Chapter Twenty-One

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"Cut! That's a wrap!"

Tristan never thought he'd be so grateful to hear Ren say those words, but his heart definitely felt lighter. Love Locket was done. Well, done-ish. Tristan's part in production was over at least, and it was all post work from here. Jada had finished up her role in the film a few days earlier, soon after their little "talk." To be perfectly honest...Tristan missed her like crazy.

"I just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done. I couldn't be more thankful to have such a great crew..." As Ren went on to thank the crew and cast, everyone applauded happily. Angela even had the audacity to give a magnanimous (a.k.a. pompous) bow when Ren acknowledged her.

Good riddance, Tristan thought to himself. However, when Ren turned to him, he hid his scowl at her with a plastered-on grin.

"And thanks to you, Ren. You have been a saint through all the...misadventures on this shoot," Tristan said.

"Thanks. I also wanted to let everyone know, I'll be throwing you all a wrap party. This weekend, my place." Ren grinned.

The crew let out a louder celebration at his announcement. Tristan understood their surprise. Ren was such a private person, him hosting a party seemed like something out of the Twilight Zone.  Yet, as he headed back to the dressing room, Tristan realized this invite gave him the opportunity to reconnect with Jada. Things had tentatively been left with them deciding to re-evaluate things after filming was over. Now it was, and this party was the perfect excuse to see her again. The mere idea of being near her—even if it was for her to glare at him—made his heart sing. He would have been terrified by that, but Angela snapped him out of his thoughts by yanking on his arm.

"I bet you're happy," she snarled. "You can finally be rid of me and run off into the sunset with Bambi Eyes."

"That's the plan." Tristan didn't try to hide his contempt.

"Hmm. We'll see how long it lasts."

"What does that mean?"

"It means, we both know the longest relationship you've ever had has been with...yourself," Angela meaningfully looked down at Tristan's crotch. "Everything else, everyone else, is merely a brief side act in your long-running role of Me, Me, Me, and My Dick."

"You're really no one to talk, Angela. Your fixation on my 'dick' was the only thing holding OUR brief act together." Tristan shook off her arm and brushed past her. Still, he heard her last calling remark.

"When you do blow it, give me a call. Not for pity sex. Just so I can laugh my ass off."

Despite his best "Dirt off Your Shoulder" facade, her taunt did dig in. Granted, his relationship with Jada was fake, but the thought of messing it all up, of it ending, didn't sit well with him. Pushing the feeling aside, he changed back into his everyday clothes, said his goodbyes to the crew, and drove off. Free from Angela Hell. On the drive, Doug's number lit up on his cell.

"What's up, Doug?" Tristan responded to the call via his Bluetooth device.

"Congrats on the wrap, my friend!"

"Thanks. I'm hoping—"

"Now what are we going to do about Jada? You said after the shoot, you guys would figure things out. Please do that soon because we've got to plan our next move."

"Doug, I've got it under control. The—"

"People Magazine has been starting rumors, wondering why you two haven't been seen together lately. If we want to sell this thing, you two have to get back out there," Doug pushed on.

"Doug, listen to me! Everything's handled. Ren is throwing a wrap party this weekend and I'll get together with her then."

"Weekend?" Doug squealed. "Hell, you need to see her tonight. We've got a lot of catching up to do."

Tristan hesitated, worried Jada would have plans. She might be offended that he was asking her to drop everything to see him. Under more of Doug's pressuring though, he decided it couldn't hurt. Hanging up with him, he immediately reached out to Jada before he changed his mind.

"Tristan?" she answered hesitantly when she picked up.  

"Yes, it's me. I know we were taking time apart, but the shoot's done and--"

"And you and Doug are worried about our fake relationship. I read People too, Tristan."

"No. I want to see you. Come out with me tonight."

After the longest pause of Tristan's life, Jada said, "Where?"

And in that moment, Tristan knew. Her easy acceptance meant one thing.

She'd missed him too.

*** The longing is real. Super official. If you don't see it yet, listen to Jayesslee bring the feels with this Tamia cover. 

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