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

“And leave my mum here alone?” he scoffs.

“No! Of course not, Karen and your dad want her to come . . . Both of you.”

Hardin looks at me like I’m crazy. “Yeah, right. And why would my mum want to go there with my father and his new wife?”

“I . . . I don’t know, but it could be nice to have everyone together.”

Really, though, I’m not sure how exactly that would go, largely because I don’t know what type of relationship Trish and Ken have now, if they have one at all. It’s also not my place to try to bring everyone together—I’m not part of their family. Heck, I’m not even Hardin’s girlfriend.

“I don’t think so.” He frowns.

Despite everything going on between Hardin and me, it would have been nice to spend Christmas with him, but I understand. It would have been hard enough to convince Hardin to go to his father’s house for the holiday anyway, let alone with his mother.

Because part of my brain likes a problem to solve, I start thinking that I need to get gifts for Landon and his parents, maybe something for Trish as well. But what? I should go now, really—it’s already five, which only leaves a bit tonight and then tomorrow, Christmas Eve. I have no idea whether or not I should get something for Hardin; actually, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t. It would be awkward to give him a present when we’re in this strange in-between place.

“What is it?” Hardin asks of my silence.

I groan. “I have to go to the mall. This is what I get for being homeless on Christmas,” I tell him.

“I don’t think bad planning has anything to do with you being homeless,” he teases. His smile is small but his eyes are bright . . .

Is he flirting with me? I laugh at the thought and roll my eyes. “Bad planning is not something that I do, ever.”

“Sure . . .” he mocks, and I swat my hand at him.

He grabs my wrist and wraps his fingers around it to stop my playful assault. A familiar warmth floods through my body, and I lock eyes with him. He lets go quickly and we both look away. The air fills with tension, and I stand up to put my shoes back on.

“You’re going now?” he asks.

“Yeah . . . the mall closes at nine,” I remind him.

“You’re going alone?” He shuffles his feet awkwardly.

“Would you like to come?” I know this probably isn’t the best idea, but if I want to at least try to move forward, then going to the mall together is fine. Right?

“Come shopping with you?”

“Yeah . . . if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too,” I say awkwardly.

“No, of course I do. I just . . . wasn’t expecting you to ask.”

I nod, then grab my phone and purse. Hardin close on my heels, I go out into the living room.

“We’re going to the mall for a while,” Hardin tells his mom.