Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 221 - The Familiar And The Unfamiliar

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:04]
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The first few days living with Aaron were weird. Keeley tried her best to stay out of his way but wasn\'t always successful. She needed to catch her subway before he left for work but she always ran into him downstairs as he ate breakfast.

He sipped his coffee and put on his tie just like he always did when they were married. It was unsettling. He always greeted her with a gentle "good morning" and asked her if she slept well. But that definitely didn\'t happen when they were married.

Experiencing both the familiar and the unfamiliar at the same time was jarring. She would return the greeting, say "great, thanks" and grab a yogurt or a bagel on the way out the door after quickly consuming the coffee he made for her.

Her days in the lab were the same as usual and she craved that normalcy. She ate sandwiches out of the vending machine, took data, and observed the lab animals. She spent far more time staring at rats and mice than any regular person should.

When Keeley got back, Aaron was usually in the living room hanging out with one or both of the cats. He would ask her about her day and she would tell him in basic terms while working on dinner in the other room.

She avoided him once dinner was done. She either holed herself up in the entertainment room, went swimming downstairs, or read up on the terrace.

Running into him the halls happened every so often and she tried to act as naturally as possible but it didn\'t always work. The weirdest thing of all was that he didn\'t try to hide how happy he was to see her every time they bumped into each other.

When they were married he was always an ice block. Even before Aaron purposely began ignoring her he still acted like he didn\'t care whether she was in the same room or not, even though he usually hung out near her. A warm Aaron was much stranger than a cold one.

Keeley was curled up with Molly in the entertainment room watching a cooking competition show around 8 PM when he knocked on the door. She gave him a funny look. It\'s not like this was the bathroom; he didn\'t have to knock. It was his house.

"What\'s up?"

"I was downstairs and got some ice cream. I thought you might want some."

Okay, not too strange. "What kind?"

"Ben and Jerry\'s. I wasn\'t sure what you wanted so I may or may not have gotten four different flavors…"

She tried and failed to hide her laughter. "Well, at least we\'ll be stocked up for a while. What did you get?"

"Half Baked, Cherry Garcia, Peanut Butter Cup, and Strawberry Cheesecake."

Keeley sighed in relief. "Those are all good. At least you didn\'t get any Chunky Monkey."

Aaron frowned. "Why would I? You\'re allergic to bananas."

He remembered that? She told him exactly once when they were in college. He had just eaten one and leaned in for a kiss but she had to stop him so she wouldn\'t have an allergic reaction.

"Well yeah, but it\'s a popular flavor. I thought you might have gotten some for yourself," she said lamely. She didn\'t want to insult him by saying she didn\'t think he would remember.

He shook his head. "I\'m not taking any chances. You had to go to the hospital for it once so I cut bananas out of my diet."

That happened when she was ten when somebody at school accidentally gave her banana bread without telling her what was in it. She didn\'t carry an EpiPen in those days so she had to get one at the hospital. But how would Aaron know that story?

She raised an eyebrow at him and he clarified. "Your dad mentioned it once."

Her dad was a blabbermouth. She wouldn\'t put it past him embarrassing her. But when exactly had that happened? He hadn\'t seen her father all that much in this life so if she had to guess, she would say it was from the last one. Aaron had a surprisingly long memory but that was still a pretty random detail to recall.

It reminded her of something he said in high school—\'I notice everything about you.\' At the time she wondered if it was only in this life or if it had been in the last as well. This basically proved the latter correct.

Keeley wasn\'t sure how to feel about that. He had occasionally been attentive but it was always silent. He would just happen to have bandages, or a snack, or something else that she needed back when they were dating but never said a word about it.

She wanted to ask about it but decided to let the matter drop. She was about to pause her show to go get some ice cream but Aaron stopped her.

"I\'ll bring it to you. Which flavor do you want and how much?"

"Half a pint of Cherry Garcia, please."

He came back with two bowls a few minutes later and she could have sworn he actually looked sheepish.

"Do you mind if I watch with you?"

It was his house; she wasn\'t allowed to mind. And he had brought her ice cream so she was feeling generous.

"Go ahead."

"So what\'s this show about?" he asked as he settled next to her on the giant couch-bed monstrosity.

Keeley patiently explained the premise and how each round worked. This was probably her favorite cooking show because of the bizarre ingredients chefs had to make a tasty dish out of or they would get disqualified.

They sat companionably side by side eating their ice cream as the show progressed. She nearly knocked her bowl over in agitation when somebody started making vinaigrette with less than thirty seconds left on the clock.

"You idiot! You\'re not going to get it on the plate!" she hollered, clutching her head dramatically in the heat of the moment.

Aaron looked up at her, startled, before he burst out laughing. It was a real, deep laugh—the kind she hadn\'t heard from him since college in Boston.

She immediately turned bright red and apologized. "I\'m so sorry, I didn\'t mean to…"

Keeley was perplexed that he laughed even harder when he saw her panic about the ice cream bowl. She scowled. "What\'s so funny?"

"I think I finally understand why you never wanted me to know what you were watching. It wasn\'t because of the shows themselves, it\'s because you think the people inside the TV can hear you," he snickered.

"It\'s instinctive," she said defensively, crossing her arms over her chest.

So he had known about her reality TV obsession all along. Why didn\'t he ever say anything?

She hadn\'t told him because she thought he would make fun of her for it. The only TV he ever watched was the news. Reality shows were about as far from that as you could get.

A lot of people described reality TV as brainless and she thought he would be one of them and give her a hard time for it. He had given her a hard time about a lot of other \'common\' things back then. Aaron had been much better about not doing that in this life though it still happened once or twice.