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

I felt like an asshole as soon as the words left my mouth, but I asked: “Aren’t you too young?”

But she just smiled. “I’m nearly twenty-one, and it doesn’t make sense to wait. I’ve been fortunate enough to find the person I want to spend my life with at a young age—why waste any more time when he’s right in front of me asking that I do just that. I’m honored that he wants to make me his wife; there’s no greater expression of love than that.” As she explained, I could hear Tessa’s voice saying the words instead.

“I guess you’re right,” I told her and she smiled.

“Oh, there he is! I have to go—I’m freezing and pregnant, not a good combination.” She laughed before picking her bags up off the sidewalk and greeting a man in a sweater vest and khakis. His smile when seeing his pregnant fiancée was so bright that I swore it lit up that dreary day in England.

Day seven was long. Every day has been long. I kept thinking of Natalie and her forgiveness; it couldn’t have come at a better time. Sure, I looked like hell and she knew it, but she was happy and in love. Pregnant, at that. I didn’t ruin her life the way I thought I had.

And I thank God for that.

I spent the whole day in bed. I couldn’t even bring myself to open the damned blinds. My mum and Mike were out all day, so I was left alone to sulk in my misery. Each day got worse. I constantly thought about what she was doing, who she was with. Was she crying? Was she lonely? Had she returned to our apartment to find me? Why hadn’t she called me again?

This isn’t the pain I had read about in novels. This pain isn’t just in my mind, this pain isn’t physical. This is a soul-aching pain, something that is ripping me apart from the inside out, and I don’t think I can survive it. No one could.

This must be how Tessa feels when I hurt her. I can’t imagine her fragile body withstanding this type of pain, but clearly she’s stronger than she appears. She has to be to put up with me. Her mum once told me that if I really cared about her I would leave her alone; I would hurt her anyway, she said.

She was right. I should have left her alone then. I should have left her alone from that first day she walked into that dorm room. I promised myself that I would rather die than hurt her again . . . this is what this is. This is dying, this is worse than dying. It hurts worse. It has to.

I spent day eight drinking, the entire day. I couldn’t stop. With each drink I prayed that her face would leave my mind, but it wouldn’t. It couldn’t.

You have to get your shit together, Hardin. You have to. I have to. I really do.