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

WITH HEAVY-HANDED INTENT, yet enacted with his unfailing politeness, Landon forces me out of bed the next morning to make sure I don’t miss my internship. I take a moment to leave a note of thanks to Ken and Karen, and to apologize again for the hole Hardin put in their wall. Landon is quiet, and keeps looking over at me as he drives, trying to give me encouraging smiles and little slogans to remember. But I still feel terrible.

Memories begin to creep into my mind as we pull into the parking lot. Hardin on his knees in the snow. Zed’s explanation of the bet. I quickly unlock my car, jumping inside to get away from the cold air. When I get into my car, I cringe at my reflection in the rearview. My eyes are still bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles. Bags have swollen up under them, completing the horror-movie look. I will definitely need more makeup than I thought.

Going to Walmart, the only nearby store open at this hour, I buy everything I need to mask my feelings. But I don’t have the strength or the energy to make a real effort on my appearance, so I’m not sure I look much better.

Case in point: I arrive at Vance, and Kimberly gasps when she sees me. I try to muster a smile for her, but she jumps up from her desk.

“Tessa, dear, are you okay?” she asks frantically.

“Do I look that bad?” I shrug weakly.

“No, of course not,” she lies. “You just look . . .”

“Exhausted. Because I am. Finals took a lot out of me,” I tell her.

She nods and smiles warmly, but I can feel her eyes on my back the entire walk down the hall to my office. After that, my day drags on, no end in sight, it seems, until late morning, when Mr. Vance knocks at my door.

“Good afternoon, Tessa,” he says with a smile.

“Good afternoon,” I manage.

“I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know how impressed I am with your work so far.” He chuckles. “You’re doing a better and more detailed job than many of my actual employees.”

“Thank you, that means a lot to me,” I say, and immediately the voice in my head reminds me that I only have this internship because of Hardin.

“That being the case, I would like to invite you to the Seattle conference this coming weekend. Often these things are pretty boring, but it’s all about digital publishing, the ‘wave of the future’ and all that. You’ll meet a lot of people, learn some things. I’m opening a second branch in Seattle in a few months, and I need to meet a few people myself.” He laughs. “So what do you say? All expenses would be paid and we’ll leave Friday afternoon; Hardin is more than welcome to come along. Not to the conference but to Seattle,” he explains with a knowing smile.