Previously: Tessa runs away from sexual assault into Hardin’s arms.
Marines: Tessa and Hardin are kissing, and she describes his warm tongue and cold lip ring. She also makes sure to let us know that she doesn’t really know what’s she’s doing here, lest we think her a hussy, with all the kissing and all. (S: Wow this is just a painful block of a paragraph.) She goes on in detail about Hardin pulling her back on his bed and how this is just such a wonderful moment until she remembers Noah.
I say, “Hardin… stop,” but I don’t recognize my own voice. It’s low and husky, and my mouth is dehydrated.
He doesn’t stop.
I can’t do this. Not for one second, not for one kiss. This is going to be a hell of a long journey already. I cannot do this if Tessa is going to have to say, “stop” multiple times for this dickweasel to listen. The only reason I’m still typing is because I looked ahead and this is another idiotically short chapter. It’s almost done even as I sit here and seethe.
Samantha: Fucking rape culture. It seeps its toxic and greasy self into everything. Exhausting.
News flash: it’s rapey even if you’re not a drunk stranger, ie. a chapter ago.
Mari: Tessa says stop again, but with her voice a little clearer. Hardin pulls away and Tessa can see that his eyes are “softer” because she’s already changing him with her kisses, I guess. But not a lot! Because his eyes get hard again when she tells him they can’t keep kissing. Hardin pushes her off as he gets up, knocking her to the other side of the bed.
Hardin’s obviously so mad, so Tessa starts apologizing [screams internally] [S: weeps internally], while also noticing that his boxers are a little tighter int he front as he stands to put on a shirt. Hardin tells her it was just a kiss and people kiss all the time. This hurts Tess’s feelings, but she doesn’t know why, though it doesn’t seem like a very hard thing to figure out. Todd keeps trying to play like something very mysterious is happening here, but no. She reasons with herself that she’s just drunk and he’s attractive and this means nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Tessa asks if they can not make a big deal of this, because she doesn’t want anyone else finding out. Hardin says that’s cool because he doesn’t want anyone to know either. Even though he’s just repeating what Tessa said first, she’s all UH HOW COULD YOU about it, and says that Hardin’s back to his old self. He insists that he’s only got the one self and a little kissing “basically against his will” [screams externally] [S: fist through wall] isn’t gonna change that. Tessa says that he could’ve stopped her if he didn’t want to be kissed and his super great retort is: hardly.
Samantha: Oh, boy. Oh, Lordy.
Mari: Hardin softens again (I think this is a medical issue at this point) (S: I wanted to make a penis joke but I’m too bummed out.) and offers to let Tessa stay in his room. She’s not having it or the way she gets emotional whiplash when she’s around him, so she walks out of his room and goes outside. She turns her phone on and sees text messages from Noah and her mother. She’s briefly annoyed at Noah for tattle-telling but they says she has no room to be annoyed because she’s a big ole cheater.
I’m so happy we all spent this time together. Quality chapter.
Next time on After: Theresa’s mother drives to college in Chapter 20.