17. Astar - Paper Airplanes
A paper aeroplane flies directly into the side of my head, right as I add another pink post-it to the board, staring at said post-it as I try to calm myself down. This has been an ongoing event for the past hour. I seem to be the only one serious about making plans for the heist. Louis and Niall take turns in snickering and making mini paper aeroplanes out of the post-its.
Instead of the auction being in two weeks, somehow Harry knew what strings to pull so that it’s happening in a little over a month. More than enough time for us to come up with our game plan. I want to be able to see what Harry’s men are capable of.
So, my plan is to orchestrate a much smaller heist in another country, possibly Italy or Monaco. I’m leaning more towards Monaco but for now, I focus on the heist of the Red Beryl.
I know that on file, The Devils’ Tribe has been linked to a string of bank robberies and what looks to be murders disguised as robberies gone wrong. We have no tangible evidence to link them to any of the crimes. It’s like they’re ghosts. Phantoms of the night. There are no witnesses and no evidence.
They’re also under suspicion for multiple stolen cargo containers from shipyards, the suspected contents of these containers are artillery weapons and ammunition. Conveniently the security footage just seems to disappear on the night of the robbery, or the night guards just conveniently didn’t see anything.
MI6 is also under the assumption that the gang has been shuffling money under the table with illegal, fake storefronts and casinos or strip clubs. One of the reasons why I was placed specifically in the Butterfly Effect. The workers there often change or leave. The turnover rate is high. Some are never seen or heard from again.
The crew they have now are the ones that have been there for a while. I have this sneaking suspicion that the girls before saw something they weren’t supposed to and they’re being paid to stay quiet.
Out of the three weeks that I have worked at the club, none of the girls have given me the impression that they know of something they aren’t supposed to. What I have seen is an abundance of powerful people exiting the Red Rooms. They never stop to watch the shows. They don’t even stop for booze. They just make their way to the back where the red rooms are and then promptly exit as if they were never there. Ghosts.
Another paper aeroplane hits the back of my neck, breaking me from my thoughts as I turn around to see that the culprit is none other than Louis fucking Tomlinson.
“Oh, please enlighten me on how this is a group effort again?” I question, gesturing to the board with push-pins and post-its that only contain my handwriting. It’s obvious who has done the work.
“It is a group effort, little one,” Niall speaks up, his head popping up from over the couch. The ugly leather couch that Louis has in his home. It’s atrocious, to say the least. “You see, you write and plan while we hand you the post-its in the shape of aeroplanes. Teamwork makes the dream work.” He cackles, moving to take another bright coloured post-it and fold it into the shape of an aeroplane.
“You know, titty boy..” I drown off, clicking my tongue up against the roof of my mouth. “I don’t believe I was asking you.” I can hear Louis snickering, uttering the nickname titty boy under his breath.
It’s like I’m babysitting teenagers but they’re well over their twenties.
“You know, what would really help me is if you went in-depth about everyone’s best abilities. Could put you in a desirable area where you’re most beneficial to this heist.” I point out, watching the two boys glance at each other before they both start talking at once.
What did I say? Teenagers.
“I’m best with hacking—“ right as Louis says, “I’m best with knives.”
Naturally, an argument breaks out between the two on who should speak first so I step in.
“Louis, you speak first.” I huff, moving to cross my arms over my chest right as Niall gives me a look of disbelief, like he just couldn’t believe I would choose Louis over him.
“As I was saying, my thing is knives. I mainly use impalement as a form of confusing the enemy or disorienting them.” He shrugs, which was honestly brilliant and cunning.
“Do you use any other weapons?” I question as I write down ‘knives’ and ‘impalement’ under Louis’ name. This could possibly come in handy.
My mind starts to wander off, thinking of other ways Louis can make those knives useful. Thankfully Niall disrupts my thought process.
“I feel like it has been mentioned in passing, but my strong suit is IT. Anything to do with computers and hacking, I’m your guy.” He grins, running his hand through his hair, using the other one to let go of the paper aeroplane so it flies towards Louis, hitting the man right in the eye.
“Oi, you sick fuck. Don’t forget I’m always strapped. Don’t think Harold will mind if you’re missing a finger or two. It’s not like you’ll need them.” Louis scoffs, holding his eye.
I just give a shake of my head, deciding they’re both useless.
“Niall, can you print off the blueprints for the…” I narrow my eyes at the board, searching for the name of the hotel. “Sheraton Grand Hotel in London.”
Within seconds I can hear the familiar sounds of fingers against a keyboard, no doubt working his magic with those fingers that I think are more than needed but I keep my silence.
Niall joins me by the boards, pinning up not one, not two, but three blueprints for the hotel. Two of them are the layout and the second is the ventilation system.
“Sick. Thanks, titty boy. Maybe you aren’t so useless after all.” I snicker, clapping the man on the back before I give him a shove to get him to go back to his place on the couch so that I can do my job. It’s only a matter of time before Harry returns from whatever business he had to attend to.
“Since the others aren’t here, care to enlighten me on what they’re good at?” I question as my eyes wander over the vents, marking x’s on ones that occupy either a maintenance closet or the restrooms. Those will be the easiest to quickly get in and out of without arousing suspicion.
“Are we talking about me behind my back? Didn’t know you were obsessed with me before you’ve even gotten a proper taste of me, Little devil.” Harry grins, his presence beside me causing me to stand on my toes just a little straighter.
I stay silent, knowing better than to indulge him.
“If you must know, Liam loves scopes and modified guns. Especially sniper rifles. Gets his rocks off on it I swear.” Harry grumbles, giving a shake of his head right as Liam walks in after him with Zayn trailing shortly behind. Liam is still a massive question mark for me on all fronts. We’ve yet to speak.
He wasn’t at the shooting range for my test. He also wasn’t at the last meeting for the signing of my contract. He’s the only one that seems to be wary of my presence which sets me off balance. Now, I watch as his eyes do a glance over my body before settling on my face.
He doesn’t even give me the time of day or a simple hello before he is turning to Harry.
“If I get my rocks off to my guns, you get your rocks off to all of the people you torture.” He spoke, all of the boys seemingly going silent at once.
I can see Harry’s jaw clench in my peripheral, his hand coming up to run over his lower lip before pinching it between two fingers. Is he upset because Liam is giving out the information I’m not supposed to know or is it another reason? There’s suddenly a tension in the room that makes me feel like it’s hard to breathe.
Niall, Louis and Zayn are now sitting on the couch together, talking quietly amongst each other before Zayn breaks the tension. A breath that I didn’t know I was holding slowly escapes from my lips, body relaxing as I turn to face the board once more. If I wasn’t sure Liam wasn’t the biggest fan of mine before, I know for a fact he isn’t now.
“Anyways,” Zayn begins, grabbing one of the post-its to start folding it, but not into a paper aeroplane like the others were doing. I can’t figure out what it is yet.
“What I do best is start fires, there’s never a trace of accelerant left behind. Usually, it looks like an accident.” He smirks, looking up at me before he hands out the little origami figure he’s created.
I let him place it in my hand, feeling not only Harry’s eyes on me but also Liam’s. This is new.
There is now a tiny little dragon sitting in my hand and I move to place it on top of the board, for now, not knowing what else to do with it. I write down ‘arson’ under Zayn’s name and ‘head-shot/one-shot kill’ under Liam’s. All that’s left is Harry’s.
“What I’m best at is frankly none of your business. I’ll be in my office if any of you need me. Liam.” Harry grits out, the vein in his neck seeming more and more prominent as time goes by. His lips are red and puffy from how much he is pinching and pulling at them, brows pulled taut in a manner that leaves me confused.
What just happened?
The other boys just continue to talk quietly amongst themselves, not seeming surprised by what just occurred.
Liam shuffles out of the living room behind Harry, walking up the stairs together before disappearing altogether. I notice the use of ‘my office’ which leads me to believe that Harry has his own office in all of the boys’ homes.
My phone buzzes in my pocket, hastily pulling it out as I set the pushpin down in its box.
’Forgot to text you last night, but I made it home safely. Crashed right as I got home. :( Miss you already.’ It reads. With how hectic everything was yesterday, just the simple thought of Sapphire texting me had slipped my mind. I sent a quick text back, letting her know that next time she can just stay all night. Wouldn’t be the first time we have shared the same bed.
With that, I pocket my phone and get back to work on organising the board.
“Don’t mind Liam,” I hear Zayn pipe up as I study the vent system more. I make sure to mark the fans as well, knowing good and well we’ll have to momentarily manually stop some of them. “There was a drop that went awry and he’s got his knickers in a twist. It’ll blow over.”
I stay silent in hopes that Zayn will elaborate on more details about the drop, but he doesn’t.
“Niall, how far will this van of yours be from the hotel? Is there a specific distance that you can go? I think it’ll be best if you can get your hands on a delivery van or one that is for maintenance.”
“About a block away. I think a maintenance van will work. Big brain up there.” He snorts, the familiar smell of weed permeating through the air. I can hear a lighter click before closing, easily recognising it as a zippo lighter.
Next is the layout of the ballroom. There are two staircases on either side upon entering the ballroom. I make sure to highlight them, along with the three other entrances to the ballroom. The layout is an interesting one, one that will create an easy emergency exit if we aren’t successful.
Next, I highlight where the fire alarms are, one is near the stage, one near the entrance to the ballroom and one is close to the maintenance closet. The only problem I can see is that there’s only one entrance and exit to the stage.
“Fuck.” I breathe out, moving to quickly make a note that there is only one exit and entrance which brings forward the idea of one of the boys possibly being hired to be a janitor. If they get hired on, they can scope the place out, see how much security will be there for the night and then stash our weapons there overnight so we won’t have to sneak them in.
“Louis. I need you to apply to work as a Janitor for the hotel.” I rush out, turning to look at the man who is already looking at me. I can tell he’s confused so I elaborate to the best of my abilities.
“If one of you gets hired on as a janitor at the hotel, you can sneak in all of our weapons in a duffel bag, hiding them in your cart. You can then place the bag in the vents of either the restroom or the maintenance closet. That way when we go through security, nothing will arouse suspicion because we won’t have our weapons. Not until we’re actually in the ballroom.”
I don’t hear Harry and Liam returning from down the stairs, far too focused on explaining my janitor idea.
It’s Liam who speaks up, surprising me with his presence.
“What about our tattoos? The devil horns are quite noticeable, no?” Liam questions, taking the joint from between Zayn’s fingers and placing it between his lips. All of their eyes are now on me and facing the board. Even Harry is sitting on the couch now, eyes filtering over the board.
“Easy fix. Makeup.” I shrug, writing that down onto the board as well.
“I fucking love your brain,” Louis grumbles, taking the joint from Liam after he is done with it, placing it between his lips to take a slow hit. Whenever he releases the smoke, he creates little ’o’s.
“Thanks, I quite like my brain as well,” I admit, causing the boys to laugh and I think Harry’s laugh is the loudest out of all of them. A part of me wishes that I could hear him laugh more.
The plan isn’t flawless yet. I still have to find a way to retrieve the crystal without alerting security. I can only imagine how many guards will be there, including undercover ones which is why I will need someone on the inside. Liam seems like the best bet, with how buff he is they might even make him a security guard.
“Alright, Liam. You’ll apply to be a janitor. Louis will be my date for the night. Zayn will be inside the ball as well while Niall and Harry are sat a block away in the van.” I quickly make post-its for everything, not wanting to forget a single detail because this has to be perfect otherwise it has the potential of falling apart.
“Oh!” I add, turning to look at them, a bright smile taking over my face. “I want to plan a smaller heist before this one, just to make sure our plan is foolproof. I want to see all of you in action and I want to take a few more men and place them somewhere. The more the better,”
“I suppose that makes sense,” Harry speaks up, lips wrapping around the joint right as Zayn lights up another one. “Is there a specific place you were thinking of, darling?” He questions, blowing the smoke out as he speaks. His eyes never stray from my face. The way he always holds eye contact makes me shift on my feet, clearing my throat.
“Monaco.” I breathe out, “It’s auction season. There’s bound to be a plethora of auctions happening. It doesn’t even have to be similar, I just need to see this in action to see if there’s anything that I need to tweak.” I explain, watching as Harry wu-tangs the joint, inhaling it right as he brings a glass of water up to his lips, washing everything down.
My eyes betray me, moving down to his throat to watch his adam’s apple bob as he swallows. It shouldn’t be as erotic as it is, quickly moving my eyes back up to meet his but the way his lips are tugging up at the sides, I know he’s caught me.
However, for once he doesn’t call me out or make a suggestive joke. He just winks, setting the glass back down onto the coffee table before he adjusts his slacks a bit.
That’s when I notice his knuckles, the broken skin and forming bruises that are varying in colour.
Even from where I am standing, I can tell that there’s a bit of dry blood still staining his knuckles that he seems to have forgotten about. Was the drop earlier or last night? Is the drop the business that Harry attended or was that something different?
His cracked knuckles are the only visible injury that I can see. My eyes briefly filter over Liam, looking for any signs of blood or forming bruises on him. His knuckles match up with Harry’s, which leads me to believe that they did indeed attend the drop together.
“Will you be working tomorrow night?” Zayn questions, laying back on the couch as a grin graces his lips. “Niall here has been frothing at the mouth at the idea of seeing you work, so if you do, he’ll be joining Harry and me.”
All I can manage is a nod, originally I wasn’t going to go in but any chance I get to tease Harry, I’ll take that offer.
Niall immediately thrusts his fist into the air, a ‘fuck yeah’ falling from his lips as he does so.
“I’ll give you a special lapdance, titty boy. Bet you’d love that, yeah?” I grin, moving away from the board for now to take a seat between Louis and Niall on the couch. The contact high I am getting from the joint that is being passed around is finally settling in, my eyelids drooping.
“Don’t go to work.” Harry suddenly speaks up, taking another slow drink from the glass of water. “The boys and I are throwing our annual party at my place. Don’t think you want to miss that do you, darling?” He questions, his gaze intense on me, never straying once which makes me shift once again.
All my mind needs to hear is Harry’s place and I’m agreeing, my head bobbing up and down as I lay my head on Louis’ shoulder. This gives me an opportunity to learn more about Harry. A house full of people. No one will even notice if I briefly disappear for about twenty minutes and if they do, I can just say that I got lost while looking for the restroom.
“Perfect, in that case, I’ll have Oliver take you home now and bring you to mine tomorrow.” I suppose that’s my cue to leave, so I use Louis’ thigh to push myself up from the couch.
“Bye boys, don’t have too much fun without me.” I smirk, making my way towards the door as a chorus of ’bye’s follow me.