Home > All Your Perfects(28)

All Your Perfects(28)
Author: Colleen Hoover

At one point, she walked up to Graham and said, “How much money do you make?”

Then Ava said, “Make sure you sign a prenup before you marry my daughter.”

She’s so good at being our mother, I’m relieved the party is winding down because I don’t think I could take another second of it.

I’m in the kitchen with her now, helping her wash dishes. “I thought you and Reid used to have a dishwasher. Have I lost my mind?” Ava lifts her foot and points toward the mini-fridge with the glass door a few feet away. “Is that a wine refrigerator? Where your dishwasher used to be?”

“Yep,” she says.

“But . . . why?”

“Downside of marrying a French guy. He thinks an ample supply of chilled wine is more important than a dishwasher.”

“That’s terrible, Ava.”

She shrugs. “I agreed to it because he promised he’d do most of the dishes.”

“Then why are we doing the dishes?”

Ava rolls her eyes. “Because your boyfriend is a shiny new toy and my husband is enamored.”

It’s true. Graham and Reid have spent most of the night chatting. I hand Ava the last plate. “Reid pulled me aside earlier and told me he already likes Graham more than he ever liked Ethan.”

“That makes two of us,” Ava says.

“Three of us.”

When we finish with the dishes, I peek into the living room and Graham is saying something to Reid that’s requiring a lot of arm movement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so animated. Reid is doubled over with laughter. Graham catches my eye and the smile that appears on his face during our quick glance sends a warmth through me. He holds my stare for a couple of seconds and then focuses his attention back on Reid. When I turn around, Ava is standing in the doorway, watching as I try to wipe the smile off my face.

“He’s in love with you.”

“Shh.” I walk back into the kitchen and she follows me.

“That look,” she says. She picks up a paper plate and fans herself. “That man is in love with you and he wants to marry you and he wants you to have all his babies.”

I can’t help but smile. “God, I hope so.”

Ava stands up straight and straightens out her pantsuit. “Well, Quinn. He is very decent-looking, but as your mother, I must admit that I think you can do much richer. Now where is my martini?”

I roll my eyes. “Please stop.”

Chapter Eighteen

* * *

Now

I don’t know if Graham slept in the guest room or on the couch last night, but wherever he slept, I doubt he actually got any sleep. I tried to imagine what he looked like with his sad eyes and his hands in his hair. Every now and then I’d feel sorry for him, but then I’d try to imagine what Andrea looks like. What she looked like through my husband’s sad eyes while he kissed her.

I wonder if Andrea knows that Graham is married. I wonder if she knows he has a wife at home who hasn’t been able to get pregnant. A wife who has spent the entire night and the entire day locked inside her bedroom. A wife who finally pulled herself out of bed long enough to pack a suitcase. A wife who is . . . done.

I want to be gone before Graham returns home.

I haven’t called my mother to tell her I’m coming to stay with her yet. I probably won’t call her. I’ll just show up. I dread the conversation with her enough to put as much time between now and having to speak with her about it.

“I warned you,” she’ll say.

“You should have married Ethan,” she’ll say. “They all eventually cheat, Quinn. At least Ethan would have been a rich cheater.”

I unlock my bedroom door and walk to the living room. Graham’s car isn’t in the driveway. I walk around the house to see if there’s anything I want to take with me. It feels reminiscent of when I was cleaning Ethan out of my apartment. I wanted nothing to do with him. Not even the things that reminded me of him.

I scour my home as my eyes fall over the years of stuff Graham and I have accumulated. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I wanted to take anything. So I start nowhere. I just need clothes.

When I make it back to the bedroom, I close my suitcase and zip it up. As I’m pulling it off the bed, my eyes lock on the wooden box on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. I immediately walk to the bookcase and grab the box, then take it back to the bed. I jiggle the lock, but it doesn’t budge. I remember Graham taping the key to it so we’d never lose it. I flip the box over and dig my nail beneath the piece of tape. I guess I’ll finally get to see what’s inside of it after all.

“Quinn.”

I jump when I hear his voice. But I don’t look at him. I cannot look at him right now. I keep my eyes downcast and finish pulling at the tape until I can pry the key loose.

“Quinn.” Graham’s voice is full of panic. I freeze, waiting for him to say whatever it is he needs to say. He walks into the room and sits down on the bed next to me. His hand clasps my hand that’s gripping the key. “I did the absolute worst thing I could possibly do to you. But please give me a chance to make things right before you open this.”

I can feel the key in the palm of my hand.

He can keep it.

I grab his hand and flip it over. I place the key in his palm and then close his fist. I look him in the eye. “I won’t open the box. But only because I don’t give a fuck what’s inside of it anymore.”

I don’t even remember the grief between leaving my house and driving over here, but I’m now parked in my mother’s driveway.

I stare up at it. At the huge Victorian-style home that means more to my mother than anything outside of it. Including me.

She’d never admit to that, though. It would look bad, admitting out loud that she never really wanted to be a mother. Sometimes I resent her for that. She was able to get pregnant—by accident—and carry a child to term. Twice. And neither of those times was exciting for her. She talked for years about the stretch marks my sister and I left on her. She hated the baby weight she never lost. On the days we were really stressing her out, she’d call the nanny she had on speed dial and she’d say, “Honestly, Roberta. I can’t take this another minute. Please come as soon as you can, I need a spa day.”

I sit back in my seat and stare up at the bedroom that used to be mine. Long before she turned it into a spare closet for her empty shoeboxes. I remember standing at my window once, staring out over our front yard. Graham was with me. It was the first time I’d ever taken him home to meet her.

I’ll never forget what he said that day. It was the most honest and beautiful thing he’s ever said to me. And it was that moment—standing with him at my bedroom window—that I fell in love with him.

That’s the best memory I have inside my mother’s house and it isn’t even a memory I share with her. It’s a memory I share with Graham. The husband who just cheated on me.

I feel like being inside my mother’s house would be worse than being inside my own. I can’t face her right now. I need to figure out my shit before I allow her to stick her nose in it.

I begin to back out of the driveway, but it’s too late. The front door opens and I see her step outside, squinting to see who is in her driveway.

I lean my head back against the seat. So much for escaping.

“Quinn?” she calls out.

I get out of the car and walk toward her. She holds the front door open, but if I go inside, I’ll feel trapped. I take a seat on the top step and look out over the front yard.

“You don’t want to go inside?”

I shake my head and then fold my arms over my knees and I just start crying. She eventually takes a seat next to me. “What’s the matter?”

It’s times like these when I wish I had a mother who actually cared when I was crying. She just goes through the motions, patting a stiff hand against my back.

I don’t even tell her about Graham. I don’t say anything because I’m crying too hard to speak at first. When I finally do calm down enough to catch my breath, all I can ask her is something that comes out way worse than I mean for it to.

“Why would God give someone like you children but not me?” My mother stiffens when I say that. I immediately lift up and look at her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to sound so heartless.”

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