I came downstairs with a fake smile on my face. "It's better making sacrifices," I thought, "than having to deal with a sugar-rushed Raven."

I sat the dinner table, my third-favorite piece of furniture in the house. It was fine oak, polished to a reflective luster. On the edges were beautifully engraved flowers and birds, made by someone with an incredible eye for detail. The best part, though, were the legs. The twisting and twirling oak legs were both sturdy, yet delicate. It was almost a shame that it was made for people to eat on, especially people like Jerry eating on it.

I had to admit though, the food was delicious. Though Jerry had many faults, ineptitude in the kitchen was not one of him. The kitchen was his realm, a holy place to him. Rave and I weren't even allowed in there without express permission from Jerry himself.

Avoiding Monica's curious stare, I looked through the window to the Walkers' house. Their flowery yard perked me up for a moment. The beautiful daisies and petunias brought back happy memories of days spent with Mrs. Walker gardening, conversing on light topics. Mrs. Walker was a grief counselor, and Mr. Walker had been a doctor.

But it was impossible to ignore Monica for long without her getting angry, so I turned back to her. "How are you?" I say, hoping that she doesn't notice my cringe when I smell the reek of alcohol on her breath.

"Well enough."

It was obvious that she had been drinking, and that she was fighting a serious hangover. I truly hated her when she got like this. I was only glad that Raven was nose-blind, and that she was probably the most optimistic (and oblivious) person in the house.

I was five minutes older than Rave, but it felt more like five years. She was so… so young. She didn't know about all the injustice in the world, about all the mistakes our mother made. Rave believed that everyone in her family was perfect, and that they all loved each other. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it was more like Jerry only married Monica for her money, and vica versa. The only real love in the household was between Rave and me. We were sisters, in the strongest use of the word. I'd die before letting her get hurt. And I knew she felt the same.

Breakfast was a time for profound thoughts.

That was my last thought before I fainted.