Her: Day 100 ~ Are we friends now?

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It nearly took a day for everything to be settled for this weekend's state fair. Since the event became a tradition in the city, we joined the celebration for the first time. The Bistro has closed ahead of schedule to prep on ingredients and set up the stall at the grounds. And today, I had to wake up earlier than usual to recheck everything, making sure the ingredients were fresh and clean. We were serving up to five menus, ranging from sandwiches, salads, spaghetti's, and beef strips. Everything was small portioned and bite-size for easy helping to customers.

Once we were done, we packed up everything in a truck we've rented. Glancing at the close sign on the Bistro's door, I felt dismayed we wouldn't be able to handle the task of opening today. Thankfully, mom wasn't bumped out about closing as she seemed to look forward to the opportunity to market our restaurant at a public event. She's confident it'll gain traction for the family business.

"It's only temporary, dear." She stated in assurance.

"I'm surprised you are willing to let it go while I'm the one sulking," I muttered and started the car.

"Aren't you excited about this? I went on great length, making this happen. You can't back out now."

I rolled my eyes and scoffed. "I am happy, mother. I'm just a bit on edge cooking outdoors without the safe feeling of a clean kitchen."

She rolled her eyes. "Don't be a drama queen, Emilia. You'll love the experience. At least you've got to do this before you head out to Italy."

"True." I agree dejectedly and peered over across the street.

Looking at the still closed coffee shop, my mind wandered again to what had happened a week ago. He heard about Italy. Of course, he'd find out about it after I told Jake. But why does he have to be so sarcastic? I knew how he felt. It was one of the many reasons why we were no longer together.

Hearing the car door slam shut on the back-passenger seat, I jolted and watched the rest of my passengers settled. My mother had been busy with her phone to notice my distant ogling. Even though it was brief, Penny caught my gaze and arched her eyebrow knowingly but kept quiet. I glanced away from my friend, fearing she'd see more than I'm willing to show.

We've arrived at the state fair just in time for the other food stalls to start opening. We all quickly got to work, talking only when we need to discuss where to place things. After we were done, we all huddled outside the small food stall and stood a good foot away, studying our handiwork.

"Everyone did exceptionally well for this. I'm proud of you all," my mother stated as her eyes gleamed with admiration.

"You also did well make this happen, mom," I countered, speaking for the rest of the staff.

She tore her eyes away from the stall and beamed at me. "Thank you for doing this, dear. I'm happy you've stuck with me this long in the business."

I chuckled and reached out to hug her. "I'm not sticking here too long, mom. But I'm glad I stayed."

From her gentle squeeze, there were no words need to be said between us. We were pleased for the time spent in the past, yet forlorn on an inevitable goodbye in the future. But I know she was proud I thrived to achieve my goals. She never once hindered my sister and me in our dreams. Whatever it was, even if we'll be apart, she was there to support us.

Once the open sign of our stall was placed, it was a matter of time customers flocked, and orders came rolling in. And then, it got busier around noon for lunch. I'm relieved we'd decided to have Penny and I cook while Ryan kept the ingredients fresh, chopped, and prep. If we've opened the bistro today, I would have been left there and gave Penny the pressure of handling the stall here by herself. She will get to it after transitioning as head chef. But for now, while I'm still here, I'll take on the responsibilities.

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