Home > All Your Perfects(6)

All Your Perfects(6)
Author: Colleen Hoover

I’m doing my makeup now.

Sometimes this happens. One second I’m in the shower, the next second I’m not. I lose myself in the grief. I get so lost that by the time I climb my way out of the dark, I’m in a new place. This new place is me, naked, in front of the bathroom mirror.

I slide the lipstick over my bottom lip and then my top. I set it down and stare at my reflection. My eyes are red from the grief but my makeup is in place, my hair has been pulled back, my clothes are folded neatly on the counter. I look at my body in the mirror, covering both breasts with my hands. From the outside, I look healthy. My hips are wide, my stomach is flat, my breasts are average and perky. When men look at me, sometimes their eyes linger.

But inside, I am not at all attractive. I am not internally appealing by Mother Nature’s standards, because I do not have a working reproductive system. Reproduction is why we exist, after all. Reproduction is required to complete the circle of life. We are born, we reproduce, we raise our offspring, we die, our offspring reproduce, they raise their offspring, they die. Generation after generation of birth, life, and death. A beautiful circle not meant to be broken.

Yet . . . I am the break.

I was born. That’s all I’m able to do until I die. I’m standing on the outside of the circle of life, watching the world spin while I am at a standstill.

And because he is married to me . . . Graham is at a standstill.

I pull on my clothes, covering up the body that has repeatedly failed us.

I walk into our kitchen and find Graham standing in front of the coffeepot. He looks up at me and I don’t want him to know about the blood or the grief in the shower so I make the mistake of smiling at him. I quickly wipe the smile away but it’s too late. He thinks it’s a good day. My smiles give him hope. He walks up to me because, like an idiot, I’m not holding any of my usual weapons. I normally make sure I have both hands full with either a purse, a drink, an umbrella, a jacket. Sometimes all those things at once. Today I have nothing to shield myself from his love, so he hugs me good morning. I’m forced to hug him back.

My face fits perfectly between his neck and shoulder. His arms fit perfectly around my waist. I want to press my mouth against his skin and feel the chills that break out against my tongue. But if I do that I know what would follow.

His fingers would be skimming my waist.

His mouth, hot and wet, would find mine.

His hands would be freeing me from my clothes.

He would be inside me.

He would make love to me.

And when he stopped, I would be filled with hope.

And then all that hope would eventually escape with the blood.

I would be left devastated in the shower.

And then Graham would say to me, “Why do you take such long showers?”

And I would respond, “Because they’re relaxing. The hot water is good for my skin.”

I close my eyes and press my hands against his chest, easing myself away from him. I push away from him so often now, I sometimes wonder if my palms have imprinted against his chest.

“What time is dinner at your sister’s house?” My questions ease the rejection. If I push away as I’m asking a question, the distraction makes it seem less personal.

Graham moves back to the coffeemaker and picks up his cup. He blows on it as he shrugs. “She gets off work at five. So probably seven.”

I grab my weapons. My purse, a drink, my jacket. “ ’K. See you then. Love you.” I kiss his cheek with my weapons safely separating us.

“I love you, too.”

He says the words to the back of my head. I rarely give him the opportunity to say them to my face anymore.

When I get to my car, I send a text to Ava, my sister.

Not this month.

She’s the only one I discuss it with anymore. I stopped talking to Graham about my cycle last year. Every month since we started trying for a baby years ago, Graham would console me when I’d find out I wasn’t pregnant. I appreciated it in the beginning. Longed for it, even. But month after month, I grew to dread having to tell him how broken I was. And I knew if I was growing to dread him having to console me, that he was more than likely already tired of the disappointing routine. I decided early last year to only bring it up if the outcome were ever different.

So far, the outcome is always the same.

Sorry Babe,

my sister texts back.

You busy? I have news.

I back out of my driveway and set my phone to Bluetooth right before I call her. She answers in the middle of the first ring. Instead of hello, she says, “I know you don’t want to talk about it, so let’s talk about me.”

I love that she gets me. “What’s new with you?”

“He got the job.”

I grip the steering wheel and force my voice to sound excited. “Did he? Ava, that’s great!”

She sighs, and I can tell she’s forcing herself to sound sad. “We move in two weeks.”

I feel the tears threaten my eyes, but I’ve cried enough for one day. I really am happy for her. But she’s my only sibling and now she’s moving halfway across the world. Her husband, Reid, is from a huge family in France, and before they even got married, Ava said they would eventually move to Europe. The thought of it has always excited her so I know she’s holding back her giddiness out of respect for my sadness over the distance this will put between us. I knew Reid applied for a few jobs last month, but a small part of me was selfishly hoping he wouldn’t receive an offer.

“Will you guys be moving to Monaco?”

“No, Reid’s job will be in Imperia. Different country, but it’s only an hour drive to Monaco. Europe is so tiny, it’s weird. You drive an hour here and you end up in New York. You drive an hour in Europe and you end up in a country that speaks a whole different language.”

I don’t even know where Imperia is but it already sounds like a better fit for her than Connecticut. “Have you told Mom yet?”

“No,” she says. “I know how dramatic she’s going to be, so I figured I’d tell her in person. I’m on my way to her house right now.”

“Good luck with that.”

“Thanks,” she says. “I’ll call you and let you know how thick she lays on the guilt. See you at lunch tomorrow?”

“I’ll be there. And it’ll give her a whole day to calm down.”

When we end the call, I find myself stuck at a red light on an empty street.

Literally and figuratively.

* * *

My father died when I was only fourteen. My mother remarried not long after that. It didn’t surprise me. It didn’t even upset me. My mother and father never had a relationship worth envying. I’m sure it was good in the beginning, but by the time I was old enough to know what love was, I knew they didn’t have it.

I’m not sure my mother ever married for love, anyway. Money is her priority when it comes to seeking out a soul mate. My stepfather didn’t win her over with his personality. He won her over with his beach house in Cape Cod.

Contrary to her wardrobe and attitude, my mother isn’t rich. She grew up in a meager life in Vermont, the second of seven children. She married my father when he was moderately wealthy, and as soon as they had my sister and me, she demanded he buy her a home in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. It didn’t matter that he had to work twice as hard to afford her lavish spending. I think he liked being at work more than he liked being home.

When my father passed away, there were assets, but not enough to afford my mother the same lifestyle she was used to. It didn’t take her long to rectify it, though. She married my stepfather in a private ceremony within a year of burying my father. She barely had to go eight months on a budget.

Even though my sister and I grew up in a wealthy lifestyle, we were not, and are not wealthy. Our mother has long spent anything my father left all those years ago. And my stepfather has biological children of his own who will receive his wealth when he dies. Because of all these factors, Ava and I have never considered ourselves wealthy, despite growing up and being raised by people who were.

It’s why, as soon as we both graduated college, we immediately started working and paying our own bills. I never ask my mother for money. One, because I think it’s inappropriate for a grown, married woman to have to ask her parents for help. And two, because she doesn’t give freely. Everything comes with stipulations when it’s given by my mother.

Hot Series
» Vampire Academy Series read online
» Crossfire Series read online
» Fifty Shades trilogy read online
» Kate Daniels Series read online
» Black Dagger Brotherhood Series read online
» Cassandra Palmer Series read online
» Rosemary Beach Series read online
» Sea Breeze Series read online
» Too Far Series read online
» Shatter Me Series read online
» Thoughtless Series read online
» Marriage to a Billionaire Series read online
Most Popular
» Drawn into Love (Fluke My Life #4)
» Nightchaser (Endeavor #1)
» Right Where I Want You
» Tangled Like Us (Like Us #4)
» Be the Girl
» Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
» If I Only Knew
» Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)
» 99 Percent Mine
» Free (Chaos #6)
» Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition #3
» Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)