After Chapter 54 – Complimented by mistake.

Previously: Someone put something in her something.

Samantha: This chapter picks up right where we left off, with Tessa laying in Hardin’s arms. She begins to worry about her shower the next morning, and I think about the glorious wonder that is dry shampoo. Invest, Tess! Problems solved! She’s worried a frat boy will walk in on her but Hardin assures her that the door locks and he’s going to accompany her (whether she wants him to or not). She decides that she wants to get the shower over with now then and they put on their pants! Tessa sans panties because she’s a Naughty Girl now (not to be confused with a Slutty Girl).

Marines: Slutty girls say words for anatomical parts and sex acts instead of pointing and mumbling, in case you were confused.

Samantha: Hardin assures her that they have all the bathroom amenities, even spare underwear from Ghosts of Slutty Girls Past and Tessa worries he has a creepy panty collection. (M: Fair.)

They arrive at the bathroom and Hardin starts stripping down because they are obvs going to shower together (whether she wants to or not). Tessa protests and Hardin totes doesn’t see what the big deal is, since they’ve already been naked together. She holds firm so Hardin gains an edge to his voice, because women who demand that their boundaries be respected are the worst. She gets in the shower and Hardin legit pouts because when he’s not being an asshole he’s being a child. She considers letting him come in anyway but doesn’t want him to think he can always get his way. You know, like you do when you’re parenting a toddler.

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Then Tessa thinks about how they should have just stayed in her room but how Hardin probably wouldn’t be as affectionate with Steph around. Yeah, cause I’m just drowning in all the affection he’s dripping. (M: Pouts and edges is all I’m picking up, but idk.) Tessa gives us the absolutely scintillating information that she prefers one towel for her head and one for her body before getting out cause it’s Hardy’s turn. She marvels at his beauty and then regrets not showering with him. She tells him that she has made the autonomous decision to go wait in his room so, naturally, he tells her “No, you’re not.” She demands to know what his problem is and he tells her that with 30 guys living in this house she will not be wandering around unsupervised.

You know what could have been appropriate here?

Tessa: Hey, I’m going to go wait in your room.

Hardin: Hey, with all these boys living in this house it makes me nervous to have you be alone here. Would you mind waiting until I’m done showering?

Tessa: Let me think about this new information you’ve provided me and make another autonomous decision.

*end scene*

Mari: *cries in consent is beautiful* *cries because it was wonderful* *cries for its literary merit* *cries because it did not happen and we must keep reading trash*

Samantha: Tessa pushes further, wanting to understand why he’s pouting about not getting to shower with her.

“‘I just don’t like being told no.’ His voice is low but much softer than it was moments ago.”

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Yeah, nope. Ruuuuuuun away. I know you’re worried about predators out there in the frat house but there is a definite predator here in this bathroom. (M: Damn. A+) Also, IDGF if his voice “softens” that changes not a damn thing, Anna Todd.

She tells him that she’s not like the other girls (gag) because instead of heeding the warning, she’s feeling jealous. Women, amiright? Hardin agrees that she isn’t and then Tessa switches to admiring how hot he looks. They leave the bathroom and run into the creepy dude from that party who tried to assault her in a bedroom. He leers at her. Classic 50 Shades tactic of making Hardin bossing her around seem okay cause he was right. WE AREN’T NEW HERE, TODD.

Hardin tells him to get away from her and he does cause even this asshole can identify the crazy in Hardin’s eyes. They go into Hardy’s room and he offers to beat up Creeper Guy, but Tessa begs him not to. IDK, maybe this book would be more interesting if we could break out the Throat Punch tag. They get ready for bed and Tessa asks to wear his shirt because it smells like him. He tells her that she’s beautiful and Tessa thinks this:

“I get the feeling he didn’t mean to say the words out loud, which makes my heart swell even more.”

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I mean. I think that it would make me happier if the guy sincerely wanted to compliment my beauty but that’s just me.

Mari: Definitely not better to get complimented by mistake. Definitely. 

Samantha: Tessa tells him that he’s also beautiful and then they playfully bicker a bit about what time to get up the next morning (6:30 if you’re interested.)

They rush around but make it back to Tessa’s room in time for her to get ready. During all this Tessa has to randomly prevent Hardin from pouring cold water on Steph’s head to wake her up? Ohhh…..kaaaaay.

They head over to the café and Tessa worries what Landon will think about her bringing Hardin. At the café they part ways, with Hardin kissing Tessa before he leaves. Landon’s jaw comes unhinged in shock and Tess is feeling awkward cause she’s not really into PDA. Hardin probably is, of course.

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Mari: Nah, he just did it to shock Landon some more, even though this is the 27th time they’ve shocked Landon by being together and Landon should stop being shocked now.

Samantha: You’re doing shock wrong, Landon.


Next time on After: Tessa gets called to the principal’s office in Chapter 55 .


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.

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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  • David Sagneri

    Pretty sure Hardin is a Christian Grey level gaslighter. So other creeper guy totally operating under his direction. So they can remove any autonomy Tessa has.

  • The Bad Slayer

    But…I don’t…how does this chapter move the story along?

    • Mae

      Evergreen comment.

      • Seriously. For all the “content” we’ve gotten in 54 micro-chapters, we could actually be in chapter… 2.

      • The Bad Slayer

        I don’t know what that means. Sorry. I’m lame.

        • Mae

          It means your comment will always be true no matter what chapter we’re on. 🙂

  • Alicia

    Yeah, Hardin saying in a low voice that he doesn’t like being told no is definitely a red flag. Todd wants to make us think that the other frat boys would be a danger to Tessa if she was wandering around the house alone, but Hardin speaking in that tone isn’t all that comforting, either.

    Ah of course, go back to admiring how hot Hardin is to distract anyone from potentially thinking that Hardin was sounding predatory a second ago. His voice softening is also another distraction technique.

    I guess Hardin wanting to dump cold water on Steph’s head to wake her up makes sure we’re aware that he’s not gone all soft on us because of his love for Tessa, and is still an asshole, but Tessa told him not to do that to Steph and since he listened to her it means he’s changing, right guys?

    And Landon being shocked that Hardin kissed Tessa in front of him is another show of Hardin changing because he’s now showing PDA with Tessa when he never did with other girls before. Or something. Idk.

  • Mae

    “Tessa worries he has a creepy panty collection.”
    Also, who the hell wants to wear someone else’s used panties? Gross.

    “I just don’t like being told no.”
    Not only is this a red flag, it’s a euphemism for what Todd really means. Most people don’t LIKE being told no, but we can handle it appropriately and move on without holding it against the person who refused our request. Guys like Hardin and Christian Grey can’t handle being told no, and that’s a whole other (bigger) problem. But Gods forbid authors like Todd or ELJ express that directly. Then people might realize, ‘hey, this immature dickwad is no hero and could possibly be a danger to me and others.’

    • Alicia

      Yeah, uh sorry, if I was doing sexual things with a potential love interest and he offered me some girl’s panties from his dresser, I think I’d be out of there so fast and probably not go back. Even if he did wash the panties for some reason, just the idea of it is really, really creepy. And I still wouldn’t wear them.

      And Hardin says he doesn’t like being told no, but he means that he can’t handle being told no. I think he’s one of those spoiled brats who gets away with everything in his life, and it shows with his current behaviour towards his own family and the women he interacts with, and just his behaviour in general. Later, he gets in a bad fight with Zed and injures him and gets maybe a couple hours in jail but his rich daddy gets him out without it leaving a black mark on his record, and Tessa begs Zed not to press charges, even though Hardin actually went looking for Zed to beat him up at school, and destroyed school property in the process of the fight. Does Hardin face any consequences? Nope. Not a one.

  • Rosasusannah

    I actually get the not wanting the compliment to be planned thing. This is an insecurity thing. When other people say nice things about you, your shitty self-esteem will say it’s because the person wants to flatter you/come across as a nice person/ease your nerves about the trait in question (because your insecurity is annoying them)/get in your pants etc. An unplanned slip of a compliment has higher odds of being true. It’s sad, though, to realize my confidence and self-esteem has been so low and to think of all the women who resonate with this.

  • AmandaOoooh

    Most boring couple in the world. And this is just book 1? F that
    How many chicks have slept with these guys and just left their panties behind? I can’t say I’ve ever done that before…

    On a brighter note, my 16 year old cousin who previously loved these books now hates them after a brief talking (shouting?) to by me. Yay!

    • Yeeeah, I can admit there’s been more than once I haven’t worn my underwear home the morning after, but never once have I just left it behind. There’s also no way in hell I’d wear someone else’s undies. Ew. I’d rather go commando.

      Then again, by this book/author’s standard, I’m already an irredeemable slut who wears colored eye shadow, has had sex, and can talk about sex, soooo…. *shrugs*

      • Sarah

        I’ll see your colored eye shadow and raise you…colored eye liner!

  • The Bad Slayer

    Oh, and…how do I say this nicely…I’ve fucked a lot dudes (in my day…now, just the one) and I have never, NEVER left without my undies. I have also never, NEVER wore another person’s undies. Gag, gross, ewwwwwww. Further, are we to believe that a frat house, full of young men, have hoards of young ladies past underwear clean, folded, and at the ready for current young ladies in need??? Wat?

    • Mae

      Yes, because frat boys are known for their thoughtful laundry skills, right?

      I’ve never left without every article of my clothing either. I don’t have the money to keep buying panties because I was too lazy to look for the ones I wore to a lover’s apartment. I don’t even leave my worn clothes at my boyfriend’s place now because I know damn well he’s not going to wash them.

  • Joy

    I think Landon is the personification of the shocked emoji. Like, it’s just a reaction at this point, it’s just a thing he does. He’s dying inside, but he just! can’t! stop! himself!

  • Alicia

    And, forgot to mention this: “Then Tessa thinks about how they should have just stayed in her room but how Hardin probably wouldn’t be as affectionate with Steph around. Yeah, cause I’m just drowning in all the affection he’s dripping.”

    A guy who won’t show affection towards you when his friends are around is a big sign that he’s not emotionally ready to commit. If he really wanted you in his life he would want to show you off and introduce you into his life. The only reason Tessa got to meet his family was because her and Hardin randomly met Hardin’s dad in a store, and she invited herself to the family dinner, since Hardin didn’t even want to go. The only reason Tessa met some of Hardin’s friends is because she’s roommates with Hardin’s friend. Hardin hasn’t even once wanted to include her in anything in his life. I think he invited her to go bowling with them once, though. And he doesn’t want to give her much info on his background, and is just vague when she asks him.

    Much swoon.

  • Sarah

    Dry shampoo is amazing – though I’ve found baking soda works just as well.

    Um, I would not like to wear underwear someone else had left behind. Plus, is it just me or is ‘oh, yeah, we totes have panties from other chicks you can have’ a weird thing to say to someone with no prior indication that it’s a kink or something you’d like your partner to share? (And given the attitude toward sex in this book I’m thinking this is a thing Todd thinks is perfectly normal rather than supposed to be a kink.)