Young 'Uns

by Terry Knowles

Chapter 1: The Addisons… and a chance meeting

It was early autumn, and the sun was shining down. Richard and David Addison, ages 13 and 11, were playing football on their front lawn. Richie was tall and gangly, with long legs that were good for outrunning his younger brother. David, small and wiry, could outsmart his brother, even if he couldn't outrun him. At this particular time, Richie had the ball, and David was chasing after him.  At the sound of a car, they stopped.

David Addison, Sr., pulled into the driveway in his brown '63 Ford, tired from work. He sighed and ran a hand through his thinning hair and couldn't help but smile at the sight of his sons fighting over the football. When the boys saw their dad, they ran up to him, dropping the ball on the lawn, their fight temporarily forgotten.

"Hi boys," he said with a smile as he got out of the car.

Of course, they both had gripes about the other.

"Dad, Richie's cheating. He keeps stealing the ball from me."

"Can I help it if he can't play the game?"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said David, Sr., holding up his hands to stop the boys from arguing. "Hold on a minute. I am going to go inside and say hello to your mother. And as for you two, get it all out of your system now, because once you are at the dinner table, I don't want to see any fighting."

Richie and David exchanged a look. "Sure, Dad," they said, smirking.

"Good," their father said as he continued into the house.

Richie immediately lunged for the ball and ran to the other side of the yard, with David at his heels. "Rich!" he whined. "That's it. I quit. I'm going to help Mom."

"Sissy! You're just upset 'cause I can play better than you."

David looked at his older brother and laughed, "You can't play better than me."

"Yes, I can. I just was."

"Oh yeah? Well how about this?" David grabbed the ball from Richie and sprinted to the end of the yard.

"Cheater!" Richie exclaimed as he ran after his brother.

Irma Addison smiled and shook her head as she watched her sons from the kitchen window. Her husband snuck up behind her and slid his arms around her waist. Irma smiled as she recognized the familiar feel of his arms.

"Hi," he whispered in her ear.

"Hi," she said, turning around. She kissed him lightly on the lips. "How was business today?"

"Steady," he answered. "Missed you."

"We missed you, too," Irma replied. "What are the boys up to?"

David, Sr., smiled affectionately. "They think they're playing football, but they're spending more time fighting."

"Don't they always? Maybe they'll grow out of it."

David, Sr., Breathed in the smells of his wife's cooking. "How long till dinner?" 

"About 40 minutes. Why don't you go change, and you can join the game outside? I'll call you in when it's ready."

Five minutes later, the boys' father joined their game.  30 minutes after that, Irma stepped out on the porch. "Dinnertime, boys. Go inside and get cleaned up."

"Aww, Mom, do we have to?" asked David, Sr., who had the ball and was on his way to score."

Irma laughed as all three of her men looked at her expectantly, the younger two seriously, her husband jokingly. "Go on," she gestured toward the door behind her. She playfully swatted her sons' behinds as they walked past her, and then yelped as her husband did the same to her.

That night, around 11pm, David lay awake in his bed. Richie, sound asleep across the room, was snoring loudly. Suddenly and silently, David got up, pulled on a pair of jeans, and grabbed his jacket. He opened the window and carefully climbed down the tree that was conveniently located right outside the window and great for climbing. Upon reaching the bottom, he retrieved his flashlight from under a bush. He often did this… went walking at night. David was a dreamer, but he never let it show. Only at night, he let his thoughts flow and he was free. Free from reputation, free from others' opinions, free from everything. Out here, he wasn't "TC", the coolest 11-year-old in town, he was simply himself.

On nights like these, he found himself walking to the other side of town, the high class and wealthy part of town. It was quiet, there was no one around, and he could pretend he belonged there. Tonight, he stared up at one of the mansions, wishing deeply, promising himself. "Someday," he thought to himself. "Someday, I'm going to have a house like this." A window on the top floor was open, and a girl of about 16 leaned on the windowsill, looking up at the sky. Her long blond hair framed her face and brought out her bright blue eyes. David and the girl made eye contact, and time seemed to stand still. He felt a current of electricity pass through him.

Madolyn Hayes, age 16, was leaning on the windowsill, daydreaming. She was on a modeling job in Philadelphia, and luckily her aunt and younger cousin lived there, so she didn't have to stay in yet another hotel. Seemed she was in hotels more than she was at home lately. Maddie sighed loudly, then glanced back in the room at her cousin, Annie, hoping she didn't wake her up. Luckily, Annie was a heavy sleeper and didn't even budge. Annie was 11, five years younger than Maddie, and she was fun to be with, but sometimes she acted too immature for her cousin's taste.

Tonight, Maddie stared out the window, wishing she was walking out there. But she was stuck. Stuck in this proper world. "I wish I were someone else. Just for a day. I wish I didn't have to be so good all the time. I wish—oh, I don't even know what I wish anymore." A lone tear ran down her cheek as she stared blindly into the deserted street. But, tonight, it wasn't totally deserted. There was a boy down there. He looked to be about Annie's age, but there was something about him, something that Maddie couldn't quite put her finger on, but this something sent a shiver up her back.

"Wow," both David and Maddie whispered simultaneously.


Chapter 2: The morning after

The next morning, Maddie sat up in bed, hugging her knees to her chest. For some strange reason, she couldn't get that boy out of her head. "This is ridiculous," she told herself. I don't even know who he is. And besides, he looked like he was 10. Ten! What do I want with a ten-year-old? Or even 11?"

She shook her head as if to shake him from her mind. 

"Good morning, girls!" Virginia Hayes came breezing into the room, flipping on the light. "Maddie, honey, why aren't you out of bed yet? You need to be dressed and ready to go in half an hour," she reminded her daughter as she left the room.

Annie groaned and pulled the covers over her head.

Maddie sighed and reluctantly got out of bed, smoothing the covers down. She looked over at Annie in the other bed. "You're lucky you can stay in bed."

"Yeah, today," Annie replied, removing the blankets from her head with a grimace. She was awake, however unwillingly. Annie was smaller than Maddie and had short, blond hair. Unlike her cousin's eyes, which were usually detached, without emotion, or like last night, full of sadness, Annie's blue eyes were usually sparkling with energy. Maddie often thought to herself that Annie looked like a pixie. "Tomorrow, I have to go to school," she continued. "Ick!" She made a face of disgust.

Maddie smiled wistfully as she pulled her dress over her head. "I have a magazine shoot today, and tomorrow I have the commercial audition, and then…" she paused, trying to remember exactly what was on the itinerary for that week. She shrugged. "Oh, well, more stuff that I have to do." Maddie carefully brushed out her long hair and pinned it up, fixing it fifty times until it was perfect. She looked in the mirror when she was done, and almost burst into tears when she realized what she saw. "Look at me," she thought to herself. "I'm not a person, I'm a poster. Everything is perfect… too perfect."

David awoke with a start the next morning, his mind filled with thoughts of the blond he had seen the night before. "She looked so sad," he thought to himself. "I wonder what was wrong." He tried to shrug it off, but the feeling that this was something just wouldn't go away.

On the walk to school, David was silent, trying to listen to Richie chatter on about something or other, but he couldn't concentrate. 

Halfway there, Richie noticed his brother was acting strangely. "What's with you today?"

David snapped out of his reverie. "Huh? Whaddya mean? Nothin's with me," he protested.

"What were ya thinkin' about?" Richie pressed.

Inwardly, David rolled his eyes. "Don't worry about it, Rich. Just forget it."

"Fine," Richie shrugged. "Hey, a couple of the guys are trying to start up a band, and they're looking for a drummer. You interested?"

"Maybe!" This sparked David's interest and, for the moment at least, got his mind off of his late-night expedition from the previous night. "What time?"

"Eight, after dinner," Richie replied. "Nick's garage."  He smirked and elbowed his younger brother. "Hey, ya know, being in a band could make you popular with the ladies," he puffed out his chest. "It certainly worked for me!"

Richie's statement reminded David yet again of the blonde goddess he had seen last night. However, this time, the wise guy won out and he laughed. "The girls don't like you!" he exclaimed. "Well, that's not exactly true. They do like you," he amended. "'Oh, Richie, you're such a good friend!'" he mimicked in a high voice.

"Shut up, Dave, you don't know anything!" Richie shoved his younger brother. 

David returned the shove with just as much force. "Face it, Rich, you're just not…how did you put it? 'Popular with the ladies'?"

Luckily, the school bell rang as the boys approached the building, cutting their argument short.