"I'm sure your right." Jade returned the smile. However, unlike usual, there was a certain melancholy to the smile and a slight glistening in her eyes.
Seeing this, Harriet gritted her teeth and asked, "I know you'll hate me for asking this for the umpteenth time, but are you sure you're alright?"
A flash of annoyance cross Jade's face, but it disappeared in a moment, making Harriet question if it really happened.
"Sigh… I know, you mean well, but please stop asking that. I like people to see me as the happy, cheerful one. I don't like looks of pity… being seen as a victim… not again…"
Jade's voice was as quiet as the buzzing of a mosquito as it trailed off, and Harriet failed to catch much of the second half of what she said.
'But we don't… wait… again? What happened before that made people pity you? When were you made a victim?'
Just like earlier, after being down for a moment, Jade suddenly jumped up again, as cheerful as ever.
"Ah! I almost forgot. I was talking with Bernie earlier, and we were hoping to throw a small party for you here one afternoon or evening before you go. Would that be okay with you?"
Aware that she had already gotten more out of Jade than she had wanted to share, Harriet did not ask the questions in her heart. Instead, she smiled at Jade, putting the previous matter aside for now.
"A party? That sounds wonderful! But only if you're sure. I'd hate… for the cafe to be shut on my account."
Ignore Harriet's obvious change in what she planned to say, Jade replied, "Of course, it's fine. We can afford to shut for an hour or two, especially if it's not during peak times."
The girls chatted some more. Harriet offered a few party ideas, and Jade asked how packing was going and so on. After a short while, Jade felt back to her usual self again.
"Well, I should be getting back to work now." Jade turned to head back to the counter. However, before she moved, facing away from Harriet, she said, "Thank you."
Those two words were simple, thrown around flippantly in everyday life. In fact, Jade had off-handedly thanked Harriet earlier.
However, this time, the tone in which those two words were said conveyed the deep gratitude Jade had toward Harriet. She had been there for Jade, even when Jade tried to push her away. After that, despite being busy with the move, she stayed late to comfort Jade and distract her.
Even ignoring all that, the help and support that Harriet had provided Jade over the years was enough for Jade to consider her family.
With such a person leaving, how could she not feel sad? Her little sister, a pillar of support for her, was moving away…
As the two women parted, Jade's eyes were shimmering.
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