Achilles Heel

16. Ready to make a deal with the Devil?

“So, you and Harry…” Sapphire drowns off from where she’s sitting on my bed, painting my nails red. My eyes immediately roll to the back of my head, involuntarily gagging at even the thought.

“There is no Harry and me. We just occasionally talk. I don’t see what all the hype is about.” I admit, hearing Sapphire let out a little noncommittal hum, as if she’s agreeing.

“He just walks around like he owns the place. I’ve personally never spoken to him so I can’t have an opinion, but most of the girls at the club worship the ground he walks on. He seems to have taken a liking to you though.” A smirk graces her lips as she looks up at me. “Which, I don’t fault him for. Think all of us have taken a liking to you to be fair.”

I can feel my cheeks grow hot, my head dipping down to try and hide it. My dominant demeanour seems to go straight out the window the second a beautiful girl compliments me. It’s always been that way.

“Think you’re just saying that because I’ve given you an orgasm…” I drown off before adding, “or two.”

“Babe,” She chastises, tilting her head to the side a bit as she clicks her tongue up against the roof of her mouth to grab my attention, making sure that I’m looking directly at her.

“You mean three.” She corrects, the sides of her lips twitching upwards as her eyes shamelessly run over my body. “You’re a little devil with a tongue like that.”

The devil just seems to follow me around these days.

In numbers, words and the form of tattoos. Maybe I should take that as a sign.

“All finished.” She quips, letting go of my hand to place the brush back into the nail polish, making sure the lid is tight before she places it back into the designated drawer. I feel like I can safely say that Sapphire is my best friend.

I may not be real to her, but I show her my real feelings. I don’t wear a mask when I’m in her presence. She is euphoria and trust in one. Something that is so foreign to me. I’ve never felt like someone is the embodiment of trust, that is until I met Sapphire.

She never judges, never speaks ill of others even if they cross her. She is the personification of the word ‘saint’.

It’s a shame that after this mission is over, we’ll be strangers, two people who came together just to end up exactly how they started. Strangers. Two people passing by each other except I will know who she is but she hasn’t a clue who I really am.

A part of me wonders if I should tell her and the other part wonders that if I don’t, will she forgive me when this is all over? Will we go back to being strangers or will we remain friends? I have so many questions that will remain unanswered for a while.

Will I just disappear off of the face of this earth after the mission is over or will I get to say goodbye? I’ve never been able to say goodbye before when a mission has ended. Maybe this one will be different. There’s a first time for everything.

“Let’s watch Hannah Montana.” I suddenly speak up, disrupting the silence that I have caused since I got lost in my own thoughts. The look Sapphire gives me tells me everything I need to know, the both of us jumping up from the bed to run to the living room, falling down onto the burnt orange couch in a fit of giggles.

She really is my best friend. A comfort I haven’t felt in quite some time, keeping me tethered to the ground. Sapphire acts like gravity, weighing me down and keeping me sane enough to continue pushing through as another fake identity. She doesn’t even realise what she’s done for me.

Maybe once this is all over, I’ll thank her for it. It’s the least I can do for the lies that keep building up, even if some of it is true.

Knowing Sapphire, even as hurt as she will be, I just know she’d forgive me without a second thought just because that’s the kind of person she is. Forgiving. Something I’ve never learned. Forgiveness? Foreign to me. I harbour hatred for people that have screwed me over or hurt me. I let it fester like a sore until it becomes so infected that it pops, oozing out of me at once only to repeat the toxic cycle.

Sapphire hums along to the intro of Hannah Montana, picking up the remote and bringing it up to her lips which is what breaks me from my reverie.

“You get the limo out front, Hottest styles, every shoe, every colour.” She sings, moving the remote over to my lips as a make-shift microphone so that I can sing the next line and who am I to decline?

“Yeah, when you’re famous it can be kinda fun. It’s really you but no one ever discovers…” I drown off, finding this song oddly ironic given the situation.

I beat my hands in the air as if I’m hitting drums as she sings the pre-chorus and the chorus hits, leaning towards her so that our voices mesh together, laughing through it because I’m sure my neighbours think we’re nuisances but I could give a fuck less what they thought.

“You get the best of both worlds, Chill it out, take it slow, then you rock out the show..”

Our voices don’t mesh well together but this is the happiest I’ve felt in a while. If this is what happiness felt like, I never want to go without it.

We sit just like that, watching Hannah Montana episodes back to back until the sun goes down, the light of the moon washing through the living room windows, casting shadows on the walls which in return makes Sapphire pull me just a tad bit closer.

“Not a fan of the dark, I take it?” I question, looking down at her but she’s already looking right at me which takes me back. Her gaze is intense, moving her hand up so she can tuck a piece of my hair behind my ear.

“Things move in the dark.” Her voice is soft as she speaks. “The darkest of demons lurk around, attaching themselves to you and weighing you down. The dark is never kind.”

I’m silent for a few moments, organising the thoughts that are running through my head as I try to figure out how to answer.

“Sometimes the dark is necessary,” I begin, pausing just briefly as I glance at the time on the clock. Nearly midnight. Just three hours before the clock will strike three am. Unfortunately, Sapphire does not need to be here when Harry’s driver arrives, “without the dark, there would be no light. It would be nice to have no darkness but without it what would we be left with?” I question, watching as Sapphire digests my words, her eyes flickering to the clock as well.

“The world would be a bit dull without darkness.” I continue on, running my fingernails slowly up and down her arms, goosebumps appearing under my touch. “If it weren’t for the darkness of a storm, there would be no rainbows. A world without darkness is one that isn’t liveable. A world without darkness is one that doesn’t have the tales of the Grimm brothers. A world without darkness is one without ghosts, the afterlife of your loved ones as they’re tethered to the other side. A world without darkness is one without eternal damnation for the worst of humans, granted I’m not religious but I’d like to think that the worst of people are damned in the afterlife.” I ramble, the words tumbling from my lips before I can even stop them.

“If there is no darkness, wouldn’t the worst of humans cease to exist?” She questions, my fingers stilling on her arm as I ponder her question.

“As light as someone seems, there is always darkness waiting inside of them. No one is that perfect, my dear Sapphire. I’m sorry.” I whisper, turning my gaze back to her right as the moon washes perfectly over her face and illuminating it for me to see. I swear her freckles form a constellation but I’m not about to trace them. I don’t think we’re close enough for that yet.

A soft puff of air leaves her lips, using her elbows to detach herself from me and push herself up from the couch. She’s so naive, wanting to believe that everyone has a light inside of them even if some people consist of only dark particles.

I’m only painting a target on her back, yet I’m far too selfish to let go of the happiness she has instilled in me.

I can only imagine how she would look naked in the moonlight. Perhaps another time.

I watch as she makes her way over to the foyer, using the wall to hold herself up as she slips her shoes onto her feet.

“Text me when you get home.” I’m the one to break the uncomfortable silence, finally pushing myself up off of the couch so that I can see her better, her shadow being cast on the wall.

Darkness. It follows you everywhere.

Without light and dark meeting, silhouettes and shadows wouldn’t be a thing.

“I always make it home safe, Astar. No need to worry.” She turns to face me, a smile present on her face. She’s always wearing a smile. I hope the light inside of her never fades.

The silence is deafening inside of my apartment once the door closes behind her, said demons that are lurking in the shadows becoming apparent as my mind runs rampant.

I decide to take a quick shower to kill time, ridding myself of the day’s thoughts. By the time I get out, it is nearing one am and Oliver is usually early so I should expect him around two-thirty. He’s almost as prompt as Harry is.

I decide to dress comfortably, sliding on a pair of black leggings with an oversized red shirt that has the name of a random band on it. If you were to ask me who they are, I’d give you a smile and a nod. I found it while thrifting and thought it was cool, sue me.

To pass the time, I decide to jot down things in the journal that only I would understand such as coordinates, phone numbers, dates and names. I also re-look over the profiles of the boys, refreshing my memory of their strong suits.

Before I know it, Oliver is knocking on my door and I’m struggling to shove the journal back into the hidden false bottom of the coffee table. A glance at the clock tells me that it’s two-thirty on the dot, meaning the drive to our destination must be about thirty minutes outside of the city. Lovely.

Leave it to Harry to take me out into the middle of seemingly nowhere.

For this drive, Oliver doesn’t play any music. None. Not even a podcast which just made the drive seem even longer than it is. I have no idea how the man is just driving without music, especially near three am.

Is he to be trusted? This is borderline psychopathic to me.

I zone out as I watch the trees pass by us, eventually, the trees disappear and it’s nothing but open fields and pastures for miles to come.

The car suddenly comes to a halt near a crossroads, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion as I move to look through the windshield to see if possibly a cow is sitting at the intersection and that’s why we can’t go forward, but no. There is no cow.

Just Harry.

The headlights of Oliver’s car illuminate him, his hands crossed over one another in front of him as he stands before the car in the middle of the crossroads. There’s a box sat at his feet and he’s wearing his signature cocky smirk.

“For fucks sake.” I breathe out, giving a shake of my head as I hear Oliver start laughing from the front seat. I resist the urge to slap him up the back of the head.

The second my feet hit the dirt road, I shut the door behind me and Oliver starts to back up, removing himself from the crossroads and he disappears into the darkness. That seems to be the theme of tonight.

“I can’t believe you’re making me stand at a crossroads at three am just to have a conversation with you.” I huff, giving a shake of my head as I remove the hair tie from my wrist to pull my hair back into a bun. There is so much more I want to say but I decide to let him talk.

“Oh, no. Not to have a conversation.” He clears his throat, unclasping his hands as he bends down to pick up what I originally thought was a box but upon further inspection, I can tell it’s a boxy briefcase. He pulls out a stack of papers that I can recognize from a mile away.

A contract.

“Ready to make a deal with the devil?” He questions, the cocky smirk never once falling off of his lips as Louis suddenly appears out of the dark to place a small, folding table out in front of us. Harry places the contract down on the table along with a pen, tongue dragging across his lips to wet them.

I’m completely silent, trying to get a grasp on exactly what is happening here. Then it hit me. The devil’s tribe. Harry’s devil horns on the back of his neck. He’s the devil.

At crossroads, you can make a deal with the devil in exchange for your soul.

“Surely, I’m not paying you with my soul, am I?” I question, hearing Harry chuckle from above me as I pick up the pen.

Anything I sign will be nullified given my status at MI6.

Louis’ laughter can be heard as he walks back towards the range rover that’s parked off to the side. Considering Oliver left, I can only assume given the process of elimination that I will be going back with them.

“Your soul? I’m not good at handling those. However business deals with your services? That I can handle.” He nods, watching as I sign my name on the line. Astar Lennox.

“Good girl. Now, let’s discuss the heist.” He speaks, picking the contract back up and placing it in the briefcase. From the quick glance inside, there is nothing else in the briefcase.

Straight to business. I’m assuming I’ve successfully passed all of the tests I was handed.

Harry moves to place his hand on the small of my back, leading me towards the Range Rover. The overhead light in the car illuminates one other face besides Louis that I can identify, Zayn.

If I thought the silence of my apartment was deafening, the silence at a crossroads is louder. I can hear everything yet nothing at all.

At this point, my mind is making up its own sounds just to try and kill the heavy silence.

“In two weeks time,” Harry begins, opening up the backdoor of the range rover so that I can climb in. Harry’s next to climb in, shutting the door behind me.

Fuck the table I guess since it’s still sitting in the middle of the crossroads and we just drive around it.

I wonder how ominous that is going to seem to passerbys. I bet some witch or demon stories will be surfacing soon.

“There is a large chunk of Red Beryl being put up for auction. It costs around eight million pounds. The reason we need it is for a massive arms sale.” He spoke, ignoring how my mouth has now fallen open as I try to comprehend what he is telling me.

He needs a large crystal that is worth eight million pounds for the purchase of weapons. What exactly is it that Harry Styles is planning? So much that he needs that much protection. Is he protecting himself or running?

“There is a ball during this auction, a bunch of wealthy people will be in attendance. Seeing your wardrobe, I’m sure blending in won’t be a problem for you. I won’t be able to attend but I will be hidden outside in a van with Niall.” He continues, right as my brain finally catches on to the fact that he’s being serious and that I have to successfully steal an eight million pound crystal.

I know there’s going to be high tech security all through the night. I’m going to need more than two weeks to plan something this high profile if they want it done right.

“Two weeks isn’t enough time.” I breathe out, finally breaking the silence. I can feel more eyes on me and I don’t like it.

“Either you find a way to push the sale of the crystal back or the heist is off. Something worth that much will have a lot of security and the highest forms of technology. I need a month max.”

All of the boys seem to be communicating with their eyes before Harry speaks up.

“We’ll figure it out. I’m assuming this means you’re in?” He questions over the hum of the now idling engine considering we are sitting outside of my apartment.

With a nod of my head, there is no going back.

“You have a deal.” I breathe, moving to shake my hand with Harry’s before I exit the car.

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