Previously: Tessa did not want to shower with Hardin.
Marines: Landon keeps his commentary mostly to himself as Tessa tells him the story of how she broke up with Noah and got together with Hardin, though she doesn’t know what to call that relationship since they haven’t discussed “technical terms.” Landon half-warns Tessa about Hardin and half-admits that Hardin does seem infatuated with her. “As infatuated with you as someone like him can be.”
Um, thank you?
Samantha: How dreamy!
Mari: Tessa doesn’t think that’s a weird or shitty thing to say at all and instead thinks how cool it is that Landon is being “supportive.”
We jump suddenly and awkwardly to the end of Tessa’s sociology class. Her professor calls up to the front and lets her know that she’s to report to the Chancellor’s office. Tessa has a mini-freak out before she remembers that the Chancellor is Hardin’s dad. Still, she feels like it’s getting called into the principal’s office. Because… yes.
It takes Tessa half an hour to walk to the Chancellor’s office. Once there, she’s ushered in pretty quickly. Ken apologizes for calling her from class, but he didn’t know how else to get in contact with her, and he has several things to discuss with her. First up is the internship. He spoke to his contact who wants to meet Tess ASAP, like tomorrow. Tessa is so excited that she jumps out of her chair…? Like this is a YouTube video and her parents surprised her with a trip to Disney. Calm down, Tessa.
Tessa thanks him and agrees to the interview.
Next, Ken says he has a favor to ask that has nothing to do with the internship and if she declines it will not effect that opportunity at all. See, next weekend is Ken’s wedding and Hardin is refusing to go. He asks Tessa to try and convince him to attend, because she’s the only one who can. Ken knows this is overstepping (and a pretty clear abuse of power, if you ask me…) (S: Holy hell, it reeks.) but he just knows Tessa will be able to convince him. Tessa doesn’t understand why people think she can make Hardin do anything. Could it… could it be that Hardin is in love….?
NAH, she decides. That is ABSURD.
Samantha: Everyone knows that evil robots aren’t capable of love!
Mari: Tessa tells Ken that she will talk to Hardin because she would also like it if he went to the wedding. Ken thanks her, hopes she didn’t feel pressured to say yes, and hopes to see them both at the wedding. Tessa thinks a wedding with Hardin sounds wonderful and not like a public event with lots of chairs, plates and booze, things he loves to throw around during tantrums. Tessa and I have different notions of things that sound wonderful.
Ken tells Tessa that Karen really enjoyed having her over. She’s welcome back any time. Tsesa jokes about taking Karen up on those baking lessons. Ken laughs and tells her for sure. Come over any time. Tessa notices how much Hardin looks like Ken when they laugh and she vows within herself to help Ken in any way she can. “He’s so desperate to have a relationship with his angry, broken son, that it makes my heart ache for him.”
Tessa hurries along to Lit class and is pleasantly surprised to see Hardin miraculously dropped back into the class. Hardin asks why Tessa was late. She promises to tell him after class, so that he won’t make a scene during class. When class is over, Landon asks if Tess is still going to the bonfire with him and Dakota. He also invites her to dinner before. Tessa happily agrees to both. Landon says he’ll text her later and leaves. Hardin makes fun of Landon for saying that he’ll text her later? I’m not entirely sure why that earns his ire. (S: How dare another penis text HIS PROPERTY.) (M: Okay, probably that.) When Tessa defends Landon, Hardin says he’s allowed to make fun of him because Landon is living with his dad. I… what? That doesn’t make sense. Hardin’s not making Earth sense.
Tessa uses the mention of Hardin’s dad (ah, I see. The author just needed a way for Tessa to say, “speaking of your dad…”) to tell him about the interview she has tomorrow. This makes Hardin angry. Tessa also tells him that they are both invited to Ken’s wedding. This makes Hardin angry. He doesn’t want to talk about it and tells her to mind her own business, but Tessa presses a little, so he stomps off like a baby and peels away in his car. (S: Who taught the toddler how to drive?!) Tessa thinks he just needs time to cool down. But the she’s like, “who am I kidding?” She keeps expecting to change Hardin with her love and blowies, but he’s still “stubborn and has an attitude problem.” She does concede that some things are different. Like he’s nicer to her (is he?) and he kisses her in public now (wow).
Samantha: Which she didn’t even really want him to do.
Mari: Stunning progress, really.
After all this emotional turmoil, Tessa walks to her room. Steph is there and she totally knows that Tessa spent the night with Hardin. Tessa makes her promise to keep the secret. We sum up the rest of the time with Steph in a sentence because is Steph not Hardin. God forbid we spend words on people who are not Hardin. Steph’s boyfriend comes to pick her up and he’s an actually decent person and is nice to Steph, so Tessa sighs and wonders why Hardin isn’t like that.
Samantha: You get the garbage that you pick up from a frat house.
Mari: Alone, Tess studies and then decides to take a shower. Hardin texts her and tells her to be ready because he’s coming to pick up her so she can spend the night again. Obvs Tessa is all for it because weeeee! She quickly showers, has time to pack a small bag, and then Hardin is there, letting himself into the room without knocking, grabbing her shit, and then not talking to her all the way to the car. Tessa can only hope that the rest of the night isn’t like this.
We’re heading back into night time and the vicinity of a bed. We are once again in grave danger, dear friends. Send up prayers, light incense, send drinks. You know the drill.
Samantha: We can never really be prepared enough.
Next time on After: Twenty questions and a nightmare in Chapter 56.