Previously: Tessa and Hardin yelled at each other a lot in class.
Samantha: So Tessa can’t focus on studying and decides to try a shower. Showers are a sort of magic so it helps relax her, and she realizes that she’s nervous and confused when it comes to Hardin. I mean, can you believe it? She’s nervous and confused when it comes to Hardin! Wow.
Marines: She “realizes” this even though we’ve suffered through 24 what-are-chapters of her being nervous and confused when it comes to Hardin. This girl is 139 characters short of a full Tweet.
Samantha: She hopes their “fun” activity tomorrow (gags) goes well.
When she gets back to her room she finds a note saying that Tristan is taking Stephanie off campus for dinner. Tessa thinks that Tristan is nice “despite his over use of eyeliner.” How magnanimous of you, Tess. Then she thinks about how her and Noah will never double date with them because Noah is a judgmental jerk. I maybe adlibbed a little. (M: Yeah, but only a little.) She calls said Judge Judy and they have a boring conversation during which Tessa does not tell him that she’s hanging out with Hardin. Are we still pretending he’s her boyfriend? Yes? Alright, if you say so.
The next day Tessa and Landon walk to class and Hardin teases her about their “date” and Landon is shocked! and appalled!. Tessa corrects Hardin that they are just hanging platonically and Hardin further confirms that he’s not a real human by saying that’s the same thing.
After class, which speeds by because Hardin doesn’t talk, Landon warns Tessa to be careful and Hardin jerks at him. Tessa tells Hardin to be nicer since they’re practically brothers. Hmmm did we have some sort of pool going to see how long it would take Tessa to blab about knowing this? We did? Great, that will be all the late night tears for me then. Tessa lets herself off the hook by thinking that Landon only meant not bringing up specifically Hardin’s relationship with his father. Right, sure, okay, you’re still a Good Person then, girl.
Mari: Especially when she’s not cheating on her boyfriend!
Samantha: Hardin tells her that it’s none of her business (shoot am I agreeing with Hardin???) and threatens to shut Landon up. With his fists, you guys!
Mari: THROAT PUNCH? Because Tessa is 100% an Elizabeth Wakefield…
Samantha: OMG IT ALL MAKES SENSE.
Tessa tells him to knock it off and asks where they’re going. Hardin says nowhere because he needs to POUT NOW and storms away. Tessa takes this as an opportunity to call him bipolar in her head so that I get to put another tally in the Tessa is the Worst column.
In her dorm, Zed, Tristan, and Steph are hanging out. Zed tells Tessa she looks nice and they all chat together for a bit (M: like normal people) until Hardin storms in (M: like a dick). Steph tells him that he should have knocked “for once” and I’m not really sure why this time was different. Hardin jokes about having seen Steph naked in front of her new beau and the Hardin is the Worst column is just lighting up today. Hardin sits on Tessa’s bed and she wants to tell him to gtfoff but doesn’t even though she would be completely within her decency rights.
Zed announces that they’re going to the movies and Tessa should totally come with. Before she can speak for herself, Hardin jumps in to possessively say that he and Tessa have plans. Errybody is shocked. Tessa then says that her mind screams “No!” but her body obediently nods and gets off the bed??? If your brain is yelling at you in italics and an exclamation point, that’s a pretty big red flag.
Mari: If your mind is sending signals to your body and your body is like LA LA LA LA LA, I’d get that checked out by a medical professional.
Samantha: They head out to Hardin’s car and he opens the door for her. When Tessa just stares at him instead of meekly saying thank you like a good girl, I guess, Hardin snarks at her like a dick (it still works). She’s all wtf you just said you didn’t want to hang out?
“Yes, I did. Now get in the car.”
God he’s the wooorrrssssttt.
Tessa inner monologues the realization that Hardin is only hanging out with her so that she doesn’t go to the movies with Zed. (M: Woooooooooow.) Cause fuck open communication and non-manipulation, amiright?
“Now get in the damned car. I won’t ask again.”
Is that a threat? Can I call the cops on Hardin? Tessa, literally against her better judgement, gets in the car. She turns down the music and Todd legit uses the word “scolds” for how Hardin talks to Tessa. Then Hardin says that Zed doesn’t have the best of intentions, unlike Hardin’s which are fucking pure I guess. (M: Saintly.) Maybe that’s why he can’t say vagina, his intentions are too pure. (M: That’s basically poetic.)
“Oh and you do? At least Zed is nice to me,” Tessa says and there’s no word yet on why she’s here and not there when her self, except for her down there, doesn’t want to be here. They playful banter (I guess) about music and Harry Styles pushes his hair back. Tessa dares to ask where they’re going and Hardin mocks her for needing to know everything all the time. (M: Um, yeah, like when a human dumpster has me in his car and is transporting me somewhere…?) Then he starts talking about his car and Tessa zones out to watch his lips and I cannot stop thinking about that Taylor Swift song that’s supposed to be about Harry Styles.
The chapter very abruptly ends with Hardin “harshly” telling her not to stare at him but then also smiling right after saying it. Like a murderer.
Next time on After: Swimming in their underwear God help us in Chapter 25.