Previously: Hardin and Tessa had a fight about family dinner.
Samantha: Tessa notices that Hardin seems tense for some reason as they drive to the family dinner he very much did not want to attend. Weird, that. The man with serious anger issues is tense about being manipulated into an event he didn’t want to go to?
Samantha: When they get to the house Tessa continues the unjustified shock train by being surprised when Hardin gets out of the car and announces he’s coming to dinner too. I know the last she heard he was only dropping her off, but there was no way he wasn’t coming to this dinner, so fake tension is fake.
Mari: 1- It’s his house and his family, Tessa. 2- As if Todd would have pages where Hardin wasn’t around. AS IF.
Samantha: He hates doorbells or something so they walk right on in.
Hardin’s dad goes to hug his son but Hardin is having none of that. He asks Tessa to call him Ken and when will I be old enough that calling my friends/SO’s parents by their first names won’t wig me out? They head into the living room, where Tessa sits next to Landon because Hardin has already disappeared. Good, stay gone the whole chapter, Hardin! (M: AS. IF.)
Landon comments on Tessa and Hardin giving their “friendship” another try. He doesn’t use air quotes but they are just very needed. He also laughs because Ken thinks they’re dating and why wouldn’t you correct him, Landon? He says he’s waiting for Hardin to do it which seems unnecessary and mean. Landon is not as nice as he thinks he is.
Landon’s mom comes in and somehow she’s wearing a turquoise dress that’s similar to Tessa’s maroon dress. (M: Awkward! Matching your quasi-boyfriend’s quasi-stepmom.) She greets Tessa and then rushes off back to the kitchen. There’s probably a sexist joke in here somewhere that I don’t know how to make. Tessa and Landon talk about an essay they have to write when Hardin strolls back into the scene to be rude and make fun of them. Landon laughs him off though, so Tessa thinks their fistfight was good for them.
I’m that girl making the wtf face in the background of whatever this gif is from.
Mari: THE FIGHT WAS GOOD FOR THEM. A little throwaway line that really reveals Todd’s headspace and comfort with justifying physical violence WEE.
Samantha: They head in for dinner and the table is laid very nicely and Tessa thinks that Hardin had better behave or she’ll kill him. Few things:
- It’s a shitty sign if you see a nicely set table and worry that your love interest is going to destroy it.
- Yes, Hardin should definitely not be violent or awful here because as far as we know, Landon’s mom has done nothing but have her dishes broken by the stepson from hell so he shouldn’t have come if he can’t not be a dick but
- Tessa you manipulated him into coming (“ooooh maybe I’ll bring Zed if you don’t come”) so you don’t have much of any room to judge his behavior here I think.
They sit down together and Tessa can’t look at Karen kissing Ken’s cheek ’cause the non-abuse is too painful. She fills her plate with food and Hardin laughs at her before saying, “Hungry girls are the best.” Huh? What does this mean? I think Todd is going for the “I like a girl who doesn’t eat salad” trope, which is annoying, but this is such a strange way to phrase it. Does Hardin like to starve his girlfriends so that they are perpetually hungry?
Mari: BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST! Girls who have just eaten and are now full? WORST. Gimme a before lunch girl not an after lunch girl! I don’t know what I’m saying anymore!
Samantha: I love you.
They chit chat about school and Hardin gets angry face when Karen mentions that he used to be in Literary Club. Tessa changes the subject and Hardin’s eyes “soften” to thank her and ewwww his eyes are probably the consistency of applesauce now. Karen mentions that Ken is the Chancellor of the University and Tessa drops her fork and gasps because she had No! Idea! They are surprised that Hardin never mentioned it and Hardin keeps calm and continues the conversation. I’m just kidding, he has a completely inane meltdown over nothing. He jumps up and starts yelling about not needing to use Ken’s position, which was not what anyone was suggesting, and storms away from the table.
Mari: Wow, what a self-important baby. LITERALLY NO ONE CARES, HARDIN. HANDLE YOUR EMOTIONS BETTER. Also, Landon didn’t tell her either? Which is also weird, but you don’t see him stomping off and crying.
Samantha: Karen looks like she might cry, probably because she thought her dishes were about to be murdered again.
Tessa apologizes, and Ken is me telling her not to apologize for him, and goes off to find Hardin. Merciful chapter end.
Next time on After: Will Hardin calm down?? in Chapter 47.