Table For Two Chapter 208
"Wait, Sylvia. The time will come when I am going to talk to your father. There's no need for you to get him now. I understand how you must wish to see this work but please give both of us some time to address our own feelings first." Joann called after her daughter as she saw her move towards the stairs. Joann assumed Sylvia was going to the living room to get Xu Jing and forced them to talk this out right there and then.
Joann had no qualm shutting the door in Xu Jing's face but she hated to do that to her daughter. After all, as she mentioned earlier, their daughter was definitely the most innocent party in this issue. If her daughter decided to side with Xu Jing and forced Joann to initiate a temporary truce with her husband, Joann wasn't sure she would be able to deny her daughter's request. She felt like she owed Sylvia that much but then it would not have been fair to any of the party involved.
However, Joann soon realized her worry had been unfounded.
Sylvia turned around with a frown etched between her brows as if telling her mother, 'Mom, what are you talking about?'
Then it dawned on Sylvia how things must have looked from her mother's perspective. "No, mom, I'm just going to my room to get some snacks. You haven't had anything to eat since morning, right? Don't worry, I won't even go past the living room in case dad hears me."
Then, the two women allowed themselves a laugh over Joann's faux pax. God knows they needed a moment of levity considering the things that they were going through.
Sylvia opened a pack of cookies and placed it on the table as she sat down next to her mother in her bedroom chaise. She took a piece of the snack out from the packaging and handed it to her mother.
The cookie snapped as Joann munched on it. The packaging said it was a chocolate chip cookie but it just tasted like nothingness in Joann's mouth.
Joann placed the half-eaten cookie down on the table. Sylvia saw but did not comment on it, she understood why her mother's appetite was not feeling so well.
Sylvia didn't know how to begin so she started with the most general and non-intrusive of inquiry, "Mom, how are you feeling?"
However, Joann wasn't even sure how to answer that question. If she said she was fine, then she'd be lying and if she said she was not, then she'd get her daughter to worry about her, she didn't want that. In the end, Joann settled with a somewhat honest answer, "I don't know."
On the other hand, Sylvia was caught in the same conundrum as her mother. She pitied her father but she didn't want to excuse what he did either. She wanted to side with her mother but it would break her heart if they opted for a divorce. None of the options seemed valid to her and thus Sylvia just sat there and said nothing.
After enough time had passed, Joann turned to her daughter to ask, "Sylvia, what do you think?"
Joann knew it was wrong to pass the pressure of making the decision to her daughter but as the party that would be most affected by their decision, Sylvia had all the right to throw her opinion into the hat. Furthermore, Joann was indeed curious in her daughter's honest opinion.
Sylvia looked at her mother and she sighed, "Mom, I wish I can help but you've caught me in the middle of a rock and a hard place. Obviously I don't want you two to break up but I don't think I can gloss over what dad did either." Sylvia paused to gauge her mother's reaction before continuing, "I'm sorry, I couldn't be of more help, mom."
"Sylvia, don't say that. You've helped tremendously already. This family would have fallen apart already without you holding it together." Joann said that to comfort Sylvia but to her daughter's ears, it sounded like some sort of omen. It felt like Joann was telling Sylvia, she was going to the key deciding factor what would happen to their family and she was not sure she appreciate having that responsibility on her shoulders.
Then again, if it could help release some of the weight on her mother, Sylvia was more than glad to chip in.
Then she remembered something important. "Mom, dad said he'd give you as much time as you need before you're ready to talk to him. If you want, he is willing to move out of the house so you can have the space to yourself. Do you want me to talk to him about it?" Xu Jing told Sylvia about it earlier when they were down in the living room. Sylvia was tasked to inform her mother about it but she only remembered it then.
Joann did not know to respond. In spite of everything, she was appreciative of the concern Xu Jing had always and continued to show her.
It was why Joann told Sylvia, "It's okay. I don't need him to move away. At the end of the day, he is still the master of the house. What are people going to say when they see him wandering all alone outside. It's not good for the image of the house."
"Okay, I understand." Sylvia was glad that her mother said so because it meant that she still cared about the family name. Sylvia took that as a good sign.
Sylvia added, "Mom, is there anything else you need from me? Anything I can do?"
Joann turned to her daughter and smiled. "Come here."
Sylvia leaned against her mother's shoulder and her mother said, "I just need you to stay with me for a moment. That's everything I need from you, after all, you've given me... I mean, us more than enough already."
The fact that her mother still saw her father and herself as a unit was a good thing. Sylvia took that as a sign of comfort and obliged.