After Chapter 42 -The magnet and the refrigerator.

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.

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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.

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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.


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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  • Alicia

    Omg. She backs away from him, scared of how he will react to her after being cranky during a phone conversation with someone else. HOW IS THIS ROMANTIC??? HOW IS THIS ENDEARING?? There has literally been NO romantic connection between these two, as I’ve said before. It’s all been sexual.

    Tessa saying she doesn’t like Molly for the reasons that she loves Hardin just proves that Anna Todd hates women. Tessa doesn’t like Molly because of her tattoos, her “sluttiness”, her partying and drinking ways, the fact that she’se close to Hardin, and how she’s rude to Tessa. Hardin is literally ALL of those things in male form, and yet Tessa’s fallen for him. Playboy girls = sluts, playboy boys = hot and sexy and misunderstood. There must be a reason why Hardin is the way he is, so Tessa must find it out. Meanwhile, she doesn’t think twice as to if there could be a reason that Molly is the same way. Maybe Molly had a shitty background too, and doesn’t put up with whiny little judgmental prissy girls like Tessa. I’m pretty sure this is made clear in the Hardin version of After.

    Also, Hardin saying that he doesn’t like Molly either and that she’s just around for “fun”, is basically how he feels about Tessa. He doesn’t like Tessa but messes around with her, so why is Tessa feeling a bubble of excitement?? Because she thinks Hardin actually has feelings for her, instead of Molly. And yet he’s only using Tessa to forget about Molly.

    All of Hardin’s bad behaviours get dismissed as, “I just say things sometimes but I don’t mean it”. And then Tessa forgives him until 2 seconds later he’s back to saying another hurtful thing. Tessa has just pointed this out, but clearly he doesn’t plan on changing if his excuse is, “I just say things that I don’t mean sometimes”. Yes, everybody does that in angry or annoyed mode sometimes, BUT it’s not like a constant dragging the other person down thing. It may happen once in a blue moon. I’ve said some things to my fiance that I regret or immediately felt bad about after. But I didn’t say those things again. That’s the difference, Hardin just keeps doing it because he knows that Tessa will come running back the second he’s “nice” to her again.

    And him picking her up and taking her to the bed while ignoring her pleas for him to stop is once again something abusers do. They might say nice things sometimes, but their actions prove otherwise. Hardin’s never going to change if he keeps getting away with his stupid excuse as to why he always hurts her. He’ll never change, because he doesn’t want to. Only YOU can change yourself, nobody else can make the decision for you. Yes, someone loving you may help you decide, but in the end you have to do it for yourself.

    • Karen

      Is there actually a Hardin version? It follows the Twilight/50 Shades pattern, so I can’t be sure if you’re joking or not.

      • Alicia

        I’m sadly not even joking. Anna Todd wanted to make Hardin into an even bigger asshole, so she wrote this.

        I never read it and I won’t. Just like I didn’t read Grey, only through these recaps.

        • Karen

          Ohhh, yeah. Now I remember hearing about that. I guess I’d blocked it out.

        • Mae

          I read “Before.” Honestly, it doesn’t make Hardin into any worse of an asshole than After did (which was already too much). It’s also a pathetic attempt to humanize Molly (she had a tragic past, yo) and make Steph into an even bigger slut. It’s also one of the most disjointed, poorly written pieces of trash I’ve ever hate-read in my life. Spare yourself the pain and skip it.

          • Alicia

            Ah okay, well…I definitely won’t read it then lol. I think I read the first couple chapters on Wattpad or something where it was Molly’s POV then I stopped so I did read a little about her.

            Just think, though. Todd was using Tessa to slut-shame Molly all the way through the After books, with no initial plans of writing from Hardin’s POV to explain things more, or to give a second thought as to Molly’s background. Tessa doesn’t even bother to try and befriend Molly, or understand her, it’s just instant bashing and hate because she fucked Hardin and is friends with him.

            I’m not sure when Todd decided to write After from Hardin’s POV, probably after she was making money from them. Just because Todd suddenly attempted to humanize Molly in Before doesn’t mean that she’s some empowerment voice for sexually active women with shitty backgrounds. We saw her mindset while she was writing After, so unless she’s had a drastic change in her way of thinking towards women who aren’t like good-girls, then she must have only done it for the money.

          • Mae

            Before is Todd’s attempt to delve into multiple first person (I think there are 5+ narrators) and nonlinear progression. It jumps back and forth in time and space, the random chapters of other narrators have fuck-all to do with the “plot,” and if you hadn’t read the entire After series, you wouldn’t be able to follow it at all. In other words, Todd thought she was such a writing genius now that she could get “artsy.” And since people were throwing money at her for her previous poorly written books, she got away with it.

          • Alicia

            Ugh, that annoys me, when authors think they are a writing genius and keep putting out horrible books because they know it will make them money. They also won’t take criticism, or they dismiss anyone who criticizes their writing a “hater”.

  • Mae

    “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’ve been around several boyfriends when they got angry at someone else. I never once felt the need to back away in fear of them. But then I don’t fall for abusive douchebags and mistake them for genuine alpha personalities, so…

    Molly and Steph really *are* female Hardins. Just another layer of misogyny from Todd. When boys get tattoos, drink, sleep around, and angrily stab people in the back, they’re sooooo hot. When girls do all that, they’re despicable whores.

    “Hardin bravely admits that he sleeps better with her around”
    Oh, hi, Christian Grey!

    “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.”
    Thank you for the genuine LOL, I needed it today. J

    • Samantha

      Always happy to contribute laughs in these troubled times. <3

    • Alicia

      Haha, I do recall that Bella often described her being drawn to Edward like a magnet and unable to stay away from him, so that’s probably where the magnet thing in After came from. I just thought of that just now.

  • Joy

    Excuse me while I weep for humanity.

  • Karen

    “He says that he didn’t mean the whole ‘ruining her’ thing, he just said it.”
    You know, locker room talk!

    • Christie Greenwood

      I thought the exact same thing. The fact that ‘abusive, hypocritical, hateful bully’ is the new role model scares and depresses me.

    • JA Jenks

      Just guys being guys!!

  • JA Jenks

    “The bullshit, however, continues soon after.”

    Too true boo. Too true.

  • “He accidentally ate a magnet once and Tessa once ate a piece of refrigerator and now they are forever drawn together.”
    I guess Todd was just really in love with the opposites attract motif. Still, someone should have told her everything she included in this… story… was detrimental in every way.