Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 297 - Clearing the Air

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:33]
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Ryan Bradley couldn\'t believe what he was seeing. Keeley, her father, and that cheating ex-boyfriend of hers were walking around the park pushing a double stroller without a care in the world.

Twins? She had been pregnant with twins? The rings on their fingers told him that she had actually married the guy like Valentina said she would. Unbelievable.

He had thought she was smarter than this. No one sane would go back to somebody who had already hurt them once. What had happened to the strong, fiercely independent career woman he knew?

She had let herself get knocked up by someone she had sworn to avoid and now she was shackled to him forever. Such a shame. Another bright, brilliant, beautiful girl wasted her potential on a jerk.

Ryan wanted to talk to her and try to clear the air since things had ended badly the last time they talked but he didn\'t want to approach while her husband was there. The dude was a human blizzard and he valued his life.

Luckily for him, she left the little group to go to the bathrooms on the other side of the park. He made his way over there and waited for her to come out.

Surprise and displeasure mingled on her face when she saw him. What a warm welcome from an old friend.

"What are you doing here?"

"Parks in Brooklyn are less crowded than the ones in Manhattan. I wanted to enjoy the weather like anyone else," he explained. "Listen…can we talk for a minute? I feel bad about how things went last time."

Keeley crossed her arms over her chest and scowled. She looked exactly like he remembered her; had she really only given birth a few months ago?

"What, when you accused me of being a sugar baby and said my husband had a bunch of other women on the side? Or when you said you were surprised he let me keep the child at all?"

He winced. His words had been harsh that day. He was so confused and hurt by the news that he hadn\'t been thinking straight.

"I didn\'t really mean all that."

"Oh? Then what did you mean?" she asked frostily.

Someone had taken a page out of her husband\'s book. She normally wasn\'t like this even when she was angry. Aaron Hale had been a bad influence on her.

Ryan pushed that thought aside and tried to remain civil even though he hated the idea that the man had changed her.

"I was worried you were making a mistake. He had hurt you before and his family will never accept you. And don\'t lie and say they have; there would have been some sort of announcement if they did."

She snorted. "Some way to show your worry. I really don\'t have time for this; my family is waiting for me."

Keeley turned to go and he grabbed her arm. He hadn\'t finished saying what he wanted to say yet. All he wanted was some closure. They had been friends for a long time and he had cared about her deeply.

"I\'m done talking. Let me go," she said in a hard voice. She tried to shake him off but his grip grew tighter.

"Will you just listen to me? I\'m trying to apologize here!"

"Ryan, you\'re hurting me!"

"Sorry!" he let go immediately and she rubbed her wrist, giving him a contemptuous look.

"There really is nothing left to say. We were friends and now we\'re not. I have a family now and even if you hadn\'t been incredibly rude to me I still wouldn\'t be comfortable being friends with someone who was interested in me since I\'m married. It wouldn\'t be right."

"Do you love him?" Ryan blurted, unable to resist asking.

All this time he had wondered what it was about that guy that made her go back to him after he had thrown her away. The money? His good looks? He hadn\'t thought she was that shallow.

"I don\'t see how that\'s any of your business," Keeley said with narrowed eyes.

What a strange answer. Wouldn\'t the easy thing to do have been to say yes? Unless she wasn\'t actually in love with her husband…was she really in it for the money after all?

"What does that guy have that I don\'t? Why did you choose him?"

She raised her eyebrow. "What does he have that you don\'t? I\'ll tell you. Me."

She turned to go once again and smacked right into someone\'s chest. She looked up, ready to apologize, before smiling brightly at him with her heart in her eyes. "Aaron! I was right about to come back."

A dull pain settled in Ryan\'s chest. She had never once smiled at him like that even though she was a pretty smiley person.

Keeley\'s husband slung an arm around her shoulders and leaned toward Ryan. His posture was unmistakably threatening despite his casual air. He meant business.

"Who are you again? You look vaguely familiar."

"I\'m Keeley\'s frie—" he noticed her furious expression and changed his statement mid-word. "Former classmate, Ryan. We\'ve met."

"Oh right, you were at Cameron\'s wedding," Aaron said boredly, as if it couldn\'t possibly matter.

His nonchalance made Ryan angry. He knew this guy actually remembered him. You don\'t just go and forget someone who tried to make a move on your wife right in front of you before.

"We were just catching up," he said evenly. He refused to let this smug guy know he was getting a rise out of him.

Keeley scoffed. "Who was catching up? You gave me a non-apology for calling me a sugar baby the last time we met."

He didn\'t think she would tell the truth. Wasn\'t she embarrassed at all? Ryan realized he underestimated their relationship when the warm summer day suddenly felt like the middle of winter.

"He what," Aaron said in a deadly tone.

She shrugged. "He was pretty rude to me the day I met Gray. That wasn\'t even the worst thing he said. I don\'t know what I would have done if Gray hadn\'t showed up and helped me out."

The temperature dropped another fifteen degrees and Ryan shuddered. This man was terrifying. How exactly had she been able to smile so brightly at him a few minutes ago? What kind of crazy relationship did they have?

Keeley\'s husband pulled her closer as he stared straight into Ryan\'s soul with those cold, dark eyes.

"Listen here Bradley, no one and I mean NO ONE insults my wife. You think she was my sugar baby? You\'re an even bigger idiot than I thought. She is the light of my life and the mother of my beautiful children. My one and only. You can insult me all you want but leave her out of it."

He stood there petrified, barely able to nod his understanding as the temperature suddenly went back to normal. Aaron smiled gently at his wife, looking like a completely different person than the ice devil a moment ago.

"Your dad was talking about going to get ice cream. Do you want to go?"

She acted like nothing untoward had happened at all. "Ooh, yes! There\'s a great place not far from here with excellent rocky road…"

Keeley continued chatting lightheartedly with him as they walked away. His arm was still around her shoulders and hers was around his waist. He looked like any other man in love, gazing at her with an impossibly soft expression.

Ryan couldn\'t believe his eyes. That nutcase was in love with her after all.