Run, Girl (If You Can)

Chapter 19 - The Wrong Choice

Considering how much she wanted to put the past behind her, Keeley spent way too much time thinking about her ex-husband. It wasn't entirely her fault—if he wasn't so perplexing these days she wouldn't have given him a second thought.

No matter how strange he was acting she needed to forget about him. She had wasted more than enough time on that man already.

Leaning back in her chair to stretch, she realized that with all the Aaron drama going on it had been far too long since she did anything for herself.

She hadn't hung out with her friends since Valentine's Day and that was a memory she would prefer to forget. All that talk about living her second life to the fullest and she had been too stressed to enjoy anything!

Keeley tried to think of things she wanted to do that she never had a chance for in her previous life on the commute home.

Getting her PhD, working in a research lab, saving up to take her father on a trip to Europe...all of that was years away from being possible. For the life of her, she couldn't think of anything she wanted to do now as a senior in high school.

She supposed she could try to work on getting her driver's license to help pass the time. Her dad, unlike many of the people in her building, actually owned a car.

In her first life she hadn't bothered getting one until Aaron insisted when they were dating. He must have been ashamed of her for not knowing how to drive.

Not that many teens in New York City bothered to get a license because subways were so readily available. Keeley had no intention to leave since her father was there but she supposed it would be a useful skill to have if she ever needed to go on business trips. If she fulfilled her dream of becoming a world class researcher she wouldn't spend all of her time in the city...

She made up her mind to sign up for a driver's ed course when she got home but a large envelope on her doorstep sidetracked her. Keeley picked it up gingerly and nearly shrieked when she saw the insignia. Her NYU acceptance letter.

With all that was going on at school she nearly forgot this was coming! Her hand trembled as she remembered how excitement turned to regret the first time she opened this envelope.

"I got in, I got in, I got in!" she shrieked as she clutched the letter to her chest and danced around the living room.

NYU's acceptance rate that year was just under 30% so it was no small feat. Her dad would be so proud! Maybe he might even take her out for steak to celebrate. She couldn't wait to tell him!

Since he was working late on a project to build a new bridge, she called Aaron first. He picked up on the third ring. "Hello?"

"Aaron, guess what!!"


She pouted. "I told you to guess."

"Your dad won the lottery," he guessed flatly.

"Oh fine, I'll just tell you," she said impatiently. "I got into NYU, can you believe it?! There have been so many applicants that their acceptance rate has been dropping like crazy the past few years and they still want me!"

"What do you know; you're smarter than you look. Congratulations."

His cold tone held a hint of warmth that made Keeley's heart pound. His words indicated otherwise but she had observed him enough to tell he was impressed. Aaron could be funny like that.

"Thanks! I think. What about you, have you heard back from anywhere yet?"

She flopped onto the bed on her stomach and kicked her feet back and forth through the air as they talked.

"Yes, I'm going to Harvard. It's a family tradition."

Keeley's heart dropped to her stomach. "Oh. That's impressive. It's almost impossible to get in."

Boston was over four hours away from New York by car. Aaron was hard enough to schedule anything with as is and Harvard coursework was incredibly demanding. If they went to schools in different states their friendship as she knew it would end.

"I know," he replied simply.

Keeley wasn't sure how to reply to that. Wouldn't a 'thank you' be appropriate here? Before she could formulate a response Aaron had to go because it was time for dinner.

She lay on her bed conflicted for a very long time before pulling out another acceptance letter she received a few weeks ago. Boston University. It was one of her backup schools and had around a 50% acceptance rate. If she chose to go there, she could stay with Aaron.

Their relationship improved so much in the past month; sometimes she even thought he might like her back. She didn't want to let all that effort go to waste...but could she really give up her dream school for a relationship she wasn't even sure of?

The deadline to reply was in May so she still had several weeks left to make a decision. Keeley agonized over it until the day Aaron held her hand for the first time since the Valentines dance as they went to lunch at a cafe one Saturday. His happy little half-smile sealed the deal for her; she couldn't let him leave her behind.

It was the wrong choice. She shook her head at her past self's stupidity. Nothing would stand in the way of her dreams this time, especially not a worthless unrequited love.

Keeley texted her dad, Jeffrey, and Lydia to let them know about her triumph. As expected, her dad wasn't able to reply but the other two were thrilled.

'Girl, that's amazing! Since I got my scholarship approved for UC Berkeley last week we should go do something to celebrate'

'So lucky! I've only heard back from George Washington University so far and that's my backup' Jeffrey replied enviously.

He wanted to go to Columbia but their acceptance rate was almost as bad as Harvard's. His test scores and extracurriculars were top notch but that didn't mean much in the face of such intense nationwide competition.

'That's still a really good school,' she comforted before sending them both an invitation to go out for pizza and root beer floats.

'Tonight?' Lydia asked.

'Why not? My dad's working late and I'm not in the mood to be alone'

'Sure, I'll meet you at Reggie's in an hour and a half'

Jeffrey wasn't able to go on such short notice but Keeley said they could go get ice cream or something once he heard back from Columbia.

If he got in they could celebrate but if he didn't he could probably use a pick me up and ice cream was the tried and true method. Millions of girls everywhere didn't turn to Ben and Jerry's after breakups for nothing.

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