Previously: Tessa kisses Hardin but only when she’s not fearing that he’ll hurt her.
Marines: Tessa meets with Landon to study. She tells us that it took her an hour to organize all her notes after Hardin threw them around LIKE A DICK. I’m convinced that you can add LIKE A DICK to any action Hardin takes and it’s 100% accurate. (S: This shall be fun.) Tessa wants to tell Landon about it but “I don’t want him to think badly of me.” Ummmmm, why would he think badly of you after some jerk threw around your stuff? (S: Yup, this reeks of victim blaming mentality.)
Anyway, Tessa doesn’t want Landon to think badly of her, especially since she knows that his mom is dating Hardin’s dad. Tessa has to stop herself from asking a millionty questions about Hardin but then tells us “I don’t care what Hardin does.” Seeing as how you mentioned him in each and every one of the four sentences of this chapter so far, I’m going to have to say
Samantha: We use Maury gifs and memes more than I expected here at Snark Squad.
Mari: We are women that always defy expectations. Or something.
We skip past the part of the day that doesn’t have Hardin in it and arrive to Literature class. Hardin is in his seat next to Tessa’s, but he’s refusing to look at her. The professor says this will be their last day on Pride and Prejudice and I’m a little happy and a little scared for whatever piece of classic literature they’ll bastardize next.
The professor says they’ll discuss the ending of P&P and how Austen uses foreshadowing. He asks if they all expected Lizzy and Darcy to end up together. Landon and Tessa are the only two to raise their hands (of course) and the professor calls on Tessa.
“Well the first time I read the novel, I was on the edge of my seat about whether or not they would end up together. Even now– and I have read it at least ten times– I still fell anxious during the beginning of their relationship. Mr. Darcy is so cruel and says such hateful things about Elizabeth and her family that I never know if she can forgive him, let alone love him.” Landon nods at my answer, and I smile.”
Is… is this how people see Pride and Prejudice? I’m asking honestly. The concept of people honestly thinking P&P is at all being about Mr. Darcy being super cruel and Elizabeth deciding to forgive and love him anyway is BAFFLING to me, but also it’s EXACTLY what I would expect Anna Todd to get out of reading it.
Samantha: I….no? Am I reading literature wrong? Also, Darcy has a character arc that sort of circumvents this reading of the story? I think? Stop making me question myself, Todd!
Mari: I almost launched into a whole thing about the difference between cruel and Darcy’s behavior and also how Lizzy was a bit of jerk face herself but alas. I need to save my energy for the rest of this feces on paper.
“”That’s a load,” a voice cuts through the stillness. Hardin’s voice.
“Mr. Scott? Would you like to add something?” the professor asks, clearly surprised at Hardin’s participation.
“Sure. I said that’s a load. Women want what they can’t have. Mr. Darcy’s rude attitude is what drew Elizabeth to him, so it was obvious they would end up together,” Hardin says, then picks his fingernails as if he isn’t the slightest bit interested in the discussion.”
The most frustrating thing to me as a recapper is when I can’t even drum up commentary. I mean, it’s not even worth it because in a second it becomes clear that they are using their college literature course to hash out their v serious feelings developed over like 3 parties and some alcohol. It’s not worth saying anything about this childish display other than: stop this portrayal of women. STOP IT NOW.
Samantha: Yup. Also, who knew Hardin had a last name? Not me.
Mari: Tessa yells back that it’s totally not true and women don’t want what they can’t have. Mr. Darcy was only mean to Elizabeth because he was too proud to admit his feelings. Once he stopped being hateful, though, she saw that he really loved her. Hardin’s like “nuh uh.”
“I don’t know what kind of guys you normally go for, but I think that if he loved her, he wouldn’t have been mean to her. The only reason he ended up asking for her hand in marriage was because she wouldn’t stop throwing herself at him,” he says with emphasis and my heart drops.
Let’s remember this whole “if he loves her he wouldn’t be mean” thing for later okay because HILARIOUS.
Mari: Now that they are talking about themselves and literally yelling in the middle of this classroom (seriously, is the professor sitting back with popcorn because this has gone on long enough), Tessa replies that she didn’t throw herself at him. He manipulated her into thinking he was kind and he took advantage of her weakness. Hardin says that really she was so bored of her boring life (wow, sick burn) that she did too throw herself at him. Tessa calls him a manwhore and says that he could’ve stopped it after the first time instead of showing up to her room. Now everyone knows they are yelling at each other about themselves. The professor put his popcorn down and calls the class to order.
Tessa grabs her stuff and runs out of the classroom but Hardin yells that she doesn’t get to run this time and goes after her. Hardin catches up to her outside and grabs her arm. She asks why he insists on manhandling her and threatens to slap him the next time he does. So of course he just grabs her again and of course Tessa does nothing about it. Wait, I think I just wrote the one sentence summary for the whole series without really trying.
Samantha: I’m sad.
Mari: I know.
Tessa yells some more about how sick of his games and mood swings she is. She calls him a terrible person and says she wants nothing to do with him. He replies, “I really do bring out the worst in you, don’t I?” Um, what? Because she’s actually confronting you about being a terrible person? Why are we painting this as such a terrible Tessa trait or moment? She’s standing up for damned self. I’M CLAPPING. GO TESSA. ANGRY TESSA IS BEST TESSA. This is rotten bologna about how angry females are the worst females.
A crowd of students have gathered around them now to stare and I call BS again because I feel like on a college campus no one cares and also people are loud a lot? I don’t know. (S: Exactly my thought too.) Tessa turns back toward Hardin and hark! He looks… hurt? Aw po bb. Hardin says he’s not trying to play games with her, and she asks what he is doing then. Tessa is uncomfortable with all the people watching, but she can’t leave because she can’t stay away from him. She thinks again how mean she’s being and how she can’t standing being mean to anyone.
Hardin grabs her AGAIN and manhandles her into an alleyway. He tells her that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. She kissed him first. Tessa reminds him that she was drunk and he kissed her first the second time. Hardin says she didn’t stop him. He then tells her it must be exhausting pretending like she doesn’t want him. I don’t know how Tessa feels but I know I’m exhausted after that 10 minute eye roll I just experienced after that line. (S: Oh no, I’m going to be eye rolling forever now oh no someone heeellllppp.)
Tessa protests because she most certainly does not want him and also she most certainly does have a boyfriend. Hardin tells her she’s totes bored of Noah and she should just admit it to herself. Noah has never made her feel the way he does, and Noah has never touched her the way he does. Tessa insists that’s all false, but it’s not like Hardin actually listens to anything she says anyway. Also, I want to tell Tessa there is happy middle ground between the guy who acts like her brother and the guy who manhandles her into alleyways.
Hardin says he can tell that Tessa has never really been touched.
Tessa tries to back away from Hardin. He just gets closer and says she has no idea how good he can make her feel. Tessa gasps like no one ever does except in poorly written fiction about stupid girls and the douchewaffles who abuse them.
“How does he go from yelling at me to this? And why do I like it so much? I have no words.”
No, no, no. I have no words.
Tessa backs up against a wall and Hardin keeps up his super dirty dirty talk.
“Your pulse has quickened, hasn’t it? Your mouth is dry. You’re thinking about me and have that feeling… down there. Don’t you, Theresa?”
- I think “your pulse has quickened, hasn’t it” is my new pick-up line. I mean, how much sexier and dirtier does it get than that?
- Imagine how sexy it must be to talk about dry mouths right before kissing. I mean, I know I want to make out with an arid wasteland.
- “DOWN THERE.” OMG NOT AGAIN. I CAN’T TAKE IT. (S: *mindless screaming* It sounds so juvenile and dumb why why why why why do authors think this is sexy.)
- If you can’t say vagina, you can’t have vagina.
Tessa says everything Hardin says is right from her rabbit pulse to cotton mouth and it’s so super sexy and so super weird to hate someone and crave them at the same time. Tessa, thinking that it matters at all what she says, tells Hardin that he’s wrong. He smiles because of course it doesn’t matter what she says. Tessa side steps him and asks why he keeps saying that she’s throwing herself at him. He says it’s because she made the first move.
So, making the first move = throwing yourself at someone if you are a girl? GREAT. THANKS, ANNA TODD. (S: Cool. Consent is only a thing the very first time and only in a weird gray way. Got it. Noted.)
Tessa feels the need to justify herself again, explaining that she was drunk and sad and Hardin was being kind of nice. Hardin asks if he’s really that mean to her and Tessa’s like, “um you are mean to everyone but especially to me.” Hardin again doesn’t listen to anything she’s saying, so Tessa huffs away.
Hardin calls her back and there is some bullshit in here about how “Tessa’s body reacts before her brain catches up.” NO. What are you a dog? And also if you jerk reacted, just wait the one second it takes to process and KEEP WALKING. But she doesn’t. She goes back to sit next to Hardin. He says she’s sitting super far away and asks if she doesn’t trust him. She says he doesn’t and he looks hurt for half a second. Tessa treasures every single moment when Hardin displays emotion for half a second. Gotta stock pile those moments for later when you are trying to convince yourself that your abuser cares.
Anyway, they agree that they either need to stay away from each other or be friends because fighting is exhausting. Hardin says he doesn’t want to stay away from Tessa and that makes her sad and happy all at once because we are truly going to have to suffer the anvils of Tessa’s conflicting emotions forever.
Samantha: At least she hasn’t personified them yet?
Mari: That’s a glass half full way to look at it!
They shake hands and agree to be friends, but Tessa clarifies that they aren’t friends with benefits. Hardin asks what makes her say that. Um, the fact that they keep making out? Oh, no, the fact that Steph told her all about Hardin sleeping around, including with her. Hardin says he had fun with Steph and smiles wistfully. Tessa wants to puke. (S: Me too.) Hardin says he also has girls he fucks. Why should that concern his new friend Tessa? She says it doesn’t, but she wants him to know she won’t be one of those girls.
Hardin mockingly asks if Tessa is jealous, and she shoves him and says no. She feels sorry for those girls, probably cause they are awful sinners. Hardin says they enjoy it, and Tessa changes the subject because it’s too much for her. She asks if Hardin will try to be nice to her and he agrees. He asks if she will trying to be less uptight and bitchy. Tessa counters that she isn’t bitchy; he’s just obnoxious. They laugh and laugh because they are both awful, I guess.
Tessa thinks about how cute Hardin’s accent is when he’s nice. But then she amends that his accent is cute when he’s being rude too. Wooooooooooow, thank you for clarifying.
She stands because she doesn’t want to keep thinking about how cute he is. Hardin calls her skirt ugly and she’s kind of hurt but he’s only joking like friends do, so it’s okay. Tessa’s phone vibrates to remind her that it’s study time. Hardin tells her to set an alarm for tomorrow after class so they can hang out together and have some fun. Tessa’s not sure their idea of fun is the same, but before Tessa can answer, Hardin’s like “okay see you tomorrow bye” and leaves.
Left alone, Tessa thinks about how wild it is that in the last 10 minutes Hardin went from propositioning her to promising to be nicer to her to being jokey laughs ha ha Hardin. Tessa still has a lot of questions but figures she can be friends with him. It’s for the best so she can stop kissing while having a boyfriend.
Samantha: I don’t really know why she thinks spending more time with someone she “can’t stop” kissing is going to make the amount of kissing go down?
Mari: She’s not good at the logics.
As Tessa walks back to her room, she thinks about how she feels like she walked into a Hardin trap.
Welp, that’s normal for a friendship, I’m sure.
How long before they are kissing again?
1- One chapter
b. Two chapters
cat. what is a chapter?
4. I can’t see the question through my angry tears sorry ttyl
Next time on After: Hardin breaks a date and makes a date within 5 minutes in Chapter 24.