“Father! How could you let that man into our home after what he did to me?” Dinah stormed into her father’s office, shoving open the door so that it hit the wall with a thud.
“Dinah, the prince has repented of the sins of his youth and has committed his life to God. He has asked for our forgiveness.”
“How could you ever forgive him?” Tears fell from Dinah’s eyes, and her rage shifted to feelings of betrayal. “There is no excuse for what he did to me.”
“I would never try to excuse his behavior.” Her father, Jacob, pushed back from his desk and walked around to give her his full attention. His office was ornate and masculine, with leather and carved mahogany furniture. Looming bookcases lined a whole wall, giving the space a studious feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows opposite them gave the space a bright and inviting attitude, which went great with the sitting area for entertaining dignitaries. But the large walk-in closet off to the side was Father’s sanctuary from the world. He used it for prayer and meditation. Dinah liked the enclosed feel of the sacred room. “He is not the same boy he was six years ago. He is not perfect, nor are you, nor am I. He is slated to take over his father’s kingdom, and our nations are at peace. He and his father will be staying with us through the end of the month.” His expression, however apologetic, didn’t assuage her anger.
She couldn’t stop her own sarcasm. “So what? Since he’s the crown prince, he can get away with whatever he wants?”
“You know that’s not true,” her father said. “He hasn’t gotten away with anything. Throughout his kingdom and ours, he will be forever known as the boy who hurt you. He will never escape that.”
“Newsflash, Father, he’s not a boy anymore.” Dinah balled her hands into fists and seethed. “And I have no sympathy that he can’t escape being known as the boy who hurt me because I will never escape being known as the girl he hurt!”
“And I am very proud of the way you have turned that around, to become an advocate speaking out in our kingdom against teen sexual violence.”
After a year of wallowing in the loss of her childhood sweetheart, along with the loss of her innocence, she had chosen to take action. Everyone in the kingdom already knew what had happened to her, so she had decided to make it her life’s mission to minister to other survivors.
“You reach into the hearts of teenage girls who feel just as alone as you felt the night that young man dishonored you,” her father reminded her. “You have given them hope that there is life after tragedy. You have shown victims that they can empower themselves and be forever known as survivors. You, princess, have changed the world by using your voice.”
Dinah lifted her chin with pride at having accomplished so much in her twenty-one years of life. She vowed long ago not to let something that happened to her when she was fifteen keep her from making all her goals a reality.
“My sweet daughter, I’ve heard you speak many times to survivors about finding peace in their lives by forgiving those who have hurt them.” Her father patted her softly on the cheek.
Great, she thought. He’s using my own platform to prove his point.
“An hour ago, you believed those words,” he pointed out. “Seeing his face again for the first time in six years brought all those old feelings to the surface, didn’t they?”
She nodded but couldn’t answer through the emotions choking her throat. He didn’t just hurt her, he left her and never came back, not even to say he was sorry. And after six years, if he thought he could just waltz back into her life, he was wrong.
“Keep your chin held high and fight through the old feelings. You are still a survivor even if the man who hurt you walks back into your life.”
Wasn’t that what she told girls all the time? Most guys didn’t get more than a slap on the wrist for crimes of passion committed when they were barely old enough to shave.
Young girls needed to know how to face the boys who hurt them because the odds were that they would see each other in the hallway at school, or in the market, or at a teen hangout. She had taught girls to stand up for themselves, learn self-defense, and become empowered so that they could forever stand as survivors.
Most young girls didn’t have her platform. They weren’t a princess as she was. They didn’t have the world listening whenever a microphone was placed in front of them. They also weren’t facing off against the crown prince from the kingdom to the north.
“Our palace is very large. You can easily avoid him.” Her father’s voice held a promise. “I will never ask you to sit at the table and have a meal with him. I will never ask you to socialize with him. You don’t have to go anywhere near him.”
“Thank you, Father. I appreciate that.” Although I would have fought against the notion regardless.
“But don’t allow yourself to be a prisoner in your own home,” her father said. “Find the forgiveness in your heart that you encourage others to have. I know it’s there or you wouldn’t be able to speak so passionately about peace through forgiveness.”
“I hate it when you use my own words against me.” Her shoulders fell in defeat.
“I would never be against you, my dear. You’re my favorite daughter.”
“I’m your only daughter, but good try.” Without another word, Dinah spun on her heel and stomped from her father’s office.
Halfway up the stairs to her wing of the palace, she stopped, and a vindictive smile crept onto her face.
“I hope I do run into that jerk. I can finally show him what happens after six years of self-defense training. His Highness, Prince Shechem of the Hivites, won’t know what hit him.”
With a sneer and determination, Dinah continued up the stairs of her palace, empowered and confident.
Want to read the first twelve books of the Prince of Israel Series in chronological order? Here's a link to the chapters on Kindle Vella!