Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 143 - You're Going To Break His Heart

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:35]
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"Want to explain what you did back there?" Keeley asked her father crossly after Aaron left a few hours later.


Robert wasn\'t even remotely abashed. "Just helping move things along."


"Move what along? Aaron\'s just a friend!"


His face said that he didn\'t buy it. He sighed and leaned back on the couch.


"Keeley, that boy had the biggest crush on you in high school. I was a bit surprised when I found out you were texting him but everything became obvious once you brought him here."


"We\'re not like that," she insisted. "We only got back into contact over the summer because I ran into him at a coffee shop. Before that, I hadn\'t seen him in years."


Robert raised an eyebrow. "What about since then? You two looked awfully cozy while watching the movie and you made him a Christmas present by hand even though you\'ve been too busy to sleep lately."


It did look bad when he put it that way. Things weren\'t like that though!


"He\'s really nice…and I know he likes me for some reason…but I can\'t ever be with him, Dad. We can only be friends for a little while longer."


"Why not? He likes you, you like him."


She jumped up indignantly. "I do not!"


There was no way she could ever like her ex-husband\'s doppelganger. She had escaped that life—why would she go back?


"Honeybun, I\'ve never seen you like this with any of your other guy friends. You treat Aaron differently."


Did she? She didn\'t think so. She treated all of them equally. Aaron was kind of like Ryan to her. No, that wasn\'t right…Ryan only teased her; he would never dote on her the way Aaron did.


"How so?" she asked suspiciously.


"It\'s hard to explain. But the vibe between the two of you is different than say, between your old pal Jeffrey or that guy who was here for Thanksgiving."


Keeley didn\'t think the way she treated Aaron was special. Sure, she had softened toward him a lot since high school but now he was like any of her other friends. Right?


"You get awfully defensive whenever he gets brought up," her father pointed out. "And your friends think he\'s your ex-boyfriend even though as far as I know, you never even dated. That means you\'ve talked about him to other people. People don\'t tell others about someone unless that someone is important."


But it wasn\'t this Aaron that was important, it was the other one! This whole thing was too convoluted to possibly explain.


She fessed up. "Dad…a while back when I was talking about the person who couldn\'t remember hurting me being like a different person…that was Aaron. I knew him before high school and he was terrible."


"But he\'s not terrible now?" he surmised.


"No, he\'s almost TOO nice these days…it\'s almost like he\'s trying to be the best friend I\'ve ever had. He\'s always there for me and is super dependable but…"


"But?"


"But even if I did like him—and I\'m not saying I do!—things would never work out because of how things were before. I can\'t forget all of that. Even if I could, he\'s in a completely different world from me. I don\'t want to lose myself by being with him. His parents are awful people and their friends are just as bad. They wouldn\'t accept me and I deserve better than that."


Robert smiled sadly. "If you really care about someone, any obstacles in the way shouldn\'t matter. I know my daughter; you wouldn\'t bend for someone else\'s approval."


No she wouldn\'t, not after what she went through in her last life. She might care about Aaron a little but not enough to go through all that again.


"Not in this case. There are entire mountain ranges between Aaron and me. And I told you already, I don\'t like him."


"You\'re going to break his heart."


If he had said this to her six months ago, she would have flippantly replied "he doesn\'t have a heart" but now…


The bright smile he gave her when he noticed she was wearing the necklace he gave her all those years ago flashed through her mind. Nobody heartless could be that happy about something like that.


"His path is already laid out for him. Mine doesn\'t intersect with it," she said in a tone that brooked no further argument.


Her father held his hands up defensively and they returned to their Christmas movie marathon but Keeley couldn\'t get Aaron out of her head.


===


The collar of Aaron\'s tuxedo was way too tight during the von Dynes\' Christmas party but even worse than that, he was cornered by a swarm of overeager socialite women who wanted to become the next Mrs. Hale.


The only way he had gotten through this dull affair so far was by thinking about the day before. Keeley\'s ridiculous sweater. The cookies she made. The way her eyes sparkled as she sang silly carols. When she moved closer and sort of cuddled him on the couch. Her handmade present. More than anything, that kiss on the cheek.


Was it possible that she finally liked him? Bad luck hanging over her head or not, she wouldn\'t kiss just anybody.


Aaron was still thinking about it when a woman he vaguely recognized snapped him out of it by placing a hand on his arm. He recoiled instantly.


"What was that?" he snapped.


"I was only asking if you had a date for the New Year\'s Eve party yet."


He had completely forgotten about the New Year\'s Eve party. His parents would surely force him to go and bring someone with him. He would just use Jennica again if not for the fact that Cameron would pitch a fit. How troublesome.


Bringing Keeley was out of the question. Both his father and Lacy would be there and he couldn\'t risk exposing her to them.


His plan wasn\'t going fast enough. He couldn\'t find anything solid on that wretched woman to take her down yet. Either she was very good at covering her tracks or she simply hadn\'t done anything illegal since high school. As for Alistair, it was a work in progress.


Aiden was still compiling tiny pieces of evidence regarding the insider trading deal with Brann Knighton. Once he had enough, he would present it to Officer Darren Johnson and call it good.


There was a small chance they wouldn\'t be convicted but even so their reputations would still be ruined. Alistair would be voted out as president of Hale Investments and it would all be over.


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