Chapter one: The Beginning.
It was the summer of 1951, I was just getting ready for my senior year of high school and that was when it all started. It was the summer that I met Dallas Winston and my life changed. It was the day that I changed the rest of my life and changed one young mans. That was the summer I left everything I knew behind to find out.
Sodapop was the handsome one, at 16 years old. He has a movie star face and perfect skin.
Darry is the oldest of the boys at a whopping 20 years old. He is the legal guardian.
Johnny Cade is the sweetheart who doesn't seem like he belongs with the boys, but none the less he was there. He's 16, too.
Two-Bit is the wise ass, and at 18 years old, he is hardly counted as a man. He was the comedian.
Then, there is Dallas Winston. Everyone calls him Dally and at 19 years old, he knows what the inside of a jail looks like and he's not afraid to go back there.
I didn't know that these men would change my life that summer.
I guess it all really started when I was walking home from work at the malt shop, Billy had gotten drunk and I wasn't going to let him drive to come get me. After a few moments of fighting, I got my way.
Pulling the letter man jacket tighter around me, I pinched my eyes shut and huffed softly against the cold. It wasn't safe for a girl like me to walk the streets alone. Not that it was a bad neighborhood, but there was always the dangers of greasers and hoods. There was a thin line that separated greasers from hoods but it was there none the less. I would never want to be alone in a back alley with either one.
The roads just weren't safe for a girl like me. But I have just as much right to walk the streets as they do.. don't I? My eyes traveled from street corner to street corner. I guess I could have called Robby to come and walk me home but the problem is, I never stopped to think about that. Sighing quietly, I let my head fall forward to keep my eyes on the ground as I walked.
The simple truth was I was a soc and they were greasers. We didn't belong in the same world. We were clean, and wealthy. They were the trash of the roads. A few years back, Billy had taken his gang and beat up a little greaser boy. It wasn't anything but a way of life to us, all of us. But Billy thinks that he owns the streets and that's a problem. Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, I knew it was wrong.
My feet carried me down the desolate street toward me side of town but still the danger that I was in rested there. Moving myself swiftly across the street, I pulled the jacket closer my tiny body. The wind chill was unbelievable tonight. Maybe I should have let Billy have his way and taken the offer for a ride.
Out of the corner of my eye, in the purple mist I could see the 1949 Chevy rolling down the road slowly. I knew what it met. I sped up my pace in a rush to get home. I knew it would do me no good, I was nearly three blocks away and that truck could out run me any day. What was left for me to do?
It wasn't any surprise when the truck rattled to a halt and two big greasers got out. It wasn't any shock either when one called to me, "Hey soc!"
I bit my lip and tried my best to pretend not to notice. Maybe I would get away from them. Boy, I was wrong.
"Hey soc, I'm talkin' to you!" Hissed the taller of the two. Glancing back, I recognized one of them to be Steve Randel. The other one looked like Tim Shepard.
"Hey soc, ain't you got ears?!" Asked the other asked moving toward me. They were closing in and there was no where left for me to go.
One of the big greasers, or maybe they were hoods, walked over and grabbed my arm, pulling me into him. "Please let me go!" I pleaded.
"But baby, we're about to have some fun!" The other one barked. Both of their breath reeked of alcohol. I closed my eyes, praying silently that they would leave me alone.
"I don't wanna have your fun.." I shook my head.
"Oh but baby..." Pleaded the one who was standing in front of me. He followed his arms over his broad chest and stared down at me.
I knew that something was going to happen that I may or may not ever recover from. I recited every prayer I ever knew.
Before long the greasers had me pinned to the ground. One held my hands and the other was sitting on my chest. My limbs flailed helplessly.
"What's the matter little soc?" The one sitting on my chest asked with a hint of false sympathy edging in his voice. I could tell he was getting a rise out of this. How sick could someone be?
"Oh come on baby, we ain't gonna hurt ya none." The one smirked who was holding my hands over my head.
"Yeah, just be a good little girl and no one gets hurt." Said the one sitting with his knees in my chest. I blinked and cringed in fear.
The two men stared down at me, talking to one another yet I could hear nothing but my heartbeat in my ears. They're eyes we're cold and malevolent in there intentions.
In one swoop, one big greaser had his lips pressed to mine. The other was watching with a cool smirk on his face. I could hardly believe what was going on around me. Sure, greasers had chased me around but they had never done this before. I hardly had time to register what was going on before the weight lifted from my chest and it became easier for me to breathe. I laid there, afraid of what might be awaiting me. In the street, I could hear scuffing of shoes against pavement, tossing dirt and rocks in every direction and then the pounding of feet. Someone was leaned at my side, blocking the light.
I popped one eye open cautiously because I was afraid of what I might see. Beside me knelt a large greaser. He had broad shoulders and creamy skin with wide set blue eyes that stared back at me. Under his leather, I could see his muscles flexing. His facial expression remained solemn and fierce. He looked dangerous.
Reaching a hand out to me, he spoke in a deep voice with a New York accent, "Are you alright?" He asked.
"I'm fine." I nodded, taking his hand as a kind jester. He helped me to my feet without hesitation. Giving the man a closer look, I realized that my savior was none other than the hood that was Dallas Winston.
"Y..You saved me." I gasped.
"Yeah and I'll get hell for it when the other boys find out but there was two of them and only one of you. That ain't fair, and really ain't right since they're terrorizing a helpless broad." He shrugged and with drew his hand from him, coiling it back into his pocket.
"You're Dallas right?"
"Yeah that's me but look, don't mention this to no body. I got a reputation to maintain." He shook his head. His shoulder length hair flew in every direction in a wave of curls. He was unnervingly handsome when he wasn't terrorizing somebody.
"I won't tell anyone." I agreed.
"Why are you walking alone in this part of town?" He asked finally.
"I have to walk this way to get home."
"Ain't you got no one willing to come drive you home?"
"My boyfriend was drunk and I never use my head for anything." I told him, and in all honesty, I wasn't lying.
"Well, honey, start using that dome for something other than those pretty locks. It'll save you some trouble. By the way, what's your name?" He asked.
"I'm Valerie but most people just call me cherrypop because of my hair." I said, smiling at him. For once, I wasn't afraid.
"Nice to meet you cherrypop, get home safe. I don't wanna have to do that again. Just looks bad for both of us." He shrugged and with that, he started on his way. I turned and watched him disappear past the street lights and into the coming darkness that had swallowed the city. That night, I got a whole new feel for Dallas Winston.