Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 539 - A Father-Daughter Dance

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:18:07]
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Aaron didn\'t want to admit it, but he had been an emotional wreck from the moment he met up with his baby girl at the top of the aisle. He didn\'t cry through sheer force of will. Keeley started bawling during the ceremony and her tears were nearly contagious.


Once the first dance was over, a few faster paced songs were played so the couple had time to chat with people. Michael and Mandy were in the middle of telling the little group they stood in about their month-long honeymoon touring Europe when the next slow song came on and he excused himself.


A father-daughter dance hadn\'t been scheduled in the program but he wanted a few minutes alone with his little girl on her big day. Things were going to be different after this since she would have a family of her own that would take priority now.


"Mind if I borrow her for a moment?" Aaron asked Noah gruffly.


He handed her off cheerfully and went off in search of his mother so they could dance too. It had been decades since he had danced formally at a high society event but he still remembered the basics and was able to do more than move in an awkward circle.


Violet was surprised, to say the least. "Dad! I didn\'t know you could dance."


"I\'m a man of many talents," he said dryly.


Aaron didn\'t want to ruin the mood by explaining how and why he had learned how to ballroom dance. She was so happy right now and didn\'t need to be reminded of his negative past.


She simply smiled at him and his heart twanged. Violet really did look so much like her mother when she smiled, even though the rest of the time she resembled him more. Their little girl had grown into such a beautiful, wonderful young woman.


He couldn\'t believe the time had come to let her go. Unlike her brothers, she never had any real desire to branch out. She was perfectly content to stay at home with her parents where things were comfortable.


Sometimes Aaron had wondered if she would ever move on. He had wanted that for her—everyone had to leave the nest eventually—but now that she had, he felt the loss acutely.


They would still probably see each other a few times a month since they were in the same city but she wasn\'t a Hale anymore. As a married woman, her husband and eventual children would be her new priority.


He smiled softly at his daughter. "Be sure to visit us, okay Vi?"


She laughed lightly. "You\'re acting like I\'m moving away instead of getting married. We\'ll still be in and out of your house taking advantage of mom\'s cooking all the time."


Violet grew more serious as they continued waltzing around the floor. "I hope you know how much I appreciate you and Mom. You guys gave me the best childhood I could\'ve had and have loved me and supported me through all of my decisions.


"You especially…you didn\'t have good role models but you\'re still the most amazing father in the whole world. It couldn\'t have been easy for you but you didn\'t let your past hold you down. Thank you for that. I love you, Daddy."


It had been years since she had called him that; claiming it was too childish. But right now she was looking at him with the same amount of adoration she had when she was little.


Aaron hadn\'t told his children much about his past, not wanting to burden them. Violet knew the most because of all those questions she had asked about Michael when she was suspicious about their relationship so her praise meant the world to him.


Now he was in the most danger of crying that he had been all day. "I love you too, Vi."


At the end of the song, they hugged for a full minute before she went bouncing off back to her husband\'s side. A sense of satisfaction flooded through him. He had truly done it. The past was completely behind him, in more ways than one.


The last piece of the puzzle had fallen into place when he and his brother started mending their strained relationship. It had been awkward at first and he wasn\'t entirely sure he could trust the changes Michael claimed to be making.


But Mandy was an excellent influence on him. He had quit dealing with his contacts in the underworld cold turkey and had gone back to school to catch up on today\'s technology in hopes of getting back into app development.


With his false persona gone, he didn\'t seem nearly as sinister as he once did. Michael smiled much more since his wife came into his life and showed that he actually had a decent sense of humor that didn\'t involve laughing at other people\'s expense.


The real Michael Gray wasn\'t half bad. Spending time with him wasn\'t a chore anymore; it was something that Aaron actually looked forward to a little bit. Just like with any of his other friends.


Aaron rejoined the group he had left to dance with Violet and found that they were talking about the Nobel Prize award ceremony coming up in a few weeks.


"You should come with us," Keeley said. "Families of the laureates are all invited to the banquet and I don\'t have any relatives left outside Aaron and the kids. I\'m sure brothers-in-law count."


Michael seemed genuinely touched by the invitation. "We would love to be there. We don\'t have anything going on then, right Mandy?"


His wife shook her head. "The only thing we have going on in December is spending Christmas Day with Britt\'s family. They\'re with Jason\'s parents on Christmas Eve every year." Brittany nodded along to attest to what her mother was saying while still keeping an eye on her young son.


"You should come to our house then," Aaron contributed lightly. "Keeley always makes too many treats for us to possibly finish on our own anyway."


His brother grinned at him. "That would be great."


Aaron felt himself relaxing as he thought about how all of the people he cared about were happily forging ahead on the paths they had chosen. No one would ever control his children the way he had been controlled.


Not following in his father\'s footsteps had produced a ballerina, a baseball player, a rocket scientist, and a chef. Following their passions was much more important than inheriting the family business. Jeremy would do a great job keeping Hale Investments on top without having to burden his children.


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