Johnny Cade/Ponyboy Curtis
It was one of those nights that Johnny was too afraid too go home. One of those nights with Darry sleepy from working too hard and Soda awake from not working hard enough. Either way, no one would miss me. But Johnny would—Johnny would miss me if I left.
“Can you stay with me Pony?” He asked with his dark fearful eyes even darker than they had been just a moment before.
I nodded my head “Sure.”
We camped out at the same ol’ tree with the same ol’ fire burning but things were different. There had been no fighting at the Cade home and there had been no brawling but Johnny was afraid. It made me nervous not knowing why, but still I stayed.
I looked up at the stars and thought about everything that I had been going through. I had been feeling recently that I was alone, that I would always be alone. No matter who was surrounding me or who was talking to me, I was always on my own.
But then suddenly Johnny spoke up,”Um…Pony?”
“Yeah, Johnny?” I asked looking sideways at his dark face. I always wondered if it were dark because of dirt but I knew it was his Mediterranean roots that gave him his tannish tint. I always liked the color of his skin and how it matched his hair and his nice big eyes. But that look in those same big eyes that were confusing me in all sorts of ways.
“Do you ever get the feeling like…”He looked away from me, swallowed hard and looked at the sky then down at the fire,”Like you’re alone?”
I nodded my head roughly,”Always, Johnny. I was just thinkin’ bout it now.”
“Yeah but…”He looked up at me for a second, playing with the buttons on his jean jacket,”d-do you ever get the feeling like…there’s someone that could…stop those…feelings?”
I looked away from him and down at the fire,”No…I…I never really thought about that.”
“Oh…”Was all Johnny replied.
I sat up slightly,”Why? What is it Johnny?”
“Nothing, nothing,” he said turning slightly away.
I wanted to get it out of him. I hated when he was afraid and I didn’t know why. I tugged on his jacket,”Come on Johnnycakes, you know you can tell me anything.”
He huffed,”That’s just it Pony…I-I can’t just tell you anything…I got to keep some things…secret.”
“No you don’t,” I said, continuing to tug on the jacket,”Just tell me Johnnycakes. No matter what I’m sure I can help you.”
There seemed to be a shadow in his eyes as he looked at me,”Promise me…promise me you won’t…think of me different or anything…promise?”
I nodded my head,”I swear.”
He looked down and whispered,”Pony…I-I think I like boys…”
I took in a deep breath. Liked boys? I had never heard anything like that before. Not ever! But this was Johnny…he was still the same old Johnny…right? “That’s okay…”
“But…um…”He looked down again,”Not just…any boys…Ponyboy…I think I like you…”
“Me?” Was all I could respond. But how? How could anyone like me? Even Johnny? I wasn’t good looking like Soda or tuff like Darry…How could anyone like me?
“Yeah” he continued, looking toward me with a little less fear and a little more courage,”I mean…you’re not like the other boys…you’re sensitive…your smart…you’re caring…you’re…sweet…you’re different.”
My face heated up with each word he said. Could someone really think all those things about me? Before I could think any further he leaned into me. His hand creeped toward mine and our fingers interlocked…but I didn’t pull away.
His nose touched mine and I stayed perfectly still as his lips, soft and delicate, touched mine. He kissed me lightly and I shivered, never having been kissed before I didn’t know what to do. But I leaned in a little closer and kissed him back like I had seen Soda do a buncha times before. And it felt good with warm Johnnycakes so close to me and his warm sweet breath mingling with mine. If felt really, really good.
His hand let go of mine and it moved to my cheek. My hand reached forward and rested on his waist, pressing hard against his jean jacket to feel a trace of his warmth. His lips whispered “kiss me” and mine replied “I’m not afraid” and he with kissing under fire light; and for the first time I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone at all.
But after a minute we stopped and I didn’t look at him just yet. I kept my eyes closed waiting to remember this moment of being so complete. But then he shook away from me and scrambled off before I could say a thing. I had held onto his jean jacket and I put it under my nose to smell his smell knowing that scent triggered the best memories. And with the heat of the fire, the feel of the jacket, and the smell of his body he was back again. He was back with me.