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

“My dad . . .” she croaks, and I go rigid.

“Your dad?” If he was there . . . “Tessa, was he there? Did he do something to you?” I ask her through my teeth.

She shakes her head no, and I reach down to lift her chin up, forcing her to look at me. She’s never quiet, even when upset. That’s usually when she’s the most vocal.

“He moved back here—but I didn’t even know he left. I mean, I guess I did, but I never thought about it. I never thought about him.”

My voice is not as calm as I mean for it to be when I ask, “Did you talk to him today?”

“No; she did, though. She said he isn’t going to come near me, but I don’t want her making that choice for me.”

“You want to see him?” All of the things she has told me about this man have been negative. He was violent, often smacking her mum around in front of her. Why would she want to see him?

“No . . . well, I don’t know. But I want to be the one to decide.” She dabs at her eyes with the back of her hand. “Not that he would even want to see me . . .”

The instinct to hunt this man down and make sure he doesn’t come near her takes over, and I have to talk myself down before I do something stupid and brash.

“I can’t help but think, what if he’s like your dad?”

“What do you mean?”

“What if he’s different now? What if he doesn’t drink anymore?” The hope in her voice breaks my heart . . . well, what’s left of it.

“I don’t know . . . that usually doesn’t happen,” I tell her honestly. I see the way her mouth turns down at the ends, so I continue: “But it could. Maybe he’s different now . . .” I don’t believe it, but who am I to extinguish her hope? “I didn’t know you had any interest in him.”

“I don’t . . . well, I didn’t. I’m just angry because my mother kept it from me . . .” she says, and then, between bouts of wiping her nose and face against my shirt, she tells me the rest of what happened. Tessa’s mother is the only woman who would reveal the return of her alcoholic ex-husband and then promptly mention going shopping. I keep my mouth shut about Noah being there even though it pisses me off. That kid just won’t seem to go away.

Finally she looks up at me, a bit calmer. She seems much better than she was when she ran to me in the parking lot, and I would like to think that’s because she’s here with me. “It’s okay that I’m here, right?” she asks.

“Yeah . . . of course. You can stay as long as you need to. It is your apartment, after all.”

I try to smile, and surprisingly she returns the gesture before wiping her nose on my shirt again. “I should have a dorm room next week.”