It was a few days before Darry’s birthday. It was a chilly day, and it was snowy. Darry was sitting around the house with his brothers, laughing at what was on TV when the phone rang. Darry stood to get it, the smile never leaving his face.
“Hello, Darry speaking.” He said, shooting a playful glare back at his younger brothers to quiet them down.
“Darry? It’s grandma.” The voice on the other side replied.
Darry grinned. It had been a few months since they had seen Grandma, not since Thanksgiving. “Well hey Grandma, how’ve you been?”
“I’ve been fine, but, um… You’re parents…”
Darry’s eyebrows furrowed, “Yeah?”
He heard the woman clear her throat before speaking again, “They got into a car accident.”
Darry grew even more concerned. He looked back at his brothers who seemed worried.
Soda mouthed, “What’s wrong?”
Darry brought the receiver away from his face before saying, “Mom and Dad got in an accident.”
Soda and Pony looked worried, but still turned back to the TV.
“Sorry, uh, are they okay?” Darry asked, anxiety creeping into his voice.
Darry heard his grandma sigh before she spoke, “The roads were icy, the car flipped… Y-your parents didn’t make it, hon.”
Darry’s heart stopped. “Wh-what?”
There was a cough and a sniff from the woman before she spoke again, “You know, you and your brothers could come stay with me for your birthday if you like.”
Darry shook his head, he couldn’t breathe. “No, no, it’s fine, grandma. You can stay over at our place for a few days.”
“I’ll stay for a week honey. And don’t worry about the funeral, your grandpa and I will cover it.”
Darry nodded even though she couldn’t see and hung up. He felt tears start to form in his eyes and he looked at his brothers. What would he say? How could he tell them?
Soda looked back at Darry and turned off the TV. POny turned to face Darry, worry evident on his face.
“What’s wrong, Darry? Are mom and dad okay?”
Darry swallowed, blinking away the tears threatening to spill before he spoke.
“Mom and Dad… they.. They di-didn’t make it.” Darry answered, his voice was shaky and barely above a whisper.
It was nighttime now. Their grandma was going to come tomorrow morning, she was at home packing. Soda and Pony had finally fell asleep and the rest of the gang had left. Darry was hiding in his room with the door locked.
He didn’t even have the energy to get to his bed, so he just slid down the door. Silent tears were streaming down his face and his thoughts were racing a million miles an hour. There was a knock at his door and he jumped.
“Who is it?” He asked. His voice was shaky and quiet.
Darry sighed and shook his head. He sniffed and listened as the younger man sat against the door, same as him. They were both quiet for a while before Two-Bit spoke again.
“Are you okay, Dar?” Two-Bit asked. He was worried for his friend. He had lost a parent before, but his dad just left. He never had a parent die, and he still had his mom.
Two-Bit was startled at the blunt answer. He didn’t think Darry would be so open about it. Two-Bit leaned his head back on the door. He closed his eyes and swallowed his tears, this wasn’t his time to cry. He could mourn Mr. and Mrs. Curtis on his own time, right now he just needed to help his friend.
He was startled from his thoughts when he heard choked sobs come from the other side of the door. Two-Bit didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to deal with crying, and it was tearing him up inside. Two-Bit just sat and listened to Darry cry, trying to think of something to say.
Darry sniffed and breathed heavily, trying to calm down. He thumped his head against the door. He had been fighting with himself for a long while, but he had finally made his decision.
“I’m not going to college.” His voice was still quiet and shaky, but there was a determination.
Two-Bit made a noise and looked back at the door, wishing he could see Darry through the wood.
“The fuck, Darry? You worked too hard to not go to college.”
“I can’t just leave Pony and Soda, Two. Mom was an only child and Aunt Sarah has her own kids to keep alive. I’ll take care of ‘em. I’ll be twenty in a few days, I’ll be able to do it.” Darry reasoned, although he didn’t know if he was trying to convince Two-Bit, or himself.
Two-Bit laughed, but it was humorless. He shook his head and answered with, “Dar, you work at a grocery store, and I don’t see why your grandparents can’t take ‘em.”
“First of all, I can get another job. Secondly, my grandparents live too far away, Two-Bit. They’ve already lost Mom and Dad-”
“And you haven’t?”
Darry sighed and continued, choosing to ignore Two-Bit’s comment. “They’ve already lost Mom and Dad, I can’t make them leave you guys too… Besides, I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to college anyways. The scholarship wasn’t full ride.”
Two-Bit nodded, it made sense he guessed.
“If you’re sure about it, I won’t fight ya on it.” Two-Bit replied, he just hoped Darry was making the right choice.
They didn’t talk for a while. Two-Bit stared at his knees. How could the Curtis parents just die? It didn’t seem possible to Two-Bit. They both seemed like the kind of people to live forever, and their sons were the same way. It scared him, honestly. The thought that everybody he knew would die someday, that they just wouldn’t be there anymore. Everybody he knew were mostly good people. They didn’t deserve that.
He was startled from his thoughts again when there was a soft thud from Darry’s room. He knocked on the door gently, hoping to get a response. When he didn’t he started to panic a little. He stood up and tried to twist the doorknob, but soon realized it was locked.
Two-Bit ran a hand through his hair and sighed. He looked up and saw the pin on top of the doornframe. He remembered how Darry had told him that sometimes his door’s lock got stuck, and how he used the pin to unlock it. Two-Bit smiled and grabbed the pin, easing it into the lock and moving it around.
Finally he heard the lock click and he sighed with relief. He tried to push the door open, but was surprised with how heavy it seemed. He used more force and finally pushed it open enough for him to get his body through. He looked at the room, confused as to why he couldn’t find Darry anywhere. He heard a soft snore come from below his eye level and looked down, his heart shattering as he saw Darry curled up on the floor.
Darry was in the fetal position, his brows still creased with worry and concern. Even in the low light, Two-Bit could see the dried tear tracks across Darry’s cheeks, and how his eyelashes were spiky with them. He sighed and looked at the brunet, weighing his choices. He could either carry Darry and hope that he didn’t drop him, or leave him there.
Two-Bit finally made his decision and leaned down, slipping his arms underneath Darry. He slowly stood up, surprised at how easy it was to lift him. He slowly walked over to Darry’s bed, trying not to disturb him.
Once he finally reached the bed, he gently lowered Darry down onto the mattress. He covered Darry with the comforter. He brushed some hair away from Darry’s forehead. Two-Bit looked out the door, making sure nobody was coming. Once he was sure he leaned down and kissed the brunets forehead. Darry smiled in his sleep and Two-Bit smiled too.
Two-Bit walked out of the room and closed the door quietly. He grabbed the pin off of the door frame again and re-locked the door. He once again replaced the pin to it’s spot and he walked to the living room. He plopped down on the couch and grabbed the remote, he’d stay there for the night.