Chapter 26

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Liam

It wasn't there, he looked around his flat, in between couch cushions and even behind his headboard but it was gone; his father's Rolex was no where to be found. He had worn the expensive vintage timepiece every day since he'd managed to steal it off of his dad's dresser after his suicide. It was the only thing he had left of him, and he'd intended to always have it. It was special, not only because it had belonged to the father who adored him; it was also the evidence that his father had been someone once, that he had had nice things and had given them to his family; the Rolex was Liam's proof that his childhood hadn't been a dream, the privilege of it wasn't imagined, it had all been real. It was his constant reminder of what could be again if he worked hard enough.

And so that's why he leaned over behind the bureau in his office and why he crawled on all fours to look under the furniture in his living room; he had to find that watch, he couldn't stomach the idea of it being gone. He was beginning to get frantic as he searched his bathroom when he heard a knock on his door. He ran a hand through his now unkempt looking quiff and headed to answer it. He grimaced at the sight of Maz and glanced at his wrist out of habit before remembering that his watch wasn't there. He sighed and gestured for the other man to come in. He followed his friend into the living room, glancing around as he walked, looking over the room, on tables and all flat surfaces, hoping he had somehow overlooked wherever he had lain the watch the night before.

But of course he did not see it, for he was never careless enough to simply lay his watch down, he kept it in the original box it had been packaged in when bought; if it wasn't on his wrist then it should have been there. His stomach sank at the thought of it; he had just decided to move the refrigerator just to satisfy his mind that it wasn't beneath or behind there when Maz spoke.

"You alright man, you aren't even dressed."

" I'm fine. I just got into a bit of a fight in Tottenham last night and now I can't find my watch anywhere."

He spoke in a monotone and noticed the alarm on Maz's face as he took in the few bruises on Liam's face. He sat on his couch, and considered the fact that he had been so distracted he had forgotten that he'd asked him over; he now cleared his throat and prepared to discuss business with him.

"You lost the vintage oyster with the diamond bezel? What the fuck were you doing in Tottenham? And who did you fight?"

Liam waved away the questions, not wanting to go into the details of his fight with a junkie over a girl who wanted nothing to do with him but whom he could not get off of his mind. It had been more of a scuffle than a fight any way, with the two men rolling around on the floor, only exchanging a few punches here and there for they were both in a slightly altered state of mind and not very coordinated: Liam scoffed at the idea of being equally matched with a smackhead, and Maz sat in an armchair across from him, thoroughly confused.

"It's not important. It's got nothing to do with business...on that front though I did make a bit of progress. I met with Pretty Boy last night."

Maz's eyes widened in surprise and he sat forward in his chair, Liam's demeanor changed as he spoke, he no longer seemed distracted or distant. He had assumed the mannerisms of a boss, he sat up straighter and looked resolved, even shirtless and wearing nothing but a pair of grey sweats he could be commanding and authoritative. Maz spoke with excitement, eager to hear of the new developments.

"How can that be, we've been looking out for him for days now and there's been nothing. How did you get him to talk to you?"

Liam dismissed the question, again not wanting to admit the truth of the matter; that he'd run into Zayn and basically grovelled to him, that any thoughts of the fight had flown out of his mind when he remembered that the stoic and streetwise assassin was on his way to his apartment. Liam had been eager to meet with the man, and he paced the floor of his flat in anticipation of Zayn's knock at the door. Zayn was an essential part of the puzzle, he was necessary to have if there would be any chance of winning the war that was brewing with the Turks. For that reason he had offered Zayn the position of his advisor, his second in command, and to his shock Zayn had accepted with little apprehension.

"We met and discussed the current climate of our business in Tottenham, and we came to an agreement that brings him back into the fold." Liam felt a slight moment of remorse and apprehension as he prepared to inform Maz that he was being demoted, but there was no way around it. "He'll be working with us as my advisor...he'll be strategizing with me on how to proceed with the Turks."

Maz was no ones fool, and there wasn't much that went over his head. He was top of their class in the premed program and he was inclined to become a neurosurgeon, he had more than enough sense to know that no matter how gently Liam tried to phrase it the bottom line was that he was being demoted. The smile on his face faded and a hard line formed on his mouth.

"Why am I out?"

"Come on man..."

"No, you tell me. I built this with you, I've had your back in ways you don't even know about, so you give me an explanation, you owe me that much."

Liam sighed, not at all prepared or interested in having a Michael Corleone moment with Maz. He did not wish to tell his friend that he simply wasn't suited to the job any more, that his upbringing -much like Liam's- had been difficult but it had not at all prepared him for what was more than likely about to happen. Zayn knew all about it, Zayn had lived the lifestyle for a very long time and knew it well.

"What can I say, Maz. 'You're not a wartime consigliere'." He smiled at his friend, quoting the film they'd watched together so many times. "It's nothing personal, mate. You're still my partner, you're in or out as much as you want to be, but since he knows this world better than either of us I'd be a fool not to consult with him in this."

The expression on Maz's face remained unchanged and displeased, but Liam, although concerned for his friend, was not swayed by his feelings. Maz would come around, he had no choice.

"You can't trust him. He kills for money and he's undeniably adept at making his murders untraceable."

"Then I need you around to keep him in check."

"If you thought I could handle him, you wouldn't have given him my job." Maz stated, his tone matter of fact although he was obviously offended by Liam's attempt to pacify him. He stood and buttoned the well tailored blazer he wore before speaking again. "Did you have anything else to discuss with me, Boss."

"Of course I do, but obviously you're not in the frame of mind to hear it. Take sometime mate, call me when your head clears."

He started to stand to shake his friend's hand, but Maz had crossed the living room before he could. Liam didn't bother to follow him as he heard the front door slam shut, instead he sighed and ran a hand over his face before glancing at its wrist, and having his stomach sink once again at the thought of his missing watch.

H. A Harry Styles A.U.Where stories live. Discover now