Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 169 - They Both Deserved Better[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:45]
As they pulled into the venue, Aaron went over the information on the fake identity he created for his \'girlfriend\' one more time. Her name was Bethany Carlisle and she was from a prominent Harvard family in Boston.
They met while going to school but lost contact for a while when she did a study abroad program in London for a year. They met up again there when Aaron was on a business trip and decided to get back together.
One of his business contacts in Boston actually did have a daughter named Bethany Carlisle but she was only eight years old. His father wouldn\'t know that though. If he did any digging into the Carlisle family he would find proof of her existence and Aiden had left a false internet bread crumb trail to boot.
"All you have to do is remember those basic details, smile, and look pretty," he said grimly. Aiden was a bit incensed at the \'look pretty\' part but nodded. "And don\'t you dare call anybody \'dude\' or \'man\' here! Do what I do."
"Okay! Geez, man, no need to be so uptight!"
Aaron\'s glare nearly froze him to death. "What. Did. I. Just. Say."
"Sorry du—I mean sorry, Aaron. I\'ve got this; don\'t worry. We\'ll get Lacy Knighton out of your hair once and for all," he said confidently.
They\'d better. If they weren\'t able to subvert her plans today he would never shake the rumors. It would be fifty times harder getting rid of her after that because everyone would feel sorry for her. He couldn\'t let that happen.
"Put your arm in mine like you\'re a lady," Aaron hissed. "And keep quiet as much as possible."
"Yes dear," Aiden said meekly, getting into the role. This was wrong on so many levels but they had to stick to the plan.
The first thing the other partygoers did when they saw Aaron walk in with another woman was begin whispering like mad. They were all under the impression he was single.
Alistair was furious when he spotted his disrespectful son who never did anything according to plan. He marched right over to him and put on his most intimidating glare.
Aiden was practically shaking in his ankle boots. This man was ten times scarier than his boss.
"Who is this?" he demanded icily.
"My girlfriend. Bethany Carlisle of the Boston Carlisles."
His eyes narrowed. "You never mentioned having a girlfriend. Is this why all of your mother\'s attempts at matchmaking have failed?"
"Why didn\'t you say anything?" he thundered.
He had promised Aaron to Lacy! Obviously she was preferable but the Carlisles weren\'t a bad choice either. If he had known his stubborn son was involved with a woman of quality he never would have meddled, old friendship with Brann Knighton aside.
"You wouldn\'t have listened. You\'re dead set on that pebble in my shoe being my wife," Aaron said coldly.
Alistair began to sweat. He was fairly set on Lacy Knighton becoming his daughter-in-law but a Carlisle would work. They were important Harvard people and could help the Hales expand their influence outside of New York.
What was he going to tell Brann? They were planning on announcing the engagement tonight!
He cleared his throat and pretended not to have heard the last comment, turning toward Aiden. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Carlisle. Please excuse me; I have someone I need to talk to quite urgently."
After he left, Aiden was impressed how well that worked. He knew better than almost anyone what a stubborn old coot Alistair Hale was. He practically did a 180 about his son\'s choice of romantic partner.
"I really don\'t like that guy," he said sourly. He accepted \'Bethany\' just because she was rich and had a good background even though he had already made promises to someone else.
Aaron felt a slight bit of affection for his friend. It was nice having his feelings validated. On top of the vacation he was offering for this deal, he should buy him an original Super Mario Brothers arcade machine or something to show his appreciation.
"Me either. Come on, we need as many people to see us together as possible."
They mingled throughout the guests, stopping and talking to as many people as they could. Nobody batted an eye until they ran into Alice. He completely forgot she was going to be here.
"Since when are you dating anyone?" she asked suspiciously. "I saw you a month ago and you were single as ever."
"Shh!" Aaron\'s eyes darted around a bit nervously before he pulled her to the side. "I don\'t actually have a girlfriend but you have to keep your mouth shut about it. I can\'t let Lacy Knighton get her way."
Her mouth rounded into an \'o\' in shock. "Then who is she?"
"My…second closest friend," he said begrudgingly. Aiden would certainly earn the title after the stunt they had to pull later.
"You have female friends? Other than me I mean. And I literally only see you at board meetings and parties like this."
"He\'s not female."
Alice was appalled and checked over her shoulder back to where Aiden was chatting with a couple of other socialites with a fake smile on his face.
"Aaron! Are you completely nuts?! In what world is that not a girl?"
"I got a professional stylist to make him over with high end prosthetics. He\'s one of my people doing me a favor for tonight only. I had to promise a lot of incentives to get him to cooperate."
She shook her head in disbelief. "I get that you hate your father and want him out of the business…but what\'s the deal with Lacy Knighton?"
His face hardened. She had done far too much to ever properly explain. "She hurt the woman I love because she wanted me."
Alice\'s expression softened. She even appeared to feel a bit sorry for him. "I had no idea you had someone you cared about. Anyone I know?"
"I doubt it. She\'s not in our social circle."
Her eyes lit up with understanding. "It\'s that girl from high school, isn\'t it? What was her name…Callie? Kaitlyn?"
"Keeley. But…how did you know?" Aaron had never once spoken of Keeley in front of Alice.
She smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Aaron, you\'re never seen with the same girl more than once. Everyone else thinks you\'re a playboy but I know a man trying not to commit because his heart\'s already taken when I see one. She\'s the only girl you ever had consistent rumors with. And don\'t forget, I was at that Valentine\'s dance. I saw you kiss her."
He had no idea he was so transparent. Well, Alice was a perceptive one. She came across as self-absorbed but she was actually taking in everything about the world around her. He had learned that over the past few years of their partnership.
"You can\'t tell anyone," he said, deadly serious.
"Who would I tell? I\'m not the type to mess with other people\'s happiness."
She wasn\'t. Her husband messed with hers enough by having an established mistress on the outside. She didn\'t treat other people\'s relationships as a trifle. He wished he could convince her to leave her husband and start living for herself but it wasn\'t his place.
"Thanks. We should be getting back to the others; they\'ll be wondering what we\'re talking about."
Aaron led her back and watched her laugh and smile her way through small talk with a few other socialites with a heavy heart. She was so much like Keeley had been; having to hide her sadness behind a happy mask for the sake of others. They both deserved better than what they had been given.