Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 185 - Dependency Wasn't Love

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:51]
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Keeley gave Aaron a genuine smile as she thanked him on her way out of his car. His assistance today was probably the nicest, most genuinely helpful thing anyone had ever done for her. She would have been in deep trouble without him.


It was actually quite sad that the person she depended on most let her down so often when she truly needed it but now that she was a self-sufficient lone wolf he somehow always managed to figure out when she was in need and come to the rescue.


If he had been anything like this before she wouldn\'t have fallen out of love with him.


It was a moot point now. She had fallen out of love with him and too much had happened for her to ever love him again, no matter how nice he was. Still, it was a pity.


She got to work on her paper and managed to crank it all out forty minutes before midnight. Her grade would have suffered without Aaron\'s quick thinking tonight and for that she was grateful.


He had his good points. You know, sometimes.


===


Aaron had been sitting in his office waiting for the day to be over because Alistair had been on his case about his nonexistent fiancée again when he got Keeley\'s text.


Her distress seemed genuine so of course he had to act immediately. He had promised her that he would be there whenever she needed it from now on and she certainly needed it today. Her general jumpiness was proof of that.


It had been extremely gratifying when she jumped into his arms and said he was the best. In that moment he could almost believe they were back in college together again. He couldn\'t help but smile.


She had seemed truly appreciative of his help, which was a far cry from her usual begrudging gratitude. Maybe his sincerity was getting through to her. Or maybe not.


This was the least guarded he had seen her in a while and it made him realize he didn\'t know her as well as he thought. Cartwheels. He had known her for decades—they had lived together for eight years—and in all that time he didn\'t know she could do cartwheels.


She said she did them every so often so she wouldn\'t forget how…was that only in this life or had he someone never been around when she did it even when they were married? He put in a lot of overtime at work back then.


What did he know about her? It seemed like most of his information had come from their second life. He hadn\'t paid close enough attention in the first.


Back then his understanding of her boiled down to knowing that she liked trying new things, was a bit clumsy, had a kind heart, was stubborn, loved her dad, and watched a lot of TV. Pretty pathetic for a thirteen year long relationship.


Everything he had learned about her since being reborn had been true in their first life and he was too dense to see it. She was fiery, passionate, intelligent, independent, a bit goofy, and brave.


Keeley had lost so much before he ever met her in such a traumatic way and yet she was always smiling. If that wasn\'t bravery, he didn\'t know what was.


Without feeling the need to impress him like before, she had finally shown her true self. All those years he missed out on enjoying her personality in all its glory. She had spread her wings without him and was soaring far above the person she had been.


What about him? Having thoroughly blown it with her, he was left in the dust. No matter how hard he tried to make things right she would always keep her heart guarded against him.


Aaron wished things were different. At this point, he wasn\'t even sure what kind of different he wanted. Going back and starting over from scratch would be nice. Or if she could find it within herself to love him again.


That was the biggest difference from one life to the next. Keeley definitely didn\'t love him anymore. She neither wanted him nor needed him. He was inconsequential to her but to him…she was the world. She was the universe.


He had taken her pure, naïve love for granted and now it was gone. He wasn\'t altruistic—a big part of why he insisted on being good to her even after she so clearly kicked him to the curb was that he wanted her to need him.


If he was there every single time she needed something she would grow to depend on him. Dependency wasn\'t love but if it would keep him in her life he would take it. He couldn\'t bear to lose her again completely.


Aaron couldn\'t deny that he was worried what would happen once Cameron\'s wedding was over and done with. His chances to see her would decrease exponentially. Today had been unusual; she almost never called out of work.


In the past few months, the only times she contacted him were to let him know she didn\'t need food so he wouldn\'t waste money/the delivery person\'s time and when she thought he was engaged to Lacy Knighton.


What about when she was done with school in December? Then he wouldn\'t even have the excuse of sending her food while she worked.


New York was a big city. She could keep running. Even worse, she could leave it entirely. He didn\'t think she would since she loved it so much but still…if pushed too hard, she could pick up her roots and go anywhere.


Being in a different city from her for four whole years nearly drove him mad. It was comforting somehow knowing she was within driving distance at any time. He couldn\'t handle that again.


If love wasn\'t possible, he would settle for friendship. If friendship wasn\'t possible, he would settle for dependency. At the very minimum Aaron needed to stay on the fringes of her life.


He knew she didn\'t think of him as a friend anymore. When she talked about her birthday plans she didn\'t leave any openings for him to invite himself. She didn\'t want him there. She was only making him dessert because she felt indebted to him and hated owing people.


Keeley didn\'t care about him one bit and it killed him.


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