Home > All Your Perfects(24)

All Your Perfects(24)
Author: Colleen Hoover

I’m not.

I’m five days past ovulation.

I sigh heavily; disappointed that there won’t even be a chance this leads to anything. It’s difficult enough bringing myself to make love at all anymore, so the fact that this time doesn’t even count fills me with regret. Why couldn’t this have happened last week, instead?

Graham pauses above me. I wait for his release, but nothing about him tenses. He just pulls his face away from my hair and looks down at me. His eyebrows are drawn together and he shakes his head, but then drops his face to my neck again, thrusting against me. “Can’t you at least pretend you still want me? Sometimes I feel like I’m making love to a corpse.”

His own words make him pause.

Tears are falling down my cheeks when he pulls out of me with regret.

His breath is hot against my neck, but this time I hate the way it feels. The way it smells just like the beer that gave him the uninhibited nerve to say those words to me. “Get off me.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

I press my hands against his chest, ignoring the immediate and intense regret in his voice. “Get the fuck off me.”

He rolls onto his side, grabbing my shoulder, attempting to roll me toward him. “Quinn, I didn’t mean it. I’m drunk, I’m sorry . . .”

I push off the couch and practically run out of the living room without entertaining his apologies. I go straight to the shower and wash him out of me while I let the water wash away my tears.

“Can’t you at least pretend you still want me?”

I squeeze my eyes shut as the mortification rolls through me.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m making love to a corpse.”

I swipe angrily at my tears. Of course he feels like he’s making love to a corpse. It’s because he is. I haven’t felt alive inside in years. I’ve slowly been rotting away, and that rot is now eating at my marriage to the point that I can no longer hide it.

And Graham can no longer stand it.

When I finish in the shower, I expect to find him in our bed, but he isn’t there. He’s probably so drunk; he just passed out on the sofa. As angry as I am at him for saying what he said, I also feel enough compassion to check on him and make sure he’s okay.

When I walk through the dark kitchen toward the living room, I don’t even see him standing at the counter until I pass him and he grabs my arm. I gasp from the unexpectedness of it.

I look up at him, ready to yell at him, but I can’t. It’s hard to yell at someone for speaking their truth. The moon is casting just enough light into the windows and I can see the sadness has returned to his eyes. He doesn’t say anything. He just pulls me to him and holds me.

No . . . he clings to me.

The back of my T-shirt is clenched into two solid fists as he tightens his grip around me. I can feel his regret for allowing those words to slip from his mouth, but he doesn’t tell me he’s sorry again. He just holds me in silence because he knows at this point, an apology is futile. Apologies are good for admitting regret, but they do very little in removing the truth from the actions that caused the regret.

I allow him to hold me until my hurt feelings put a wedge between us. I pull away and look down at my feet for a moment, wondering if I want to say anything to him. Wondering if he’s going to say anything to me. When the room remains silent, I turn and walk to our bedroom. He follows me, but all we do is crawl into bed, turn our backs toward each other and avoid the inevitable.

Chapter Fifteen

* * *

Then

I ate the slice of pie in five bites.

Graham’s parents seemed a little confused by our hasty exit. He told his mother we had tickets to a fireworks show and we needed to go before we missed the grand finale. I was relieved she didn’t catch the metaphorical part of his lie.

We do very little speaking on the way home. Graham says he likes to drive with the windows down at night. He turns the music up and grabs my hand, holding it all the way back to my place.

When we reach my apartment, I open the door and make it halfway across the living room before I realize he hasn’t followed me inside. I turn around and he’s leaning against the frame of the door like he has no intention of coming in.

There’s a look of concern in his eye, so I walk back to the door. “Are you okay?”

He nods, but his nod is unconvincing. His eyes flitter around the room and then lock on mine with way too much seriousness. I was getting used to the playful, sarcastic side of Graham. Now the intense, serious side has reappeared.

Graham pushes off the door and runs a hand through his hair. “Maybe this is . . . too much. Too fast.”

Heat immediately rises to my cheeks, but not the good kind of heat. It’s the kind when you get so angry, your chest burns. “Are you kidding me? You’re the one who forced me to meet your parents before I even knew your last name.” I press a hand to my forehead, completely blown away that he decides to back down now. After he fucks me. I laugh incredulously at my own stupidity. “This is unreal.”

I step back to close the door, but he steps forward and pushes it open, pulling me to him by my waist. “No,” he says, shaking his head adamantly. “No.” He kisses me, but pulls back before I would even have the chance to deny him. “It’s just . . . God, I feel like I can’t even find words right now.” His head falls back like he can’t figure out how to process his confusion. He releases me and steps out into the hallway. He starts pacing back and forth while he gathers his thoughts. He looks just as torn as he did the first time I saw him. He was pacing then, too, outside of Ethan’s door.

Graham takes a step toward me, gripping the doorframe. “We’ve spent one day together, Quinn. One. It’s been perfect and fun and you are so beautiful. I want to pick you up and carry you to your bed and stay inside you all night and tomorrow and the next day and it’s . . .” He runs a hand through his unruly hair and then grips the back of his neck. “It’s making my head swim and I feel like if I don’t back off now, I’m gonna be real disappointed when I find out you don’t feel the same way.”

I take at least ten seconds to catch up to everything he just said. My mouth opens and before I can tell him he’s right, that it’s too soon and too fast, I say, “I know what you mean. It’s terrifying.”

He steps closer. “It is.”

“Have you ever felt like this before? This fast?”

“Never. Not even close.”

“Me neither.”

He slips his hand against my neck and slides his fingers through my hair. His other hand presses against my lower back as he pulls me to him. He asks the question in a whisper against my lips. “Do you want me to leave?”

I answer him with a kiss.

Everything that happens next isn’t questioned by either of us. There’s no second-guessing as he kicks my door shut. No worrying if this is too fast when we tear away each other’s clothes. Neither of us hesitates on the way to my bedroom.

And for the next hour, the only question he asks me is, “Do you want to be on top now?”

He only needs my answer once, but I say yes at least five times before we’re finished.

Now he’s lying on his back and I’m wrapped around him like there’s not two feet of mattress on either side of us. My legs are intertwined with his and my hand is tracing circles over his chest. We’ve been mostly quiet since we finished, but not because we don’t have anything to say. I think we’re just reflecting on what life was like two days ago compared to what it’s like now.

It’s a lot to take in.

Graham trails his fingers up and down my arm. His lips meet the top of my head in a quick kiss. “Did Ethan ever try to get you back?”

“Yeah, he tried for a few weeks.” I think it goes without saying that he wasn’t successful. “What about Sasha?”

“Yep,” he says. “She was relentless. She called me three times a day for a month. My voice mail stayed full.”

“You should have changed your number.”

“I couldn’t. It’s the only form of contact you had for me.”

His admission makes me smile. “I probably never would have called you,” I admit. “I kept your number on my wall because I liked how it made me feel. But I didn’t think it was a good idea, given how we met.”

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