After Chapter 38 – Broken dishes.

Previously: Tessa refused to listen to Hardin’s words and also Hardin sucks.

Samantha: Steph hugs Tessa, who finds her “frail” arms oddly comforting. That’s a weird way to describe a seemingly healthy teenager but okay.

Marines: This is how you know the author hates women: she can’t compliment Steph in ANYTHING without wrapping it in an insult. Steph just got Hardin out and is coming over to comfort her and Terrible Tess has to note how FRAIL she is before calling it comforting. 

Samantha: Steph apologizes for giving him a key, which YEAH GIRL. Tessa thinks about how she appreciates Steph’s comfort and friendship. (M: Even if she is tatted and “flame haired…”) She tells her everything, making sure to include the really very important fact that Hardin said her name in his sleep. Wouldn’t want to forget that.

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Steph tells her that Hardin is a good guy deep down but doesn’t know how to treat most girls. So….there are some girls who deserve how Hardin treats them? I’m pretty sure no one deserves how Hardin treats girls? (M: Would they happen to be the Not Like Other Girls girls, Anna Todd?) Steph also says that Tessa should try to make things work with Noah and oh my god are we going to have to watch the exact same thing unfold again? NOAH SAVE US FROM BORING PLOT REPETITION.

On Monday, Landon is waiting for Tessa per usual but he’s sporting some face bruises because Hardin face punched him. Apparently, he was so angry after he left Tessa that he had to break things and Landon got in the way. Don’t worry though, Landon got some good punches in too and he’s pretty happy cause boyswillbeboys. Landon’s mom cried because Hardin broke all her dishes because he is so god damn selfish.

Mari: I’m really not okay with how casually they are discussing how violent Hardin gets when he’s upset. Just wanted everyone to know.

Samantha: Yeah the detail of his step mom crying over her ruined dishes really stuck to me as to how fucked up this all is.

Landon is also pumped because his girlfriend Dakota is coming to campus for the bonfire. Tessa is clueless because if the flyers for the bonfire didn’t have Hardin’s smoldering eyes on them, she did not notice. Landon suggests that she bring Noah and they make a double date of it. Tessa considers it and there’s this very clunky Freudian slip in her thoughts:

I know Hardin and Landon- I mean Noah and Landon would get along great.”


Mari: I can actually imagine Todd’s glee when she typed that out and considered herself SO SMART.

Samantha: She looks around Lit for Hardin, but apparently he switched his classes around. She spends some time wondering what terrible thing he could do to her next. For real. Then there’s another clunky slip up in her thoughts over whether she hopes he’s okay. I seriously take offense at how badly this is written in a published form.

The rest of the week is summarized in a paragraph because of the lack of Hardin. Tessa ditches eyeliner again.

Mari: I take offense to the story’s insistence on measuring Tessa’s happiness in eyeliner.

Samantha: On Friday, Steph begs Tessa to come out with them before they go to Hardin’s. Tessa declines because she wants to call Noah and because she wants to daydream about Hardin being nice. That is literally the next paragraph, just her fantasizing about Hardin being, just, decent. She then suddenly changes her mind, I guess ’cause Tristan teased her about her pajama pants? F off Tristan, pj pants are the best always. She also agrees to Steph giving her a subtle make over. The chapter ends with Steph clapping.

Mari: How many makeovers is Tess gonna get? Damn.


Next time on After: Will Tessa wear mascara??? in Chapter 39.


Samantha (all posts)

I'm a 25 year old graduated English major who now works in a library and a bookstore in order to really drive that point home. 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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  • JA Jenks

    Every makeover is a new stage in the sexual evolution of Tess. She wears eyeliner and suddenly she starts making out with bad boys. Next thing you know she’ll put on some blush and mascara and be on her way to reverse cowgirl.

    Watch out if she gets a new hair do and puts on some lip gloss.

  • Alicia

    “Steph apologizes for giving him a key” which shouldn’t have been able to happen in the first place. But ya know, who cares about being realistic in these novels? Also I think Steph should demand that Hardin give her the key-that-shouldn’t-be-there back, so that Tessa can move on without Hardin in her face, and grow and learn from this shitty situation she got herself in. Maybe somehow Noah can forgive her, she forgets about Hardin and lives happily ever after with Noah. That’s what happens…right? No? Ah, damn.

    The very important fact that Hardin said Tessa’s name in his sleep. Another trope I hate. He could be dreaming about her getting murdered or being chased by a pack of wolves. If someone says your name in their sleep IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY LOVE YOU.

    Lol @ Tessa saying that Hardin has a good side but doesn’t know how to treat some girls. For one, she just spent most of the past couple chapters going on about how he’s just a plain terrible person. And now she’s trying to defend him to Steph. Because of fucking course we have to be forced to see him as “misunderstood” and not simply an asshole. Poor Hardin doesn’t know how to treat “some”? girls. I’m guessing those “some” girls are the ones who care about him as more than a fuck? The ones who are not like the others?

    Ugh, the casual way that Tessa and Landon are talking about how violent Hardin is. I’m pretty sure one of Tessa’s defenses for drunk Hardin was that he wasn’t violent. He just went and fought Landon while sober because his little feelings were hurt or something. Imagine what he would have done if he was drunk? I don’t know why talking about a fight is such a cheerful occasion, but okay. This is fucked up.

    I get that there are things I don’t notice because I’m distracted, but I’m usually not distracted by thinking about my boyfriend’s smouldering eyes. I can’t imagine Tessa being SO distracted by Hardin’s smouldering eyes that she went a whole week without noticing a ton of posters all around the school about the bonfire, and being completely clueless about it. More proof of her feels for Hardin, I guess. And that little sneaky, replacing Noah’s name with Hardin’s, well there you go, she’s in love. Lol I can imagine the fangirl’s reactions: “omg Tessa thought about Hardin instead of Noah she SO loves him” uh girls, Hardin’s been on her mind this entire book. Anything that has nothing to do with Hardin is overlooked until Hardin is in the picture again. It’s ALL been Hardin. Just because she has one “slip” doesn’t make any damn difference.

    Steph’s clapping and squealing whenever Tessa agreed to something was one of those small things that just irked me. Do girls really do that? I don’t think so. And Tessa fantasizing that she wished Hardin could be nice like Noah was just weird. I also think it’s funny that she thinks Noah can instantly forgive her. It’s only been a week, maybe give him more time to make a decision instead of trying to immediately jump back into his life after he learned his girlfriend was cheating?

    • Mae

      “I can’t imagine Tessa being SO distracted by Hardin’s smoldering eyes that she went a whole week without noticing a ton of posters all around the school about the bonfire, and being completely clueless about it.”

      I think this may be a Twilight influence. Bella never noticed things like homecoming or the prom fliers around school because of Edward.

      • Alicia

        That’s true. I think Anna Todd took some elements of Twilight and 50 Shades and mashed them together to get this monstrosity.

    • Charlie

      I am really bugged by the whole “Hardin is violent but it’s ok because he would never hurt me uwu.” Obviously violent men in real life are scary, but this is fiction so ok, but the thing he has proven he has no regard for other humans if he would punch Landon because he was annoyed. But more importantly, TESSA’s FATHER WAS VIOLENT AND IT TERRFIED HER! Why is she not running the opposite direction of Hardin?

      • Alicia

        I wouldn’t want to be associated with someone who would punch my best friend because he’s annoyed. The whole “Hardin is violent/but it’s okay because he’d never hurt me” is basically condoning violence, and just asking for girls to get with violent guys because they think guys punching other guys is hot, and that it will be okay for them because their guy would never hurt them (or so the guy wants them to believe, for a while). Also, the way Landon says “oh it’s okay that Hardin hit me because I got to punch him back” is enabling Hardin. Hardin can literally do whatever he wants to anyone without any consequences. It’s why he is and will continue to be awful through the series. When someone acknowledges his issues, it’s ignored or glossed over, or excused. No one ever actually tries to help him get better. And Tessa’s “love” for him clearly doesn’t work.

        Landon’s mother cried over her broken dishes, and we can see that Hardin has no empathy or respect for other people’s things. Those in itself are pretty scary qualities that you don’t want in a partner. Even if he says “sorry” he never really means it because he’s back to doing violent, destructive things again. I don’t recall Tessa saying either, that her father ever hit her, just that he was violent and scary. So what the actual hell is Todd trying to say here? And how did this get past her editors and marketed as romance?

        At some point later on, Tessa says to Hardin that he is NOTHING like her father. I just pointed this out in 50 Shades, where Ana tells Christian that he’s nothing like the bad guy Jack Hyde, even though they are basically the same people. Also, if Tessa’s so traumatized by her father being a violent drunk and leaving them, why isn’t she seriously staying away from Hardin??? Most people who are traumatized by something tend to avoid getting in that situation again.

        • Charlie

          Well I think some allowance for men being violent /in fiction/ should be made, but also the setting and genre should be taken into consideration. There’s a difference between a violent vampire / vampire hunter and a violent guy in contemporary real world romance. But I do agree that there’s an underlining message there and about the rest of the things you said about his character.

          I don’t think her father hit her, but I think it was implied that he hit her mother? Either way she was scared that he could and I don’t understand why she would go after someone who acts the same way. And yes , Hardin is exactly the same lmao.

          I mean her mom is emotionally abusive but one brand of emotional abuse isn’t better replaced with another type of emotional abuse.

  • Jamie Miller

    I’d say anyone who was okay with how they casually discuss Hardy’s violent tendencies needs to go sit in the corner and think about what they’ve done.

  • Sarah

    *eyebrows rise* Uh, if Hardin is being that violent then it’s possible that the stepmother could have him arrested and charged with something – destruction of property, probably, and possibly intimidation because you do not do something like that without intending to show what a threat you can be. “I can smash these dishes, I can smash you” kind of thing.

    You don’t start out smashing all the dishes and punching people, either. Hardin has been getting away with this behaviour for a long time, clearly. *daydreams about Mr. Abuse Checklist getting hauled out of class in cuffs*

    • Alicia

      Yes, his stepmom could have him charged with destruction of her own personal property, but she won’t. Hardin never gets punished, ever, for his actions. In fact, people seem to enable him. If anyone thinks that simply talking with Hardin will help him calm down and realize his horrible ways, then I don’t know where they have been. Landon could also have Hardin charged for harassment. But guess what? He laughs about it because he gets to punch Hardin back. And Hardin continues to be violent because he knows no one will say anything to him or charge him. There is a scene similar to this, only worse, further on in the books, which pissed the hell out of me, and you’ll see why. Of course, Anna Todd does repeat like all of her scenes multiple times, so it’s not really a spoiler that it happens again, only worse. I don’t know if Snark Squad plans on snarking all the After books, but holy fuck, condoning violence is, sadly a big theme in these books. (I read them all, mostly to see it through to the end.)

      • Sarah

        Sadly, I’m not surprised our “hero” never faces any consequences. Abusive boyfriends who never face any consequences and yet are for some reason still considered desirable feature in far too many novels recently. I’m seriously tempted to write a novel that starts like one of these plots but where Reality Ensues, the Edward Cullen equivalent gets jail time, and the heroine not only isn’t a judgy asshole but experiences personal growth and realizes she doesn’t need a relationship to be happy and whole.

        • Alicia

          That would be amazing, and rare, and sadly, probably not get as much attention as the abusey ones seem to. I don’t know why everyone’s suddenly enamored by glamorized abuse rather than a reality type relationship. Real relationships can still have struggles without being abusive towards each other but I guess nobody wants to read about that.

          • Sarah

            Romance novels have glamorized abuse since forever – she doesn’t like him, he persists, often forces a kiss, and then romance – but it’s gotten dialed up to 11 in the past decade or so and, like you, I don’t understand *why*. IIRC, gender roles tend to become more rigidly promoted during times of recession/depression, possibly explaining the ‘meek woman strong man’ dynamic writers seem to think they’re promoting, but it just seems so much more extreme this time ’round.

          • Alicia

            That’s true, I’ve also read about stories where it’s the opposite – female pursues male love interest who doesn’t return her feelings, and basically stalks him because you can pressure a guy into loving you, I guess.

            I would say things have progressively gotten worse in the abuse = romance category. It’s one thing to pursue someone until they give in (but you’d never actually hurt them), although while that is annoying, it’s another to actually be rude and mean and hurtful to someone while telling them they mean the world to you one minute and then blaming them for everything that goes wrong in your life the next, then saying they only say mean things just because they are like that. Excusing abuse, condoning violence.

          • Sarah

            I wish people would realize that that behavior is not acceptable, regardless of the combination of genders. There’s nothing romantic about “just wear them down!”

          • Alicia

            Yeah, if you have to force someone into dating you, then it’s not real feelings so I don’t see the point.

  • Mae

    “Steph hugs Tessa, who finds her “frail” arms oddly comforting. That’s a weird way to describe a seemingly healthy teenager but okay.”
    This ties in with something Todd will go over repeatedly. She has a problem with thin, small breasted women. They’re all whores, they’re all frail, men only use them for sex because they’re easy lays, and they have no body confidence. Only bigger, curvier women like Tessa are Good Girls that men desire and love. So expect to see a lot of body shaming of Steph and Molly.

    “Steph tells her that Hardin is a good guy deep down but doesn’t know how to treat most girls.”
    You can’t teach a misogynistic sociopath how to treat women with empathy and respect.

    Hardin punching Landon was horrifying to me. Hardin was so pissed off at Tessa that he took it out on the only person he knows that Tessa cares about. That’s the same mentality that leads to the kids getting hit in an abusive marriage.

    “I take offense to the story’s insistence on measuring Tessa’s happiness in eyeliner.”
    It’s not just her happiness, it’s her sexuality (though those two go hand in hand in this stupid series). The more sexual contact she has, the more eyeliner she wears. Once she loses her virginity, she’ll wear more makeup. But don’t worry, she never wears foundation. Only whores wear that.

    • The Bad Slayer

      OMG…I never connected that the reason Hardin fought Landon was because he was the only person she cared about in the vicinity.

      Also, I don’t mean to be crass but…there are so many boys that can finger you in a creek. And they won’t make you feel bad after!

  • Blinvy .

    I hated how casually they treated his violence and it was gross how much Anna actually tried to romanticize it as “he’s just so tortured and lonely and in love!!!!!” No. That’s not how it works. Anyone who is this violent and vindictive when they don’t get their way is extremely dangerous and unstable. Christian Grey was at least subtle enough that he could be a pretty successful serial killer and get away with it. Hardin is just going to go on an all out violent massacre and end up gunned down for his troubles.
    I’m now day dreaming about Hardin being gunned down Bonnie and Clyde style.

  • AmandaOoooh

    Idk, maybe I fell asleep at some point but have we come across any actual plot yet? Is my brain bleeding?

    • Mae

      I’d say keep sleeping and we’ll wake you when the plot shows up, but then you’d never wake up and that would be sad. There’s a famous saying that ‘Boy meets girl isn’t a plot, it’s the set-up to a plot.’ I guess Anna Todd never heard that one before.

      • AmandaOoooh

        There are A LOT of things that Anna Todd has never heard of… plot, subtlety, wit, a thesaurus, chapters, and most certainly not Google.

  • Wait … how am I supposed to measure my happiness if not in eyeliner? I can’t just examine my feelings and be self-aware like some kind of wild animal. The horrors!