"So, what do you want to eat tonight?" asked my mother, as we strolled along the never-ending corridors of the impossibly large mall, absently browsing the items on display in the shop windows.

I opened my mouth to reply. "I-"

My brother cut in. "I want to eat Japanese food! Let's go to Yoshinova!" he squealed excitedly, naming a famous Japanese restaurant in the mall.

Unfortunately, it also happened to be located in the opposite direction of the car park, and I really didn't want to make such a long trip just to eat Japanese food. My feet were sore and aching from a long day of shopping, and I just wanted to eat and ditch the place.

"But it's so far away," I argued. "Besides, we never eat anything else whenever we come here."

My brother looked ready to cry. "But I want to eat Japanese food!" he insisted, even stomping his foot for greater effect. Sheesh. And he turns 13 next month.

"Oh, come on, Karin. If your brother wants to eat Japanese food, just let him," admonished Mom, putting her arm around Jack's shoulders.

I looked away from the obvious show of favoritism. 13 years, and the feeling of jealousy still hadn't changed a bit. Not one iota.

The thought only made me more rebellious and determined to get my way, but I knew playing hardball wouldn't work. So, I settled on a compromise instead.

"Well, what about Genki Sushi? It's closer to the car park, and it's still Japanese food," I offered.

"What do you think, Jack?" my mother looked fondly at my brother, waiting for his answer.

Jack made a show of pouting and thinking it over, then heaved a huge fake sigh and mumbled, "Yeah, I guess that's okay."

I wanted to throttle him. Thank goodness for self-control.

We sauntered on over to the restaurant in question, and took our seats right in front of the conveyor belt. Each of us grabbed a few plates of sushi from the belt as the dishes meandered past us. I tried to ignore the way Mom put at least a piece of whatever she took from the belt on Jack's plate, but never offered me any.

Not that I would have necessarily accepted, mind you.

As usual, the sushi was delicious, but the small servings weren't really filling us up any, so Mother decided to order some more food. She perused the menu carefully, then asked us, "What else would you like to eat?"

"Teriyaki chicken," I answered immediately. Teriyaki chicken was a special favourite of mine.

"Do you want rice with that?"

Despite what I had said about the sushi not being filling, apparently I didn't have much stomach space either. "No, thanks. Just the chicken."

"What about you, Jack? You want teriyaki chicken too?"

"I want rice with the chicken!"

"You want rice? Okay then, I'll order a teriyaki chicken set, and you two can share."

I frowned in indignation. "But Mom, the set has a lot of rice and other stuff that we don't eat anyway!"

Mom shrugged. "Well, your brother wants rice with his chicken."

"So why can't you just order another bowl of rice or something?"

"Because it's easier this way. Now be quiet, I'm going to order." Mom shushed me impatiently as she beckoned to the waiter, and I resumed eating my sushi quietly. What else could I say? My brother shot me a triumphant grin, and I did my best to ignore him.

Well, you're the one who'll be putting on weight, I thought, stabbing viciously at the poor sushi with my lethal wooden chopsticks. Did you know rice contains thousands of kilojoules?

"Stop playing with your food, Karin. How are you going to eat that mess now?" scolded my mother.

Deciding that it would be pointless to reply, I merely shrugged and scooped the 'mess' into my mouth.

Besides the chicken, we had ordered some tofu, too. Only thing was, there were two pieces, and there were three of us. Mom obviously got to have one whole piece all to herself, so the second piece had to be split amongst my brother and I. To be fair, Mom said she would split it, but she ended up cutting the tofu into one larger piece and one smaller piece. Without even a word of apology, she scooped the larger piece onto my brother's plate where it was eagerly devoured, and plonked the smaller piece unceremoniously onto my plate.

I hadn't realized my face had shown my feelings until Mom glanced at me and said, "Stop looking like that. Your brother's younger, just let him have the bigger piece."

I turned away and pretended to be absorbed in my food.

I don't begrudge my brother my mother's affections, really I don't. After all, he's better-looking, more sociable, and more popular than me, despite being 3 years younger than me. He's the family's Golden Boy, the son my parents show off eagerly in the company of friends, who gush over him excitedly and pull his cheeks because he's "so cute!!"

Me? Oh, the normal response of people who see me for the first time read something along these lines, "Your daughter is very dark, isn't she? Does she swim?"

No, I'm not jealous at all. Don't be silly.

Just my misfortune to be born in a place where girls are expected to be fair and lovely at all times. Of course I would have the extreme luck to get tanned easily, even after just 10 minutes in the sun. And to top it all off, a brother that got the complexion girls would kill for – porcelain-pale skin with a hint of healthy pink on his cheeks, and a dimple to boot.

Bitter? Now where on earth did you get that idea?

The teriyaki chicken set arrived, and of course it was set down next to Jack, even though there was a perfectly empty space on my side of the table, which also happened to be closer to the kitchen. Jack tucked in voraciously, and I gave up any hope of even touching the chicken.

Just when it seemed all was lost, surprise, surprise! My Mom came to the rescue.

"Don't eat so fast, Jack," she admonished. "Leave some for your sister."

I felt a warm glow rising up from my chest. So Jack isn't Mom's favourite after all, I thought smugly.

Mom dropped two small slices of chicken on my plate. "There," she declared. "You can go on eating now, Jack."

I looked disbelievingly at the limp pieces of chicken on my plate, and then glanced at the fat chunks on my brother's plate, which were disappearing at an alarming rate. I turned towards my Mom, and she shrugged unapologetically. "Let your brother eat more," she ordered. "You could lose some weight anyway."

The glow had long since faded away.

Without a word, I turned back to face my food and hastily put some in my mouth so that I wouldn't have to reply.

I didn't think I was expected to, anyway.

Unsurprisingly, I was the first to finish my meal and sat quietly in my seat while my family finished eating. My gaze landed on a plate of sushi and I decided that I still had room for one last plate. I lifted the plate carefully off the conveyor belt and took off the plastic cover.

There were four pieces of sushi, each stuffed with cucumber, egg, chicken and soft shell crab. I suddenly remembered that Mom liked soft shell crab. I tapped her arm to get her attention. "Look, Mom, this sushi has crab in it!" I said, hoping she would ask to share.

"That's nice, Karin," she said distractedly, then turned back to my brother, who was yapping on about how his karate class was the 'most fun thing ever in my life'. How he managed this feat while stuffing his mouth with rice and chicken, I'll never know.

Still, I left one piece for Mom on her plate. I nudged her and pointed to her plate. She nodded absently and continued listening to my brother while eating.

I sipped my hot water slowly (I hated green tea), wondering when my brother would notice that rice and spit flying out of your mouth does not paint a pretty picture.

I looked at my watch. 7.15 pm. I remembered that a rerun of High School Musical, whose premiere on Asian television I had missed, was on tonight at 7.30. I tugged at my Mom's sleeve and she glanced at me irritably. "What is it?" she half-snapped, but I was too used to care.

"Can you hurry up? There's a show I want to watch at 7.30," I said.

She merely nodded and continued munching her food at an absurdly slow pace. I mean, really, it was almost like she was chewing the cud. Last I checked, my Mom was a human, not a cow.

Still, there are times when I wonder about the possibilities. Like the time she yelled at me when I dropped a plastic cup, but comforted my brother when he smashed a glass bowl.

Yup, the cow theory definitely has its moments.

Suddenly, my brother remembered the rerun, too.

"Hurry up, Mom! There's a show I want to watch on TV and it starts in 10 minutes!" he yelled excitedly.

Immediately, my Mom gobbled the rest of the food and stood up hurriedly. "Let's go, then!" She made to grab her handbag.

As I stood up, I noticed the single piece of sushi, sitting desolate and forgotten on her plate.

I motioned to it. "What about that sushi, Mom?"

"Maybe next time, Karin, I'm too full," she said distractedly, hurrying to the counter to pay the bill.

I quietly turned away.

"Of course, Mom."

A/N: Okay, I KNOW I'm supposed to be working on the 4th chapter of Are We Still Friends? And I promise, I already know what it's going to be about. I just had to get this off my chest..it is, actually, a real event that happened to me just today, in fact. It's not all real, of course, my mom and my bro aren't THAT bad..the glass bowl incident isn't real, either. But the feelings are, mostly.

Well, it's something different from what I usually write..read and review! And yes, it is a one shot..possibly the shortest I've ever written, lol.

By the way, I do not own Yoshinova, Genki Sushi or High School Musical.