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

He barks out a laugh. “Not happening.” He goes to the closet and pulls his jeans off the hanger, which falls to the ground, not that he notices such things. I decide not to say anything; instead I walk away from the closet as Hardin’s towel falls to the floor.

“I’m going to go out there with your mom,” I squeak out, trying to force myself not to look at his body.

“Suit yourself.” He smirks, and I leave the room.

When I find Trish in the living room, she’s wearing a red dress and black heels, much different from her usual tracksuit.

“You look so beautiful!” I tell her.

“You’re sure? Is it too much, with the makeup and all?” she asks nervously. “It’s not that I care, really—I just don’t want to look bad when I see my ex-husband after all these years.”

“Trust me, bad is the last thing you look,” I tell her, which gets her to smile a little.

“You two ready?” Hardin asks when he joins us in the living room. His hair is still wet, but somehow it manages to look perfect. He’s wearing all black, including the black Converses he wore in Seattle that I love.

His mother doesn’t seem to notice the all-black attire, likely because she’s still focusing on her own appearance. As we get into the elevator, Hardin looks at his mother as if for the first time, then asks, “Why are you so dressed up?”

She blushes a little. “It’s a holiday, why wouldn’t I be?”

“It just seems weird—”

I cut him off before he says something to ruin his mother’s day. “She looks lovely, Hardin. I’m just as dressed up as she is.”

During the drive, everyone is quiet, even Trish. I can tell she’s anxious, and who could blame her? I’d be incredibly nervous, too. In fact, for different reasons, the closer we get to Ken’s house, the more I feel it. I really just want a calm holiday.

When we finally arrive and park at the curb, I hear Trish gasp. “This is his house?”

“Yep. I told you it was big,” Hardin says and turns off the car.

“I didn’t think you meant this big,” she says quietly.

Hardin hops out and opens his mother’s door, since she’s just sitting there in shock. I get out myself, and as we walk up the steps leading to the large house, I see the apprehension on his face. I take his hand in mine to try to calm him, and he looks down at me with a small but noticeable smile. He doesn’t ring the doorbell—he just opens the door and walks inside.

Karen is standing in the living room with a beaming, welcoming smile that’s so infectious it makes me feel a little better. Hardin walks through the foyer first with his mom, and I follow behind him, my hand still in his.

“Thank you all for coming,” Karen says, approaching Trish, since it’s just understood Hardin’s not one for introductions. “Hello, Trish, I’m Karen,” she says and extends her hand. “It’s so nice to get a chance to meet you. I really appreciate you coming.” Karen appears completely calm, but I’ve gotten to know her well enough to know that’s not really the case.