Home > All Your Perfects(26)

All Your Perfects(26)
Author: Colleen Hoover

I hate that he felt he had to tell me this. It’s obviously hard to talk about, but I appreciate that he did. I bring one of his hands up to my mouth and I kiss it.

“It does get better with time,” Graham says. “When I tell myself it could have just as easily been me in that passenger seat and Tanner behind the wheel. We both made stupid decisions that night. We were both at fault. But no matter what consequences I suffer as a result, I’m alive and he isn’t. And I can’t help but wonder if my reactions could have been faster had I not been drinking. What if I hadn’t decided I was sober enough to drive? What if I’d been able to swerve and miss that truck? I think that’s what feeds most of my guilt.”

I don’t even try to offer him reassuring words. Sometimes situations don’t have a positive side. They just have a whole lot of sad sides. I reach down and touch his cheek. Then I touch the corners of his sad eyes. My fingers move to the scar on his collarbone that he showed me last night. “Is that where you got this scar?”

He nods.

I lower myself on top of him and press my lips to his scar. I kiss it from one end to the other and then lift up and look Graham in the eye. “I’m sorry that happened.”

He forces a smile, but it fades as fast as it appeared. “Thank you.”

I move my lips to his cheek and kiss him there, softly. “I’m sorry you lost your best friend.”

I can feel Graham release a rush of air as his arms wrap around me. “Thank you.”

I drag my lips from his cheek to his mouth and I kiss him gently. Then I pull back and look at him again. “I’m sorry,” I whisper.

Graham watches me in silence for a few brief seconds, then he rolls me over so that he’s on top of me. He presses his hand against my throat, gripping my jaw with gentle fingers. He watches my face as he pushes inside me, his mouth waiting in eagerness for my gasp. As soon as my lips part, his tongue dives between them and he kisses me the same way he fucks me. Unhurried. Rhythmic. Determined.

Chapter Sixteen

* * *

Now

The first time I dreamt Graham was cheating on me, I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I was gasping for air because in my dream, I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. Graham woke up and immediately put his arms around me. He asked me what was wrong and I was so mad at him. I remember pushing him away because the anger from my dream was still there, as if he’d actually cheated on me. When I told him what happened, he laughed and just held me and kissed me until I was no longer angry. Then he made love to me.

The next day he sent me flowers. The card said, “I’m sorry for what I did to you in your nightmare. Please forgive me tonight when you dream.”

I still have the card. I smile every time I think about it. Some men can’t even apologize for the mistakes they make in reality. But my husband apologizes for the mistakes he makes in my dreams.

I wonder if he’ll apologize tonight.

I wonder if he actually has anything to apologize for.

I don’t know why I’m suspicious. It started the night he came home too drunk to remember it the next morning and the suspicion continued to last Thursday, when he came home and didn’t smell like beer at all. I’ve never been suspicious of him before this month, even after the trust issues Ethan left me with. But something didn’t feel right this past Thursday. He came straight home and changed clothes without kissing me. And it hasn’t felt right since that night.

The fear hit me hard today, right in the chest. So hard, I gasped and covered my mouth.

It’s as if I could feel his guilt from wherever he was in that second. I know that’s impossible—for two people to be so connected that they can feel each other even when they aren’t in each other’s presence. I think it was more of my denial inching its way forward until it was finally front and center in my conscience.

Things are at their worst between us. We hardly communicate. We aren’t affectionate. Yet still, we walk around every other room in our house and pretend we’re still husband and wife. But since that drunken night, it seems like Graham stopped sacrificing. The goodbye kisses started becoming more infrequent. The hello kisses have stopped completely. He’s finally stooped to my level in this marriage.

He either has something to feel guilty for or he’s finally done fighting for the survival of this marriage.

Isn’t that what I wanted, though? For him to stop fighting so hard for something that will only bring him more misery?

I don’t drink very often but I keep wine on hand for emergencies. This certainly feels like an emergency. I drink the first glass in the kitchen while I watch the clock.

I drink the second glass on the couch while I watch the driveway.

I need the wine to still the doubts I’m having. My fingers are trembling as I stare down at the wine. My stomach feels full of worry, like I’m inside one of my nightmares.

I’m sitting on the far-right side of the couch with my feet curled beneath me. The TV isn’t on. The house is dark. I’m still watching the driveway when his car finally pulls in at half past seven. I have a clear view of him as he turns off the car and the headlights fade to black. I can see him, but he can’t see me.

Both of his hands are gripping the steering wheel. He’s just sitting in the car like the last place he wants to be is inside this house with me. I take another sip of wine and watch as he rests his forehead against his steering wheel.

One, two, three, four, five . . .

Fifteen seconds he sits like this. Fifteen seconds of dread. Or regret. I don’t know what he’s feeling.

He releases the steering wheel and sits up straight. He looks in his rearview mirror and wipes his mouth. Adjusts his tie. Wipes his neck. Breaks my heart. Sighs heavily and then finally exits his car.

When he walks through the front door, he doesn’t notice me right away. He crosses the living room, heading for the kitchen, which leads to our bedroom. He’s almost to the kitchen when he finally sees me.

My wineglass is tilted to my lips. I hold his stare as I take another sip. He just watches me in silence. He’s probably wondering what I’m doing sitting in the dark. Alone. Drinking wine. His eyes follow the path from me to the living room window. He sees how visible his car is from my position. How visible his actions must have been to me as he was sitting in his car. He’s wondering if I saw him wipe the remnants of her off his mouth. Off his neck. He’s wondering if I saw him adjust his tie. He’s wondering if I saw him press his head to the steering wheel in dread. Or regret. He doesn’t bring his eyes back to mine. Instead, he looks down.

“What’s her name?” I somehow ask the question without it sounding spiteful. I ask it with the same tone I often use to ask him about his day.

How was your day, dear?

What’s your mistress’s name, dear?

Despite my pleasant tone, Graham doesn’t answer me. He lifts his eyes until they meet mine, but he’s quiet in his denial.

I feel my stomach turn like I might physically be sick. I’m shocked at how much his silence angers me. I’m shocked at how much more this hurts in reality than in my nightmares. I didn’t think it could get worse than the nightmares.

I somehow stand up, still clenching my glass. I want to throw it. Not at him. I just need to throw it at something. I hate him with every part of my soul right now, but I don’t blame him enough to throw the glass at him. If I could throw it at myself, I would. But I can’t, so I throw it toward our wedding photo that hangs on the wall across the room.

I repeat the words as my wineglass hits the picture, shattering, bleeding down the wall and all over the floor. “What’s her fucking name, Graham?!”

My voice is no longer pleasant.

Graham doesn’t even flinch. He doesn’t look at the wedding photo, he doesn’t look at the bleeding floor beneath it, he doesn’t look at the front door, he doesn’t look at his feet. He looks me right in the eye and he says, “Andrea.”

As soon as her name has fallen from his lips completely, he looks away. He doesn’t want to witness what his brutal honesty does to me.

I think back to the moment I was about to have to face Ethan after finding out he cheated on me. That moment when Graham held my face in his hands and said, “The worst thing we could do right now is show emotion, Quinn. Don’t get angry. Don’t cry.”

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