Categories > Books > Outsiders > Tender is the Night


by A_Sideways_Smile 1 review

Dally takes Ellie to Buck's when she doesn't want to go back to school after she gets taunted. Frosting ensues.

Category: Outsiders - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Published: 2007-05-18 - Updated: 2007-05-18 - 2846 words

Disclaimer: We do not own The Outsiders by SE Hinton, nor do we own "Invincible" by Crossfade.

I memorized all the words for you,
But if you only knew how much that's just not like me.
I wait up late every night just to hear your voice,
But you don't know that's nothing like me.

Ellie sank into the old, tattered backseat of Two-Bit's car and stared hopelessly out the window. The others said nothing, even Two-Bit, who quietly started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. They were angry, but Steve took one look at her and was afraid she might burst into tears if one word was mentioned about it.

With the tense silence bearing down on them, Steve turned to Two-Bit. "How'd you know that soc had a sister?"

Two-Bit gave him a half-hearted grin. "Lucky guess. Seems like all them big-time socs have little sisters. You sure can bet I'm gonna try to find out who she is, though. It'll eat him up if he sees me tryin' to hang around her."

Steve returned the grin. "Sure will."

"You ain't gonna do nothin' to her, are you?" Ponyboy asked nervously, his eyes darting anxiously from Ellie beside him to the boys in the front seat.

Two-Bit met his gaze in the rearview mirror with a quick grin. "Shoot, no, kid. Maybe just make her blush a little bit. That'll be enough to ruffle some feathers."

Pony sat back in his seat, somewhat content with his answer. He wondered what Ellie thought about it, though, her face displayed nothing. She was lost in a thought, watching the scenery fly by.

"Quit worryin'," Steve said, glancing back at them as he braced himself for the turn into the parking lot. "We ain't going to pull the same shit they think they can get away with."

Two-Bit turned into the crowded lot of Jay's on two wheels, making Ellie's stomach flip and the very thought of food made her feel even more nauseous. She stayed put as the other three got out of the car.

"C'mon, El," Steve encouraged, hanging on the open car door and looking down at her. "Get your mind off it."

She still only sat there, so Steve leaned into the backseat, and grabbing her by the upper arms, pulled her out of the car. He pushed her in front of him and directed her to the diner.

"Wait up, guys!"

They turned to see Johnny calling to them with Dally sauntering along beside him. Tossing his cigarette butt to the ground, Dally eyed Ellie who hadn't turned when Johnny called to them. He glanced at Steve, wondering what had happened for all of them to look so out of sorts. Steve only shook his head slightly and nodded toward her, hoping Dally wouldn't force the conversation in front of her.

Looking into the busy diner, Dally told Steve, "I'm gonna go see if they got an empty table."

"Yeah," Steve acknowledged, following him inside, shooting Pony a look as the bell rang above the threshold. Pony understood well enough and joined Ellie and Johnny where they sat on the low brick ledge up against the diner's picture window.

"All right. What's up with you guys?" Dally asked, irritated as Steve scanned the restaurant for an empty table, and Two-Bit flicked out his prized switch. "Steve?"

Steve glanced at him nervously, wishing like hell he had a cigarette or something to keep himself occupied. Dally's eyes were already blazing, and he didn't even have a clue as to what had happened. Steve didn't want to be the one to tell him, but seeing as how Two-Bit was suddenly too concerned with his reflection in his switchblade, he wasn't left with much of a choice.

"Some socs thought it'd be funny to mess with El and Pony," he told him, trying to keep his voice as even as possible despite the fact he was livid himself.

"Shit," Dally cursed. "Was it Holden?"

Two-Bit shrugged. "Well, he was there, but he didn't do nothin'. He let his buddies handle it all. Well, at least while me and Steve were there."

"What happened, then?" Dally asked shortly.

"They trapped 'em in between some tables and hasseled her some. Makin' fun of her mostly," Two-Bit explained vaguely catching dangerous gleam in Dally's eyes. He was wishing like hell a table would open up so he could make a mad dash for it.

"What'd they call her?" Dally demanded, turning and watching her through the window.

Two-Bit put his switch back in his pocket as he said, "Frankenstein."

"Well, ain't that so fuckin' original?" Dally grimaced. "What'd she do?"

"I think it scared her some," Steve told him. "Kid was shakin' like a leaf walking out of there. We coulda had ourselves a nice fight if Newsome hadn't pushed into it."

Steve clenched his fist and tried to imagine all of those socs on their way to the floor of the cafeteria as he and Two-Bit smashed their faces in. They sure wouldn't have the balls to even glance in her direction again if he could only get his hands on them.

"Yeah, well, we'll just have to do something 'bout this," Dally said, running a hand easily through his ungreased hair.

"What've you got in mind?" Two-Bit asked, cocking an eyebrow in interest and putting his switch back in his pocket.

"I could pay a visit to ol' Will Rogers this afternoon, make myself some new friends," Dally said, feeling his adreneline kick up with the thought of a fight.

"Kick some heads in?" Steve asked, a bitterly amused smile forming across his face.

"That could be a real swell time," Two-Bit acknowledged, "but I'm gonna let you two have this one. I'm more in line to see into Mr. Socs' little sister. I'll have your backs, though. You can be sure of that."

"Just let me have Holden," Dally told them. "That motherfucker is mine."

Two-Bit put his hands up defensively. "All yours there, Dal. I wouldn't take that dream away from you."

Dally grunted something inaudible and pushed the door open, stepping back outside.

"Find a table?" Johnny asked, standing and ready to head inside.

"Nope, Johnnycake," Steve replied from behind Dally. "Unless we wanna wait for one."

Ellie stood up and looked at Dally, her gaze heavy and tired. "Can you just walk me home?"

Dally mentally cursed her, and lit up a cigarette and finally replied, "Sure, kid."

"You're going to skip your afternoon classes?" Two-Bit asked, surprised and a little dismayed.

"Yeah, I just don't feel like goin' back right now," she told him listlessly.

Pony hopped off the ledge and asked, "You want me to grab your homework for you?"

She shook her head as Dally walked up beside her, "No, I'll just get it tomorrow."

"Okay. You gonna be over tonight?" Pony called to her as she started across the parking lot with Dally who looked at Steve and Two-Bit, his hot glare warning him not to make a move without him.

She turned, shrugged and offered him a limp wave as they headed off down the street.

"See you later, Dal?" Steve called.

Glancing over his shoulder, Dally shot him a grin. "Tomorrow mornin'. Bright an' early."

Ellie looked up at him but didn't say anything. Dallas Winston was no 'bright an' early' kind of guy.

You know I wonder have you already figured out,
All these things that I tried to hide?

Ellie was quiet for most of the walk, and Dally was having a hell of a time trying to think of something to say that wouldn't end up with them fighting. He couldn't believe he actually cared if they fought, but he'd never seen her like this. It was just a name. What the hell did that matter?

He heard her groan as she stopped on the sidewalk. Following her gaze, he saw the truck parked in the driveway of her house. Jimmy was home.

"What the hell is he doin' home?" he asked.

"I don't know. Home for lunch maybe?" she guessed. "I don't want him to know I ditched, Dal. He'll just get on my case about it."

Dally turned and faced her. There was something hopelessly desperate about the way she was looking at him. He looked up and across the street, thinking about just walking over to the Curtises, but trying to think of a place that could bring a bit more solitude. He wanted to get it out of her, and she seemed just upset enough to finally tell him.

"Come on," he said, placing a hand on the back of her neck. "I got somewhere we can go."

All this time I've been hoping you don't find out,
All these things that I hide on the inside.

He pushed the front door open and was instantly bombarded by the lingering cigarette smoke and the acrid smell of hard liquor. Dally was halfway across the makeshift bar of Buck's when he realized she wasn't beside him anymore. Turning around, he saw her standing just beside the jukebox, an arm wrapped around her middle and staring cautiously across the room where Buck and a few of his buddies were playing a game of pool.

"You wanna stand there all day long, kid?" he asked. When she didn't move, he walked back across the room. He reached out and took her hand in his. "Come on, El," he said casually.

Throwing a wave to Buck, he pulled her upstairs and led her to the room he more or less owned as long as he kept riding the ponies well.

She slipped her hand out of his, and Dally watched her closely as she crossed the room, taking it in with a sigh before she sat down on the edge of the bed. After the squeaks and scrapes of the springs settled she looked over at him and asked, "What now?"

Shrugging, he asked, "Why don't you tell me why you actually give a shit about this soc calling you a fucking name?"

She only shrugged and looked away, studying her hands and trying to ignore the somersaults in her stomach.

"Then why are you so upset about it?" he asked, trying to keep a rope on his impatience.

He didn't understand it for the life of him. Everyone on their side of town got called names, and it just wasn't a big deal. How many times had any of them been called 'greaser' by a soc or something worse by their own parents? It didn't fucking matter. She'd been through it all before. It wasn't anything new.

"I'm not upset," she told him, her tone less than convincing.

"It's just a fuckin' name. It don't mean nothing," he spat.

Her head snapped up, and she told him matter-of-factly, "It don't bother me, okay? You got a listening problem, Dally."

"And you got a lyin' problem, El," he replied.

"This was why I didn't want to go back to school today," she said, ignoring his comment. "I don't wanna talk about it. It don't bother me, but I don't wanna talk about it. Can you understand that?"

"Is that why you couldn't go back to class, and why your hair's hangin' in your face like that?" he pointed out crudely. "That it, Frankenstein?"

Her eyes narrowed angrily, but he could see the tears glistening in them. He instantly regretted saying that, which wasn't a feeling he was used to.

"Come here," he said as he reached and grabbed her arms. She tried to fight him off, but he was stronger and pulled her to her feet. Pulling her closer, until they stood only about a foot apart, he said, "Guess it bothers you, huh?"

"Just drop it, Dallas," she begged him quietly, the same hopelessness saturating her words filled her eyes as well.

"They're just socs, El. Why do you let it get to you? They don't even fucking matter," he told her bitterly, giving her a shake. "How many times have they fucking called you 'greaser?' Huh?"

She diverted her eyes, and Dally took her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him. The bruises were faded, but still lingered as they took their merry time healing. Brushing her hair back, he laid his thumb over her scar, covering it completely. "I told you that you could hardly see it, Ellie. It's nothing."

"It's everything," she said quietly, the tears building up.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he asked. She confused he hell out of him.

She shook her head and laid her palms against his chest, trying with all of her might to push him away from her.

"You know better than anybody that those socs don't mean shit," he told her, standing solid against her attempt to push him back.

"Yeah?" she asked. "Well, it wasn't you they cornered and embarrassed in front of the whole school, was it?"

"It scared you, too," he pointed out.

"I ain't scared," she snapped, balling her fist and hitting him as hard as she could in the chest.
Dally hardly felt it, but he finally relented to her shoving as she relented to her tears, wiping them away angrily as they slipped down her cheeks. He had seen plenty of girls cry- even Sylvia a handful of times- but this was different. She wasn't crying to make somebody feel sorry for her and make a scene, and it certainly wasn't to get anyone's attention like those other girls liked to do. It was easier for him to respond to those girls and their phony tears, but Dallas was at a loss when it came to anything sincere.

"I have to go," she said hastily, wiping fiercely at her cheeks. Before she could make it far, though, he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Where to?" he asked, his hand clenched tightly around her arm. "Home, so Jimmy can smack you around for cutting class? Or you gonna walk around town all by your lonesome, Genius? Get jumped again?"

"Let go of me," she snapped, but Dally held his ground, refusing to loosen his grip. "I'm sure that would be better than staying here. They're all in school anyway, so what's it matter?"

She nearly stumbled backwards as Dally suddenly let go of her arm, only to move his hand to her back and pull her closer. She nearly lost her balance completely when his lips came crushing down on hers. She wanted to kiss him back and slap him for being such an inconsiderate jerk, both at the same time. Instead, she only stood there, transfixed and confused, angry and nervous, until he pulled away from her.

Ellie was at a loss for words as Dally took a step back, a scowl on his face, despite the fact that he had just kissed her.

"Then go, Princess," he suggested, pointing at the door.

Finding her tongue, she stepped back up to him. Her words were sharp, but her tone was broken up with confusion and intrigue. "Is that supposed to make things better? Kissing me after everybody calls me Frankenstein is supposed to make it all better?"

Dally gave her a wistful smile. "Never promised to make nothing better, kid. But it ain't easy to get you to shut up sometimes. And that sure worked, didn't it?"

"You're an asshole, you know that?" she asked, knowing full well that he did.

He shrugged. "Never said I wasn't, did I?" He took a step closer to her and smirked to himself when she didn't retreat. "Get your mind of it?"

His smirk turned into a grin as her own frown slowly turned into a straight line, trying to hold back a smile. "For a second, yeah," she agreed quietly, her cheeks turning pink.

"Well, then," he replied, leaning closer to her. "I guess it did work, huh?"

He was surprised when she wrapped her hands around the back of his neck and pulled him closer as her lips hesitantly brushed his. Dallas didn't question it, and wrapping his arms around her, he kissed her back.
In all the years he had known her, there was something that amused him about pushing her buttons, trying to irritate her or get some sort of response out of her, just to see how far she would let him go. She had been talked into stealing hubcaps with Steve and even getting her to start smoking was something he pushed her into. The kiss had been nothing more. A way to get her to shut up and take her mind off of it. It amused him that while he had only been toeing that line with the only girl he was actually friends with, and here she was, stepping over that same line like it didn't even exist.

I can't be held responsible,
This is all so new to me,
Just when I think I'm invincible,
You come and happen to me.
Sign up to rate and review this story