Cherry Valance, the Soc cheerleader, is the girlfriend of Bob Sheldon, the Soc who is killed by Johnny Cade during their confrontation in the park in which the Socs try to drown Ponyboy. Ponyboy had met Cherry earlier at the drive-in theatre. Cherry and her friend, Marcia, sat with Johnny and Pony during the movie, and the two boys stood up to Dallas Winston when he tried to come on to Cherry. She was impressed with their courage when they faced Dally, who Cherry knew by reputation.
Pony and Cherry were only friends, or "soul mates," if you will. Cherry was several years older than Pony, but they both seemed to understand each other and shared a few of the same likes, particularly sunsets. Cherry later served as a "spy" for the greasers on the night of the rumble and, more importantly, testified on Ponyboy's behalf when he went to court about Bob's murder.
Cherry Valance and Ponyboy go to school together, but they get acquainted when Dally, Pony, and Johnny meet Cherry and Marcia at the movies. Dally starts harassing the girls and Johnny intervenes, forcing Dally to leave. Cherry introduces herself only to find that Pony already knows her because they go to the same school. Pony also thinks Cherry is beautiful. Although Cherry is a Soc and Pony is a Greaser, the two seem to get along. Cherry recognizes that Pony is not only intelligent but different with regards to his character.
"You read a lot, don't you, Ponyboy?" Cherry asked.
I was startled. "Yeah. Why?"
She kind of shrugged. "I could just tell. I'll bet you watch sunsets, too." She was quiet for a minute after I nodded. "I used to watch them, too, before I got so busy."
Ponyboy and Cherry’s relationship is complicated because Cherry is Bob’s girlfriend. The two were definitely going to bump into each other at school, and Cherry informs Pony that he should not mind if she does not talk to him. The fact that she was Bob’s girlfriend and a Soc meant she could not have a close relationship with Pony.
"I know," she said quietly, "but we'd better go with them. Ponyboy . . . I mean . . . if I see you in the hall at school or someplace and don't say hi, well, it's not personal or anything, but . . . ."