Chapter 9:

The Feelings That Need No Proof

Is this Love?...Or are the Chemical Impulses Driving my Every Whim?

"Richie!" I gasped for air as I finally caught up to him.Bookmark here

Slowly turning around, Diedrich looked towards me. My memory of Richie overlapped that of the man in front of me. Just how much had he changed all these years?Bookmark here

I vaguely recalled the statement I made to him back then. Had he truly carried those simple words with him all this time? I couldn't believe it. He had no reason to. There was no logical reason for it, but somehow this situation had led me to believe so.Bookmark here

"Was it you? The one I gave this book to as a child?" I asked him to confirm my suspicions.Bookmark here

With a nod and a sigh, he verified my thoughts. "Yes, I was the fat Richie that was ever so curious about how you could move on when all you had left was a guide."Bookmark here

"Why?" I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. "There was no meaning to that action. Just something to get you to leave me alone. How on earth could it motivate you to do so much, especially for someone like me?!"Bookmark here

My legs gave out as I slumped to the floor. Diedrich walked over and wrapped his arms gently around me.Bookmark here

"To me, that simple action was the key to starting my life all over again. It gave me purpose. It unlocked my potential. It led me back to you. Don't say that it was meaningless. I was very happy to see you once again."Bookmark here

I didn't know what to say. I could hardly believe that he had carried his life out with me in mind. Out of all the possibilities in the world, he was claiming that I had been the reason for his being.Bookmark here

"Here, let me show you something. Would you mind coming inside?"Bookmark here

Diedrich guided me to his apartment and opened the door. Stepping inside, I saw that it was quite the mess. Papers were strewn about. Various notes and clippings were taped onto every wall. At first glance, it appeared as nothing more than a madman's attempt at organizing his master plan.Bookmark here

However, the words detailed on those various notes and papers soon attracted my attention. Articles about the current work that we were doing, articles about various disciplines that loosely related to our work, contacts of different people who were renowned for various achievements – it was like a catalogue that had been meticulously put together to come up with solutions for our scientific challenges.Bookmark here

How much extra work did he put into all of this? How much time and effort had he expended pursuing different avenues, knowing that a majority of them would only lead to dead ends?Bookmark here

I accidentally knocked over a pile of papers, which scattered around the floor. Bending over to pick them up, I noticed my name across many of them. Not only journal articles but also research that I had done years prior to this point.Bookmark here

He had been following my path from the very beginning, racing to chase up to me and collecting everything that could help it along with him.Bookmark here

"How? Why? What could motivate you to do so much? All to help me…"Bookmark here

"Somewhere along the way, I realized just how much that moment mattered to me. I wanted to return the favor. No matter how long it took. At that time, I guess I must have realized…that you, you were my first love…no, you still are."Bookmark here

The papers fell from my hands at the sound of his confession. I couldn't believe my ears.Bookmark here

"But, I got jealous of you…"Bookmark here

"That doesn't matter."Bookmark here

"I even thought about sabotaging your work…"Bookmark here

"I'll just re-do it again, no matter how many times it fails."Bookmark here

"How can you love someone like me?!" I screamed at him.Bookmark here

"Because I do. There's no scientific reason behind it. Does there need to be? If there is, then that will be my next goal to prove to you."Bookmark here

Seeing the conviction in his eyes, I couldn't come up with any more excuses. Nothing I said would convince him otherwise. I walked up to him and laid my head against his chest. Digging my head in to hear his heartbeat, I could feel myself calming down. Feeling secure from the touch of his body and his words, the dark spots that had been housed within my heart started to lighten.Bookmark here

"You better take responsibility then. Just like how I motivated you to succeed, help me find my place then." I looked up at his face.Bookmark here

"Of course. We've come so far on our own. I can't wait to see what we can do together."Bookmark here

Placing a hand on my cheek, he bent down and brought his lips to mine. The warm touch of our lips together was all that I needed to move forward. Like magic, the darkness completely disappeared.Bookmark here

My father's book fell from my hands. I no longer needed it as a guide. Diedrich had created a brand-new place for me to follow, forged from his own years of work.Bookmark here

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Years later.Bookmark here

I lifted up my veil and peeked over at my professor who was standing in the place that my father would have if he were alive. Though I had already graduated, he was honored to be the one to give me away.Bookmark here

As I waited for the moment to start, I looked over to the side where there was a large board that displayed pictures of Diedrich and I scattered about, showing all the memories we had accumulated together.Bookmark here

Underneath, two awards were proudly displayed that highlighted our greatest achievements so far.Bookmark here

"To Diedrich Wendell – For the invention of carbon composite materials for lightweight, durable aircraft."Bookmark here

"To Kaylen Donnelly – For the invention of metal-insulator-metal diodes for high-efficiency conversion of solar energy."Bookmark here

With Diedrich's help, I had managed to discover an entirely new purpose for the research that I had been doing, which had opened the doors toward my own career. No longer limited by the inventions of my father, my potential seemingly expanded more than I had ever realized.Bookmark here

At this point, Diedrich and I had found careers in different fields, but still, there were many times in which we would pick each other's brain to find the right solution. Determined to do better than the other, our little rivalry was well known in our respective companies. But they didn't mind, as long as we continued to bring forward new and interesting ideas.Bookmark here

"Oh, the music has started. Better get into position." My professor extended his arm to me, in which I took.Bookmark here

The doors opened, with Diedrich handsomely dressed in a tuxedo, waiting at the altar.Bookmark here

Taking a step forward into the church, I couldn't help but shed a happy tear as I thought about how fortunate I was.Bookmark here

Who would've thought that one tiny action would cause a chain-reaction leading up to this very moment? No scientist in the world would believe the insurmountable odds that it would take for this chance to happen, but I didn't care anymore.Bookmark here

Diedrich lifted the veil, and we became lost in the kiss that cemented our bonds.Bookmark here

Science brought us the seed of love. It held a place in our heart, waiting for the chance to blossom. It brought us back together again. And it will carry us forward into the future.Bookmark here

Even if we couldn't prove it, we had all the results we needed, right here in this moment.Bookmark here

THE ENDBookmark here

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