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After We Collided (After, #2) by Anna Todd Read Online (FREE)

“I don’t really do birthdays,” he tells me.

“I know . . . I don’t either.” This is one of the few things we have in common.

“Hardin?” Trish’s voice calls as I hear a light tap on the door. He groans and rolls his eyes as I climb off his lap.

I give him a little frown. “It wouldn’t kill you to be nicer to her—she hasn’t seen you in a year.”

“I’m not mean to her,” he says. And, honestly, I know he believes that.

“Just try to be a little nicer, for me?” I bat my eyelashes dramatically, making him smile and shake his head.

“You’re the devil,” he teases.

His mom knocks again. “Hardin?”

“Coming!” he says and climbs off the bed. Opening the door, I see his mom, who looks completely bored.

“Do you two want to watch a movie, perhaps?” she asks.

He turns to me and raises his brow just as I say, “Yeah, we do” and climb off the bed.

“Fantastic!” She smiles and ruffles her son’s hair.

“Let me change first,” Hardin says and waves us out.

Trish holds her hand out to me. “Come on, Tessa, let’s make some snacks.”

As I follow his mom into the kitchen, I realize it’s probably not a good idea for me to watch Hardin change anyway. I want to take things slow. Slow. With Hardin, I don’t know if that’s possible. I wonder if I should tell Trish that I’ve decided to forgive him, or least try to.

“Cookies?” she asks, and I nod and open the cabinets.

“Peanut butter?” I ask her and grab the flour.

She raises her eyebrows, impressed. “You’re going to make them? I was okay with Break ’n Bake, but if you can make them homemade, so much the better!”

“I’m not the best cook, but Karen taught me an easy peanut butter cookie recipe.”

“Karen?” she asks, and my stomach drops. I didn’t mean to bring up Karen. The last thing I want to do is make Trish uncomfortable. I turn away to turn on the oven and hide my embarrassed expression.

“You’ve met her?”

I can’t read her tone, so I tread carefully. “Yeah . . . her son Landon is my friend . . . my best friend, really.”

Trish hands me some bowls and a spoon, asking in a purposely neutral manner, “Oh . . . what is she like?”

I level off flour in a measuring cup and add it to the large mixing bowl, all the while trying to avoid eye contact. I don’t know how to answer her. I don’t want to lie, but I don’t know how she feels about Ken or his new wife.

“You can tell me,” Trish prods.

“She’s lovely,” I admit.

She nods sharply. “I knew she would be.”

“I didn’t mean to bring her up, it just slipped out,” I apologize.

She hands me a stick of butter. “No, honey, don’t worry about it. I have no hard feelings toward that woman at all. Granted, I would love to hear that she’s a dreadful troll.” She laughs and relief washes through me. “But I’m glad Hardin’s father is happy. I just wish Hardin would let go of his anger toward him.”