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

After we’ve all had a few bites, Landon makes eye contact with me, and I can tell he’s debating whether or not to speak. I give him a small nod; I don’t want to have to break the silence. I take a bite of goose, and Hardin puts his hand on my thigh.

Landon wipes his mouth with his napkin and turns to Trish. “So what do you think of America so far, Mrs. Daniels? Is this your first time here?”

She nods a couple of times. “Indeed, it is my first time here. I like it. I wouldn’t want to live here, but I do like it. Are you planning on staying in Washington when you finish university?” She looks at Ken as if she was asking him instead of Landon.

“I’m not sure yet; my girlfriend is moving to New York next month, so it will depend on what she wants to do.”

I selfishly hope he doesn’t move out there anytime soon.

“Well, I’ll be glad when Hardin finishes, so he can move back home,” Trish says, and I drop my fork onto my plate.

All eyes focus on me and I smile apologetically before picking the utensil back up.

“You’re moving back to England after you graduate?” Landon asks Hardin.

“Yeah, of course I am,” Hardin answers rudely.

“Oh,” Landon says, looking directly at me. Hardin and I haven’t discussed any plans after college, but him going back to England never once crossed my mind. We will need to discuss this later, not in front of everyone.

“And you . . . how do you like America, Ken? Are you planning to live here permanently?” Trish asks him.

“Yes, I love it here. I’ll be staying most definitely,” he answers.

Trish smiles and takes a slow sip of her wine. “You always hated America.”

“Yes . . . I did,” he replies and half smiles back at her.

Karen and Hardin both shift uncomfortably in their seats, and I concentrate on chewing the bite of potato in my mouth.

“Does anyone have anything to talk about besides America?” Hardin rolls his eyes. I gently kick him under the table, but he doesn’t acknowledge it.

Karen jumps in quickly, asking me, “How was your trip to Seattle, Tessa?”

I’ve definitely already told her about it, but I know that she’s only trying to make conversation, so I tell everyone about the conference and my job again. That gets us through the meal at least, as everyone keeps asking me questions in a clear effort to stay on this safe, non-ex-wife-and-ex-husband topic.

Once everyone is done with the delicious goose and sides, I help Karen take the dishes to the kitchen. She seems to be distracted, so I don’t probe her for conversation as we clean up the kitchen.

“Would you like another glass of wine, Trish?” Karen asks once we all move to the living room. Hardin, Trish, and I sit on one of the couches, Landon sits on the chair, and Karen and Ken sit on the other couch across from us. It feels as if we are on teams, with Landon acting as a referee.