All Your Perfects - Page 23

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"It took you eight months to choose a name for your child. Three days isn't that long for a dog."

Ava shrugs. "Good point." She wipes down the table as I cover the leftover food and put it in the fridge.

"I thought about giving him a math-related name, since Graham loves math so much. Like maybe naming him after a number."

Ava laughs. "It's so weird that you say that. I just got my files at work today for the high school foreign exchange students I'll be tutoring when they arrive in a couple of weeks. One of them is a girl from Texas. Her birth name is Seven Marie Jacobs, but she goes by Six. I thought of Graham when I saw that."

"Why does she go by Six if her birth name is Seven?"

Ava shakes her head. "I don't know, but it's quirky. I haven't even met her yet but I already like the girl." Ava pauses and looks up at me. "What about naming it after one of the characters in your book?"

I shake my head. "Already thought of that, but those characters feel like actual people now that the book is finished. I know it's weird, but I want the dog to have his own name. I'd feel like he was being forced to share."

"Makes sense," Ava says, resting her hands on her hips. "Any news from your agent?"

"She hasn't submitted to publishers yet. It's being reviewed by an in-house editor and then they're going to try and sell it."

Ava smiles. "I hope it happens, Quinn. I'm going to freak the fuck out if I walk into a bookstore and see your book on the shelf."

"You and me both."

Graham walks inside with the puppy and Ava meets him at the door. "It's late, I gotta go," she says, talking to the puppy while scratching him on his head. "I hope when I see you tomorrow you have a name."

Graham and I tell her goodbye and he locks the door behind her. He cradles the puppy in his arms and walks over to me. "Guess who used the bathroom twice so his mommy and daddy can get a few hours of sleep?"

I pull the puppy out of Graham's arms and squeeze him. He licks my cheek and then rests his head in the crease of my elbow. "He's tired."

"I'm tired, too," Graham says, yawning.

I put the puppy into his crate and cover it with a blanket. Neither of us knows anything about dogs, so we've been reading as much as we possibly can about how to crate-train them, what they eat, how they should be disciplined, how much they should sleep.

Sleep has definitely been the most difficult thing to tackle so far. Being the owner of a new puppy comes with new hurdles, but the biggest of those hurdles is exhaustion. I wouldn't trade it for anything, though. Every time that little puppy looks at me, I melt.

Graham and I make our way to the bedroom. We leave our door open so we can hear the puppy if he starts to cry. When we crawl into bed, I roll toward Graham and rest my head on his chest.

"I can't imagine what having a newborn must be like if a puppy is this tiring," I say.

"You're forgetting about all our sleepless nights with Coriander, Paprika, Cinnamon, Saffron, Juniper, and Parsley."

I laugh. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

I curl even more into Graham, and he tightens his hold around me. I do my best to fall asleep, but my mind keeps running through potential puppy names until I'm positive I've exhausted every name in existence.

"Quinn." Graham's voice is against my ear, warm and quiet. "Quinn, wake up." I open my eyes and pull away from his chest. He points behind me and says, "Look."

I half-turn and glance over at the alarm clock, right as it changes to midnight. Graham leans in to my ear and whispers, "It's the eighth of August. Ten years later and we're happily married. I told you so."

I sigh. "Why am I not surprised that you remembered that?"

I don't know how I didn't expect this moment. The number eight holds so much meaning to us that the date should have been obvious to me, but I've been so preoccupied with the puppy the last few days, I didn't even realize today was the eighth of August.

"August," I whisper. "That's what we'll name the puppy."

Tags: Colleen Hoover Romance