Chapter 6 A Glimmer Of Hope
“Investment project?” Dahlia frowned and doubted Craig’s words. If Craig had good business sense, her grandfather wouldn’t have handed McCoy Corporation to her.
“Now that you know what I’m going to use it for, just transfer the money. I’m in a hurry to use it now,” Craig insisted.
“I can give you the money, but you need to send me information about your investment project,” Dahlia countered.
Feeling the weight of embarrassment as a father being controlled by his daughter, Craig lashed out at Dahlia over the phone. He hurled harsh words, claiming she was worthless and expressing regret that he hadn’t chosen to abort her back then. In an attempt to manipulate emotions, he played the pity card right after that.
Dahlia, familiar with her father’s manipulative tactics, responded with composure, “Is there anything else you want to say? I’m busy here. I’ll hang up if there is nothing else.”
“Don’t hang up. Okay, I’ll show you!” Craig hastily halted her, fearing she might change her mind and he would lose his opportunity.
Upon ending the call, Dahlia waited by her computer and promptly received a file from Craig. She forwarded it to her assistant, Elissa Langley, instructing her to print a copy and prepare another cup of coffee.
After the documents were delivered, Dahlia lowered her eyes to scrutinize them, immersing herself in the contents. Her concentration only wavered when a cup of steaming coffee was placed on her desk. The aroma wafted through the air, signaling the presence of the fine Blue Mountain Coffee—a rich blend with a fragrant aftertaste, albeit still too bitter for Dahlia’s liking.
She loved sweetness and hated bitterness. In the past, she would need a piece of candy to go with her pills, but now, she had to rely on bitter coffee to keep herself awake.
Dahlia took a light sip and set the cup down, resuming her focus on the documents in her hands.
Craig’s investment proposal detailed plans, certificates, and what appeared to be a competent team. Dahlia had barely read it for half an hour when Craig called again, urgently pressing for the funds.
Simultaneously, Elissa knocked on the door. Answering the phone and gesturing for Elissa to enter, Dahlia gave her a meaningful look, indicating that she could speak.
Elissa said, “Ms. McCoy, Dr. Quigley is downstairs asking to meet you.”
Dahlia was taken aback, wondering why Maximilian was there. She couldn’t be bothered to worry about Craig anymore and swiftly said before she hung up, “I got it.”
“You go downstairs and invite him to come up. Then, get someone to make a cup of Earl Grey tea and bring it in,” Dahlia instructed Elissa.
While Elissa went to fetch Maximilian, Dahlia promptly wired 400 thousand dollars into Craig’s account.
She stared at her phone until the screen dimmed, noting that Craig hadn’t even offered a word of thanks. A self-deprecating laugh escaped her lips, and finally, Dahlia tossed the phone onto the desk.
“Ms. McCoy, Dr. Quigley is here,” Elissa said.
The office door stood open, and upon seeing Maximilian enter, Dahlia gestured to Elissa to step out.
“Have a seat,” she invited, rising from her chair. The office was spacious, featuring a designated area for guests and meetings. Leading Maximilian to the couch near the floor-to-ceiling window, Dahlia encouraged him to sit.
As soon as Maximilian entered, he caught a whiff of the rich coffee aroma. He followed the scent and noticed a half-full cup of coffee on the desk. Frowning, he remarked, “Why are you still drinking coffee?”
“Can’t I drink it?” Dahlia pushed the Earl Grey tea on the coffee table toward him and asked casually, “Why are you here today?”
Maximilian sat down and said, “It seems you have forgotten everything I told you last night.”
Dahlia’s outstretched hand froze abruptly. She withdrew it, sitting quietly on the couch. With her head down, she resembled a child who had done something wrong.
“You must come with me to the hospital today, no matter what,” Maximilian said.
Dahlia raised her head but avoided making eye contact with Maximilian. Instead, she focused on the withered potted plants nearby and murmured, “What for?”
“For a detailed examination, determination of treatment plan, and hospitalization,” Maximilian said.
Maximilian observed Dahlia closely. Although it had only been a month since he last saw her, she had noticeably lost weight. He couldn’t fathom how Dahlia, who once feared injections for a simple cold, could endure the pain brought by stomach cancer.
Dahlia shook her head, and strands of hair on her forehead obscured the emotions in her eyes. “Maximilian, my disease is like this potted flower. The roots are already rotten. It can’t be cured no matter what we do.”
“Leah, how would you know it can’t be cured without a try? You can work day and night, and you can go to great lengths to please a man who doesn’t love you for four years, so why can’t you spend some time caring for your own health?” Maximilian felt sorry for Dahlia, who was not yet 24 years old, thinking she was still too young to die.
She should have been healthy, happy, and full of vigor, enjoying the best of her life rather than settling for a dull marriage and trapping herself in work, let alone suffering from cancer.
Maximilian walked over to Dahlia and stroked her head as he did in the past. “Nowadays, medical science is advanced. As long as you don’t give up receiving treatment and surgery, there will be…” He halted mid-sentence, unable to continue, as he witnessed tears welling up in Dahlia’s eyes.
Dahlia gently stroked the withered yellow leaves with her right hand and murmured, “Then tell me what the success rate of surgery is. Is it 50%, 20%, or 0.1%?”
Maximilian pursed his thin lips, choosing to remain silent.
“Forget it,” Dahlia said, her chapped lips curling into a bitter smile. “You’d better not tell me. It’s better not to give me that glimmer of hope.”
She understood what Maximilian was trying to tell her. While everyone desired to live and stay healthy, she had never heard of anyone surviving terminal stomach cancer.
Dahlia clenched her right hand, causing the withered yellow leaf to shatter in her grasp, its fragments cascading to the floor from between her fingers.