Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 459 - Catching Up[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:17:36]
"I like what you did with the place," Gray said mildly. "You stayed true to the integrity of the original."
"Thanks," Aaron replied gruffly.
He didn\'t do this looking for thanks. He only cared about maintaining his brotherly image so whatever the man had been planning in prison wouldn\'t come back to bite him later on.
Keeley knew what her husband was thinking because of how much he had complained while hiring people to take care of the disaster of an apartment for him. She figured it would be best to get this lunch over and done with as soon as possible.
Kaleb was still hanging out at home and was curious why they both took the day off. They brushed him off by saying there was an errand they had to run together that could only be done during the week. He bought it easily enough and returned to watching football in his pajamas, completely unbothered.
"Shall we go get sushi now?" Keeley asked sweetly.
"An excellent idea," Gray replied as he strode back toward the elevator.
He had needed to talk to the doorman downstairs because they had changed their elevator in the time he was gone and his key was no longer valid. After showing his ID as proof that he owned the penthouse the doorman gave him the new one.
They made their way to a popular sushi place that opened up a few years ago and told Gray he could order whatever he wanted. He hadn\'t had sushi since before he went to prison and Japanese food used to be his favorite.
As they waited for the food to arrive, the topic inevitably turned to their children. Keeley inwardly sighed. This would be a tricky topic to navigate. Keeping the details simple would be best. At least Aaron knew that already, since he took this one.
"Kaleb is the pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. He\'s enjoying the beginning of the off-season by relaxing. Violet is a part of the New York City Ballet. Her new show opens next week and she\'ll be dancing the main role. Oliver is studying mechanical engineering at your old alma mater. He wants to work for NASA. And Nathan is in culinary school."
He had avoided talking about his children for the most part over the years because he felt uncomfortable sharing too much information. He would say things involving everyone, such as when they all went on vacation, but avoided giving personal details.
But that was unavoidable now. All he needed to do was get the words out. Aaron took a deep breath before speaking again.
"Gray…I truly mean no offense but I hope you won\'t tell my kids you\'re their uncle. I don\'t want them knowing they\'re related to a murderer."
Gray actually laughed. That wasn\'t the reaction Aaron or Keeley had been expecting.
"You think too lowly of me, baby brother! I guessed as much before I even got arrested. I\'m truly not offended. I struggled knowing I was related to a murderer for most of my childhood; I wouldn\'t upset the equilibrium of their delicate little worlds."
He waved his hand dismissively. "I\'ve already thought of a solution. I was planning on going back to my original name anyway. Nobody knows who Michael Gray is; all of the publicity surrounding the murder was with my alias. Since I look much older nobody will make the connection."
The Hales exchanged a glance. They hadn\'t seen this coming. He actually wanted to be involved in their children\'s lives now? He hadn\'t been terribly interested in the twins as babies.
Exactly how much did he want to be involved anyway? The kids already knew who all of their parents\' friends were. It would be suspicious if they suddenly introduced somebody new who started coming to family events.
"Why not take things slow," Keeley suggested. "You could go see Violet\'s new show when it comes out. She always has visitors opening night so she would probably appreciate someone coming to one of the matinees."
The dancers always came out to do meet and greets with the fans after the show was over. She would be safe since there would be so many witnesses. Meeting in public seemed like the best option right now.
"Excellent suggestion, Keeley," Gray said in his usual debonair voice. "I might go ahead and do that."
She was relieved. At least he wasn\'t being too pushy about coming over to their house. Then again, he had only visited a handful of times before he went to prison. It wasn\'t like they were terribly close anyway.
He may want to maintain a connection with the only family he had but he wasn\'t a family oriented person. Back then Gray hadn\'t wanted to be involved in the minutiae of daily life because he didn\'t know a thing about babies.
It might be different though now that the kids were grown. Keeley really hoped not. She wished he would keep his distance as much as possible.
"So, what are your plans now?" she asked, changing the subject.
"Catching up on everything I missed, first and foremost. Movies…music…technology. I imagine it\'s changed quite a bit," Gray replied casually.
That much was true. Smartphones now had the ability to display holograms and hands-off tech that connected to them was much more common. The phone merely had to be in the vicinity to make them work.
Virtual reality games were also the most common video games these days. The Hale boys had gotten really into them because all you needed was a headset. No controllers were required.
For someone who used to be at the cutting edge of technology, it would probably be a rough transition for Gray as he found out everything he missed. Keeley actually felt a little sorry for him.
"That\'s a good idea," she said lamely.
She was spared from having to say anything else because the food arrived. Well, this little lunch could have gone a lot worse. Aaron was obviously not enjoying it but she couldn\'t tell what he was actually thinking. She would have to ask him when they were alone.
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