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A couple at the beach | Source: Shutterstock
A couple at the beach | Source: Shutterstock

My Downstairs Neighbor Asked Me to Be Quieter at Night, but I Have Not Been Home for the past Week

Prenesa Naidoo
Jul 03, 2024
03:37 P.M.

When Piper returns from a trip with her friends, she cannot wait to get home to her husband. But as she unpacks her car, a neighbor approaches her, complaining about the noise from her apartment. If Piper wasn't home, who was Matthew entertaining in her absence?

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I had just returned from a blissful week-long camping trip with my friends. It was all about us taking time away from our lives and enjoying being away from the city.

My husband, Matthew, had stayed behind, claiming that he needed to stay at home.

A woman sitting outside and looking at the view | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting outside and looking at the view | Source: Midjourney

"I have to be home, Piper," he said when I was packing my bags. "It's just work responsibilities. There are meetings and presentations coming up."

"Are you sure?" I asked him. "Why don't you come along, and then we can find you a place to work in between it all?"

Matthew smiled at me and sat down on the bed.

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A woman sitting on a suitcase | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting on a suitcase | Source: Midjourney

"It's okay, sweetheart," he said. "You go and join the others and have fun. You need some time away from this place."

He continued to persuade me to go on the trip, and eventually, I gave in.

A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

A smiling man | Source: Midjourney

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"If you're sure, then it's settled. I'll go," I said. "But I'll meal prep your food for you before I go."

Two weeks later, I was back home, feeling rejuvenated and happy to be back with my husband.

A close-up of food in containers | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of food in containers | Source: Midjourney

"I missed you," I said when I walked into the house.

Matthew was cooking for us, music was playing in the background, and I felt grateful that I could come home to him.

"I'm just going to unpack the car," I said. "But dinner smells great!"

A man cooking | Source: Midjourney

A man cooking | Source: Midjourney

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I went outside and began to unpack my things when our downstairs neighbor, Mrs. Peterson, approached me by the car. Her stern expression made me pause everything.

"Is everything okay?" I asked her, ready to jump at whatever she needed.

"No, Piper," she said, crossing her arms. "I know that you and your husband are a young couple and stay up until the late hours. But could you try and keep it quiet at night? At least from about nine-thirty. For the past week, I could barely sleep."

An older woman | Source: Midjourney

An older woman | Source: Midjourney

I blinked, taken aback.

"What? Mrs. Peterson, I haven't been home all week. Are you sure that it was coming from our place?"

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The old woman frowned, and I could tell that she was trying to see if I was joking or not.

"Well, someone was making a lot of noise, Piper," she said. "It sounded like a party every single night."

People gathering in an apartment | Source: Midjourney

People gathering in an apartment | Source: Midjourney

I wasn't sure what I was listening to. I knew that Matthew was a good guy, but we were on the top floor, and there wasn't anyone living above us.

Was there a possibility that I didn't know my husband as well as I thought?

I apologized profusely, my mind racing. As soon as she walked away, I rushed upstairs to confront Matthew. I needed to know what Mrs. Peterson was talking about.

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A woman looking straight ahead | Source: Midjourney

A woman looking straight ahead | Source: Midjourney

If he had been entertaining people, then that was one thing, and it was okay.

But what if he was having an affair?

A silhouette of a couple | Source: Midjourney

A silhouette of a couple | Source: Midjourney

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"Stop it," I muttered to myself as I stood in the elevator.

I found my husband lounging on the couch, watching TV.

"Matt, we need to talk," I said, my voice giving me away.

He looked at me, picked up the remote, and switched the TV off.

A man sitting on a couch and watching TV | Source: Midjourney

A man sitting on a couch and watching TV | Source: Midjourney

"What's wrong, Piper?"

"Mrs. Peterson just complained about noise coming from our apartment every night last week. I wasn't here, Matthew. What the hell is going on, and who were you making so much noise with?"

My husband's face paled, and he buried his face in his hands. My heart sank.

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A man holding his head | Source: Midjourney

A man holding his head | Source: Midjourney

There was something about the resignation of his body that made me think that he was guilty. But guilty of what?

Was he simply guilty of having friends over? Or an affair?

"Please, just tell me the truth," I pleaded, sitting down on the couch across from him.

A frowning woman | Source: Midjourney

A frowning woman | Source: Midjourney

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"I'm not having an affair," he muttered, barely audible. "And I know that's what you're thinking. But I was just ashamed to tell you the truth."

"What truth? What do you mean? What's going on?" I asked, the questions hurling themselves at Matthew.

My husband took a deep breath and looked up, his eyes filled with something that I couldn't understand.

A close-up of a man | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a man | Source: Midjourney

"I lost my job a few months ago, Piper. I didn't know how to tell you. But I've been desperate to make money so that you wouldn't notice the shortfall. While you were gone, I rented out our apartment to make some money. I stayed at Trent's place while the apartment was rented out."

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Two men sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

Two men sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

I sighed, the relief and confusion dissipating from my body.

"So, the noise was from the people who rented out the place?" I asked, needing to hear it from him.

He nodded.

"I'm sorry, love," Matthew said. "I just didn't know how to tell you. I didn't want you to worry. And I didn't want you to miss the trip just because of me. I also had an interview during the first week, and I wasn't about to reschedule it."

A smiling man in an interview | Source: Midjourney

A smiling man in an interview | Source: Midjourney

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"Why didn't you just tell me, Matt?" I asked. "We could have figured something out together."

"I know," he said, his voice breaking. "But I was just scared about letting you down."

I took a deep breath, trying to process everything.

A woman sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting on a couch | Source: Midjourney

"We're a team, Matthew," I said. "You don't have to face things like these alone. We can deal with this together. That's what marriage is about."

My husband smiled and pulled me toward him.

"I understand that now," he said.

A couple sitting on a couch together | Source: Midjourney

A couple sitting on a couch together | Source: Midjourney

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We sat in silence for a while, both trying to figure out the next move. I knew that he would have been trying to find another job, and I didn't want to ask him a million questions about it.

He would tell me when something came up.

"Come," he said. "Let's eat."

A couple sitting together at a table | Source: Midjourney

A couple sitting together at a table | Source: Midjourney

We sat down at the table, and Matthew asked me about the trip.

"Tell me everything," he said. "Did Liam get drunk and do something stupid?"

"Of course he did!" I laughed as Matthew poured me a glass of wine. "He tried moonshine from some other campers and ended up streaking, running through tents."

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A man drinking | Source: Midjourney

A man drinking | Source: Midjourney

"I bet Sasha wasn't impressed," Matthew laughed. "That couple is always disagreeing."

As we did the dishes together that evening, Matthew sighed and leaned against the counter.

"Thank you for understanding," he said. "Thank you for not thinking that I was covering up an affair."

I smiled at my husband, ashamed that I entertained the thought of him having another woman in our home.

A close-up of a smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a smiling woman | Source: Midjourney

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"But did you make sure to change the bedding?" I asked him. "I'm not about to sleep in a bed that other people have been in."

Matthew laughed loudly.

"Our bedroom was locked, darling," he said. "They only used the guest room."

A bedroom with open windows | Source: Midjourney

A bedroom with open windows | Source: Midjourney

Over the next few days, we talked about everything. We spoke about the loss of his job, the financial strain, and our plan moving forward.

"I'm actively looking, Piper," he said over coffee and toast the next morning. "I've set up alerts for job positions that I would fit into. And I've cut down on any other unnecessary expenses. This isn't going to be for long. I can promise you that."

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As for Mrs. Peterson, I went downstairs to her apartment, ready to explain everything.

A couple talking | Source: Midjourney

A couple talking | Source: Midjourney

"I'm so sorry," I said. "I didn't know about everything Matthew was going through. And he ended up letting our apartment out as an Airbnb for the week, just to make some money off it."

"Oh, honey," she said, her eyes softening as she put the kettle on. "It's okay! I understand it now. I just thought that you two were taking advantage of the situation. But I get it now."

"Thank you for understanding," I said. "We just need a minute to get back on our feet."

An old woman sitting at a table | Source: Midjourney

An old woman sitting at a table | Source: Midjourney

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Mrs. Peterson faffed around the kitchen, making us some tea.

"Look, Piper," she said, giving me a plate of biscuits. "I'm here and willing to help you out if you ever need the help."

It turned out that in her youth, Mrs. Peterson had been through tough times herself and knew how hard it could be to ask for help.

A woman holding a plate of biscuits | Source: Midjourney

A woman holding a plate of biscuits | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you |

This Is How I Won a Prank War My Neighbor and I Had Going for the past Year

It started off innocently enough. Selene parked her car in the wrong parking spot, fueling a prank war with Paul, the real owner of the parking spot. As the months went by, the pair continued their prank war, but Selene started to wonder about the future of these seemingly innocent practical jokes. She took matters into her own hands and asked Paul out for dinner, under the guise of someone else. Will it be the ultimate prank or something more?

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It all began with a parking mishap. It was just one innocent mistake that spiraled into a year-long prank war with my neighbor, Paul.

An apartment building parking lot | Source: Unsplash

An apartment building parking lot | Source: Unsplash

One evening, I accidentally parked in Paul's parking spot in our apartment building's lot. It was late, I was exhausted, and I just wanted to crawl into bed.

I didn't think much of it until the next morning when I was on my way to the office. There, on my car, on an empty takeaway cup, a note was scrawled in messy handwriting.

A woman sleeping in bed | Source: Pexels

A woman sleeping in bed | Source: Pexels

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Thanks for ruining my day.

"Oh, crap," I said to myself when I sat in the car. I needed to make amends.

A woman sitting in a car | Source: Pexels

A woman sitting in a car | Source: Pexels

The following morning, I left a warm cup of coffee on Paul's car roof with a note that read:

Sorry for the mix-up. I hope this makes up for it.

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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