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

“Evidence?” Trish’s voice is shaky.

“Yes, evidence. The condom! Oh, and the sheets with Tessa’s stolen virginity on them. God knows what he did with the money, but he was telling everyone every detail of their . . . intimacy. So now you tell me if I should make my daughter come with me or not.” My mother raises her perfectly sculpted eyebrow to Trish.

I feel it the moment it happens. I feel the change in the room, the energy shifting. Trish is now on my mother’s side of this. I try desperately to cling to the edge of the crumbling cliff that is Hardin, but I can see it all perfectly in the disgusted glare she gives her son. A look I can tell is nothing new. It’s something she’s had to use on him before, like a memory brought back as a facial expression. A look that all but says she believes, once again, every bad thing anyone’s ever said about her son.

“How could you, Hardin?” she cries. “I had hoped you were different now . . . I hoped you had stopped doing things like this to girls . . . women. Have you forgotten what happened last time?”

 

chapter thirty-eight

TESSA

It doesn’t help. It doesn’t help at all that my mother follows Trish into the living room and practically howls, “Last time? See, Theresa! This is exactly why you need to get away from him. He has done this before, I knew it! Prince Charming strikes again!”

I look over at Hardin, my fingers slipping from the edge. Not again. I don’t think I can take any more. Not from him.

“It’s not like that, Mum,” Hardin finally says.

Trish gives him a look of utter disbelief and wipes under her eyes, even as her tears keep coming. “It sure sounds like it, Hardin. I honestly can’t believe you. I love you, son, but I can’t help you here. This is wrong, so wrong.”

I never am able to find my voice in these situations. I want to speak, I need to, but an endless list of potential terrible things that Trish could be referring to as “last time” are running rapidly through my head, stealing my voice.

“I said it’s not like that!” Hardin shouts, his arms out wide.

Trish turns and stares at me, hard. “Tessa, you should go with your mother,” she says, and a lump rises in my throat.

“What?” Hardin says to her.

“You’re no good for her, Hardin. I love you more than life itself, but I can’t allow you to do this again. Coming to America was supposed to have helped you—”

“Theresa,” my mother says. “I think we’ve have heard enough.” She grabs hold of my arm. “It’s time to go.”

Hardin moves toward her and she steps back, gripping me tighter.

“Let go of her, now,” he says through gritted teeth.

Her plum nails dig into my skin as I try to process the events of the last two minutes. I had not expected my mother to barge into the apartment—and I certainly didn’t expect Trish to drop hints about yet another one of Hardin’s secrets.