However, Harriet did not seem convinced. "Jade, you've been through a lot recently. It's okay to rest and give yourself a break. Please, just sit down for a moment."
"Harry, I said that I'm fine alright."
"I know. I just think…"
"I said, I'm fine!" snapped Jade, drawing the attention of several customers.
Harriet looked shocked and even let out a small gasp. In the few years that she had known Jade, she had never seen her snap like that, not to her at least.
With a sigh, Jade's shoulders dropped. In that moment, she suddenly exhausted, as if her earlier energy was merely a facade. "I'm sorry, Harry… I didn't mean it, it's just… I hate being a victim."
Her voice trailed off, and although Harriet wanted to ask about it, she did not dare to. Jade shook her head and picked herself back up. As if her momentary outburst was just a figment of everyone's imagination, she smiled and said, "Thank you for your concern, but I'm really fine."
Jade softly jumped on the spot and even did a few shallow squats. "See?"
Even though she was still unconvinced, Harriet had no choice but to relent. "Well, if you need a hand just shout."
As she turned around, in a voice just loud enough for Jade to hear but quiet enough for her to claim ignorance, Harriet murmured, "It's okay to ask for help from your friends. You don't have to be the strong one all the time."
Tuesdays were not particularly busy days. Since it was a week day, there were naturally rushes at lunch as well as before and after work, but outside of those periods, the cafe was practically empty.
So, as the lunchtime rush began to dwindle, Harriet prepared to leave. She almost asked once more if Jade wanted her to stay later, but remembering Jade's outburst, she held her tongue.
'I know she didn't mean it. A lot has happened, and she's on edge.
'Most people who come in here will know her as the girl who was attacked, the girl who had to be saved. They will view her as a victim, and one incident that was outside of her control will define her in their eyes.
'Fortunately, I have never experienced anything like that, so I cannot say that I completely understand what she's going through, but I still wish that she'd talk to me…'
While thinking on Jade's earlier outburst, Harriet finished cleaning the tables and all the other odd jobs she could do before she left.
Just as she was collecting her belongings to leave for the day, Jade called her to the side.
"Harry, I'm sorry about earlier."
"No, it's fine. I should have been more conscious of your feelings."
"Thank you for not taking it to heart, and thank you for being so helpful today. I really don't know what I'm going to do without you…"
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