Home > All Your Perfects(21)

All Your Perfects(21)
Author: Colleen Hoover

“Did you get to hold him?”

“No,” Graham says. “He was sleeping the whole time I was there.”

I snap my eyes back to his. Why did he just lie to me?

It feels like the inside walls of my chest are being torched as I try to keep my emotions from surfacing but I can’t let go of his admission that he’s devastated he hasn’t become a father yet. Why does he stay?

I close the refrigerator door even though I haven’t cleaned out the side drawers. I need to get out of this room. I feel too much guilt when I look at him. “I’ll be up late tonight. I have a lot of work to catch up on in my office. Dinner’s in the microwave if you’re hungry.” I walk toward my office. Before I close the door all the way, I glance back into the kitchen.

Graham’s hands are pressed against the counter and his head is hanging between his shoulders. He stays like this for almost an entire minute, but then he pushes off the bar with force, as if he’s angry at something. Or someone.

Before I can close the door to my office, he looks in my direction. Our eyes meet. We stare at each other for a few seconds and it’s the first time I’ve ever felt like he was a complete stranger. I have absolutely no clue what he’s thinking right now.

This is the moment when I know I should ask him what he’s thinking. This is the moment when I should tell him what I’m thinking. This is the moment I should be honest with him and admit that maybe we should open that box.

But instead of being brave and finally speaking truth, I choke on my inner coward. I look away from him and close the door.

We resume the dance.

Chapter Thirteen

* * *

Then

Every minute I’ve spent with him today surprises me more than the last.

Every time he opens his mouth or smiles or touches me, all I can think is, “What would possess Sasha to cheat on this man with Ethan?”

Her trash, my treasure.

His childhood home is everything I imagined it would be. Full of laughter and stories and parents who look at him like he was sent straight from heaven. He’s the youngest of four kids and the only boy. I didn’t get to meet any of his sisters today because two of them live out of state and one of them had to cancel dinner.

Graham gets his looks from his father. His father is a solid man with sad eyes and a happy soul. His mother is petite. Shorter than me, but carries herself with a confidence even bigger than Graham’s.

She’s cautious of me. I can tell she wants to like me, but I can also tell she doesn’t want to see her son get his heart broken again. She must have liked Sasha at one point. She tries to pry about our “relationship” but Graham feeds her nothing but fiction.

“How long have you two been seeing each other?”

He puts his arm around my shoulders and says, “A while.”

A day.

“Has Graham met your parents yet, Quinn?”

Graham says, “A few times. They’re great.”

Never. And they’re terrible.

His mother smiles. “That’s nice. Where did you meet?”

“In my office building,” he says.

I don’t even know where he works.

Graham is having fun with this. Every time he makes up a story about us, I squeeze his leg or nudge him as I try to stifle my laughter. At one point, he tells his mother we met at a vending machine. He says, “Her Twizzlers were stuck in the machine, so I put a dollar in and bought Twizzlers so that hers would get unstuck. But you wouldn’t believe what happened.” He looks at me and urges me to finish the lie. “Tell them what happened next, Quinn.”

I squeeze his leg so hard he winces. “His Twizzlers got stuck in the machine, too.”

Graham laughs. “Can you believe it? Neither one of us got Twizzlers. So I took her to lunch in the food court and the rest is history.”

I have to bite my cheek to keep from laughing. Luckily, he was right about his mother’s food, so I spend most of the meal with my mouth full. His mother is an amazing cook.

When she goes to the kitchen to finish the pie, Graham says, “You want a tour of the house?”

I grab his hand as he leads me out of the dining room. As soon as we’re in private, I shove him in the chest. “You lied to your parents like twenty times in under an hour!”

He grabs my hands, pulling me to him. “But it was fun, wasn’t it?”

I can’t deny the smile that’s breaking through. “Yeah. It really was.”

Graham lowers his mouth to mine and kisses me. “You want a typical tour of a typical house or do you want to go to the basement and see my childhood bedroom?”

“That’s not even a question.”

He leads me to the basement and flips on the light. There’s a faded poster of the table of elements hanging on the wall of the stairwell. He flips on another light when we reach the bottom of the stairs, revealing a teenage boy’s bedroom that looks like it hasn’t been touched since he moved out. It’s like a secret portal straight into the mind of Graham Wells. I finally learned his last name over dinner.

“She refuses to redecorate it,” he says, walking backward into the room. “I still have to sleep in here when I visit.” He kicks at a basketball lying on the floor. It’s flat, so it barely rolls away from him. “I hate it. It reminds me of high school.”

“You didn’t like high school?”

He makes a quick gesture around the room. “I liked science and math more than I liked girls. Imagine what high school was like for me.”

His dresser is covered in science trophies and picture frames. Not a single sports award in sight. I pick up one of his family photos and bring it in closer for inspection. It’s a picture of Graham and his three older sisters. They all favor their mother heavily. And then there’s the lanky preteen with braces in the middle. “Wow.”

He’s standing right behind me now, looking over my shoulder. “I was the poster child for awkward phases.”

I place the picture back on the dresser. “You’d never know it now.”

Graham walks to his bed and takes a seat on the Star Wars comforter. He leans back on his hands and admires me as I continue to look around the room. “Did I already tell you how much I like that dress?”

I look down at my dress. I wasn’t prepared to meet the parents of a man I’m not even dating, so I didn’t have a whole lot of clean laundry. I chose a simple navy blue cotton dress and paired it with a white sweater. When I walked out of my bedroom before we left my apartment, Graham saluted me like I was in the navy. I immediately turned around to go change, but he grabbed me and told me I looked really beautiful.

“You did tell me that,” I say, leaning back on my heels.

His eyes drag up my legs, slowly. “I’m not gonna lie, though. I really wish you would have worn your scuba gear.”

“I’m never telling you my dreams again.”

Graham laughs and says, “You have to. Every day for as long as I know you.”

I smile and then spin around to read some of the awards on his wall. There are so many awards. “Are you smart?” I glance over at him. “Like really smart?”

He shrugs. “Just a little above average. A by-product of being a nerd. I had absolutely no game with the girls so I spent most of my time in here studying.”

I can’t tell if he’s kidding because if I had to guess what he was like in high school based off what I know about him now, I’d say he was the high school quarterback who dated the head cheerleader.

“Were you still a virgin when you graduated high school?”

He crinkles up his nose. “Sophomore in college. I was nineteen. Hell, I was eighteen before I even kissed a girl.” He leans forward, clasping his hands between his knees. “In fact, you’re the first girl I’ve ever brought down here.”

“No way. What about Sasha?”

“She came to dinner a few times, but I never showed her my old bedroom. I don’t know why.”

“Whatever. You probably tell that to all the girls you bring down here. Then you seduce them on your Star Wars comforter.”

“Open that top drawer,” he says. “I guarantee you there’s a condom in there that’s been there since I was sixteen.”

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