Chapter 5 Dahlia Never Gets Sick
The two were only a few inches apart. Edmund exuded a chilling aura, sending a shiver down Dahlia’s spine and waking her up instantly. Facing Edmund’s sinister gaze, Dahlia didn’t know where to look.
Suddenly, Dahlia’s chin was pinched by well-defined fingers, forcing her to look up in panic. “Edmund, why are you back?” she asked.
“I’ll come back whenever I want. Do I have to report to you?” Edmund knelt on the bed and forcibly pinned Dahlia underneath him despite her resistance. His movement was rough as he clutched Dahlia’s wrist without a hint of tenderness.
Edmund sensed the woman’s body go from relaxed to stiff in his embrace. She tried her best to resist and struggle, but her legs were eventually suppressed.
Dahlia panicked. She had never seen Edmund like this, akin to a fierce wolf trying to eat her alive, and she was scared of him in that state. His gentle and elegant image in her memory was getting increasingly blurry and distant.
Dahlia subconsciously began to beg for mercy, “Edmund, it hurts…”
“Dahlia, you make me sick. Both your face and body make me sick.” To Edmund, a woman like Dahlia didn’t deserve good things, and it seemed unnecessary to treat her with patience.
Dahlia’s body stiffened. She bit her lower lip tightly, and her face looked deadly pale in the dim light.
Dahlia should have gotten used to Edmund’s insults a long time ago, but somehow, her heart still hurt, as if it had been crushed bit by bit in someone’s hand.
Edmund seldom came home. He thought of Dahlia as a hostess and would only come back to lie down when he had nothing to do and then leave again, as if to fulfill his obligation as a husband.
Abigail was injured that day. Edmund should have been accompanying his sweetheart in the hospital, but now he showed up in her bedroom in the middle of the night. Dahlia thought for a moment and figured it out. Edmund had probably had a fight with Abigail. Otherwise, Edmund wouldn’t have chosen her over Abigail.
However, Dahlia couldn’t muster any strength to deal with Edmund that night. She pushed his solid chest and found an opening to escape. As soon as she straightened up, the long hair on the back of her head was grabbed from behind.
“Ah!” Dahlia let out a painful cry as her neck tilted backward. “Edmund, it’s late today. I don’t want to do it with you…”
Those words provoked Edmund for some reason. His grim face looked particularly scary in the light. He grabbed Dahlia’s hand and forcefully pressed her head onto the pillow.
“Dahlia, what are you pretending to be innocent for? Do you think I don’t know whether you want to do it or not? You threatened me to marry you, and now you pretend to be a noble lady when you’re just a wretched woman?” Edmund said.
Those words of his were terribly insulting. Dahlia trembled so much that even her breathing was shaking. She stared at the ceiling, tears welling up in her eyes, and eventually, she couldn’t help sobbing and wetting the pillow.
This was the man she had wanted to marry wholeheartedly, and he hurt her all over with the most vicious words.
Edmund’s heart tightened as he looked into her wet eyes. He pulled off his tie around his neck in annoyance and tied Dahlia’s hands to the head of the bed.
Dahlia endured the pain caused by her stomach cancer and pressed the tip of her tongue against her teeth. She suppressed her voice and tried hard to swallow the taste of blood in her throat. She was in so much pain that she almost wished she could just die.
Edmund watched as Dahlia curled up in bed like a cat, trembling slightly, looking pathetic.
He didn’t take Dahlia’s condition seriously and naturally didn’t care about it. Dahlia had always been in good health, and it was common for her to go to work on time the next day even after working overtime all night. He never seemed to have seen her get sick after being with her for so long.
Her long hair spread messily on the bed, and her back looked scrawny. When she curled up, her shoulder blades looked like a pair of butterfly wings about to spread.
Edmund couldn’t help but reach out to touch her shoulder blade. As soon as his fingertips touched it, Dahlia gave a start and abruptly dodged aside. A vicious light flashed in Edmund’s eyes, and he was extremely displeased.
“You usually act like a dead fish, but today you want to play hard-to-get? But I’m telling you, it’s no use!” Flames of anger arose in Edmund’s heart out of nowhere, and he didn’t even know how to put it out.
He was reluctant to admit that Dahlia had evoked that emotion from him, so he could only think about Abigail. When he thought of what Abigail said to him in the hospital, asking him when he would divorce Dahlia, his mood suddenly dropped.
Edmund clenched his teeth, wondering what about Dahlia was worth him arguing with Abigail.
Dahlia, resembling a turtle retracting into its shell, curled up into herself in a state of self-protection. Despite her efforts to ward off the chill by shutting off the air conditioner and cocooning herself beneath a quilt, the coldness persisted, seeping through her defenses.
Dahlia felt as if there was a cut in her heart. The wound festered, infecting every organ within her.
She had always had a high pain threshold and was good at enduring pain without complaining, but she really couldn’t take it this time. Once the notion of divorce surfaced in her mind, it threatened to spread like wild fire.
She thought of broaching the subject of divorce with Edmund when she had the energy. Finding herself on the brink of death, she didn’t have the time nor the luxury to please him anymore.
Just before Dahlia passed out in pain, she heard Edmund say his final sentence. “If you didn’t share the same blood type as Abigail, do you think I would even look at you? Anyway, you’ll soon be of no use.”
When Dahlia woke up, Edmund was long gone. Feebly, she propped herself up, the quilt sliding down to unveil the grotesque wounds on her shoulders and neck.
Dahlia maneuvered out of bed, and as her feet met the floor, a wave of dizziness washed over her, plunging her vision into a momentary darkness. In a daze, she staggered to the bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror.
The sight of a body marred by wounds elicited sympathy, even from Dahlia herself. She pitied herself as her heart remained tethered to Edmund. Despite four years of earnest efforts to please him, she found herself reluctantly bidding farewell in the end.
‘It’d be great if one could get love through hard work in this world,’ she thought.
Dahlia stood before the sink, washing her face and brushing her teeth. The aftermath of the previous night’s tears lingered, intensifying the pain in her already sore throat. The act of brushing her teeth triggered her gag reflex, causing her upper body to convulse as she retched. The toothpaste foam she spat out bore the unsettling hue of blood.
Dahlia, ever adaptable, seemed almost indifferent to the act of vomiting blood, as if she had grown accustomed to it over time. Turning on the faucet, she rinsed away the bloody foam in the sink.
As she completed her morning routine and emerged from the bathroom, it was already past seven-thirty. Though unable to stomach any solid food, Dahlia still warmed up a glass of milk, considering her stomach, which was in bad shape.
Upon arriving at the company, Dahlia started working on the documents, meticulously examining McCoy Corporation’s recent financial reports. The figures painted a grim picture of decline. It was as if she could already discern the impending day when McCoy Corporation would succumb to a downturn.
Dahlia had long been aware of Edmund’s covert scheme against McCoy Corporation, fueled by a vendetta he harbored against her.
Edmund had always been a vengeful person, and he operated with swift and decisive intent. In just a few short years, he had dragged McCoy Corporation down from its top status in Ackleton’s business world.
Dahlia found herself outmatched, realizing that Edmund’s formidable tactics were something she could never hope to master in her lifetime.
After skimming through one of the files, Dahlia leaned back in her chair and took a sip of the cold coffee on the table. The bitter flavor gradually displaced the lingering taste of blood in her throat.
Despite their company’s diminished prosperity, they still fared better than many others. Dahlia rose from her seat and approached the floor-to-ceiling window. Gazing at the towering buildings ahead, she reckoned it was time to prepare for her funeral.
However, she fretted over the fate of this big company, a culmination of decades of relentless effort, after her demise.
Both her father and brother were people who sat idle and squandered their wealth. The fear loomed that if she were to entrust McCoy Corporation to them, the company would inevitably face bankruptcy within a few short years.
Upon contemplation, Dahlia arrived at the realization that the most suitable candidate to assume control of McCoy Corporation was her legal husband, Edmund, who wished for the company’s downfall.
A pall of gloom clouded Dahlia’s countenance. Her gaze, fixated on the outside world through the window, turned exceptionally somber. Raising her left hand, she pressed it against the cold window, her fingertips appearing pallid as they rhythmically tapped on the glass.
In the silent office, the soft tapping noise was apparent. Dahlia seldom found the time to empty her mind. She relished the opportunity to drift into a reverie, immersing herself in a trance, as if this was the sole respite from the pain reality relentlessly thrust upon her.
The phone resting on the desk suddenly vibrated, pulling Dahlia back to her senses. As she refocused, her eyes locked onto the device from a distance of ten feet, capturing the unmistakable word “father” flashing on the screen.
While “father” was conventionally regarded as one of the warmest and most intimate titles in the world, to Dahlia, it was nothing more than a cold, distant designation. She approached and answered the phone.
“Dahlia, transfer 400 thousand dollars to my account.” There came the slightly deep and indifferent voice of Craig.
Dahlia clenched the phone tightly as she said, “Dad, is this why you called me? Just for money?”
Impatiently, Craig responded, “It’s only natural for a daughter to support her father financially. If you’re not in charge of the McCoy family, do you think I would bother asking you for money? If you’re unwilling to give me money, just transfer the McCoy family’s shares to me.”
Dahlia mulled over the term “daughter” and was surprised that Craig acknowledged her as his daughter rather than a dispassionate ATM.
She wondered why he never cared about her even though he remembered she was his daughter. Dahlia harbored no grand expectations of kindness from Craig; all she wished for were simple inquiries in their daily conversations, such as whether she had eaten, how she was feeling, and if work was tiring. She never asked for much, and a touch of concern was all she needed.
“Did you hear me?” Craig snapped over the phone.
Dahlia suppressed her emotions and said, “Didn’t I just transfer 200 thousand dollars to you last week? It’s only been a few days, and you’ve used them all?”
“What can I do with that little money?” Craig said sheepishly, but his tone swiftly reverted to overbearing when he considered Dahlia’s substantial daily earnings as the head of a large company. “Hurry up and transfer the money, or I will go straight to your company to ask for it. Let’s see who’ll be the embarrassed one.”
“I can give you the money, but you have to tell me what you’re going to do with it,” Dahlia said. 400 thousand dollars was not a small sum.
Craig softened his tone when Dahlia showed signs of acquiescence. “I’m interested in an investment project, and I’m only 400 thousand dollars short. Once I start making money, I won’t ask for it from you again.”