What happens when Ponyboy comes home?
In Chapter 3, after Bob and his friends drive off with Cherry and Marcia, Ponyboy and Johnny stop at the vacant lot and talk; Johnny tells Ponyboy that he thinks about killing himself, and Ponyboy begs him not to do something like that. "It seems like there's gotta be someplace without greasers or Socs, with just people. Plain, ordinary people," Johnny wishes. Ponyboy encourages him to take care of himself; after a while he falls asleep, dreaming that his parents are still alive and his family happily together. Johnny wakes him, telling him it is late.
When Ponyboy returns home, his brother Darry is waiting up for him. He jumps up from the armchair in which he has been sitting and demands to know where Ponyboy has been, informing his brother that he has almost called the police. When Soda awakens and orders Darry to stop shouting at his brother, Ponyboy narrates,
Darry wheeled around and slapped me so hard that it knocked me against the door.Suddenly it was deathly quiet. We had all frozen. Nobody in my family had ever hit me. Nobody. Soda was wide-eyed. Darry looked at the palm of his hand where it had turned red and then looked back at me. His eyes were huge. "Ponyboy..."
But Ponyboy runs out of the house as his brother apologizes for his actions. After finding Johnny, Ponyboy and his friend walk to the park.
The scene in which Ponyboy arrives home late from his curfew is the point which starts the action and major conflicts in the novel. Ponyboy and Johnny fall asleep in a vacant lot after being out with Soc girls and having a brief run in with their boyfriends. Once Ponyboy wakes up, he heads home where Darry is waiting for him, and is angry. They get into a heated argument, and Darry ends up smacking Ponyboy. This causes Ponyboy to flee, and head back to Johnny in the vacant lot.
Once he reunites with Johnny, the action takes off. A group of Soc boys show up drunk and in their corvairs. They surround the two boys and start a fight. Ponyboy is targeted first by Bob who holds his head under the water in the fountain. The next thing we know, Ponyboy is on the floor looking at a dead Bob, and Johnny holding a bloody knife. Johnny defended himself and Ponyboy, killing Bob. Since this story is told from Ponyboy's point of view, as the reader we only see what Ponyboy sees, so we do not know exactly how the fight between Johnny and Bob went.
The boys make a plan to go seek the assistance of Dally who is much wiser in these areas. They track Dally down, and Dally is able to get them out of town to hideout in an abandoned church in the country until things calm down. They leave that night without anyone else knowing.