Achilles Heel

19. Astar - Lie

Gasoline.

My clothes reek of gasoline. My hands shake as they move closer to the red-hot flame, the heat radiating off of it and burning the tips of my fingers.

The flames rage with fury, claiming everything in its wake, not leaving an ounce of sympathy for anything or anyone.

The blue-ish flames reflect in my eyes, growing higher and higher as they wreak havoc on whatever is in its path.

I stand frozen, unable to move yet there’s manic shouting all around me. I pay no attention to the shouting, instead watching as the fire yells bloody mary.

It climbs up the walls, destroying what was once there but I find it beautiful. Mesmerising.

The reds. The blues. The yellows.

The reds.

It’s like the fire is cleansing the house of its sins.

Red is my favourite colour. Even more so now as I watch the flames claim every last shred of hope.

The flames eventually reach me, yet I don’t move. I can hear the voices yelling at me to move, to run. Yet, I can’t budge. It’s like I’m frozen to the ground, unable to move as the flames start to slowly take over every inch of my body, making me one with the house that is being burnt down to ashes.

As if it never existed in the first place.

I’m the point of ignition. I’m gasoline. The ignitor. The accelerant.

I started the fire, it’s the hottest where I’m standing and it spans out in every direction, taking over everything.

The flames start and end with me.

I inhale deeply as I rise up from the bed, a bead of sweat trickling down my forehead. My hand moves to brush against my arm. It’s almost as if I can still feel the flames there, melting the skin and making it hot to the touch. I clutch the duvet tightly to my chest, taking in my surroundings as I realise that I’m in Harry’s room.

I also take in the fact that I’m still in my clothes from last night, which clings to my body in a way that makes my nose scrunch up in disgust. The leather trousers stick to my legs due to the sweat that has coated my skin after the nightmare. If I can even call it a nightmare.

It felt so real as if my skin was really on fire yet there were no flames in Harry’s room. No one is screaming. No one is yelling at me to move. Flames aren’t claiming everything in Harry’s room as their own.

It’s peaceful here in Harry’s room. The black-out curtains are pulled to the side to let in a little bit of light, giving me enough to actually take in some of the more hidden parts of his room.

The door interrupts me from my thoughts. I move over quickly, throwing the duvet off of my body. My right leg hitches up a bit so that I have access to the dagger that is strapped to my ankle. Right before the door is even able to completely open, I bring myself up onto my knees and throw the dagger right at the culprit, heart pounding against my ribcage. I didn’t even take a moment to register who could possibly be opening the door.

Luckily, it doesn’t pierce anything on the culprit as the person is Harry.

He doesn’t even flinch as the dagger glides right past his ear, becoming embedded in the door as he slowly shuts it. He just bores his eyes into me, a small bead of blood trickling down his ear and onto his jaw where it proceeds to fall onto his bare shoulder.

There’s a piece of his hair stuck in the door now, having been sliced off by the dagger whenever it glided past his ear.

His eyes don’t leave me as he reaches up, wrapping his hand around the hilt of the dagger before yanking it out of the wall with ease.

“Missed me, little devil.” He chuckles, a glint in his eyes as he makes his way towards me. However, my eyes don’t miss the way his cock visibly twitches in his grey sweatpants, which are hanging lowly on his hips.

“Maybe next time you can try knocking.” I huff, giving a shake of my head as I get up from the bed, removing the scrunchie from my wrist to pull my hair into a bun.

Harry heaves out a sigh of disagreement, walking over to his closet and sliding it open. Being the nosy person I am, I’m quick to follow him.

“Why would I knock when I know you’re going to throw knives at me?” He questions, right as I bring my thumb up to wipe the blood away from him where the dagger nicked him.

“Dagger.” I correct.

We’re so close that I can feel the heat radiating from his body. I can feel him lift his shoulders before dropping them down to shrug, letting me know that he didn’t care.

“Semantics.” He grumbles, which only makes me laugh. There’s a definite difference between a knife and a dagger, but I’ll let him slide with this one. I know he’s more into guns than anything.

I ignore the man, ducking underneath his arm whenever he raises it so that I can enter his closet--like I can’t just open the other door. I ignore what he says as I start to go through all of his clothes, scoffing a bit at how most of it is designer and mostly one designer. “What’s with all the fucking Gucci?” I question, walking away from the suit wall to another wall that contains what seems to be more casual clothing.

“Don’t you know it’s rude to go through other people’s stuff? Did your mother not raise you right?” He asks, a scoff falling from his lips but I don’t find it funny.

My hands pause on the shirt that I’m about to remove off of the red, velvet crushed hanger. My reply is on the tip of my tongue, however, I’m quick to shut my mouth. I know he’ll start to backtrack if I answer and the last thing I want is pity. Pity makes me uncomfortable and not only that, Harry doesn’t need ammunition to use against me.

I move to push the hanger to the side, my eyes meeting a switch with a pin pad next to it that was initially hidden by the clothing. This can only meet one thing. This closet is a lot bigger than it seems and there’s a hidden door somewhere.

I move my fingers along the edge of the wall slowly as I flick through the clothes, not wanting to alarm Harry that I’ve found something that I definitely shouldn’t know about. From what I can see, the door wouldn’t be next to the pin pad which throws me off. Usually, a hidden entrance door like this would be next to the pin pad.

A presence comes up behind me, moving to grasp onto my arm to stop it from running along the wall.

“What did I say about going through others’ stuff?” Harry whispers into my ear, his other hand coming to rest on my waist. “Honestly, I thought we built a little trust between us last night but, I see that I’m mistaken.” He sighs, moving the clothes so that the pin pad was out of sight once more.

“If you would’ve asked, I would’ve opened it for you.” He continues, but a part of me is positive that’s a lie. Maybe if he was a little inebriated, but completely sober he would’ve pretended it didn’t exist.

He’s a master at changing the subject when it comes to slightly invasive questions.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lie through my teeth, even though I know I just got caught red-handed. I grab one of Harry’s shirts, turning to face Harry as I remove the black wrap shirt I had on from last night, tossing it carelessly to the side. His eyes follow my every move, lingering on my chest since I didn’t have a bra on.

I knew exactly what I was doing. It’s what I did best, using sex to change the subject.

Harry’s hands run slowly up my back, taking his lower lip between his teeth as he watches me undress. We’re close enough that I can feel his cock twitch once again in his sweats, thickening at just the sight of me which sends a rush of arousal between my own legs.

Just knowing that the sight of me turns him on is such a powerful feeling.

A pout grows on his face as he releases his lower lip from between his teeth, looking so that our eyes meet once again. “While you do look good in my clothes, I much prefer them on the ground.” He tsks, releasing the grip he has on my waist.

Crisis avoided. You aren’t the only one that’s good at dodging a conversation, Styles.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I say with a grin on my face, moving to pat his shoulder as I brush past him to exit the closet. “Will Oliver take me home?” I question before adding, “Or should I just order an Uber?”

Harry walks out with a leather jacket thrown over a white t-shirt, sunglasses hanging off of the neckline of his shirt. When he turns around near the mirror, I can see a pair of devil horns painted onto the back of the leather jacket. He just has to let everyone know who he is.

His ego definitely needs to be kicked down a notch or two.

Harry makes eye contact with me through the mirror as he shakes his head, removing a hair tie from his wrist to pull his hair back into a bun. “Negative to both of those.”

Which just confuses me. Does he want me to stay here? He’s aware that I work tonight.

“I’ll be taking you home. Come on.” A smile graces his lips, opening up the bedroom door to exit the room. I grab my dagger, placing it back into its sheath on my ankle before I follow him downstairs.

The entire house is silent which leads me to believe that all of the boys are gone, and it’s oddly clean despite the party that occurred last night. If I were someone that had just arrived, I’d be none the wiser to the chaos that ensued last night. And chaos it was. People jumping off of the balcony into the pool. Sex in the corners of the rooms. Sex in the bathroom. There were people doing lines of cocaine in the kitchen, the living room.

Harry’s house was a house of sins last night.

Instead of leading me outside, he makes a sharp left to lead me down into the garage, my eyes widening at the plethora of not only cars but also motorcycles that the man owns.

Harry grabs a set of keys that are hanging on a corkboard next to the door, leading me over to one of the motorcycles that immediately makes my head shake from side to side.

“Absolutely not, Harry. Over my dead body.” I breathe out, pulling my phone out to glance at the time. Who the hell goes on a morning joyride at nearly nine?

The bike that he’s slowly starting to back out of the garage is a bright red colour, and he’s pulling it with ease which shocks me. Once the garage door has opened completely and he’s sitting in the driveway, he throws his right leg over the seat, hands resting on the throttle and brake.

He nods his head backwards, telling me to get on the back nonverbally but I refuse, staying right where I am as I give another shake of my head.

“Absolutely not. You’re insane.” I breathe out, however, the second he juts out his lower lip into a pout, I’m a goner. I can’t say no to that face.

I try not to think too hard about what that can mean. After all, it is only nine am. I’ll blame it on the fact that I just woke up.

The kickstand is still down as I move to climb onto the pillion, placing my feet securely on the footpeg meant for a passenger. “If I die, Styles...” I mutter, my head giving a shake of disapproval.

Harry then reaches behind me, grabbing a helmet to hold out for me to take.

“What? Can’t have my little devil getting hurt, now can I?” He questions, making sure that I put the helmet on right. “Move your head around a bit...”

He gives a nod of approval as I do just that, patting the top of the helmet, “Good girl,” He grins, right before he turns around. Harry starts up the bike, kicking the kickstand up as he starts to push us back onto the road by the pads of his shoes.

Shivers. They erupt on my skin, descending down my spine and flooding my tummy. Something about the way ‘good girl’ rolls off his tongue will always make me shift.

Once we’re out on the road, he revs the engine a few times, the tire spinning as it creates a skid mark on the road behind us. “Wrap your arms around me!” He calls out over the noise, which I happily oblige, moving forward to wrap my arms around his middle, entwining them in the front.

The motorcycle then jolts forward as we take off down the street, tires skidding a bit as Harry flies around the corner and doesn’t slow down. My heart is beating quickly against my chest, the scenery flying by in quick succession as if it’s a movie reel that I can’t pause.

Harry’s weaving in and out of traffic as if it’s second nature, not slowing down once. This just further proves that he definitely has the police force in his pocket. There’s no way he should be able to get away with this, yet here we are.

There’s definitely something bigger at play here. The realisation of that makes me nauseous almost immediately.

The second we arrive in front of my house and the kickstand is down, I’m removing the helmet and setting it in place of where I just was.

“We’re leaving for Monaco tomorrow night. Specifically Monte Carlo. Pack for about three days. Liam won’t be coming because he got the job as a janitor at the hotel for the heist here.” He laughs like it’s the funniest thing in the world that Liam has a job.

“I’ll have Oliver pick you up and bring you to the airport where the jet is. Don’t worry. I’ve already spoken to Tony and he’s giving you the day’s off. I’ll see you tonight. All of the boys will.” He smirks, throwing a wink at me before he speeds off, not revving the engine this time.

I stand there with my jaw hanging open, giving a shake of my head as I enter my studio apartment. I make sure to disable the alarm upon entering, locking the door behind me as I step inside.

Tonight should be interesting with all of the boys, it’s all that’s occupying my mind now. Sinking into the deepest of crevices and making my thoughts run rampant. Who will I tease? Will all of the boys be in the Red Room? Will it be just Harry for our nightly meeting?

I move to sit on my couch, looking up at the clock that hangs above my tv and furrowing my brows at the time.

3:33 am.

It’s just stuck on it, which makes no sense considering I had just bought the clock. The red lights inside of the digital clock flash back at me. I can’t be bothered to fix it though so instead, I’m taking out the journal that I have neglected in the past few days, writing the date in the top corner before I start writing.

’Last night there was a party. Sapphire and I were in attendance. Members of multiple gangs were in attendance, as well as some members of the mafia.

Suspicions of this being larger than it seems. Larger than what MI6 knows.

I have gotten closer to Harry.

Harry’s family is...′

I hesitate.

I drum the pen against my thigh for a moment, before bringing it up to my lips, chewing slightly on the part that would hold it to a notebook.

I bring the pen back down to the paper, zero hesitation in my hand now.

Harry’s family is deceased.′ A lie. ′Gemma and her fiance at the time passed in a car crash, flames engulfing the car. They were found dead on arrival. As for Harry’s mum, she passed in a murder-suicide at the hands of Harry’s father.′ Another lie.

I’ve never lied to my job before, yet here I am doing so for a man that I’ve known for a little under a month. What’s the worst that could happen? There’s no way Jessie would find out. We have already assumed that Harry’s family is all deceased. In his mind, this will just solidify it. So I keep it in, signing my initials at the bottom before putting up my Journal with a small sigh.

The walk to my bedroom is a short one, leaving the door open as I move to shut the window that was open all night. It was a bit chilly in my room today, so I close the curtains and look around for an outfit to wear tonight.

It’s Fugitive Friday and it’s only fitting for me to go dressed as a cop. A bit ironic as well.

I move to hang up the costume over my door, a pair of handcuffs hanging from the pocket which makes me grin. I’ll definitely be using those on the boys once I get a chance to do so.

Once I have everything laid out for tonight, I move to change into someone that’s appropriate for a run, deciding on a pair of black lululemon leggings and a Nike sports bra, leaving my hair up.

--

My hand comes up to remove one of my AirPods as I slow down, my eyes making contact with a poster that is hanging on one of the red telephone boxes.

London’s Great Escape Fair!

Tickets are going fast. Get yours at any cinema today for just ten pounds.

Tarot Readings, Fun Rides, Arcade games and More!

A week-long fun event for you and your friends to enjoy from 08:00 am to 19:00.

At the bottom is the event place and date, which is exactly two weeks from now. I decide to fold the paper up, tucking it into my leggings as I place my AirPods back into my ears and resume my jog.

Upon entering my apartment, something seems off. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it’s enough for me to enter with caution, placing my back up against the wall and peering around every edge slowly, stealthily.

I’m thankful that my apartment is new enough that the floor doesn’t creek, otherwise I’d be shitting bricks right about now.

Every room is left untouched though, except one thing. The time on the clock has finally changed, except it’s now frozen, stuck in the new time.

06:33 am.

An unsettling feeling enters my stomach as I march forward, pushing myself up onto my tippy toes to remove the clock from the wall. As I make my way to the hallway closet, I turn the clock over to remove the batteries, shoving the clock in as deep as it can go before I slam the door shut.

The batteries feel heavy in my hand as I turn around, moving to press my back flush up against the closet door.

I feel as if I’m slowly losing my fucking mind.

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