Soda's Gift

Disclaimer: I own nothing, all belongs to S.E. Hinton.

Note: This is a year after the book. I'm sorry if some information is incorrect or my spelling and grammar is bad.

'Pony! You gotta get goin'!' I heard Soda yelling from the couch.

'I'm goin!' I yelled back, grabbing my book bag and Pepsi, and heading for the door.

'See ya, play nice, ya know all that jazz.' Sodapop said, hugging me before pushing me through the door. I simply waved back and ran down the block.

I was hoping to maybe see Cherry on my way, but I didn't. So, I just ran up the steps and into my classroom.

'Close call Ponyboy.' Mr. Gemmins said, giving me a stern look before motioning towards my seat. I gave him an apologizing look and sat down, pulling out Anne of Greene Gables.

'Class, we have excellent news. Today we have a new student, so please make her feel welcome.' He announced, walking around his desk to the front door.

'Please welcome Miss Linda Moore.' He said, opening the door. I heard many people gasp, so I looked up. This new girl was exceptionally tall and thin. She had medium-length black hair and freckles starting from her face down to her arms, and she was too tan to spend most of her time inside. But I knew what had made everyone gasp, it was her clothes.

She wasn't wearing a poofy colorful dress like all the socs; she was wearing tight denim jeans and a black tee shirt with several white horses galloping on it. After looking her over a few times I noticed that all the horses looked the same except for a pink one in the center, it was bucking, and above it there were pink words that read, 'I'm unique.'

I knew of only two girls who ever dressed like that, but they never wore that stuff to school. Was she a soc? Or a greaser? Where did she come from? What kind of parents let her go out in public like that? All my thoughts were interrupted by 'You can sit by Ponyboy. Ponyboy, raise your hand.'

I put up my hand. Why did she have to sit by me? There were plenty of other seats she could sit in, and I was just plain unhappy having to sit next to somebody, I was fine on my own.

She sat down, tossed her hair over her shoulder, and put her arms on the desk ungracefully. She hadn't even looked at anyone besides Mr. Gemmins.

'So Linda; tell us a little about your self.' Mr. Gemmins ordered. She hadn't even looked up when she started talking.

'What should I tell? What does everyone want to know?' she asked, still looking at the texture of her new desk.

'Where do you come from?' Charlotte asked.

'Arizona.' she replied, still not looking up.

'So that's why she's so weird, I've heard those Arizona folk are freaks.' I heard William whispering to Peter behind me. Hearing this, Linda stood up and turned to them, giving them the foulest glare I've ever seen. They just looked at her with plain faces, and she sat down.

'That's weird' I thought, looking at her. Once again, she was staring at the desk.

'What are your interests?' Mr. Gemmins asked.

'I collect the state quarters, like movies, read, write, draw, swim, and horseback ride.'

'Why did you move?' Daniel asked from the back.

'My dad got custody over me and he wanted to get the horses and I away from my mom.'

'Your parents are divorced?' that was Sarah.

'Yep.'

'Well I'm so sorry to hear that.'

'Mhm.'

'Well class, pull out your Anne books and let's get started.' Mr. Gimmens ordered, turning to the chalkboard.

Pretty much the entire class was getting to know Linda, reading Anne of Green Gables, and doing study sheets about it.

As the bell rang, Linda and everyone got up to leave, but I stayed behind to put all my stuff in order like I always did, while everyone else just stuffed their materials in their bags. When I went to get up I saw something shine on Linda's seat. I picked up to see it was a red switchblade. 'Okay, I guess ill give it back to her tomorrow.' I thought, putting it in my pocket and leaving. When I got out, most everyone was gone.

The gas station was close, I could drop by for a Pepsi before I went home, I decided.

It was only about a ten minute walk to the gas station, and when I got there I saw Soda talking to somebody over the counter. I went to the big bucket of ice and drinks and grabbed a Pepsi before going to say hi to Soda. When I got there, he was still talking to that same person. I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder.

'Hey! Pony!' he said, patting my back. 'Hey, this is my brother, Ponyboy.' He said to the person over the counter.

'Yeah, I know. I met him today.' They said, looking up.

'Linda!' I said, a little surprised. She was now wearing a big coat and a hat so I couldn't see her hair or her 'unique' shirt.

'Oh hey, you dropped this I think, I found it on your chair after you left.' I told her, reaching into my pocket and giving her the red knife. Upon seeing it, her eyes widened a little.

'Thanks.' She said, grabbing it from me.

'Ponyboy, please don't tell anyone about this.' She said, holding up the knife, her eyes pleading.

'Naw, don't worry 'bout it. I promise I won't.' I promised. Her mouth turned up into a small smile.

'Thanks.'

'Why do you have that?' Soda asked, raising an eyebrow.

'Well, when my dad gets ''she paused and her voice became a whisper '-intoxicated, he tends to get a little rough sometimes.'

'Oh.' Soda looked a little guilty for bringing up the subject. At that second Soda turned towards the door.

'Diesel on 3.' The trucker who had just come in reported, handing Soda the money. Once the man had finished paying he walked passed all of them, accidentally knocking a small box over and spilling its contents right in front of Linda. The man either didn't realize what he did or ignored it because he was gone.

'Crud.' Soda said, jumping over the counter and picking up some things. Linda and I started to help too, but she stopped dead when she picked up a piece of paper.

'Soda, you have a horse?' she asked, reading over the paper.

'Oh naw, he was never mine, but I used to see 'um all the time. I called 'um Mickey Mouse. But he got sold a few years back, the old owner gave me a copy of his papers and a photo.' He explained, still picking items up.

'Can I see the picture?' Linda asked when she was finished reading the paper.

'I don't got it on me, it's back at the house.' He explained.

'Oh, okay. Hey Soda, are you busy tomorrow?' she asked, handing him the paper.

'No, tomorrow's my day off and I don't have plans.' He said, now putting the box in its original place.

'Do you think you'd maybe wanna come to my place with me?'

'Ponyboy, you can come too, if you want.' She added, turning to me.

'Sure, I guess. I got nothin' better ta do.' I responded

'Alright, great!' she smiled and turned to leave.

'When?' I asked.

'How 'bout here at three?'

'Sounds good.'

'Okay, bye Ponyboy, bye Soda.' She waved and walked to her car.

'Bye.' They both responded

As she drove off I asked, 'How'd you meet her?'

'She came for gas and a coke and we got talkin'. Then you came in and yeah.' He explained smiling.

'Why do you think she wants us to go to her place?'

'I dunno.'

'Ready to head home?'

'Yeah.'

=*=====*=======*=======*=======*======*=====*=======*=====*===*=
The next morning. . .


'C'mon guys, we gotta go!' I yelled, trying to get them off Soda's truck so we could meet Linda.

'Where exactly are ya goin'?' Two-Bit asked

'To meet some new girl.' Dally said, lighting a cigarette.

'Oooohh.' Two-Bit made a kissy face.

'Seriously, get off. We gotta go.' Sodapop ordered in a serious tone.

'Alright, but be nice to 'er.' Two-Bit winked

I stuck my tongue out at him childishly as we went down the road. When we came to the meeting-spot Linda was already there in her old Chevy. As she saw us she waved and yelled 'it's 'bout a mile drive, just follow me.'

We followed her all the way down past most of the neighborhoods into the more middle-of-nowhere type of place. Eventually her truck slowed and we came to a dirt road and a little house with tons of corrals with horses. We both pulled into the driveway and she jumped out of her truck and ran over to us.

'Hey, glad you could come.' She said. 'Wait here.' And with that she ran behind the house.

We waited a few minutes and looked around. She had to have at least forty horses.

'Alright guys come here.' She said, smiling big and halfway out from behind the house. We came around and she waved behind her proudly.

'Tada!' behind her was a dark buckskin horse, looking at us happily, and I recognized him immediately.

'M-Mickey Mouse!!' Soda's eyes almost popped out of his head.

He ran up to the horse and wrapped his arms around his furry neck, the black mane falling over his shoulder.

'I missed you buddy.'





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