Achilles Heel

07. Yes, Sir.

The darkness that enveloped me the second I stepped foot into the warehouse sent my senses into overdrive. I swore I could see shadows moving quickly through my peripheral but I knew that was just my mind making things up. The sound of water dripping from the rusted pipes that lined the ceiling of the narrow hallway echoed through-out the silent warehouse. It was dimly lit, dust particles flying freely through the air since they were kicked up by our movement.

Harry paid no mind to the shoddy conditions of the warehouse. However, I was drinking in every little detail. It was eerily silent as if we were the only two people to exist inside of the warehouse that had to be over twenty-three football fields long if you were to stack them on top of each other. The nervous feeling in my stomach re-appeared just from the silence alone. It was growing uncomfortable quickly but small-talk was something I didn’t want with the man beside me. The silence seemed to make my thoughts start to run a marathon inside of my mind, creating the worst-case scenarios and causing my hands to lightly shake. I worked for the secret service. I needed to get my shit together.

We came to a stop outside of the heavy steel door, my eyes watching as Harry grabbed onto the latch and used his body weight to push it open since it was heavy. The creak was ominous, echoing just like every other sound did. I could now hear voices but they went silent upon hearing the creaking door being pushed open. That seemed to be happening a lot whenever I walked into a new place.

I stepped inside of the room after Harry. I had expected a crowd of people with how loud it was previously but my eyes landed on just four other guys. They had matching devil horns on the back of their necks and when they turned around I immediately recognised them.

“Oi, Harry. Is this the girl you and Zayn were speaking of?” A much shorter lad spoke up from the group, his striking blue eyes standing out from the way the dim light shone down on him. What was it with how dimly lit every part of the warehouse was? I decided to ignore his question, hearing Harry mumble something under his breath that sounded a lot like ‘Fuck off, Tomlinson’ but I couldn’t be sure.

Zayn however answered for Harry, a smirk evident on his lips as his eyes slowly worked over the length of my body before making their way back up to rest on my face, specifically my eyes. “Yeah. That’s her. Nice to see you again, Little Devil.” He spoke, swiping his tongue over his lips to wet them.

The nickname didn’t bother me one bit. If anything, I liked it. I remained silent, shifting my weight between my two feet, feeling what was now five pairs of eyes on me and they seemed to be assessing my every move. Five hawks and I was their prey, seeming unassuming but I was watching them just as much as they were watching me. However; this situation felt suspiciously like the intro to a shitty porno.

Eventually, the little group dissipated to reveal what was hidden behind them. It was a singular foldable metal chair and sat before the chair was a little table of sorts. A dim light once again hung directly over it to illuminate what was two bowls filled with a clear liquid which I automatically assumed was water.

“Do you want me to wash my hands or something?” A soft laugh left my lips as I felt my eyebrows furrow in confusion. Laughter erupted from all of the boys, making me even more confused.

“Something like that, little one.” An Irish accent filled the air once the laughter had died down—even though I could still hear the laughter in his tone. I didn’t find it funny and his patronising tone set me off.

Harry moved to take a seat before the table, connecting his hands together in front of him before he stretched them out to crack all of his knuckles at once. The sound that emitted from them sent a visceral reaction through my body, immediately having to clear my throat to avoid saying anything dumb.

The boys formed a half-circle around the table before I stepped up, my gaze locked on Harry to try and get a read for whatever this was. The only things in this vastly large room were us and this table containing the two liquids. It seemed so out of place and I’ve never been more confused. It had to show on my face because the five boys would laugh every now and again.

“Instead of sitting there and waiting for me to do something, why don’t you fucking tell me what this is.” I spat, crossing my arms over my chest and leaning forward a bit so that I was eye level with Harry, his eyes focused on my breasts in the bustier that I was wearing. Just what I intended.

Instead of answering me, four of the boys—excluding Harry raised their hands up as an explanation. I slowly stood up straight, examining their hands closely to try and figure out what they were trying to show me. And then it hit me.

None of them have fingerprints.

Which meant that the liquid that was sitting in front of me in the two little bowls contained Sulfuric Acid to remove any trace of my fingertips. I thought back to how their fingertips grazed over my skin in the red room, trying to remember how it felt. Harry’s fingers were rough, callused. He had marks on his fingertips, I was sure of it. When his fingers traced over my bare skin, there was a roughness to them which put him apart from Zayn’s smooth ones which I hadn’t noticed in the moment of that night.

Harry’s eyes have now come up to meet mine, no longer wearing his signature half-smirk. Instead, he took his lower lip between two fingers, rolling it slowly as he watched me along with the rest of the boys.

“I’m not joining your pathetic little gang,” I began, knowing that was probably a poor choice of words but at the time I didn’t really care.

“All I’m doing for you is organising occasional heists if the upcoming one does well. There’s no need for my precious fingerprints to be burnt off because you all get off on that sort of stuff.”

It was dead silent in the room once more and this time I welcomed it, even if my stomach swooped in a dangerous manner because I knew that I was poking the belly of the beast with my mouth. My boss always told me that I should just learn to stay silent but I’d rather not.

A scoff eventually broke the silence, my eyes searching for who decided to break it. My eyes landed on someone who vaguely reminded me of a teddy bear upon first glance if it weren’t for the judgemental gaze he was giving me and the massive muscles he was sporting. Liam Payne. The man I knew next to nothing about. He didn’t seem too fond of my presence but then again I couldn’t blame him. I was a foreigner intruding in their safe space.

Harry held a hand up before closing it into a fist as if telling Liam to silence himself. Something about that small action set a pit of growing lust off in my tummy. It curled around my insides and made the heat rush between my legs--just that small gesture. I was honestly pathetic.

“Too bad, darling. If you want to do business with me, you have to abide by my rules. Do I make myself clear?” His voice was dripping with dominance, his gaze darkened as he spoke directly to me and kept his hand up to Liam.

My mind was elsewhere in that moment, far too focused on how his rings looked on his fingers. How he had the other men behind him trained like little lap dogs under his command. I bet if he asked them to make him a sandwich they would, just to please him.

“I said…” He drowned off, his voice had dropped an octave or two which wasn’t helping my situation in the slightest.

“Do I make myself clear?” He spat, suddenly seeming very impatient with my lack of response.

His voice shocked me, breaking me from my gaze that definitely didn’t go unnoticed. He didn’t mention my obvious staring, just waited for me to answer for the words he had uttered before.

“Yes, Sir,” I spoke, lulling my head to the side a bit as a bored look overtook my face. The sides of his lips twitched before turning up ever so slightly from the nickname that fell from my lips. I should’ve stuck with calling him by his nickname. He probably thinks he has me wrapped around his pretty little finger. Not so fast, Styles

I took a step forward so that I was directly in front of the table, staring down at the two small bowls before me as if they were my biggest enemy. At that moment, they were. I could only imagine the pain I was about to endure. All for what? Just to take down a group of guys and the rest of their minions I had yet to meet? I’d lose something that could identify me if I were to go missing.

Against my better judgment, I found myself lowering my hands until my fingers brushed right above the liquid, feeling the tips get submerged except nothing happened. There was no burning sensation. There wasn’t the feeling of my flesh sizzling. I didn’t smell the scent of burnt flesh. Absolutely nothing.

I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding, removing my fingers from the clear liquid and turning them over so that I could get a good view at the pads of my fingers. The little swirls were still there, staring me right in my face. The main thing to identify me was still there which made my brows furrow once again in confusion. None of this made sense to me.

“Congratulations,” Harry spoke, the chair being pushed back and screeching against the concrete floor as it did so. It was one of those noises that scratched at the part of my brain most sounds couldn’t reach and I visibly cringed, tilting my head to the side and scrunching my face up.

“You passed the test. We wanted to see if you could be trusted.” Zayn spoke up to explain further, knowing a simple congratulations wasn’t going to answer shit since I didn’t have the answers like Harry seemed to assume that I did. A test of loyalty. Pretending like I would have to burn the tips of my fingertips off with acid was a test of loyalty.

I remained silent whilst one of the other brunette boys spoke up, the one I learned was Niall considering he had the Irish accent. “We don’t have fingerprints but people we do business with don’t have to do that. Only members,” he explained even further, finishing where Zayn left off.

When I opened my mouth to speak, nothing came out. I quickly ran my hands over my jeans, drying the water off of my fingertips before turning around to quickly get the hell out of there. Jessie could take this mission and shove it so far up his ass--someone grabbed a hold of my wrist tight enough to form bruises, spinning me around and pulling me flush up against them so that our chests were together.

We were so close that if everything were silent again I bet I could count his heartbeats, especially if I laid my head directly on his chest. I didn’t though. Instead, I looked up at Harry, yanking my wrist from his embrace and narrowing my eyes at him. “Don’t you ever fucking touch me like that again.” I spat, pushing myself back from him as I shook my head.

His voice could still be heard as I started to retreat, making my way towards the exit of the warehouse as I held my phone up in various different ways to try and score cell service to call myself an uber. I didn’t fancy being stranded.

“See you tomorrow at the club, Little Devil…the funs only just begun.”

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