Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 135 - I'm Happy For You

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:32]
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In the weeks leading up to finals, a pattern emerged in Keeley\'s life. She woke up, went to class, did homework, went back to class, went to the lab where Aaron brought her some sort of food around 6 PM, and did more homework before going to sleep.


When she absolutely couldn\'t stand studying for another second, she baked or allowed herself twenty minutes to watch YouTube videos.


Because she was human and had to take breaks from studying she was only averaging 4-5 hours of sleep a night in order to get everything done. Dark circles took up permanent residence beneath her eyes so she looked like a raccoon.


"Are you getting enough sleep?" Aaron asked her a few days before finals as he brought her an extra-large cup of coffee and some doughnuts because she requested lots of sugar and caffeine.


"Sleep is for the weak."


"Keeley," he said disapprovingly.


"I know, I know. But I really don\'t have time. I\'ll sleep for about three days straight after this is all over."


"…that\'s a coma."


"Sounds festive!"


He shook his head at her with a slightly indulgent look on his face. "Why do you do this to yourself?"


She shrugged. "Why does anyone go to grad school? We\'re all masochists with career goals."


"Well Miss Masochist, if you truly want a three-day coma I can put up some black out curtains in one of my guest rooms for you. It would be a lot quieter than at your apartment."


Musical audition season began in February and Jennica had started practicing her show tunes early because she was determined to get at least an ensemble part in something. Keeley and Valentina had taken to studying in the library rather than at home due to the noise.


She had complained about this to Aaron before, which was probably why he offered. He was awfully accommodating these days.


Keeley smiled. "Tempting! I\'ll let you know if my sleep gets too disturbed."


The thought of staying at his house was less awkward now that she had done it a couple times. He was gone most of the day anyway. She would be able to sleep, watch TV on his super comfy couch bed, and have plenty of snacks provided. Not a bad offer.


Over the past month or so she had become progressively less uncomfortable around Aaron after interacting with him on a near daily basis. She wouldn\'t necessarily say she looked forward to seeing him but she didn\'t dread it either.


"Just be sure to bring me a plate of Christmas cookies in exchange," he said casually.


"I was planning on doing that anyway because you keep bringing me food."


His pleased smirk crossed his face. "Excellent. Bribery works on you."


She stuck her tongue out at him like she would any of her other friends. Aaron had lightened up a lot so it felt natural to tease him.


Speaking of teasing…she had an idea for his Christmas present. Knowing him, he would get her one for sure so it would be awkward if she didn\'t. Keeley was already planning on buying gifts for her roommates and Ryan; one more friend present wouldn\'t affect her budget much.


Especially since this one would be partially homemade and pretty cheap. She couldn\'t find what she was looking for so it needed to be done personally.


She gulped down her coffee as quickly as possible before stuffing a donut in her mouth. She really only had a few minutes to spare. "Thanks for the fuel. Don\'t forget; I won\'t be here next week because of finals."


"When will I see you then?" Aaron asked straightforwardly.


"I\'ll come bring you cookies a few days before Christmas. We can exchange presents then too."


The temperature around him rose drastically though his expression remained neutral, showing how happy he was. What a tsundere!


"You got me a present?"


"It\'s not much but yeah." She still needed to finish it…and the rest of her Christmas shopping if she ever had time.


He seized her in a hug and rested his chin atop her head. "I\'ll be looking forward to finals ending even more then. If you need anything in the meantime, don\'t hesitate to ask."


Keeley had gotten used to his hugs. They weren\'t nearly as bad as they used to be; they were actually kind of nice. It was almost like how hugs had been back when she was dating the other Aaron before everything went downhill. Comforting, somehow.


"I won\'t. Thanks Aaron."


At this point she knew he would drop everything even if it was the middle of the workday to help her out. She wouldn\'t do it unless she was desperate but she had a feeling that Aaron secretly wanted her to call on him even if she wasn\'t. Poor guy.


===


"What exactly are you doing?" Jennica asked, eying Keeley\'s art project weirdly as she bounced through the door after yet another date with her boyfriend.


"Making a Christmas present."


"For who, your grandma? Only old people like homemade gifts anymore."


She rolled her eyes. "It\'s an inside joke, Jen. You wouldn\'t get it. People like inside joke gifts."


"Fair enough. I still need to figure out what to get Cam. Do you have a couple hours to come shopping with me or no?"


"No, sorry. I don\'t even really have time to do my own shopping; I\'ll probably have to order everything else online. Have you tried Valentina?"


Jennica pouted. "She\'s just as busy as you are. Nobody loves me anymore!"


"Oh hush," Keeley said, laughing. "You\'re the most loved person in this apartment."


Cameron brought her back no less than five souvenirs from his trip to Singapore and the apartment always had fresh flowers in it. Not to mention they ate together every night and went to a Broadway show once a week. He was a prince among boyfriends; it was no wonder Jennica was head over heels.


Jennica beamed. "I know. I\'m just giving you a hard time. I do miss you guys though; we need to have some girl time soon."


"Come have Christmas at my place; I know you can\'t afford to fly home right now."


She blushed. "I would but Cam\'s parents want to meet me so I\'m going to Philadelphia with him."


"So soon?!"


"Both our families think we\'ve been dating a lot longer than we have! He\'s already met mine; it only makes sense."


Wow. Cameron certainly didn\'t waste time. He must really love Jennica—he knew what he wanted and he went for it. At this rate, Keeley would be attending two friends\' weddings next year.


The thought made her a bit sad. The last wedding she had been to was for the daughter of one of Aaron\'s business contacts about three years before she died. Aaron sat next to her but she may as well have been sitting with a stranger. She was only there for show.


Funny, memories of her past life had been popping up less frequently lately. Why did this one hit her out of the blue? Spending time with this Aaron had actually been helping her think about the other one less.


She pasted on a smile for her friend despite her sudden melancholy. "That\'s great then. I\'m happy for you."


Jennica launched into a happy monologue about how wonderful Cameron was and what they did on their date and Keeley had never felt so single. Although…even though he was just a friend, Aaron was every bit as doting as Cameron seemed to be. The thought made her feel a bit better.


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