Previously: Hardin drunkenly pushed his way into Tessa’s dorm and movies.
Samantha: The chapter opens with Tessa being woken up by Hardin’s phone going off. It’s in his pocket and he’s not waking up so she…gropes inside his pocket to try and get it? Listen, I’ve been there where someone’s phone is going off and keeping you awake but this is weird and vaguely creepy. Just wake him up and ask him to shut it off? Is she that desperate to NOT interact with Hardin?
Marines: I mean, if her version of NOT interacting with Hardin is to physically touch him and fish in his pocket… well, yeah, actually. That seems on brand for Tessa’s understanding of staying away from people and not interacting with them. Cool.
Samantha: Yay… consistency?
Of course he wakes up and answers his phone. He is cranky at whoever it is and I am at a loss as to why ANYONE likes him, not just Tessa. He tells the person that they can’t go into his room and hangs up. Then:
“He hangs up, and I instinctively back away. His bad mood is palpable, and I don’t want to be on the receiving end of his venom.”
I mean. Classic abuse victim behavior. If you think this book is sexy then objectively you’re wrong and also I’m worried about you. (M: We say this because we care.)
He tells her that it was Molly and asks if Tessa likes her. She admits that she doesn’t, even though internalized misogyny and jealousy are the only reasons I can see why she wouldn’t.
Mari: Everything else she could “not like” about Molly are traits she lurves in Hardin, from her tattoos and alternative look to her surliness to her partying ways, so. You’re not wrong.
Samantha: Hardin says that he doesn’t like her either, she’s just “fun” which we all know is code for “slutty” in this book, and Tessa’s “bubble of excitement” grows bigger. Maybe you should get that looked at, Tess. (M: It sounds like gas.)
Hardin says he messes around with her to keep himself occupied and am I supposed to be drooling over the fact that he uses one girl to forget about another? Is that a dreamy thing in a world where women are disposable except the Not Like the Other Girls girl? Hardin asks Tessa to come lie with him but Tessa says no. Hardin bravely admits that he sleeps better with her around based on that one time last weekend.
Mari: Well, he was drunk off a million mini-bottles of airplane scotch, or whatever. Like, bro. I have something to tell you about the effects of alcohol vs. the effects of shitty PG-13 relationships.
Samantha: Tessa rolls over and Hardy wants to know why she won’t believe him.
“Because you always do this: you say a few nice things and then you flip the switch and I end up crying.”
The book is going to try and make it like this only happens due to Tessa misunderstanding him, as Mari has pointed out, so lets not lose sight of the fact that it’s not that, it’s just him.
Hardin expresses disbelief at making her cry and fuck off, book. You can’t convince me that this dickweed doesn’t know he makes her cry and gets off on it. Plus, as Tessa thinks, he’s seen it happen. He comes over and gently touches her arm, the same arm he has restrained and yanked on, and tells her he didn’t mean it. Tessa calls bullshit and lists some of the terrible things he’s done. He says that he didn’t mean the whole “ruining her” thing, he just said it.
Mari: This is why we shouldn’t lose sight of his bad behavior because literally all he has to say for himself is, “I just say things sometimes.” Wow. And I’m sure that murderers just kill people sometimes.
Samantha: He dropped Literature to stay away from her but he can’t because he accidentally ate a magnet once and Tessa once ate a piece of refrigerator and now they are forever drawn together. (M: Still a better plot than After.)
He asks if she missed him this week and gets all happy and excited when she says yes. It would be sweet if:
A. He didn’t cut her off before she has the chance to ask the same of him. She’s the only one admitting something vulnerable here.
Bee. He didn’t immediately follow this with “I’ll only let you go back to sleep if you come sleep in the same bed as me.”
Cat. I hadn’t read the first 30% of this garbage.
When she doesn’t say yes to his “request” he literally picks her up, ignores her kicks and pleas, and puts her down on the bed he’s sleeping on. Fuuuuuck. Tessa is afraid to fight him too hard because she doesn’t want him to leave really.
Mari: I guess that’s “if I don’t put up with the abuse, I’ll lose him all together” in the abuse checklist.
Samantha: He puts a pillow in between them so that she’s “safe and secure” and then removes the pillow like 30 seconds later to pull her to him. He whispers that he missed her too and the chapter, mercifully, ends.
Mari: The bullshit, however, continues soon after.
Next time on After: The bullshit in Chapter 43.