Chapter 7 Divorce
Dahlia’s eyes lacked vitality, and there seemed to be no desire left in her, causing Maximilian to panic. “Leah, don’t you have anything you want?” he pressed.
“What I want…” Dahlia’s eyes were vacant at that moment, and she felt something roll down her cheeks. She reached out to cover her eyes, and her palm became damp. Only then did she realize she was crying.
“Maximilian, apart from the fact that I never met my mother, what else do I not have in life? I have wealth, power, and even the person I’ve been in love with for so many years.” Everything Dahlia desired seemed to be right before her, within arm’s reach yet beyond her grasp.
Dahlia clearly had no intention of continuing the conversation. She turned away, settling beside the computer to immerse herself in the ongoing work on the documents. Maximilian’s attempt to persuade her had proven futile, as Dahlia seemed to have shut herself off from everyone.
“Does Edmund know you’re ill?” Maximilian asked.
“He doesn’t know, and I don’t want him to know.” Ill or not, Dahlia remained the same proud woman. She refused to exploit her illness for sympathy and was well aware that Edmund might not offer any genuine sympathy. Faced with her impending demise, he might only lament the loss of her as the convenient blood source for Abigail.
Maximilian fell silent, letting out a low sigh. From his bag, he retrieved two bottles of medicine, placing them on the coffee table. One contained a potent painkiller, while the other held an anticancer drug.
“Stop drinking coffee. Take the medicine. Eat your meals on time…” Maximilian offered some instructions and reminders before taking a deep breath and leaving.
As the door closed, Dahlia glanced up at the two bottles of medicine on the coffee table. Retrieving her phone, she checked for text messages, finding nothing but work-related news.
Edmund didn’t come home for another half month. Dahlia gradually abandoned her former habits, refraining from leaving lights on for him and ceasing to cook. However, she found herself unable to break the habit of checking her phone late at night.
She had initially believed she could swiftly rid herself of her feelings for Edmund. Yet, her feelings for him proved insidious, akin to a seedling that sprouted and grew into a towering tree, casting a shadow over everything. Its poisonous roots dug deep into her, even seeping into her bones. To remove it would require cutting it down and uprooting it, but it had entwined itself with her most delicate flesh. The mere thought of severing it caused her heart to ache.
Dahlia tapped her phone to open her contacts, and Edmund’s name stood alone on the list. She pressed it.
Three consecutive calls were made, yet none of them were answered. Such a response had become routine, and disappointment was an emotion she had grown accustomed to. Aside from a hint of despair, she felt nothing but numbness.
Dahlia continued to call persistently. It marked the first time since her marriage that she exhibited such unwavering persistence.
During her fourth attempt, after the waiting tone rang for a long while, Edmund finally answered, likely out of annoyance.
“What’s the matter?” Edmund’s voice, transmitted through the phone, offered little warmth, mirroring the coldness of Dahlia’s hands.
Seventeen days of no contact had brought a semblance of stability to Dahlia’s emotions. At least she didn’t burst into tears in Edmund’s presence.
Her voice, however, carried a hoarseness as she spoke. “Can you make time to come back during the weekend, the day after tomorrow?”
“What? I haven’t touched you for half a month, and you’re already eager to deliver yourself to me? Dahlia, you’re so cheap,” Edmund said.
In the dynamics of a relationship, the one who fell in love first and loved the deepest was often treated unequally. Moreover, in Dahlia’s case, Edmund had never reciprocated her love, so she was as lowly as a worm.
Dahlia said patiently, “I have something important to talk to you. It’s what you’ve always wanted. Are you sure you don’t want to come back?”
Edmund remained silent, and background noises filtered through the phone. Dahlia listened carefully and recognized Abigail’s voice, which was gentle, soft, and sweet. She couldn’t make out what Abigail was saying, but she caught Edmund’s response with his magnetic voice, “Go to sleep. I will watch over you.”
Dahlia suddenly felt a chill and wondered if the window was left open. Her chest constricted, making it difficult to breathe. She clutched her chest, gasping for air like a fish tossed ashore, on the brink of death.
Groaning, Dahlia felt her stomach convulse, and a mouthful of blood rose in her throat.
On the other end of the phone, the atmosphere gradually quieted. Edmund finally responded, “What is it?”
Dahlia swallowed the blood in her mouth and pretended to ask nonchalantly, “Edmund, if I told you that I was dying, would you feel sorry for me at all?”
“Ha!” Edmund sneered in a cold voice. “Dahlia, what tricks are you playing again? Do I not know your body? What diseases can possibly ail you? Mental illness? Or paranoia?”
Dahlia felt as though a dagger had been thrust into her heart, the pain intensifying with every beat. It seemed ludicrous for Edmund to claim he knew her body. Perhaps her worn appearance meant nothing to him. Yet, it might be true she had mental problems. That was what kept her obsessed with him for 16 long years.
Before Dahlia could speak, Abigail couldn’t resist chiming in, “Edmund, Dahlia must be missing you. Just go back and have a look.”
When Dahlia heard that, she suddenly felt disgusted by herself, thinking she was foolish to have asked such a question that brought shame upon herself, making Edmund’s mistress pity her and persuade him to come home to her.
She finally realized Edmund had been having a good time with Abigail in the past two weeks and didn’t once think of her.
Reflecting on the past four years, Dahlia chuckled, yet her smile was cold and didn’t reach her eyes.
Dahlia wasn’t aware of when the call ended. She clutched the phone until her hand felt slightly stiff, then slowly set it down. The screen had been black for a while.
She took a deep breath, and blood dripped from the corner of her lips. Wiping it away, she disregarded the sticky and uncomfortable sensation on her blood-stained hand and sent Edmund a text message: [Let’s get a divorce.]