After Chapter 20 – Why won’t this night end?

Previously: Tessa made out with Hardin during a night that wouldn’t end.

Samantha: You guys I just want this night to end. Was there ever another plot to this story? I feel like one party night bled into another party night and now we’re trapped in a college party hellscape.

Tessa is walking away from the frat house at 4 am. I kind of refuse to believe that a taxi service isn’t 24 hours in a college town but okay. She walks for an HOUR AND A HALF and omg I’m so exhausted thinking about it. How the heck far away was this frat house? (M: Ah, yes, the across town frat house. Classic.) She finally reaches campus and stop into 7-Eleven for “a cup.” IDK maybe it’s because I’m not a coffee drinker but I was hella confused over what the heck she meant.

Marines: It’s a 7-Eleven. She should’ve clarified if it was a cup of coffee or a big ass Slurpee or an empty cup she asked for or what.

Samantha: She drinks her cup of air and wonders about Hardin. Why does he go from stiff and rigid to soft and flaccid? How can a punk boy be in a preppy fraternity? Why don’t people fit into the neat little boxes she has created for them? She is totally done trying to be nice to him and thinking about him, though.

She thinks about how Hardin (M: Thinking about him again already, eh?) emotionally attacked her as soon as her guard was down and that she will fully deny kissing him. She then thinks about how she’s going to explain going to a party again to her mom and Noah. Also that Noah needs to stop tattling on her like a little brother because she’s an adult.

She gets to her room and she’s so relieved, until she opens the door and finds Hardin witting on her bed. What the fuuuuuck I wish the chapter ended here. He tells her that he’s been driving around looking for her for two hours. Cause he’s a misunderstood sweet guy, okay everyone? Tessa now wonders why she didn’t just ask Hardin to bring her home when she discovered he hadn’t been drinking.

Mari: Maybe because he didn’t stop kissing you when you said stop and later pushed you off himself violently. You were busy running away, girl. REMEMBER.

Samantha: He tells her its not a good idea to wander around at night alone and she kind of hysterical laughs. Legit, girl. She tells him to leave and we discover the titillating detail that Hardin runs his hands through his hair when he’s nervous. I spent 30 seconds trying to find a Harry Styles gif before bailing.

Mari: Your effort is still appreciated, though. You can even claim the Questionable Google Search of the Day.

Samantha: Before anything else can happen however, Tessa’s mom starts banging on her door. OMFG. Tessa tries to shove Hardin in the closet but he refuses because Theresa is an adult. IDK, dude, you have already invaded her space without permission here, probably just do what she asks. Tessa wipes at the bags under her eyes. Not with makeup or anything, I think she’s just poking them. She also puts toothpaste on her tongue to conceal her alco-breath and opens the door with a smile. Except, dun-dun-dun, Mama brought Noah with her!

They push their way into the room, with Mama yelling about having a “tattooed troublemaker” in her room. Tessa starts feeling years of pent up rage start boiling in her, after years of her mom being judgmental and rude and controlling. Noah just glares at Hardin. Tessa decides that she’d like to scream at all 3 of them.

So, I’m going to transcribe what Mama then says, and preclude it with the fact that, at the end, both Noah and Tessa gasp.

“Is this what you do in college, young lady? You stay up all night and bring boys back to your room? Poor Noah was worried sick about you, and we drive all this way to find you running around with these strangers.”

Anyone feeling like gasping at the end of that pretty typical and non-shocking rant? She didn’t even use a swears!

Mari: If anyone reading this is writing a book, go back to your manuscript, search “gasp” and delete it if it appears. “But Mari,” you say, “what if…” NO. DELETE IT. IT’S OVER. Gasping cannot keep being used this way.

Samantha: Hardin responds that he just got here and Tessa hasn’t done anything wrong. Tessa, for her part, finds her subconscious tempting her to grab some popcorn to watch this fight. Oh….oh no. Not another sentient subconscious.

Mama is all “uh whatevs, wasn’t even talking to you, street rat” but Hardin is unmoved by her insults. Tessa attempts to “defend” Hardin by saying the word mother through gritted teeth. She also wonders why she’s defending him and if Noah can tell they just macked. Tessa’s inner monologue is a fascinating place… in OPPOSITE TOWN.

Tessa’s mother continues with accusing her of being out of control cause she’s hanging with kids from the other side of the tracks. Tessa defends herself with “I’m an adult and just doing college” and Mommy Dearest asks Hardin to leave, suddenly referring to him as “young man”. He does and Tessa knows he’ll be waiting on the other side of the door for her. IDK what he’s done to have that belief but sure. (M: Probably just always be around always. Her room, classes, the single frat house she visits, the room she randomly finds in that frat house, in the bathroom with her, her room again. Creeper.) I just want this night to end.

Tessa gets a 20 minute lecture that we luckily only have to survive through inner monologue summery. Basically more of the same and she promises not to drink or hang out with the hoodlums again. Then the mother decides that they should go get breakfast and shop, which… strange transition. Noah smiles at her and also hasn’t said a word this entire time which is a little weird.

Tessa goes to leave but her mom is all “you reek of sin, change first.” So she freshens up her purity and they all go out into the hall. Sure enough, Douchebag himself is sitting out in the hallway and Noah aggressively holds Tessa’s hand. She finds that she doesn’t want him to but pushes that aside to tell Hardin they’re all going into town. Hardin looks hurt and vulnerable. No he does not, but fine. Noah and her mother pull Tessa along like the consolation prize and Hardin has to look away he’s so *traumatized* by this. Ugh. Noah’s first words are declaring that he doesn’t like Hardin and Tessa agrees externally but internally she acknowledges the lie. Whatever.


Next time on After: We go shopping and eat breakfast because there will be no time jump in Chapter 21.

Samantha (all posts)

I'm a 25 year old graduated English major I can often be found singing too loudly (poorly) in the car or spending some time (hours) on Tumblr. I am a lover of Harry Potter, the Spice Girls, and too many other things.

Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • JA Jenks

    I just want to put out there that Mommy Dearest is dream cast by the “author” as Denise Richards. Make of that what you will.

    • Samantha

      Oh my gosh. It’s horribly perfect.

      • Charlie

        Why? I feel like there’s some context I am missing here. I thought she picked Denise because she kind of looks like Indiana Evans, who she casted as Tessa.

        Also btw: in the original fic Mommy Dearest called Tessa a slut so the gasping makes more sense here. I have no idea why they changed the dialogue but kept the gasping.

        • Samantha

          Oh, no context outside of for some reason when I read that I could really see it and it really clicked. Maybe subconsciously I saw her play a mean mom once?
          And THANK YOU. That context is extremely beneficial and yeah, the editing is bizarre.

          • Charlie

            Haha fair enough! I guess I can kind of see it. :d

            The editing is really all over the place. I feel like this pretty much received the 50 shades treatment- it was already popular as a fic, so they barely touched it. I am told the published version was cleaned up a lot, which I have no plans on confirming for myself (once is already TOO MUCH for this story), but I can believe it. The original fic was RIDDLED with grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. But besides that I seriously doubt it’s given a lot of editing. I guess they are making the mother less cartoonish because she was laughable in the fic but other than that I doubt much is being changed.

  • AmandaOoooh

    I commend you guys on your dedication to snarking this whole story but I don’t think I can even read your posts anymore. I’m on an emotional roller coaster here. Rage, boredom, wtf-ery, repeat repeat. On second thought, we’ll call it an emotional train. It’s not worth a roller coaster. This thing is bad. I mean, worse than 50 shades bad. I can’t even read the snarks anymore.

    3 things though:
    1. There are only so many paths from point A to point B. 2 hours and you still couldn’t find her?
    2. Maybe it’s because my parents were more lax about the drinking thing. They taught me how to handle myself responsibly and they trusted me so I can’t imagine my mom (or dad) driving 2 hours to my college to lecture me for hanging out with “hoodlums.” Give me a break, no parent would ever do this.
    3. We keep joking about Noah being like a little brother but I’m getting more and more suspicious of him. He seems to spend a lot of time with Tessa’s mom. Driving 2 hours back and forth with her, they’re in constant communication and he reports back to her. He’s either sleeping with Tessa’s mom or he’s secretly a spy for her.

    • Samantha

      We’ll be soooooo sorry to lose you but also I get it.
      Yeah Todd obviously doesn’t know anything about real life. Are we sure she’s not just a computer program?
      Either of those scenarios make Noah a bit more interesting??????

      • AmandaOoooh

        It’s just that… I know how this awful book ends. You think you’re mad now? Oh, just wait. You’ll blow your lid off at the end. I don’t think I can’t go through it again tbh

        • Alicia

          The ending is horrible. I’m not sure which is worse, the ending of book one or the ending of the whole series. They’re both really terrible. I somehow managed to finish all four books, I guess because of morbid curiosity. I wanted to see how badly the books would end. I started to read the part in Hardin’s POV and then the other parts from Landon’s POV but I couldn’t be bothered to get past a few chapters.

          • JA Jenks

            Samesies. Morbid curiousity kept me going through it all- the unedited watpad version no less- and I’m here because I enjoy reading the snark as other people go through my pain. It’s truly infuriating. It’s batshit berserk too. Just totally bonkers.

          • Alicia

            Same, I read the unedited Wattpad version and the “edited” published version. There isn’t a whole lot of difference in the grammar or scenes between the two. You can tell they really didn’t pick it apart piece by piece, they just wanted to finish it quickly so they probably skimmed through it. Also, Todd has said that she doesn’t believe in editing because it ruins the “magic” or whatever, so she probably didn’t let them change much.

            And I also enjoy reading the snark and letting out my rage to people who understand the books. See, my friends don’t read, so trying to explain it to them isn’t the same. I told my boyfriend and best friend about it and they think it sounds stupid.

          • AmandaOoooh

            I don’t know the end of the whole series, just the end of this. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t actually read this whole thing either. Someone just said that the ending was heartbreaking so I skipped to the end hoping that they all died or something. No such luck.

            Are you telling me that she wrote the same books again in Hardin’s POV and Landon’s?? She needs to just stop writing forever!

          • Alicia

            Ahh, yeah you didn’t miss a whole lot by skipping to the end. It was just fight, have sex, get feels again and get back together, then fight again. Lather, rinse and repeat, have some random drama with other characters in between. It was too bad they didn’t all die at the end though.

            Yeah, well she wrote the same book in Hardin’s POV because that is a trend now I guess (to write the same book from the male lead’s POV). But she had like a side story about Landon and how he met the mystery woman whom he eventually married. (spoiler) See, at the end of the After series, Todd writes about Landon’s wedding but doesn’t mention who the wife is. Which leaves her open to write two more books (called Nothing More and Nothing Less) so people have to buy them to find out who he picks to marry. It’s nothing but a money grab.

        • aqua_13

          They’ve been warned… And no amount of alcohol will make the ending better.

          • AmandaOoooh

            I’m actually mad at myself that I read it. I wish I could take it all back and unread it.

          • Samantha

            Oh man, I’m fairly worried now. It feels like the ending is a million years away though since this 24 hour period won’t end so I shall safely go back into Ending Denial.

  • Alicia

    Uh, in real life, I’m sure she could have just called a taxi at any time and also, the frat house is an hour and a half walk from the dorms? Or maybe she just walked kind of in like a zig-zag pattern due to her being drunk, so it took her longer?

    Yeah, sure, she’s “done” trying to be nice to Hardin or think about Hardin. I wonder how many more times she’ll say this throughout the series. Then she thinks about him again and how he “emotionally attacked” her when her guard was down. Of course she’ll fully deny kissing him because she’s playing the victim always.

    Aww, look, he drove around looking for her for the past two hours. (Even though she was probably walking on the sidewalk the whole time, so I don’t see how hard it could be to find her?) Because he’s sweet and was worried and “cares” for her now. Her kissing him totally transformed his feelings for her. -swoon- -panties dropping-

    Hardin’s kind of right though, because Tessa should be allowed to hang out with whoever she wants to while she’s away at college without her mom and boyfriend pissing on her. Of course Tessa has a subconscious, because Ana did too. YAY, more things Todd stole from ELJ.

    I don’t know why Tessa is even bothering to defend Hardin to her mother after what they just did, but of course. I’m sure Hardin can take a few insults, he’s probably been insulted worse, and likely doesn’t care what Tessa’s mother thinks of him. And, no parent would EVER drive two hours because their daughter was at a party. Probably just give them the phone lecture and that be that.

    Does Tessa saying, “I’m an adult and just doing college” also excuse her for cheating on her boyfriend while drunk?

    Lol @ Hardin being hurt and vulnerable over Tessa holding her boyfriend’s hand, and so traumatized by her going to town with her mom and boyfriend that he has to look away. It’s made out that Hardin has some sort of vulnerable side? For some random reason, even though Tessa has spent most of the book so far telling us how hard and badass Hardin is. Huh, right. Suddenly he -cares- about her and her well-being becuz their rape-kiss was so magicals. Somehow I have a hard time believing that.

    • Samantha

      Her saying she’s “done” with Hardin is one of the more banal rage inducing things for me. STOP. Either actually stop or stop saying it because my brain is going to explode.

      • Alicia

        Yup, like every time he’s mean to her (now and in the future) she thinks that she’s done with him. But the book just keeps going and going so we know that’s not going to happen.

  • Joy

    To be entirely fair, when I use the word gasp in my writing it’s because smutty smut. Or being startled. Or both. WINK.

    • JA Jenks

      I’m intrigued. I love smutty smut.

      • Joy

        TRASHY smutty smut. But at least it’s physically realistic.

  • I don’t even know how to respond to this series. It’s just so so so awful.

    Also I call bullshit on Tessa being up for shopping and breakfast after being awake all night (in addition to the whole walking for an hour and a half bullshit). Also I hate her mother SO HARD (I mean I hate pretty much every fictional character in this book so hard, but still.)

    • Samantha

      Yeah her being able to go socialize with her bananas mom and weirdo boyfriend with a hangover and no sleep must mean she’s anot android. Cause, nope.

  • Nicole von Long
    • Samantha

      This is basically the exact gif I was looking for and I am very grateful to you.

      • Brooke

        Isn’t he a cutie?

  • One of the many, many things that already annoys me about this series is that it perpetuates the myth that guys and gals cannot have platonic relationships, that sexuality always motivates their words and actions regarding one another. And that is such bullshit.
    Ideally this series would be about a super-sheltered girl getting to college, realizing her newfound freedom, meeting people who challenge her way of thinking and forming actual healthy relationships with them, and growing as a person from her experiences. There are lots of other YA novels that follow this formula, ones where you actually end up caring about the protagonist. If I were in any of your shoes I would have abandoned Tessa after the first chapter.

    • Samantha

      That sounds like a great novel. Your hypothetical description of a novel is 100% better than this actual novel.