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

And suddenly I realize the tears have stopped, telling me that my verdict is in. The pain that comes from considering leaving him is much worse than the pain he has caused me.

I can’t leave him. I know I can’t.

I know how pathetic that is, but there’s no way I can be without him. No one will ever make me feel the way he does. No one will ever be him. He is it for me, just the way I am it for him. I shouldn’t have had him leave. I needed time to think and I should take more time, but I’m already wanting him back. Is love always like this? Is it always so passionate, yet so damn painful? I have no experience to compare this to.

Hearing the front door open, I climb off the bed and rush into the living room. But I’m disappointed to find Trish instead of Hardin.

Trish hangs Hardin’s keys on the rack and removes her snow-covered shoes. I’m not sure what to say to her since she told me to leave with my mother.

“Where is Hardin?” she asks as she walks into the kitchen.

“He left . . . for the night,” I explain.

She turns to me. “Oh.”

“I’m sure if you call him he’ll tell you where he is, if you don’t want to stay here . . . with me.”

“Tessa,” she says, clearly searching for words, but with sympathy on her face. “I’m sorry for what I said. I don’t want you to think I have any ill feelings toward you—I don’t. I was just trying to protect you from what Hardin can do. I don’t want you to . . .”

“To end up like Natalie?”

I can see that the memory pains her. “He told you?”

“Yes.”

“Everything?” I hear the doubt in her voice.

“Yes—the tape, the pictures, the scholarship. Everything.”

“And you’re still here?”

“I told him I needed time and space, but yes. I’m not going anywhere.”

She nods, and we both sit down at the table across from each other. When she looks at me with wide eyes, I know what she’s thinking, so I say, “I know he’s done terrible things, deplorable things, but I believe him when he says that he’s changed. He isn’t that person anymore.”

Trish puts one hand over the other. “Tessa, he’s my son, and I love him, but you really have to think about this. He just did the same thing to you that he did before. I know that he loves you—that’s clear to me now—but I’m just afraid that the damage has been done.”

I nod, appreciative of her honesty. But I tell her, “It hasn’t. Well, damage has most certainly been done, but it’s not irreversible. And it’s my decision to figure out how to deal with his past. And if I hold his past against him, how will he move forward? Is he never deserving of love forever more? I know you probably think I’m naive and foolish to keep forgiving him, but I love your son, and I cannot be without him, either.”