The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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“Sounds like there’s plenty of people down there tonight,” Janine said, chewing her lip at her reflection. She’d picked out a strappy crop top, pairing it with light blue jeans. It was too revealing for Madison, though she liked it on her new friend. Instead, she had opted for a more modest look, one of Jase’s black t-shirts, knotted mid-waist and the black jeans she had on the night she was taken.

“I don’t know how they have the energy,” Madison mumbled, checking her own reflection, using her thumb to clean up the edges of the clear lip gloss.

“Cocaine,” Janine replied, “now come on, slap a smile on, let’s get this over and done with.”

She opened her bedroom door, the music immediately surprising them with the volume. It was far louder than it usually was.

“Oh, they’re really on one tonight,” Janine said, making Madison slightly nervous. That meant cocaine, probably lots of it. People went either way with a drug like that. Jase had been nice last time, but she wasn’t holding her breath for him to continue that behaviour every time he got a buzz. “Jase can be a little temperamental when he’s sniffed up,” Janine continued as if she’d read Madison’s mind, “just keep your head down.”

“Got it,” Madison replied. They went into the kitchen, helping themselves to drinks and then into the living room. Janine had mentioned about how it was a good idea staying within the boys’ sight because at least if something happened, they had a first-hand account of it.

Janine went straight over to Sam at the table, seeming in her element on his lap as his arms snaked around her waist. Jase looked up from dissecting a score on his phone screen, spotting Madison. He jerked his head to the side, inviting her over and pulling out the chair beside him.

“You look nice,” he said casually as she sat down, catching her off guard. She tensed, pressing her lips together and feeling the tackiness of the gloss. “Not like when Lily did your make-up, she puts too much on. I hate that.” He scrunched his nose up in distaste as he slid the phone over, along with the note.

“How much have you had?” Madison asked cautiously. Jase smiled, causing the corners of his eyes to crease as he slouched down in his chair and pulled another phone out. The Nokia.

“Quite a bit,” he admitted, then looked at her through his lashes, “can you tell?” Madison gave an uneasy laugh.

“Yes, I can tell.” He slowly looked her up and down, his smile shrinking to a softer curve.

“Am I making you nervous?” he questioned. She bit her bottom lip and nodded. Jase looked back down at his phone, fingers moving a million miles an hour. “Don’t be, I’m in a good mood,” he assured. Madison was still uncertain and Jase picked up on it, “honestly, I’ve made a lot of money today, I’m good.”

“From the girls?” she questioned, knowing Janine hadn’t worked at all today and feeling sorry for the girls that had. If Jase had made a lot of money, it would have meant the girls had plenty of visitors. He shook his head.

“Drugs.” She wanted to ask why he didn’t just sell drugs instead of women however, didn’t want to risk shutting down his cheerful demeanour. So, she tightened the tube of money in her fingers and leaned over the phone. Like last time, she tipped her head back, closing her eyes as the rush consumed her.

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