Before The Storm

Cooper-Rose Curtis is twelve years old in 1960's Tulsa Oklahoma. Her parents died a few years ago, so she lives with her older brothers as a Greaser. Cooper gets into rumbles, and has her own little war with the socs (pronounced 'so-shes').
(inspired by the book The Outsiders. Read the book before you read this)

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3. Four

  “Can I come, too?” I begged. Darry looked at me,

“No, like I said, you’re just a little kid. You’ll only get in the way.” He said. I looked at Sodapop.

“Please, Soda? I’ll be real good, I honest!” I pleaded.

“Well, I don’t know, Coopycat. Darry’s right, you could get into trouble.” Coopycat is one of Soda’s nicknames fro me. When I was three, I started to copy everything my brothers did, so he said  was Cooper the copycat, which shortened to Coopycat.

“But, Pony’s already met your friends!” I cried.

“Pony’s older.” Darry declared. I ran into the kitchen.

“Mommy!! Darry says I can’t go play with him an Soda an Pony, ‘cause I’m too young!” I whined. Mommy smiled and picked me up.

“Well, let’s just go have a talk  with Darry, now won’t we?”

“Yeah! I ain’t too young to go play!”

 

  “Where are your friends, Darry? Are they nice? Soda, are you’s and Darry’s friends nice?” I asked. Pony pulled me over, and clamped his hand over my mouth.

“Be quiet, or Darry’ll send you home.” he whispered.

“Pony, do YOU like Darry and Soda’s friends?” I said through his hand. He shrugged.

“They’re okay. I guess.” I settle for that.

 

  “Are those them, Darry?” I ask, pointing to four guys that’re just standing around the fountain at the park.

“Yeah, that’s them.” He says The boys see us, and walk over. The boys seem so much bigger then me, even though Mommy and Daddy say I’m really tall. I hide behind Soda

“Hey, Dall.”  Darry says to a boy who looks like a taller version of one of Santa Claus’ elves, with a leather jacket, ice blue eyes, blonde hair that fell all over his face, and a frown. I don’t think he’d enjoy working for such a jolly man like Santa.

“Who’s the kid?” Says another boy, gesturing to behind Soda. He had thick black hair that was kept all greasy up on his head. He looked angry. He caught sight of Pony, who was looking at the boy, with a kind of angry look on his face. Soda pulls me away from him. I don’t think he likes me clinging to his shirt.

“This is Cooper.” he says.

“Isn’t that a boy name?” A tall boy with black hair and a wide grin asks.

“It’s short for Cooper-Rose.” Pony says.

“I like just plain Cooper better.” A boy with big eyes said. I decided to like him.

“Coop, this is Dally,” Darry says, pointing to the boy he called Dall earlier. “That’s Steve,” He points to the boy who looks angry “That’s Johnny,” he points to the boy with big dark eyes and dark, greasy hair and a black eye, “and that’s Two-Bit.” he points to the boy who won’t stop grinning. Two-Bit bend down to me,

“How old are you, kiddo?” he asks me. I raise four fingers.

“Really?! Me too!” He cries. I don’t think so.

“Two-Bit’s a silly name.” I say, with a small smile.  I Still lisped, and wouldn’t quit until  was seven and a half. Darry frowns at me. Two-Bit grins even wider.

“You bet it is, kiddo.” he looks at Darry, who looks embarrassed and mad at the same time.

“You wanna know a funnier name?” I smile and nod. “Darry.” he says, grinning. He jumps away from Darry’s arm, which hits Johnny in the shoulder. Johnny winced.

“Aw, I’m sorry, Johnny! I was aimin’ for Two-Bit.” Darry says, surprise on all their faces. Johnny shrugs,

“It’s okay, Darry. I know you didn’t mean it.” He said, looking a tiny bit hurt, still. I marched over to my big brother.

“Mommy say that you do NOT hit people!” I said, kicking him in the leg. Darry glares at me

“Kid’s tough.” Dally says, a small smile on his face. He looks a lot better now.

 

  “Hey, Dall, look.” Johnny said, gesturing to his right. I look over. A blue mustang is driving up along the road we were walking on. I’m standing the closest to the rad, and I can feel Two-Bit pull me away, but I still want to look at the big fancy car. Reluctantly, I allow myself to be pulled closer to Darry. The car gets closer , and I see Dally, Two-Bit, Steve, and Darry, pull out a  switchblade. I wish I could have one, but Mommy and Daddy say that I’m too young. I get one when I’m older. Maybe.

   

    The car stops, and I can feel everyone tense up, as four boys get out of the car. They're a bit taller than Two-Bit, with blue and red Madras. They aren’t like us, I can tell.

“Hey, look. Greasers. You’re outta your territory.” one of them says.

“This is our territory, you know that.” Steve says. Another boys chuckles.

“It’s ours now.” he says.

“Get ‘em!” another boy hollers. The four boys start to chase us all around the street. Sodapop pulls me and Ponyboy away from everyone else, and kind of shields us with his body. Pony hugs him, when one of the boys tackles Johnny. I don’t want mean boys to beat up the nice boy with big eyes who is nice to me. I start to scream, running away from Soda and Pony. I grab the big boy’s hair and start to yank it out off his head, kicking him in the side. Soda and Darry and Pony are calling my name, but I keep beating up the big boy. Finally, he stands up and flings me off of his back. Darry starts to run over to get me off the ground, but he gets tackled by another big boy. The boy has a knife, which is all I see, as I run as fast as I can. The boy sticks his arm out to shield himself from me, and I grab it, sinking my teeth into his skin. He screams, as the taste of blood fills my mouth. Strong hands pull me off of the boy, and I get thrown over someone's shoulder. I start to pound on the person’s back, till I realize it’s Dally.

“Good job, kid.” he whispers, just so only I can hear it. The boys are running away to their car, hollering like the world was ending. Dally sets me down in front of everyone else. I stand there, and they stare at me. Finally, Darry yells

“Cooper-Rose Amaria Curtis, what on Earth were you thinkin’?! You coulda got yourself killed!”

“Now, hold on,  Darry.” Two-Bit says, cutting him off “What the kid did was dangerous, but if was pretty tuff.”

“Yeah, you're pretty brave, kiddo.” Dally says.

“And besides,” Two-Bit continues “she helped you out-”

“I can take care of myself.” Darry snaps.

“Not how I saw it.” Soda points out. Darry glares at all of us.

“She shouldnta come. I told Mom she was too young.”

“I think she should stay.” Johnny says, then quickly adds “Even if she is just a little kid,”

“Yeah, Darry, let the kid stay.” Two-Bit says. Everyone else nodded. Darry sighed.

“Fine. Whatever. But you pull a stunt like that again, and you’re not comin’ back. You hear me?” I nod.

“Let’s go.” Dally says, walking off.

 

 

  Darry hasn’t spoken to any of us since the boys I met today, the boys my brothers call ‘The Gang’, left.

“Darry, please don’t tell Mommy. I don’t wanna stay home all the time again, and the other girls are borin’. I like your friends,”

‘Coop, you ain’t safe to have around.”

“But, Darry-”

“Cooper-Rose, do you know just what you did this afternoon?!  The guys’ll be lucky to not

jumped on their way home tonight! We might get jumped ‘cause of what you did! You don’t think! You’re too young! I shoulda never let a girl come with us!” He hollered at me. I looked up at him. I know  he was just trying to protect me. I was the baby. The girl. I hate that word. Girl. Just because I’m a girl, I'm not able to do the stuff my brothers do. I sniffed at the snot that was running down my face, and turned and ran.

 

  I didn’t know where I had run to, and was on the verge of tears. All I knew was that I was in a lot of some sort. A bag next to me moved, and I started to scream.

“Whoa! Hey, you’re Darry and Soda’s sister, ain’t ya? Cooper?” I stopped screaming. How did that bag know my name?

“Thanks for saving me. Back there. You’re a pretty brave kid.” Saving?

“Why’re you not at home? You don’t wanna be out here. Not this late at night.” my eyes adjusted, and I noticed the dark hair, and the big eyes. Johnny.

‘Wh-why’re you not at your home?” I asked.

“Aw, I like to sleep outside.”

“It’s cold.”

“Not to me, it ain’t.” His black eye seemed like only a shadow in the dim light. I wonder how he got it. The I remembered something Darry and Soda said once.

“Does your dad beat you?”

“How do you know ‘bout stuff like that? You’re too young to know about that kinda stuff.”

“No, I ain’t. ‘Sides, you don’t gotta lie to me. I’m a Curtis.” Johnny chuckled a bit.

“You sure are. Now, tell me. Why’re you out alone at night.” I looked into his big eyes. He seemed really nice. And-don’t say I’m weak or nothing, ‘cause I AM a girl, and I cant help it, but- a little cute too.

“Darry called me a baby. And he said that I shouldnta come, cause I don’t think, and that

never shoulda let a girl come. I ain’t a baby, and just ‘cause I’m a girl don’t mean I ain’t no better than them boys.” When I get upset, my grammar goes down the toilet. Johnny hugged me, sitting me in his lap.

“I’m sure Darry didn’t mean it. C’mon, kiddo. Let’s get you home.” We stood up, and he held my hand as he walked me home, just make sure I got there safe.

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