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

I’m not sure how I feel about Hardin’s piercings being removed, but he told me over and over that he wanted to keep them out, so it’s not up to me. I wonder what his friends will say about it.

My mood shifted slightly when he told me about his birthday party. I don’t know what I assumed he would be doing for his birthday, but partying wasn’t it. I’m an idiot, though, because this is his twenty-first birthday, after all.

I want to spend it with him more than anything, but something bad happens every single time I go to that damn frat house, and I don’t want to continue the cycle, especially when we’re in such a fragile state as it is. The last thing I need is to drink and make things worse. I’d like to get Hardin something for his birthday, though. I’m terrible at gifts, but I’ll think of something. I stop by Landon’s room but he doesn’t answer when I knock; when I open the door he’s asleep and I decide to go to bed myself.

I open the bedroom door and nearly jump out of my skin when I’m confronted with a figure sitting on the bed. I drop my toiletry bag on the dresser . . . then realize it’s Hardin and I calm down. As I watch, he awkwardly crosses his ankles in front of him.

“I . . . I, um, I’m sorry for being a dick down there, I wanted to stay.” Hardin runs his fingers through his unruly hair.

“I asked you, too,” I remind him and cross over to the bed.

He sighs. “I know and I’m sorry. Can I please stay? I had such a good time tonight just being around you, and I’m so tired . . .”

I contemplate this for a few moments. I wanted him to stay. I miss the comfort of having him in my bed, but he was just saying that he had things to do.

“What about your work?” I raise a brow.

“It can wait,” he says, looking distressed.

I sit next to him on the bed and grab the pillow, covering my lap with it.

“Thank you,” Hardin says, and I scoot closer. He’s still a magnet to me; I can’t seem to stay even feet away from him.

I look over at him, and he smiles, then quickly looks down at the floor. My body has a mind of its own, and I lean into him, wrapping my hand around his. His hands are cold, his breathing heavy.

I’ve missed you, I want to say. I want to be close to you, I want to confess.

He squeezes my hand gently and I rest my head on his shoulder. One of his arms wraps around my back, holding me close.

“I had a really nice time tonight,” I tell him.

“Me too, baby. Me too.”

Being called “baby” makes me want to be even closer to him. I look up at him to find his eyes resting on my mouth. Instinctively, my head tilts up, bringing my mouth closer to his. When I close the space between us and press my lips to his, he leans back on his elbows and I climb onto his lap. I feel one hand resting on my lower back, pushing my body further onto his.