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

Pulling onto the highway, I shut my phone off before I do something stupid, like read any of those messages from Hardin.


chapter three


The drive to my childhood home is familiar and easy, requiring little thought on my part. I force myself to let out every scream—literally, as in screaming as loud as I possibly can and until my throat is sore—before I arrive in my hometown. I find this is actually much harder to do than I thought it would be, especially since I don’t feel like yelling. I feel like crying and disappearing. I would give anything to rewind my life to my first day of college; I would have taken my mother’s advice and changed rooms. My mother had worried about Steph being a bad influence; if only we’d realized it would be the rude, curly-haired boy that would be the problem. That he would take everything in me and spin it around, tearing me into tiny pieces before blowing on the pile and scattering me across the sky and beneath his friends’ heels.

I have only been two hours away from home this whole time, but with everything that’s happened, it feels so much farther. I haven’t been home since I started school. If I hadn’t broken up with Noah, I would have been back many times. I force my eyes to stay focused on the road as I pass his house.

I pull into our driveway and practically jump out of my car. But when I get to the door, I’m not sure if I should knock. It feels strange to do so, but I don’t feel comfortable just walking inside either. How can so much have changed since I left for college?

I decide to just walk inside, and I find my mother standing by the brown leather couch in full makeup, a dress, and heels. Everything looks the same: clean and perfectly organized. The only difference is that it seems smaller, maybe because of my time at Ken’s house. Well, my mother’s house is definitely small and unappealing from the outside, but the inside is decorated nicely, and my mother always did her best to mask the chaos of her marriage with attractive paint and flowers and attention to cleanliness. A decorating strategy she continued after my dad left, because I guess it had become habit by that point. The house is warm and the familiar smell of cinnamon fills my nostrils. My mother has always obsessed over wax burners and has one in every room. I take my shoes off at the door, knowing that she won’t want snow on her polished hardwood floors.

“Would you like some coffee, Theresa?” she asks before hugging me.

I get my coffee addiction from my mother, and this connection brings a small smile to my lips. “Yes, please.”

I follow her into the kitchen and sit at the small table, unsure how to begin the conversation.

“So are you going to tell me what happened?” she asks bluntly.