Chapter Fourteen

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Jada hated waiting.

She usually considered herself a patient person, but not with this. Not with Avery. Any time before Jada had a confrontation with the woman, she had to put on emotional battle armor. She prepared herself for all of Avery's biting and condescending remarks that were meant to cut her deeply. For the most part, Jada had gotten the hang of fending off the blows.

Yet, she couldn't help being on edge for several reasons, aside from Avery's habitual prickliness. One, being that since she had seen Daniel the other night, she was terrified he might stop by the office to visit his Mommy Dearest. Second of all, she was about to go in and tell a whopper of a lie about her relationship with Tristan. Some people thought of acting as artistic lying. But to Jada, being an actress didn't automatically make you a good liar. She certainly wasn't. 

Glancing at her watch, Jada saw she had five more minutes to compose herself until she had to step into Avery's office.

Before she'd left the house for this meeting, Mikayla had asked Jada (for the fifth time) why Jada continued to stay on as Avery's client when the woman was demeaning and evil. Jada couldn't fully explain it herself. Maybe she had some type of Stockholm syndrome. Avery had given Jada her start in the business, so although they had their differences (and Avery had her tyranny), Jada did feel indebted to a certain degree. Plus, leaving might seriously piss her off, and Jada didn't want Avery to blacklist her to the rest of the entertainment community.

One more time check and Jada was approaching on two minutes. At this point, her high heels were clicking on the tile floor in an agitated tango. She had to relax, otherwise, the meeting would be an even bigger nightmare.

By the time Avery's equally frightened assistant gave her the go-ahead to enter, Jada's nerves had reached an all-time high. They didn't improve any when she walked in and faced off with Avery's sour expression. With her tightly wound bun and laser sharp eyes bearing down on Jada, Avery was ready to blow.

"Hi, Avery. How was your trip?" Jada asked in a feeble effort to be civil.

"What the hell is going on?" Avery ignored her question and started without preamble. "First, that video gets released, and now I'm hearing you and Tristan are supposedly a couple?"

Avery's dark eyes stared into the depths of Jada's soul.

"The truth. Now," she demanded.

"As Tristan and I got to know each other, we sort of...fell for each other. That video was a rehearsal we were doing because Angela was too pissy to practice the scene with him. I don't know how it got out, but I can assure you, Tristan and I are seeing each other. The video incident has been blown out of proportion."

"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place when I called?"

"It didn't seem like the right time."

"Damn it, Jada. How are we supposed to milk juicy press like this if you don't clue me in? I thought by now you would have learned something about publicity from me, but apparently, you're still oblivious."

"It's a new relationship. I didn't know how things were going to turn out, so I was wary about the story getting out."

"Hmm. I can see why. After Daniel." Avery let out a condescending scoff.

Okay, that one stung, but Jada refused to show it. She shrugged and diverted the subject.

"In other good news, on our latest date, Tristan and I ran into that producer, Logan Wentworth. He's offered to let me audition for a film he's working on."

"Thank God. You dating Tristan will bring us some good leads. I'll get in contact with Mr. Wentworth and we'll arrange something." Avery lifted a warning finger, wagging it in Jada's direction.

"However, I need you to keep me informed if anything else pops up. I want only positive outcomes coming out of you being with the great Tristan Maxwell. Understood?"

"Understood. Um, is there anything else?" Jada asked, dying to make her escape.

Avery merely grunted a curt "no" and waved Jada away off-handedly. She took the opportunity to rush out of the office like her ass was on fire. That hadn't been nearly as bad as she anticipated, but Jada was glad to be free.  Once she stepped outside of the building's front doors, she inhaled a breath of fresh air. It was as if she'd been released from a dragon's lair or a villainous queen's dungeon. However, her joy came to a halt when Tristan waved at her from his spot on the plaza's fountain.

"What are you doing here?"

"Is that any way to greet your adoring boyfriend? I came to pick up my best gal," Tristan said.

"Gal? What are we, in the fifties?" Jada said. Although secretly, she felt a girlish rush that Tristan had thought of her. He'd come all the way down here to see how she was doing. She supposed she should show a little gratitude.

"Thank you for coming, but luckily, I was able to escape that evil witch's wrath," Jada said and she quickly briefed him on her exchange with Avery.

"Wow, that woman does sound like a piece of work. Just as bad as Doug said she would be," Tristan said, then gave a light shrug. "We should go out and celebrate."

"Celebrate?"

"Yes, that you 'escaped her evil wrath' as you called it."

"What did you have in mind? Another ritzy restaurant? You must be craving two bites of red meat like you had last night."

"Actually, I'm getting hungry for something else," Tristan said, lifting his eyebrows suggestively. Wary, Jada backed two steps away from him.

"What do you mean?"

"Hot dogs. Let's go to Pink's and then we can swim a bit."

"I can't."

"Why?"

"I don't have a swimsuit for on-the-go occasions."

"Me neither. We can go buy some."

Jada bit her lip indecisively and Tristan needled her more.

"Come on. If we are going to 'sell' the idea of us being together, we're going to have to be seen going out and about. Shopping and the beach are two key, public ways to do that."

"Okay, fine. If a Guadalajara Hot Dog is involved, I'm in."



*** I figure Jada's first ever meeting with Avery went something like this...

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