Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317296-3-Favor
Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317296
In which Nina meets Silo and we find out what's going on
Silo is indeed waiting for Nina in the Bamboo Bar, with the Thaijitos at his elbow. He slides one over as she sits. “You’re late.”

“Drinks first, talk later.” Nina’s flattered that Silo remembered the drink she likes(nevermind that it’s his favorite too). She’s missed Silo, but she’s not about to say so.

“Fine by me.”

“Good.” Nina takes a sip of her drink. “Isn’t Gulf going to be disappointed that you’re in town and not seeing him?”

“Are you jealous?” Silo waggles his eyebrows at her.

“Answer the question Silo.” While Nina is clearly here for business, she wants to pretend to have a social conversation first.

Well, then, fine.

“One,” Silo holds up a finger to illustrate his point. “I saw Gulf last night, so he’s not disappointed. Two, Gulf is not neither my boyfriend nor my husband so why the hell should he care who I’m with? Even if that happens to be you.”

“So Gulf knows about us, then.” Nina isn’t really sure why she’s surprised. She just is.

“Gulf knows just as much about you as you know about him. He’s not jealous, and you shouldn’t be either. We’re adults, and since not one of the parties concerned is in a committed relationship with anyone else, I am allowed to date both of you at the same time, right?”

“Right.” Nina looks just a little chagrined. “Sorry.”

“It’s ok.” Silo’s answering smile is genuine, with just a little bit of a flirtatious edge. “ Because you’re not here to visit me, so dates are out of the question this time.”

“Right.” Nina says again. “This time.”

“Ok, then. Now that we’ve pretended to socialize we can get the reason why we met here in the first place? I booked the room you wanted—”

“I saw that, thank you.”

“—though why it had to be in my name—”


“Are you going to tell me what that means?” The glare Nina shoots him makes Silo shut up. At least long enough to look her over. She’s someone who has always fascinated him—actually, one of the few people he can stand. Nina works in Intelligence, like him, and most of the time, she called him for professional reasons.

Sometimes she called him for other, more personal, reasons.

That’s why her number is marked as a Favorite in his contacts.

“You’re staring at me.”

“I missed you.” He says it in English, but in the past that’s been even less effective than when he says it to her in Thai; so he’s not surprised that instead of a smile Nina raises her eyebrows at him.

“Don’t flirt.”

“Is it flirting if I’m telling the truth?” This gets him another glare, so Silo tries to be more businesslike. “I was actually really surprised to get your call.”

“So was Bel. As far as he knows, I’m here on rest-leave.”

“Other people would call that vacation.”

“I’m not ‘other people’.”

Silo’s grin is back. “No. You certainly are not. What are you actually here for?”

Nina sips her drink, rolling the tangy, slightly bitter liquid on her tongue before answering him. “Someone tried to push me out my apartment window yesterday.”


Silo chokes, barely managing to stop his spit-take. The expression on Nina’s face tells him she is not joking. “That’s not what I was expecting to hear.”

“I know it’s not, but you wanted a truthful answer, right.” Nina’s tone doesn’t match her body language—her entire body is stiff, like she’s about to bolt if someone looks at her the wrong way.
It’s for this reason that Silo keeps his voice calm as he asks his next question.

“Why would someone try to throw you out of a window?”

Nina pulls the USB from her pocket and slides it across the table. Silo flips it over in his hand, noting the label, before sliding it back in Nina’s direction.

“It’s for you.” Nina says, putting her hand on top of his to stop him from returning the USB. “This was mailed to me two days ago, and there’s a file that I can’t open because it’s password protected.”

“You think this has something to do with what happened to Wolf—with what happened to your dad?” Silo corrects himself when Nina flinches at her dad’s code name, and lowers his voice even more. “And someone wants to kill you because they think you know something?”

“Not just me. I think they might come after Bel, too.”

Silo’s eyebrows shoot up. “Why? He’s never even been interested in the kind of work you and your dad were.”

“No, but he’s my brother, and he lived here with my dad longer than I did, so he could have seen something.” Nina rolls the glass between her hands, making the ice shift. For a moment, there’s no sound except the ice shifting in the glass.




“Nina,” Silo decides to push, just the tiniest bit. She’s silent for another minute, then:

“Do you remember what he was like the day after dad died?”

Of course Silo remembers. He was the one who picked Nina up from the airport and drove her to the hospital where Bel was staying. He had expected shock—who wouldn’t be in that state after the death of a parent—but Bel hadn’t just been in shock.
Bel had been practically catatonic.

“You think Bel saw something, and someone knows about it?”

Nina shrugs. “ Bel doesn’t talk to me about it. He said he saw a psychiatrist and took the meds they gave him, so he’s fine now, and I’m not going to push him.”

“Even though you don’t believe him?” Silo knows the answer, but he asks the question anyway. “Did you let him see this?”

“I made him a copy, but I left one file off. Just in case.”

“Just in case whoever is after you and your brother tries to kill Bel and he’ll never know why?”

“That’s why I need you to open that file. It’s locked for a reason, and I need to know what that reason is.” Nina is being stubborn, so Silo decides to stop pushing.

“You haven’t tried to crack the password yourself?”

“It’s one of those fail-safe ones.” Nina looks frustrated again. “If you get the wrong password too many times, the file gets erased. I’ve looked through everything else, but that file bothers me. You have one of those genius computer brains—”

“So naturally, I’m the first person you thought of to do your dirty work for you.” Silo tries to make the mood lighter, but he’s not sure if it’s working. “When I crack it, do I call you?”

Nina hesitates. “You can’t give me a timeline about how long it will take and I’ll call you when the time is up.”

“Of course not. You know how this works, Nina, you have your own people that do this job. Why didn’t you give this USB to them, by the way?”

“Because the last time I needed to be somewhere, I was told it was too dangerous and I was kept in the dark until it was too late.” Nina’s voice is so taut, Silo is sure she’d scream if they weren’t in a classy high end bar. “My dad died, and they wouldn’t tell me why; my brother was traumatized, and they wouldn’t tell me why; I was nearly thrown out of my apartment window, and I don’t know why.”

Nina’s hand is still on the table, and Silo puts his own hand over it, trying to exude as much calm as possible. “I will help you find out why. I’m always ready and willing to help you. You know that.”

“I appreciate it.” Nina pulls her hand back. “Just call me when you crack the password.”

Silo hides his hurt and Nina’s abrupt movement, and slides the USB into his pocket. “And what are you going to do in the meantime?”

“I’m here on vacation, so what’s wrong with doing the tourist thing?”

“Right. Will you hire your brother as a tour guide?”

“That’s not funny.”

“You spent half your life here, Nina. You’re not a ‘tourist’.” Silo is tempted to do the physical air quotes as well as the vocal ones, but Nina might smack him if he did.

Not that he wouldn’t enjoy that.

“Stop eye-flirting with me. I need another favor.” Nina’s tone has returned to business-like, and so Silo tries to do the same.

“Name it.”

“I can’t look out for Bel all the time like I want to. I’m here and he’s in his condo, and if someone has got targets on both our backs, then he should be looked after. And if I do it, Bel will get annoyed that I’m being his overprotective big sister.”

“Even if he knows someone is trying to kill him and he’ll be safer if he’s with you?”

Nina rolls her eyes. “He’ll call me paranoid.”

“So Bel needs a bodyguard.”

“No. I just need you to find someone who can look after him until we figure out what’s going on.”

Silo grins at her. “Nina…That’s a bodyguard.”

“Fine.” This time Nina does smack him. “My brother needs a bodyguard. Do you know anyone?”

“That’s a stupid question.”

“Not someone who looks like a bodyguard. I need someone I can pass off as—an old friend who needs somewhere to stay or something.”

“You really think your brother is that stupid?”

“Silo. Do you know anyone, or not?”

“Oh, yes.” Silo’s eyes are glittering. “I know someone. But he’s not a professional.”

“Like I said, I don’t need a professional, just someone who can keep Bel safe until we figure this out. Nina glances at her watch, and Silo notices the dark circles under her eyes.

“You should get some sleep.”

“I’m going to.” Nina stands, ready to go back to her room. “Whoever this guy is, I want to meet him, and I’ll pay him for his trouble.”

“You’re that worried, huh?” Silo stands too, and impulsively takes one of Nina’s hands. “Nina. I’m always here when you need me. So trust me, ok?”

This time, Nina doesn't pull her hand away. “I do trust you. Which is why I’m not asking too many questions about this guy that you have in mind.”

The glitter intensifies in Silo’s eyes.

“He’s the perfect person to keep Bel in line.”

"4. Chelsea Boots

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
© Copyright 2024 aracrae (aracrae at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317296-3-Favor