I sigh heavily as I tuck the last stray strand of my dark hair into its usual twintails. Am I getting too old to wear my hair like this? I almost entertain the idea until remembering Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad -- a disaster sandwich of a movie, to say the least, but it did make twintails on women over the age of eighteen suddenly cool again. I was just looking on trend, as one should on a Monday.

Ugh. Mondays. Spare me. I could live through an entire month of Mondays and I'd never get used to them. Insult was added to injury that I have an annoyingly early lecture to attend on Mondays, to boot. Lectures shouldn't be held before 10am at the very earliest, thank you very much. I've never been a morning person and I never will become one. I've tried. Lord knows I've tried. But I'm practically nocturnal. It's driven my mother close to crazy over the past ten years.

I manage not to scowl at my reflection in the mirror and flounce out of the bathroom I share with my younger sister, as flouncing is known to be quieter than stomping, which is what I really want to do. However, stomping would mean waking up my parents, and I was kind of hoping to get out of the house before having to deal with...

Aw, damn.

I feel myself deflate as I peek into the kitchen. My mother is already awake, nibbling daintily at her Special K (how does she stomach that cardboard? I'm no health guru, but that shit cannot be good for you) and sipping her morning coffee, looking intently at her mobile phone's screen. Well, you can't help bad luck, I guess. I sigh heavily, and pick up my tote bag where I discarded it in the hallway before only just remembering not to run out of the house without at least brushing my hair. These textbooks get heavier every semester, I swear.

I glance at the kitchen clock. Seven-forty-five. Just enough time to grab an Up-And-Go or something and then hightail it out of here if I want to catch the next bus. Which I do, because then I'll be able to stop at Merlin's for a coffee before my lecture, maybe with a little time to spare. Excellent. No need to bolt across campus.

"Ohayo gozaimasu, okaasan," I say as I tried to slide as unobtrusively into the kitchen as I can. Mother or no mother, if someone thinks I'm going to an eight-thirty lecture without being armed with caffeine, they have another thing coming. Out of sheer annoyance, I greet her in her own tongue far too politely, as if I was speaking to a stranger and not my own flesh and blood.

"Ohayo gozaimasu, Rio," she replies, and I wince inwardly. I really need to stop attempting to do passive-aggression; Miyuki Tsukimori-Summers is the master of it and can turn my own subtle barbs around right back on me. She responds just as politely, as if she was speaking to a stranger -- or worse, an inferior. Why has it taken me years to work out how to say good morning both as politely and as offensively as possible, only to have her shoot back in immediately? It frustrates me. I hope she can't see me gritting my teeth.

"Can you please go and wake Sara up." It's not a question, it's a demand, and I'm already in a foul enough mood for it to get my hackles up.

"Seriously? If she can't set her alarm, she deserves to be late to school." I liberate a chocolate Up-And-Go from the fridge and move towards the front door. "I really need to run, I have a--"

"Can't you do what you're asked just once, Rio?" My mother flares at me, her eyes blazing. Anyone would think I'd just told her to go screw herself, or something, not refused to be made late by waking up my sister. Who did in fact have a phone with an alarm, just like me. Unlike me, hers didn't have to go off at seven o'clock in the damn morning to make sure she had enough time to get to university for a coffee before a compulsory, attendance-taken lecture occured. She could get up at eight-thirty and walk to Marina Bay Heights High. I had a twenty-minute commute to my uni campus, thanks to a convoluted (read as: bullshit) public transport system.

Because I've been so disobedient all those other times you've just demanded things from me, I snarl inside my head, but arrange my outward face into a careful blank slate. Mother's on the warpath this morning, there's no way this is going to end in any other way than a shouting match or me waking my sister up. Only one of those options means I might be able to get coffee, although bolting across campus would be necessary.

I don't fight. I want my caffeine.

"Kashikomarimashita," I mutter, and this time I do stomp back up the hallway. If she wants to be a military bitch, I intend to be a military brat. Turnaround is fair play.

continuing soon...