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

“I didn’t mean to come between you,” I say, feeling terrible for the way Ken had to kick his son out.

Karen grabs hold of my hand and gives it a squeeze. Ken looks at me with exasperation and weariness. “Tessa, I love Hardin, but I think we both know that without you, there isn’t anything to come between,” he says.

 

chapter two

TESSA

I stayed in as long as I could, letting the water roll over me. I wanted it to clean me, reassure me somehow. But the hot shower didn’t help me relax like I had hoped. I can’t think of anything that’s going to calm the ache inside of me. It feels infinite. Permanent. Like an organism that’s come to live within me, but also like a hole growing steadily larger.

“I feel terrible about the wall. I offered to pay for it, but Ken refuses to let me,” I tell Landon as I brush out my wet hair.

“Don’t worry about that. You have a lot going on.” Landon frowns and rubs his hand across my back.

“I can’t comprehend how my life came to this, how I ever got to this point.” I stare ahead, not wanting to meet my best friend’s eyes. “Three months ago, everything made sense. I had Noah, who would never do something like this. I was close with my mother and I had this idea of how my life would be. And now I have nothing. Literally nothing. I don’t even know if I should go to my internship anymore because Hardin will either go there, or he’ll convince Christian Vance to fire me just because he can.” I grab the pillow on the bed and grip the material hard in my fist. “He had nothing to lose, but I did. I let him take everything from me. My life before him was so simple and decided. Now . . . after him . . . it’s just . . . after.”

Landon looks at me with wide eyes. “Tessa, you can’t give up your internship; he’s taken enough from you. Don’t let him take that, please,” he practically pleads. “The good thing about this afterlife without him is that you can make it whatever you please, you can start all over.”

I know he’s right, but it isn’t that simple. Everything in my life is tied to Hardin now, even the paint on my damn car. He somehow became the string that held everything in my life together, and in his absence I’m left with the rubble that once was my life.

When I relent and give Landon a halfhearted nod, he smiles a little and says, “I’ll let you get some rest.” He hugs me and starts to leave.

“Do you think this will ever stop?” I ask, and he turns around.

“What?”

My voice almost a whisper: “The pain?”

“I don’t know . . . I’d like to think it will, though. Time heals . . . most wounds,” he answers and gives me his most comforting half smile, half frown.

I don’t know if time will heal me or not. But I do know that if it doesn’t, I won’t survive.