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

I was just so angry—still am—but it’s not her fault. It never has been her fault.

“I love you, Mum,” I repeat, a little embarrassed.

She pulls me into her arms and hugs me tighter, tighter than I usually allow.

“Oh, Hardin, I love you, too. So much, son.”


chapter forty-six


I decide to wear my hair straight, to try something different. But when I finish, it looks odd, so I end up curling it as usual. I’m taking too long to get ready, and it’s probably getting close to time to leave. Perhaps I’m taking longer because part of me is stalling, nervous about how today will go.

I hope Hardin is on his best behavior, or at least tries to be.

I go with simple makeup, only wearing a little foundation, black eyeliner, and mascara. I was going to use eye shadow as well, but I’ve had to remove the messy line from my top eyelid three times before finally getting it right.

“You alive in there?” Hardin’s voice calls through the door.

“Yes, I’m almost done,” I reply and brush my teeth once more.

“I’m going to take a quick shower, but then we need to go if you want to be there on time,” Hardin says when I open the door.

“Okay, okay, I’ll get dressed while you shower.”

He disappears into the bathroom, and I head for the closet, grabbing the sleeveless forest-green dress I bought to wear today. The dark-green material is thick, and the neckline is high. The bow covering my waist is much bigger than it looked when I tried it on the other day, but I’ll have a cardigan over it anyway. I retrieve my charm bracelet from the dresser, and my stomach flutters as I read and reread the perfect inscription.

I can’t decide on what shoes to wear; if I wear heels, I’ll probably look too dressy. I go with black flats, and am pulling my white cardigan over the dress just as Hardin opens the door wearing only a towel tied around his waist.

Oh. No matter how many times I see him, I still lose my breath at the sight of him. Staring at Hardin’s half-naked body, I do not understand how tattoos were not my thing before.

“Holy shit,” he says as his eyes rake up and down my body.

“What? What?” I look down to see what’s wrong.

“You look . . . incredibly innocent.”

“Wait, is that good or bad? It’s Christmas, I didn’t want to look indecent.” I suddenly feel unsure of what I chose to wear.

“Oh, it’s good. Very good.” His tongue snakes over his bottom lip, and I finally get it, blushing and looking away before we start something that we should not finish. Not right now, at least. “Thank you. What are you wearing?”

“What I always wear.”

I look back at him. “Oh.”

“I’m not dressing up to go to my dad’s house.”

“I know . . . maybe you could wear that shirt your mother got you for Christmas?” I suggest, even though I know he won’t.