Run, Girl (If You Can)

Chapter 29 - I'm So Sorry For Your Loss

It had been almost twenty-seven years since the day Aaron lost his wife and he could remember that awful day as well as if it had been twenty-seven minutes ago.

He said such horrible things to get her to leave.

Lacy—and more importantly, the unidentified father of her baby—were after his assets and the title of Mrs. Hale in order to control him. Their methods were despicable.

They already took out Robert Hall to get to Keeley and he didn't have a shred of real proof to convict them. He hid his suspicions and tried getting closer to Lacy in the hopes that she would slip up and reveal something with limited success.

Aaron sent Keeley away intending to keep her safely out of the tangled web of corporate espionage and instead sent her straight to her death.

He was already stewing in regret over the things he said and the look on her face as she ran out crying when the phone call came.

"Hello, this is the NYPD. Am I speaking to a relative of Keeley Hale?"

Aaron's blood ran cold. Getting a call from a police officer was never a good thing.

"Yes, this is her…husband." Soon to be ex-husband but that didn't matter in the moment.

"Mr. Hale, I'm so sorry to tell you this but we need you to come down to the morgue. Identification belonging to Keeley Hale was found on the victim of a car accident earlier today and we would like your help identifying the body."

The phone fell out of his hand so abruptly that the screen cracked.

"Hello? Mr. Hale?" the voice came out of the speakers on top of the rug.

A car accident. Just like her father. No. It couldn't be. He would go down there and tell them they had the wrong person.

"I'm here," he said faintly as he picked up the damaged phone.

The police officer gave him the address and Aaron numbly headed out the front door. This wasn't real. It couldn't be real.

Keeley was going to come storming back into the house to tell him off for being a jerk any minute. Except she couldn't. Keeley was dead.

The cold, hard truth stared him in the face from beneath the plain white sheet in the morgue.

Keeley, once so beautiful and lively but worn away after years of social pressure and neglect, lay on a metal slab covered in contusions. He reached out toward her before promptly throwing up right onto the floor.

"It's her," he said shakily as he wiped his mouth. "How can it be her?"

The mortician mercifully pulled the sheet back over her head and hesitantly placed a hand on Aaron's shoulder. "I'm so sorry for your loss."

His loss? What about her loss? She was only thirty-one and so horribly unhappy. It was selfish of him to ever drag her into his problems in the first place.

Keeley would still be alive if she had loved someone else. His love destroyed her.

Aaron sobbed her name over and over. Keeley. Keeley. Look what they did to you. Look what I did to you.

Aaron wanted to die. But first he had to take Lacy, his father, and their accomplices down with him. It was a long road to revenge but eventually most of them got their just desserts.

To save herself, Lacy killed Max because he knew too much. She went to jail for homicide and spent the rest of her life there; eventually dying in a prison riot.

Alistair Hale was voted out of his own company due to incompetence and corruption charges and he died of a heart attack from all the stress.

Unfortunately, Aaron never found out how wide the web of corruption actually went. Any other accomplices, including the father of Lacy's child, disappeared into the woodwork once he took over Hale Investments and never showed their faces again.

He spent the rest of his life trying to forget everything he lost due to his own incompetence, focusing on building up the company.

The Hale legacy ended with him but he supposed it was fitting considering he couldn't keep his own wife or child safe.

He had to find them this time before they could hurt him or those he cared about. Right now the list was very short. Keeley. She was the only one he truly cared about because she had been the first person to genuinely care about him.

He wouldn't let go of those memories even if she hated him right now. There had to be a way to change her mind. Living without her warmth wasn't living at all.


Keeley's head was still reeling from what happened earlier. Aaron showed up at her house with a present in person! Her dad invited him for dinner! What on earth was going through that head of his?!

After he left, she checked the bags more thoroughly. There were enough supplies to fill a dozen scrapbooks.

Had he bought out an entire store's stock of colored paper and stickers?! She would never get through all of it.

She should have known that sketchy guy in the hood was Aaron listening in at lunchtime. But why would he go to all that effort? What was his game?

If it were anyone else, she might have even been touched. He was too clever.

With her dad there, she HAD to accept and use the gift to avoid arousing suspicion. Besides, she really didn't have money to replace the supplies he brought.

Keeley really hoped he wouldn't make a habit of this.

She felt a little bit guilty for how she treated him while he was there. Technically, Aaron hadn't done anything wrong yet aside from kiss her against her will and drag her places a couple of times.

He wouldn't understand why she was so hostile towards him and she couldn't exactly tell him it was because he ruined her life once. That wouldn't go over well.

Aaron right now was actually surprisingly nice but that didn't mean she would fall for his tricks. Once a scumbag, always a scumbag.

She couldn't forget how both her father's and her deaths were directly related to him or the eight progressively miserable years she spent as his wife.

If she let up on him now, he would see it as an opening and try to take further advantage of her. She had to fend him off until graduation and then she would be free forever.

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