An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
“Are you kidding me? Five million dollars for Deluxe VIP?” Astonishment was written all over James‘ face.
“Exactly! This is daylight robbery!” Florence flew into a rage to cover up her embarrassment. She was lucky she drew her card back in time, or she would have maxed out on her card.
“These are rules set by our proprietor. If that’s too much for you, you can opt for the regular VIP.”
“And— how much would the regular VIP cost?” Florence probed.
“A deposit of one million dollars will make you a regular VIP.” the waiter informed them.
“One million? That’s not much better!” Florence frowned. “We’re just here for a meal. It won’t cost so much. Can’t you just let us in? I’ll make sure you get handsomely tipped!” Had she known that Hillview Restaurant charged such exorbitant prices, she would never have chosen to go there in the first place!
“I’m sorry, but we only serve VIPs.” The waiter put on a professional smile.
“Hey! Why are you so inflexible? Get me your manager! I’ll talk to him personally!” Florence could no longer hold in her temper.
“I’m sorry, but our manager is currently serving three other distinguished guests. I’m afraid he doesn’t have the time.” The waiter’s smile was slowly fading away.
“You!” Florence was exasperated.
“Mom, forget it. Why don’t we just go somewhere else?” James prompted. As lovely as Hillview Restaurant was, it was way too pricey.
“We’re already here! We’ll make a joke of ourselves if we leave now!” Florence glared at him.
“Allow me, Mrs. Nicholson.”
Matt smiled as he stepped forward, gracefully producing a gold card and handing it to the waiter. “I am a Gold VIP, so I get 20% off on all my spending here.”
“Gold VIP?” That gave Florence quite a shock. “How much did that cost you?”
“Not too much, just ten million dollars.” Matt smiled.
Florence and James‘ eyes widened. Was he joking? Ten million dollars, not too much? They had thought that they were pretty well off, but it seemed like they were nothing compared to Matt!
“Please step inside, honored guests!” In a flash, the waiter’s attitude changed and became exceedingly welcoming after verifying that the card was valid.
“Shall we?” Matt gestured courteously for them to go first.
“Hmph! Bootlicker! My friend Matt here is a Gold VIP! See that?” James strutted in pompously after giving the waiter a dirty look.
Feeling very pleased, Florence sashayed in with her chest puffed up and head held high.
Just then, Dustin emerged from one of the private rooms. He had been on his way to the men’s room when he bumped into them.
“Rhys? What are you doing here?” James scowled at the sight of him. He was still very much hung up on being slapped a while back.
“If you can be here, then so can I,” Dustin answered coldly.
“Hah! What makes you think we’re on the same level? We are Gold VIPs here,” James declared snobbishly.
“That’s right! This place is exclusively for VIPS, requiring a deposit of one million dollars for even the most basic VIP. Can you afford that?” Florence remarked condescendingly.
“Indeed, I do not have a million dollars,” Dustin admitted. It was true that he did not have much. But it would not be hard for him to get the money.
“Then what are you doing here if you do not have the money? Get out! Do not lower the standards here!” James * expression was one of contempt.
“Exactly! Go look at yourself in the mirror! Who are you to appear in such a posh restaurant?” Florence sniggered.
“Oi! You there! Come here and get this guy out! He’s ruining our appetite!” James waved a waiter over to kick Dustin out of the restaurant.
“I’m sorry, he is one of our guests too.” The waiter smiled apologetically.
“So what? We are Gold VIPs! Is he more distinguished than us? I am telling you to get rid of this person! This is an order!” James barked.
“Um…” The waiter looked uneasy.
“What? Are you going to disregard a Gold VIP? With such service, you better watch out. I have quite a mind to lodge a complaint against you!” Florence threatened.
“My apologies, but we do not have such rules here.” The waiter had his hands tied.
“Hmph! If you can’t make the call, get your manager here!”
“That’s right! Get the manager here! I’d like to see if he prioritizes this miserable man over his Gold VIPs!” Florence and James pressed unforgivingly. They were making a big show out of having a Gold VIP card. Even the other diners were throwing them dirty looks.
Under their persistent demands, the waiter dared not say more and rushed off to get the manager.
“Mom, what are the both of you doing?” Dahlia called out as she arrived. She was surprised to see Dustin. Why are you here?”
“I’m here for a meal, of course. Why else?” Dustin shrugged.
“This is quite a pricey place for a meal,” Dahlia reminded him.
“Oh, so you think I can’t afford to have a meal here too?” Dustin raised a brow.
“I didn’t mean that…” Just as Dahlia was about to explain herself, the waiter rushed back with the manager.
“I’m the manager here. Is anything the matter?”
“So you’re the manager? Great! There’s a man who sneaked in. I’m ordering you to get him out of here immediately!” James was swollen with arrogance.
“Sir, you must be mistaken. We have very strict security here. No one is able to sneak in,” the manager explained.
“And I’m telling you, there is! I’m warning you, we are Gold VIPs! If you do not want trouble, you best do as I “say!”
“That’s right! He’s affecting me and seriously ruining my appetite. I don’t care what you say, just get him out of here!”
Florence and James were throwing their weight around, not bothering to play nice. 1
“Could you please let me know who you are referring to?” the manager inquired.
“It’s him!” James pointed at Dustin.
The manager’s expression clouded over when he saw that. “Excuse me, sir, please do not try to play the fool!”
“What? You’re defying me? We are Gold VIPs!” James glowered. He sounded like a broken tape recorder.
The manager simply scoffed at that. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Gold VIP. Even if you were the President of Stonia himself, it wouldn’t matter. Because this man here is the owner of Hillview Restaurant!”
The whole room fell into a breathless silence.
An Understated Dominance by Marina Vittori
Author: Marina Vittori
Artist: Dahlia Nicholson and Dustin Rhys
Released: July, 9, 2023
Native Language: English