“So, what do you think, sis?”
Enzo looked at me hopefully and it warmed my heart. Instead of taking mom or dad, he’d asked me to come along with him while he was looking at possible homes. It had made me feel like more of a big sister than ever, and becoming a mother had made me even more maternal towards my little brother.
“It looks nice,” I said encouragingly, even though the little townhouse was looking kind of rough, and not exactly in the best neighborhood.
“It does, right?” Enzo seemed to cheer up at my positive reaction. “And it’s not even very expensive. I could easily make the rent every month and take the bus to work every day. I think it’s the best place I’ve seen yet.”
I didn’t have the heart to point out the weathered windows, or the green-stained roof beams. He seemed so excited and I had a lot of respect for the fact that he wanted to get out on his own. Phil and I had chosen not to, but I thought it was awesome that Enz wanted to be so independent.
“Let’s go inside,” I suggested.
The home was small, but big enough for one person. The lack of lighting made it seem dark, but I was relieved. With some proper decoration and a few nice lamps on the walls, it would be a comfortable living space.
“This is great!” Enzo exclaimed enthusiastically. “Look, it even has a separate bedroom!”
We explored the other two rooms for a while, then met up in the living room again.
“So, you think I should take it?”
I smiled. “Definitely. It’s not expensive, mom and dad can help you out with some old furniture and I can decorate a bit for you, give it some character. I think it’s a great first place for you, Enz.”
He grinned broadly. “I’m so happy you said that.” Then, his face suddenly got a gloomy expression. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Don’t you want it?” “No, I do. I love it. But… Let’s sit down for a second.”
We sat at the rickety table against the wall. Enzo’s face was covered in shadows, but I could see him take a deep breath, as if unsure whether he should tell me what was on his mind.
“I asked Michelle to move in with me,” he finally confessed.
“WHAT? Why? What did she say? Oh God, did she say ‘yes’?”
“No,” he answered grumpily. “She got mad at me.”
I didn’t quite know what to say to that. Although I’d never really supported their relationship, and I definitely didn’t want them to move in together, the look of hurt and disappointment on Enzo’s face struck me.
“You really like her,” I said softly. He nodded and then shook his head, as if to erase the thought.
“Oh, what’s the point. She doesn’t feel the same way about me anyway. She just likes having someone to sleep with regularly. She doesn’t want to be in a real relationship.”
“Do you want a real relationship?” I asked him. “Because if you do, maybe you should rethink what you and Michelle are doing.”
Enzo shrugged. “I don’t know. I love spending time with her and she’s really fun and smart and I don’t want to lose that. But…” He hesitated. “Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I’m only twenty, after all. I might as well enjoy my time with her, right?”
I looked at him with a sympathetic look on my face. “You don’t have to rush into any decisions. Just think about what you really want.”
Enzo gave me a forced smile. “I’ll be okay, sis. Don’t worry about that.”
But for some reason, every time Enzo told me not to worry, it only made me worry that much more.