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

Her words tug at the edges of my heart, threatening to tear it open. “I’m not,” I tell her.

I’m trying to change for her, but not that way. This was for me, and for her.

“Taking them out was just a step in all of this. I’m trying to be a better person, and the piercings remind me of a bad time in my life. A time I want to move on from,” I tell her.

“Oh,” she nearly whispers.

“You liked them, then?” I smile.

“Yes, very much,” she admits.

“I could put them back?” I offer, but she shakes her head.

I’m much less nervous now than I was two hours ago. This is Tessa, my Tessa, and I shouldn’t be nervous.

“Only if you want to.”

“I could put them back in when we . . .” I stop myself.

“When we what?” She tilts her head to the side.

“You don’t want me to finish it.”

“Yes, I do! What were you going to say?”

“Fine, have it your way. I was going to say I could always put them back in and fuck you if they turn you on that much.”

Her horrified expression makes me laugh, and she looks around to make sure no one heard me. “Hardin!” she scolds me, between bouts of red-faced laughter.

“I warned you . . . Plus I haven’t made any perverted comments at all tonight, I should be allowed one.”

“True,” she agrees with a smile and takes a drink of her lemonade.

I want to ask her if that means she could see herself having sex with me again since she didn’t correct me, but I get the feeling this isn’t the right time. It’s not only because I want to feel her again, it’s because I genuinely miss her so fucking much. We’re getting along pretty well, especially for us. I know a lot of it’s because I’m not being a dick for once. It’s not that hard, really. I just have to think before I say shit.

“Your birthday is tomorrow. What do you have planned?” she asks me after a few moments of silence.

Shit.

“Well, um . . . Logan and Nate are sort of throwing me a party. I wasn’t going to go, but Steph said they went all out and spent a shitload of money, so I figured I would at least drop by there. Unless . . . you wanted to do something? I won’t go,” I tell her.

“No, it’s okay. I’m sure the party will be much more fun.”

“You could come?” And because I know her answer, I add, “No one even knows what’s going on between us—except Zed, of course.”

I need to not focus on why Zed knows my fucking business.

“No, thanks, though.” She smiles, but it doesn’t meet her eyes.

“I really don’t have to go.”

If she wants to spend my birthday with me, then Logan and Nate can fuck off.

“No, really, it’s fine. I have stuff to do anyway,” she says and looks away.