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

 

chapter seventy

HARDIN

Would you stop griping? You’re behaving worse than he will—and he’s five,” Tessa scolds me, and I roll my eyes.

“I’m just saying, this is all you. He better not touch any of my shit. You agreed to this, so he’s your problem, not mine,” I remind her right as a knock at the door heralds their arrival.

Taking a seat on the couch, I let Tessa be the one to open the door. She glares at me but doesn’t make the guests—her guests—wait long before plastering on her biggest and brightest smile and throwing the door to our place open wide.

Immediately Kimberly starts rambling, practically shrieking. “Thank you so much! You have no idea how much of a lifesaver the two of you are right now. I have no idea what we would have done if you couldn’t watch Smith. Christian is so sick, he’s throwing up everywhere, and we—”

“It’s okay, really,” Tess interrupts her, I assume because she doesn’t want to hear the gory details of Christian’s vomitousness.

“Okay, well, he’s in the car, so I better get going. Smith is pretty independent, he mostly keeps to himself and will let you know if he needs anything.” She moves to the left, revealing a small boy with dirty-blond hair.

“Hey, Smith! How are you?” Tessa says in a strange voice I’ve never heard her use before. This must be her attempt at baby talk, even though the kid’s five. Only Tessa.

The boy doesn’t say anything, just gives her a small smile and walks past Kimberly into the living room.

“Yeah, he doesn’t talk much,” Kimberly tells Tess, noticing the sad look on her face.

As humorous as it is that he didn’t respond to Tessa, I don’t want her to be upset, so the little shit better knock it off and be nice to her.

“Okay, I’m really leaving this time!” Kim smiles and closes the door after giving Smith one last wave.

Tessa bends down a bit and asks Smith, “Are you hungry?”

He shakes his head no.

“Thirsty?”

Same response, only this time he takes a seat on the couch opposite me.

“Do you want to play a game?”

“Tess, I think he just wants to sit here,” I tell her and watch as her cheeks flush. I flip through the channels on the television, hoping to find something of interest to keep me occupied while Tessa is babysitting.

“Sorry, Smith,” she apologizes. “I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

He nods rather robotically, and I realize that he actually looks an awful lot like his father. His hair is practically the exact color, his eyes are the same shade of green-blue, and I suspect that if he were to smile he would have the same dimples as Christian.

A few minutes of awkward silence pass during which Tessa stands next to the couch, and I can see her plans unraveling. She had assumed he would come in here full of energy and ready to play with her. Instead, he hasn’t spoken a single word or budged from his spot on the couch. His outfit is as immaculate as I figured it would be, his small white tennis shoes look as if they have never been worn. When I glance up from his blue polo shirt, his eyes are on mine.