Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 269 - Winging It

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:22]
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Once Keeley was happily full of steak, she was tired from all the excitement and wanted to go home and take a nap. She didn\'t even make it all the way home, falling asleep in the car. Aaron carried her in princess-style because he didn\'t want to disturb her.


She woke up on the couch with Molly protectively curled up on top of her belly. The cats had been doing this sort of thing a lot lately. It was almost like they knew there were babies in there.


Another somewhat frivolous purchase she made with Aaron\'s credit card was laminating the index cards she used to practice her dissertation defense so she could go over them in the bathtub without the water ruining the ink. She was so sore and achy these days that it was totally worth the expense.


Aaron could hear her saying something and then correcting herself so it sounded better as he walked past the bathroom door. An involuntary smile appeared on his face. She was adorable.


When she finally got out of the bath she put on some Christmassy maternity pajamas she bought that were covered in snowmen. Unfortunately, she had been too busy to be very festive so far. The only thing she had done was put up the tree and a few other decorations in the living room.


Keeley hadn\'t even started making her Christmas cookies. She would have to go on a baking spree on Sunday. Her kitchen was bigger so it might be a better idea to invite her dad here than to go to his place like usual. They would have to clean thoroughly beforehand and keep the cats in another room though.


"You aren\'t going to be able to wear your reindeer pajamas this year," Aaron noted when he saw her walk into their bedroom.


"Nope," she said sadly. "But I still fully expect you to wear yours."


He shook his head at her indulgently. "Are you going to buy our kids matching pajamas too?"


"Of course! We\'re going to be the best dressed family Christmas morning has ever seen," she declared. Just like her family had been while her mom and Kaleb were alive.


He hummed contentedly at the reference to being a family. Then he frowned, thinking of something. "Is there anything in particular you want for Christmas this year?"


"My PhD," she joked before thinking about it more seriously.


There wasn\'t really anything she needed but was there anything she wanted? Aaron was already in the habit of buying her something anytime she so much as said it looked cool.


She thought back to their first Christmas being married in their last life. Of what he didn\'t do. She knew what she wanted now.


"I want you to put together a stocking for me with candy and nail polish and other little stuff like that."


Keeley had already set next to him on the bed by that point so he put his arm around her and held her close. "I can absolutely do that for you. But if you don\'t tell me what else you want I\'m going to have to wing it and you know I\'m not good at that."


She laughed. No he was not. "Alright, I\'ll come up with a list for you. What about you? What do you want?"


Aaron didn\'t even have to think about it. "I don\'t need anything but you."


Okay, that was pretty sweet. And cheesy. He had been like that more and more lately. Keeley reached up to caress his face and smiled softly.


"I guess I\'m winging it instead."


He kissed the top of her head. "You\'re a lot better at it than I am."


He shut off the light and they both crawled under the covers. She moved around even more than usual in her sleep because it was impossible to stay comfortable with her belly sticking out but they always started out cuddling. Aaron claimed that it helped him fall asleep.


He rested his arm on her stomach and snuggled closer happily. "I love you, Keeley."


She wished she could say it back and mean it. She had chosen to spend her life with him but it didn\'t mean she loved him. A bit of guilt weighed down on her heart every time he said it.


"Sweet dreams, Aaron."


===


"When are you defending your dissertation again?" Robert asked as he helped his daughter cut out sugar cookies.


"Wednesday," Aaron answered on behalf of his wife. He had heard her talk about it so many times he knew the time and place as well as she did.


"Thanks, Keeley," he said sarcastically before laughing. "I take it she\'s been stressing out nonstop?"


"Yep."


"I\'m right here!" Keeley protested, feeling put out that they were talking about her to her face. She pushed down on the cookie cutter with a little more force than necessary in her annoyance.


They had been like this ever since she got married. It was like they enjoyed teaming up to give her a hard time. Jerks.


She couldn\'t really begrudge them though. Robert had missed seeing his son grow up. Aaron\'s father was a horrible person. They sort of filled a void for each other. And she was glad they got along. It would make things much easier as the kids got older.


Her father had been absolutely thrilled to hear they were having twins. He was determined to be the best grandpa ever to them both. It warmed Keeley\'s heart seeing him so excited about something since he had been missing her mother more and more as time went on.


She scooped up the cut out cookie dough shapes and placed them on a cookie sheet to put in the oven. Now she had to roll the dough out yet again. It was a bit difficult getting close enough to the counter with her protruding stomach.


"Someone want to take over for a minute?" she asked in frustration.


"I\'ve got it," Aaron volunteered. "Um…how do you do this again?"


Keeley suppressed a smile. So eager to help even when he had no idea what he was doing. She explained it to him as he went. The final result wasn\'t bad and it only took him two tries to get there.


She stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek in thanks, not realizing that her dad was taking a picture until he showed it to her. It actually was a pretty good picture.


Both of them were covered in flour and Aaron was practically the heart eyes emoji. They looked like any other couple having fun. That made her happy.


If only they could have been like this all along. Then she wouldn\'t have to feel so conflicted even though everything was fine on the surface. Aaron, true to his word, was a great husband this time. So why wasn\'t she in love with him?


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