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

My girl. Tessa is my girl again, and I’m spending Christmas with her—and my fucked-up family. What a difference from last year, when I spent Christmas Day wasted out of my mind. A few minutes later I force myself out of bed and find my way to the kitchen. Coffee. I need coffee.

“Merry Christmas,” my mum says when I enter the kitchen.

“Same to you.” I walk past her to the fridge.

“I made coffee,” she says.

“I see that.” I grab the Frosted Flakes from on top of the fridge and walk over to the coffeepot.

“Hardin, I’m sorry for what I said yesterday. I know that I upset you when I agreed with Tessa’s mum, but you have to see where I was coming from.”

The thing is, I do understand where she’s coming from, but it’s not her damn place to tell Tessa to leave me. After everything Tessa and I have been through, we need someone on our side. It feels like it’s only her and me, fighting against everyone, and I need my mum to be on our side.

“It’s just that she belongs with me, Mum, nowhere else. Only with me.” I grab a towel to wipe up the excess coffee spilling over my mug. The brown liquid stains the white towel, and I can almost hear Tessa’s voice scolding me for using the wrong towel.

“I know she does, Hardin. I see that now. I’m sorry.”

“Me, too. I’m sorry for being a dick all the time. I don’t mean to be.”

She seems to be surprised by my words. I guess I don’t blame her. I never apologize, regardless if I am right or wrong. It’s my thing, I guess—being an asshole and not owning up to it.

“It’s okay, we can move past it. Let’s have a nice Christmas at your lovely father’s house.” She smiles, sarcasm clear in her voice.

“Yeah, let’s move past it.”

“Yes. Let’s. I don’t want today to be ruined because of that mess last night. I understand it better now, the whole situation. I know you love her, Hardin, and I can see you’re learning to be a better man. She’s teaching you, and that makes me so happy.” My mum brings her hands to her chest, and I roll my eyes. “Really, I’m so happy for you,” she says.

“Thanks.” I look away. “I love you, Mum.” The words taste odd coming out, but her expression makes it worth it.

She gasps. “What did you just say?” Tears immediately pool in her eyes from hearing the words I never say to her. I don’t know what made me say it just now, maybe the way she truly only wants the best for me. Maybe the way she’s here now, and she really has played such a big role in Tessa’s forgiving me. I don’t know, but the look on her face makes me wish I’d have said it sooner. She’s dealt with a lot of shit, and she really has tried her best to be a good mum to me—she should have had the simple pleasure of hearing her only child say that he loves her more than once in the last thirteen years.