“Oh.” Her lawyer fell back against his seat. “And, uh, you’re okay with that?”
She could only smile and shrug, and after that she left in a hurry.
She made it as far as the backseat before despair engulfed her, and her tears flowed endlessly.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
It had been five days, four hours, and ten minutes since she had last laid eyes on him. And then it would be just a few hours more until tomorrow’s final defense, and she would see him.
One last time.
She knew she was doing the right thing. She knew that. But somehow, she just couldn’t make herself move on, couldn’t even make herself stop taking her medications even though there shouldn’t be any need for it.
Because they were over.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
And suddenly, she could no longer stop herself, her fingers scrambling for her phone, and then she was typing the words even as the tears continued to splash over the screen.
I love you so much.
The professor answered right away, and her shoulders started to shake, laughter mixed in with tears.
It was almost as if he was playing with her.
Songs was the one book in the bible that didn’t speak of laws and teachings but instead expressed the yearnings of the heart. Songs, however, was also one of the few books that she rarely read, and so she found herself clicking on her bible app just to read the verses.
Thou hast ravished my heart,
my sister, my spouse;
Thou hast ravished my heart
with one of thine eyes,
with one chain of thy neck.
She covered her face with her hands, but it was not enough to stop herself from sobbing.
She gasped for breath, but it was not enough to drown the sound of his words drumming inside her mind.
She begged for help–
Saint M, please.
But all the angels and saints seemed to be on the professor’s side, and comprehension forced its way to her heart, and the words he quoted were so, so clear it was almost as if he was whispering them to her ear.
I loved you from the moment I saw you.
I love you still.
And I always will.
She closed her eyes, and God, oh God, she could almost swear she felt his knuckles grazing her cheek–
It’s my turn to fight for us, my darling.
Could’ve sworn she felt his lips brushing against her hair—
And you won’t stand a chance.
The professor couldn’t remember the last time he had paid attention to his looks. But that was exactly what he found himself doing, on the morning of Diana’s final defense. And while he still ended up with his usual tweed suit, it was new, and so were his tie and shoes. Preparation was the often underestimated key in winning battles, and he was not taking anything for granted.
When the professor stepped inside the forum hall, all gazes swung to him, Diana included.
That’s right, darling.
Stare at me.
Swoon over me.
Fucking lust after me.
She had once told him, albeit shyly, that he was the only man to have turned her on, and the professor was all for doing anything and everything to remind her of this.
A lot of sighing and gushing seemed to happen as the professor made his way down the steps, but he only eyes had for one girl.
She seemed unable to stop herself from staring, and he wondered idly if she was aware of how her doe eyes had once again started eating him.
If you want to eat me so damn bad, then don’t leave me.
He took his seat, and at his nod, the fourth-year student he had assigned to moderate went up to the podium. Introductions were made, and soon the first student to defend his or her thesis was called.
“May I ask Ms. Diana Leventis to present herself before the panel?”
Diana’s jaw dropped. The last time she heard, the order of defense was supposed to be random. Her gaze swung accusingly to the professor’s, but his leonine gaze only met hers in bland challenge. Yes, it’s deliberate. Are you going to do anything about it?
Her teeth gnashed even as she forced herself to stand up. Since the professor wasn’t the petty type, she knew he was doing this for a reason, and that was what? Did he want her rattled? Did he want her so nervous that she’d blurt out the first thing on her mind?
Oh, Saint M, save me.
Diana’s knees bumped each other under her skirt as she came up the dais and face the panel.
Her face whitened.
The panel, which was made up of every single individual that had once attended her mock defense.
Had she somehow gotten all of this wrong?
Her gaze swung back to him, but his handsome face was a blank, hard mask, and her heart shriveled at the sight of it. She felt sick and cold with fear, but she couldn’t make herself back out. This was her purpose, dammit, and not even the professor would ruin this for her.