The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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The smell of cigarettes was the first thing Madison noticed when she woke up. Jase’s fingers were absently brushing her cheek, and the room was bright with the light of day. He looked down at her.

“Go back to sleep, Bunny. It’s still early,” he whispered. She hummed happily.

“I like it when you call me that.” He smiled a little but it was clear he was distracted. “You look tired.”

“I haven’t slept,” he admitted, closing his eyes and taking another drag on the last cigarette from what had been a fresh pack of twenty.

“Is it because of last night?” she questioned. Thoughts of the kiss flooded his mind, and he shook his head.

“No, don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Go on, shut your eyes.” She did as he said, falling back into a deep sleep within seconds. But Jase still couldn’t settle. Over the past five hours, all he’d done was think about Madison’s time in the house and how it was nearly over. And how that fact was making him nauseous and as a result of feeling like that, annoyed. Deciding he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon; he made his way downstairs and helped Sam tidy up in silence.

“You look like shit,” Sam mumbled as he sat down at the kitchen table whilst Jase binned the last of the bottles. He just nodded.

“I didn’t sleep,” Sam smirked.

“Would you and Madison heading upstairs early have anything to do with that?” Jase didn’t even have the energy to encourage his teasing as he shook his head and sat opposite him. Sam’s brows furrowed. “What’s up?” Jase folded his arms, avoiding eye contact.

“Just been a long night, mate.” Sam knew when Jase wasn’t right, but he also knew that if he wanted to discuss it, he would eventually. There was no forcing anything out of him.

“We got anything planned for Mitch yet?” Sam asked. Jase shook his head. He hadn’t thought about it once, not since Madison had mentioned her birthday. The relief he had once felt at the idea of her going had completely evaporated. He wasn’t sure that was what he wanted anymore, to hand her over to that greasy pig. Killing her would be merciful.

By half twelve, he had finally reached the point of exhaustion where it was impossible not to sleep and had returned to his bed and passed out. He awoke as the sky darkened outside. Madison was sat in front of the mirror, doing her makeup.

“Who are you dressing up for?” he asked.

“Myself,” she replied simply. He sat up, rolling his neck around and taking a fresh pack of cigarettes from his draw.

“Any particular reason why?” Madison shrugged.

“I figured I may as well make myself feel human for the last few days before my birthday.” He hesitated before lighting the cigarette. As much as he wanted to reassure her, he couldn’t. So, he said nothing.

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