Chapter Thirty-Five

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This time when the pounding assault on Tristan's front door began, he knew exactly who was on the other side of the expensive wood. Scowling, Tristan set down his Scotch on the coffee table and went to let in his enraged agent. However, this time, Tristan had some rage of his own.

"What?" he snapped the second he came face to face with Doug.

"Don't you 'what' me!" Doug snapped right back. "You know exactly why I'm here."

At Tristan's blank stare, Doug clarified with exasperation. "Jada!"

Her name immediately had Tristan headed back to the couch for his liquor.

"I don't want to talk about it," Tristan said, taking a long sip. The familiar burn sliding down his throat was just the hit he needed. It masked the real reason for the pain in his chest.

"Tell me what happened," Doug demanded.

"She's the one, the rat. She posted the video that started this whole shit show."

"Damn." Doug sat down to pour himself a glass uninvited. "She didn't tell me that part over the phone."

"Because she's a liar. And why were you talking to her anyway?"

"She's my new client," Doug said so nonchalantly that Tristan gawked in astonishment.

"Are you frickin' serious? After everything she did, you're going to take her on?"

"Yep. The bad blood between you two has nothing to do with the percent that'll be in my pocket after you two do this movie."

"I can't believe this. You really are a snake, Doug. You two deserve each other."

"Get off it, Tristan. There wouldn't have been a video for Jada to post in the FIRST PLACE if you hadn't have taken your bad mood out on her." Doug shouted.

Tristan scoffed, looking away towards Entertainment Tonight playing on TV.

"That's right. Roll your eyes and blow me off," Doug went on angrily. "You want to blame everyone else for this mess and what's going on, but it really started with you. With you and your immaturity. So, if you want, blame everyone else. Blame the whole world. But you'll never learn how to truly forgive and love someone until you take responsibility for your own actions."

"Who said anything about love?" Tristan swiveled back to Doug as he found himself latching onto the word that had been terrifying him.

Doug gave him a knowing look. "You trying to pretend like you're not crazy about that girl?"

"Even if I wanted to fix this, you're right. I don't know the art of forgiveness. And maybe that does mean I'll never truly love someone, but..."

As Tristan searched for the right words, he noticed something on the television. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his mother's shining smile gracing the screen, with a caption saying the illustrious star was still in town.

"But if I have to take responsibility for my actions, then so does everyone else," he finished.

"Oh come on! Holding a grudge—" Doug began.

"I'm not talking about holding a grudge. Doug, I'll sort things out with Jada. But there's something else I need to do first."

This whole roller coaster ride with Jada had indeed taught him that actions had consequences. It was time to face his. The only way to start doing so was by facing his mother.

***

It's hard confronting your deepest hurts. But as Tristan finally sat down with his mom, he knew it was for the best. Nevertheless, finding a way to start the conversation was the most difficult part.

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