Chapter Twelve

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Jada's heart froze inside her chest. She tried to stop the panic before she ended up hyperventilating. Tristan glanced back to see what had caught her eye.

"What's the problem? You know that guy?" But Jada could barely hear him, trapped in her own thoughts.

She was over this.

She was over him.

But why was he here?

Whatever the reason, she wasn't going to stick around long enough to find out. She saw him open his mouth to call her name. He started to walk towards her—and that, Jada simply couldn't allow. With no regard for Tristan or anything else, Jada ran away. Turning abruptly, she hurried for the lounge's outer door. Once she was outside, her breath returned to her. But not for long, because a hand on her shoulder startled her. Thankfully, Tristan was the one who had followed her out.

"What's wrong with you?" he asked.

"We need to leave. Now."

"But who's that guy? Why are you freaking out?"

"It doesn't matter. Take me home, Tristan," Jada demanded. Tristan raised his hands in defeat.

Several moments later, they were back in the car, cruising towards her apartment. Jada could feel Tristan throwing furtive glances her way, but she ignored them. She didn't want to talk about Daniel—especially not with Tristan, of all people. And yet...

"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it?" Tristan said cautiously.

"Does it look like I want to talk about it?" Jada said, somewhere between a snap and a sigh.

"I only wanted to make sure you're okay," he said, that same gentleness to his words, like she was some wounded animal that could attack at any minute.

Hell, she probably was.

"It's nothing for you to worry about. Please, forget it," Jada said, more resigned this time.

She didn't want to be like how Tristan had been about his mom. Her issues with Daniel were just that: hers. She and Tristan had called a truce, so she wasn't going to ruin it by yelling at him. At least, she would try not to.

"Okay, if you say so." Tristan pulled up in front of Jada's apartment. She couldn't have been more relieved. Before she was able to escape from the car and this hellish night, Tristan rested his hand on her arm, stalling her.

"Aren't you forgetting something?" he asked.

"Like what?"

"Like saying thank you. I didn't show you a completely terrible time. It felt like things were actually going well up until the end," Tristan alluded ominously. Jada had no intention of taking the bait.

"Yes, well, it was quite an adventure," Jada consented.

"I'll have Doug check the press tomorrow to see what people are saying, but one date probably won't be enough. You realize that, right?" Tristan eyed her cautiously.

"Yeah. I'm sure we'll plan something else in the near future. Some social media pictures too, right?"

"Yeah, that'd be a plus." Tristan cocked an eyebrow in surprise. "I didn't expect you to agree so easily. You're much more malleable today."

"Only because you're keeping your promise. If things work out with this Logan guy, then I'll know you're serious about helping me." Jada reached for the car door's handle again. Tristan stopped her, clasping her hand.

"I am serious about helping you, Jada. This is all going to work out. I can feel it." Tristan spoke with more confidence than Jada could muster about the situation. His belief almost put her at ease.

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