The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Jase’s entire body ached from sprinting after Madison and he hadn’t had a lot of sleep. He had spent the night trying to formulate a plan that would keep him out of trouble and everything running smoothly with minimal collateral damage. He looked to his side to see she was still asleep in the same position she had been for the past 8 hours. At least, that’s what he’d presumed until she spoke, eyes still closed.

“When you said I’d have to share the room, I thought you meant with one of the new girls,” she said. Jase leaned down to grab his jumper, pulling his cigarettes and lighter from his pocket.

“Why would it be one of the girls when this is my room?” Madison rolled over.

“How long have you lived here?” he looked at her from the corner of his eyes, sat up now, exhaling smoke and contemplating whether or not he would answer her question. As irritating as he found all of her asking, he now had a role to fulfil in order to carry out the idea he had came up with.

“Six years.” Her brows furrowed, creating a small crease between them.

“How old are you?”


“You look older.” He didn’t respond, placing an arm behind his head. After another minute or so of silence, Madison got up and dressed.

“Why didn’t you tell Benny the truth last night?” Jase asked, unable to contain his curiosity at her thought process. It was obvious there were motives behind her choices. She just shrugged,

“Why didn’t you?” It seemed either she never learned to drop the attitude or she thought she’d gotten away with the stunt she pulled because he’d spoken up. Jase sent her a look that showed her she wasn’t in his good books and it would be wise just to answer the question rather than shooting it back. Madison sucked her lips in, choosing her words carefully.

“I’m going to take a shot in the dark and assume you should have told Benny about me getting out. If it wasn’t for the window and my hand, no one would be any the wiser meaning I wouldn’t have been put in harm’s way, right?” He narrowed his eyes at her.

“What’s your point?” he urged, stubbing the cigarette out in the ashtray next to the lamp.

“You didn’t grass on me last night. I owed you.” Jase cocked his head as Madison sat down on the corner of the bed, picking at her fingernails.

“You were really about to get cut for my sake because I didn’t tell Benny you got out?” She shrugged, shaking her hair out of her eyes.

“I wasn’t raised a grass. I took a leap of faith. So far, I’ve acted up plenty of times, and you haven’t done anything, for which I’m grateful. I guess I just hoped you’d...” she was struggling to find the words but he knew what she meant. However, he wasn’t sure how to feel about it. It had saved them both a lot of trouble, but he’d jumped to her rescue once again and this time, she’d predicted it. There was no backing out now. The only reason he hadn’t told Benny about letting her go initially was it made him look soft and that was never a good thing in this business. Unbeknownst to Madison, Jase’s reputation would get tarnished if that information got out.

He’d dug himself a deeper grave now that they had two secrets between them. Not that he was going to thank her for not saying anything but he was willing to let go of her attempt to escape for covering him. Stubbing his cigarette out, he spoke as he left the room.

“You can get in the shower, bring your washing downstairs, I’ll make you some toast.” It wasn’t friendly, more instructing but Madison felt there was some grounding beneath them now. Mutual respect, almost. Almost.

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