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

He doesn’t follow, and I don’t let myself turn around to see the pain he’s in.


chapter five


When I get to my car I don’t cry like I had assumed I would. I just sit and stare out the window. The snow sticks to my windshield, blanketing me inside. The wind around the car is chaotic, picking up the snow and swirling it, completely sheltering me. With each flake of snow coating the glass, a barrier between the harsh reality and the car is formed.

I can’t believe that Hardin came to the apartment while I was there. I had hoped to not see him. It did help, though, not the pain but the situation in general. At least now I can try to move on from this disastrous time in my life. I want to believe him and that he does love me, but I got into this situation by believing him. He could just be acting like this because he knows he doesn’t have control over me anymore. Even if he does love me, what would that change? It wouldn’t take back everything he did, it wouldn’t take back all the jokes, the terrible bragging about the things we did, or the lies.

I wish I could afford that apartment on my own, I would stay there and make Hardin leave. I don’t want to go back to the dorms and get a new roommate—I don’t want a community shower. Why did it all have to start with a lie? If we’d met in some different way, we could be inside that apartment right now, laughing on the couch or kissing in the bedroom. Instead, I’m in my car alone with nowhere to go.

When I finally start the car, my hands are frozen. Couldn’t I be homeless in the summer?

I feel like Catherine again, only not my usual Wuthering Heights Catherine. This time Catherine in Northanger Abbey is who I relate to: shocked and forced to make a long journey alone. Granted, I’m not making a seventy-mile journey from Northanger after being dismissed and embarrassed, but still, I feel her pain. I can’t decide who Hardin would be in this version of the book. On one hand, he’s like Henry, smart and witty, with a knowledge of novels as great as mine. However, Henry is much kinder than Hardin, and that’s where Hardin is more like John, arrogant and rude.

As I drive through town with nowhere to go, I realize that Hardin’s words had a bigger impact on me than I would like to admit. Him begging me to stay almost put the pieces back together just to break them again. I’m sure he only wanted me to stay to prove that he could. It’s not like he’s started calling and texting again since I drove away.

I force myself to drive to campus and take my last final before winter break. I feel so detached during the exam and it feels impossible that everyone on campus could be so clueless about what I’m going through. A fake smile and small talk can hide the splitting pain, I suppose.