Willadean is the narrator’s sixteen-year-old neighbor, a tall, slender girl who, in the past year, has begun to mature. Freddy Gray remembers how the year before, Willadean had played children’s games. But this year, she refrains from those games, and instead walks in a way that fascinates the narrator and his friends. All three of the friends are secretly vying to take her out on a date, but none of them can build up the courage to ask, because they’re scared of her father, Mr. Wills. The narrator realizes that part of the reason he feels like an outsider with Freddy Gray and J.D. is that they are afraid Willadean might like him more than them, because he is new to the neighborhood. So, partly in order to prove himself to Willadean, the narrator steals her father’s prized watermelon. But when he sees Willadean and her mother standing in the kitchen doorway, watching Mr. Wills destroy the melon crop, he realizes that he has not won Willadean’s approval at all. The next morning, she answers the door when the narrator comes to apologize to her father, and he can’t bear to look at her; when he finally does, he can’t figure out how she feels about him. But when he agrees to work for Mr. Wills, he sees that her eyes are smiling. Emboldened, he says he would be “willing to set on the porch with Willadean anytime,” and she blushes in response but doesn’t seem angry. In this way, the narrator has won Willadean’s approval—not through his rash bravado, but through his braver qualities of honesty and compassion. Their small interaction at the end of the story holds the potential for a deeper relationship, in which the narrator treats Willadean as a person instead of an object.