Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 322 - The Spotlight

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:16:43]
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Keeley took Alice to a nearby nail salon that stayed open late since most closed earlier in the day. It wasn\'t as fancy as the ones she was used to but Keeley refused to step into that part of town because of all the bad memories. She didn\'t need the reminder of her former life.

Alice didn\'t seem to mind; she was just happy to be getting her nails done. For her, it was something familiar and comforting. Her manicure involved a mixture of matte and glossy burgundy nails with one pinkish gold sparkly accent nail per hand.

Keeley wasn\'t nearly so fancy. Her nails were all yellow except the accent nails, which were white with a lighter yellow heart on each. They were bright and fun; exactly the opposite of the kind of manicures she got in her first life.

Back then, her nails were much more subdued. They didn\'t suit her taste at all. But to maintain the image of the daughter-in-law of the Hale family, she had to get her nails done every other week.

The one time she had accidentally chipped some of her French manicure off Roslyn had been scandalized and sent her straight to the nail salon after chastising her thoroughly. You\'d think she had flashed someone in public rather than dared to go shopping with a single imperfect fingernail.

How had she ever been able to stand that kind of life? Especially now that she knew what it was like having a normal life with Aaron. She should have told him how unhappy she was. Knowing now how much he loved her back then, he probably would have done something about it.

There was no use thinking about that now. She was happy with her current life and that was what mattered.

"I needed this," Alice sighed contentedly. "Thank you."

"No problem! I\'m glad you\'re feeling a bit better. Once you have a job of your own you\'ll still be able to do things like this once a month if you budget for it."

Her face clouded over. "I don\'t know a thing about budgeting. I\'ve never had the need for it."

Ah, rich people. They were a different breed. Being born rich like Aaron and Alice was very different than becoming rich like Cameron and Jennica.

People who became rich later had a much greater appreciation of their money. Their roots stayed with them. They still knew how to budget; it was simply that the limits of their budget increased.

"I\'ll teach you," Keeley reassured her.

She had made through college in two different lifetimes on a rather limited income and had never been in debt. If anyone knew what they were doing budget-wise, she did.

"You\'re a lifesaver, Keeley," Alice said gratefully. "Thank you."

Keeley brushed off her gratitude. She was only doing what she wished someone would have done for her when she felt trapped all those years ago. She saw a lot of her younger self in Alice.

A woman in a sharp plum-colored pantsuit getting her nails done next to them turned their way in interest. "Keeley? As in Keeley Hale?"

This couldn\'t be good. Her voice was wary as she responded. "Why do you ask?"

"You\'re trending on Twitter, don\'t you know? Everyone is calling you Cinderella."

The woman held out her phone with her non-wet nails hand and showed a few of the posts. People were either praising her for ending up with one of the richest men in the city or calling her a gold digger. Oh brother.

Keeley sighed heavily. Well, she had known it would happen sooner or later. But who exactly ratted her out? And why did it take them a few weeks to get around to it?

"I\'m not Cinderella," she said flatly.

She had been in her first life; elevating her station by getting married to a rich and powerful man. But she definitely wasn\'t this time around. If anything, the situation was reversed. Were there any fairy tales where the prince went slumming?

The woman seemed unconvinced. "How are you not Cinderella? You married the prince of the financial world."

Keeley nearly snorted. That \'prince\' was probably pulling ridiculous faces to make their babies laugh as they spoke.

"Hate to burst your bubble, but Aaron isn\'t exactly princely. He\'s a relatively normal person."

She showed a couple of random candid shots she had taken of him that didn\'t exactly scream \'dignity\' to prove her point. "See? Normal. To me he\'s not the mighty Aaron Hale. He\'s just Aaron."

The woman\'s eyes nearly popped out of her head. "Is there really anything \'just\' about Aaron Hale?"

Ugh, this lady wasn\'t getting the point. Keeley wanted to finish up here and go home before she got swarmed by any more of the curious horde. This woman had recognized her by her rather unique name…but did people know her face too?

Alice spoke up in her defense. "He might be a brilliant businessman but outside the office and around his family he\'s like anyone else."

"Speaking of family…is it true he kicked his father out of the company for you?" the woman persisted.

"I came here to get my nails done, not be interrogated."

Keeley quickly asked if she could use the machine to dry her nails faster so they could leave. Her manicure took slightly longer than Alice\'s because of the extra layers.

The manicurist, who had been listening raptly to the exchange between the customers, nodded and led the way. Keeley dried her nails, paid, and walked out the front door surrounded by tangible dignity with Alice in tow.

Apparently people did know her face because she got swarmed out on the sidewalk too. She felt like she was being physically hammered by their questions.

"Is that the woman from Twitter?"

"How did you end up married to the most eligible bachelor in the city?"

"Have you met your secret brother-in-law? What does Aaron think about the news?"

"Did you get pregnant on purpose to trick your husband into marrying you?"

"What happened to Bethany Carlisle?"

Back when Keeley\'s original engagement had been announced, she got a lot of questions too but they hadn\'t been quite so vicious. The spotlight had been shining on the Hales for weeks so it made sense but that didn\'t make it any easier to deal with.