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.
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.
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.
CHAMOMILE TEA IS NOT ENOUGH.
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.