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Johnny and Ponyboy meet up with Dally to go to a movie. They get there early, and have time to shoplift cigarettes from the drugstore. They arrive at The Dingo, "a pretty rough hangout," and catch up on "who was running away, and who was in jail, and who was going with who, and who could whip who, and who stole what and when and why." On the way to the drive-in theater, they cause trouble chasing around junior high kids. Then they sneak in over the back fence of the Nightly Double drive-in movie, even though they have enough money to get in.
Dally walks down the aisle and sits right behind the only two other people there: two Soc girls, "dressed sharp and real good-looking." Dally taunts them even though they ask him to leave them alone, and the redhead, whose name is Cherry Valance, threatens to call the cops. Dally goes off to buy Cokes, and the girls see Ponyboy and Johnny. Their demeanor immediately changes, and they are friendly to the two younger, less-threatening boys. Ponyboy remembers that Cherry is a cheerleader at his school.
Cherry, her friend, Marcia, and Ponyboy strike up a conversation, and Cherry asks about Soda, because she knows he works at the gas station. Ponyboy admits that Soda dropped out of school, a fact that embarrasses him for his brother. Johnny returns, and is clearly nervous around the girls. Soon Dally comes back with Cokes, but Cherry throws hers in his face. Dally "smiled dangerously," and gears up to harass her some more, but Johnny reaches out and stops him. Ponyboy notes that Johnny is the only one of the gang who could stand up to Dally without getting punched, since "he was the gang's pet." Instead, Dally storms away and doesn't return.
The girls invite Ponyboy and Johnny to stay with them, to protect them. Cherry points out that she notices a huge difference between them and Dally; they're not "dirty." But she does say that she admires Dally. Ponyboy soon learns that the girls had come with their boyfriends, but had left them when they realized the boys were getting drunk.