Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 150 - Explain Yourself[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:38]
Sorry? Did Aaron just say he was sorry?
"Sorry for what?" Keeley hissed, regaining some of her energy and pulling her wrists out of his grip. She rubbed them to try and wipe away the feeling of his grip.
"That\'s not enough! Do you realize exactly what you did to me? I gave up everything I cared about for you and all you did was make me miserable, kill my father, cheat on me, and let your stupid girlfriend kill me after you threw me away!"
She was so pissed off that she dug her fingernails into her palms hard enough to draw blood.
"I never cheated on you," Aaron said quietly. "I pretended to get close to Lacy to get the evidence I needed to convict her for your father\'s murder. That baby wasn\'t mine."
A hysterical laugh escaped her throat. "You expect me to believe you?"
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Sit down, Keeley. This is a bit of a long story."
"I would prefer to stand," she said stiffly.
"At least let me bandage your hands first."
Silently, he went to the kitchen and pulled a first aid kit out of the cupboard. So gently that it felt like a butterfly was fluttering across her palms, he applied antibacterial cream with a cotton swab before wrapping two large adhesive bandages over all eight bloody puncture marks.
Aaron softly pressed kisses to both bandages while her palms were still face up and gave her a sad little half-smile. The look on his face made her heart stutter briefly but she would not be swayed. Her scowl remained firmly fixed in place.
Keeley snatched her hands back and crossed her arms over her chest. "Explain yourself."
He leaned against the counter and focused on the wall instead of her. His usually expressionless face appeared forlorn and he sounded like an old man when he spoke.
"I knew Lacy was plotting against you since we were in high school but I didn\'t have any proof. All I could do was try to keep you away from her and her cronies when you followed me to Boston. You know my parents never approved…I tried to help you fit in so people wouldn\'t give you a hard time but that obviously didn\'t go over well."
"No, really?" she asked sarcastically. As if she would believe he ever had good intentions about anything.
He ignored that and continued, seemingly weighed down further with each word he said.
"My father wanted me to divorce you and marry Lacy so he…they…Keeley, you never had an ectopic pregnancy. You were pregnant with a healthy baby and they swapped your results with someone else\'s so they could operate and prevent you from bearing the next heir to the family. They thought I would leave you if you couldn\'t have kids.
"I was horrified when I found out. They targeted you and our child because of me and you were so depressed already…I couldn\'t bear to tell you. My father had spies in the house so I had to make them think I didn\'t love you anymore so they would leave you alone. Obviously that didn\'t work either…but everything I did was with the intention to protect you."
Keeley couldn\'t believe a word he was saying—it was too fantastical to believe—until he started to cry. Actual tears. She had never seen Aaron cry.
"I failed. I was selfish and brought you down with me because I didn\'t want to live without you. By the time I was able to let you go…I said such horrible lies to get you to go and they killed you anyway. You died thinking I hated you! I lived with that guilt for decades before fate gave me another chance to meet you."
He wiped his eyes and finally looked up at her. "I promised myself I wouldn\'t waste it. I would do everything right and let you know how much I loved you. I thought I would have a clean slate; I never would have imagined you would hate me right off the bat. But it completely makes sense now."
She furrowed her brow, suspicious. "How long have you known?"
"Only since Valentine\'s Day. You said the same thing I did to get you to leave. You think I would forget that after how many times our last conversation played over and over again in my head during the twenty-seven years I lived without you?" he asked in a self-deprecating tone.
Twenty-seven years. If he could be believed…if what he was saying was true…he lived with guilt and grief that entire time before being reborn and doing everything he could to win her over.
These were real emotions. He had to be telling the truth. All that time he was misguidedly trying to protect her after suffering a horrific loss. He was scared and too proud to ask for help and it cost Keeley her life in the end.
"Why?" she asked flatly. "If you knew Lacy was targeting me from the beginning why would you marry me in the first place?"
Aaron looked her right in the eye. "I wasn\'t about to let the one source of warmth in my life get away. You are and always have been the only thing in this world that makes me happy."
She didn\'t buy it.
"Even if I disregard everything that happened after…losing the baby…if you really loved me you wouldn\'t have been so cold. You would have supported me. You would have believed in me and been nice to me."
He seemed embarrassed, rubbing the back of his neck. "I didn\'t know how to properly care for someone back then. Bad examples at home, you know. Haven\'t I gotten a lot better?"
Keeley couldn\'t deny that. How many times had she wished that her Aaron had been the way the newer Aaron was with her? And it turned out they were the same person the entire time after all. He actually changed for her.
"But what about when I lost the baby? You didn\'t comfort me at all."
Aaron looked at her like she was stupid. "I did my best. I was by your side constantly but you were impossible to get through to for nearly a year. By the time you started snapping out of it, I realized we were being watched and pretended I didn\'t care so my father would back off."
Why did he have an explanation for everything? This was so unfair. He was making her seem like the bad guy for being angry at him. She had every right to be angry!
So what if he had good intentions? He still ruined her life!