Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 223 - Resignation?

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:05]
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Aaron spent all of the following day at work thinking about his conversation with Keeley. She didn\'t seem angry. If he had to give it a word, he would say she seemed resigned.


Anger, resentment, or even bitterness would have made sense. But resignation? That didn\'t fit with what he knew about her feelings towards him.


Keeley didn\'t want him. She made that clear at every given opportunity. Acting resigned about the whole thing made it seem like she actually did want him around but feared the consequences too much to make it happen.


It didn\'t work with her whole \'I\'ll never forgive you; there\'s no going back\' thing. She had said things like that multiple times.


\'There\'s no going back\' was practically her motto. She was determined to move forward and live her best life without him. So why the resignation?


It bothered him so much that he could hardly concentrate on all of the reports Cameron had placed on his desk earlier in the day. The numbers all blurred together on the page. He didn\'t process a single one.


He felt like a wreck by the time he got home. Keeley had beaten him back for the first time all week and was singing to herself as she chopped vegetables.


"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You\'ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don\'t take my sunshine away."


The song could have been written about the way he felt about her.


"What song is that?"


She whirled around brandishing the knife with an alarmed look on her face before seeing it was him. She set it down and clutched her heart with one hand.


"You scared the living daylights out of me. A little warning next time."


"Sorry. The song?" he persisted.


"I don\'t know where it originally came from. My mom used to sing it when she did chores around the house. I think it\'s really old. That\'s just the chorus. There are a few verses but I only know one of them."


Aaron settled into a chair at the kitchen table and loosened his tie. "What are you making?"


"Tacos. I was just slicing onions. You might want to stay over there if you don\'t want to cry."


She was smiling but he noticed her eyes were red. Did onions really make people cry or had she cried earlier and was using this as a cover up? He couldn\'t tell.


"Noted," he said as Dinah jumped up on the table. He began petting her as he tried to initiate conversation again. "So how was your day?"


"Like any other. My mice are showing signs of improvement so my research seems like it will be viable. If it continues going well…and I show it to a lab interested in continuing it with other animals…it might make it to human trials someday."


Keeley\'s reddened eyes sparkled at the prospect as she began working on the ground beef. She mixed it around in the pan with her back to him.


"How long would that take?"


She snorted. "Oh, years. If I\'m lucky it would make it to human trials in the next decade. I would have to write follow up papers for each individual animal it was tested on and it would take forever. I\'m afraid this is going to end up being my life\'s work."


That was some dedication. Then again, he was one to talk. He had devoted two lifetimes to running and improving Hale Investments. He wasn\'t even passionate about it. He was good at it but that was because it was all he knew.


If he had been given a choice, what would he have chosen to do with his life? He had no idea. The only thing he had ever wanted was a happy life with Keeley by his side.


This pseudo-relationship thing they had going on where she felt slightly like his wife minus the physical affection was the best he was ever going to get. He would take it gladly—it was better than the alternative of nothing at all.


Aaron had someone to come home to for the first time in decades and he loved it. He loved seeing traces of her in his house. Hearing her puttering around in the halls, eating her food, knowing she was less than a few rooms away at any given time even if he wasn\'t with her. It was so comforting.


"I believe you\'ll get there someday," he said sincerely.


Someone with her fire would pursue every possible avenue to the ends of the earth. Even if the technology wasn\'t available until after her time, he was sure that her research would be cited by whoever eventually found the cure.


He felt a little wistful. If only she loved him as much as she loved her brother.


She had once, enough to give up all her dreams for him. Living happily with him became her dream and it was never fulfilled. She hadn\'t been happy.


Aaron never should have taken her for granted. She didn\'t love him anymore and he deserved it. But that was okay. Having her around for the next six months would have to be enough to satisfy him for the rest of his life.


If he was lucky, she would be on good terms with him when she left and would stay in touch. It was part of why he was trying to be so friendly and amiable now.


She turned back and smiled at him. "Thanks." A thought occurred to her and her smile dropped. "Have you ever had tacos before?"


"Yes but they\'re probably nothing like the ones you\'re making."


The tacos he had were at a very high end Mexican restaurant in midtown Manhattan. They did not use ground beef, to say the least.


Aaron smirked, remembering something. "Don\'t you have a bad track record with tacos? Why are you making them?"


Keeley turned around to stick her tongue out at him before continuing to brown the meat. "These are vastly different than horribly greasy fast food tacos, thank you very much. Nobody\'s getting food poisoning this time."


"You\'ll owe me big time if that doesn\'t turn out to be the case."


She finished with the meat and set up a bunch of little bowls filled with a variety of toppings such as shredded cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream on the table. She then pulled out a bag of tortillas and placed it next to the meat before demonstrating how to fill your own taco.


He watched her carefully and followed her lead to the best of his ability but ended up overstuffing it so the tortilla ripped and he got all sorts of juices on his hands. Keeley cracked up and went to get him a paper towel. At least he could make her laugh.


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