“Hey, buddy, here she comes.” Steve told me as I was checking the oil of some old man’s car.
I knew full well who he was talking about. I also knew I could never have her. She was a Winston!
“Hey greaemonkey! Sodiepop.” She said stomping out her cigaret.
“How you doin’ blondie?” Steve asked her.
An evil like smirk grew across her face as she pulled him into a head lock.
“Better soon as I make you lose that stupid nickname, Randle.” She hissed.
“I give, I give. Let go.” He said getting out of her grip.
Five foot three, about 120 lbs, white blond hair, icy blue eyes, a face with character, a small chest, and a quick temper.
California was always quick-tempered like her brother was. But became so much like him after he and Johnny died last year. It was almost scary to think it was so long ago it happened.
I know she cries though. When no one else is around, she cries. Not out loud, not making a single sound. But tears stream down her face like a waterfall down her lightly tanned, freckled cheeks.
I saw her once a while ago, but she didn’t see me. California, now there was a greaser girl every one wanted.
“Hey, what’s up with you?” She asked as I slammed the hood and told the man how much it was.
“Not much, Cal. What about you?” I asked flashing her a smile.
She smirked slightly, “I’m alright.”
“Good to hear.” I said taking the bills from him.
“So, what’re ya’ll up to tonight?” She asked.
“I was gonna take Evie to the drive in.” Steve said and winked at me.
“Pepsie?” She asked.
“I was gonna bum around the house, unless you got a better idea?” I asked grinning.
I managed to get her to grin back, “You know I always got somethin’ to do.”
It was true too. Califronia always had something for us to do when we were all board as can be, and Dally always had the money to pay for it. Unless they both decide it’s best done illegal.
“What’cha have in mind?” I asked her.
“It’s a surprise.” She said so slowly and in such a way it sent shivers up my spine.
“I’m lookin’ forward to it.” I told her.
We agreed to meet at river avenue after my shift. I was really looking forward to it.
“Yo, what’s up?” I asked as I met her. Cali was smoking a weed. She looked beautiful as the sun was starting to set.
She grinned, I grinned back. I loved it when she smiled.
“Jay’s.” She said and started walking.
“What’s goin’ on over at Jay’s?” I asked as I caught up with her.
“You’ll see.” She said slightly playfully.
I was slightly caught off guard by it. I remember she saved that tone only for when her and Dally were messing around. They did that a lot.
When we got to Jay’s, in big letters I read ‘Juke Box Dance Tonight’
“I didn’t know you liked to dance.” I said as we walked in.
“I don’t.” She said, “You do.”
I looked at her for a minute, but then she smiled almost sweetly and extended her hand out to me as her favorite song came on the juke box.
Twist and Shout by the Beatles.
We twisted a lot. It was fun. Best part was I got her laugh a couple of times. After a slow song came on we got a couple cokes.
“You’re a good dancer, Soda.” She said not looking at me.
“You’re better.” I told her moving a piece of her soft, white blonde hair out of her face so I could see her eyes.
“Not really.” She said almost shyly.
“You’re a real good dancer, Cali.” I told her leaning in to her. I wasn’t even thinking. But before our lips could touch, we were interrupted.
“Hey, Cali, how you doin’?” Tim Shepard asked us.
She shrugged, “I was doin’ fine ’til I had to see your ugly mug.”
I bit back a giggle.
He grinned at her darkly, “Just ’cause you lost your big brother a year ago, don’t mean we’re still mournin’.” He hissed, “You need to grow up, California Winston, and get yourself a real man.”
“I got one, Shepard.” She hissed, both me and Tim were taken aback, Cali sounded just like Dally there, “Now scram before I decide to bust your head in.”
He scramed, but not after muttering a few curses.
“What’ya mean you got a real man?” I asked without thinking.
She stood up and offered me her hand, silently telling me to come with her. I took her hand and let her lead me out of the restaurant. Onto the streets, passed out neighbourhood, up and down streets, through a little bit of forest, until we came to this pretty little clearing.
It was dark out, but the moon shone down on it like liquid silver, the large willow trees swayed slightly in the night breeze like they were dancing, the oaks stood strong and silent, the light colour dusted on the flowers were practically unnoticeable in the light, the grass was long, soft, green as I sat down next to Cali.
She lit up a weed and handed it to me. I excepted. She brought me out here for a reason.
“I found this place a couple day’s before the Soc was murdered.” She said shakily, I handed her back the weed and she took a long drag to calm herself.
“Just behind them trees,” She pointed in between a large great oak and a weeping willow tree, “There’s a run down cabin. I’ve been disappearin’ to it for a while. I couldn’t brig myself to go back to Buck’s after what happened. I was gonna bring Dally and Johnny here, thought maybe we could fix it up and make it our house.”
“What happened?” I asked as she paused for a little while, though I knew full well.
“Johnny was in no condition at first, and Dally was in the cooler. Then the Soc thing happened. I keep comin’ back here thinkin’ that they’ll show up and we can have a home here. But I know better.”
“Why’d you bring me here, Cali?” I asked her softly, I knew this was hurting her a lot to talk about.
She swallowed, “I had a dream sleepin’ out here a little while ago.” She told me, “Johnny and Dally came here to talk to me. They told me that one a the gang really liked me, and said I needed to give you a chance. So I guess all this night, I was kinda askin’ you on a date.”
“Really?” I asked she nodded.
“Then you wont mind if I do this,”
I grabbed her shoulders and deeply planted my lips on hers. Fireworks went everywhere that night.
“Dallas! You don’t hit your sister!” Cali scolded our youngest son as he hit out youngest child and only daughter, Candycane.
“Say you’re sorry.” She hissed.
He huffed, “I’m sorry, Candy.” He said defeated.
“And?” She pressed.
“I pwomise I wont do it again.” He said looking down.
“Go play.” She said, “You too, Candy.”
They both ran off giggling.
I couldn’t be happier with how my life turned out. We had four amazing kids. Johnathan Darrel Curtis, Sodapop Patrick Curtis Jr., Dallas Christapher Curtis, and Candycane Marry Curtis.
I still worked at the DX with Steve, we were co managers. Cali was an interior designer, and mostly worked from home.
We raised our kids the way we thought was best, and she wanted them to not go down the same path she and her brother did. I respect that.
You end up like Dallas Winston, she even agreed, you don’t really turn out at all.
We turned that old cabin she showed me that day into our house, bought the place around it so the kids could run wild and free, like kids should.
The thing is that night, we sorta went a litter further than kissin’, and a few weeks later we found she was pregnant with Johnny.
“What do you think we should name this one?” She asked as I was still stuck in my thoughts.
“What?” I asked unable to believe it.
She only grinned really big, and I had to mirror her.
“I love you, California.” I said hugging her.
“I love you too, Sodapop.” She said kissing me.
This was the perfect life anyone could ask for.