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

“He has—” I begin, but stop abruptly when Hardin enters the kitchen.

“He has what?” she asks.

I look to Hardin, then back to Trish. It’s not my place to tell her if Hardin hasn’t. “What are you guys talking about?” he asks.

“Your father,” she answers, and his face pales. I can tell by his expression that he didn’t intend to tell her about his budding relationship with his father.

“I didn’t know . . .” I try to tell him, but he puts his hand up to silence me.

I hate how secretive he is; this is a problem we will always have, I assume.

“It’s fine, Tess. I’ve been . . . sort of spending a little time with him.” Hardin’s cheeks flush.

Without thinking, I walk over to stand next to him. I’d expected him to be angry with me and lie to his mother, but I’m glad that he proved me wrong.

“You have?” Trish gasps.

“Yeah . . . I’m sorry, Mum. I didn’t go near him until a few months ago, I got drunk and trashed his living room . . . but then I stayed the night a few times and we went to the wedding.”

“You’ve been drinking again?” Her eyes begin to water. “Hardin, please tell me you haven’t been drinking again?”

“No, Mum, only a couple times. Not like before,” he promises.

Not like before? I know Hardin used to drink way too much, but Trish’s reaction makes it seem like it was worse than I was led to believe.

“Are you mad that I’ve been seeing him?” he asks, and I put my hand on his back to try to comfort him.

“Oh, Hardin, I would never be upset with you for having a relationship with your father. I’m just surprised, that’s all. You could have told me.” She blinks rapidly to avoid tears. “I have wanted you to let go of that anger for so long. That was a dark time in our lives, but we got through it, and it’s in the past. Your father isn’t the same man he was then, and I’m not the same woman.”

“It still doesn’t make it okay,” he says quietly.

“No, it doesn’t. But sometimes you have to choose to let things go, to move on. I really am happy that you’ve been seeing him. It’s good for you. The reason I sent you here . . . well, one of the reasons, was for you to forgive him.”

“I didn’t forgive him.”

“You should,” she says sincerely. “I have.”

Hardin leans on his elbows on the counter and drops his head while I rub my hand up and down his back. Noticing the gesture, Trish gives me a knowing smile. Even more than before, I admire her so much. She’s so strong and loving despite the lack of emotion from her son. I wish she had someone in her life, the way Ken has Karen.

Hardin must have been thinking the exact same thing, because he drops his head and says, “But he lives in this big-ass house and has expensive cars. He has a new wife . . . and you’re alone.”