After Chapter 39 – Hold the ketchup.

Previously: We jump in time a lot because Hardin isn’t around.

Marines: We start just after Steph has finished plucking Tessa’s eyebrows, so you know her sex appeal just went up by like 10 points. Steph does Tessa’s make-up and she’s all nervous about it. I’m almost certain that we’ve already had 3-4 scenes exactly like this?

Samantha: So. Many. Times. Has. This. Happened. Does this book take place in a time loop?

Mari: Tessa tells Setph not to put too much makeup on her since she’s only had like one orgasm, after all.

After all the make-up is on and Tessa’s hair is curled, Steph also dresses her. She kicks Tristan out of the room while Tessa gets dressed. Tristan laughs good-naturedly and leaves. It’s so very unlike all of the behavior we’ve seen from Hardin, I thought I might point it out. But also, I just paused to give metaphorical cookies to a fictional character for leaving a room when asked so, you know, damn it all.


Image result for congratulations on being a decent human

Mari: Steph hands Tessa a short, strapless dress but Tess couldn’t possibly wear it. Steph pulls out another black dress, a longer one with two thick straps. It was only one orgasm, after all. It has a sweetheart neckline, which Tessa is a little worried about, because, she makes sure to tell us, her bust isn’t small like Steph’s. 

Tessa takes off her comfortable pajamas and folds them neatly, earning herself an eyeroll from Steph who never folds things because she’s busy having sex, I guess. I’m doing my best to interpret this. Tessa puts the dress on and makes sure to mention again that the dress is snug because she is curvier than Steph. The dress reaches mid-thigh, which Tessa thinks isn’t that short, but it is shorter than anything she would wear.

Samantha: IDK, mid-thigh is fairly short? Not in a judgmental way just in a real world way. I probably couldn’t wear mid-thigh to work is all.

Mari: Maybe we need to have more tattoos and sex? Ask Anna Todd.

Steph offers Tessa some tights and she gladly accepts because she feels so naked. She picks plain black tights over lace tights because it was just one orgasm, after all.

Next up is a page about shoes. She can’t wear high heals. But then she does. This has been a faithful representation of what took 10xs as many words for Todd to write.

Finally, Steph lets Tessa see her fifth makeover in the mirror. For anyone who has never experienced a makeover in media, this is he part where Tessa looks in the mirror and wonders who the heck is staring back at her. She also thinks about how it’s “me, but only better.” (S: You ladies just covered the “Bella is now vampire” chapters and I’m having flashbacks.) (M: Trauma-backs.) Steph calls Tristan back in to also compliment Tessa. After some lip gloss application, they are ready to go and I’m near ready to bang my head against a wall.

There’s a cut and instead of bringing us to the restaurant, Todd thinks it’s necessary to tell us that during the drive, Tessa sits in the back and lets her mind wander. Wow. An editor saw this?

Samantha: I’m starting to think that editors are only figments of our collective imaginations.

Mari: Tessa was expecting to go to T.G.I. Fridays or Applebees, but instead they are at a place with a lot of motorcycles outside. She probably didn’t get the memo that millennials are killing chain restaurants. Steph tells Tessa that Nate is going to be joining them as well. Tessa doesn’t mind, as long as Hardin doesn’t come along. Wow, oh my gosh, imagine if Hardin showed up it would be such a plot twist that none of us would see coming.

They all are seated and a tattooed waitress takes their drink order. Steph and Tristan order beers, which Tess thinks explains why they come here: underaged drinking. Tessa orders a Coke, though, because she has to go home and study later. The waitress brings out their drinks and soon after Nate shows up with Zed, Molly… and Hardin.


Mari: Tessa spits her Coke back into her cup in shock. Steph tells Tessa they can go if she wants, but then everyone sits before Tessa says anything. Nate, Molly and Hardin take the booth behind them. Zed and Nate both compliment Tessa on how hot she looks. Tessa tries not to look at Hardin and tells herself she can totally not look at him and then one sentence later, looks at him. She instantly regrets it because Hardin has his arm around Molly.

Tessa is probably so angry at Hardin, right? She probably can’t believe his audacity after saying that he would ruin her if he ever saw her again to show up here and then display affection toward someone else in her eye line, right?

I can feel Hardin’s eyes on me but I can’t look over at him again. He is wearing a white T-shirt that I’m sure lets his tattoos show through, and his hair is perfectly messed up, but I don’t care how good he looks or how skanky Molly is dressed.

She’s so irritating, with her stupid pink hair and her skanky clothes. She is a slut. I’m surprised by my thoughts and my anger toward her, but it’s true. And I really don’t like her. I don’t think I’ve actually ever called anyone a slut, even in my head.”

Oh, okay. We’re going to compliment Hardin’s perfectness and call Molly a slut because Anna Todd hates women, great.


Image result for get me outta here gif

Mari: Molly compliments Tessa as well, but then also cuddles into Hardin’s chest. Tessa fake smiles at her.

Zed grabs Tessa’s Coke and drinks half of it, which kind of bothers Tessa, but only a little bit because Zed is so very attractive. “If he didn’t have so many tattoos, he probably would be a model.” Yes, that is a few sentences after Tessa was complimenting Hardin’s tattoos, for the record. (S: The face I am making at my computer right now. It’s not pretty.)

Hardin starts clearing his throat noisily, causing Tessa to look over at him. He narrows his eyes at Tessa, and she picks up the silent threat, I suppose, but intends to have some “fun” by making Hardin intentionally jealous. She leans into Zed a little bit and Hardin’s eyes go wide. Tessa knows this is all immature and ridiculous, but she figures if she has to be around Hardin, she wants him to be as uncomfortable as she is.

They order food and Tessa feels bad for a second about fake flirting with Zed, but she figures it’s okay because she’s probably bad at it. She asks Zed if he’s going to the bonfire, but he doesn’t think so because it’s not his scene. Tessa says she’s going with Landon and everyone starts laughing because Landon is a loooooooser. Tessa very passionately defends Landon and his coolness, but they tell her to calm down because they are only teasing. Molly smirks at her, probably so we can think she totally earned all that slut shaming earlier with all her smirking and shit.

Tessa keeps sticking up for Landon, saying that she doesn’t like when people tease her friends, especially when they aren’t present to defend themselves. It’s pretty decent for a girl who spends all her internal monologue passive-aggressively hating everyone. Zed backs down and says that he has to give Landon credit for giving Hardin a black eye. Everyone laughs, except Hardin, of course. Nate says it’s a good thing a professor pulled them apart or else Hardin would’ve gotten beat up even worse by a loser. Nate catches himself and apologize for the name.

Not that it matters, because Tessa is done being concerned for Landon because WHAT? The fight wasn’t broken up by a professor! That’s… A LIE. Tessa guesses that no one even knows that Hardin and Landon are stepbrothers.

Samantha: Hardin is such a jerk. You’re too old to be embarrassed by your stepbrother, buddy.

Marines: Hardin looks all worried as Tessa thinks about how she should call him out right now in front of everyone…

But she can’t. If we wanted to switch up the drinking game to drink anytime Tessa thinks she should do something and then immediately doesn’t do that thing, we totally could.

Tessa doesn’t do it because she finds it harder to be mean to people than Hardin does. Her subconscious steps in to remind her how mean she was to Noah, but she quickly shuts that thought down. Instead, she says that she thinks the bonfire will be fun. Zed looks at her “with interest” and says they he might make an appearance there after all. That’s Hardin’s cue to speak up and say he’s going too. Molly laughs because Hardin??? At a bonfire???? BUT HE HAS TATTOOS.

Despite Molly’s eye-rolling, Hardin insists that the bonfire will be fun. I’m going to bet that in approximately 27 micro-chapters, when we finally get to the bonfire, it will be exactly the opposite of fun. Just a guess.

Tessa wonders if Hardin is going because Zed said he was. “Maybe I’m a better flirt than I thought.” She literally hasn’t done anything but yell at Zed for calling Landon a loser. But knowing Todd, she counts that as flirting amongst her characters.

Samantha: Girl, she also SCOOTED CLOSE TO HIM. Bow chika wow wow.

Mari: -_-

The server brings out the food, and even though Tessa ordered her burger without ketchup, it comes out with ketchup. Tessa hates sending food back (which I relate to, honestly) and decides to just enjoy her fries while everyone eats. When the waitress circles back to ask if they need anything, Hardin speaks up and says that Tessa ordered her burger without ketchup. The waitress asks if Tessa wants the plate taken back and Tessa shakes her head no but Hardin speaks up for her and says she most certainly does. Because he ~*cares*~.

Samantha: Ugh. TESSA CAN MAKE DECISIONS HARDIN BECAUSE SHE IS AN ADULT I KNOW IT’S WEIRD. I’d honestly be so mad if someone did something like that to me, something that triggers my anxiety or whatever.

Mari: SAME. I would’ve been mortified, honestly, and I wouldn’t have eaten the new gosh darn burger.

Molly is really annoyed at all these feelings over burgers and ketchup, or whatever, but Hardin says it’s not a big deal, god, Tessa just hates ketchup. This all reads like a middle schooler’s idea of what the most romantic thing would be. Like, can you imagine if you were at like a bar and he noticed your burger had ketchup??

Tessa eats her burger even though she doesn’t have an appetite. Zed pays for her which makes Hardin even angrier. Zed tells Tessa to ride with him to the party, but she says she’s not going. Tristan is going to give her a ride back to the dorm. Hardin steps in and says he’ll give Tessa a ride. Tessa “almost trips over [her] feet at this.” In this chapter, Tessa is shocked! SHOCKED! every time Hardin says a word. Her shocked reactions include spitting her Coke back into her cup, dropping a fry back on her plate and almost tripping her own feet. WHO KEEPS INVITING THIS GIRL OUT?

Steph says that she and Tristan will definitely be the ones driving Tessa home and they are taking Zed with them. Hardin tells Tristan that he shouldn’t drive drunk on campus because he’ll get a ticket. Steph looks to Tessa, but she can’t speak up for herself because she doesn’t know what to say. Instead she shrugs and leans into Zed while other people make decisions for her.

Molly is all, “fine, let’s drop Tessa off and go to the party,” but Hardin tells her she’s not even invited to ride with them. So, in the end, it’s just Hardin and Tessa in a car together.

Yeah, let’s go, Tessa,” Hardin says and I look up at Zed and then at Steph.
“Tessa!” Hardin barks again as he unlocks his car door. He looks back at me and I get the feeling that if I don’t follow he will drag me to the car.” 

But it’s okay, I guess, that he’s threatening and barking and forcing them into a situation after he threatened to RUIN her if he ever saw her again because noticed her burger had ketchup. 

Samantha: I can’t. Why am I letting this upset me so much? DON’T GET IN THE CAR PRETTY PLEASE.

Mari: She’s definitely gonna.

Steph tells Tessa it will be okay, but that she should text as soon as she gets back to the dorm. Tessa pretends like she’s only getting into this car because her curiosity at Hardin’s intentions is getting the best of her.

Pop quiz time! (It’s been a while, so I’ll make it easy.)

What happens during the ride to the dorm?

1. Hardin tells Tess-Not-Like-Other-Girls-a that she doesn’t ~*need*~ makeup.

b. Tessa stands up for herself and dick punches Hardin.

cat. Hardin finally murders Tessa.


Next time on After: An entire car ride in Chapter 40.


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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  • Karen

    Ooh, a quiz! *sharpens her no.2 pencil*

    Hmmm. I really want it to be B, but I think I have to go with 1, because I’ve become accustomed to disappointment.

    • You are a quick study.

  • Mirja

    So first Tessa spits into her coke and then Zed drinks half of it? Lovely!

    • JA Jenks

      This. All of this. Talk about not paying attention to what you’re having your characters do! Ick!

    • That is essentially what happens, yes. By the time Hardin starts noticing her ketchup, this becomes the sexiest scene of all time.

    • Da Bomb From Guam Mafnas

      We mustn’t forget the spit that definitely came back with Tessa’s burger.

    • Alicia

      I don’t remember if it’s happened yet or not, but I’m pretty sure at another point she spits her drink back into her cup and minutes later chucks the drink at Hardin’s face when he’s an asshole yet again. Which, gross. Anna Todd literally rinses and repeats her own scenes. You’ll probably notice it the more the series goes on, as if you haven’t noticed it already.

    • Samantha

      I genuinely appreciate you pointing this out because it’s making me laugh instead of cry over this nonsense.

    • The Bad Slayer
  • Blinvy .

    I think Tessa might be dumber and less of a character than Bella and Ana combined. Jesus.

    • Those are really big shoes to fill and I don’t like to compare. It gets all weird because Bella is dating an actual murderer and Ana an actual physical abuser and they make decisions that are terrible– TERRIBLE– for their own personal safety. Tessa is definitely on the same road. They can all just share the title.

  • Joy

    UGH. NO. I’m just… NO. Want to sell the author’s hardcore internalized misogyny, please. :/

    • She truly hates women.

  • Jamie Miller

    Does she seriously keep justifying the make-over items with “it was just one orgasm.’?

    • Lololol, no. That’s me being OVER the makeover device being used as a measure of Tessa’s sexual awakening.

  • Alicia

    Plucking eyebrows HURTS. I tried it once, got my sister to do it to me. Regretted it. Bushy, unglamorous eyebrows FTW.

    After is basically just a bunch of scenes repeating themselves over and over with slightly different dialogue to make it appear as though Todd hasn’t been copying and pasting her whole novel as she goes.

    You know if Hardin had been in the room instead of Tristan, he would make Tessa get changed in the closet or something, like a dick. I don’t know how girls find this dreamy.

    Ah, of course Tessa’s boobs aren’t small like Steph’s. Girl, I have the same problem. Give me a shirt or dress with a sligtly low neckline, and bam, I look like I’m purposely trying to show off my boobs. But I’m not going to brag about it, it’s just a problem I have to deal with. GIRLS HAVE DIFFERENT SIZED BOOBS. You twat.

    Also, yes, mid-thigh is definitely quite short. And if Tessa is about average height, it probably looks even shorter than it would on a super-short girl like myself. Personally, I don’t like to wear dresses that are above the knee, but it’s because I have thicker thighs and don’t like my legs. Tessa probably has super-duper amazingly sexy long legs because she’s got a perfect figure or something, but she doesn’t know it because she never thought of herself as “sexy” because sexy is a bad word.

    “She can’t wear high heels, but then she does.” Sounds like basically the rest of the book series in that she keeps telling herself she hates Hardin and doesn’t want to be around him anymore, but does anyway.

    I’m gonna say that Todd was probably reading that chapter in Breaking Dawn that you guys just recapped, when she wrote Tessa’s makeover reveal. Everybody just copies everybody these days and gets paid millions for it. It makes my heart hurt and me want to cry.

    I have to laugh at “If Hardin shows up it would be a plot twist that none of us would see coming” because I read some of her interviews where she bragged that each time her readers began to catch on to what was happening, she would randomly put some kind of plot twist in there to throw them off. So far, how come it’s not working?

    Ah yes, Molly is a slut because she’s been hanging around Hardin’s group longer than Tessa has, and been having sex off and on with Hardin. Her and Hardin are sort of friends I guess. Tessa’s a new girl in the group, being all jealous because Hardin has female friends other than her. TESSA AND HARDIN AREN’T EVEN OFFICIAL AND NEVER HAVE BEEN. She has NO right to be jealous right now, that Hardin is hanging around another girl he considers a friend. Yet, here we are. I could understand her jealousy if say they had been dating in a real relationship for some time, then they broke up and too soon later she sees him with another girl. That’s pretty hurtful. (I should know, I’ve experienced this.) But her and Hardin were never a thing yet. It’s just Todd’s excuse to shame a woman who is sexual.

    “If Zed didn’t have tattoos, he would probably be a model.” This a few sentences after complimenting Hardin’s tattoos. So fucking annoying. Everyone else’s tattoos makes them less attractive, while Hardin’s tattoos makes him more hot and sexy and alluring. MAKE UP YOUR MIND TESSA, DO YOU LIKE TATTOOS ON GUYS OR NOT?? Oh, only Hardin’s, okay. That makes sense. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Noah got tattoos and Tessa decides it makes him look like too much of a player? lol.

    PS: I half-like Zed, but him drinking Tessa’s coke without asking is kinda rude, just order your own buddy.

    Lol @ Hardin’s eyes going wide when Tessa leans into Zed, meanwhile Hardin’s got his arm around Molly’s shoulders? What is wrong with these two? Hardin has his arm around Molly and let her lean into him even after spotting Tessa there, and then gets pissy when Tessa uses Zed to make Hardin jealous. Again, need I repeat myself, Tessa and Hardin never even had a romantic connection nor were official at all. So what the hell is all this, more fake tension? More “proof” to show that Tessa does love Hardin and Hardin does love Tessa because they are making each other jealous by showing off with other people? Gag me with a spoon.

    Of COURSE Tessa thinks that she’s totally bad at flirting, then later we’ll probably get an affirmation from Zed that Tessa is super-good at flirting because he super-duper likes her for no reason. Another one of Anna Todd’s unpredictable-predictable plot twists.

    Lol @ Tessa defending Landon because she doesn’t like it when people are mean to her friends, and yet she’s been internally bashing everyone except Hardin. Sure, she says she hates Hardin and he’s mean, but it’s usually followed up with, “But he’s so dreamy, that my down there tingles at the sight of him and he does things to me that no one else has ever done” and so on.

    Hahaha, when Tessa thinks that she could never be as mean to anyone as Hardin is to her, and then her subconscious (ugh) steps in to remind her that she was really mean to Noah and hurt him really bad, but she pushes it down. Because she literally doesn’t want to be held accountable for her actions. Someone does something mean to her, she cries about it. She does something mean to someone else, she ignores it or justifies it. Typical behaviour of a narcissist.

    So Zed looks at her with interest and tells her they may go to the bonfire after all, and she takes this as her being a better flirt than she thought. Even though like you said, all she did was scoot close to him and yell at him for calling Landon a loser.

    This whole scene with Hardin being rude to the waitress because Tessa likes her burgers without ketchup, made me cringe. He could at least say “please” and “thank you” but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. Also, if Tessa is going to just eat her fries, someone else could eat the offending ketchup burger. But no, Hardin had to make a big show because Todd wanted to add some random moment in to show that Hardin “cares” for Tessa because he remembered that she likes her burgers without ketchup.

    I would also be upset and embarrassed if someone did this to me. I hate returning food too, but I wouldn’t want someone else to do it for me, especially in a rude way, without asking me first. Hardin’s just fucking rude and so far there’s literally nothing appealing about him.

    Now he’s pretending that he cares because he wants to give her a ride back to the dorms, and of course Tessa is shocked. Because Hardin is mean, see, but at the same time he treats her specialer than the others because he has feelings for her. He would never offer anyone else a ride, only her. So Tessa is SHOCKED whenever Hardin does something that any normal, decent human being would do. It’s more fake mysteries and fake tension. OMG HARDIN IS BEING NICE TO ME AGAIN, HE MUST HAVE FEELINGS FOR ME.

    It’s great that Tessa can’t fucking decide on her own who she wants to get a drive back to the dorms with. She just leans back and lets other people talk for her. This proves what a worthless sac of flour she is, just like Bella and Ana before her.

    Wow, Hardin wouldn’t even let Molly ride with them, so Tessa must be super-extra specials to him. But Anna Todd needed Hardin and Tessa to have more alone time, and we get that by having Hardin reject his friends only to yell at Tessa to get in the car. And then Steph wanting Tessa to text her as soon as she gets back proves that Steph is concerned that Hardin might do something to hurt Tessa. SWOON. I see the romance, now. It’s making its appearance.

  • The “lean in” and the “scoot closer” are kinda my signature thing. Bitch stole my moves.

    • Samantha

      She’s onto you. Creeping into your territory with long skirts and 1 dimensionalism.

      • The Bad Slayer

        I think you mean 1D. 😉

  • AmandaOoooh

    This had got to be the the weirdest scene of all time. Hardin’s in the booth behind them? How is he even seeing her burger? My head imagery of this scene is so messed up.

    • Samantha

      Lol and that’s how you know Todd doesn’t own a face OR a sense of placement.

  • Sarah

    Zed grabs Tessa’s Coke and drinks half of it, which kind of bothers Tessa, but only a little bit because Zed is so very attractive. “If he didn’t have so many tattoos, he probably would be a model.”

    ^ I actually did that at that line. My god, she is judgmental! *cough*Cheater!*cough*

    These people definitely don’t read like first-year uni students. I agree with the ‘middle schooler’s idea’ theory. Beta readers are friendly! Editors are nice people, cruel only to be kind and prevent you from publishing terrible books! Don’t run from them!

  • Mae

    How the heck is Tessa wearing one of Steph’s dresses? I thought Steph was “frail” and thin and small breasted. I sort of fit that description and let me tell you, my taller, curvier, bustier friends simply cannot fit into my dresses, no matter how stretchy the material is.

    “I don’t think I’ve actually ever called anyone a slut, even in my head.”
    She may not have used that precise word before but I seem to recall that she’s been slut-shaming Molly and Steph since she first laid eyes on them. And sadly, this will be the first of many many times that she calls Molly a skank and slut. Though she will never once denigrate the men who choose to sleep with them and a million other girls (i.e., Hardin, Zed).

    “Maybe I’m a better flirt than I thought”
    Am I the only one who had Twilight flashbacks of Bella “flirting” poorly with Jacob to find info
    on the Cullens? And how she thought she must be better at it than she assumed because it worked so well? Sadly, Tessa doesn’t realize that Hardin is only going to the bonfire because she will be around available penises. That’s all he needs to piss on his blonde fire hydrant.

    “But it’s okay, I guess, that he’s threatening and barking and forcing them into a situation after he threatened to RUIN her ”
    Why the hell does no one ever say anything about this? The fact that this whole group just watches as Hardin gets emotionally and physically abusive to people and they just shrug it off makes me hate the whole lot of them.

    • Alicia

      To your first statement: I was thinking the same thing. There’s no way that, if Tessa has giant boobs and a curvier figure than small, frail Steph, there’s no possible way that she could ever fit into one of her dresses no matter how much it stretches. Doesn’t Anna Todd even understand the basics of how clothes work (among the many other things she doesn’t understand like how drinking alcohol, first-time sexual experiences, and emotional abuse works)? And this woman is a millionaire because of this crap?

      I also thought the same thing about what you said that Hardin’s friends see Hardin boss and bully other people (not just Tessa) around, but they don’t do anything about it. They just stand there and watch, basically enabling him to treat Tessa like shit. Nobody ever talks to Hardin to tell him to stop being a dick. Probably because he wouldn’t listen, anyways. He thinks he’s entitled to be a dick because of his poor childhood.

  • Anonyme

    Yikes, a rip-off of a rip-off, this book is (the two main characters sound a lot like the “pro”tagonists in a certain Twilight fan fiction

  • Charlie

    Tbh this is just making me want to write a story with a virginal character where she falls for the abusive white boy, but after she realizes he is a dick she goes out with a nice, sweet man of color who treats her like a human (Zed is based on Zayn Malik who is half Palestini and a Muslim).

    Also the whole thing with Molly winking at Tessa gives me the impression that she is bisexual and she is being extra slur shamed due to her possible bisexuality. This is just an interpretation obviously but I feel like there certainly are biphobic implications there. Anyway, slut shaming sucks regardless!