Chapter Seventeen

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The second Jada got there, calculating and curious stares greeted her. There was no escaping them. The only one who was—thankfully—acting semi-normal was Ren.

"Morning, Jada, Mikayla." Ren nodded at them. Mikayla gave a quick hello and rushed off to the dressing rooms. Jada, on the other hand, hesitated.

"Morning, come you're not like everyone else, looking at me like I'm an alien?" she whispered to him.

"Doug told me everything. Can't say I completely agree with your guys' plan, but as long as everything goes smoothly for the film, I'll keep my mouth shut. " Ren gave her a wink, something she never would have expected from the stern director. Especially after their last encounter.

In a daze, Jada made her way to the makeup department, where Cassandra was brimming with questions.

"Jada," she hissed and latched onto her arm as she steered her to the nearest chair.

"How could you hide something like this from me?" the makeup artist chided her.

"Um, technically, we were hiding it from everyone. With the public eye, and Angela, and everything." Jada went on with their lie.

"Ohhh, Angela is going to be PISSED today," Cassandra said, snapping her fingers. Despite her sympathetic tone, there was a gleam of excitement in her eyes.

"Yeah, well, I'll just have to deal with her rage." Jada tried to shrug off Cassandra's feverish exclamations. "Can we, you know..."

Jada waved to the various cosmetic containers on the table.

"Of course, honey," Cassandra said as she began to work. "Still. I can't believe it. You and Tristan. Honestly, you're perfect for each other."

"Really?" Jada said, perplexed.

"Sure. It's the whole opposites attract thing. You're exactly what he needs to calm his ass down." Cassandra applied Jada's concealer. Not wanting to consider her unsettling words, Jada decided to focus on the relaxation of being pampered.

"I'm going to go over my lines if you don't mind," she said, shutting down any further conversation. Cassandra always respected actors' memorization processes.

Thankfully, focusing on her upcoming scenes kept Jada engaged until it was time to shoot. Once she was line ready and fully outfitted with her makeup intact, she went back out, steeling herself for more strange looks. The ill-fated expressions arrived swiftly as Jada came face to face with Tristan. He was also ready for the day, dressed in his costume, and standing next to Ren. The director was playing referee as Angela stood on his other side, seething in fury. Jada forgot about her completely as her eyes locked with Tristan's. When they did, it was as if the whole room went silent. Jada soon found the occurrence wasn't in her imagination. Everyone eagerly watched as Tristan made his way towards Jada, and wrapped a territorial arm around her waist. Kissing her on the cheek, he whispered into her ear.

"Get ready to put on the show of your life."

With that one declaration as her warning, Tristan looked out at the crew, ready to challenge them.

"Welcome back to work, everyone. Before you can all start whispering away and theorizing, I'd like to set the record straight. Jada and I are a couple and the other day's incident was a misunderstanding. However, we would appreciate it if you would treat us as professionally as always, and respect our privacy."

"That sounds good to me," Ren interjected. "Now if we could--"

"You're right, Ren. It does sound good. Maybe even a little rehearsed," Angela said.

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