After (The After Series) by Anna Todd

  “You’d be happy to know that you were worth a pretty penny, though, even though Zed tried to bitch out a few times. But with Jace, Logan, and Zed’s money, I hope he at least bought you dinner!” Molly says, laughing.

  Jace finishes his beer and howls. “I’m only disappointed that I missed the infamous I Love You! announcement in front of everyone. I heard that was a killer.”

  “Shut the fuck up!” Tristan surprises everyone by yelling. If I wasn’t numb, he may have surprised me, too. “Fuck you guys. She has already had enough!”

  Hardin takes another step. “Baby, please say something.”

  And with his little “baby” plea, my brain finally connects with my mouth. “Don’t you fucking dare call me that! How could you do this to me? You . . . you . . . I can’t . . .” I have so many things in my head to say, but they just won’t come out. “And I won’t say anything, because that’s what you want.” I sound much more confident than I feel inside. Inside I am burning, and my heart is on the floor, underneath Hardin’s boot.

  “I know I messed up—” he begins.

  “You messed up? You messed up?” I scream. “Why? Just tell me why. Why me?”

  “Because you were there,” he says. And his honesty only breaks me further. “And a challenge. I didn’t know you, Tessa. I didn’t know that I would fall in love with you.”

  His mention of love carries with it the opposite feeling than it has the past few weeks, and I can taste the bile in the back of my throat. “You’re sick. You’re fucking sick!” I scream and rush to the door.

  This is too much for me. Hardin’s hand wraps around my arm and I jerk away, turning and slapping him. Hard.

  The pain in his expression gives me the most painful satisfaction.

  “You ruined everything!” I scream. “You took something from me that wasn’t yours, Hardin. That was meant for someone who loved me, loved me truthfully. It was his, whoever he is, and you took that—for money? I ruined my relationship with my mother for you. I gave up everything! I had someone who loved me, someone who wouldn’t hurt me the way you did. You are disgusting.”

  “I do love you, Tessa. I love you more than anything. I was going to tell you. I tried to get them not to tell you. I never wanted you to find out. That’s why I was out all night, getting them to agree not to say anything. I was going to tell you soon, now that we live together, because then it wouldn’t matter.”

  I have no control over the words tumbling from my lips. “Are you . . . you . . . oh my God, Hardin! What the hell is wrong with you? You think going around convincing people to not tell me is okay? The fact that I wouldn’t know would make it all okay? You thought that if we lived together, I would let this go? That’s why you were so determined for my name to be on the lease! Oh my God. You are sick!”

  Every small detail that made me think twice since I met Hardin all points to this. It was so obvious. “That’s why you went and got my stuff for me from my room, because you were afraid Steph would tell me!”

  Everyone in the bar is staring and I feel so small, so broken and small.

  “What did you do with the money, Hardin?”

  “I—” he begins, then stops.

  “Tell me,” I demand.

  “Your car . . . the paint . . . and the deposit for the apartment. I thought if I . . . I was going to tell you so many times, once I knew it wasn’t just a bet anymore. I love you—I loved you the entire time, I swear it,” he says.

  “You kept the condom to show them, Hardin! You showed them the sheets, the bloody fucking sheets!” I wrap my hands in my hair and tug at it. “Oh my God! I’m such an idiot. While I was reliving every detail of the best night of my life, you were showing your friends the sheets.”

  “I know . . . I don’t have any excuse . . . but you have to forgive me. We can figure this out,” he says.

  And I laugh. A real laugh. Despite my tears, I find myself laughing; I’m losing my mind. This scene isn’t playing out like in the movies. I’m not holding myself together. I’m not handling the news elegantly with a simple gasp or a single tear trailing down my cheek. I am crying, pulling at my own hair, and am barely able to control my emotions and form a full sentence.

  “Forgive you?” I laugh madly. “You have ruined my entire life—you know that, don’t you? Oh, of course you do. That was your plan the entire time, remember? You promised you would ‘ruin me.’ So congratulations, Hardin, you have. What should I give you, money? Or should I find another virgin for you?”

  He shifts a little, as if to block out my view of the others at the table. “Tessa, please. You know I love you, I know you do. Let’s go home, please, and I will tell you everything.”

  “Home? That isn’t my home. It never has been; we both know that.” I try for the door again. I am so close.

  “What can I do? I’ll do anything,” he begs. With his eyes still focused on mine, he bends down. I’m confused for a second before I realize he is getting on his knees in front of me.

  “You? Nothing. There is nothing you can do for me anymore, Hardin.”

  If I knew what to say to hurt him as badly as he has hurt me, I would. And I would repeat it a thousand times, just so he would know how it feels to be so completely blindsided and ripped apart.

  I take off for the door, taking advantage of Hardin’s position on his knees. As soon as I reach the door, I crash into someone. I look up to find Zed, his battered face still recovering from the injuries that Hardin caused.

  “What’s wrong?” he asks and grabs my elbows. Then his gaze travels behind me to Hardin and realization fills his eyes.

  “I’m sorry . . .” he says, but I ignore him. Hardin is coming, and I have to get the hell away from this bar, from him.

  The freezing air whips my hair in front of my face as soon as I get outside. I welcome the feeling, hoping it will cool the burning inside me. Snow has blanketed my car and the streets.

  Zed’s voice calls from behind me, “You can’t drive, Tessa.” I keep trudging through the snow, across the parking lot.

  “Leave me alone! I know you were in on it! You all were!” I scream and dig for my keys.

  “Let me take you home—you are in no condition to drive in this storm,” he says. As I open my mouth to scream at him, Hardin walks outside.

  I look at the person I once thought was the love of my life, who I thought would make every day after we met special, and wild, and free. And then I look at Zed.

  “Okay,” I say.

  The click of Zed’s car being unlocked is my cue to get in as fast as I can. The second Hardin realizes that I’m leaving with Zed, he runs toward the car. His face twists in anger, and I hope for Zed’s sake he gets into the car before Hardin reaches us.

  Zed jumps in and takes off. I look over and watch Hardin fall to his knees for the second time tonight.

  “I am so sorry, Tessa. I had no idea it would get that out of hand—” he starts, but I cut him off.

  “Don’t talk to me.”

  I can’t stand to hear any more. I can’t take it. I’m sick to my stomach, and the pain of Hardin’s betrayal is cutting at me, making me weaker and weaker by the moment. I’m convinced that if Zed speaks, there will be nothing left of me. I need to know why Hardin did what he did, but I’m honestly terrified what will happen if I hear it, all of it. I haven’t felt pain like this before and I’m not sure how to handle it, or if I can at all. Zed nods, and we drive in silence for a few minutes. I think of Hardin, of Molly, of Jace and the rest, and something in me shifts. Something makes me braver. “You know what?” I turn to him. “Do talk to me. Tell me everything. Every single detail.”

  With worried eyes he searches my face for a moment, and then, realizing he has no choice, says a quiet “Okay” as we turn onto the freeway.


  The After series wouldn’t have been possible without so many people. I could write another book thanking you all (you know that I could, and probably actually would), but I have
only a little space here, so I’ll make it as short and sweet as possible.

  Author’s note: First, I want to thank my Hessa shippers/Afternators/Toddlers (least favorite, ha)/original readers (we clearly couldn’t decide on just one name, ha). You guys have been here from the start and are literally the best group of people; you are so supportive, and you make my life. Every word was written because of you and your passion for my storytelling. You are amazing and “ilysm.”

  Wattpad is next, of course. Without you all believing in me and helping me bring After to life, my dreams wouldn’t be coming true. Always remember where this started and that you all had a part in creating something so big. Never give up on yourselves, and please remember (I know I tell you too much) that tomorrow is always better than you think it will be. You are important and loved, even when it doesn’t feel that way.

  Amy Martin, for fighting for my vision and pushing After until they got it.

  Candice and Ashleigh, you both have done so much for me, and I could never repay you for any of it.

  I want to thank Gallery Books for believing in After and in me, and for giving me Adam Wilson as the best and most lively editor. Adam, you are just straight-up amazing and funny, and your comments always make me laugh. You get me, my sense of humor (cheesy jokes and all), and you get Hardin and Tessa in a way that not many people do. You have been so helpful and made this such a smooth and quick transition and journey.

  My parents and my mother-in-law, you loved me and supported me each step of the way.

  Kaci, for your lists and encouragement. (Insert our emoji.)

  To Jordan, my husband, whom I’ve loved since I was a kid. You have given me the time to make my dreams come true, and you put up with my endless hours of writing and tweeting. And you only complained a little when I showed you thousands of Hessa edits.

  I’m running out of room here, so I have to go. But I love you all so much, and I am so grateful to have all of you in my life.


  ANNA TODD is a first-time writer spending her days in the Austin area with her husband, with whom she beat half the statistics by getting married one month after graduating high school. Between her husband’s three deployments to Iraq, she worked odd jobs from a makeup counter to the IRS processing center. Anna was always an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three, she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true.

  Find her at, on Twitter at @imaginator1dx, on Instagram at @imaginator1d, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.




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  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Copyright © 2014 by Anna Todd

  The author is represented by Wattpad.

  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address Gallery Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

  First Gallery Books trade paperback edition October 2014

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  Interior design by Davina Mock

  Cover design by Damonza

  Cover image by Shutterstock

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Todd, Anna.

   After / Anna Todd.

    pages cm.—(The after series)

  1. Love stories. 2. College stories. I. Title.

   PS3620.O275A69 2014

   813'.6—dc23    2014031296

  ISBN 978-1-4767-9248-4

  ISBN 978-1-5011-0399-5 (ebook)



  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  Chapter Thirty-Eight

  Chapter Thirty-Nine

  Chapter Forty

  Chapter Forty-One

  Chapter Forty-Two

  Chapter Forty-Three

  Chapter Forty-Four

  Chapter Forty-Five

  Chapter Forty-Six

  Chapter Forty-Seven

  Chapter Forty-Eight

  Chapter Forty-Nine

  Chapter Fifty

  Chapter Fifty-One

  Chapter Fifty-Two

  Chapter Fifty-Three

  Chapter Fifty-Four

  Chapter Fifty-Five

  Chapter Fifty-Six

  Chapter Fifty-Seven

  Chapter Fifty-Eight

  Chapter Fifty-Nine

  Chapter Sixty

  Chapter Sixty-One

  Chapter Sixty-Two

  Chapter Sixty-Three

  Chapter Sixty-Four

  Chapter Sixty-Five

  Chapter Sixty-Six

  Chapter Sixty-Seven

  Chapter Sixty-Eight

  Chapter Sixty-Nine

  Chapter Seventy

  Chapter Seventy-One

  Chapter Seventy-Two

  Chapter Seventy-Three

  Chapter Seventy-Four

  Chapter Seventy-Five

  Chapter Seventy-Six

  Chapter Seventy-Seven

  Chapter Seventy-Eight

  Chapter Seventy-Nine

  Chapter Eighty

  Chapter Eighty-One

  Chapter Eighty-Two

  Chapter Eighty-Three

  Chapter Eighty-Four

  Chapter Eighty-Five

  Chapter Eighty-Six

  Chapter Eighty-Seven

  Chapter Eighty-Eight

  Chapter Ei

  Chapter Ninety

  Chapter Ninety-One

  Chapter Ninety-Two

  Chapter Ninety-Three

  Chapter Ninety-Four

  Chapter Ninety-Five

  Chapter Ninety-Six

  Chapter Ninety-Seven


  About Anna Todd



  Anna Todd, After (The After Series)



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