After Chapter 34 – Chamomile tea is not enough.

Previously: Hardin had to CHANGE his BOXERS.

Samantha: You can stop sweating with anxiety, dear readers! Hardin goes over to the dresser and pulls out a pair of blue and white boxers that are apparently hideous. (M: How hideous can they be without cartoon characters or something on them? What’s happening?) Tessa notes that Hardin’s soon to be step mom or father must have bought clothes for him to have here. Hardin leaves the room to change because it’s really nice to have privacy and stuff and to feel comfortable and IT WOULD REALLY SUCK IF SOMEONE FORCEFULLY TOOK THAT AWAY FROM SOMEONE. Ahem.

Marines: The fact that he left to change when he’s now busted into Tessa’s room 1087677 times and refused to turn away why she’s changing a mere 7662 times makes me ANGRY. 

Samantha: Tessa frets over Landon seeing Hardin before she can explain things to him. Then she realizes that there isn’t really a good way to explain what happened between her and Hardin.

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She decides to think about Noah and how panicked he probably is. She admits that she barely cares and also maybe only loves Noah as a friend. I take a moment to feel bad for the very real panic Noah is going to go through tonight.

Mari: I’d argue that she doesn’t even love Noah as a friend, because if she did, she’d care more about his feelings. You don’t have to get all wet in the panties about someone to respect them, asshole. But of course, the real point is that Tessa is a horrible person who barely says a good thing about anyone except for Hardin, who treats her like poop. 

Samantha: Excellent point.

Yada yada yada Hardin giver her butterflies and invades her thoughts because he is maybe actually a parasitic insect.

The insect comes back into the room and snuggles down with Tessa in front of the TV. He kisses her tenderly for the first time. He also says that their screaming match in the yard sobered him up and cautiously holds Tessa.

Mari: Screaming for a few minutes and looking off into the forest sobered you after an entire bottle of scotch? #airplanebottle


“It’s an amazing feeling having him hold me. No matter what terrible thing he says to me tomorrow, he can’t take this moment away from me.”

I mean, what the fuck girl? It’s not even a question in your mind that he will say horrible things to you again in the morning. Get. Out.

She teasingly admits that she likes drunk Hardin better (M: It’s not a joke if it’s true?) before he asks her again to tell him what she was thinking about last chapter. You know, before that wet boxer cliffhanger.

She brings up all the girls he’s been with before, including Steph. He asks if she’s jealous, and she tries to deny it but isn’t very convincing. She starts to drift off and I get really mad that she can’t even send 1 text to Noah telling him she’s okay. “I am okay but need to stay here to help Landon with Hardin” is all it would take.

Mari: But she’s awful.

Samantha: Hardin tells her not to go to sleep because he wants to return the favor, and I guess I couldn’t be so lucky as to miss all the sexytimes. (M: This is turning into one sexual favor per chapter JESUS SEND HELP.) (S: Jesus does not go here.) He acknowledges that she wants him to and she nods, so I guess that’s at least some sort of consent. He tells her that he wants to taste her and she thinks he means kiss her lips but haha newbie, nope, he means between her legs.

He tells her to tell him how much she wants it, and when she doesn’t, he stops touching her and turns into the cold, awful Hardin we all know and hate. Because punishment and orders and withdrawal are suuuuuper fun times. I want to punch things and I had to go make some chamomile tea before continuing.

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Hardin continues to “instruct her” that she must tell him that she wants it. Tessa weighs the pros and cons because it turns out she’s not comfortable with the begging kind of dirty cop. This isn’t Hardin being like “Hey, can you just confirm for me that you want this and it’s okay?” It’s very far from that. This is manipulative and mean.

“Is the humiliation of telling Hardin that I want him to… kiss me down there worth the feeling I will get from him doing it?”

Mari: I’m so disgusted with this. I mean, to think that Anna Todd sat there and wrote this up as sexy talk is highly disturbing. It’s even more disturbing because Hardin should be looking for some explicit consent, but for the sake of consent NOT manipulation. And even when Tessa gives it, it’s not good enough for him because MANIPULATION. And Tessa being so highly uncomfortable with the things that are happening to her body is disturbing. THIS IS NOT SEXY. And it doesn’t matter how many times Todd tells us that she’s feeling mammoth butterflies in her stomach, or whatever the shit, because when it comes down to it, she feels HUMILIATED by what Hardin is doing to her.


Samantha: She tells him that she wants him to but that’s not good enough for old Hardaroony. He continues making her get more specific when she is very uncomfortable until she tells him to just forget it. She’s mega turned on but also annoyed and embarrassed.  “I’m annoyed with his ego and his constant need to goad me,” specifically.

He tries to apologize but she just rolls over and ignores him. This better moment is followed by her saying that she’s mad at herself for being so hormonal when around is Hardin. Okay, but also be mad at him too. She tells him goodnight and he passive aggressive “fine”s at her and we fade to black.

Mari: It’s great that he literally sobered up in a minute and was actually turned into the walking putrid hard-on we all know him to be. Not that he was much better drunk, but there were half-smiles.

Chamomile tea is not enough.

Samantha: *whispering* Never enough.


Next time on After: They both wake up, unfortunately, in chapter 35.


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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  • Mae

    She doesn’t care that Noah is panicking as long as he doesn’t tell on her to her mommy. This girl doesn’t have a single healthy relationship in her life, which could be partly what’s making her more vulnerable to Hardin’s abuse. She has nothing sane to compare it to. She thinks controlling behavior and policing her every choice IS normal.

    “It’s an amazing feeling having him hold me. No matter what terrible thing he says to me tomorrow, he can’t take this moment away from me.”
    Said every domestic abuse victim ever. You know, if Todd had written this series with a different theme, it could have been decent. If it had been written as a cautionary tale or even a thriller about the naïve woman who falls for the abusive guy and then has to flee and start her life over, it would be an excellent look into the psychology involved. But since it’s ‘OMG, #Hessa 4evah,” it’s just sick.

    So, because she didn’t tell him exactly how skilled he is in bed and how hot she is for him, he shuts it down. Because he controls her sexuality in all ways. This won’t change. When HE wants sexual contact, it progresses according to his terms. When she wants it or is shy about it, he shuts her down and they don’t have sex.

    • AmandaOoooh

      That would be an excellent story in the hands of a skilled writer. They wouldn’t even have to change that much of the actual story, just shift the tone a bit. I would definitely read that.

    • Samantha

      That’s a really good point about how this series could be better with a different tone. It’s alarmingly efficient and accurate at describing how an abusive relationship feels and how it can be easy to fall into it, so I think I agree. It makes me sad that Todd obviously doesn’t share our thoughts because yeah, she wants us to ship these 2 with the fiery passion of airplane scotch lit on fire.

    • Alicia

      Tessa doesn’t have a healthy relationship in her life. She warned Noah not to tell her mommy so now he probably won’t, even though he has a legit concern and reason to. “Hey your daughter went missing on me a few hours ago and hasn’t come back with no texts or calls, she also stole my car and left me at her dorm room, I’m worried, she may be with someone abusive because she was going to help that Hardin guy”. Yeah I think my boyfriend would be worried, too. Also very pissed, as he would have a reason to be.

      Yes, this book written as a drama/thriller or cautionary tale about what you said, that would have been interesting and bring awareness to more abusive relationships. Instead, this book is just asking for naive girls to fall into the hands of an abuser, they believe that they want a guy like Hardin because he can be “sweet” and “sexy” sometimes, but at least he isn’t boring and nice.

      Yep, he literally controls every sex scene and it never changes.

  • Blinvy .

    I can’t believe what a shit character Tessa is. Not only is she super judgy and holier than thou, she holds herself to a different standard than everyone else because she can get with a guy for one night and not have it be slutty but Steph doing the same thing is mega slutty and reprehensible.

    Also, TEXT YOUR DAMN BOYFRIEND!! She ditched him alone in her dorm, took his only means of transportation thus stranding him in an unfamiliar environment while he sits there wondering what happened to her and if she’s ok all night long. I wouldn’t do that to someone I barely knew, let alone a good friend or family member. I know Anna Todd is trying to paint him as an annoying younger brother type but, for real, if your girlfriend goes missing and doesn’t call you at all, I would hope the boyfriend would a) call the cops and b) call your family. That’s just common sense, not tattling.

    • Samantha

      YES agreed about Noah. I couldn’t stop thinking about Noah and what a mess of worry he is and the agony of deciding what to do and so on. Most of this chapter was me thinking “Text Noah you awful human just text him that you’re okay omfg just do it”.

      • Em

        That was all I could think about the entire time she was over at Hardin’s too. It’s bad enough that she ditched him to cheat on him, but she took his car and left him stranded. It’s terrible.

    • Mae

      Hell, I’ve texted a roommate that I was staying over at my boyfriend’s so she’d know not to worry about me and to chain the door. I couldn’t imagine leaving a boyfriend stranded in a dorm (where Steph could demand he leave the room if she wanted privacy) and not so much as texting him. Of course, I wouldn’t have essentially stolen my boyfriend’s car to go cheat on him either, so…

  • JA Jenks

    WHY CAN’T HE JUST LET IT GO? Why do people do this in the bedroom? If you have something good going and then your partner throws out their safe word WHY WOULD YOU KEEP PUSHING? Clearly your partner is uncomfortable. You know what’s not sexy? Being uncomfortable while trying to have sex and having your partner disrespecting your limitations and pushing back on you and making you feel like a bad person for denying them the “pleasure of pleasuring you”. Like dude, go down on me, but don’t make me tell you in detail what I want you to do if I’m clearly consenting but not comfortable enough to be vocal.

    • Samantha

      Yeah, he’s terrible. I was semi glad that Tessa was finally just like “Fuck it” and rolled over and fell asleep. As glad as I am capable of being while reading this garbage story.

  • Karen

    I laughed really hard at “Jesus doesn’t go here”, then things went downhill. Dude, she barely knew what you were talking about. How is she supposed to tell you how to do it? Chill the fuck out, douchecanoe.

    Also, I hope Tessa gets back to her dorm in the morning to find Noah, a pissed Steph, her mom, and the cops. And that she has to explain exactly where she was. And pay a fine for wasting police resources. Maybe that will teach her. (LoL. She won’t learn anything, but it would make me happy.)

    • Samantha

      It would make me SO happy. Like. I would get a little bit of cathartic release if Tessa had to deal with some Big Fallout from this bullshit.

    • Alicia

      Tessa can’t even say the words, “I want to give you a hand job”, how is Hardin expecting her to say “lick my clit” when she barely knows much dirty talk?

      That would be freakin’ hilarious and make this book a little brighter for about one second before Tessa is back to doing the same stupid things over and over.

      Noah: “Where did you go, you left me stranded with no text or call so you left me with no option but to call your mom and the cops”

      Tessa: “Uhhh…you knew who I went with, stop acting like my younger brother!”

      Tessa’s mom: “And who was that young lady? Was it that tattooed hoodlum boy again? Noah was sick with worry all night, he barely got any sleep”

      Tessa: “MOM, stop calling him that! Hardin is not like you think he is!!!!”

      Steph: “SERIOUSLY, TESSA?! You left your boyfriend alone in our room to go with Hardin?! You’re not the only one who sleeps here, ya know! Was super awkward coming in this morning to see Noah barely awake staring at his phone waiting for a message from you!”

      Tessa: “But any other time you’re usually always gone at those parties!”

      Police officer: “Uhh…so your daughter is okay, can I leave now?”

      Tessa’s mom: “We must have this Hardin arrested for converting my daughter into a heathen”

      Police officer: “I’m sorry ma’am, but she’s an adult who can make her own choices…and she’s safe now, however we can charge her for wasting police resources”

      Tessa: “W-what? I didn’t call the police, Noah did, maybe you should charge him!”

      Police officer: “But he was concerned for you and it wasn’t normal behaviour of you to do this. If you could have only texted him, he wouldn’t have called. Okay get in the handcuffs, Tessa, let’s go down to the station.”

      ~Later that day after everyone leaves, Tessa is grumbling to Hardin about how Noah always treats her like a brother and has to tattle every time she does something that’s not normal behaviour for her, then she gets all hot and bothered by Hardin’s closeness so they have sexytimes. Hardin tells her that he likes how she is when she’s with him, and that Noah’s a loser, they laugh and he fingers her. Tessa thinks how Hardin is the ‘best’ Hardin when he’s being nice and she hates mean Hardin, she only wishes he could be nice all the time, they fall asleep together.~

      • Sarah

        We can only wish she’d have to deal with some fallout from this. 🙁 Because Noah WOULD be right to call the cops – someone who is usually reliable disappearing with no word is exactly one of the things that triggers missing persons investigations. Never mind that it’s common courtesy, and a safety issue, to let someone know where you’re going, who with, and when you expect to be back.

        • Alicia

          This scene always bothered me for these reasons. Tessa’s trying to be made into some kind of “special” girl because she was the one who managed to calm crazy, drunk Hardin down long enough to give him a hand job and declare herself more of a woman. Yet…she’s not fucking much more of a woman. She ditched her boyfriend for another guy without a call back. She stole her boyfriend’s car to cheat on him for God’s sake. Yet we’re expected to think of her as some kind of grown up woman now that she’s given a guy a hand job?

          • Sarah

            Tess is such a terrible person. She really, really is. Immature, spoiled, thoughtless…oh, and a cheater. I’ve no objection to someone being emotionally torn between two people, or someone in an open relationship having an additional partner, but that isn’t what’s going on here. I see where the author’s coming from because Western society tends to equal sexual experience with maturity (and heterosexual experience at that, leaving out anyone who’s only had experience with their own gender, as well as virgins) but a) I consider that BS and b) we absolutely are not seeing that, and I’m confident we will not see it, in Tess’s behaviour.

          • Alicia

            She’s the worst. Well, I don’t know if she’s worse than Ana or Bella, they all are terrible, and yet these are the kind of girls that some girls look up to and claim they can “relate” to? Yeah…pretty sad generation we live in. These three “role models” live behind the “good, normal, everyday girl” thing which is what they are labelled as, so that when they do something bad or stupid, it’s justified or excused. I mean sure, I’m an everyday “normal” girl as you’d describe me in a novel…I’m pretty boring and average. But I try to be nice and respectful to those around me, including my boyfriend. After being in a couple of manipulative, bad relationships I’ve learned to avoid those kind of people (boyfriends and friends) like the plague. I would never, ever do to my boyfriend what Tessa does. Even if she hasn’t dated much before it should be pretty common sense not to ditch your boyfriend to cheat on him with a guy you sort of like and you think maybe likes you but you’re not sure cause he can be an asshole sometimes.

            I also agree about the open relationship or being torn between two people thing, but clearly Noah and Tessa aren’t in on that. Noah doesn’t want Tessa like cheating on him so she should respect that…and she has, up until now, for some reason. Noah’s had no idea that Tessa has any sort of feelings for Hardin. It’s all just a big, huge mess that probably Tessa will not have any consequences for and everyone will forgive her because she’s a “good” girl and just “made a mistake”.

  • Alicia

    UGH. Hardin left his room to change after Tessa just put his dick in her hands, and he couldn’t give Tessa any privacy when she wanted to change. Yeah Hardin’s a DICK.

    I feel for Noah in that he’s probably panicking because Tessa just took his car and, you know, LEFT him in the middle of the night for some drunk asshole and to eventually cheat on Noah. You’re right in that Tessa only says nice things about Hardin and no one else, even though Hardin is the one who treats her the worst out of everyone. Noah’s probably thinking that Tessa is hurt or worse, because she’s not answering his calls or texts (I think she turned her phone off). And now Tessa’s going to complain tomorrow that he’ll be overbearing and “brotherly” when he comes down on her for just leaving him stranded in her dorm all night with no word from her. THAT IS NOT HOW YOU TREAT YOUR LOVING BOYFRIEND WHO DID NOTHING WRONG TO YOU.

    It also pissed me off when Hardin told Tessa that their yelling match sobered him up. No, it didn’t, you douchebag. You technically still have alcohol in your system. You are technically still drunk. Anna Todd literally has no idea how alcohol or drinking works, at all. And it’s really sad that Hardin kissing Tessa tenderly and holding her like a normal boyfriend would do is such a huge deal because he’s actually being nice to her in the moment. If you want someone who is nice to you plus kisses you tenderly and cuddles you…again, need I remind you, you left him back in your dorm room.

    Again, she’s having this one night with Hardin while worrying the whole time that he’s going to change his mind tomorrow and be mean to her. That is a BAD idea. If you know or even think that either of you are going to regret it the next day, DON’T DO IT. Her feeling “intoxicated” by him is not an excuse to do things with him while he’s drunk and she is even aware that he’s going to be mean to her when he’s sober. And didn’t he say moments ago that he is sober now because of their yelling match? I’m confused.

    Literally, all it would take is two seconds for Tessa to send a message to Noah so that Noah isn’t blowing up her phone to have her complain about his concern tomorrow. “Omg he sent me so many messages he’s going to be so mad” UHH YA THINK. Then she will add “Why is he acting like my older brother” NO HE IS A CONCERNED BOYFRIEND. I’m betting you that’s what will happen though. We’re meant to think of Noah as the bad guy and brother because he’ll be all “Where were you and what were you doing why didn’t you text me you took my car”. Those are all legit concerns but somehow they will inevitably be made “bad”.

    Seriously, ugh. I’m not sure why Hardin had to even change his boxers if he was planning to do something to Tessa. And I don’t know why all these fucking sexy scenes have to be drawn out in every little detail. Let me summarize. “Tessa gives Hardin a hand job and he comes in his boxers. He changes his boxers and they cuddle. Tessa is a bitch and doesn’t text her boyfriend. Hardin manipulates her into saying she wants him to lick her vag and she tells him no and feels humiliated. They fall asleep. The end.”

    So Tessa’s uncomfortable with dirty talk and Hardin suddenly turns cold when she won’t tell him exactly what she wants him to do (even though he told her he was going to do it?) Yeah, that’s definitely manipulation. But even Tessa kept saying that it was only a matter of time before he turned back into dick face. And wait, she just was going on all chapter that she would do anything and everything with Hardin tonight because she knew he’d be mean to her in the morning and she was going to Stay Away From Him after this. Wasn’t she starting to turn into a woman because she gave Hardin a hand job so why can’t she go even further all of a sudden and the fact that him asking her to say a few dirty words makes her feel humiliated? She’s now suddenly annoyed with his ego and constant need to goad her? This is confusing. But the fact that Todd wrote this as sexy is very disturbing indeed.

  • Joy

    This is even ickier. Ugh. You guys are superheroes, for reals.

    • Samantha

      <3 <3 <3

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    Hint: if you have to coerce someone into consenting, that’s not consent. Also married bachelors can’t exist. But heck, Todd doesn’t know how words work so she probably doesn’t know how logic does either.

    • Samantha

      Yeah, weird how coercion immediately negates “consent” huh? WE SEE YOU, TODD.

  • The Bad Slayer

    She can’t even *say* clit, how can she possibly tell asswad what she wants him to do with it. Also, GAH! If I have to give you directions, I’d rather just drive myself.

    • Samantha

      LOLOLOLOLOL, yes.

  • Sarah

    Working on reshaping her sexual norms already, I see. Hardin doesn’t waste any time racing through the intimate partner abuse checklist, does he?

    Taking this scene apart from the rest of the book, it would not be that hard to have it be someone decent. There are plenty of other dialogue options:

    “It’s okay if you don’t want me to.”
    “I can see the idea makes you uncomfortable: do you want to talk about it?”
    “Okay, let me know if you change your mind.”
    “I’d like to return the favour: is there anything else you’d like?”
    “I can get you off another way – I could finger you instead, or play with your clit or your nipples?”
    “Do you want to stop, or just not have me go down on you?”
    “I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable.”

    You know, virtually anything else from what we got.

    • Samantha

      I want to cry at how beautifully respectful and communicative those dialogue options are. Hope slightly restored in the world.

      • Sarah

        Thank you.

        And, you know, the minimum amount of time one of these phrases would take is about five seconds. Five seconds is the difference between being a good, respectful, lover or committing partner abuse/sexual assault.

  • Jamie Miller

    Is a sedative enough? I don’t think any calming teas or scents will help with this poor excuse of words on paper…

    • Samantha

      A sedative and a shot of magic airplane scotch maybe.

      • Sarah

        You have no idea how pleased I am that airplane scotch has become a thing for this recap. 😀

  • Anonyme

    Holy black hole of plagarism, Batman! Ana said she liked Drunk Christian better! That and the praising Christian/Hardin for not being an ass once in a while and Christian/Hardin manipulating Ana/Tessa for sex and…

  • Charlie

    The way Hardin is manipulating her is definitely disturbing, but the fact that she can’teven say “I want to go down on me” was even more disturbing to me. I feel like a general rule of thumb when it comes to sex is “if you can’t say it, you shouldn’t do it.” Tessa doesn’t read like someone mature enough to have sex.