Home > All Your Perfects(23)

All Your Perfects(23)
Author: Colleen Hoover

We make it up two steps before I realize I haven’t looked in a mirror. I just had sex with this man and I’m about to have to go smile at his parents. I frantically comb my fingers through my hair and straighten out my dress. “How do I look?”

Graham smiles. “Like you just had sex.”

I try to shove him in the chest, but he’s faster than me. He grabs my hands and turns us until my back is against the wall of the stairwell. He straightens out a few strands of hair and then wipes his thumbs under my eyes. “There,” he says. “You look beautiful. And innocent, like you just took a typical tour of the house.” He kisses me again and I know he probably means for it to be short and sweet, but I grab his head and pull him closer. I can’t get enough of the taste of him. I just want to be back at my apartment, in my bed with him, kissing him. I don’t want to have to go upstairs and pretend I want pie when all I want is Graham.

“Quinn,” he whispers, grabbing my wrists and pushing them against the wall. “How fast do you think you can eat a slice of pie?”

It’s good to know our priorities are aligned. “Pretty damn fast.”

Chapter Fourteen

* * *

Now

Despite all the Thursday nights that Graham has returned home smelling like beer, I’ve never actually seen him drunk. I think he chooses not to drink more than one or two beers at a time because he’s still so full of guilt over losing his best friend, Tanner, all those years ago. The feeling of being drunk probably reminds him of his devastation. Much like how sex reminds me of my devastation.

I wonder what he’s devastated about tonight?

This is the first time he’s ever had to be escorted home by a coworker on a Thursday night. I watch from the window as Graham stumbles toward the front door, one arm thrown haphazardly around a guy who is struggling to get him to the house.

I move to the front door and unlock it. As soon as I open it, Graham looks up and smiles widely at me. “Quinn!”

He waves toward me; turning his head to the guy he’s with. “Quinn, this is my good friend Morris. He’s my good friend.”

Morris nods apologetically.

“Thanks for getting him home,” I say. I reach out and pull Graham from him, wrapping his arm around my shoulders. “Where is his car?”

Morris throws a thumb over his shoulder, just as Graham’s car pulls into the driveway. Another of Graham’s coworkers steps out of the car. I recognize him from Graham’s office. I think his name is Bradley.

Bradley walks toward the front door while Graham puts both arms around me, placing even more of his weight on me. Bradley hands me the keys and laughs.

“First time we could get him to drink more than two,” he says, nudging his head toward Graham. “He’s good at a lot of things, but the man can’t hold his alcohol.”

Morris laughs. “Lightweight.” They both wave goodbye and walk toward Morris’s car. I step into the house with Graham and close the front door.

“I was gonna take a cab,” Graham mutters. He releases me and walks toward the living room, falling onto the sofa. I would laugh and find this humorous if I weren’t so worried that the reason he decided to drink too much tonight might have something to do with how upset he was after holding his new nephew. Or maybe it’s his feelings about our marriage as a whole that he wanted to numb for a while.

I walk to the kitchen to get him a glass of water. When I take it back to him in the living room, he’s sitting up on the couch. I hand him the water, noticing how different his eyes look. He’s smiling at me as he takes a sip. He hasn’t looked this happy or content in a very long time. Seeing him drunk makes me realize just how sad he looks now when he’s sober. I didn’t notice his sadness consumed him even more than it used to. I probably didn’t notice because sadness is like a spiderweb. You don’t see it until you’re caught up in it, and then you have to claw at yourself to try to break free.

I wonder how long Graham has been trying to break free. I stopped trying years ago. I just let the web consume me.

“Quinn,” Graham says, letting his head fall back against the couch. “You are so fucking beautiful.” His eyes scroll down my body and then stop at my hand. He wraps his fingers around my wrist and pulls me to him. I’m stiff. I don’t give in to the pull. I wish he were drunk enough that he would pass out on the couch. Instead, he’s just drunk enough to forget he hasn’t initiated sex since that night he slept in the guest room. He’s just drunk enough to pretend we haven’t been struggling as much as we have.

Graham leans forward and grabs me by my waist, pulling me down onto the couch next to him. His kiss is inebriated and fluid as he pushes me onto my back. My arms are above my head and his tongue is in my mouth and he tastes so good that I forget to be turned off by him for a moment. That moment turns into two and soon he has my T-shirt pushed up around my waist and his pants undone. Every time I open my eyes and look at him, he’s looking back at me with eyes so different from my own. So far from the despondence I’ve permanently acquired.

The lack of sadness in him is intriguing enough for me to let him have me, but not intriguing enough for me to respond to him with as much need as he’s taking me.

In the beginning of our marriage, we used to have sex almost daily, but Thursdays were the day I looked forward to the most. It was one of my favorite nights of the week. I’d put on lingerie and wait for him in the bedroom. Sometimes I would throw on one of his T-shirts and wait for him in the kitchen. It really didn’t matter what I was wearing. He’d walk in the door and I’d suddenly not be wearing it anymore.

We’ve had so much sex in our marriage, I know every inch of his body. I know every sound he makes and what those sounds mean. I know that he likes to be on top the most, but he’s never minded when I wanted to take over. I know he likes to keep his eyes open. I know that he loves to kiss during sex. I know that he likes it in the mornings but prefers it late at night. I know everything there is to know about him sexually.

Yet in the last two months . . . we haven’t had sex at all. The closest we’ve come until now is when he made out with me in the bathroom at his parents’ house.

He hasn’t initiated it since then and neither have I. And we haven’t talked about the last time we had sex since it happened. I haven’t had to keep up with my ovulation cycle since then and honestly it’s been a big relief. After finally going a couple of months without tracking my cycle, I realize how much I would prefer never having sex again. That way, every month when my period comes, it would be completely expected and not at all devastating.

I try to reconcile my need to avoid sex with my need for Graham. Just because I don’t desire sex doesn’t mean I don’t desire him. I’ve just forced it to be a different kind of desire now. An emotional one. It’s my physical desires that never end well. I desire his touch, but if I allow it, it leads to sex. I desire his kiss, but if I kiss him too much, it leads to sex. I desire his flirtatious side, but if I enjoy it too much, it leads to sex.

I want so much to enjoy my husband without the one thing I know he needs the most and the one thing I want the least. But he makes so many sacrifices for me; I know I should sometimes do the same for him. I just wish sex wasn’t a sacrifice for me.

But it is. And it’s one I decide to make for him tonight. It’s been too long, and he’s been way too patient.

I lift one leg over the back of the couch and lower one to the floor, just as he pushes into me. His warm breath rolls down my throat as he thrusts into me repeatedly.

Today is the thirteenth.

What is fourteen days from today?

“Quinn,” he whispers, his lips barely touching mine. I keep my eyes closed and my body limp, allowing him to use me to fuck the drunkenness out of himself. “Kiss me, Quinn.”

I open my mouth but keep my eyes closed. My arms are resting loosely above my head and I’m counting on my fingers how many days it’s been since I last had a period. Am I even ovulating? I’m almost finished counting when Graham grabs my right hand and wraps it around his neck. He buries his face into my hair while gripping one of my legs, wrapping it around his waist.

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