The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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31

There was singing from the room next to Madison’s filling the silence. She hadn’t heard anything from the other girls, except from crying. She climbed on top of the desk, pressing her ear to the wall. It wasn’t Janine; her bedroom was next to Annabelle’s, in the middle. This was one of the new girls. The song was sweet and amongst the words, she heard sobbing, from someone else. There were two girls in there/ She could vaguely make out one was trying to comfort the other with some sort of lullaby. It was working,

Whilst the boys were out, she analysed the situation in her head, Janine’s warning never far from her mind. Jase had been kind to her last night, even laughed with her a little. Getting him a beer had caught his attention, there was intrigue in his eyes, it was unmistakable. He had even broken one of the rules to give her coke and in the process, admitted they were only in place when he cared to enforce them. She could take most of them with a pinch of salt unless he said otherwise.

It was evident, the more she did for him, the more inclined he was to go easy on her. Although, last night, he’d been friendly, perhaps a little too friendly which was suspicious. He likely had his own agenda, but she knew what that was. He wanted her to behave. If she acted up, it would look bad for him considering he’d defended her. Jase was out to save himself, and he couldn’t do that unless she complied and kept her mouth shut. This alone marked a level of trust between them, a level of trust she would build on and eventually take advantage of. All she had to do was appeal to his ego.

Men were simple creatures and as Janine had said, the only way to survive in their world was to be like them. Madison had never before been grateful for such a shady upbringing. For once, her dad’s questionable parenting skills were going to come in handy.

It wasn’t long after that the boys returned and she watched the bedroom door as someone jogged up the stairs.

“You can go to the toilet.” Jase said as he came in before frowning at her, “why are you sitting up there?” Madison shrugged,

“Fancied a change.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “The girl next door was singing; I was listening to it.”

“One of the new girls?” he questioned. She nodded, hoping she hadn’t got them into trouble. Jase hummed disapprovingly,

“Don’t get used to it. There’s a showing tomorrow night, I highly doubt they’ll want to sing after that.”

“Another one?”

“There’s one every time we get a new girl.”

“Will Benny be there?” she asked. Jase shook his head,

“No, he’s not back until tomorrow, why?” Madison rolled her shoulders, wringing her hands.

“I was just wondering. He’s intimidating, the girls might be more inclined to be less on edge if he’s not around.” Her heart picked up slightly when his eyes turned to curious slits.

“Why do you care?” he asked slowly.

“It’s not like you’re going to step in for them if they act up or burst out in tears, are you?” she said. His jaw tensed, head turning ever so slightly and arms crossed. Madison backtracked. “Everyone in this house benefits if the tension is kept at a minimum, Benny creates a lot of tension because his erratic behaviour puts the girls even more on edge.” This response satisfied him better.

“Maybe. But don’t go thinking just because Benny isn’t here you can act up either.” He leaned his back up against the door frame.

“I’ve learned my lesson. We both know I’m not getting out. I’m not about to make my life harder.” She shrugged nonchalantly, knowing he didn’t fully believe her, but she didn’t need him to believe her yet. She needed to plant the idea in his head as to why her behaviour was changing. That would be enough.

The girls and the tension weren’t the real reasons she wanted to know if Benny would be there. It was the fact there was a pattern when he wasn’t. The boys relaxed; they were almost normal. Janine could rub shoulders with Sam more openly. Jase didn’t care enough to ensure the girls were terrified into submission. In fact, she had yet to see him be the person Janine had painted him out to be. Adam was the only one she had to watch out for though, it appeared he was more of an attack dog. One look from Jase and he’d likely back off.

No, the real reason was Madison intended on making a different kind of scene.

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