It was undeniably an accident. I swear. My Dad, however, would say, “Wyatt, accidents always find you and you should take responsibility.” As if it is really my fault that when I was riding my bike on the sidewalk some jerk doesn’t bother to look as he is backing up his car from the garage… forcing me to careen into a mailbox and land on a skunk. Or the time I missed the Science and Engineering finals for my county because my chemistry teacher, Ms. Gordon, told me it was at the Ridgedale Convention Center instead of the Ridgedale Showcase Hall? I ended up delivering my speech on subliminal messages to an auditorium full of Furries… Who dressed me up as a rabbit first – oh, the memories! Still, I would argue that none of these occurrences were my fault; only the product of unfortunate events.

And I had never any intentions of manipulating anyone for my benefit. Ever. It all started out with something I was raised to do – help someone when they are in need.


“What the fuck, Addison?”

“I’m sorry, Jordan; it won’t happen again.”

“Damn right, it won’t!”

The loud smack echoed which was quickly followed by a crash of broken glass.

“See what YOU make me do! Worthless Hick, you better have your act straightened out before I get back!”

Jordan’s footfalls on the stairs were like leaden thuds that gave way to a thunderous door slam; leaving only tears in his wake.

And I heard it all through the thin white wall.

I have lived in a townhouse all my life and have come to realize, my Dad did not have much money. What was once housing for workers of a nearby plastics factory that closed when I was two, was now littered with the few former employees who couldn’t go elsewhere (like my Dad who was janitorial and unlike my Mom who worked the main line and left when her boyfriend boss was transferred) and college students from nearby State University.

From the outside, the first floor was a red brick that since turned an orange-ish color covered by a three foot awning that extended the length of the building – what it could possibly protect is beyond my knowledge – but the second floor was sided an ugly brown that truly resembled what comes out of everyones backside. I suppose the architect got it right; the outside absolutely resembled the product interior because two key features exist: first, the floor plans are all the same and second, the architects did not have your privacy in mind when designing the building.

I could easily watch the television set of the three senior college coeds, Shelly, Eve, and Kennedy, who lived across the street. I can’t tell you how many reality shows I ended up getting hooked on because my teenage hormones were focused on those beauties and therefore, their television. Who will get the rose this week? I have joined several of the bridge games my eighty year old neighbor to my left, Mrs. White, hosted, all while sitting on my couch as she would call out the cards I had and I’d respond. Most importantly, however, I could hear everything that occurred to the woman who was my neighbor on the right, Addison Stevens, especially since her bedroom was adjacent to mine.

From the information I was able to gather, she came from Alden, Iowa and was a senior at State University in line for her bachelor’s degree before she would advance to their veterinary program of another four years. On the phone to her parents, she would put on a front, saying all was well, but to her friends back home, she was miserable. The big city of Hilldale was far more complex than her small populated city back home.

I wouldn’t describe her as beautiful, though to me, she really was, just not in a supermodel way – her extra pounds provided her an hourglass figure with amazing ass and tits, err, assets – as much as I would call her innocent and pure. With her curvy auburn hair that always seemed to have a ribbon in it that matched her outfit, dimples, and glasses, she gave off a distinct wholesomeness that was very alluring. Being that I was fourteen and going through puberty, I suppose all these college girls around me were alluring, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t have fantasies about the girl next door.

But the move from country life to city life generated a social pressure upon her that she could not live up to, falling for the first asshole that showed an interest in her and his name was Jordan Bates.

It made me sick.

I wanted to help.


Now, as a fourteen year old freshman in High School, I felt there were limited options for me to assist my twenty-two year old neighbor. I mean, I wouldn’t even listen to me, why would she? For the same reasons, confronting Jordan also seemed to be an impossible task. What would I say? “Hey man, stop hitting my neighbor?” He’d probably kill me. No, the answer lied with my science project.

I studied all there was to know about the creation, delivering, and every use of subliminal messaging, even creating one and playing it through a speaker underneath popular pop music. At my station was a bowl of Skittles and my message encouraged the eating of them. Every judge at the city competition did so before realizing what my project detailed. It got me to the county finals, but alas, you know how that transpired.

The delivering of the message would be easy; Addison uses a white noise machine when she sleeps. All I need to do is send what I want through white noise, mirroring hers.

The message, however, was a different story. It had to be clear and concise, and something Addison truly wants to happen. I eventually fell upon the basic principle that no one wants to get their ass kicked.

– Break up with Jordan

– Find someone worthy of you

– Defend yourself

– Listen to my statements

I quickly deleted that last recording. I did want to encourage the following of the other three declarations, but after all, I wouldn’t listen to me… So I quickly changed it to something far more direct.

– Obey my Statements

Slight difference, yes, but if you tell someone to listen, what was said may become nothing more than a fleeting thought. Tell someone to obey and they are more apt to take heed.


Jordan usually came back every three or four days, basically whenever he felt he needed another power trip. I played my white noise overlapping Addison’s white noise every night he wasn’t around.

By the end of the first week, I felt dejected. Nothing had changed. Every time Jordan was around, Addison had an additional bruise or black eye.

At the end of the second week, I was set to give up. I was preparing to play the recording one final time before calling it quits when Jordan began pounding on my neighbor’s door.

“What the fuck is this text, Addison?” Jordan was relentless with his fist on the wood.

“Exactly as it states,” Addison calmly replied through the door. “We’re through.”

“You can’t break up with me; you hear me, you Hick!”

“You know I really hate when you call me that… Now leave and don’t come back!”

“I’ll show you!”

The pounding on the door turned into something far more. It was as if Jordan was hitting it with a truck. I ran downstairs to find Jordan was kicking at Addison’s door.

“Go back to your room, Wyatt,” my Dad gave me a sharp look as he hung up his cell phone.

I followed my Dad’s directive, but was only half way up the stairs when I heard the crash of my neighbor’s door slamming open.

I felt myself wince at every grunt and groan as guilt washed over me. This is my fault. I did this. All I am hoping for is Addison’s survival so I can apologize.

It didn’t take long for the police to arrive. I kept a steady eye on the proceedings, watching from my window until an ambulance soon pulled in front of the building. My heart skipped a beat when the stretcher vacated my neighbors door. I then saw justice in the way of Jordan being put in the back of the ambulance while Addison was standing, shaking the officers hands, profusely thanking them for their speedy response.

“Are you sure that you’re all right, Ma’am?”

“I promise you that I am,” Addison smiled before shrugging her shoulders. “Two weeks ago I started taking self defense classes because I knew he wasn’t going to take me breaking up with him easily. Now I’m glad I did.”

I couldn’t help my smile. Yes, I did that…


A realization soon struck me that I couldn’t actually tell anyone what I accomplished. Tell Addison? Why would she believe me? Likewise my Dad and my friends. No way would I even believe that story. Alas, I’ll have to settle for an idea my psychology teacher, Mr. Livers, who desperately needs to retire by the way, had taught us, altruism: the practice of selfless concern for the well-being of others.

I did my best, and I was proud of myself. I stayed quiet.


Life is a curious animal. Four years passed in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. The coeds across the street graduated and moved out. Eve is now Ms. Johnson, the new psychology teacher who replaced Mr. Livers, but alas, I had already took the course.

Addison graduated three months ago, a whole semester early, with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. She was prepared to move back to Iowa, just waiting for her lease to run out when she met Brodie Winters, a mid level immigration lawyer at some big firm. I would describe him as plain; he wasn’t interested in any of Addison’s interests, never gave her anything, nor did he ever ask about her. It was his life, and she was along for the ride. In fact, I don’t think he’s even said the words ‘I love you.’ Still, he didn’t abuse her physically or mentally, so I didn’t really focus on him; or Addison either for that matter. Snooping obsessively into the lives of others was always more Mrs. White’s forte.

My life was coming together. I’ve had three girlfriends, though I’m currently single, and work part time at my Dad’s friends auto shop – Gary and Son Auto Shop. I’m pushing papers and being a customer service representative, but Gary is also teaching me the ropes, almost like an intern. When I graduate High School in two months, I’m all set to enroll in automotive classes, take the test (which I am already prepared), and get my certification. Did I mention I just celebrated my eighteenth birthday and I bought a car at an auction? Granted, it doesn’t run and it needs a whole lot of work, which is also the only reason I was able to afford it, but when it does, I’ll be cruising in my very own 2010 Camaro convertible.

Yes, life was good.


I had just finished pulling my Mongoose mountain bicycle out of the house when I heard the sweet voice from behind.

“What would you do if your boyfriend went to Las Vegas with another woman?”

It was followed by a lamented sigh.

Being a Saturday, I was going to ride my bike to work, knock out eight hours and then go to the Dave and Buster’s to hangout with my friends, Shane and his girlfriend Joyce, Dante and his girlfriend Camilla, as well as her friend Leilani. It was our prom night, but since the six of us pretty much despise High School, we decided that we wanted to have our own personal celebration. I’m just glad Gary lives a half a block from his shop and lets me shower there.

I had already threw my leg over the center bar of my bike when Addison asked her question, and after seeing my Dad through the years still not get over what my Mom did to him, I couldn’t have just ignored the plea, either. I was brutally honest in my Statement.

“Brodie Winters is cheating on you; what an Asshole. I would…”

“Nadine, I’m going to have to call you back.” There was a pause as Addison hung up the phone. “What did you just say?”

Oops. I should’ve known that at twenty-six, Addison wouldn’t ask her eighteen year old neighbor questions regarding her love life… Not to mention that I probably shouldn’t know her boyfriends name. Regardless, what I said, I meant.

I looked over my shoulder and saw the inquisitive hazel eyes through her red rimmed glasses of my neighbor staring at me. I got off my bike and turned toward her. I wanted my Statement to be utterly clear. “Brodie Winters is cheating on you which makes him just as big of an Asshole as Jordan; and we both remember what you did to him. You deserve far more in life than to put up with him parading around Vegas with some super slut and all that bullshit. I say you have yourself a day, go to the spa or whatever it is you do to unwind.” There, that Statement should cover it.

Addison’s eyes began to water and I quickly gave her a comforting hug. “You deserve to be happy and in love; and when you find the one for you, do whatever it takes to hang onto him,” I Stated.

Addison squeezed me back before letting go of our embrace. “Thank you, Wyatt.”

I gave her a soft smile before walking back to my bike. I glanced over my shoulder and Stated, “Seriously though, take today and do something for yourself. You will love…”

“Wyatt, take this to the dumpster on your way out.”

My Dad interrupted my Statement by throwing a bag of garbage on the porch before ducking back inside. It also disrupted my chain of thought as I was going to finish with the word “it.” As I picked up the bag, I instead finished my Statement with the beginning of a new Statement.

“Me…” I gave Addison a small wave as I hopped onto my bike, “Whatever it is you do, I’d use his money to pay for it, if you can. It’s the least he can do for two timing you.”

Addison stared at me with doe eyes as she let out a slight gasp. Her hand went to her chest giving her whole constitution an appearance of absolute realization.

As I peddled off toward the dumpster, I couldn’t help the feeling of pride I had for Addison. I knew she was going to finally take charge of her love life. Good luck, Addison.


The day was long, but good. When doing something you love, work just doesn’t seem like work and I was even able to put a fuel pump on my Camaro.

Time with my friends is always a riot, though Leilani seems distant in our group. She comes because Camilla, who seems to be her only friend, invites her. She’s different from the rest of us on two fronts; first being that she is smart enough to get accepted into nearby State University unlike the rest of us who didn’t get accepted anywhere, and secondly; she’s so shy. It’s so prominent that she tends to hide her chocolate brown eyes behind her silky black hair and her sun kissed skin from her Hawaiian heritage in frumpy clothes. She seems to only laugh at my jokes and only speaks to give her order to the server. Still, neither of those differences are issues to the rest of us. The humorous banter between the six of us flows easily amongst us providing us our own clique to survive High School life.


I had gotten home late, right before my Saturday curfew of midnight. I had already slipped into a fresh pair of boxers for bed and had just flipped the light switch off when a light tapping began on my window. I shook my head, “Who would be throwing rocks at my window?”

As I turned toward my window, I realized that it wasn’t someone throwing rocks, there was someone actually standing on the crappy three foot awning at my second story window. I grabbed a wrench from the top of my toolbox as I peered hard into the night. “Addison?” I released my grip of my makeshift weapon and slid my window open. “What are doing? Are you okay?”

Addison was meek, her eyes downcast. “Sorry,” she breathed heavily. “I know I shouldn’t be at your window, but I didn’t want to be alone.” She then shook her head, taking a half step back to her place, “I’m going to head back home.”

My heart immediately went to her. Here was this woman, clad in baby blue pajamas, standing on a rickety awning in front of her teenage neighbors window. She must be hurting. “No, it’s all right,” I quickly pinched the latches to the screen and removed it. “We just have to be quiet; my Dad’s already asleep.”

Addison nodded as she accepted my hand to help her inside. Unfortunately, the only options for seating was on my bed, though Addison didn’t seem to mind.

I sat down myself, maneuvering my body against my headboard. “Want to tell me about it?”

Addison moved from the edge of the bed and nestled herself against me, her head on my shoulder and a hand on my chest. “Honestly, I just didn’t want to be alone; knowing that Brodie’s in Las Vegas with some other woman. It just makes me feel… worthless.”

“Actually,” I held Addison tight as I Stated matter of factly, “I would view you more like a crown jewel and he a bumbling idiot of an asshole for not knowing what he had.”

“Thank you.” Addison leaned up and kissed my cheek before resting her head back on my chest.

I decided to change the subject to get her mind off of her love life. “So, what did you do today?”

I heard the faint smile in Addison’s voice, “I took your advice and went to the spa. I got a nice massage, a pedicure and a manicure,” she finished by holding up her hand.

The only thing she said that I understood was massage and I had zero clue on what I was to be looking at on her hand. I raised my hand and lightly caressed hers, “Yes, very smooth.”

“My nails, Silly,” Addison snickered. “I got my fingernails and toenails done.”

“Oh,” I shrugged, giving off a small laugh as I did. “They look very nice.” They really did with the clear polish and white tips.

Addison shook her head before going on about her day, “Yes, it was very relaxing.”

I just listened and held Addison close. I’m glad she was able to laugh to relieve some of her stress.


It was a surreal moment as I woke up. There was a woman in my bed… and not just in my bed, but in my arms.

Miracles can happen.

As Addison began to stir, I tensed up. Would she be upset? I mean, it is my bed, but I could’ve been a gentleman and slept on the couch… but we were talking so easily; we just fell asleep. Would she wake up thinking she was in bed with her boyfriend instead of her teenage neighbor? Am I dead?

“Good morning,” Addison raised her arm and as she did, she accidentally brushed my morning erection. “Oh, sorry… Was that because of me?” Her hand finished making it to its destination to wipe the sleep from her eyes. “I would have to at least go one one date with you, and that’s only because I’ve already known you for eight years.”

Date first? Is that even a possibility? At least she knew who she was in bed with… I was always pro my life. The knowledge did allow me to relax. “Hey, you can’t blame me for that… A beautiful woman is in my bed and I’m not supposed to get an erection?”

Addison looked at me with an affectionate smile, “You know, in eight years in this city, no one has ever complimented my appearance and here you are having done it twice; once to get me in your bed and once, I presume, to get get me out of it.”

“What?” I laughed before shaking my head. “I was only speaking the truth… Usually, the getting a girl in bed part has a different meaning; we just talked.”

“I know,” Addison kissed my cheek. “And that’s why I want to take you out to breakfast; my treat for being so amazing last night.”

“All right, but you really don’t have to.”

“I want to.” Addison then looked toward the edge of the bed as if it were miles away, “I really don’t want to get up.” She then gave a sigh of resignation and slid her body to the edge before standing up with a yawn. She made her way to my window, “Your Dad still home?”

I nodded, “Yup.”

Addison threw a leg out the window, “Give me an hour and I’ll meet you out front.”

I got up, took a shower, got dressed, and let my Dad know I was heading out… And still had to wait thirty minutes. Why do women need an hour to get ready? Just one of the great mysteries in life.


Breakfast was good, I mean how would one truly ruin eggs and toast, though my Dad tries on occasion, but the conversation was even better. Addison was funny, kind, sweet, and caring. How did she ever get involved with the beater or the cheater? It’s as if all they wanted was to take advantage of the country girl from Iowa. Hell, I wish she was a few years younger so I’d have a chance with the woman.