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

When Hardin walks through the door, he’s wearing a gray sweatshirt and his signature black jeans. He doesn’t leave the house in anything except black and occasionally white, so the contrast today is a little strange, but the sweatshirt makes him look younger somehow. His hair is messy and pushed off his forehead, and his eyes have dark circles under them. In his hand is a lamp, different from the one he shattered last night, but very similar.

“Hey,” he says and runs his tongue along his bottom lip before pulling his lip ring between his teeth.

“Hi,” I mutter in return.

“How . . . how did you sleep?” he asks.

I stand up from the couch as he walks toward the kitchen. “Good . . .” I lie.

“That’s good.”

It is evident that we’re both treading very lightly, afraid to say the wrong thing. He stands by the counter, and I stay near the fridge.

“I, um . . . I got a new lamp.” He nods at his purchase before setting it on the counter.

“It’s nice.” I feel anxious, very anxious.

“They didn’t have the one we had, but they—” he begins.

“I’m so sorry,” I blurt out, interrupting him.

“Me, too, Tessa.”

“Last night was not supposed to go that way,” I say and look down.

“That is surely an understatement.”

“It was a terrible night. I should have let you explain yourself before I kissed someone, it was stupid and immature of me.”

“Yes, it was. I shouldn’t have had to explain myself, you should have trusted me and not jumped to conclusions.” He leans his elbows on the counter behind him, and I fiddle with my fingers, trying not to pick at the skin around my fingernails.

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“I heard you the first ten times, Tess.”

“Are you going to forgive me? You were talking about kicking me out.”

“I wasn’t talking about kicking you out.” He shrugs. “I was just saying that relationships do not work.”

A big part of me was praying that he wouldn’t remember the things he was saying last night. He basically told me that marriage is for fools and that he should be alone.

“What are you saying?”

“Just that.”

“Just that what? I thought . . .” I don’t know what to say. I thought the new lamp was his way of apologizing and that he felt different this morning than he did last night.

“You thought what?”

“That you didn’t want me to leave because you wanted to talk about it when you got home.”

“We are talking about it.”

A lump grows in my throat. “So what, then, you don’t want to be with me anymore?”

“That isn’t what I’m saying. Come here,” he says, opening his arms.

I stay silent as I cross our small kitchen and step closer to him. He grows impatient, and when I get close enough he pulls me to his chest, wrapping his arms around my waist. My head lies on his chest, the soft cotton of his sweatshirt is still cool from the cold winter air. “I missed you so much,” he says into my hair.