"Come on," Aaron commanded, releasing her backpack handle but wrapping an arm around her shoulders so she couldn't wriggle free as easily.
She struggled against him all the way to the front gate of the school to no avail. He practically tossed her into the back seat of his limo and ordered the driver to go to an address she didn't recognize.
"Where are we going?" Keeley asked suddenly, anger and nerves battling for dominance inside her muddled head.
"You'll see when we get there," he said before going silent for the rest of the ride just like last time.
"A chocolate shop?" She shook her head in disbelief.
This wasn't any chocolate shop either. It was the most expensive one on Madison Avenue. Keeley went to it exactly once when shopping with some other socialites in order to forge connections for her husband in her past life.
Everything tasted fantastic but one tiny bonbon cost about ten dollars. Assorted chocolate boxes here went up to the hundreds.
"What do you want?" Aaron asked coolly, pulling out his wallet.
"There's no way I could eat something so expensive," Keeley stammered.
What on earth was he doing? He dragged her halfway across the city for sky-high priced chocolate…why? Because she cried? Impossible. Aaron never cared for her like that even during the better days of their relationship.
"Pick something or I will," he said sternly.
"One medium box of assorted chocolates and a small bag of chocolate covered oranges."
He ignored her completely and held out his gold card to the cashier. It was amazing that he had such a high credit limit while he was still in high school.
Keeley felt a bit faint when she glanced up at the menu and saw that Aaron just bought $137 worth of chocolate on a whim. If her friends had any idea of this, they would flip.
Buying a $1.50 candy bar from a vending machine was usually too much for their budgets. Even Keeley couldn't remember the last time she had enough spare change for a Snickers.
"Eat," he said as he directed her to a chair at one of the cute little ornately carved metal tables near the front window of the shop.
"Why—" Keeley cut herself off. There was no point trying to reason with a madman.
If he wanted to spend a ridiculous amount of money on chocolate for her, it wasn't worth arguing. Besides, it was delicious. She felt herself abandoning her principles as she savored the smooth, creamy goodness of the fillings inside the chocolates.
She tried to gauge Aaron's mood—she had devoted years of her life to it after all—but was puzzled. He seemed…happy.
He wasn't the type to smile much but his icy demeanor had melted a little as he thoughtfully chewed on a chocolate-covered orange slice. Maybe he wanted an excuse to get chocolate for himself and happened to drag her along because he wanted her to be impressed.
That made the most sense. Other students in school practically rolled out the red carpet for Aaron wherever he went. He wanted Keeley to idolize him like everyone else.
What better way to do that was there than flaunting his wealth? Well, she wouldn't fall for it. Too many years had already been wasted on that lowlife.
"This is the best chocolate in Manhattan," he said suddenly, startling her out of her thoughts.
"Yeah, it's delicious," she agreed easily.
He was showing off again but she couldn't deny that it was the best chocolate she ever had, in or out of Manhattan.
She thanked him reluctantly. Keeley knew how to mind her manners even though she hated him to the core.
"I'm glad you like it."
What?! This iceberg cared about what she thought?! Since when! Her opinions stopped mattering to him before they even got married in her last life. He had to just be saying that.
Aaron Hale was an existence that was beholden to no one. He didn't care about a single person who couldn't benefit him in some way.
Even Lacy…when he talked about the divorce he never specifically said that he loved her, only that she was pregnant. Keeley wasn't sure if he was even capable of love.
She sighed wearily, not wanting to beat around the bush any longer. Whatever interest he had in her right now had to be nipped in the bud and that wouldn't happen if she wasn't certain of his motives.
"Aaron, why did you bring me here? I don't understand."
His cool demeanor shifted slightly. Was he nervous? "I don't need a reason to do anything."
Right. Keeley's earlier belief that he wanted her to fall down and worship at his feet strengthened. Apparently he didn't need a deeper motive than that.
"Whatever. Thanks again for the treat but I really do need to get home. My dad will be worried about me."
He flinched slightly at the mention of Keeley's father but she didn't notice since she was rummaging through her bag for her phone in order to check the time. It was so late already?!
She said goodbye as politely as she could before rushing out the door to the nearest subway station, leaving the remaining chocolates behind. Who knows where he would take her if she got back in his car!
Aaron rested his head on his hand and laughed slightly to himself as he watched her bolt away. His Keeley was being so resistant.
He didn't understand why, since she was always the one running to him before and he had to push her away to keep her safe.
She had to love him in this life. He would do anything to make that happen, even if he had to turn her entire world upside down. He didn't care if she resented him for it.
This time, he wouldn't let Lacy's scheming get in the way. Keeley would stay by his side if he spoiled her so much that no other man could ever compare to him. He could deal with the Knightons and his father later.