An hour later, Nikki was still staring at the wall. Her arms weren't crossed anymore, but she was still frowning, and probably still quite prepared to keep being stubborn.
Lucy hovered in the doorway to her daughter's room for a moment, considering what to say next. Nikki was thirteen, with all the volatility that implied; the stubborn streak, though, was an older trait, going back at least to the girl's toddler days.
She cleared her throat. "Nik?"
No response from Nikki.
"Nik, I..." Lucy sighed. She entered the room and sat down on the bed next to her daughter, although not too close just yet. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that, and I certainly shouldn't've taken away your video game." Nikki's eyes flickered, and Lucy added, "If I thought that your schoolwork was suffering, I would be right to restrict your free time. But you always have been a good student, so."
Finally Nikki looked over at her. "I've already got all my homework done tonight, and tomorrow's homework for English class too. Otherwise I wouldn't have been playing yet. But I had to spend a whole hour doing nothing anyway." Her tone was reproachful, but only mildly so; Lucy could tell that her apology was being considered. "It's not fair," the girl added matter-of-factly.
"Well, your game is back on the shelf now," Lucy said, smiling. "And next time I'll be better about not telling you what to do with your spare time. Although," and here she hesitated, "You know, I didn't say you couldn't do anything for the last hour. You could have read a book, or written in your diary, or done something besides sit there."
Nikki raised her head slightly, a little glint coming into her eye. "None of that was what I wanted to do," she replied. "So I just did nothing at all."
Lucy sighed a little, and shook her head. "Well, it's your time, dear. I guess you spent it the way you thought best."