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

I nod; if I speak, I’ll end up pathetically begging her not to leave me again.


chapter twenty-nine


I walk to the bathroom to remove the makeup from my face and pull myself together. The warm water washes away all evidence of my eventful morning, and I’m actually glad to be back here. Despite everything that Hardin and I have been through, I’m glad to know that I still have a safe place to land with him. He is the only constant in my life; I remember him saying that to me once. I wonder if he meant it then.

Even if he didn’t, I believe that he feels that way now. I just wish he would tell me more about how he feels. Seeing him break down yesterday was the most emotion that I’ve seen out of him since we met. I just want to hear the words behind the tears.

I go back into the bedroom to find Hardin setting my bags down on the floor. “I went down and got your stuff,” he informs me.

“Thank you, I really hope I’m not intruding,” I tell him and bend down to grab some sweats and a T-shirt. I have to get out of this dress.

“I want you here, you know that, don’t you?” he says quietly. I shrug and he frowns. “You should know that by now, Tess.”

“I do . . . it’s just that your mother is here, and here I am bringing all this drama and crying,” I explain.

“My mum is glad that you’re here, and so am I.”

My chest swells, but I change the subject. “Do you guys have anything planned today?”

“I think she wanted to go to the mall or something, but we can go tomorrow.”

“You can go, I can keep myself entertained.” I don’t want him to cancel plans with his mother when he hasn’t seen her in over a year.

“No, it’s fine, really. You don’t need to be alone.”

“I’m fine.”

“Tessa, what did I just say?” he growls and I look up at him. He seems to have forgotten that he doesn’t get to decide things for me anymore. No one does.

He softens and corrects himself. “Sorry . . . you stay here. I’ll go shopping with her.”

“Much better,” I say and try to fight my smile.

Hardin has been so gentle, so . . . afraid the last few days. Even if he was wrong to push me, it was kind of nice to see he’s still himself.

I go into the closet to change my clothes, and just as I lift the dress over my head, he taps on the door. “Tess?”

“Yes?” I say.

After a beat he asks, “You’ll be here when we get back?”

I snort. “Yeah. It’s not like I have anywhere else to go.”

“Okay. If you need anything, call me,” he says; the sadness in his voice is clear.

A few minutes later I hear the front door close and I emerge from the bedroom. I probably should have gone with them so I wouldn’t be here alone with my thoughts. I already feel lonely. After watching television for an hour, I am beyond bored. Periodically my phone buzzes and my mother’s name flashes on-screen. I ignore her entirely and wish Hardin would come back already. I grab my e-reader and start to read to pass the time, but I can’t stop looking at the clock.