An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
“Slap!” A crisp noise sounded as Dahlia’s hand landed heavily on Dustin Rhy’s face.
Due to the excessive force she applied behind the slap, the wounds on her hand that had just healed got torn open again, causing a stream of fresh blood to flow down her fingers.
Dustin touched the side of his face that burned from the slap and merely stood right where he was with a neutral expression on his face.
He could take all the misunderstandings and contempt from other people, but he refused to accept the fact that his ex–wife had just slapped him on behalf of another man.
“Why? Why do you insist on being this way?” Dahlia said through gritted teeth as her eyes filled with tears and immense disappointment overtook her.
She couldn’t understand for the life of her why Dustin had become the person he was today. He was close- minded, full of jealousy, and a gossipmonger; he was even repaying kindness with evil now.
All kinds of bad attributes were concentrated in the body of this man. She wanted this slap to serve as a wake- up call to him!
“Hmph. Do you want to fight me, kid? Aren’t you a little too young for that?” Matt couldn’t help but sneer at him as he witnessed the two of them turn against each other.
Although he had just lost two teeth, he couldn’t help but feel somewhat triumphant on the inside when he saw Dahlia slap Dustin to stand up for him.
“That was a good slap! He deserves to be slapped!” Florence cheered as her eyes lit up.
“That’s right! If you don’t teach him a lesson, are you still considered human at that point?” James parroted out loud.
“Ha—” Dustin suddenly let out a tired sigh after a long time of silence.
After getting married for three years, the two had barely quarreled, let alone thrown hands at one another. Thus, this would be the first and last time this happened!
“That slap just now was for everything I’ve ever done to you in the past. From now on, you and I don’t owe each other anything anymore,” Dustin said quietly. Dustin took a deep breath before calmly turning around to leave.
There was no anger, no complaints–just an unexpected feeling of quiet indifference.
“Huh?” Dahlia gasped in shock as she stared at his defeated back. She’d been rendered speechless for a while.
“Knock, knock.” Just then, they all heard a knock on the door.
It turned out that Mr. Fletcher, who had taken his leave earlier, had returned.
“Huh? Where did Mr. Rhys go?” He asked as he scanned the room.
“Why are you looking for that punk, Mr. Fletcher?” Florence asked in surprise.
“Oh, Sir Hummer told me that he hopes to dispel all the bad blood the Hummer family has with Mr. Rhys, so he specially requested me to send him a gilt,” He replied.
“A gift?” Everyone looked at one another in confusion.
“You have got to be kidding us, right, Mr. Fletcher? How is that punk worthy of receiving a gift from Mr. Hummer himself?” Florence asked in disbelief.
“What do you mean “how is he worthy‘? Don’t you know that he was the reason why the Hummers decided to lift the ban against the Nicholsons? And that he was also the one behind the apology? Mr. Fletcher replied, dumbfounded by their reactions.
“What?” A collective gasp could be heard in the room the moment he finished his sentence. The crowd was dumbfounded and filled with disbelief.
They didn’t hear him wrong, right?
The person who had saved the Nicholsons and coerced the Hummers to give a public apology was Dustin? The trash that they’d scoffed at and despised? H–how was this possible!
“Y–you’ve got to be joking, right, Mr. Fletcher? Are you telling us that Dustin was the one who saved us?” Florence asked with widened eyes, she found this fact difficult to accept.
“Who else do you think it was?” Mr. Fletcher asked seriously.
“No, that’s impossible! Wasn’t Matt the one who helped us? How was it that trash Dustin instead?” James shouted in alarm and shook his head so vigorously it looked like a rattling drum.
“Matt Laney? He’s nothing more than a washed–up member of some family, so how capable can the man be? Obviously, not enough for the Hummers to lower their heads.” Mr. Fletcher scoffed before shooting Matt a look of disdain.
Hearing that, every head in the crowd turned to look at Matt simultaneously. For a moment, Matt’s cheeks turned bright red, and the atmosphere became extremely awkward.
His reaction immediately proved that what Mr. Fletcher said was true.
“How could this have happened? Could it be that I’ve misunderstood him?” Dahlia muttered to herself after a bolt of realization hit her.
With that, she instantly rushed out of the room and chased after Dustin in the direction he seemed to have left in.
When she chased him to the gate, she looked at the figure about to get into the car. She immediately ran up to him and grabbed him by the sleeve.
“Dustin! Wait. I misunderstood you just now, I was too impulsive. I had no idea that you did all of this for us. especially the part where you had to carry so much on your shoulders. But why didn’t you explain it to us? You were obviously the one who saved everyone, so why didn’t you clarily it with us?” Dahlia cried while biting her lips. Her face was twisted in pain.
“What use was there to explain everything? When have you ever belleved me?” Dustin shot back as he shook his head. There was no greater sorrow than death, and he had been completely let down by her.
“You should’ve made it clear to me at the very least. How can I believe you when you don’t tell me anything?”
Dahlia complained angrily.
“I don’t care if you believe me or not anymore. We’re done here. Let go of me.” Dustin retorted as he broke away from her grasp with force. His gaze toward her made her feel like he was looking at a stranger.
“What do you want from me, Dustin? Can’t you just stop being so impulsive all the time? Can’t you just ask yourself if there’s anything wrong with you? After all, you were the one who went out and beat up people who disagreed with you. If not for luck, do you think you could’ve gotten out of there unscathed? All I’m asking is for you to be more mature and sensible. Am I wrong for wanting that from you?” Dahlia shouted as his words struck a nerve inside her, causing her emotions to go out of control.
“Yeah, you’re right. It was all my fault. I totally deserved that slap, don’t I?” Dustin said coldly.
“You-” Dahlia wanted to say more but stopped herself. For a moment, she was at a loss for words.
“You’ve always been this arrogant and self–righteous woman to me, Dahlia. You were never one to admit your mistakes first. This has proven to be true on multiple occasions, especially when you just need to put a bit more thought into something or perform a simple background check to get the desired outcome. But as usual, you prefer to do nothing and only listen to the words you like to hear. This is why even now, you still have zero faith in me.
“Haven’t you noticed? You’ve been living in your little bubble all this time, and you shut yourself off from anyone who tries to get near you. I admit, I tried my best to get to you back then, but now I’ve decided to stop trying. I’ve decided that this will be the last time I ever help you. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.”
With that, Dustin got in his car and sped off.
Meanwhile, Dahlia looked as if she had been struck by lightning, and she stood quietly in place and did not say anything for a long time.
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry! I had no idea that things would ever turn out like this!” She lamented to herself.
“I just wanted you to succeed too. My only wish was for you to get ahead in life. I really had no idea that you’d suffered this much. I was wrong; I was the one who was wrong all along! From the day of our divorce until now, I knew that I was the one who was in the wrong all along! I remember telling you that no one would be able to make me fall in love again, but in reality, there was already someone there all along.
“And that person was you! But knowing that in mind, do you know why I gave you up again at the last second? That’s because Dustin, can’t you see that I’m still hopelessly in love with you?” She painfully admitted.