The floorboard creaking beneath Janine’s feet alerted Madison of her presence. She quickly wiped her eyes and attempted to control her sniffing.
“Are you okay?” Janine asked, quietly closing the door behind her.
“You shouldn’t be in here,” Madison replied. Janine shrugged, sitting down on the corner of the bed.
“They can only do so much to me. You looked pretty shaken up from that.” She felt for Madison. This side of things was all new to her. “I guess when Jase was kind of looking out for you, stuff like that happening wasn’t such a worry.” Madison looked at her from over her arms that were rested on her knees. She sniffed.
“I hate being touched.” Janine breathed a small laugh.
“If that were the only hurdle to get over,” she mumbled. She pulled Madison’s arms open, running her thumbs over her cheeks. “You don’t get anywhere in this place crying, babe. Don’t waste your tears on them.”
“I don’t understand why he won’t just kill me or something? Anything would be better than this,” Madison said through hitched breaths.
“I asked the same thing.” Madison narrowed her eyes, sitting up straight and wiping at the rest of the smeared mascara with her sleeve.
“Gee, thanks.” Janine smiled.
“Not because I want to get rid of you but because I don’t want anyone else trying to follow in your footsteps. What you’re doing isn’t clever. It’s honestly a miracle that you’re still alive,” she said. Madison looked over to Jase’s bedside cabinet. He’d left a packet of cigarettes on there. She took two out, handing one to Janine.
“He can’t kill me. They were paid to get me in and they’ve already got the money,” she looked at Janine, “paid by my pervert boss.” Janine rolled onto her back.
“Believe me, that wouldn’t stop Jase from killing you if he really wanted you dead. That’s not why you’re still here.” Madison was about to take another drag on the cigarette, but she stopped, holding the tip barely brushing her lips as she watched Janine from the corner of her eyes.
“If that’s not the reason I’m still here, then what is?” she asked. Janine ran her tongue across her teeth.
“Because he finds you entertaining,” she said after a brief pause, “as I said, Jase likes playing games.” Madison stared at her. She thought about his body language the night she’d first been brought into the house - he’d seemed so bored.
It was all textbook for him and she’d come along and disturbed the peace. Given him something new to pay attention to. It made sense. But now her novelty had worn off.
“I need to go back downstairs,” Janine sighed. She stopped at the door, looking over her shoulder, “now that you know what he’s really like, consider whether you seriously would rather die than be here... before you try anything.” She left Madison with the realisation that throughout everything, Janine had tried her best to help. And here she was again, feeding her more information. Janine knew what she was doing, but she wasn’t dumb enough to directly conspire. The less that was said between them, the better. That way, if one of them got questioned, they could deny involvement.
Madison finished smoking the cigarette, the whole time considering everything Janine had said. But even now, she didn’t have the energy to want to fight back. It wasn’t worth it.