The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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A joint hung from Jase’s lips, burning away when he walked into Madison’s room. Janine had left an hour or so earlier for a nap.

“You look annoyed,” Madison said as he laid down on his side of the bed.

“It’s been a long day,” he mumbled. She frowned, reaching over to him and moving one of the curls so that it was no longer sitting so out of place in the middle of his forehead. He watched her from the corner of his eyes, inhaling from the joint. “You’ve changed your tune since the other day.” Madison just rolled her shoulders.

“I suppose I’ve had time to sit and think about some things.” He raised his brows, closing his eyes and tipping his head back, blowing smoke up at the ceiling.

“Yeah? What things?”

“Well, if I’m off-limits because I’m…” she cleared her throat, “’yours’ then that can’t be such a bad thing. Better to be owned by one man than seen as free game to all of them.” Jase looked at her again, a sleepy smile on his lips. He reached up and cupped her chin softly.

“Something tells me you don’t mind that as much as you thought you did.” Madison’s stomach flipped. He wasn’t entirely wrong. It was like having a guaranteed safety net, and she knew that Jase wasn’t always a nasty piece of work, he had his moments. Though, those weren’t the only reasons if she was being completely honest with herself.

“There are worse things to be in this house.” He moved his hand to her cheek. Out of reaction, Madison leaned her face into it, enjoying the warmth on her cold skin.

“You’re not wrong,” he said, holding the joint out to her and putting his other arm over his head, “you can kill that. I’m going to sleep for a bit.”

It was like calling a silent truce. There were meaner men than Jase, better to be with them than against them and the closer they were, the safer she felt.

When Jase opened his eyes again, it was night time. The room was dark, but he could see Madison’s outline laid next to him. He flicked the lamp on, picking up his cigarettes and lifting up slightly to take his phone out of his pocket. Madison stirred in her sleep, pouting and turning onto her side. Jase froze whilst she got comfortable; putting her arm around him and resting her face on his shoulder.

He couldn’t blame her for wanting out, and he wanted to applaud her for using his softer side against him. It was much more admirable than the girls that cried and cried but made no genuine attempt to get out of their situation. But he had to keep reminding himself that he had a job to do, regardless of who suffered because of it.

He was proud of her for adapting like she had, another trait Madison had that aided in drawing him to her. It would be a shame when she left and things returned to normal.

“Why can’t you just be like everyone else?” he whispered, staring down at her as she squeezed him a little tighter in her sleep.

It was starting to dawn on him that maybe there was a little truth to all the rumours. It didn’t matter which way he turned, she was there, moulding into whatever she needed to be to keep her head afloat.

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