“And so you shall be as well,” he snarled,” for promising what you can’t keep—”
Tears of frustration burned in her eyes because he wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true.
“What do you want from me?” she cried out. “What, damn you?” And she could no longer stop herself, her fingers curling into a fist as she struck his chest. “I know what I’m doing isn’t enough. I know. But I’m not God—”
The professor’s handsome face turned expressionless. “Are you not?”
“No—” And that was when it started to dawn on her. “I’m not.” And her voice faded as it finally hit her, what all the pain was for, and why the professor had kept pushing and pushing until she finally made it to this point.
Until she finally understood.
She was not God.
And no one else could be.
Diana spun back to face the panel and the rest of her audience. “I…I was wrong,” she whispered, “and you were all…you were all right.” She turned to the professor, and this time she was no longer blind, and her heart ached, seeing how much it had hurt him to hurt her. “Professor de Graaf…has made me realize that while I was on the right track, I had the wrong conclusion.”
“Can you be a little more specific?” It was Luisa, the social worker, but unlike before, her gaze was sympathetic and her tone careful.
“I once thought that suicide could simply be prevented by making people responsible for other people. But you were all right when you told me it won’t work. Just as a person is essentially incapable of finding what he is unable to see, depression…is the likely concomitant of any unsuccessful pursuit of happiness. Just as true freedom is gained by doing God’s will, true happiness can only be founded in God’s purpose.”
She knew it could only be her imagination, but with every word she spoke, it was almost as if she could feel more of the Holy Spirit filling her heart, dispersing her fears and doubts, until all that was left was the rightness of what she was doing.
“Depression in its every form, including all of its symptoms and consequences – depression may be immediately reversed, miraculously if you will, if one is made to understand the true nature of happiness. That’s how the Church can save the lives of its children, and that’s how we can also help other people. Because it’s as St. Augustine says. Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
So much silence.
While she hadn’t been expecting a standing ovation like before, was it too much to expect for someone to just react in any—
And then she noticed Father Edwards pointing at her and then making a circular motion with his finger, as if asking her to turn around.
But she did as asked.
And Diana had the shock of her life.
A gorgeous face. Golden eyes. And a dazzling smile.
That was all she managed to see before his mouth conquered hers, and he had her locked tightly in his arms, every inch of her body pressed against his.
He kissed her long and hard, kissed and kissed and kissed, and oh it didn’t even stop as everyone started to clap and whistle. Kissed and kissed until she cried and heard what his lips were telling her without the words.
My purpose is to show you the way so you can save other people.
Your purpose is to save me.
His head slowly lifted, and their gazes met.
“I’m just so scared,” she whispered brokenly. “I don’t ever want to risk hurting you—”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Jeremiah 29:11. Remember?”
She sobbed and laughed. “Oh, Professor. Do you think anyone would believe me if I told them that you use bible quotes to get me into bed with you?”
“You can try, but I think everyone’s just going to think you’re on something.” The professor pulled a small black box out of his pocket as he spoke.
“Is that so—oh.”
The professor took the ring from the box. “I’m not even going to ask.”
A smile wobbled over her lips. “For some reason…I never expected you to.”
And as she watched him slide the ring down her finger, she heard him say her name.
“Keep your promise this time, will you?” He slowly brought her hand to his lips. “Never leave me again.”
The professor was pacing.
But because it was a fairly small room, and the professor was long-legged, it only took him two seconds to span its length before he had to turn around and walk the other way. From the other side of the room, his best man watched in amused silence, having never seen the aloof and worldly professor display such tension.
“Nervous?” Ryder asked finally.
Ryder laughed, thinking that the days when Matthijs kept his emotions to himself were truly gone indeed. “Diana’s really gotten you wrapped around her finger, hasn’t she?”