Chapter Twenty-Five

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"I knew we would end up here," Daniel had said to Jada, shaking his head. "Let's cut our losses. I'll smooth things over with Sara and you'll leave the show and get another gig."

"Why do I have to leave? I haven't done anything wrong!" Jada had fought back. She'd practically kicked and screamed, but she ended up terminating her contract anyway.

Avery had pressured and pushed, nagged and belittled until Jada couldn't take it. She couldn't take the hateful looks from her co-workers or Avery's incessant demands. She'd signed her resignation and walked away like a spineless coward. She'd let a spoiled man child and his insufferable mom take away everything that mattered to her.

Not again, Jada sniffled as she relived her downfall. She had sworn she would never let another man hurt her or dictate her career, but that's exactly what was happening with Tristan. He had an emotional hold over her AND their damn agreement gave him a say in her acting career. He was too closely embedded in her life and she was giving him too much power. The same power she'd given Daniel. The power to break her.

It didn't matter that Tristan's touch set her on fire, or that every time he looked at her, she felt butterflies. From this moment on, she refused to let him possess her emotionally. Because if she let him in—even the tiniest bit—he would invade everything, consuming her thoughts, devouring her body. She would be completely his.

That frightening reality had kept her up all night. It was also the reason why she blocked Tristan's calls this morning. She didn't dare pick up or listen to his messages. She would have caved immediately.

Jada buried her head in her pillow, suppressing a belabored sigh. She should get out of bed and do something productive, but the energy to do so wasn't there. Mikayla had hassled her about going to the gym but gave up when Jada claimed she wasn't feeling well. This excuse wouldn't deter her cousin for long though, as Jada was sure she would get peppered with questions when Mikayla got back. For instance, why she had abandoned her at the wrap party last night.

While she laid there, her phone rang again obnoxiously. She went to send it to voicemail until she saw it was Avery calling.

"Hey boss," Jada tried to say cheerfully.

"Don't patronize me. Explain this photo I found on TMZ."

"What photo?"

"The one of you and Tristan arguing outside of Ren Kurosawa's house."

Crap.

"Oh that was—"

"Another acting scene? Come on, Jada!"

"Okay, so we had a small tiff, but—"

"Jada, you can't afford any more tiffs. Tristan has been great for your image, snagging that audition for Logan Wentworth's film—which is tomorrow by the way. Please, don't fuck this up."

"I won't," Jada bristled. "Tristan and I are fine and I'll act my butt off at tomorrow's audition."

"Well—"

"Goodbye Avery!" Jada shocked herself by actually hanging up on her.

SHE had hung up on Avery. Had she completely lost it?! She'd pay for her audacity next time she met up with her ferocious agent. But that was a problem for another day. Today's dilemma included whether or not she should have a giant margarita or a big ass glass of wine. The only people who could help her decide were her cousin and Alia.

Hence, that Sunday evening, the three of them ended up in Jada's living room, clad in their pajamas. They'd ultimately decided on experimenting with a whole lot of rum and a wee bit of strawberry daiquiri mix.

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