Chapter Eighteen

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Tristan wasn't quite sure why he was subjecting himself to more of Jada's resentful attitude. Nevertheless, here he was, on her doorstep, about to face battle number seventeen--or whatever number of fights they were at now. He just knew he hadn't liked the way they'd left things. Not after they'd been making such good strides at the beach. If they were going to go through with their plan, he refused to take any more steps backward.

So he took a step forward.

"Listen, Jada," he started as he barged his way inside. Jada blocked his efforts, throwing up an arm to ward off his entry.

"What do you think you're doing?"

"Coming in so we can talk things over. The way you behaved on set, shutting me out and storming away. That's not going to help our cause."

"Neither is you screwing every woman you come across," Jada shot back.

"Where are you getting this idea that I'm out seducing every girl I meet?"

"Isn't that your MO?"

"Usually," he admitted. "But not in this case. Not while we're, you know. In this together."

Jada's stern look softened.

"You mean that?" she said, her voice soft, almost inaudible.

"Yes. I thought about what you said and talked it over with Doug. I think we can all agree that me going about my typical ways would expose our relationship as a fake. For now, I'll behave."

"Thank you," Jada said demurely.

Finally relenting, she moved aside, letting him enter her home. He made sure he was fully inside, with her closing the door behind him, before he launched into his next bit.

"But that doesn't excuse what you did," he challenged her.

"What I did?" She gaped at him.

"Yes. You can't act the way you did today. Otherwise, you're going to screw this whole thing up. You need to learn to keep your temper in check."

"This, coming from the man who exploded on me when HIS indiscretions came to light."

"I apologized for that. Honestly, the way you hold a grudge is--"

"AHEM." Mikayla cleared her throat as she appeared in the entryway. "Hello, Tristan. I know you two lovebirds tend to have very passionate interactions, but unless you want our neighbors knowing all your personal business, I suggest you two keep it down."

"Sorry," Tristan muttered.

Seriously, why was he always apologizing? Especially when Jada was half the reason for his outbursts.

"Fine. Let's talk about this in the living room." Jada motioned him to their couch but halted as Mikayla started to follow them.

"Alone," she clarified for her cousin.

Mikayla let out a sigh, then headed back to the kitchen, mumbling about "missing the show." Regardless of her grumblings, Tristan was sure she'd be listening in from afar. When he and Jada were situated on the couch, at last, Tristan swore he would remain calm. He would not raise his voice or get angry. He would stay rational, no matter how much this woman drove him insane.

"Look, I know neither one of us wants to be in this situation, but we are. We struck a deal, we said we'd compromise, so can we actually DO that?" he said as calmly as he could. Jada wrinkled her nose, then sighed in resignation.

"You're right. I know you're right, it's just...the whole thing is still weird to me. Pretending we like each other--when we can't even stand each other--and acting like we're a couple when I don't even really know you."

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