Run, Girl (If You Can)

Chapter 38: His Downfall
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Chapter 38: His Downfall

Aaron rued the day he ever met Lacy Knighton.

He tolerated her presence for a few years because she was one of the least annoying people in their social circle. It was less of a chore being around her than it was being around the ones who only knew how to spend money without putting in the work.

The only reason he even hung out with anyone at lunch was to forge connections at his father's request with people that might be useful to him. Ha. Lacy wasn't useful to him at all. She was his downfall.

His father wouldn't think of it that way. After Lacy succeeded in killing the one person he truly valued, business boomed. That wasn't how Aaron measured success.

So many times he desperately thought about how he would have traded his entire empire to have Keeley back for even a day so he could tell her how sorry he was and that he loved her.

He woke up in his high school bedroom shortly before New Year's, only a few weeks before he was meant to meet Keeley for the first time.

He was surprised when he didn't see her at the basketball game initially but didn't think much of it since he knew the seating chart change was coming up.

Thinking about meeting her again was the only thing that kept him from leaping across the table in the cafeteria and strangling Lacy to death when she sat down across from him on his first day back in school.

Obviously things with Keeley hadn't gone as well as he expected. He still wanted to know why but he could tell they were making progress. She told off Lacy for him!

He was wearing her down so she didn't mind him being around so much. It was a very slow uphill battle that he wasn't sure he could win before graduation.

In his first life, for the longest time he had nothing but suspicions to go off of. He thought that if he kept Keeley away from Lacy, she would be safe.

By the time he realized she was working together with his father to attack his wife, his course of inaction and waiting to see where things would go as he figured out a plan already had severe consequences. He played along so well trying to thwart them that he played right into their hands.

Aaron wouldn't repeat his mistakes. He wouldn't humor Lacy for a single second after all she did.

He wanted to destroy her now but didn't have sufficient evidence or resources to do so. Her father was a powerful man and within the next couple years she would have his father on her side as well.

He needed to expose her before that happened. The angrier he made her now, the easier it would be for her to slip up. That was when he would take his chance to get her out of the way once and for all.

Perhaps he had been too rash. After all, if she followed through on her threat to go to his father now…if he found out about Keeley too soon…everything Aaron wanted to accomplish would be for naught.

There was too much to do and he didn't have nearly enough power yet.

It might be a good idea to start reaching out to some of his old business contacts early on if he wanted to usurp his father sooner and live his life in peace with the woman he loved.

After being humiliated in front of people Lacy saw as unworthy, he doubted she would try to approach him again anytime soon.

The same could not be said for Keeley. He had a bad feeling the obsessed woman was planning something but had no idea what.

Things were different this time. Lacy pulled petty high schooler tricks before because Aaron and Keeley were just friends. But now due to his own inability to keep himself in check, she saw them kissing so she knew something was going on.

Aaron concealed their relationship well; Lacy didn't know about it until she got a wedding invitation as part of the Hales' circle of acquaintances. She started acting more aggressively at that point.

He had a sinking feeling she was going to do something out of line before graduation and there was very little he could do about it other than watch and wait.

Watching and waiting was what ruined everything before! He had to keep Keeley safe this time no matter what.

It would be easier if she was by his side all the time but her resistance continued. After the day at the spa, she started pushing against him again.

He only had a few days left of their lunchtime deal and he didn't want their progress to backslide so he wouldn't resort to threats again even though he knew she would take the first opportunity to flee and he would hardly see her.

Aaron stood at the far end of the hallway and watched Keeley grab a few things from her locker, smile brightly at one of their classmates who waved to her, and practically skip out of the building.

What was she so happy about? And why didn't she ever show those kinds of expressions in front of him anymore?

Sometimes he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Keeley seemed tired, angry, scared, or otherwise upset most of the time when he was around. A far cry from how she used to act toward him in high school.

He missed her. He saw her pretty much every day but he missed the way she used to be. She was always so happy to have even a fraction of his time. She loved him and he blew it.

"…do you have a date yet?"

"Yeah, Daniel from science class asked me last week. I still need to find a dress and set up a hair and nails appointment. They're going to be booked with other people going to prom, I just know it!"

A couple of random students' conversation caught his attention. Prom.

His parents forced him to go with the daughter of one of their partners but he didn't care too much because Keeley wasn't going anyway. It was just another business thing to him without her there.

Prom fell on her birthday and since her friends had dates (they weren't willing to miss their senior prom), she celebrated with her dad.

He would much rather celebrate her birthday with her but even on the off chance she would allow that, his parents wouldn't. Unfortunately, he had to deal with them and their often ridiculous demands until he had enough power within the company to make his own decisions risk free.

If he couldn't spend her birthday with her, there had to be something he could do to prove he cared.

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