Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 114 - Unheard Of

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:24]
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Keeley arrived home from another long day in the lab ready to keel over. One of her samples got contaminated somehow so she had to scrap an entire trial. This would delay her research by a minimum of two weeks.

She ran into Aiden outside her front door and he looked concerned when he saw the state she was in. "Rough day?"

"Yeah," she said with a heavy sigh. "There was a lab accident and it totally screwed up my research project. I have to start one of my trials over."

"Yikes. Sorry about that. If you wait a minute, I have some Swedish chocolate I can give you. My girlfriend introduced it to me a couple of months ago when I visited and it\'s pretty good," he offered cheerfully.

She smiled at him. That was really sweet. "Sure, I\'d love to try some. Thanks Aiden!"

"Be right back!" He disappeared into his apartment for a moment and reappeared with an unfamiliar chocolate bar. "This is a Marabou milk chocolate bar; it\'s the best one."

"You get extra cookies this Christmas," she promised and he did a small fist pump, which made her laugh.

"Hope your research goes better tomorrow! See ya." He turned and shut his apartment door behind him.

Keeley always thought he was a nice kid. She hoped his foreign girlfriend appreciated him. Too bad Aaron wasn\'t ever this nice.

Her hand faltered on the doorknob. That wasn\'t true.

Hadn\'t he bought her ridiculously expensive chocolate when she cried at school one day in this life? She had nearly forgotten about that.

Most of her memories of Aaron seemed to focus on her first life. He had actually done quite a few nice things for her since her rebirth. The chocolate…the DNA necklace…taking care of her when she was sick…bringing her food…

When she got into her room, she gently lifted Molly off of her jewelry box so she could pull it out.

She hadn\'t worn it since the day she was drugged but she couldn\'t bear to throw it away because she really did like it. Not knowing why she had the urge, she fastened the clasp around her neck and clenched the tiny double helix in her fist.

Her phone buzzed in her pocket and she pulled it out. Aaron. His timing was uncanny. \'I had a feeling I needed to check on you. Are you okay?\'

He had sent similar texts over the past few months so she didn\'t think much of it and replied honestly. \'You\'re psychic. Today pretty much sucked\'

\'What happened?\'

Keeley explained the test tube incident in detail, including the repercussions she would face.

\'This guy replies to all of his messages ridiculously fast,\' she thought as the next one came in almost instantly.

\'That does suck, I\'m sorry. Do you need a pick-me-up?\'

Did she? She already had the chocolate bar. She was tired and sad and didn\'t really want to see anybody right now, least of all him but…

\'To be perfectly honest, I could use a steak. And some ice cream\'

\'In this weather?\'

\'It doesn\'t matter if it\'s inside\'

\'Fair enough. I\'ll be by your place in half an hour\'

Keeley cursed herself for caving into the desire to be taken care of when she was having a bad day. Even worse was that it was freezing out and she didn\'t feel like walking to her fake apartment building with how tired she was. The time had come to confess.

\'Pick me up at this address instead\' she texted, attaching her real building\'s address but not the apartment number. She could meet him downstairs.

He didn\'t respond so she couldn\'t tell if he was judging her or not. Oh well. He was providing food she didn\'t have to cook; not much else mattered.

She lay on her bed, wondering what was wrong with her to even consider accepting Aaron\'s charity, until she got the text saying he arrived. With a sigh, she put her coat and beanie back on and went downstairs.

Aaron was waiting for her on the curb with the window rolled down but she could recognize his car by now by his license plates: AKH8810.

"Hi," she said tiredly before leaning her head against the headrest and closing her eyes.

"Hey. Do you have a particular place in mind or…?"

"You pick. I bet expensive steak tastes better."

A small sound that could have been a laugh came from the driver\'s side of the car. She cracked an eye open to check but Aaron\'s expression was stoic as ever.

"I know of a good place. There even happens to be an old fashioned ice cream parlor down the street."

He could be surprisingly dependable at times. Well, he did say if she ever needed anything to come to him. She should have known those wouldn\'t be empty words. He had seemed oddly sincere lately.

The rest of the car ride was spent in silence because Keeley was too weary to socialize but Aaron didn\'t press her.

He didn\'t even speak to her again until they were seated in the restaurant, an exclusive steakhouse uptown that she had been to several times in her first life.

"So…do you want an appetizer?"

She nodded. The crab cakes here were amazing.

"Anything to drink?"

She nodded again, unable to muster the energy to speak until she ate something.

When the waiter came by, Aaron ordered a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and the crab cakes Keeley pointed out before ordering a mutton chop for himself and a medium rare filet mignon for her. That was her favorite cut of steak. He was a good guesser. Or maybe he got it because it was the most expensive cut available.

"Today must have really taken it out of you since you haven\'t spoken more than two sentences this entire time," Aaron noted.

Keeley simply groaned in response.

When the crab cakes arrived, she scarfed down two before finally speaking. "I needed fuel."

He smirked, though his eyes were soft. "Apparently. You look much livelier already. What exactly was so bad about the accident? Did your faculty mentor scold you?"

"Yes, but I\'m more upset about the fact that I\'m probably going to miss several other deadlines because I have to do this part over. My grades will drop and I\'ll most likely get yelled at again."

"Your faculty mentor seems strict."

She sighed. Dr. Kim was strict but she was also fair. This was Keeley\'s error; she had to pay the price for it.

"She isn\'t so bad; she just takes her job seriously and expects me to do the same."

Aaron was unusually sympathetic. "Accidents happen. I\'ve rarely met anyone who takes their job more seriously than you and I deal with businessmen constantly."

Keeley was fairly certain he was only saying that to make her feel better but it worked. Her spirits lightened a little. Aaron? Cheering her up? Unheard of!