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

I wash my face and get myself ready for the long drive to Vance; the one thing I really miss about the apartment is the shorter drive. And Hardin. And the bookshelves that cover the wall. And the small but perfect kitchen. And that lamp. And Hardin.

When I walk downstairs, Karen is the only one in the kitchen. My eyes go directly to the cake with the number thirteen in candles and the stupid scribble that used to say Hardin but now has shifted as a result of sitting out all night and looks like it says Hell.

Maybe it does.

“He wasn’t able to make it,” I tell her without meeting her eyes.

“Yeah . . . I deduced.” She gives me a sympathetic smile and wipes her glasses on her apron.

She’s the perfect housewife, she’s always cooking or cleaning something, but more than that, she’s so kind and she loves her husband and family, even her rude stepson, dearly.

“It’s fine.” I shrug and fill a mug with coffee.

“You know you don’t always have to be fine, honey.”

“I know. But it’s easier to be fine,” I tell her, and she nods.

“It’s not supposed to be easy,” she tells me, and I nearly laugh at the irony of her using the words that Hardin always uses against me.

“Anyway, we’re thinking of taking a trip to the beach next week. If you want to come, that would be lovely.” One of the things I love about Landon’s mother is that she never pushes me to talk about anything.

“The beach? In February?” I ask.

“We have a boat that we like to take out before it gets too warm. We go whale watching, and it’s really neat; you should come.”

“Really?” I’ve never been on a boat before, and the thought terrifies me, but whale watching does sound interesting. “Yeah, okay.”

“Great! We’ll have a really nice time,” she assures me, and heads into the living room.

I finally turn my phone back on when I get to Vance. I need to stop turning it off when I’m angry. I can just ignore Hardin’s calls next time. If something happened with my mother and she couldn’t get ahold of me, I’d feel terrible.

Kimberly and Christian are leaning into each other in the hall when I step off of the elevator. He whispers something into her ear and she giggles before he tucks her hair behind her ear and smiles widely as he kisses her, both of them still smiling.

I hurry to my office to call my mother, figuring it’s time, but she doesn’t answer. The manuscript I begin to read pisses me off within the first five pages. When I skim through the last few pages, I see I do and sigh. I’m sick of the same old story: girl meets boy, boy loves her, one problem gets in the way, they make up, get married, have kids, the end. I toss the pages into the trash without reading further. I feel bad for not giving it much of a chance, but it’s not working for me.