The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Madison didn’t see Jase for a few days after the showing. Her food was left on the desk by either Adam or Sam, neither of them saying anything. She’d stopped crying at some point, the tears running dry. Everything just felt numb, hours fading in and out of each other.

All she could do was stare at the wall or her reflection, wondering whether the girl she had been before would ever come back or if she would remain a ghost of the fearsome woman her dad had raised her to be. Customers creaked along the hallways until the early hours of the morning. Girls sobbed in the other rooms.

“You need a shower,” Jase said, walking in and over to the wardrobe.

“Is there another showing tonight?” she asked, her voice croaking out of her dry throat. Her eyes remained fixated on the cream paint of the wall.

“Yes.” She nodded but didn’t move. Jase looked at her over his shoulder, breathing a small laugh. “I knew it wouldn’t last.” Again, Madison didn’t move.

“What?” she asked, though, she wasn’t sure she cared. Her response was to humour him more than anything seeing as he’d obviously made the remark for a reason.

“The fight,” he said, closing the wardrobe doors and pulling his white t-shirt off, “it never does. I’ll give it to you, Bunny, yours lasted a lot longer than most but,” he pulled a black t-shirt on, “it’s all the same with you girls. You have a little bit of bite, and it doesn’t take much to put you in your place.” He was trying to get a rise out of her, see if she was really done or not but she didn’t have it in her to argue back.

She shuffled to the edge of the bed, letting her socks graze over the dark grey carpet. Jase stepped over to her, cupping her chin and lifting her face so she was looking at him. He frowned.

“Such a shame. I really thought you were bringing something different to the house but you’re just as disappointing as the others-“ she jerked away from him, and he simpered, “or maybe not. I guess we’ll have to see how you come out the other side after Peter’s had you for a night.” At first, her brows furrowed in confusion before her eyes widened in realisation and Jase grinned. Her discomfort and panic spurring him on. “Madison,” he cooed, “I’m surprised you hadn’t worked it out for yourself yet,” Jase crouched down so they were eye level, “what kind of idiot accepts a ride home from their very obviously creepy boss? You can’t be that smart.” Her blood ran cold, bile burning in her stomach.

“Excuse me,” she whispered, taking herself to the bathroom. Her footsteps quickened the closer she got before she was in there, spewing the minimal contents of her guts up. The room seemed to be closing in on her. A glossy sheen of cold sweat licked over her forehead. Ringing echoed in her ears from the straining and dry heaving once she managed to pull herself to her feet just long enough to sit on the toilet seat.

Her eyes flickered over the razors on the edge of the bath once more. She picked one up, turning it over in her hands. The plastic felt so weak and breakable.

It would be so easy.

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