24. Astar - Monaco Heist
London, England. 13:05.
T minus four hours until the start of the heist.
A soft sigh falls from my lips as I swipe a nude coloured lipstick over my lips, ditching the iconic red that I have worn for the past month. I have decided that it doesn’t quite match the gold Ralph Lauren dress that is currently clinging to my body as if it’s made of saran wrap. It spans around me in a small train, hiding the gold heels that I slip onto my feet. My toes match my fingers, which are painted a light white colour with the pointer finger being black with little white devil horns.
Harry’s nails are the exact same way except the colours are switched. His are black with the pointer finger being white with black devil horns. That’s something we have been doing, matching without saying much about it. Communication seems to be something we lack, which is fine. We can talk freely about some of the things that have happened to us, but when it comes to the present we both seem to ignore the topics that are right in front of us.
I run my fingers through my hair slowly, collecting it all behind me before I tie it into a tight ponytail, making sure to spray on some hairspray that won’t turn white overtime or leave any weird residue to tame the baby hairs or flyaways. I have yet to see Harry’s suit. When he saw the dress that I picked up, his face lit up as if he was a kid in a candy store and he disappeared that day for more than six hours. I have since learned not to question where he disappears off to.
My hands shake slightly as I apply some blush to the apples of my cheeks, making sure it’s light as I apply some highlighter above it. I can’t help but feel nervous. There’s a bad feeling settling into the pit of my stomach and it won’t disperse like it usually does. There’s no backing out of this now though. There isn’t enough time.
The show must go on.
I move to grab my phone that is still connected to the charger, lightly tapping the screen so that it comes to life so that I can check the time.
We have to leave around 16:30 as the auction starts at 17:00 on the dot. I know we don’t have to drive anywhere considering the auction is right inside the hotel that we are staying at. It isn’t more than a ten-minute walk down to the grand hall, however, we’re going in one by one so as to not raise suspicion.
Except for Harry and I. We’re entering as a couple, attached at the hip.
I gently place my phone back down onto the dresser, turning around and pulling my ponytail to the side as I get a glimpse of my back and the snakehead that splits near my neck. The tattoo goes down the length of my spine but up near my neck, there’s a medusa head, little sakes erupting from either side with a long one cascading towards where my back dimples are. The snake has two heads, splitting around Medusa’s head near my neck to encompass her.
My backpiece is one of my favourites.
The sound of the bathroom door creaking open is what distracts me, slowly turning in place to see Harry walking out of the bathroom. I can’t control the way my jaw drops open a bit, my eyes slowly raking over Harry’s body to take in the suit that he’s wearing. It matches my dress perfectly which was something we hadn’t discussed. I had assumed he would just wear a plain black suit, but no. There’s a woman on Harry’s suit embroidered in gold, but not just any woman.
From a distance, it looks like Medusa but instead of snakes, there are roses coming from her head, making her appear even more beautiful if that’s possible.
I wonder if he even knows that he’s matching with me in more ways than one.
“Is that custom?” It’s a rhetorical question. It doesn’t need an answer because realistically I can tell that it’s custom, but I want to hear it from his lips. This is what he wanted. He made this conscious decision to match with me in more ways than one even if it was unknowingly, which I doubt.
Harry moves to unbutton a few buttons on his white undershirt, walking up behind me to look at me through the mirror, spreading his legs a bit to bend down so that he could run his fingers through his long locks a few times.
“Custom Alexander McQueen,” He admits, letting his tongue come out to wet his lips as he then brings his hands down to rest on my waist, leaning down to press his lips to my head before he scrunches his nose up. His nose presses against my hair before he gives a shake of his head. “Whatever you put in your hair tastes funky,” He huffs, which makes a laugh fall from my lips as I turn to look at him, gently placing my manicured hand on his chest.
“Harry,” I breathe out, tilting my head to the side as I take my lower lip between my teeth. As pretty as he is, he sure is dumb sometimes but I’ll let that slide.
“It’s hairspray. Did you think my hair just lays flat?” I question, giving his chest a little pat before brushing past him so that I can slide my gun into the holster on my thigh before pulling the dress down over it. I make sure there aren’t any parts of the gun that are visible through the skin-tight dress, doing a full three-sixty before I nod. “How do I look?” I question once I see that Harry now has his focus on me and he’s drinking me in.
His gaze is intense, it always is but especially now more than ever. He’s completely silent, taking long strides towards me until he can touch. His hands grasp onto my waist yet his touch is gentle but he pulls me flush against him, my hands having to come up to rest on his chest.
When I look up, my breath hitches at how intensely he’s staring at me. He’s still silent yet his eyes speak volumes as they flicker from my lips to my eyes before just resting solely on my eyes.
“You look beautiful, Astar,” He breathes out into the quietness of the room. I swear I can hear it reverberate off the walls, resonating throughout my mind as a constant mantra. His voice is so soft, feather-like in a way that it slowly falls from his lips as if it’s coated in honey.
Harry’s voice is thick molasses with a hint of honey. His scent is a mixture of vanilla mixed with tobacco. His skin is like silk, soft under my fingers as I place my hand against his cheek, thumb occasionally brushing over his cheekbones. His eyes have a glint in them in this light and his lips turn up at the sides once he notices that I’m staring at his lips.
He’s just so fucking pretty.
“You’re pretty,” I breathe out, unable to control the words falling from my lips at this point. He deserves the compliment. It seems to catch him off guard though, not used to a compliment like that is what I can assume because he pulls back just slightly and his brow furrows. A crease forms on his forehead as he does this, lips pursing a bit before he just accepts it and a smile replaces the confused pucker on his lips.
A smile that I swear knocks me off my feet. It’s blinding, his dimples digging into his cheeks and a part of me is afraid that if he smiles any harder his face might just get stuck like that.
A knock is what makes us jump apart, our bodies reacting as if they’re two ends of the same magnet and we aren’t supposed to connect.
“Oi! We have about three hours until we have to leave for the auction,” Louis’ voice rings out but in all honesty, he doesn’t have to yell. I don’t think either of us has said a word in minutes. How long were we just standing there and staring at each other? It only felt like five, maybe ten minutes but something tells me it was a little longer than that.
Curse Louis’ fucking Tomlinson for always ruining our moments. At this point, I’m taking it as a sign from the universe.
Harry moves to run his ring-clad fingers through his hair as his free hand moves to grab his gun, placing it into the waistband of his pants, making sure it’s hidden by his blazer before he fixes the collar of his shirt. “After you, Little devil,” He grins, walking over to the door to pull it open for me.
I lower my head just a bit as a thank you, moving past him to walk out into the living room of the suite where I receive wolf whistles from all of the boys. Niall lets out an audible ‘God Damn.’ All three boys are sitting on the couch, looking dapper as ever and I’m wondering how I’m going to survive the night with four overwhelmingly attractive men near me at all times.
We’re leaving the second we secure the diamond necklace. It isn’t too expensive, at least in Harry’s words it isn’t. The starting bid is three hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds. Which is four hundred and sixty-one thousand euros here.
The first person that my eyes land on is Zayn. He makes my eyes widen slightly as I drink him in as if he’s a tall glass of water. With the suit he has on, that’s the only thing I can describe him as. He leaves me parched, dehydrated as my eyes take in every inch of him. The glasses that sit pretty on his face definitely go well with the suit just like he said they would.
Zayn has on a white blazer, the lapels being a silk white fabric while the rest of the blazer is a soft fabric. He looks rich, expensive. If I were to see him in a bar, I would feel intimidated but the same goes for all of the boys at this moment.
There’s a giant black diamond ring on his pointer finger, his hand resting on top of the black dress pants that hug his legs beautifully. My eyes finally come back up to rest on his face, watching as his lips tilt up at the edges as he runs his hands over the stubble that is growing on his face.
I let my eyes move to Niall next, being slightly caught off guard by the pink suit that he has on but at the same time, it fits him perfectly. It’s a blush colour and he leaves the blazer unbuttoned so that the undershirt is visible, which is just a casual white t-shirt. He has decided to go with a more casual look compared to Harry and Zayn. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. It is titty-boy after all. He’s a computer boy, he’d much rather be in a room by himself right now. This is out of his comfort zone in a way.
Grey socks stick out from under the bottoms of his blush coloured slacks, disappearing into the grey dress shoes he has on which match the buttons on his blush coloured blazer. The glasses Niall has gone for frame his face perfectly, the frame being grey with the hidden laser on the side. Once I’m finished looking over Niall, I move my eyes over to Louis who has gone for a classic Navy look but his hair is different.
Instead of having it down like he usually does and slightly swept off to the side, he has it styled up into the perfect quiff. If I didn’t know he was in a gang and I saw him out, I’d definitely mistake him for the CEO of a company. He has opted for a pair of whiskey coloured glasses that bring out the blue of his eyes beautifully. He has the blazer buttoned up, his arms spread out and grasping onto the back of the couch as one leg is resting atop the other.
If there’s one thing that Louis exudes well, it’s power and dominance.
I’d say we’re all dressed and ready for the auction tonight, the nerves settling into my stomach once again as the gun weighs heavy on my thigh.
Hotel de Paris of Monte Carlo // Ballroom // 17:00
T minus zero hours before the heist.
We enter the ballroom with ease, my body relaxing a bit and the nerves subsiding some once I see that we fit in beautifully.
There are flowers wrapped around the large, white columns that line the sides. On one end of the ballroom, there’s a giant mural. It’s breathtaking. There’s a woman draped in a sheer white gown, turned towards the crowd as her hand delicately caresses the cheek of the naked woman next to her. There’s a lack of men in the mural, something small that makes me smile as I move to take a champagne flute off of one of the plates as a waitress walks by. Harry grabs one as well, one of his hands resting on the small of my back as he guides me through the crowd.
Each of us have little inner earpieces in, able to hear everything we’re saying regardless of where we are in the hotel.
I turn to the side, seeing Louis take a careful seat at the bar. The bartender comes over after he throws the white towel over his shoulder, hands gripping onto the edge of the bar top as he speaks to Louis. I can hear their conversation in my ear, eyes rolling as I bring the champagne flute up to my lips to take a slow drink from it.
“Does Louis flirt with everything that walks?” I question under my breath once I have swallowed, looking up at Harry who seems to be looking around at our surroundings. In all honesty, he probably didn’t even hear me so I just let my question go so that I can try to find Zayn. Once I do find him, I see that he’s leaning close to the stage, seeming to make small talk with two individuals that are close to him. Everything is going well so far.
A little too well.
“Niall, do you copy?” I question, briefly looking around for the brunette and eventually I find him sitting at a table, looking over his number before he turns it around so that I’m able to see what number he was given.
The champagne that I’m sipping goes right back into the glass when I see it, bringing my hand up to wipe at any remnants of champagne that may fall from my lips. 69. Of course, Niall gets number 69 and he thinks it’s the funniest thing in the entire world.
A part of me is thinking that I’ve been overthinking everything this entire time, yet nothing has really happened yet. We still have to get through the night, grab the necklace without being seen and leave safely and in one piece.
There are so many ways for the night to go awry and I need to limit how much alcohol I intake, so I only take small sips from my glass.
There aren’t that many security guards and most of them aren’t guarding the exits, which makes our getaway a little easier. Near the exit, our car is waiting for us. Harry will be in the driver’s seat, Louis in the passenger then Niall, Zayn and I will be in the backseat. Harry knows his way around Monaco which is one of the main reasons why I chose him to be the designated driver.
Eventually, a crackle from the stage can be heard which gains everyone’s attention. I stand up a little straighter, setting my now-empty champagne flute down on the table but not before I wipe around the edge with a handkerchief to remove any DNA that’s leftover.
“Welcome to the fiftieth auction that we have had the pleasure to host,” The man starts in English, his french accent being thick. “Today’s beautiful piece is a necklace from Cartier. It’s a classic Cartier Diamond Emerald Onyx Platinum Panther Necklace. The starting bid is Four Hundred thousand euros,” He begins, making my eyes widen a bit simply because that’s a little below the price that it was originally set for.
“This is original and unaltered. The necklace contains six hundred and eighty-two round-cut diamonds weighing at around seventeen point eighty carats. I hope everyone is ready to bid. May the odds be ever in your favour,” He nods before stepping to the side to reveal the necklace in all of its glory.
There’s a glass box behind him that’s set up at an angle on a podium, the diamonds glistening in the light that is shone upon the necklace. It’s honestly breathtaking but useless to us. We’ll probably end up selling it or donating it anonymously so it won’t be tracked back to us. Granted, I can just turn it into MI6 since they know this is happening.
Zayn is the first to hold up his sign, the number forty-six being seen as he did so. “Four hundred and fifty!” He shouts, someone immediately outbidding him a little further back. The bid quickly went up to half a million. I let out a non-committal hum, glancing down at my watch for a brief second to see when we should kill the lights. From there we will have about seven minutes give or take. That’s seven minutes to figure out how to unlock the glass box, take the necklace and make an exit before anyone even notices that the necklace is missing.
Seven minutes feels too short. Yet, that’s all Niall can do to make it look like the power just gave way instead of people being suspicious that someone has hacked into it to shut the power down.
I hope these heels are made for running.
When I glance to the spot Niall was originally in, I take note that he’s no longer there and I straighten myself up the best I can and give Harry’s side a small pinch. He doesn’t even hesitate before he tears his gaze away from the stage to look down at me, his lips twitching up into a smile as he drags his tongue along the inside of his cheek. His eyes then non-subtly look over my body, lingering on my cleavage before he looks back up at my face. “You look like a vision in this light,” He breathes out, far too soft for the other boys to hear in their inner ears but loud enough for my ears.
The words on my tongue die almost immediately, fish-mouthing just slightly before I eventually close my mouth and just look up at him. A part of me is caught off guard because Harry sounds breathless as he speaks like he can’t believe his eyes.
No one has ever spoken to me in that way, like I take their breath away. Everything around us seems to fade out until it seems like we’re the only two in the room. There isn’t a man constantly yelling out new offers. The constant raising of the signs fades out into nothing. The people that brush by us fade out. Everything fades. It’s just us at that moment.
A small shriek breaks us apart, the darkness taking over almost immediately and the backup generator fails to kick in.
It’s showtime, baby.
I click the side of my watch, the seven minutes starting to count down as I make my way through the crowd once my eyes adjust. Luckily the glasses are installed with the latest technology and with a click to the side, night vision comes into play.
I can see that Zayn is already on the stage as the guards have run off in search of the reason why the power has gone out. Our luck couldn’t have been more perfect.
Once I make it up onto the stage, I remove the hairpin from my hair and hand it to Zayn, watching as he uses the end to pick the lock and the glass box opens for us to reveal the necklace.
By the time we grab the necklace, Harry will be waiting in the driver’s seat. Louis should be holding the door open for us and Niall should be waiting to turn the lights back on before we leave.
I grab the hairpin from Zayn’s hand, placing it back into my hair so that the laser can distort my face from the cameras. The last thing I need is for my face to end up somewhere only to be removed a few hours later. I can’t have my cover blown just yet. I just need to make it to the main heist and a little after that and by then I should have more than enough evidence to turn over to Jesse.
Zayn removes the box from the inside of his blazer pocket, placing the expensive and slightly heavy necklace into the velvet-lined box before shutting it and placing it back into his pocket. I’m quick to shut the glass box, locking it back before turning around to look at the crowd which seems to just be looking around in complete confusion as the host yells that they have no reason to fret. That the generator should kick in any second now.
A small giggle escapes my lips at how naive they are. They’ve probably never dealt with anything like this before. I bring my watch up to look at it, eyes widening a bit when I see that we only have a little under three minutes before the lights come back on.
“Fuck, Z. We’ve got to make a run for it,” Which makes Zayn groan. He hates physical activity more than anything. Especially running. “If you want to stay here and look like a dumbass when the lights come on, be my guest but can’t be me,” I breathe out, reaching down to pull off my heels before I lift my gold, sparkly dress up a bit to make it easier on myself.
I can gain more friction barefooted than with the high heels on. Plus, this will create less noise.
I’m quick to descend the stairs down the stage, hearing Niall start to countdown in my ear which makes my heart race against my ribcage as we make our way towards one of the emergency exits.
“I’m following you both on one of the cameras. Can you pick up the pace? You have a little under a minute and a half to make it to the car so Harry can get out of here,” Niall breathes out into both of our ears, not even trying to hide the panic that has seeped into his voice. This only makes me panic more but I take deep breaths, focusing on the sound of Zayn’s feet as they hit the cold, linoleum flooring.
The exit is right there. Nearly two feet away.
My finger turns the night vision off on the glasses that Harry gave to me right when the lights went off, having held a pair for the both of us in his pocket since Zayn and I really were the only two that needed them. We had special ones that gave us night vision.
Right as our hands make contact with the door, the lights kick on and we run out, the door of the car being held open for us. I chuck my shoes in first before getting in, Zayn climbing in after and slamming the door shut.
I can hear the alarm going off inside of the hotel, flowing out of the emergency exit that we came out of. We have at least four to five minutes before people realise that the necklace has been stolen.
“What the fuck are you waiting for, Harry?” I breathe out, bewilderment clear in my voice when the man has yet to step on the fucking gas pedal. The car isn’t even running. ”Drive,” I spit, slapping him up the back of the head as he starts the engine and speeds off, the wheels screeching against the pavement as he turns and speeds down the road.
Once we pass the front of the hotel, I let myself relax, the breath that I didn’t know I was holding slowly exhales from my lips as I relax back on the backseat between Zayn and Niall.
“That was close,” I breathe out, allowing my eyes to close for just the briefest of moments. I only get to rest for a few seconds before Harry is clearing his throat, my eyes popping open as I meet his in the rearview mirror.
That’s when I notice it.
We’re being followed by not one, not two or three. But four fucking blacked out vehicles and they’re gaining on us quick.
“Uh...” Harry breathes out, a nervous chuckle falling from his lips as he checks his side mirrors, turning down a road with no pedestrians on it and it’s a straight shot.
“Now is probably a good time to mention that I’ve never driven a getaway car?”
It comes out as more of a question and I swear that my heart drops down to my ass.
That’s when the first shot is fired, hitting the back of the car and causing Harry to swerve on the road. That’s when I realise that all of them look nervous. None of them have ever been in a getaway car before. Which confuses me because how the fuck are they getting away from their crime scenes then? Bank robberies? The massive cargo shipment that they take? None of it makes sense and the panic is slowly starting to seep deep in my chest again.
“What the fuck did you just say?” I breathe out, having to force it out before I get sick all over the back floorboard of the car.