18. Astar - Tell Me Five Things
Warning: Consumption of various alcoholic beverages, mixing different coloured liquids and the usage of hard drugs such as cocaine.
Despite the fact that Harry never explicitly told me if I can or can’t have a plus one, I invited Sapphire anyways.
So, here we are, blindly picking out each other’s outfits from my closet. I grab a little black dress with thin straps for her to wear, laying it down on my bed with a dark wash denim jacket to go over it. Next to the outfit, I had just picked out for her was a pair of leather trousers and a black wrap shirt.
I move to grab the outfit, removing the sweats I was wearing along with the shirt before I pull the outfit on, letting Sapphire tie the shirt in the back so that I don’t have to turn and do it myself in the mirror. I let her get dressed as I move into the bathroom, climbing up to sit on the counter with my feet in the sink as I curl my hair, letting it fall down in loose waves before starting my makeup.
I decide to keep it simple, drawing on my wing eyeliner and then dusting my cheeks with highlighter. I go for my signature red lip, rubbing my lips together slowly to evenly spread the product out before doing a kiss test on the back of my hand like I always do.
Sapphire appears behind me, her hair now in space buns on top of her head as a few curly pieces fell out into her face. All she slides onto her lips is a thin coat of lip gloss, rubbing her lips together to make sure that it doesn’t turn white on the inner corners before she grins at me.
She’s effortlessly beautiful.
“Do you know how many people are going to be there?” She questions, moving to rest her chin on my shoulder, near the crook of my neck, eyes glued to me as she watches me do my makeup.
“I’m assuming not too many considering they barely trust anyone.” I snort, adding mascara to my eyelashes, including the bottom lashline as Sapphire wraps her arms around my middle and stays close to me. It’s obvious that physical touch is her love language. I may not like close contact, but her presence makes me feel calm so I decide not to tell her to move.
Sapphire may be the only person that I have let touch me like this in years which catches me off guard. I think back to how we were cuddled on the couch, clutching onto each other like vices, like we would slip right through each other’s fingertips at any given moment. I feel safe in her presence.
“A nice, little party with the boys. I’m excited to get to meet all of them finally. Have only ever spoken to Harry and the other one, the one that looks like he walked out of a magazine.” She backs away right as I finish my makeup, giving me space to get off of the countertop and I do just that.
A honk can be heard outside of my studio apartment, signalling that Oliver has arrived to pick us up.
It is not a small, little party consisting of just the boys.
The second we pull up to the house, driving around the massive fountain that is in the centre of the driveway to Harry’s place, I notice the plethora of parked black Mercedes G-Wagons and Cadillac Escalades. The windows are completely tinted to where I can’t see inside of them. It is also pitch black outside, but regardless, the windows are completely black.
There are other members of the gang here and possibly other gangs in attendance. Some of the cars even look like mafia cars. From what I can see, some of the cars don’t have a license plate, where a plate should be is vacant.
I can take a wild guess and assume that the windows are also bulletproof.
Good thing there’s currently a knife sitting pretty on my ankle for quick access, if I need it.
The music can be heard from where Sapphire and I stand on the front lawn, walking towards the front door. I do a quick scope of my surroundings, noticing the cameras that are on the sides of the house as well as the front gate.
There’s more to Harry Styles than MI6 knows for sure.
The camera that sits above the front door follows our every move, landing on us before a click can be heard and the front door opens, allowing me to place my hand on it so I can push it open the rest of the way.
Immediately I’m hit with the stench of weed, strong and coating the inside of my nostrils. I knew Sapphire and I will reek of it by the time we leave here tonight. There wasn’t even a point of putting perfume on.
The next smell that hits me is the smell of sweat, seeing numerous sweaty bodies that are just grinding against each other to the beat of the music as the lights illuminate them, different colours bouncing off of their bodies to show the acts they’re committing.
Some people are keeping it simple with grinding whilst others are full-on clashing their hips together, using the other to get themselves off.
When I look to the corners of the room, I can make out bodies that are curling in a way that I can recognize as pure pleasure, ecstasy, mouths agape like they can’t stop themselves.
In another corner I can see a girl using her debit card to carefully cut up three even lines before she pulls her hair to the side, leaning down as she plugs her nose to easily clean the table up until there isn’t a speck left.
She wipes her nose as if it’s second nature, the look of bliss immediately taking over her features before she pulls the guy next to her in for a heated kiss that is mostly tongue and teeth but he doesn’t seem to mind.
I turn to look at Sapphire, moving to grab her hand and entwine our fingers as I pull her towards what I can only assume is the kitchen given the number of people that are heading that way.
The only thing I find odd is that unlike Niall and Louis’ homes, whose walls are full of pictures and memories, Harry’s is void of them and instead full of paintings and different pieces of art. There’s even a sculpture in one corner of the room, right next to the stairs of a naked woman, one boob bigger than the other and they were saggy. Something I don’t think most men would have.
Something that makes me smile, because Harry knows that not all women have picture-esque boobs but he enjoys all of them.
The sound of multiple people talking drowns out the sound of the loud music as we enter the kitchen, spotting a man and a woman who are making drinks for everyone. That’s when I notice that Harry has an actual bar in his kitchen. I should expect nothing less at this point.
“I see you’ve made it, and you brought a friend.” I hear someone yell from behind me, watching as Niall makes his way through a few people to get close to us. The outfit he has on makes me do a double-take, eyes lingering on the hair that I can see on his chest since he left the shirt unbuttoned.
He’s wearing a brown shirt, leaving the top few buttons unbuttoned with a pair of white slacks. He has a joint behind his ear and a cold glass of some sort of mixture in his hand, judging by how red the whites of his eyes are and the glaze over them, he’s already cross-faded.
“I did. Sapphire, meet Niall. Niall, meet Sapphire.” I introduce the two, gesturing between them. Sapphire kindly moves her hand forward to shake Niall’s hand but the man quickly pulls her in for a hug, detaching himself from her after a few brief moments.
“All of the lads are in the living room. Get a drink or two and join us. We’re pissed!” He cackles, grabbing two more drinks from the bartenders before he makes his way through the crowd of people. I don’t even have a chance to ask where the living room is. He just expects me to know.
I lead Sapphire up to the bar, making sure our hands stay entwined as I order the drinks. “Uhm...Can I get four shots of tequila and two vodka martinis? Thank you.”
I move to sit down on one of the barstools, pulling Sapphire between my legs as we wait for our drinks to be made.
“Sorry, I didn’t even ask if you like hard liquor. Is this okay with you?” I question, watching as Sapphire just nods, resting her hands on my thighs and giving them a squeeze before speaking up over the music.
“You think I’m going to turn down free drinks? Don’t be scared off if I start to flirt with you once I’ve got a bit of liquid courage though,” she smirks, moving to grab one of the tequila shots, bringing it up to her lips and downing it. She doesn’t even make a face, swallowing it with ease before she downs the second one. One after the other. She fascinates me. There’s so much to her that I have yet to discover.
“As if you’ve ever needed liquid courage to flirt with me,” I scoff, downing my two shots of tequila as well before grabbing the Vodka Martini. I re-entwine my hand with Sapphire’s, leading her through the crowd of people as I search for the living room. This gives me a chance to get a good look at Harry’s space that he calls home.
The only picture of Harry that I can see is a painting, it’s hanging near the foyer. Harry is standing in the painting with two large black dogs on either side of him. Behind him is nothing but fire, cascading around him and casting shadows on his face that illuminate the devil horn tattoo that can be seen peeking out behind his neck.
Does Harry see himself as the devil or is it just a front? A brand for his gang? At this point is it even a gang? It seems bigger than that.
I watch as a girl grabs onto the front of a guy’s shirt, tugging him back until they reach a door. Upon opening it, she flicks the light on and tiles can be shown before she pulls the man into the bathroom and the door is slammed shut behind them, the couple disappearing from view.
Harry’s laugh rings out over the music, leading me right into the living room with Sapphire trailing behind me. Every now and then she gives my hand a squeeze, letting me know she’s still there.
He’s the first person my eyes land on despite being the least visible.
Harry brings his hand up to grab a piece of hair that has fallen into his face, swiftly tucking it behind his ear without a second thought. His face is the epitome of light at this moment. He’s happy. The sides of his eyes create divots, having to bite down on his lower lip to stop from smiling so big but I can tell that he’s failing.
Instead, he moves to gently bite onto the back of his knuckle, suddenly turning to look directly at me. The smile doesn’t leave his face once. I can’t tell if I’m creating a scenario in my head, but it almost looks as if his smile widens, his eyes brightening up.
“Astar!” He exclaims, bringing both of his hands up before waving me in. “Don’t just stand there. There’s plenty of room.”
I take a step into the living room, Sapphire following close behind me as I take a seat on the couch that has a bit more room on it, looking around at everyone before my eyes find their way to Harry once more.
The first three buttons on his white, silk shirt are unbuttoned, revealing his pecs that leave my mouth watering. That’s when I notice the cross necklace dangling there, catching me off guard given his obsession with the devil.
His pants are rolled up at the ankles, vans sitting pretty on his feet. This is the most casual I’ve ever seen him.
I bring my vodka martini up to my lips to take a sip, deciding to introduce Sapphire to the group once again so she isn’t just sitting there. I want her to be included.
“Guys, this is Sapphire. Sapphire, this is Harry, Louis, Zayn...Liam is around I suppose. And you’ve already met Niall.” I chuckle, pointing the boys out to her, Liam deciding to join us on the couch a few seconds later.
Liam’s eyes linger on Sapphire for a little while longer than everyone else. In return, I decide to stare right back at him, wondering if the man has a staring problem.
“So, Sapphire...” Niall drowns off, leaning over the arm of the couch a bit to get closer to her. “What is it like working at the club?” He questions, his voice dripping with curiosity. They hit it off easily, Sapphire rambling on about how she loves dancing and her favourite part is the people she gets the opportunity to meet.
I turn my attention to Harry who is already looking at me, his eyes taking in my outfit before meeting my eyes.
“You look....wow.” He breathes out, making me freeze in my seat. This is a different Harry. Not the one who puts on a front for his gang. Not the one who puts me through a series of tests. Not the one who wears a cocky smirk and makes a witty sexual comment. This isn’t Harry Styles of the Devil’s tribe. This is just Harry.
“You don’t look too shabby yourself, boss man.” I chuckle, tilting my head to the side a bit as my eyes drift down his body to really drink him in. There’s no point in being subtle about it since we’re both checking each other out.
The space between us seems to be getting smaller and smaller, having to move closer so we can hear each other over the sound of the music. “Are you here for a good time?” He questions, a small baggie containing a white powder dropping into my vision, pinching the top of the baggie with his two fingers as he waves it back and forth.
“With you?” I question, bringing my tongue out to wet my lips so that I can watch his eyes follow the action. “Always.” I grin.
Harry wastes no time in opening the little baggie, spilling the contents out onto the table. He then picks up a black Amex card, carefully cutting the powder into four fine lines, two for him and two for me.
I bring my hair to the side, but to my surprise Harry reaches over to grasp it for me, not letting it fall onto the coffee table. I move to tilt my head to the side to look at him, his gaze hot on me before I place my finger on the side of my nostril and lean down to clean the table with ease. This isn’t my first rodeo. Before joining MI6 I was a completely different person. The high is instant, a shaky mixture of a breath and a laugh leaving my lips as I run my finger under my nose to clean up any excess.
I move my hand forward to gently wipe underneath Harry’s nose, since he has a bit of excess white powder, rubbing it off so his face is clean. His pupils dilate almost immediately, erasing almost any trace of green that is left in them.
“Care to dance, Little Devil?” He questions, extending his hand out to me.
The temperature skyrockets, suddenly feeling hot all over as I place my sweaty hand into Harry’s, letting him lead me through the sweaty, grinding bodies that were doing unspeakable things.
The unmistakable sound of Chase Atlantic fills the house right as I turn around, pressing my back up against Harry’s chest as his hands find their way to my waist, digging his fingers into the flesh there in a bruising manner.
Everything is heightened. It’s like my body is a match and with every touch of Harry’s fingers, he’s igniting me, setting my skin alight.
I lean my head back against his chest as my hips move back against him, his head dropping down to brush his lips against my ear before he speaks, singing along to the song that is playing.
Something about Harry whispering the lyrics to a Chase Atlantic song into my ear has me groaning inaudibly.
"You picked a dance with the devil and you lucked out..” He breathes out, tongue darting out to lick over the crest of my ear before taking it between his teeth and biting down. His hands are merciless, roaming every inch of my body as if this will be the last chance that he can do so.
“Bet you’d let me finger you right here, wouldn’t you? Maybe even ride my thigh in these leather trousers of yours like the naughty little bitch you are.” He spat, fingernails biting into my waist.
His words sent arousal straight between my legs, unable to stop the shaky groan that leaves my lips. My hips slowly begin to move in circles back against him, a smirk growing on my lips as I feel him start to harden in his slacks. Men are so easy.
The noises that are falling from his lips have me clenching my thighs together, trying not to lose the upper hand that I currently have. Little gasps and groans are slipping from his lips that are right up against my ear.
I keep my eyes forward, having to blink a few times to make sure that my eyes aren’t playing tricks on me. The way my hips are moving back against Harry suddenly ceases, heart racing in my chest as I hold my breath.
Black Beanie. Black hoodie. Black Jeans. Black combat boots. It can’t be a coincidence. If they’re here, it has to be someone Harry knows but what’re the odds of that? Is it someone else in his gang? Is it another gang that’s here? What’re the odds that I see that same outfit over and over the past few weeks.
Am I just overthinking this or am I actually being watched? I still have yet to release the breath that I’m holding, my lungs screaming at me to breathe but I fear that if I even make one move that they’ll simply disappear like they did at the strip club.
My eyes scan the crowd, wanting to find all of the boys. Harry is behind me. Check. Niall is in the corner, leaning against the wall with his lips right up against Zayn’s ear to whisper something to him. Check. I turn my head again to look everywhere for Liam, finding him near the backdoor with Sapphire. His outfit isn’t even black. He’s wearing a red shirt with a skull and crossbones on the back. I watch as Sapphire places her hand on Liam’s bicep, giving it a squeeze before they walk out onto the back deck together. Check.
That’s when my eyes start to scan the crowd faster than before, trying to find Louis but I can’t fucking find him. My mind seems to start making up its own scenarios, ones that I know aren’t plausible but I can’t help it. I can feel my heartbeat speed up in my chest, ringing loudly in my ears as my hands start to shake.
Is Louis laying somewhere bleeding out? Why would I assume the people in all black are dangerous? Why would I even assume they’re following me? Just because I happen to see them at the club? I can’t stop my hands from shaking.
“Astar. Astar.” Harry forces me to turn around, bringing his hands up to cup my cheeks so that I’m forced to look directly at him. “Hey, Hey. Are you okay?” He questions, placing one of his hands against my forehead to check what I can only assume is if I have a temperature.
I bring my hands up to hold onto his, finally releasing the breath that I have been holding, because with him holding me I feel like I can fucking breathe. My lungs are fighting for the air that I’m gulping in, turning to frantically search the crowds for the person.
“They’re...They were...” I drown off, finding the spot they were standing completely empty just like at the club. I’m more than convinced at this point my mind is playing cruel tricks on me.
Harry’s grasps onto my face once again, forcing me to meet his eyes as he lowers his head just a bit to look directly at me. “Who’s they, Astar? Fuck, there’s too many people for you here.” He breathes out, taking his eyes off of me for a brief second.
My eyes see Louis in one corner, taking a slow drag from a spliff before passing it off to someone. He’s alive. He’s breathing. Check.
Once Harry finds what he’s looking for, he drops his hand down to take mine, making sure our fingers are entwined before he starts tugging me through the crowd and towards the stairs. I still feel like I’m struggling to breathe. My mind is swirling with the worst of possibilities. Am I being watched? If so, by who? Is my mind slowly succumbing to itself and the terrible thoughts it creates? The white noise rings loud in my ears, the music fading away and being replaced by the tv static sound.
Before I know it, I’m being pulled into a bedroom and the door is shutting behind Harry and me. His hands are cupping my face once more, bringing my eyes up to meet his but I can’t look at him. This is the last state I want him to see me in. I can’t feel if I’m crying but I know that whenever I get in a state like this, it’s inevitable because I always feel like I’m dying.
“Astar, please look at me, darling.” He breathes out, voice soft as his thumb slowly moves over my cheek so I have something to feel.
I force my eyes to meet his, the only light in the room is from a neon sign sitting somewhere because I can see a faint red hue.
“I want you to tell me five things that you can smell, can you do that for me? C’mon, darling.” He encourages, continuing to gently run his thumb over my cheek, occasionally brushing said thumb under my eye to collect the tears that are no doubt falling.
“Uhm..” I let out a shaky breath, barely recognizing the sound of my own voice. “Weed,” I start, hearing a faint laugh fall from Harry’s lips which makes the sides of my lips twitch up. I can’t help it. “Weed, sweat...” I drown off, trying as hard as I can to focus and pick up more smells. “Uhm, sex. It smells like sex. I also smell alcohol on your breath.” Speaking is slowly but surely starting to become easier. “I can smell outside, grass. I can also smell laundry. Yes. Fresh laundry.” I breathe out shakily, moving my hands up to grip onto his to try and ground myself.
“You’re doing so well, Astar. So fucking well,” He praises, “What about five things you can hear, yeah? C’mon,” He speaks gently, like he’s afraid that if he speaks too loud, it’ll send me spiralling.
The white noise that was previously making it hard for me to hear anything seems to have slowly dissipated without me even noticing. “I can hear the music downstairs,” I begin, letting out a little hiccup as I feel my heart slow down some. “There’s an owl outside, uh...I can hear you talking to me. There’s a door opening across the hallway and someone just walked down the hall.” My sentences are actual sentences now instead of me just grumbling incoherently. At least I think they’re sentences now.
“Good girl. There we go. You’re almost there.” He smiles, taking a small step back. “Five things you can see? I know you can do it.”
I divert my eyes from his for the first time in however long it’s been since we’ve entered this room, the second my eyes leave his though I realise it’s Harry’s room and it’s nothing like I anticipated.
I start naming off all of the things that I can see. “There’s a bright neon red sign of a woman with boobies.” I giggle, finally finding the source of the faint red hue that I briefly noticed earlier.
“The walls are white, there’s a guitar standing in the corner that’s collecting dust,” I grumble, moving my eyes a bit more to try and get as much as I can. “There’s a knob broken off the dresser and I can see you,” I mention, moving my eyes back to look at him, his eyes never having left my face despite the fact that I was surveying his room.
His gaze is intense, unwavering. It makes you shift from foot to foot because his thoughts are always unclear. Harry Styles is an enigma. A mystery. An enigmatic mystery that I can’t wait to figure out, regardless of where it takes me.
At this point my chest is rising and falling easily, being able to expand without struggling as I take breaths in.
I have no idea what he just did, but whatever it was stopped me from spiralling off into the deep end. A part of me had expected him to just walk off the second he no longer felt me responding but instead he recognised that something was off, and took me to a place where the crowd fizzled out and the sound wasn’t loud.
Harry Styles in the flesh is different from the Harry Styles I have written out on an official document back at my apartment. Every time I get a glimpse of this Harry, it makes me wonder just how different the two are and if I’ll ever truly get to see the entirety of the real Harry.
“There she is.” He grins, removing his hands from my face. A part of me wishes he hadn’t done that. My eyes follow him as he walks over to the bed, pulling a blanket off of the comforter before he returns to me and places a hand on the small of my back, his touch now bringing goosebumps to my skin instead of the feeling of fire.
“Where are we going?” I question as he leads me out onto the balcony, pulling the door shut behind him. The cool air of the night hits my face, a small gust of wind blows my hair back behind my shoulders, right as Harry tosses the blanket up onto the roof. His hands rest on my waist.
“I’m going to need you to trust me on this,” He starts, turning me around so that I’m facing the roof instead of him. “I’m going to hoist you up to the roof. You’re going to grab onto the side and lay on the blanket, okay? I’ll be up after you.” All I can manage is a nod, grasping onto the side of the roof the second he hoists me up, using my upper body strength to pull myself up over the side and lay down. I’m just thankful that Harry’s roof is flat. I don’t see why we couldn’t have just used the very obvious entrance and exit that I can see, but whatever. Potato, potato I suppose.
Harry is pushing himself up onto the roof mere seconds later, moving to take the spot beside me as he grabs the blanket and wraps it around my shoulders. “Have you ever been star-gazing?” He questions, glancing up at the night sky.
This is as clear as I’ve ever seen the London sky at night. For once the sky is visible and it makes my breath hitch, stopping for just the briefest of seconds before I exhale.
“Yes...” I breathe out, bringing my finger up to slowly trace over one of the constellations, unable to stop the smile that was growing on my lips.
Harry then leans into me, taking some of the blanket for himself so that we’re now sharing it. I move to lay my head on his shoulder right as he wraps his arm around my waist, keeping me tucked into his side. He rubs small circles into my hip, letting me know that he’s here. He’s been here the entire night.
“What’s your sign?” I blurt out, just wanting to know more about him at this point even if it isn’t relevant to the case. Even if realistically I already know his birthday, time of birth and so forth.
“I’m an Aquarius.” He admits, giving my side a small squeeze. “According to your profile, you’re a Sagittarius.” His words make my nose scrunch up, turning to look up at him and that’s when I notice that his freckles form a constellation of their own. Before I can even register what I’m doing and stop myself, my finger moves up to trace over his freckles.
“Cassiopeia,” I breathe out after I’m done tracing over his freckles, Harry’s gaze never leaving my face. He doesn’t even remove my finger from his face. For just the briefest of moments, I swear his eyes move down to my lips before returning to my eyes.
The moon makes his eyes appear even more green if that’s possible, one side of his face having a shadow cast on it whilst the other is lit up. Reminds me of a yin yang.
“The stars remind me of my sister,” I mention, turning to look back out at the stars as the moment has become far too intimate for my liking. “She’s up there with them. I like to think she’s the biggest, brightest star in the sky.” I hum, moving to lay my head back down on Harry’s shoulder. If possible, his grip seems to tighten on me, not wanting any space to be between us before he speaks.
“My sister is in a safe house.” He admits, my heart skipping a beat at this new information. To our knowledge, Harry’s family is all dead. They all died a long time ago, but according to Harry himself, this is untrue.
“She just recently had a baby. A baby boy.” He breathes out, his tone full of love. I can feel it radiating off of him as he rambles on and on about his sister and her new baby. I decide that this information is better left out of my journal. Harry’s sister deserves her peace. She doesn’t need MI6 knocking at her door and terrorising her.
Harry’s a family man and it’s obvious that he’d do anything to keep his sister safe, even more so for her baby. This makes me wonder if all of their deaths were faked. Are his mum and dad still alive?
“What’s her name?” I question, just wanting to continue talking about something that makes Harry smile the way he is now. Like everything in the world is right.
“Gemma. Her sons’ name is Roman. He’s the cutest little thing that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He’s just now learning to crawl and he’s a wiggle worm,” He snorts, causing me to snort as well just from the term wiggle worm.
“Do you think you’ll ever have kids?” I question, moving to look up at him only to find out that his eyes never once left my face. So much for Star-gazing.
“No.” He admits, his gaze finally leaving my face to look up at the stars, the moon finally hitting every inch of his face instead of leaving one part in the shadows. In a way, Harry is a lot like a yin yang. He always leaves one part of him in the shadows, refusing to show the mixture of light and darkness inside of him.
I decide not to ask him to elaborate, it’s obvious that it’s a topic for a rainy day.
Eventually, we move to lay back on the roof, curled in on each other as we stare up at the stars, the sounds of laughter and people jumping into the pool from below seeming to just fade away.
To us, it was just the two of us that exist right now. Everyone else is just passerby’s.
Despite the new information that I have learned tonight, Harry Styles is still a mystery. Turns out, I barely know anything about them at all. I know that by the time the sun rises, he’ll have forgotten about this.
Harry Styles is a private person, he keeps those he loves close to his chest and never gives out possible details that can incriminate them. His sister was a drunken mistake, a slight of the tongue.
So for now, I’ll file that information away for a rainy day, for the day he wants to be open and admit it again, but this time sober.