I also thought that today I'd share a bit of my revisions. So here is the original scene that introduces Nikki's mother, followed by the revision. In the revision, which is a bit longer, I tried to show the differences in their respective personalities while still maintaining that Mom is sensitive to Nikki's predicament, having lost her sister 9 months ago. The words in italics come from Nikki's sister, who Nikki occasionally imagines is talking to her.
“I know you’re awake, pumpkin,” she said. “You’re too much of a restless sleeper to fool your mother.”
I remained perfectly still.
“But, if you want to sleep in today that’s fine. I can’t imagine why a young girl would want to go to school when she has a secret admirer.”
Secret admirer? What was she talking about?
“If he’s anything like his friend… but then I’m not an expert when it comes to handsome men with French accents.”
“French accent?” I ripped the covers off.
“So you are awake?”
“What are you talking about? A guy with a French accent?”
“He came to the door just now to deliver these to you.” She handed me a long white box with a red ribbon tied around the center. “Tall, well built, with the nicest manners. He called me Madame. Just like that, Maa-daam.”
“He said these were from Sam.”
My hand floated to the back of my head, but before I could feel for a bump, a soft knock on the door flew me into a panic. Knowing it was my mother, I flopped backwards and pulled the covers over my head. She knocked again, louder.
“I’m coming in, Nikki.”
I pretended to sleep as she padded across the floor. There was a squeak and then a splash of light filtered through my blanket. I pulled the quilt down just enough to make a peephole.
Suddenly her face was in my field of vision. “Time to wake up, Nik.” She grabbed the quilt and ripped it off.
“God, you’re rude,” I said and wrestled for the blanket. “I’m cold and that light is too bright. Shut the curtain.”
“Of course you’re cold.” Her brow puckered with disapproval. “Look what you’re wearing.”
“It’s a t-shirt.”
“I’m not sure that counts as a t-shirt. But as long as you don’t wear it to school, I’m not going to argue. As for the curtain, you need more light in here.” To prove her point she went to the other window, stepping over a pile of clothes and nearly knocking down a tower of CDs along the way. She opened that curtain as well and turned around. Seeing an empty cereal bowl on my desk, she held it up for inspection.
“What? It was dry.”
She sighed. “Nikki, you have to clean this up. Or at least…” Her eyes swept over Shani’s neater half of the room, and then back at mine. Her nose crinkled. “This room is so off-balance,” she finished.
She’s talking Feng Shui again, isn’t she?
Well, you’ve got to admit this room sort of resembles that old Batman character, what was his name? Two Face?
“Maybe we should move you into the other room,” Mom added. “It’s too dark in here.”
“No! I like the attic. It’s roomy.”
“For two people it made sense, but now that…” Her voice trailed off as she picked up one of Shani’s books. She swiped her hand across it as if to lift the dust off. But it came back clean. She looked at it and then back at me. “Well, you think about it,” she said and replaced the book on its shelf. She walked to the chair in the corner and grabbed a long white box. “A boy delivered these this morning. They’re for you.”
“Tall guy, well built, with a French accent.”
“He said these were from Sam.”