“Alright, let’s go play,” I said to my friend beside me. From her desk, my mom sighed with annoyance.

“I told you 5 minutes ago, Annie, I can’t go out and play.” She didn’t even turn around from the computer as she complained. Too busy as always.

“I wasn’t talking to you, Mom,” I said, sticking out my tongue. “I was talking to Penelope, she was suggesting we go out.”

“Oh, Penelope suggested that, did she?” I could hear my mom’s patronizing tone. She never seemed to like my friend. “Well, then you and Penelope go have fun. I need to work.”

“We will,” I promised bitterly. “Don’t you worry about it.”

Penelope had barely shut the door behind us before I started to rant. “Ugh, I can’t stand when she talks to me like that. Like I’m crazy or something.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Penelope said, tossing her pink hair over her shoulder. “I’ve told you before, she can’t see me. She might think you are.”

“Yeah but if she would just listen to me for once… arrgh. Instead she’s always too busy working to even look at me. And then she just uses that stupid tone of voice to dismiss everything I say…” I kicked a white stone down the street in frustration.

“It could always be worse.” Penelope had a sympathetic smile on her face. She always looked a little sad when I fought with my mom.

“I doubt that,” I growled, stomping off down the street. “Come on, let’s go get some ice cream or something.”

“Wake up,” I heard my mom say. “It’s time for school.”

I rolled over in my bed and stared up at the white-stucco ceiling. “Yeah yeah, I’m getting up.”

“Did you hear me Annie? I said it’s time to wake up!” My mom repeated herself like I hadn’t just answered her. I tried not to roll my eyes in response.

“Yeah Mom, I heard you,” I said, sitting up in my bed. “What’s the big deal?”

“You’re going to be late if you don’t wake up!” my mom insisted. I opened my mouth to retort, but the words froze in my mouth. She wasn’t even looking at me, she was shaking the body laying beside me in bed. Penelope’s pink hair poked out the top and she stirred into wakefulness.

“Sorry Mom,” I heard her say in my voice. “Getting up now.”

“Finally,” my mom grumped. “I swear you sleep like the dead, Annie.”

I stared at Penelope with my mouth hanging open wide. She gave me a mischievous smile.

“I told you there were worse things.”

Originally posted on /r/WritingPrompts on reddit.