Mari walked up to her front door. She turned back to Daniel.

"Are you going to come in?" She asked.

Daniel scratched the blonde scruff on his chin. "Nah, I think my mom wants me at home. But I might come by later."

Mari smiled. "I'll look forward to it."

Daniel smiled before turning away. He put up his hand and waved as he walked down the sidewalk.

Mari opened the door and stepped into the apartment. She wondered if her mother was here or had she gone shopping?

"Mari, is that you?" Christina's voice came from the kitchen.

That answered her question.

"Yeah Mom, it's me."

She sat down her backpack by the dining room table and walked to the kitchen. Her mother was standing at the stove and was smoking a cigarette while turning over the tamales.

"Mama!"

"What?" Christina said blowing at the smoke in the opposite direction of the food.

"You know that smoking is bad for you. Do I need to tell you about the poster I saw at school?"

"Spare me, Mari. Do you have homework?"

She sighed. "Yes."

"Do you need any help?"

"It's Geometry. Do you want to help with that?" Mari asked sarcastically.

Christina shot her look but didn't say anything.

Mari felt something entwine itself around her legs; she looked down and saw her orange tabby cat, Nettie, playing with her shoe laces.

"My baby!" Marie cooed picking up the cat.

"Mari, get the cat away from the food!" Christina yelled.

Mari kissed Nettie's fluffy head and held her close to her.

"So you're worried about cat hair, but not smoke? You need to sort out your priorities, Mom."

Before Christina could retort, Mari left and walked down the hall to her room. She turned on the light and hung her purse on the back of the doorknob.

Nettie jumped out of her arms and onto to the bed with Mari's other cat, Gigi.

"Did you guys miss me?"

Gigi licked her fur and stared at Mari. Nettie tried to cuddle up next to Gigi, but she hissed at her.

"Be nice, Gigi. You're the oldest."

Gigi sniffed before standing up and stretching and curling up on the pillow.

Mari sat down at her desk and turned on her computer. She needed to check her email. But if she were being honest, she just needed an excuse to put off doing her geometry homework. She so didn't want to do it right then.