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

“I know you aren’t.”

“Did you . . . should we talk about it? Do you need more time, now that you know how fucked up I truly am?” He frowns and looks at the floor again.

“You aren’t. You were . . . You’ve done a lot of things . . . bad things, Hardin.” He nods in agreement; I can’t stand to see him feel so bad about himself, even with his history. “But that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You’ve done bad things, but you aren’t a bad person anymore.”

He looks up. “What?”

I take his face between my hands. “I said you aren’t a bad person, Hardin.”

“You really think that? Did you read what I wrote?”

“Yes, and the fact that you wrote it proves that you aren’t.”

Confusion is clear on his perfect face. “How can you say that? I don’t understand—you wanted me to give you space, and you read all that shit, and you still say that? I don’t understand . . .”

I run my thumbs over his cheeks. “I read it, and now that I know everything that you’ve done, my mind hasn’t changed.”

“Oh . . .” His eyes become glossy.

The idea of him crying again, especially in front of me, pains me. He’s obviously not getting what I’m trying to say.

“I already made my mind up while you were gone to stay. And after reading what you wrote, I want to stay more than ever. I love you, Hardin.”

 

chapter forty-four

TESSA

Hardin takes my hands and holds them for a second before wrapping his arms around me as if I’ll disappear should he let go.

As I said the words I want to stay, I realized how freeing this all is. I no longer have to worry that secrets from Hardin’s past will come back to haunt us. I no longer have to wait for someone to drop a huge bombshell on me. I know everything. I finally know everything he’s been hiding. I can’t help but think of the phrase Sometimes it is better to be kept in the dark than to be blinded by the light. But I don’t think that applies me to right now. I’m disturbed by the things he has done, but I love him and have chosen to not let his past affect us any longer.

Hardin pulls back and sits on the edge of the bed. “What are you thinking? Do you have any questions about anything? I want to be honest with you.” I move to stand between his legs. He flips my hands over in his and traces small patterns on my palms as he searches my face for clues to how I am feeling.

“No . . . I do wish I knew what happened to Natalie . . . but I don’t have any questions.”

“I am done being that person—you know that, don’t you?”

I’ve already told him I do, but I know he needs to hear it again. “I know that. I really do, babe.”

His eyes dart to mine at the use of the word. “Babe?” He arches his eyebrow.