Chapter Thirty

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The next morning, Tristan left, headed back to his place to change and continue with his press junket. However, he left Jada with more than an afterglow of great sex. There was more to it, a deeper, inner glow. A warmth inside her chest that worried her. After seeing Tristan devastated last night, she knew whatever was between them was more than sex or attraction. She cared about him, hated to see him hurting. And when they made love she felt closer to him than she ever had to any past lover. With his kiss goodbye this morning, that spark of warmth had ignited. The more she thought of him, the more it grew.

And why was that so frightening?

Because it felt like love.

Sipping her morning coffee, Jada mulled over what that meant, to be in love with Tristan. He certainly wasn't the commitment type so what could actually come of it? Still, she sensed she was already in danger. When she'd been talking about love existing and all that jazz last night, she realized she had really been talking about her and Tristan.

But what if he didn't feel the same way? To him, their arrangement was probably just about sex and ambition.

Suddenly, her caramel latte tasted a lot like an oncoming assault of acid reflux.

"Hey, cousin!" Mikayla sauntered into the kitchen, cheerful as ever and oblivious to Jada's dilemma.

"You better have brewed a strong pot of coffee because someone kept me up pretty late last night with some noises from her boudoir."

"You heard us?" Jada said, appalled.

"Yep, which means I expect details on how this happened! When did your relationship with Tristan...escalate? And why didn't you tell me?"

Jada's ringing phone saved her from answering. She shrugged helplessly and motioned to the caller ID: Avery Kane refused to be kept waiting.

"Hey Avery," Jada said, ignoring her cousin's scowl.

"Jada, good news. You got the part."

"For Logan's movie?" she squealed.

"Well, since you haven't had any other major auditions lined up, then yes, Logan's movie."

"Oh wow! This is great. Thanks for letting me know Avery."

"Don't thank me, thank Tristan. Logan wants you two as the leads. Something about how great your chemistry was and yadda yadda. Either way, everyone agrees this is the good media tactic to have you both in it. So don't screw this up."

"Got it."

"I'll send over more details later. Oh, and don't think I forgot you hung up on me last time," Avery added ominously before signing off.

Yet, her threat didn't faze Jada.

"I got the part!" Jada exclaimed to Mikayla.

After they jumped up and down in celebration, Jada whipped out her phone again.

"I have to tell Tristan!"

"Ahem. Speaking of..." Mikayla brought them back to their earlier topic.

"It's complicated."

"As in?"

"As in we are in cahoots in this whole big plot together, and we've both got baggage and secrets and I might be falling in love with him." Jada blurted out.

"Damn," Mikayla said.

"Exactly."

"Well, maybe you two will find a way to be together. REALLY together." Mikayla tried again.

"Kayla, can we drop it, please? I don't want to get my hopes up more than they already are." Jada admitted.

Mikayla relented sadly and Jada texted Tristan to inform him of the news. Thrilled, he insisted they go out to dinner. While she was anxious about seeing him when her feelings were so unsettled, she agreed anyway, unable to resist him.

Around seven they met up at a local Italian hotspot. The second she saw Tristan waiting for her outside, her heart did that disturbing little flutter she was quickly beginning to dread.

"Reina, congratulations!" he said, kissing her thoroughly, perfectly, despite the flashing bulbs of the paparazzi outside. Or was it because of it? God, she hated thinking about this! Especially when it ruined a good kiss.

However, Tristan didn't sense her hesitance. Oblivious, he held her hand as they walked inside. He continued to hold onto her until they made it to their seats. His newfound affection drove her crazy. She wasn't used to the PDA and especially not the way it made her feel.

After they ordered, Tristan returned his full attention to her.

"I don't know about you, but I'm fucking excited. We did it, Jada!"

"Yes, we did. Together," Jada said, her poor, pitiful heart glowing at his smile.

"I'm so glad I was able to fulfill my promise to you. Things will only get better from here on out, I swear."

"I know they will," Jada lied to them both.

"Soon, you'll be a superstar and you won't even need me. This whole thing will be over."

Damn. That hurt. The jackass didn't seem to notice her stung expression. Instead, he had the audacity to clink glasses with her in a cheer.

It would be just like that? She gets "true fame" and then he bounces? Cheers!

Looking back on the deal they made, Jada realized the terms on her side had changed. Like he was not supposed to leave her ever.

"So, are you ready for the trip?"

"Trip?" Jada forced herself to refocus.

"You know, the premiere for Rival Warriors. You're flying with me to New York to attend, in like two days."

"Right, of course. I've already started packing my bags," Jada said, feeling all over again that all he cared about was the bargain. Of contracts and appearances. Fake kisses and fraudulent feelings. At least, on his side.

Jada looked down, placing her napkin in her lap to fight back what she was feeling. She could call him out for dismissing what they had. Then again, what did they have other than great sex, lies, and ambition? She knew that and she was tired of fighting. It was better to give in this time, to let this one go.

Besides, why argue with the truth?



*** Tristan has definitely committed a dinner party foul. The only one who can crash and burn better is Steve Buscemi.

How do you think Jada will react?

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