Chapter 22: Somethings Cooking

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Daylight beamed down at my face through the curtains.  I looked down and saw Sodapop at the other end of the couch.  We must’ve fallen asleep on the couch last night.  You could hear the sizzle of bacon from the kitchen; Darry was cooking.  I nudged Sodapop’s head with my foot and got up from the couch.

“Smells good, Darry.” I said as I walked into the kitchen to find Darry in an apron slaving over the hot stove.

“Want some?” he asked.

“Of course.”  I said as I sat down at the table.  Soda followed a couple moments later and sat down next to me, shoveling food into his mouth.

After minutes of constant eating, Sodapop bumped my elbow to get my attention.  “I still gotta give you your present.”  He chewed through his sentence. 

“Well give it to me!” I demanded.

“Not right here, I gotta find the right time.” He defended.  Darry gave Sodapop a pleading look. 

I looked at both of them, “What’s going on?”

Neither one of them said a word, they just exchanged glares.  It looked like Darry was trying to tell Soda not to do something in a pleading way and Soda was returning a ‘butt out of my business’ look.  It made me worry.

“I gotta go to work.” Soda announced breaking the silence.  He got up, gave me a kiss, grabbed his DX shirt, and left. 

I looked at Darry, who quickly turned around to scrub his pan.  “Darry,” I said warningly, “What was that about.”

He avoided the subject, “Man, where’s Ponyboy?  It’s his turn for dishes.”

“Darry, you’re not answering my question.” I glared at him.

He sighed, “It’s nothing.  Please can we just drop it?”

I leaned back in my chair, “Okay, we’ll drop it,” I stared at him, “I’ll just go ask Soda.”  I got up and headed for the door. 

“No!  Just let Soda tell you himself.” He shouted across the room trying to stop me.

I walked towards him, “Why can’t you just tell me.  I feel like it’s bad.”  

“I—I can’t.  Just trust me, let him tell you.  It won’t be bad.” He explained.

Darry left for work a couple minutes later and I had the day off.  Ponyboy was at school and I was still a little hung-over and decided not to go.  I lounged around the house in my pj’s for a bit then ironed some clothes while watching Mickey Mouse.  When lunchtime came around, I thought I’d go see Sodapop.  I threw on some pants and started walking towards the DX station.  Soda was filling up some guy’s tank and waved me inside. 

After he finished, he walked in and hugged me.  “Ew, you’re all greasy!” I said sarcastically. 

“You date a greasy guy, what do you expect?” he laughed.  Soda smiled at me for a while then his smile turned into a frown. 

“What’s wrong, babe?” I asked.

“I get off in ten.  Wait for me?” He asked.  I nodded in response. 

We walked down the street towards the lot in silence.  Sodapop spoke up, “Well, um… Do you want your surprise?”

I hesitated, “Is that what this has all been about?  Sure.”

“Well,” he started getting nervous, “I… uh… I enrolled in the army… and got drafted.”  He said scratching his head. 

My worst nightmare was coming true.  Sodapop in the army, killing people and maybe getting blown up along the way.  I was speechless.

“You okay?” he asked, “Look, Steve’s going too.”

“I’m not okay!” I yelled at him. “You’re going to war and you didn’t tell me you enrolled!”

“So, you’re mad?”

“I’m not mad, I’m furious!  Sodapop Patrick Curtis, how could you do this to me?” I was starting to cry. 

He walked in front of me and put his hands on my shoulder, “Baby, please don’t cry.  It’s not like I’m gonna die.”

“GODDAMNIT SODA!  You don’t get it!  People die in war, what makes you different!?” I cried.

We walked for a block in silence.  I didn’t even want to look at him.  How could he do this to me?  I couldn’t afford to lose him. 

Soda piped up, “I’m sorry.  I knew you’d be mad, but I had to tell you at some point.”

“Can’t you just not go?” I asked desperately.

“I gotta go, the Draft isn’t just something you can get out of.” He said grimly, “We can work through this.  I’ll write to you and you can write to me and tell me how the boys are doing and how Pony is.  I promise that I’ll come back.”

“What if you don’t?” 

“I have to. I have to come back for the wedding.” He said.

“Wedding?” It dawned on me.

“I promise that I’ll come back and when I do, we’ll get married.” He kneeled down and pulled out a diamond ring that sparkles in the daylight, “It was my mother’s.  I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.  Colly Davis, would you marry me?”

“Yes.” I said simply trying to wipe away the tears.  He slid the ring on my finger and gave me a long kiss.  It felt like our last. 

The house was around the corner; Darry’s truck was in the driveway.  All that ran through my head was Sodapop fighting in the war.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that we were getting married, but terrified that we might not get a chance to.  I was still really upset even though Soda was trying to cheer me up. 

“I know what would make you happier,” he said, “A cold beer.”  He ran off into the house. 

Darry was sitting on the porch and watched me come up the steps.  He looked at me with sympathy in his eyes.  He knew the entire time and wouldn’t tell me.  My make-up was smeared all over my face; tear dried down my cheeks, and a broken heart for a soldier.  Soldier.  I opened the door and started heading towards my room, but quickly turned back to find his eyes meeting mine and spoke up.

“You lied.”

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