Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 88 - Was This Surprise Keeley Day Or What?[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:15:14]
Keeley was not in a good mood as she waited in front of the fake apartment building she had Aaron drop her off at before.
It was 9 AM on a Saturday, which would have been bad enough already, but she had overslept trying to get rid of her hangover and didn\'t have time to do any homework at all until after work.
She ended up working herself to the bone to turn everything in before it was due at midnight, not even having time to eat dinner. It all got finished but at a serious cost. Then she was awake until 3 AM because her sleep schedule was thrown off.
Stress + disturbed sleep + having to see her least favorite person = one grumpy Keeley.
She purposely dressed as casually as possible so he would be embarrassed to be seen with her. Aaron had always been ridiculously image conscious. It would serve him right.
Her hair was in two pigtails, displaying her cheap white star-shaped stud earrings for all the world to see and she wore a purple tee shirt printed with a swarm of monarch butterflies on it. Light wash jean shorts, mismatched patterned crew socks, a colorful beaded bracelet with a tiny wooden heart charm dangling from it, and a pair of bright yellow knock-off Converse All-Stars completed the look.
To top it all off, she had a Bugs Bunny adhesive bandage just below her knee because she accidentally cut herself shaving. Jennica bought them as a joke but they were all out of regular bandages so it was her only option.
She had been embarrassed about it at first but now she was grateful for the dumb-looking thing. Aaron would hate it.
A shiny black Mercedes pulled up to the curb and rolled down the passenger window for her to peer inside without being blocked by the tint. To her surprise, Aaron was actually driving the car. She hadn\'t seen him drive personally since they were back in Boston.
Another surprise was that he was unusually casual himself. She couldn\'t remember the last time she saw him wear jeans—mind you, they probably cost more than her dad\'s car, but still—and his nautical striped button-down shirt had short sleeves.
"Nice bandage," he said as she climbed into the car. There was a 99% chance he was being sarcastic so she chose to ignore it.
"So, where are we going? Some fancy breeder\'s place?"
Briefly, the corner of his mouth twitched. "No, my…friend…recommended Happy Paws Animal Rescue in Brooklyn."
Her jaw dropped. Aaron at an animal shelter? In Brooklyn? Was she in an episode of the Twilight Zone or what?
"…I\'ve walked by there before."
"Oh good, so you know where it is. I thought I might have to turn on the GPS."
Silence permeated the car for several minutes until Aaron spoke up again. "I didn\'t know you liked graphic tees."
She couldn\'t tell if he was making fun of her since his tone was monotonous as usual but answered sincerely anyway.
"You only ever saw me at school so you wouldn\'t have seen me wearing them. I usually don\'t wear them during the week now either because I\'m supposed to be professional as a doctoral student. Now they\'re at-home clothes or weekend-only clothes but I do like them. They\'re fun."
"Your whole outfit kind of screams \'fun\' today," he said with his little half-smirk.
He…liked it? Actually liked it. Or at the very least he found it amusing in some way. Unbelievable.
"Thanks, I think." Keeley was very, very confused.
The conversation died again for a while because she was still trying to process what on earth he just said to her. They were halfway to Brooklyn when she realized something urgent and spoke again.
"Wait!" she yelled, startling Aaron so much that he actually slammed on the brakes, causing the person behind them to honk angrily.
"What is it?"
"We should probably buy the cat stuff before we get the cat so it can be ready at your house," she said sheepishly. "Can you give me your phone to look up the nearest pet store? I don\'t have a data plan."
Wordlessly, he passed her his latest model iPhone and she saw that it was password locked. "What\'s the passcode?"
"Zero eight zero eight one zero," he said nonchalantly.
Both his lock and home screens were set to default pictures. How boring.
Keeley thought about her own phone. Molly was her background photo and a picture of her and her dad was the lock screen. Her roommates\' lock and home screens consisted of friends and family members as well.
Of course Aaron would use the defaults—he didn\'t have anybody that he actually valued.
He wasn\'t close with his parents and she didn\'t even think he had actual friends.
Though he did mention a friend told him about this animal shelter…what kind of person would he hang out with that had a rescue pet?
Keeley turned on the data and searched in Google Maps. There was a Pet Palace a mile away but would the great Aaron Hale be okay with shopping at a retail chain store?
"The closest one is Pet Palace, is that alright?"
Unexpected, but okay then. She instructed him to turn left at the next light, taking on the role of navigator once again.
When they arrived in the Pet Palace parking lot and stepped through the automatic sliding doors it was clear that Aaron was completely out of his element. Keeley stifled her urge to laugh and led him to the cat specific section.
"Okay, to start with you\'re going to need food and water dishes, a litter box, a scratching post, different types to toys to test what it likes best…" she looked around, trying to remember everything she bought when she first took Molly home.
Keeley turned to him reluctantly. "Do you want to pick things and then ask for my advice or am I sort of given free reign where you\'ll take all my suggestions? I\'ve never done anything like this before so I don\'t know what to expect."
"By all means, choose for me. I trust your superior judgment," he said seriously before standing back and putting his hands in his pockets.
Was this Surprise Keeley Day or what? He never asked her opinion on anything and now he wanted her to choose a bunch of stuff for him with no input whatsoever.
She shook away her jumbled thoughts and focused on picking things. The sooner she did, the sooner this favor would be over with.