachers' preference for seating in alphabetical order making them sit together for years before this.
After a particularly nasty break up with Will Winters in her sophomore year -- and a fight with her friends -- she had suddenly found herself with Steve. Evie had liked his intensity and the fact he thought she was pretty, and she thought he was stunning with his dark, smouldering looks. Even his foul moods added to his attraction; the danger of it all. Over time she had began fell for him, and then in junior year they had started dating.
“Evie!” somebody screamed from the landing and Evie sighed, opening the door to see her thirteen-year-old brother. “They’re starting to fight again. They started arguing at dinner.”
“Oh,” she responded flatly, wishing her brother hadn’t bothered her. She could hear for herself that the voices downstairs were getting steadily louder and steadily more hysterical. She sighed. “You goin’ to Aunty Irene’s?” Evie’s family were lucky in a sense, because her aunt and uncle lived locally, so when any arguments erupted they were an ideal refuge for Evie and Jack. In some ways Evie hated it though, all of her cousins seemed dysfunctional in some sense and the one girl in them just didn’t gel with Evie anymore, despite the fact they were friends as kids. The large family occasions to try and show how close knit they really were annoyed Evie as well, everyone seemed to behave so falsely in them, it was all to contrived for her liking.
“Take Ellie, will you?” she said. Ellie was ten, the youngest in the family. Her brother shrugged. “Do it!” she snapped hoarsely.
“Your voice sounds funny.”
“Yeah well…your voice ain’t so great either!” Her brother turned crimson -- his voice was breaking and he was conscious of this. Evie instantly felt some remorse but was unable to apologise, apologising was just something she found difficult, it meant admitting you were wrong, she was too proud for that, and she knew it.
“I’m going then,” he quietly replied, walking out of the room. “Don't worry, I’ll take Ellie too.” Evie nodded and, feeling awful, shut the door behind her.
By now the voices had reached the peak of their crescendo, Evie just turned her radio by her bed on, allowing the comforting vocals of Simon and Garfunkel to conceal the hysterics downstairs as she laid on her bed.
She opened a magazine but couldn’t focus; she was still smarting over the argument with Steve. It was like most of their arguments were: pathetic. They were stupid and over nothing in particular, but once it started they were both to stubborn to see this and would allow a simple misunderstanding to escalate to preposterous degrees.
Evie had actually instigated the argument today, mainly because she had been in a mood that could have given Steve some real competition. Evie sighed, worried that she was turning into her mother, that would be her worst nightmare.
She altered the radio station twice before going back to the Simon and Garfunkel song. Maybe she would talk to Steve tomorrow; she would talk to Kathy about it first on the way to school tomorrow. After all considering what had happened yesterday, she realised how much she cared about Steve.
Her door suddenly opened: Evie jumped and turned down the radio. Steve was leaning against the door-frame. If she didn’t know better, she would have said that he was really upset, but Steve was not the type to act 'upset' -- angry perhaps, but not sad, not unless something really bad had happened.
“Your parents didn’t see me,” he quietly said as he walked into the room.
Evie rolled her eyes. “God knows if you’d been a burglar!”
“I didn’t know your parents were still fighting.” She shrugged at his comment and watched him sit at the end of her bed.
He placed his head in his hands, which was such an alien gesture that Evie felt scared. Her boyfriend never looked vulnerable or upset, he was angry and bitter -- not someone who subscribed to being a victim. Being a victim was weak, and Steve Randle was not a weak guy.
“Sometimes I wish he’d just hit me.” Evie bit her lip, moving to sit closer to him and unsure what to say or do. Steve never really opened up to her, once he had said that he hated his damned father, but he had never given a reason why. She wasn’t stupid -- contrary to popular belief -- she knew his father could be cruel but Steve seemed so resilient to his words, he wouldn't let them get to him ... or would he?
“I mean, then….then I would justified, justified in the anger, in being u-in everything." He sighed again, and Evie wondered whether he was actually talking to her or just venting, he wasn’t facing her after all. “I mean, they’re just a bunch of words and he always says he doesn’t mean them afterwards … I get a couple of dollars.” He paused. “A couple of dollars! Money doesn’t fuckin’ fix it though, I mean it’s like blackmail isn’t it?” He reached in his jacket pocket for his cigarettes. “Tomorrow I’ll go home and he’ll be sober. He’ll give me a couple of bucks and won’t even ask where I stayed the night, or if I was okay. He doesn’t say sorry. He won’t admit he was wrong, y’see Evie, he has to be the man on top, the winner. He doesn’t screw up!” Steve clenched his fists, ruining the carton of cigarettes in the process. He opened the crushed carton confused and found one cigarette that wasn’t ruined, which he kept turning around.
Evie was shaking slightly; she had never seen him like this and for once the intensity scared her. It wasn’t thrilling, it wasn’t like the arguments where she would yell back and there would be so much heat in the room around them. This? This was cold, cold and alien, and terrifying. “Steve I think-”
“Can I?” he asked distractedly, indicating his cigarette.
Stunned, and in a state of shock, Evie just stuttered. “Y-yeah, sure you can Steve.” He couldn’t really though, if her parents smelt the smoke in her room then she would be in for it. She didn’t care about that, she was compelled to hear more and was prepared to damn the consequences just so he could understand what he was going through.
Steve lit the cigarette and inhaled as Evie opened the bedroom window. “I hate him, Evie. I hate him so much.”
“Why doesn’t your mum-”
“She’s oblivious. My Mum lives in a daydream where we’re all happy families, and when she admits he’s a vindictive, pathetic little man … she blames it on the war!” Steve’s father, Larry, had been a soldier in the war for two years. Evie suddenly remembered him proudly telling the class about his father in show and tell in the third grade. "I don’t see how she believes it. Y’know, until I was twelve he was the best dad in the world, I wanted to be just like him.” He broke and laughed bitterly. “He started drinking when I was twelve. Up until that point he was fine, I mean-I don’t know. I really don’t know.” He looked down again and then after a moment met Evie’s eyes again. “Sometimes I hate Soda, he’s my best buddy, but I hate him too … and Two-Bit ‘cause at least his mum cares. But Soda? Soda has lovely parents,” he bitterly commented. “He’s loved and no one tells him he was a mistake, that they don’t want him home for a couple o’ nights … but then I think of Johnny and it’s nothing. It’s words, not violence.”
“Steve I had no idea…” she faltered, how could she say she had had no idea that Steve could feel like that? She didn’t know that he was jealous of Soda or that he felt the issues with his father were nothing even though both of them could see it had to be something, because Steve was so closed usually. He was always angry when he spoke about his father but he never confided in anyone. Evie hadn’t even known what he hated about his father, not until now. Not until this strange meeting after their blazing argument.
“I just wish sometimes that it was more, that I felt like I wasn’t being some coward for-” he faltered. “Evie?” he asked in a low voice.
“Don’t tell no one what I said,” Evie laughed.
“What do you take me for?”
He didn’t answer.
“Steve I don’t gossip about that sort of thing,” she sharply said, offended that clearly Steve doubted her.
“I know,” he said after a long paus.
“About earlier,” she began, swallowing her pride. After all, he had just told her so much and the least she could do would be to resolve earlier -- and for once, take the responsibility. “I’m sorry.”
“Me too.” Steve moved over next to her and they lay down on the bed.
“They’ll kill me if they find you here,” she mumbled. “Why don’t you stay though?” She had a feeling the last thing Steve wanted to be around right now was a functional family like Soda’s, so he ought to be pretty content in her house.
“It’s worth the risk though, right?” She had a feeling he was talking about more than just the risk of him being in her room and nodded.
“Sorry about yesterday too…”
“What, when you got arrested?” Evie asked accusingly.
“Hey don’t you start on me Evie!” Steve had been arrested yesterday for fighting, there were no charges pressed and he had just spent a night in the cells before his mum picked him up. Evie had cried, Steve hadn’t seen her cry but everyone else had, even Soda’s little brother. She had cried and humiliated herself outside the bowling alley, all for him.
“I-I was just angry at you today,” she continued.
“Yeah well, I wasn’t in such a great mood either,” he admitted, in what would be the closest thing to an apology Evie would probably ever get.
She looked at him for a minute. He had shut his eyes and for once looked calm. As though for a short period of time there was no anger or bitterness raging through him, he looked tired though. Evie smiled slightly at the sight of him.
This was her boyfriend, for once completely vulnerable and someone who just for this one night needed her. She could tell that it would not be repeated, he would avoid her the next day in embarrassment at confiding in her, in shame of allowing his father to affect him so much. By Friday night, they would be going to the football game and everything would be normal again.
Evie however would remember this one moment where he had let down his defences -- where she had seen his true character - -because she was almost certain it would not happen again, not in a lifetime. This was like a solar eclipse, rare and something people saw maybe once in a lifetime, but rather than bring darkness to day, this had enlightened Evie about her boyfriend.