**She's blaming Chris and not me!** Elation swells and replaces the feeling of discontent and helplessness. **It's not like I meant to put an extra plate on.** She sits smugly at the table and spoons a generous helping of sweet and sour chicken onto her plate. **It's not so bad, really. I should tell Mom to order from here again.**
Her thoughts stray to her novel, still unfinished in her backpack. Luna jumps up and bumps into her legs. **Crazy dog, barking at nothing like a total stupidhead.** She nudges her mother. "At least Mickey is quiet," she says knowingly, but her mother fails to play the game, and merely hushes her. Nora shrugs. After Chris and Luna leave, her mother asks her to clean up after dinner. "It's hardly fair," she begins, but the words die on her lips. Her mother's tired, sad eyes wash over her and she begins to close the cartons one at a time.