After Chapter 56 – Time to rebrand.

Previously: Chancellor Ken abused his power for wedding thangs.

Samantha: Hardin turns his music up too loud in the car. Tessa tries to tolerate it but finally can’t and turns it down. Hardin comments on her pissy mood, and Tessa tells him that he started it with his bad mood first!


Samantha: He tells her that now that it’s settled that they aren’t going to the wedding he doesn’t have to be mad. Tessa tells him that it isn’t settled, she’s going to go and take baking lessons from Karen.

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You guys. I truly hate to defend Hardin in any way but I feel the need to state again that this is just general shittiness by Tessa. If your SO has issues with their family you do not manipulate and try to force them to get over it or do what you think is right. Not all family dynamics are created equal and it’s not your place. She could state her piece about why she thinks it’s important that he goes or whatever, but ultimately should respect his decision. Of course, it’s Tessa and Hardin so respect isn’t really in the cards.

Mari: This is especially mind-blowing to me since they’ve known each for a hot minute. If Tessa knows Hardin’s birthday at this point, I would be surprised. If ever this is a time to step into your partner’s family business, THIS IS NOT THAT TIME, TESSA.

Samantha: Tessa tries to make out that this is her not letting Hardin tell her what to do so this all comes back to how horrible these two are at communicating in non-threatening or manipulative ways. Tessa also tells Hardin that she barely knows him.

They head inside and Tessa asks why Hardin is in a fraternity. He tells her that by the time he agreed to come to this school all the dorms were full and he didn’t want to live with his dad. He has stayed because he has the biggest room. Tessa asks to hang up her outfit for tomorrow and Hardin both has to consider allowing this to happen and make faces at her clothes.

She reminds him that she has to get up early the next day for her internship interview and Hardin is all “Say what??? Why didn’t you tell me that was tomorrow???”

“I did… you were too busy sulking to pay attention.”

Hardin says that he’ll drive her to the interview AND to the internship if she gets it. Tessa decides that she’d rather get her own car so that he doesn’t get arbitrarily mad at her one day and decide not to pick her up. Hardin objects that he wouldn’t do that but the real problem here is that she truly thinks you would, bud. You should probably rebrand. (M: A+.)

They both change, with Tessa wearing his shirt again and yoga pants. Hardin lurvs the yoga pants. He’s also worried about how she said that she doesn’t really know him because she knows him better than anyone! He flashes her Vulnerable Eyes because only she can understand his tortured soul.

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She thinks about how connected they are and admits that he knows the real her. (M: Because! of  SOUL MAGIC CONNECTION, not because of using words or anything.) They then lay on the bed and fake me out by instead holding each other and talking about Hardin’s past. For fun, guess which 4 are real and which one I made up!

  1. His mother faints at the sight of blood.
  2. He got his first tattoo at 16 (in a friend’s basement cause he’s Edgy).
  3. He eats macaroni and cheese with a spoon.
  4. He hates birds (remember when Ana hated horses?????)
  5. He loves classic cars.

Mari: Hardin would never eat macaroni and cheese! It is a food that is too pure and good for the likes of him.

Samantha: So true!

It’s riveting stuff. (I shouldn’t complain, at least their clothes are on.) Tessa is overwhelmed by all this new info and starts thinking about what she’d like Hardin to know about her someday. They fall asleep but Tess is awakened by Hardin screaming and thrashing on the floor. She tries to comfort and wake and thinks about how she didn’t ask him about the nightmares because she didn’t want to be greedy? Strange word choice and also if you’re sleeping next to him, I think it’s okay to ask.

Mari: Especially if you have to be nightmare remedy girl.

Samantha: Hardin asks Tessa to never leave him.

Mari: On the bright side, we now get to leave this chapter.



Next time on After: An internship interview in Chapter 57.


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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  • Blinvy .

    This needy codependency trope in YA romance needs to die in a fire. It’s gone beyond anything that could be interpreted as sweet and has turned into horrific neediness and manipulation. No thank you please.
    If anyone said to me “Never leave me” or “you are mine” at this point, I would leave so fast, their head would spin. I am not your possession, sir.

    • Manipulation is dead on. These are the moments that are meant to make us ~*see*~ why Tess stays with him. Like sure, he’s moody and violent and awful, but in the dead of night he whispers into her face with his morning breath while half asleep that she should NEVER. LEAVE.


      • The_v_from_the_sub_B

        She’s 18? He’s 20? She Must Never Leave.

      • bubba912

        We all know that anything said in your sleep is a legally binding contract for both parties so maybe that’s why she can never leave him.

        • Mae

          Truth. 50 Shades and Twilight totally taught us that life lesson. Kinda like how my boyfriend woke up the other day mumbling, “donuts.” So I am now obligated to provide him with Boston Creams forever.

    • The_v_from_the_sub_B

      Head spinning possession. I see what you did there.

  • BT Light

    Hahahaha. So his mother really does faint at the sight of blood? Is she Bella Swan?

    • MAYBE.

      Though if she is Bella, luckily that means that she only faints at the sight of blood for a very short amount of time and then she pretty much forgets about it.

  • bubba912

    Of all the things to bother me about this stupid book, the story about him living in the frat is the one that is really puzzling me today. Like he just waltzed into the frat and they let him join and gave him the biggest room? Granted I’ve never been part of a fraternity but I don’t think that’s how it works? Did they immediately recognize his specialness and beg him to stay with them or something?

    • Alicia

      I also can’t remember if he’s supposed to be in his first or second year of college. But the frat thing didn’t make sense to me either. I think at one point Tessa thinks that Hardin must have bullied his way to the biggest room, which is again, not the best trait for a love interest to have?

      • The_v_from_the_sub_B

        Pretty sure that the other older frat boys would have chucked his arrogant ass outta the biggest room in real life.

    • I can’t tell what we’re supposed to understand from it either. Like maybe it’s another Anna Todd does’t get it thing, but if not, is al his smirking about having the biggest room supposed to be because his dad is the chancellor? But that doesn’t seem like something he’d be happy about. Is it because he’s so awesome he just got the biggest room???


      I’m sticking with Anna Todd doesn’t get it.

    • Suzy

      The frat thing bugged me, but not nearly as much as him coming and going from Tessa’s dorm. It’s explained as he has a spare key, but there are no “spare keys”. Each resident gets one and there is one kept at the main desk or somewhere similar in case of accidental lock out. I embarrassingly had to get that one in my towel once. The keys cant be copied. And if you lose yours it’s like a semester’s tuition to replace it. Unless things have changed dramatically since I was in college…which I doubt given the release I had to sign for the keys to work.

  • The Bad Slayer

    I don’t understand what’s attractive about someone with such…dramatic, nightmares. Like, don’t fuck with MY sleep because you have issues.


  • Alicia

    I also don’t understand the fact that they haven’t known each other very long at all and suddenly Hardin’s parents think Tessa is a miracle even though all she’s done is manipulate Hardin into being around his family, which he’s clearly uncomfortable with. Yes, Hardin is a douche, but it’s very wrong of Tessa to get involved in his family situation whom he clearly doesn’t want to be around.

    Of course now Tessa admits to Hardin that she barely knows him (why, because he’s so mysterious that he won’t open up about his past?) and she wants her own car if she gets the internship because she’s worried that he will get mad at her and not pick her up one day if she gets this magical internship. Ah, such a stable, fun relationship. Such happy times.

    So when they finally do get around to talking about Hardin’s past, Tessa’s overwhelmed because omg he’s never shared this much with any girl before, he must really love her. These two have such a great role model relationship that I really look up to them.

    The “her love cures my nightmares” thing can just really die now, please.

  • Mae

    My boyfriend has a strained relationship with his dad. I don’t interfere. I don’t even bring his dad up in conversation unless he has brought him up first. Even then, I do far more listening than talking. And we’ve been together for over a year. But I know this is stressful and I respect his choices. This is not hard to do, Todd. You just need two people who aren’t assholes.

    I love how little tidbits of info doled out to the heroine is SO. MUCH. KNOWLEDGE! Most of us hear this from someone we’ve known for a month and think, ‘good start. Tell me more.’

  • Purva

    You guys, my brain bleach worked so well that I legit had to go back 6 chapters to remind myself of the plot!