|This article is about the film character. You may be looking for the book character.|
|“||She took my hand and led me out of the darkness and showed me that whatever our souls are made of, hers and mine are the same.||”|
— Hardin in a letter to Tessa
A brooding, mysterious, tattooed rebel with a difficult past, Hardin's guarded world, and persona cracks when he meets freshman Tessa Young. This sets off a series of events that could better him and his life - but only if he accepts it.
Hardin was born to Ken Scott and Trish Daniels in London, England. He had a rough childhood due to his negligent, abusive, and alcoholic father. His father spent his nights at the bar while he and his mother worked long hours to provide for their family. As a child, Hardin witnessed his mother being assaulted by a group of men who broke into the house because Ken had smashed a bottle over one of the men's heads. Witnessing the traumatic incident shaped his view of the world, his mental progression and eventually led to reoccurring nightmares that would continue into his adult years. His life after the incident was filled with alcohol and self-medicating paired with partying.
He was sent to America for University and attends Washington Central University, where his father is the chancellor. He soon fell into a bad crowd and became a fraternity member to avoid his father. Hardin had a friends-with-benefits relationship with fellow WCU-student, Molly Samuels. He and his group of friends took pleasure in toying with people and finding new ways to entertain themselves, including a dangerous version of "truth or dare".
Hardin Scott is an arrogant college student at Washington Central University with a chip on his shoulder, rivaling that of Washington. He is friends with Steph Jones and visits her dorm. He reads Steph's roommates copy of The Great Gatsby while he waits, but his reading is interrupted when Tessa Young returns to the dorm from her shower. She is surprised to see the boy in her dorm, especially since she's covered by just a towel. She informs him that he's in the wrong room, but he casually dismisses the claim. She asks how he got in and he nonchalantly holds up a pair of keys, his eyes never breaking from the book. She asks him to leave so that she can get dressed, but he tells her not to flatter herself - he's not looking at her. When Steph arrives she tells Tessa that the boy isn't her boyfriend but is a friend, but hopes that he didn't make her uncomfortable. The boy iterates that he's been minding his business. Steph quickly invites Tessa out to the party that night but she declines her offer despite the boy's sarcastic comments about her not being the party type. The pair begins to leave when Hardin hands back the book he borrowed, mysteriously telling her that he hates to ruin the ending but it was all a dream. She corrects him saying that it was actually all a lie. He smirks as he leaves.
Hardin, Molly, and Zed visit a coffee shop the next day where Hardin flirts with the barista. As the group is leaving, Molly drapes her arm around Hardin, who notices Tessa sitting at a table by herself. They exchange a longing look as he leaves.
Hardin attends a party at the WCU frat house where he lays on the couch with Molly Samuels, and she toys with his hair. He is mildly surprised when Tessa joins the group with Steph, but ignores the duo's greetings as he kisses Molly. The group decides to play truth or dare, with Jace daring Tessa to make out with Hardin. He glances at Molly and she gives him a nod as if to tell him that it's okay. He approaches Tessa, asking if she wants to do this, only to be surprised when she rejects the advances. Molly records the dare and found humor in Tessa rejecting Hardin's advances, mockingly telling Hardin that he got his first rejection.
Hardin returns to his room only to find Tessa waiting there looking at his books. He asks what she's doing in his room, causing her to be surprised that this is his room. He takes the book from her, their hands touching for a moment as he removes the book. He looks at the title, quoting a line from the novel, "he's more myself then I am". He stands close to her and softly mentions that she owes him a dare. They nearly kiss but she pulls away before anything can happen and hurries out of the room. He watches her leave from the roof outside his dorm window.
The next morning, Hardin attends English class and enters a bantering match with Tessa over their differing views on Pride and Prejudice. They clash intensely and are stopped by Professor Soto who is pleased with their passion. Once the class is dismissed, Tessa vents to Landon over her frustration regarding the Brit, even mocking his accent. Landon tries to keep the peace but warns her about Hardin's games. The next morning, Hardin visits her at the coffee shop but she thinks that it would be best if they kept their distance. He wants to take her to a special place but she is uninterested. He persists and she concedes to his persuasion. He takes her to a lake tucked in the woods, explaining that this is his "secret place".
Tessa is hesitant to enter the water without a bathing suit, so he lets her wear his T-shirt, though she makes him turn around in the water so she can change. He helps her into the lake and they proceed to have fun before having a meaningful conversation about life and what they enjoy. She asks him who he loves most in the world. He quickly responds himself earning an eye roll from Tessa. They flirt and exchange longing looks before kissing in the water. They share a sensual encounter on land but stop before things progress. The pair go to a diner where they order casual food and continue to get to know one another.
They get along fairly well with her stealing his fries despite having plenty of her own, something that makes Hardin laugh. She is persistent in an attempt to get to know him, despite his resistance. They are interrupted by Molly and Zed. Molly comes onto Hardin and toys with him despite his annoyance. He gives the car keys to Tessa and asks her to wait in the car. She is aggravated but leaves to stand by the counter so the trio can talk. She watches Hardin's heated conversation with the pair before he joins her. He acts cool towards her and informs her that while the day was fun, he doesn't date. She is disgusted by this and shoves the keys at him before leaving the diner.
The next night, Hardin attends a bonfire on the outskirts of campus where his friends are also present. The group begins to play another game, this time passing a card back and forth using only their lips. When it's Tessa's turn she attempts to get the card from Jace, who purposefully blows it in her face. He attempts to come onto her but Noah tells him to stop, sensing Tessa's discomfort. Jace still persists with Tessa pushing him away with her hand. Before another second passes, Hardin leaps across the circle and punches Jace. They wrestle around on the ground exchanging blows before Jace is pulled off Hardin by the other guys. Tessa stares at him in shock and their eyes meet as Zed attempts to calm him down. Hardin angrily storms off.
Tessa travels to Landon and Hardin's home per Landon's request but is surprised to learn that Landon is Hardin's soon to be stepbrother. She is also disheartened by the mess in the kitchen of broken plates, glasses, and vases courtesy of an angered Hardin. Landon apologizes for asking her to come as he thought she might be able to calm him down since she was the reason he was so upset. She goes outside to the pool where Hardin is sitting with a bottle of liquor. Tessa sharply retorts that she thought he didn't drink, to which he tells her it's a special occasion - his father is getting married. He even drops his glass nonchalantly to prove his point of being upset. She is annoyed by his behavior and tries to clean up the glass despite his insistence to leave it be. She cuts her finger on the glass so he takes her inside and helps her clean the minor cut. He apologizes for his actions earlier, admitting that he's a mess. She returns the sentiment and they share a second kiss followed by another sexual encounter before they fell asleep together. Tessa awakened the next morning and hurried back to the dorms where Noah confronted her about where she had to go in the middle of the night. Hardin appears behind her and Noah pieces together what happened, and leaves despite Tessa's pleas for him to stay. This was the catalyst for Tessa's breakup with Noah and led to a fallout between her and Hardin, who is persistent yet confused at her distance from him. He doesn't understand why she's ignoring him.
She eventually caves and visits the fraternity house where Hardin lives, much to his surprise. She admits to him that once her father left Noah was there for her and they grew close. He's her best friend. But she feels different being with Hardin then she did with Noah. The pair kiss and begin a committed relationship full of cute moments, secret readings in the library where they flee the security guard, and surprise kisses in class. Their relationship is observed from afar by Molly and Zed, who is uncharacteristically interested in their relationship.
As they are studying in her dorm she notices Hardin watching her and writing in his journal. She asks what he's always writing but his coy response entices her to playfully grab at the journal before they start to kiss. They are interrupted by a surprise visit from Carol, Tessa's mother, who is disgusted by the sight. She demands that Tessa end things with Hardin so she can refocus on her studies, but Tessa refuses. Carol takes a moment before threatening to cut Tessa off financially if she doesn't end things with Hardin. She still refuses and Carol angrily leaves.
Tessa spends the day with Landon, who warns her that Hardin can be dangerous so she should take things slow. But she insists that he's different around Landon's despite his warnings that Hardin is always up to something. He agrees to let her make her own choices. From there, Tessa met with Hardin who took her to an apartment as a surprise. He initially claimed the apartment belonged to a friend of his father's, but later admitted that he wants them to live there together. Tessa is reluctant at first but accepts his offer. This sets off the beginning of their seemingly perfect dating life, filled with picnics, laughter, kisses, and a trip to the aquarium where she claims nothing can ever change the way she feels about him. Their public displays of affection make Hardin's friends, specifically Molly and Zed, suspicious as they follow the couple around.
Hardin invites Tessa to his father's engagement party which she happily attends. They are greeted by Landon who is polite and excited about being Hardin's stepbrother. Hardin is still standoffish against him. During the reception near the pool, Hardin opens up to her about his traumatic childhood, and the incident he witnessed happen to his mother. They shared a dance and had a good night despite the tension between Hardin and his father, Ken Scott. When they returned home they consummated their relationship. Their happiness continues as they share a bath with her trying to guess the words that he traces on her back. She fails miserably at the game but insists on another chance. This time, Hardin traces the words I love you on her back, but she still fails. He doesn't tell her what he traced and instead, kisses her.
One night, Tessa is attempting to read when Hardin's phone continues to chime with messages from someone. She picks it up to turn the chime off when she discovers a slew of messages from Molly wanting to meet with him and talking about something going on. This sparks Tessa's jealousy and concern so she confronts Hardin about the messages. He brushes her off and begins to leave when she stops him, asking him to explain. He pauses then asks if she trusts him, which she responds that she does, so he doesn't see the problem. He leaves abruptly after leaving her confused and annoyed.
Through Jace, Tessa is able to find Hardin at a diner with his friends, Molly, Zed, and Steph. Molly noticed Tessa enter the diner and toys with her. Tessa refuses to be baited into Molly's games, just as Hardin arrives at the table. Tessa demands that Hardin explain what is going on between him and Molly, to which Molly retorted that something is going on, but it's not what Tessa thinks. Hardin sharply tells Molly to shut up but she ignores him and asks if Tessa remembers truth or dare. Zed tries to silence Molly who glares at him. She shows Tessa footage of Hardin making a bet from the night of the truth and dare game. After she rejected Hardin, he sensed his friends mocking manners and made a bet that he could make Tessa fall in with him. He would then turn off his charm and loving demeanor to break her heart. Tessa turned to an emotional Hardin and asked if it was true and his silence was the confirmation. She looks to Steph, Zed, and Molly, realizing that they all knew and didn't tell her. Steph refuses to meet Tessa's eye. Hardin tries to speak to her but she doesn't listen and runs out of the diner.
He follows her outside begging her to listen as he can explain everything. She realizes their entire relationship was a lie. Hardin tries to protest but Tessa asks if it was all a game. He begins to tell her that the game was all before, but she cuts him off saying it was before he snapped his fingers and turned it all off. She thought that he cared and that their relationship meant something, but he's just a liar. He takes a moment before bringing up what she said at the aquarium about nothing changing the way she feels about him. She swallows hard before stating that they're both liars and leaves him standing alone. He watches her hurry away and runs his hands through his drenched hair in despair.
In the days they spend apart, Hardin mulls things over in his dorm room, blasting music and emotionally recounting the days he spent with Tessa. He picks up Wuthering Heights and remembers their moment in his dorm all those weeks ago. His friends message him asking for forgiveness and to hang out, which he ignores. He stays holed up in his dorm until it is time for him to turn in an English paper essay. As Tessa and Landon prepare to leave the classroom, Soto calls Tessa aside. She explains that Hardin turned in his final essay, but she thinks it was meant for Tessa and not her. She gives her the envelope which Tessa thanks her for and leaves.
Tessa and Landon sit on the campus lawn now that class is dismissed. She opens the packet and notices a photograph of a lake and a portrait of her. He asks what the lake is supposed to mean, but she merely responds that it's a special place. She reads the letter that surprisingly filled with Hardin professing his feelings for her. He explains that she once asked him who he loves most in the world, and now he knows that it's her. Hardin is sitting at the end of the dock at the lake when Tessa arrives and sits next to him. She looks over at him and he returns her gaze.
Hardin is a tall young man in his late teens, with a lean athletic build. He has shaggy brown hair that is often styled back from his face. He has several tattoos on his arms and hands, most of which are covered by a variety of black t-shirts and jeans. He has dark hazel eyes and a tanned complexion. Hardin can usually be seen wearing a black leather jacket and black t-shirts. He wears a black ring on his left middle finger.
Hardin is introduced as a cocky and overly mysterious young boy in college with an ego that remains unwavering. He has a charming way about him. His cold remarks and sarcastic undertones are rivaled only by the group of friends that he surrounds himself with, all of which are trouble-makers and strive to have fun. He encounters Tessa, the first girl to reject his advances, which strike his interest in her. His ego is damaged by her rejection and he takes the rejection as an enticing challenge to make a young girl fall for him. He quickly concocts a plan to make Tessa fall in love with him only to break her heart by turning off his emotions for her. His friends don't believe him so he turns it into a bet - a sinister game of emotion and hearts. He integrates himself into Tessa's life little by little and becomes intrigued by her sexual inexperience and loyalty to her high school boyfriend, Noah. Hardin shows no regard for Noah and barely thinks of him or the relationship he is inserting himself in. This shows a very low regard for established relationships as he had no qualms breaking up the couple.
When emotions prove to difficult for Hardin, he drowns them alcohol, substances, or sex. He doesn't have much care for any of it. He shows an emotional vulnerability when it comes to his father, showing a strained relationship between the pair over a traumatic incident that Hardin witnessed as a child. This part of his life is easily grazed over as he focuses more on Tessa and building a relationship with her, albeit built on a lie. Over time, they begin to form a connection that Tessa views as special and professes her feelings for him on several occasions. While he never returns this sentiment, he shows his care for her in sweet gestures such as picnics and helping her with her living situation by moving in together in an apartment.
They take their relationship to the next level by becoming sexually intimate, something that is new for Tessa. It is around this time that Hardin shows a true emotional connection to Tessa and a sense of caring for her, despite his quick temper and nonchalant attitude. His largest form of an emotional profession is when he traces "I love you" over her back while they share a bath. When his exploits are revealed he attempts to reconcile his now shattered relationship with Tessa to no avail. He falls into a depression and barely leaves his room, before writing a letter confessing his feelings to her.
- Ken Scott - Hardin and Ken have a very rocky relationship due to Ken's alcoholism when Hardin was a child and resentment that Hardin harbors towards his father due to unresolved trauma. Ken attempts to mend things with Hardin when the latter arrives in America, but Hardin isn't interested in reconciliation. He does, however, attend Ken's wedding reception when he marries Karen Gibson. The encounter is tense with only Hardin's girlfriend, Tessa, serving as a mediator between the two men.
- Trish Daniels - Hardin has a strong sense of protectiveness over his mother, and cares for her deeply. Even though they are separated by continents, Hardin's dedication to her is evident in the way he thinks of her lifestyle in comparison to Ken's which is filled with lavish and expensive tastes.
- Tessa Young - (see "Hessa") Hardin and Tessa have a complicated relationship that started during Tessa's freshman year of college. They began a seemingly perfect relationship filled with doting love and sweet moments. They let their guards down around one another and even lived together, though this was a desperate move by Hardin that he made in order to help her financially by paying for the apartment. Despite their sweet moments, Hardin's harsh and jaded attitude often pushed Tessa away, though he gradually learned to let her in, even telling her about his traumatic childhood. Their relationship was torn apart when Tessa learned that their relationship only began as part of a dare and bet made by Hardin to get her to fall in love with him, only to then turn off his emotions for her. She believed him to be a liar, rightfully so and ended things between them. The breakup was hard for Hardin who later wrote her a letter professing his love for her in a desperate attempt to repair their relationship.
- Molly Samuels - Hardin and Molly have an interesting relationship, primarily due to their ongoing casual sexual encounters that progressed to a friends-with-benefits relationship. When Hardin becomes involved with Tessa Young, Molly grows jealous of his committed relationship to her, something he was never willing to do with her and worked to ruin the relationship. She outed the dare Hardin made for himself where he would make Tessa fall in love with him, only to turn it off when things became serious. Hardin coldly told her to shut up but she ignored him and went through with the exposure to spite him.
Notes and Trivia
- Hardin was born and raised in England and only came to the United States for college.
- He is a member of the campus fraternity.
- He has roughly fourteen tattoos.
- Confirmation of Hardin's middle name via Twitter
- After takes place in 2019, with Hardin being 19