Prospects

Jenna's twenty years old and seems to have hit a dead end before anything's even begun for her. Luke's seven years older and still in the same boat - despite their differences, perhaps they both have some answers to each other's problems.

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1. Prologue

I heard the phrase 'the straw that broke the camel’s back' quite a lot throughout my life. I never quite understood it until one day I decided to have a lie in and then got out of bed to be greeted by my disappointed, cranky parents.

 

"Jenna, sit down." my dad says, my mom beside him looking way too upset for a Saturday morning. I frown, a cookie in my hand.

 

"Everything alright?" I ask.

 

"Just take a seat please." my mom says so I sit in the arm chair across from them. What could they possibly be mad about? I literally haven't done a thing. I mean I went out last night and made some possibly questionable choices but what twenty year old doesn't? It was nothing to be worried about and there's no way they could know anyway. So I just sit there and wait for them to say something. It's a long, uncomfortable silence of them both just looking at me all disappointed before my dad says "What time do you call this Jenna?".

 

I can't help but laugh. I don't know if it's relief that they're just pissed I slept in or because I can't quite believe they're this serious about it but they don't look impressed. I bring my laughter to a stop.

 

"Wait, what?"

 

"What time do you call this?" my mom asks.

 

I look at the clock. "I call this three pm but I don't know about you guys."

 

"Enough joking Jenna." my dad says, stern, and I feel my eyes widen like a scolded puppy. I haven't really heard them talk to me like this since I was a little girl. "Look, your mother and I have had enough. You're twenty years old, still living with us and not paying a dime and instead of looking for work like you said you would you're sleeping in every single day and partying every single night."

 

I take a deep breath. Actually, the last time I heard them talk to me like this was when I was eighteen, fresh out of high school, and I told them I didn't want to go to college. Didn’t go down well. Not that my family is super posh or super conservative but they are super traditional. They're both college graduates, my mom's a lawyer and my dad works in an office selling business deals, I don't really get what he does. So when I told them I wasn't going to get them to spend thousands on college because I wanted to be a musician, I think they both nearly had heart attacks. Eventually I got them to agree. Reluctantly, but agree nonetheless. They said I could live with them as long as I was working towards a goal and succeeding.

 

Within a month I had a job at a local independent little coffee shop playing my songs every Friday night and Sunday afternoon and my parents were pretty pleased by this because I was getting paid and doing something with my days and for a little while there they felt like maybe I wasn't being stupid trying to get into the career I wanted to get into, maybe it was actually going to work. The only thing is, I've been playing there for two years and apparently that's a problem now.

 

"I have a job." I say, feeling defensive all of a sudden.

 

"A job that you only go two for six hours a week." my mom frowns. "And a job where you spend the wages on alcohol and clubbing."

 

"And a job that, let's be honest, isn't getting you anywhere." Dad crosses his arms. "Jenna, the music thing isn't going to work. It's a dead end and I think you need to accept that."

 

I get a lump in my throat when he says that. At first I think it's because I'm mad he's being so pessimistic and judgmental but I realise it's because I'm worried he's right. Especially as I got into my teenage years, I've obsessed over that career. I've studied and practiced music, I've followed so many careers, but at the end of the day Dad's right. Right now it kind of is a dead end. It doesn't matter how bad I want it, maybe it's just not going to happen.

 

"So what?" I say, avoiding looking at the two of them. "What are you expecting me to do?"

 

"We're going to give you a year." Mom says. "Get everything together. Find a job. Your dad's office even has an job open if worse comes to worse. If you haven't sorted things out by then your chances are up."

 
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