When she meets him again, she thinks it's fate...especially when he turns out to be her professor, and she catches him pleasuring himself in his office.
She's always thought of herself as shy, timid, and boring, but when confronted by the evidence of his desire and the sensual blaze of Professor Matthijs de Graaf's leonine eyes...
Diana just had to ask: That's for me. Isn't it?
"If it is not too much to ask," the professor asked in a glacial voice, "would you care to put your daydreams on pause for the rest of the class?"
Diana felt her eyes sting in mortification and fought hard to keep her composure. "I...I..."
"Save us from unnecessary explanations, any of which I highly doubt will be the truth." When she didn't speak, the professor dealt her an impatient glance, asking irritably, "Well? Your proposal then?"
Since she had nothing written on her proposal sheet, Diana could only blurt out the first half-baked idea that came to her mind. "I was thinking, umm, since depression is one of the leading causes of suicide, then perhaps we could use faith to cure depression---"
The professor's lip curled. "I've heard enough."
"And I think you're better off dropping my subject."
Diana found herself clutching the edge of her desk as shock reverberated in the entire class in palpable silence.
Cut your losses and go.
It was the voice of reason again, but try as she might, she couldn't make herself listen to it.
"I s-sincerely believe in what I'm saying, professor."
"Good for you, but that's not why I'm asking you to drop the subject."
"What I'm saying makes sense---"
"If I only wanted my students to make sense," the professor snapped, "then I should've opted to teach in kindergarten, do you think?" The words were intended to hurt, and hurt it did. The girl was now trembling and visibly fighting back tears, but just as before, the sight of her distress did not bring him any amount of gratification.
Damn her. Damn her. Goddamn her for forcing him to make her bleed, and because this had to be the last time, he knew he couldn't leave it this way. He had to see it to the end, no matter what.
When she started to sit, he saw his opportunity and seized it mercilessly, saying sharply, "I'm not finished."
The girl flinched, and so did most of the class. That he was a pitiless bastard was a widely-known fact, but couldn't the professor see he was already beating a dead animal in this instance?
"Remind me what this subject is, Ms. Leventis."
His words were like a noose tightening around her throat, and while she didn't know how or when it would happen, the one thing she was certain of was that this was the beginning of the end.
"Finally," the professor mocked. "A correct answer." It had a few students laughing, causing the girl to flush, but he forced himself to get past this. "Do you think you could properly define this as well?"
"It c-can be any method or technology that could be considered breakthrough or radical---"
"In other words," the professor murmured silkily, "it could also be the first of its kind."
"That being said, do you genuinely believe you're the first person who thought curing depression with faith would help prevent suicide?"
He saw her jerk, saw the first tear fall, and he knew it should be enough.
"Because if you do, then you're an even bigger idiot than I gave you credit for."
But instead he found himself pushing the knife deeper.
I'm sorry, but there's no other fucking way.
Diana could feel everyone staring at her. She knew she should at least say something, but the humiliating flow of her tears had robbed her of the ability to speak. All she could do was remember how this man destroying her was also the same man she had willingly taken her clothes off for, and this truth...it broke her, to the point that for one second she found herself tempted - oh, how she was so shamefully tempted - to be the subject of her own study and surrender herself to oblivion.
But eventually the feeling passed, a hitherto hidden core of strength ultimately prevailing, and Diana's fingers slowly loosened its deathlike grip on the desk.
Dark eyes that neither hated nor judged met eyes that burned an inscrutable shade of gold.
He didn't have to hurt her this way, but he had.
He could have done this differently, but he hadn't.
This, finally, was the end.
Not inevitable, but not salvageable either.
It was the ending he chose, the ending he wanted, and she was just so tired now that she let it be.
Amazon ~ Nook ~ iTunes ~ Google Play
$2.99 only during release week (regular price is $3.99)
Available soon on Kobo as well