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

I want to say something—anything—to make this stop. To make his pain go away.

But where was he when I was crying myself to sleep night after night?

“You want me to go?” I ask, and he nods.

His rejection hurts, even now. I know I shouldn’t be here, we shouldn’t be doing this, but I need more. I need more time with him. Even dangerous, painful time is better than no time. I wish I didn’t love him, that I had never met him.

But I did. And I do love him.

“Okay.” I swallow and stand up.

His hand grips my wrist to stop me. “I’m sorry. For everything, for hurting you, for everything,” he says, goodbye thick in his tone.

As much as I resist this, I know deep down that I’m not ready for him to give up on me. On the other hand, I’m not ready to easily forgive him either. I’ve been in a constant state of confusion for days, but today takes the cake.

“I . . .” I stop myself.

“What?”

“I don’t want to go,” I say so low that I’m not sure he even heard me.

“What?” he asks again.

“I don’t want to go. I know I should, but I don’t want to. Not tonight at least.” I swear I can see the pieces of the broken man in front of me slowly come back together, one by one. It’s a beautiful sight, but terrifying deep in my soul, too.

“What does this mean?”

“I don’t know what it means, but I’m not ready to find out either,” I say, hoping to be able to get at this feeling by talking about it.

Hardin looks at me blankly, his earlier sobs nowhere to be find. Robotically, he wipes his face with his shirt and says, “Okay. You can sleep on the bed, I’ll take the floor.”

As he grabs two pillows and the throw blanket from the bed, my mind can’t help but entertain the thought that maybe, just maybe, all those tears were for show. Still, somehow I know that they couldn’t have been.

 

chapter twenty-five

TESSA

Tucked like I am under our comforter, the thought that keeps going through my mind is that I never, ever would have thought I’d witness anything like that from Hardin. He was so raw, so vulnerable, as his body shook with tears. I feel like the dynamic between Hardin and me is constantly shifting, so that one of us is always gaining an upper hand over the other. Right now, I would be the one in control.

But I don’t want to be. And I don’t like this dynamic. Love shouldn’t be such a battle. Besides, I don’t trust myself to be in control of what happens between us. Up until a few hours ago I had it all figured out, but now, after seeing him so shaken up, my mind is muddled and my thoughts clouded.

Even in the darkness, I can feel Hardin’s eyes on me. When I let out the breath I realized I was holding, he quickly asks, “Do you want me to turn the television on?”