The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Jase slept on the sofa. He didn’t trust himself around Madison right now and he wanted to be prepared in case someone kicked the front door in. It wasn’t too far-fetched. He eventually managed to drift off as it started to get light.

At half six in the evening, he was disturbed by talking from some of the boys around him.

“Heard anything?” Kieran asked as Jase sat up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He checked his phone and shook his head, not that he had expected anything.

“It probably won’t be long until we do.”

“I can’t believe Harvey snaked us,” Kieran’s friend said, the one that had held Madison’s hips. Jase twitched his brows, leaning forward and picking up the grinder from the coffee table.

“I can,” he mumbled.

“I can’t believe Madison,” Kieran said.

“What did she do?” his friend asked.

“Made us give him a Chelsea grin,” he replied. The guys brows shot up in surprise but he said nothing.

“Speaking of Madison,” Sam chimed in, “Janine asked if they can get ready together again tonight?” Jase just shrugged.

“Sure, her door’s unlocked, she can just go get her.” Sam headed upstairs. Janine was putting her hair up out of her face in preparation to do her make up.

“Jase said you can grab Madison whenever,” he said, she grinned, jumping up and running past him, knocking repeatedly on Madison’s bedroom door.

“Come do make up with me!” she called before going back into her own room. Madison came in shortly after, once Sam had gone, and sat next to her on her vanity seat. “Heard what happened last night,” Janine said as Madison pulled out a make-up wipe.

“About Harvey?” Janine nodded.

“You told them to give him a permanent smile, what’s that about?” she asked. Madison rubbed her lips together.

“It’s better than what they were going to do.”

“What were they going to do?”

“Kill him.” She tossed the used wipe in the bin and picked up the primer tube, squeezing a tiny blob onto her finger and smoothing it over both eyelids.

“Fair but Jesus Madison, a credit card and everything? Do you not think that’s a bit much?” Janine asked. Madison sighed, sitting back for a second and looking at her.

“It was a test, Janine. I know it was, there was no other reason Jase would have called me down. He wanted to see if it would shake me up, to see how much I could actually take. It’s a scare tactic. My dad used to do the exact same shit to my brother. You’re the one that said I needed to prove myself to him to keep him interested and believe it or not, it worked.” She turned back to the mirror, “besides, think of it this way, Harvey broke one of the key rules with this kind of thing. He opened his mouth. That could have had worse consequences.”

“Like what?” Janine asked, confused as to how something could have possibly been worse than getting a Chelsea grin. Madison opened the eye shadow palette, closing her left eye as she spoke.

“For one, if someone thinks it’s okay to talk, they could get Sam in trouble,” she said. Janine frowned.

“Well, when you put it like that...” the conversation surrounding Harvey was dropped. The girls pulled Janine’s wardrobe apart, living out a montage moment as they tried on several different outfits each. After Jase’s reaction to her last one, Madison wanted to keep the same balance of exposed skin and modesty in tonight’s attire.

“How do you have so many clothes?” she asked, helping hang a few up so they didn’t get completely lost in the laundry. Janine laughed.

“Most of them I packed to bring here when I first arrived. Sometimes Sam goes and buys stuff for me or he’ll let me look online for things.” Madison smiled.

“I’m glad he is the way he is with you. He seems like a good guy,” she said. Janine rolled her shoulders.

“He is. He’s just caught up in all of this shit and he won’t leave Jase, they’ve been in it since it started basically.” Madison put one coat hanger back and took another out; it was a long-sleeved black bodysuit with a deep plunge v neck. “I have a bra that would go really nicely with that,” Janine said, Madison laid it on the bed.

“When I do get out of here, do you want to come with me?” she asked. Janine let out a faint laugh.

“You’re really set on leaving, aren’t you?”

“I can’t stay here,” Madison replied, taking out a pair of figure-hugging jeans from Janine’s draw. Janine sat on the corner of her bed, taking her top off and replacing it with a grey vest.

“Fair enough.” She didn’t bother asking questions, the less she knew, the better. “To answer your question, no. I wouldn’t want to lose contact with Sam. He’s looked after me so much my whole life. I’m not sure I could cope without him.” Madison dropped Jase’s t-shirt to the floor and unclipped her bra, catching the one that Janine threw at her.

“Do you love Sam?” she questioned, turning her back to Janine as she switched bras.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t,” Janine replied. Madison’s brows furrowed as she pulled the bodysuit on.

“I thought you said this was better than the streets?” Janine nodded, going over to her vanity and picking up her cigarettes, she slid two out.

“It is, but that’s because of Sam. I went from one guy telling me he loves me and selling my body, to another. But at least Sam means it.”

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