Previously: Nightmares, and not only the ones caused by this story.
Marines: Tessa wakes up and shoves Hardin off of her, but then thinks about how much more she loves him after he said her name in relief, post-nightmare. It makes her stomach flutter to think of him sharing secrets. Stuck on repeat here, but IDK what nightmare thrashing and childhood trauma have to do with falling in love. (S: To be truuuuee wuv you have to be the balm that soothes their broken soul pain.)
Tessa grabs her curling iron and the small bag of Steph’s makeup she borrowed (with permission, of course!) and heads to the bathroom. She gets ready with no interruption, but on the way back, crosses paths with three frat guys, including Logan. I literally have no idea who Logan is, but okay. Logan.
Logan asks if Tessa is moving in or something (real funny, guy) but she says she’s just visiting. Logan says they’ll see her tonight at the party then, and now Tessa is back to being sad because why wouldn’t Hardin tell her about the party? Before or after you guys were fighting and making up over nightmares?
Hardin opens the door to his room before Tessa reaches it. He demands to know where she was because he told her not to wander the hallways alone. She snaps back that she told him not to boss her around, and this makes his features soften. All his bossy anger turns into horniness (because angry and horny are his only two settings) and he starts groping Tessa. He tells her that maybe she should wear a bra in the halls of a frat house because perverts might be lurking in the calls. Perverts and rape culture, apparently.
Samantha: I know she was genuinely almost assaulted here in this frat but this also just reeks of gross possessiveness.
Mari: And she got assaulted wearing a bra, because THE BRA IS NOT THE THING.
Hardin bets he could make Tessa come just by fondling her breasts, but then Tessa’s alarm goes off so she realizes that
Hardin gets ready in record time and off they go to Tessa’s interview. Tessa is once again astonished that Hardin knows where he’s going without being told. This time, though, it’s because he’s been to the offices previously and not because he’s a creepy stalker. The CEO of this company, Christian Vance, is BFFs with Ken. Hardin tells her not to worry because Vance is really nice, if a bit of a square, meaning she’ll fit right in. He also tells her she looks really nice. Tessa notes his good mood, which he attributes to his having his head between her thighs first thing in the morning. Tessa clutches her pearls.
Samantha: Keep your men satisfied with sex and they’ll be nice to you!
Mari: Ah, there’s the object lesson.
They arrive for the interview and Tessa admits to being a little nervous. Hardin tells her not to be because she’s really smart. They kiss and Tessa can’t believe how sweet Hardin is being. Bets on when he’ll mess this up?
Samantha: It’s a fools bet! A FOOLS. But… just before the party?
Mari: I honestly had him storming into the interview, but I think the point here is: SOON.
Tessa heads inside while Hardin waits in the car. She meets with Vance, and he asks her some questions about what she’s been reading, who her favorite and least favorite authors are and hmmms his way through her answers. And then he hires her! Wow, if anyone wants to throw money at me for my answers to those questions, check out my BookTube channel! Tessa thanks him and gets the added surprise of finding out this is a paid gig that will work around her class schedule and give her college credit. Hot damn, Ken went all out in abusing his power and paying Tessa off to be Hardin’s therapy replacement.
We cut to Tessa running back to the car. She’s gushing and grateful. Hardin asks what she wants to do for the rest of the afternoon and Tessa is like “Lit class, duh.” Hardin begrudgingly accompanies her.
After class, Tessa and Landon talk some more about this freakin’ bonfire we’ve been hearing about for 87 years, that hasn’t happened yet. (S: HOW HAS IT NOT HAPPENED YET? At one point she was going to bring Noah and we haven’t seen him for a decade!) Hardin stays quiet during the convo, so Tessa wonders if he’s going with her. As they walk out to their car, they cross paths with Nate and Molly.
“Great, Molly. She is wearing a tank top and a red leather skirt. It’s only Tuesday and she’s already almost used up her skank quota for the week.”
HER SKANK QUOTA.
WHY IS SHE LIKE THIS?
No one is surprised.
Next time on After: Baking lessons and party in Chapter 58.