Keeley's confusion was at an all-time high. She tried to mesh her memories of Aaron with the way he was acting now and nothing added up.
A sonnet about Star Wars…she nearly forgot herself when she heard that. It was possibly the silliest thing she had ever heard come out of his mouth.
If things were different, it might have made her fall for him, but she would never fall into that trap again.
Aaron rejected her constantly in the beginning—her attempts at conversation, her invitations to hang out, basically anything that came out of her mouth got shot down.
She kept smiling and poking and prodding as she tried to figure out what was hidden beneath that cold exterior. She should have realized that underneath that layer of ice…was more ice. He was frozen to the very core.
Why was she so stupidly persistent back then? She should have given up after the second, third, tenth rejection and moved on with her life instead of getting stuck on the man for over twelve years.
Any tiny response from him was encouraging and she took it as a sign that he was opening up to her. Ha. He never truly opened up to her at all.
Unasked for, memories of how they officially began dating filled her mind.
It was Christmastime in Boston during their freshman year of college. Aaron's schedule was all over the place so even though she texted him daily they hardly ever saw each other.
That particular day he agreed to meet up with her downtown—he never wanted her anywhere near his campus. Harvard people were too good for the likes of a simple girl in love with the wrong man.
"Aaron!" Keeley yelled as she madly waved to get his attention from across the street.
He spotted her and walked over with a brooding expression on his face. "Your hat looks ridiculous," he said with a flick to the giant pompom that topped her crocheted beanie with little foxes on it.
"So, what did you call me here for?" Aaron looked as cold and detached as ever, as if he couldn't be bothered to show up but did anyway on a whim.
"Looking at the lights and getting cannolis! Haven't you seen how beautifully everything has been decorated downtown the past few weeks? It's so much prettier at night," she said excitedly.
"It's also a lot colder at night," he pointed out. "These things are already fairly visible in the day. I don't see what is so special about them."
Keeley stuck her tongue out at him. "Spoilsport! Come on, there's bound to be something here you like. Let's go."
She reached for his gloved hand and pulled him along to go see the lights and one of the several gigantic trees dotted throughout the city.
Aaron let her do it without further comment, staying silent as she oohed and ahhed pointing out various decorations.
When they reached the towering tree, she stared up at it in awe with shining eyes and eventually turned to him to see his reaction.
He had his little smirk on—the one meaning he was happy. He had been doing it around her more often lately, which was encouraging. It was different from his usual politely detached business smile reserved for people he thought were beneath him.
Her breath caught in her throat as he looked at her. Keeley had the vague idea that she was somehow special to him.
Maybe the time had come for her to act on her feelings. She tested the waters a bit when they waited in line outside the cannoli shop in the frigid wind, purposely not hiding her shudders.
Nothing. He wasn't looking at her and was sending off death vibes to the passersby who kept brushing him. She almost laughed. Clearly someone wasn't used to waiting in line like everybody else.
It wasn't until somebody bumped her so she stumbled into him that Aaron reacted.
"Watch it!" he shouted, terrifying the culprit.
He pulled Keeley in front of him and wrapped his arms around her. "Stop shivering, you're making me cold just looking at you."
It wasn't much but she savored the feeling of being in his arms, not feeling a bit of cold before they made it inside the shop.
There weren't enough seats in the overcrowded space once they had their wares so they took the pastry bag back to the car left in the nearest parking lot.
Aaron's arm was still around Keeley's back as they walked. He claimed that it kept him warmer, which made her want to laugh. Sure, Aaron. No hidden motives whatsoever.
Back in the car, he cranked up the heater and they ate in the parked car. She grinned at him with a bit of cannoli cream on the side of her mouth.
"Aren't you glad I dragged you out today? It's worth braving the wind just for this."
"Yeah," he said simply.
"So when are you going home for the break?"
"The day after finals. My family is hosting a big Christmas party this year for all of their business contacts."
"That doesn't sound very fun," Keeley mused. "Are you at least going to do something fun for New Year's Eve?"
Aaron shook his head. "No, I have a party then too."
"Oh." She deflated a little. "I was sort of hoping I could see you then. I want the first person I see in the New Year to be you."
Surprise flitted across his dark eyes. "Why does that matter?"
Her cheeks turned pink. "Ah, well, haven't you heard the superstition about how the first person you see in the New Year sets the tone for the whole year?"
"…is this that kissing at midnight tradition?"
"Um, yeah. Yeah it is."
"You could always come to the party with me," he suggested nonchalantly. "I'm supposed to have a female companion. I could get you a dress."
"Really?!" she blurted before looking away in embarrassment.
Did this mean he wanted to kiss her? He never invited her to do anything in his social circle before. He must like her! She couldn't see Aaron as the type to kiss just anybody
"I mean, that would be great. I'd love to go."