Achilles Heel

15.

Warning: Drug usage, Descriptions of a panic attack.

Today is Monday, which means it’s time to put the maid costume on that’s waiting for all of the girls. The costumes lay over our seats in front of our vanities, September already being in her costume.

I knew I would catch flies if I didn’t close my mouth but I can’t help it. The way the dress fell on her thighs leaves me drooling.

I quickly snap myself from my thoughts, feeling a soft smile grace my lips as September catches my gaze in the mirror. I can feel her eyes bore into mine as I pull the dress over my body, tying the corset in the front so my bust is accentuated. With that I slide on the thigh highs, making sure the little black bows on the garter are situated on the front before dusting some highlighter over my breasts.

I feel hands on my waist, soft lips brushing over my neck which I welcome once I realise it’s just Sapphire.

“Long time, no see. Where have you been?” She questions, trailing one of her hands down to rest on my thigh, giving it a good squeeze before her presence disappears completely.

She looks even more euphoric in this light if it was possible. The contrast between the black and white with the gold highlighter makes her appear like the human version of molly. She is euphoric.

Every time I’m in Sapphire’s presence I feel high. High off of her voice that flows the way silk feels. High off of the perfume she wears that lingers in the smallest of crevices in my nose. High off of the look her hazel eyes give me every time they find me.

She is molly. She is euphoric. Euphoria.

Sapphire’s presence returns a few seconds later, her hand coming around to grasp my neck before leaning my head back so that it rests upon her shoulder.

“Open up, baby.” She breathes out, right as I make eye contact with her in the mirror. A small, pink coloured pill is placed on my tongue right as I stick it out. The next second I’m being given a water bottle, watching as the other girls also swallow the all too familiar pill.

“Good girl,” Sapphire mentions right as September walks over to me, pulling out a piece of gum from the packet to hand over to me. All of our jaws would be shaking before we knew it. This is one way to keep the shaking to a minimum.

Thankfully the lights in the club would make it hard to catch sight of our pupils.

“Showtime is in fifteen! Remember tonight is a group performance. Be sensual. The place is unusually busy tonight.” I hear Tony yell from his spot at the door, respecting our privacy since we are changing.

When was the club not busy? I’ve only been working here for about three weeks yet I feel like I’ve known everyone for years. Everything about this case seems to be moving faster than I have anticipated.

At least right now, who knows what can happen.

I bring the bottle of water back up to my lips, taking a quick swig before recapping it and setting it off to the side. I swish the water around my mouth a few times before swallowing, doing a kiss test on the back of my hand to make sure that my lipstick isn’t transferring.

Tonight will end as every night does. I’ll find myself perched pretty on Harry’s lap as he speaks to me, or doesn’t. Most of the time there isn’t a lot of talking when it comes to the red room.

I still have a slight limp in my step but it’s mostly gone. I’m thankful that Harry had come up with some lie to tell Tony that I couldn’t come in for the past two days. After that, I needed to come in though. I need to make some progress with the Devil’s tribe. It’s moving fast, but also slow at the same time.

I’ve barely learnt anything besides what MI6 has already assumed about Harry and his gang. If you can even call it a gang at this point. Something about it seems bigger to me, larger than what I know.

A part of me is terrified to go further. There’s a strong, bad feeling deep within my gut but I get that feeling before every undercover mission.

The opening notes to Party Monster by The Weeknd fill the club, letting us know that it’s time for us to enter the stage one by one.

“Fern.” The announcer booms, the voice echoing throughout the club right as Sapphire gives my ass a pinch and exits the dressing room to walk out onto the stage.

“Iris!” September then walks past me, my eyes staying glued to her ass as she disappears from my sight. I honestly couldn’t help it at this point.

“Dahlia!” That’s my cue. I let out a slow breath, walking out of the dressing room and climbing up onto the stage before emerging from behind the curtain to join the girls.

The spotlights are brighter than ever, obscuring my view of the crowd. There are four spotlights in the club, all four of them are aiming at us and I know it’s because we are a group.

The temperature in the club just seems to rise, getting hotter by the second. My body seems to move to the beat of the music by itself, this has become second nature to me in the past few weeks.

Hands are everywhere on my body, five-pound notes being thrown at our feet the more we move. I know the stage will be covered by the end of our performance. The sound of the music seems to drown out as I get lost in the hands that are roaming my body, moving forward to grasp onto the pole before I hitch myself up to start spinning.

I eventually lay back, hands falling from the pole as I swing upside down, making sure my thighs hold my weight up on the pole. The crowd is forgotten about momentarily as the adrenaline rushes through my veins from the molly, jaw shaking up a storm as I chew viciously on the gum.

I place my hands down on the stage, carefully removing myself from the pole as I join the girls again, walking in sync towards the men at the end of the stage that are practically foaming at the mouth.

One is frantically holding out a twenty-pound note, shaking it hastily in my direction as I bend down to take it between my teeth, throwing a wink his way before I remove it from between my teeth to place it in my bra. “Thanks, pretty boy.”

He’s the furthest from pretty. Judging by the tan line on his ring finger, he’s here while his wife is at home probably wondering where he was, tossing and turning, mind conjuring up the worst possible scenarios.

Yet, here he is in one piece, throwing the last of his money at girls that are at least twenty five years his junior. I’ll make sure his money finds its way to fund helping immigrants. Might even write the donation in his name if I can figure it out.

I move my gaze up to look at the rest of the crowd, stopping in my tracks the second I see it.

White noise fills my ears, the music going silent as I zero in on her. Them. She’s there for a second and then she’s gone. My ears won’t stop ringing.

I quickly step off of the stage, ignoring anyone that tries to grasp my arm to pull me back onto the stage. She is here.

I push through the multitude of sweaty bodies, ignoring the men that try to push their hands under my dress to cop a feel. I knew Fred would throw them out without a second thought if they try anything. If Fred didn’t, I’d make sure they left with four fingers instead of five.

I turn in a complete three-sixty, feeling my breathing start to pick up as I catch sight of them again. Black Jacket. Black t-shirt. Black ripped jeans. Black combat boots. Black beanie. Yet their face is hers. She is here.

Kaia is here.

The bright lights obscure their face. My breathing picks up even more whenever someone pushes by me, disrupting the eagle eye view that I have on her. By the time they pass me, she’s gone once again and I’m struggling to push myself through the crowd.

I collide with a strong body, their hands coming down to grasp onto my arms as I fight to get past them.

“Let go of me.” I spit, trying to rip my arms from their grasp. The white noise starts to fizzle out slowly as they pull me to their chest, holding me tightly like I could disintegrate at a moment’s time if they were to let me go.

“Astar, are you with me?” The white noise slowly but surely dissipates, leaving my chest rising and falling at a quick pace as I lay my head on their shoulder.

Soft skin. Gucci perfume. Gold Glitter. Sapphire. Safe.

I am safe. I can breathe. I am alive. I am here.

Ground yourself, Astar. It’s just a bad trip.

“Are you with me, Astar? I need to hear you speak, pretty girl.” Her cold, but sweaty hands cup my cheeks, slowly lifting my face up so that I can see her.

“Oh, baby…” She sighs, bringing her fingers under my eyes to brush away what I can only assume are tears. I didn’t even realise that I was crying. Sapphire takes a look around her before bringing her hand down to grab mine, tugging me towards the maintenance closet so we are away from everyone and the music dies down.

I can breathe. I am safe. I am alive. I am here.

“I need you to speak to me, Astar. Come on. Squeeze my fingers. Ground yourself.” Her voice is soft, almost as if she is afraid to set me off further. I grasp onto her hands, letting her know that she didn’t need to worry. I am here. I just need to breathe.

I squeeze her hands, bringing my eyes up to look at the ceiling as a shaky breath escapes my lips.

“She was here.” I finally manage to get out, the lump forming in my throat that was there earlier, making it feel like I’m swallowing rocks and can’t breathe.

I can tell by the look on Sapphire’s face that she is confused by my words so I decide to elaborate.

“My sister. She was here but that isn’t possible because she died in my arms.” I rush out, feeling my hands begin to shake again but she’s quick to cover them with her own, applying pressure so that I know I’m here.

I can breathe. I am safe. I am alive. I’m here.

“If it’ll ease your mind, we can have Fred look at the tapes, yeah? What were they wearing?” She questions, so I tell her the outfit that’s now ingrained in the depths of my brain. Black jacket. Black t-shirt. Black ripped jeans. Black combat boots. Black beanie.

Something Kaia wouldn’t be caught dead in but I swore she was here. She was only a few feet from me. Was it just a bad trip?

The walk to the security room was a quick one, Fred switching out with a bouncer at the door so he could lead us to the room. Pulling up the footage was an easy task and I watch it back.

I lean forward, analysing every little detail. The time. The frames per second. Everything from the second I run off the stage in a frenzy.

I even have Fred slow it down, yet there was no one there. No one in all black. It’s almost as if they were never there to begin with, but it was so clear. She was here. I refuse to believe that my mind just conjured her up.

“Again.” I breathe out, watching the frames per second again and the clips to see if it’s possibly on a loop but I can’t see any problems. Granted, I have very little knowledge about anything in IT.

My hand slams down on the table in frustration, shocking even Fred who jumps slightly and moves the mouse away from my hand so I don’t destroy it.

“Hey, Hey..” Sapphire sighs, walking over to me and taking my hands into hers once more. “It’s just a bad trip, yeah? Let’s get you some water. It was just too much at once. Come on.” She mutters and I helplessly agree. There aren’t any other logical explanations.

Just a bad trip. Sometimes the human mind is cruel.

I seem to have calmed down more once I reach the dressing room, my lungs expanding to take in more air as I sit down on the bench, feeling Sapphire’s hand start to rub soothing circles into my back as I sip on the water from earlier.

Her silence is welcomed. I prefer it to the questions that I know are just begging to be asked, lying on the tip of her tongue.

The silence is disrupted by Tony’s presence, trying to resist the urge to roll my eyes as I hear that Harry has once again requested me in the red room. When did he arrive? He wasn’t in the crowd when we were performing.

His seat that’s front and centre had been empty, lacking his cocky smirk and whiskey on ice that he always seems to have. At least he wasn’t here to witness my panic attack. The last thing he needed was ammunition to use against me.

“Sapphire, it’s okay.” I manage whenever she tries to tell Tony to fuck off, I can do this.

After all, wearing a mask was one of the easiest things to do for an undercover agent.

Sapphire’s hand comes down from my back to rest on my thigh, giving it a squeeze before I stand up. I take a quick glance at myself in the mirror, making sure my makeup isn’t running before I exit the room, walking down the lit hallway before entering Red Room Three.

Our usual meeting place, right at three am.

I take a few seconds to gather myself once I’m standing outside of the door, collecting my thoughts upon entering. I shut the door behind me, pressing my back up against it as I find Harry sitting on the bed with his hands behind his back.

His eyes drift over my body slowly, drinking me in. It’s like he’s parched, having been deprived of any food or water. That’s what his gaze is. Hungry.

Yet, the second his eyes land on my face he’s sitting up.

“Are you okay?” He questions, loud enough for me to hear as he stands up and makes his way towards me. It catches me off guard. The last thing I expect him to ask. I expect a crude joke or something sexual, yet the first thing he asks is if I’m okay.

How am I meant to respond to that? Do I tell him the truth or skirt around it? My mouth decides to answer before I can think about it too much.

“Bad trip,” I mention, clearing my throat a bit. My eyes follow Harry as he opens the small refrigerator that is set to the side, filled with alcoholic drinks and of course, water. He uncaps one of them, setting the lid down on the table before pouring some into it and pulling a strip out. He then dips it into the water, making my eyebrow raise.

“I’m testing to make sure it isn’t drugged,” He explains, watching as the strip doesn’t change colour, which I can only assume means it’s fine considering he drinks what is in the cap. “People can easily place a syringe into the hollow top, administer a drug and no one would be wiser.” With that, he pats the spot next to him on the couch and I move to sit down next to him.

This is a side of him I have yet to see. It brings up so many questions yet I bite my tongue as to not ruin the moment.

“Thank you,” I mutter instead, taking the bottle of water and bringing it up to my lips in hopes that it would rid my system of the molly but I know it isn’t that easy.

“Do you want to talk about it?” He questions which earns a snort from me, some of the water being spit back into the bottle as I cover my mouth, looking up at him.

“Be honest, H,” I breathe out, giving him a look. “If I were to ask you to speak about something that was bothering you, would you tell me?” I question, watching as the man studies my face. And I mean genuinely studies it as if he’s remembering it to paint it.

“I don’t think you’ve ever called me anything other than Styles.” He chuckles, relaxing back on the couch, the previous conversation forgotten and the discussion avoided.

Before I even have a chance to answer with a smart comment, he is speaking over me.

“You’ll be meeting me tomorrow, somewhere at three am.” He speaks, glancing at his nails which are now painted red, the middle finger having little black devil horns on them. I find them cute. I wonder if he would be offended if I got a matching set given how much he calls me little devil.

Three am seems to have become our thing now as well. The red room is our thing at three am and now unknown coordinates in the middle of nowhere seem to be our thing.

“Let me guess, your driver Oliver will be the one picking me up.” I snicker, rubbing my finger under my nose to satiate the itch that I felt growing there.

“Learning so fast, Little devil.” Right back to the nickname. Not that I mind, it’s become something that I have grown to like over the last few weeks. That and little one from Niall.

“I’m a fast learner, Styles.”

“Oh?” He breathes out, eyebrow-raising as he pats my knee before using it to push himself up off the couch.

“If that’s true, I hope you can keep up, Little devil. The next few weeks are going to be gruelling.” He smirks like he knows something I don’t, moving to close a button on his blazer as he heads for the door. He always pays for an hour or three, yet never stays for the entire time sometimes.

“Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. The fun has only just begun.” Then he’s leaving just as quick as he came, leaving me sitting in the red room by myself with only my thoughts which are running wild.

Chasing Harry Styles isn’t what I thought this mission would be, yet I’m the one constantly running to him it seems.

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