Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 116 - A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing?

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:24]
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Tears continued streaming down Keeley\'s face as they made their way to the parking lot. Her ears burned with embarrassment. She really wasn\'t the type of person to cry in public.


Aaron\'s hand had been in hers the entire time they walked, steering her away from light poles and cars and other people so she wouldn\'t have to look up. It was a thoughtful thing to do and it made her cry harder.


When they finally reached the car, he sighed heavily and pulled her in for a hug. "Come here, cry it all out."


That invitation made the dam break officially and she began to sob so hard she thought she might snap in half. The harder her sobs, the tighter Aaron\'s grip became.


"It\'s okay, it\'s going to be okay," he muttered while stroking her hair.


Was it? Could anything ever be okay when she had to deal with all of this confusion?


She wasn\'t sure how long they stood there like that but when she finally pulled away there were tears, snot, and even mascara on his charcoal gray dress shirt.


Keeley buried her face in her hands. "I\'m so sorry. I ruined your shirt."


"Not a big deal; I have dozens of them. What matters is if you\'re feeling better," he said matter-of-factly. He really didn\'t care about the shirt at all.


She peeked through her fingers up at him. His brow was creased with concern and it made her heart ache.


How long had it been since Aaron looked at her like that? Her Aaron. Because this one was most definitely a different person.


In all her years with him, she couldn\'t remember being held as she cried even once. This clinched it for her; she had to start thinking of them as separate entities.


She gave him a small watery smile. "I think I got it out of my system. Thanks."


"No problem. If you ever need to cry again, my shirts are happy to accommodate you."


Keeley let out a strangled laugh. He said it so formally. "You\'re so weird."


"You\'ve mentioned that before. How exactly am I weird?"


"You act in ways I don\'t expect. I guess you\'re not the person I thought you were," she said thoughtfully.


Aaron frowned. "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"


"A good thing."


"Oh. Nice to know." He opened the passenger door for her. "Come on, let\'s get you home. It\'s cold out here."


The drive home passed in silence. Keeley was so tired and overloaded with thoughts that her mind had gone completely blank. She needed to go sleep this off and reevaluate her worldview in the morning.


She tried to keep things light as she got out at her apartment building. "Thanks for dinner…and for—what did you say? Having your shirt accommodate me?"


"Any time," he said seriously. "I\'m only a text away. Get some rest, Keeley. Everything will seem better tomorrow."


She hoped so. She really hoped so.


When she walked in the door, Jennica was gushing about the date she just got back from with Cameron—apparently he asked her out after all—and she slipped into her room unnoticed. She wasn\'t in the mood to listen to gushing right now anyway.


Keeley felt a little better after a shower but what really helped was snuggling under a bunch of extra blankets with a purring Molly curled up against her face.


She closed her eyes. Aaron was right. Things would be better in the morning.


===


Aaron really owed his hacker one for tipping him off that Keeley had a bad day. She hardly ever cried; what happened at school must have really bothered her.


There were a lot of things she did tonight that were unexpected—like accepting his offer of dinner in the first place—but what surprised him most was that she was wearing the necklace he gave her six years ago.


He assumed she would have gotten rid of it like everything else he gave her, especially since she hated him so much back then. She must have really liked it to hold onto it for so long.


Aaron hadn\'t meant to let so much slip tonight. He didn\'t want to scare her off by revealing how much he loved her but when she seemed so baffled that he was nice to her he couldn\'t stay silent.


At least she didn\'t seem disgusted when he told her she made him happy. It wasn\'t exactly an \'I love you\' but it was close enough. She had to at least suspect he liked her at this point.


Even so, she still smiled at him and thanked him genuinely. This was promising. That she told him to pick a silly souvenir for her was even more promising.


Tonight had been a victory for him even though it was heart-wrenching seeing Keeley weeping like the world was going to end. He had never been good at consoling people.


Well, he had never tried it on anyone until the day the doctor told her she would never be able to have children after she woke up from surgery. She had cried even harder then.


That worthless scum. Doctors took oaths to \'do no harm\' and that man had still accepted a bribe from Alistair to swap Keeley\'s pregnancy results with someone else\'s. She never had an ectopic pregnancy at all!


Keeley was nearly three months pregnant with a normally developing child and Dr. Rothman was still okay with not only performing a secret abortion but claiming to make a mistake during the surgery to terminate the ectopic pregnancy so her entire uterus and both fallopian tubes had to be removed.


It was an evil plan. Even if she truly had an ectopic pregnancy, the worst thing that should have happened was the removal of one fallopian tube. She still could have gotten pregnant.


Alistair was so set on booting Keeley out of the Hale family that he sabotaged her ability to bear an heir permanently, thinking it would make Aaron leave her.


His wife fell into a deep depression that he did everything he could to break her out of but nothing worked. He was fairly depressed about the situation himself; he had been so excited when Keeley took that home pregnancy test and told him he was going to be a father.


It wasn\'t until he overheard his father talking to Lacy in his office at the company months later that he learned the truth. Alistair may have executed the plan but the idea came from her.


Aaron was devastated but more than that he was furious. He had failed to protect his family.


Keeley never found out.


Thinking it was an innocent mistake resulting from a twist of nature had nearly destroyed her; he couldn\'t bear to tell her the truth. She had been conspired against because she had chosen to marry him. There was no way she would have been able to handle it.


Their child\'s due date was in a few months. It was always a difficult time of year for him. Yet another thing to feel guilty about. He was grateful Keeley didn\'t have to bear that burden anymore.


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