After Chapter 35 – Yeah. Great idea.

Previously: Tessa can’t get specific enough with her dirty talk so the sexy-times ends abruptly.

Marines: Hey, we’re back! Whatever. Extended breaks are sometimes necessary. (S: Especially with this book, in this timeline we live in.)

In an almost direct copy and paste from every other chapter in the Fifty Shades series, Tessa wakes up next to Hardin feeling way too hot because of course these two started cuddling in their sleep. Tessa doesn’t really want to get out of bed, but she remembers Noah, who got his ass left at the dorms. (S: And is probably ridiculously worried.)

Tessa gently pushes Hardin off and grabs her clothes. She says she wants to leave before he wakes, and figures it’ll be a good thing for Hardin too because he won’t have to spend any energy being mean to her. She knows that any modicum of niceness is followed up with an exponential amount of asshattery, so she wants to get out of there while she can. #romance

Despite telling us that she’s in a hurry, Tessa actually stays back to, like, fold the clothes and put them away and take longing looks back at Hardin. So of course, just as she’s leaving the room, he calls her name. But oh! Further twist! He’s saying her name in his dreams. Tessa has some feelings over his sleep talking and leaves.

Samantha: Yeah, and sometimes I dream about being a nanny to Neil Patrick Harris’s adorable children. Means nothing. Just dreams, romance books.

Mari: Legally binding contracts in romance books.

On the way out, Tessa runs into Landon. She starts to babble and excuse herself, but Landon tells her it’s all good. He knows how much she doesn’t like Hardin so it meant a lot that she came all this way to get Hardin under control. That’s… weird. Do you really think Tessa was in that room the whole night as a favor to you? To get Hardin under control? Hokay, Landon. (S: Uh. Is the weather nice is Denial Land?)

Tessa thinks Landon is too nice. She wanted him to tell her off for leaving Noah’s ass behind in the dorm room and stealing his car, just so she could force a little guilt out, but alas. Our heroine doesn’t actually feel guilty about being awful.

Landon asks if Tessa and Hardin are friends again. Tessa shrugs. She has no idea what they are or what she’s doing. She bursts into tears, and Landon comforts her, saying he knows how terrible Hardin can be. Tessa gets all awkward because she realizes that all the sobbing after sneaking out his room is probably making Landon think that something bad happen. He would never guess that Tessa is crying over her feelings for Hardin.

Which are… what? “Get out before he wakes up and harasses you?” Because that’s what they were one page ago, honey. You are sobbing because something bad has happened. It’s been happening for a while now.

Tessa says she has to go ’cause Noah is waiting for her. She cries the whole way to the dorm room, knowing she has to tell Noah the truth. She can’t lie to him. Tessa walks slowly to her room where Noah is waiting. He jumps up and asks what the heck happened and Tessa… lies to him. She says the part about Hardin being drunk and violent, but says her phone died so she couldn’t call him. Noah tries to call BS on that story, but gets more distracted about the Hardin breaking stuff bit. He wonders at why Tessa would stick around if Hardin was breaking things.

Samantha: This is Ridiculous. Capital R.

Mari: Wait, you interrupted the Ridiculous before it even really took off.

Tessa says she feels like Noah is disorienting her with all his thousands of questions, but honestly, he just asked her two and they were “are you okay” and “why would you stay if Hardin was being violent.” Though, now I see why those very logical questions would disorient our Tess-Tess. Her answer is that Hardin wasn’t being violent, he was being drunk. Someone should explain to our super smart college girl that those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. And also that throwing a bunch of shit around and yelling at people is being violent.

Anyway, Tess says that Hardin would never hurt her and then wishes she could take those words back. Noah says that Tessa doesn’t know Hardin enough to make that statement. Tessa says “yes-huh!” and further tells herself that Hardin wouldn’t hurt her physically, just emotionally. 


Friendly reminder that this is all nauseating. Why is this real?

Samantha: Hey! Fun fact! Emotional abuse is real and valid and also terrible! Weird that we need to clarify that but here it is!

Mari: Noah asks why Tessa is even hanging out with these bad Goth people with their drinking and sinful ways, or whatever. Tessa’s all, “GOD MOM, YOU DON’T KNOW THEM.” Noah says he doesn’t like her hanging out with them because they are changing her. She’s not the Tessa he fell in love with. Probably he mostly means that Tessa wouldn’t have stolen his car and left him alone. My theory is supported by the fact that he asks why she would invite him to come here and then just leave him alone.

Samantha: Because she is a garbage person probably, Noah.

Mari: Tess realizes that Noah is really sad. She starts to offer him some explanation but then surprise! Hardin barges in. But it’s not a fucking surprise because Hardin barges in every damn chapter. HE IS THE DAMN KOOL-AID MAN.

Just think about all the separate times Todd thought, “I know! I’ll make Hardin barge in!” followed by, “yeah. Great idea.”


Next time on After: Hardin forces Tessa to confess in Chapter 36.


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.

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.

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  • Blinvy .

    Tessa is the fucking worst.

    Also, excuse me while I rage out over authors who try to make out like emotional abuse is ok because at least the dude isn’t physically abusive shit because NO! Can these people shut the fuck up? Emotional abuse can sometimes be even more damaging than physical abuse. The person can lose their entire self and become a husk of a person, their personality gets snuffed out until they are nothing like the person they were before and on a very personal note, I saw one of my family members emotionally abused so much that they lost all ability to function on their own and had to be put into a home. She couldn’t even talk and there was nothing we could do about it because you can’t prove emotional abuse to police, and as long as the person denies it and defends their partner and chooses to stay with them, you have no power to help them. I’m sorry for the personal rant but this is a really sore point for me and to see people try to romanticize emotional abuse or even just down play it compared to physical abuse is just disgusting to me and it’s obvious that none of these authors have had to deal with this sort of thing in real life because if they had, they would never have included it in their books as this romantic ideal.

    • I’m sorry for your family member and for everyone who DOESN’T GET THIS. I just fall down this black hole of sadness and despair when I really start thinking about WHY these author romanticize emotional abuse or can’t recognize it or dismiss it. I just keep going back to asking WHY certain women want men who treat them badly. Or why they want to show the progress of getting assholes to love them. WHY? It’s completely beyond me and this book really has less plot that Fifty at this point so all we’re reading about is literally the emotional abuse and manipulation.

      I hate it.

      • Blinvy .

        It is literally a book about emotional abuse masquerading as romance. It’s like she read 50 Shades and was like “that’s cute but Christian Gray is too nice for me.” and then wrote this shitty thing where he practically never treats her well as a result because he’s just had the roughest life. Then she went and picked the most adorable and sweetest looking kid to be this monster’s avatar and I often wonder how Harry feels about being portrayed this way even though I don’t even give a crap about One Direction. Seriously, look at this kid and tell me he matches the way Hardin is described:×610-hat-fluffy-white-beanie-harry+styles-bear+beanie-bear-direction-1direction.jpg

        Don’t you just want to pinch his cheeks and tell him to go have fun at the playground? Yes, I know, he’s older now but at the time she wrote this, this is pretty much what he looked like. This kid would not hurt a fly.

    • Alicia

      That sounds horrible, and it does eventually happen to our dear Tessa. Her personality gets snuffed out because of what Hardin does to her throughout the series, but she insists she still feels alive when she’s with Hardin and he’s the only one who’s ever made her feel that way, because of the hot sex I guess. Abuse victims seem to defend their abuser, no matter what the abuser does to them.

  • Wow, this book sounds horrible. You ladies must have a very strong constitution to be able to read this garbage without raging or vomiting or rage-vomiting.

    • JA Jenks

      Raging, vomiting, and rage-vomiting has been happening to everyone that reads the recaps so it’s definitely happening to those who have to actually recap.

      • Truly, it happens. Rage cold sweats, rage tears, rage laughter… I know them all. I also some times rage resign though. Like, what else is here to do here? IDK, she says, like 20% into the gd book.

  • JA Jenks

    “HE IS THE DAMN KOOL-AID MAN” made me spew my smoothie out my nose. That was cold. Now I’ll be sneezing out berry seeds for days.

    I’ve missed you guys. For days there was a gif of the girl from Charmed throwing people across the room at the top of the page and that was my emotions as I waited for you to come back and recap this disaster.

    I hate Tess. There was no reason for her to continue to lie to Noah. She has to know the relationship is doomed and over. Noah has to know this too. Just end it guys.

    I can’t wait for the rational and calm discussion that is about to take place after Hardin Kool-aid mans into the room.

    • *sings* Think of me, think of me fondly, when you sneeze berry seeeeeds…

      We never plan to take these extended breaks but life happens and then it’s like wow do I want to read a chapter of After right now? Probably not. But it’s always nice once we post and we get to chat with you all <3

      Totes rational. No one will yell. No one will grab or physical restrain anyone. Everything will make sense. Just you wait.

  • Mae

    I love the whole ‘he said my name in his sleep ergo he loves me’ trope in these sorts of books. For all we know, he’s dreaming of being naked in front of the class and she’s laughing at him. Or she’s in a spaceship made of marshmallows and inviting him to go to the squirrel planet. And he’s telling her there is no such thing because pie.

    “I see why those very logical questions would disorient our Tess-Tess”
    Those are normal questions you’d get asked by someone who genuinely cares about you. That’s highly confusing for someone who thinks Abuse + Clit Tingles = Love.

    “Her answer is that Hardin wasn’t being violent, he was being drunk.”
    Once again, Todd ignores Tessa’s backstory. She would rightfully call out her drunk father on his violence, but Hardin gets a pass for doing the same damned things. She of all people should know that alcohol can fuel violence. She grew up around that.

    I will now picture Hardin as the Kool Aid Man whenever he bursts into a room. Thank you for that. 🙂

    • Alicia

      I also adore the “he/she said my name in their sleep so they love me” trope. It’s so cute and romantic and signifies true love. -rolls eyes-

      It always annoyed me that Tessa got annoyed when people asked her like two questions out of concern. It’s a trait from Bella and Ana as well, that Anna Todd decided to copy I guess.

      “Hardin wasn’t being violent, he was being drunk.” So pushing over a China cabinet and yelling at and hurting people emotionally, as well as punching walls due to the alcohol isn’t violent? Drinking can and does lead to violence. Tessa of all people should know that, but nope. Hardin gets excused even though he’s started doing the same things her father did I’m sure.

    • Christie Greenwood

      Aw, here you are, hinting at a much more interesting story we’ll never get to read! I want to board the USS Marshmallow and have awesome adventures on Planet Squirrel…preferrably in the company of someone less shitty than Tessa and the Kool Aid Man, though.

  • Alicia

    Ugh. I can’t stand when emotional abuse is played down. “It’s not as bad or not the same as physical abuse.” Yes, it is. It destroys a person, just because someone doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean there isn’t abuse involved. Sadly, and shockingly, there are many young girls defending this book with, “But he doesn’t hit her so there’s no abuse!” including Ana Todd herself whenever she insists this is just a coming of age romance, and no matter what you try to explain to them about emotional abuse they just keep insisting there isn’t, Hardin’s mean because he doesn’t know any better.

    This is why books like these are problematic and damaging. You have people taking them to heart. Especially young people who can be influenced by anything. I’m going to guess Ana Todd has never been treated like how Tessa is in the books, or else she wouldn’t ever try to push on her young fans that this is okay, this is romance, he’s mean to her because he loves her, etc. Anna Todd marching in that woman’s march last year was just pathetic. She needs to stop writing and glamorizing abuse if she supposedly supports the rights of women. She has more than enough money to live more than comfortably, so she can stop writing any time now. The world would be glad.

    Also, how come drunk Hardin gets a pass because he was just upset, but Tessa of all people should know what alcohol abuse does to someone. Did she just forget about her drunk and violent father ruining the family? It’s also funny because so many times during Tessa’s fighting with her mom, she goes on that she’s “not like her” and yet she’s going down the very same road with a drunk and violent man. She also defends Hardin by saying he’s not like her father. Tess, girl, wake up. Hardin’s the person who treats her the worst yet she’s constantly defending and excusing his actions.

    Okay, in my first bad relationship, things were okay for the first few months. Of course, being naive, I believed everything he said. He was nice to me and all that. But when shit eventually did start to happen, by that time I was too “in love” and also kept making excuses for him. One time his ex told me that he was asking her her bra size, and he told me that she was just jealous and wanted to break us up so I believed him. Now, considering everything he has done to me since then, it definitely wouldn’t surprise me if what she said was true because he still likes to perv on me even though he’s married. Guys like him (and Hardin) DO NOT change. I did nothing wrong to him. But he treated me like shit for a year and a half, finally ending things for another girl, the girl that he’s married to now. She’s dumb as a doorknob if she thinks he’s being loyal to her, cause he still like to message me out of the blue on a fake account once in a while.

    And since breaking up with him I have gone through one more relationship that was emotionally abusive, (plus a few others that weren’t bad just ended for various reasons) plus friends treating me like shit (emotional abuse doesn’t have to be cause by just your partner) and leaving bad friendships. In the end it has given me depression and anxiety, so that when I’m trying to make new friends, I have this insane fear that they think I’m dumb, boring, or childish, or maybe they only talk to me because they feel sorry for me and they don’t actually like me. Thanks to those people that treated me like shit back then.

    So, that’s my rant on emotional abuse and how sickening this is to be glamorized like it is, and have people like Anna Todd, ELJ and SMeyer making millions off of this. My books will probably never be published, because they are not of the mainstream genre and don’t glamorize abuse.

    • Mae

      “Anna Todd marching in that woman’s march last year was just pathetic.”
      No. Just no. But then, even Stephenie Meyer considers herself a feminist, so…

      • Alicia

        Lol I don’t know how these authors don’t see how hypocritical they’re being in their own writing. Claiming to be feminist and then romanticizing abuse, “because he doesn’t know how to treat a girl any other way” or “if he’s mean to her it means he loves her”.

      • Christie Greenwood

        “Even Stephenie Meyer considers herself a feminist”.

        This hurts me. Ya know, better to have no allies than allies like that. To quote Bella, “Ugh”.

      • Da Bomb From Guam Mafnas

        No. She (Todd) didn’t. Did she?

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      Maybe Tessa doesn’t object to Hardin’s drunken fits because she has internalized male drunkenness as normal or at least inevitable. 😛

      • Alicia

        True, I mean if her father was a violent drunk, then all men must be violent drunks right? lol

        • Stephanie Gertsch

          As a paper-thin character, she brings up her drunk father for drama points, but as long as her prospective boyfriend manages to be slightly less drunk she’ll see him as heroically resisting addiction. Yuck.

          • Alicia

            Ugh, of course. “Oh I had a drunk neglectful father feel sorry for me” and then she’s going down the same path as her mother, trying to change a man that won’t be changed. Also, she says that Hardin is not like her father, yet they both get drunk and violent when they are upset. Oh but Hardin’s not violent because he didn’t physically assault her, though he did grab her roughly a few times and force-kiss her. But it’s “hot” and “sexy” when Hardin does it.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    “Like every other chapter in the Fifty Shades series”

    This line cracked me up way too much. Because we all know all these abuse justification romances are really all one big horrifying book pretending to be written by different authors.

  • Joy

    Picturing Hardin as the Kool-Aid man makes this more bearable.

  • The Bad Slayer

    I finally figured out why I am not bothered by Tess and Hardins relationship: they’re both dick face assholes who deserve each other. And I hate them both.

  • The Bad Slayer

    Also, glad to have you back ladies! 😁

  • The_v_from_the_sub_B

    Yay! And I hate all the characters except for Noah, and I could easily hate him, too. Very easily. Verrrrry easily.

  • Da Bomb From Guam Mafnas

    “Emotional abuse is real and valid and also terrible! Weird that we need to clarify that but here it is!”

    ^^ This. This a thousand times. And then once more again for the people in the back.