Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 202 - Friend Of The Year[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:57]
Aaron had been surprised by Keeley\'s actions today, to say the least. She teased him, tried to cheer him up, took care of him, and told him she didn\'t hate him all in one go. It all seemed too good to be true.
Granted, she also said their relationship had been doomed to fail from the start. It was the only realistic part of all of this; otherwise he would have believed this morning was nothing but a beautiful dream.
He supposed it had been. If he hadn\'t been a Hale…if they had been two regular people who fell in love, they might have had a chance. They really didn\'t have anything in common except a mutual desire to be together.
Aaron didn\'t believe that you had to have things in common to make a relationship work. They hadn\'t worked because they never learned how to compromise fairly (schemes against them aside).
Keeley sacrificed everything and ultimately resented him. He expected her to make changes for him without making any of his own. But that was why he had tried so hard to change in this life! He believed they could have a happy, equal relationship now if she just gave him a chance.
He cracked his good eye open to peek at her as she drove. She was concentrating fiercely on the road, paying attention to each tiny direction from his phone\'s GPS. It directed her where to go in a robotic British accent from the car\'s cup holder since he wasn\'t feeling well enough to play navigator.
"You doing okay over there?" she asked after nearly ten minutes of silence from his side of the car.
"Yeah. The ice helped a bit."
"Don\'t overexert yourself," Keeley scolded. "You still need to be at the wedding tomorrow or Cameron will kill you."
"He\'s lucky I don\'t kill him," Aaron mumbled, making her laugh.
Of course he was! He was in pain and looked like an idiot, no matter what she said. Although…she did compliment his looks because of it, even if no man wants to be referred to as \'beautiful.\'
"Handsome\' or \'sexy\' would be much better but he would take what he could get. He couldn\'t remember the last time she complimented him before this.
"Spoken like someone who has never been shot in the eye with a paintball."
"Why did you even go in the first place? You hate things like that. You never went with me when I asked," she noted.
"…I was trying to be a good friend. This is exactly why I hate things like that," Aaron said gruffly.
She suppressed a smile and turned left. "I think this wins you the Friend of the Year award."
Keeley grew more serious before continuing. "You know, I didn\'t think you even cared about having friends but the whole wedding process proved me wrong. You\'re actually a really good friend. Aiden and Cameron are lucky to have you."
Another compliment. How bizarre. He noticed she didn\'t include herself among his friends though. His heart sunk. They were definitely friends before she found out he had been reborn.
"Are we not friends then?"
She turned to look at him with a frown at a stoplight. "I don\'t think there\'s a proper name for what we are. It definitely isn\'t friends though."
He supposed she had a point. Their situation was unique. There probably wasn\'t a single other couple in all of human history who had experienced what they had.
"You could use it for lack of a better term. We take care of each other. Isn\'t that what friends do?"
Keeley seemed unsure. "I guess so…friends\' motivations to care about each other aren\'t so complicated though."
So she felt conflicted about looking out for him. But considering how frantic she was when he was dizzy earlier…if he didn\'t know any better, he would have thought the concern was genuine. It was something she would have done back when they were dating.
Aaron sighed, a bit rueful. More likely than not she was only returning the favor because he kept helping her out. She had a strong sense of fairness.
"I know you\'re only helping me because I\'ve helped you before."
She shook her head. "That\'s not true."
"Then what is it?" It was the only reasonable explanation he could think of.
Keeley hesitated. "Ask me later. We\'re here."
Sure enough, they had arrived at the restaurant. She let him out to go find a parking spot in a nearby structure and instructed him to wait for her in case he got dizzy again. He obediently parked himself on a bench right in front until she came back and they walked in together.
What was left of the appetizers was cold but Valentina was true to her word. Keeley devoured her bounty with such gusto that Aaron had to squash down the urge to laugh.
The vague headache he\'d had earlier had turned into a full-on throb as the meal progressed. He could barely focus on the food in front of him.
The woman he loved chatted happily with some of the other bridesmaids and Aiden, as outgoing and friendly as ever. This didn\'t prevent her from noticing his ever worsening state though.
She signaled a waiter and asked for two to-go boxes.
Valentina raised an eyebrow. "Where are you going? You\'ve hardly touched your food."
"Aaron needs to go lie down if he\'s going to be in any state to participate tomorrow and someone needs to drive him," Keeley explained. "We\'ll see you guys first thing in the morning, okay?"
Cameron frowned. "You sure you\'re going to be alright, Aaron?"
"I just need to sleep," he said wearily. "I won\'t miss your wedding."
"Don\'t you worry about a thing!" she reassured the bride and groom as she picked up the to-go boxes and ushered Aaron out of the restaurant. "Thanks for the food!"
He was terribly confused when they got back to the car and it made his head hurt even more. She had been having a good time; how did she even notice he was in pain? More importantly, why didn\'t she pawn him off onto Aiden?
He didn\'t understand her 180 degree shift towards him today at all.