After We Collided (After, #2) by Anna Todd Read Online (FREE)
“That’s not an excuse.”
“I know, baby, I know.” I’m hoping those words will soften him.
“It hurts,” he says, though his bloodshot eyes have lost their edge. “I knew better than to have a girlfriend, not that I ever wanted one, but this is what happens when people date . . . or get married. This type of shit is why I need to be alone. I don’t want to go through this.” He pulls away from me.
My chest aches because he sounds like a child, a lonely, sad child. I can’t help but picture Hardin as a child, hiding away as his parents fight over his father’s alcohol abuse. “Hardin, please forgive me. It won’t happen again, I will never do anything like this again.”
“It doesn’t matter, Tess, one of us will. That’s what people do when they love each other. They hurt each other, then break up or get divorced. I don’t want that for us, for you.”
I step closer to him. “That won’t happen with us. We’re different.”
He shakes his head lightly. “It happens with everyone; look at our parents.”
“Our parents just married the wrong people, that’s all. Look at Karen and your dad.” I’m relieved that he’s being much calmer now.
“They’ll get divorced, too.”
“No, Hardin. I don’t think they will.”
“I do. Marriage is such a fucked-up concept: ‘Hey, I sort of like you, so let’s move in together and sign some paperwork promising to never leave each other, even though we won’t stick to it anyway.’ Why would anyone do that willingly? Why would you want to be tied down to one person forever?”
I’m not mentally prepared to process what he’s just said to me. He doesn’t see a future with me? He’s only saying this because he’s drunk. Right?
“Do you really want me to go? Is that what you want, to end this now?” I ask, looking straight into his eyes. He doesn’t answer me. “Hardin?”
“No . . . fuck . . . no, Tessa. I love you. I love you so fucking much, but you . . . what you did was so wrong. You took every single fear that I have and brought them to life in one action.” His eyes begin to water, and my chest begins to cave in.
“I know I did, I feel terrible for hurting you.”
He looks around the room, and I can see in his eyes that everything we’ve built here was him trying to prove himself to me. “You should be with someone like Noah,” he says.
“I don’t want to be with anyone except you.” I wipe my eyes.
“I’m afraid you will.”
“Afraid I’ll what? Leave you for Noah?”
“Not him exactly, but someone like him.”
“I won’t. Hardin, I love you. No one else, I love you. I love everything about you, please stop doubting yourself.” It hurts me to think that he feels this way.
“Can you honestly tell me that you didn’t start seeing me to piss off your mum?”