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

“Are you okay?” I ask into her hair.

She nods her head up and down against my chest but continues to cry. I know she isn’t okay. Her mother probably said some shit to her that she shouldn’t have. I knew this would happen, and honestly, the greedy part of me is glad for whatever she did. Not because she hurt Tessa, but because it meant my girl ran to me for comfort.

“Let’s go inside,” I say.

She nods but doesn’t let go of me, so I force myself to release my arms from her and walk us both inside. Her beautiful face is marked with black streaks and her eyes and lips are swollen. I hope she didn’t cry the whole drive.

As soon as we step into the lobby, I pull out the scarf I brought down and wrap it around her head and ears, making a soft purple bundle around her beautiful face. She must be cold only wearing that dress. That dress . . . I would normally go into an extended fantasy about peeling the thin fabric off her. But not today, not while she’s like this.

She lets out the cutest hiccup and pulls the scarf over her head. Her blond hair sticks up out of the side in a big knot, making her look even younger than usual.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I take the small chance to ask her when we step off the elevator and walk down to our . . . the apartment.

She nods, and I unlock the door. My mum is sitting on the couch and worry spreads across her face as she takes in Tessa’s appearance. I shoot her a warning glare, hoping she’ll remember the promise she made to not bombard Tessa with questions about her return. Mum tears her eyes from Tessa and looks at the television, feigning indifference.

“We’re going to go into the room for a little while,” I announce, and my mum nods. I know it’s driving her crazy not being able to talk, but I won’t have her making Tessa feel any worse by prying.

As we go, I pause at the thermostat in the hallway to turn the heat up, since I know she’s freezing. When I step into the room, Tessa’s already sitting on the edge of the bed. Unsure of how close I’m allowed to get, I wait for her to say something.

“Hardin?” she says in a weak voice. The hoarse tone of her voice tells me she had been crying the whole drive, and it makes me feel worse for her.

I go stand in front of her and she surprises me again by grabbing hold of my T-shirt and pulling me to stand between her legs. This is more than her mum saying some rude shit.

“Tess . . . what did she do?” I ask as she starts crying again, smearing her makeup on the bottom of my white shirt. I could give a shit about the mess; if anything, it will give me a reminder of her when she leaves again.