“So, where do we go from here?” Matt asked. He leaned against the kitchen counter staring at his girlfriend stirring a pot of boiling water. “Also, what are you doing?”
“I don’t know,” Anna replied shaking her head. She was staring deeply into the pot and put the wooden spoon down. Then she opened a package of penne pasta and dumped it all in.
“You don’t know what you’re doing with cooking? Or where we go from here?” Matt wondered aloud.
“Both.” Anna shrugged. She watched the pasta foam and simmer down as she stirred it again.
“Would you like me to cook?” Matt asked with a hint of caution in his tone. He wasn’t sure what was bothering Anna but she was normally a great cook and she certainly seemed to be a bit off tonight.
“Nah, I got it.” Anna said. She put the spoon back down and turned around to face him. “So, you want to talk about it?”
“I think we should. We kind of have to. I’m not really sure what the right thing to do is.” Matt stated. He looked over his shoulder through the archway into the living room, but nothing was there. “Is Phil in the bathroom?”
“I think he’s taking a shower.” Anna replied. “I feel like this is something we need to talk to Phil about as well. It can’t just be us.”
“I know, but we should come up with some sort of plan. I mean, what if we talk to him and he sucks us back in?” Matt countered. “Your brother said he was only going to be here for a week and it’s been three months. He needs to move on. He needs to be an adult. Get a job and get his own place.”
Anna sighed. “I know, I know… I just hate seeing my younger brother go through this, you know?”
“I get that. I love Phil like my own brother, trust me. I’d do anything for him, but it’s getting to the point where I feel like we’re enabling him more so than helping you.” Matt explained.
“I agree,” Anna said nodding her head.
“So, I believe we should come up with some sort of plan – maybe two – and then either give him the options or just tell him like it is.” Matt said firmly.
“Alright. What do you propose?”
“I have no idea.”
“I was hoping you’d have some ideas.”
“Ideas for what?” Phil entered the kitchen. He immediately went over to the fridge and took out a carton of milk. Instead of getting a glass, he opened the carton and chugged it.
Anna put a hand on Matt’s shoulder when he noticed him getting tense. He looked as though he was about to blow. She knew it bothered Matt to no end when people drank out of the carton, especially in someone else’s home.
“Phil,” Matt said waving an okay to Anna. She turned her attention back to the stove not wanting to have anything to do with this conversation.
“What?” Phil replied. He took another swig of milk and then put it back into the fridge.
“Anna and I were just discussing your… situation. You know, the job and apartment hunting? How’s that going?” Matt began. He wanted to give Phil a deadline, an ultimatum, or something. Since he didn’t get a chance to talk it over with Anna first though, he needed to improvise.
“How’s it going?” Phil repeated. He glanced at the ceiling and hummed to himself. “It’s not, I guess. I didn’t realize I had to.”
Anna turned around and glared at her brother. “What do you mean you didn’t realize you had to?”
Matt put a hand on her shoulder. Usually it was him who lost his temper. He didn’t want Anna to start yelling at his brother. He wasn’t in the mood to have a rift in his own home between his wife and brother in law. Anna swatted his hand away though.
“Well, I’m here so I don’t need a place to live. You guys own the house so I don’t have any bills to pay. So, why do I need to get a job?” Phil asked.
Anna’s jaw dropped and Matt stepped in front of her.
“Phil, I think you’re missing the point… this house belongs to us, yes, and we’ve been kind to let you stay here, but we agreed it would be temporary. You said you were going to look for a job and then look for an apartment after. We can’t keep paying for your stuff. You need to take care of yourself.” Matt explained as calmly as he could. He wanted to blow his top at Phil but it was clear he needed to keep Anna’s temper in check as well.
“Oh, well you didn’t tell me that part.” Phil said with a shrug.
“Phillip! You’re an adult! You should have already known that especially since you told us you’d only be living with us for a week.” Anna snapped. “I love having you here. Really, I do. But you need to take care of yourself, like Matt said, and honestly, Matt and I need some space.”
Phil looked between his sister and Matt. He grinned and winked at Matt. “Oh, okay. I get what you mean.”
Anna glowered at him. “No, that’s not what I meant at all and you know it.”
Phil held his hands up in surrender. “No worries, Anna. I’ll get out of your hair soon. I just have a quick question…”
“What is it?” Matt asked.
The boiling pot of pasta hissed as the water poured out of the top. Anna turned around and turned the burner off before looking back at her brother.
“How do I go about getting a job? I’ve never really had one before.” Phil stated.
“You’ve gone on plenty of interviews, Phil. You’ve just never stuck around a job long enough to know what it’s all about.” Anna sighed.
“All the jobs I’ve had were boring. I didn’t want to stay there.”
“My job is boring too, but it’s a paycheck that pays for his house and food and clothes and everything else Anna and I need.” Matt explained.
Phil rubbed the back of his neck. “Oh. So, I guess that’s why Ashley broke up with me and took the apartment, huh?”
Anna nodded. “She couldn’t count on you.”
Matt took his laptop off the kitchen table and handed it to Phil. “Use this and search for a job. I want to sit down with you tonight with at least five job options and we’ll work together to submit your resume.”
Phil took the laptop and nodded. He left the room without another word.
“I’m sorry.” Anna muttered.
“Why are you sorry?” Matt asked.
“I didn’t realize he was dumb and actually thought we were going to let him freeload from us for the rest of his life.” Anna explained.
Matt put his hands in his pockets and raised his shoulders. “Well, all we can do now is help steer him in the right direction. He’ll be fine and so will we.” He kissed Anna on the cheek.
Anna smiled at him. She strained the pasta over the sink and dumped it back into the pot. “Can you get the milk, please?”
“You mean the one that has your brother’s germs all over it?” Matt grunted. He opened the fridge and picked up the carton. He let out a sigh.
“What’s wrong?” Anna asked.
Matt tossed the milk into the trash. “It’s empty.” He grabbed his car keys. “I’ll be back… do we need anything else other than milk?”
“Pop-Tarts?” Anna said sheepishly.
Matt shook his head. “No, I hid those from him.”
“Yeah… he found them.”
Matt sighed. “I’ll be back…”