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

The snow is thick and the wind is strong, nudging at my car on the deserted roads. I should have just stayed in the hotel—I have no idea what possessed me to come here. Still, despite some scary moments, the drive goes much quicker than I thought it would, and before I know it, my mother’s house looms before me.

I pull into her neatly shoveled driveway, and after three knocks she finally opens the door, wearing a robe, her hair wet. I can count the times in my life that I’ve seen her without her hair and makeup done on one hand.

“What are you doing here? Why didn’t you call?” she fires off, as unfriendly as ever.

I step inside. “I don’t know; I was driving through the snow and didn’t want to be distracted.”

“You still should have called so I could have been ready.”

“You don’t need to be ready, it’s only me.”

She huffs. “There is never an excuse to look like a slob, Tessa,” she says with a tone as if she’s telling me about my current state. I almost laugh at her ridiculous comment, but I decide against it.

“Where are your bags?” she asks.

“In my car, I’ll get them later.”

“What is that . . . that dress you are wearing?” Her eyes scan my body and I smile.

“It’s for work. I really like it.”

“It’s way too revealing . . . but the color is nice, I suppose.”

“Thanks. So how are the Porters?” I ask. I know bringing up Noah’s family will distract her.

“They’re great. They miss seeing you.” As she goes into the kitchen she says casually over her shoulder, “Maybe we should invite them over for dinner tonight.”

I cringe and scurry after her. “Oh, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

She looks at me, then pours herself cup of coffee. “Why not?”

“I don’t know . . . it would be awkward for me.”

“Theresa, you have known the Porters for years. I would love for them to see you now that you have an internship as well as going to college.”

“So you basically want me to show off?” The thought annoys me. She only wants to have them over so she can have another thing to brag about.

“No, I want to show them the things that you’ve accomplished. It’s not showing off,” she snaps.

“I really would rather not.”

“Well, Theresa, this is my house, and if I want to invite them, I will. I’m going to finish getting myself presentable, and then I’ll be back.” And with a dramatic turn, she leaves me in the kitchen alone.

I roll my eyes and walk back to my old bedroom. Tired, I lie down on the bed and wait for my mother to finish her extensive beautification rituals.

“THERESA?” MY MOTHER’S VOICE wakes me up. I don’t even remember falling asleep.

I lift my face up from where it was resting on Buddha, my ancient stuffed elephant, and say a disoriented “Coming!”