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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317305
In which Kam and Bel start to put pieces together
Kam won’t push. He knows there are things people don’t want to talk about and the reason behind Bel’s nightmares is one of those. But he has a suspicion it has something to do with why Nina hired him. So rather than ask Bel directly, Kam decides to approach it the way he’s approached everything else since he’s met Bel: by poking the little puppy until it snarls.

“Is it because you talk in your sleep?”

Bel is currently seated at the kitchen table, laptop open, coffee mug at his elbow. There’s no sign that his sleep was troubled, so if Kam hadn’t seen it, he wouldn’t have been any the wiser.

“Is this how you greet people in the morning?” Bel isn’t sure if he’s more taken aback by the question or that Kam heard him. But then, Bel’s house is small, and the dreams that Bel has been having—both good and bad—aren’t exactly the kind that make sleep easy.

Or quiet.

“Yes,” Kam hasn’t moved from the doorway. He leans against the frame, arms slightly crossed, eyes locked on Bel. “Are you a virgin because you talk in your sleep?”

That damn mischievous glint is back, and something else. Something Bel can’t quite put his finger on.

“What kind of sense does that make?” He snaps. “Were you listening at my door?”

And if you were, what did you hear?

“You were so loud I could hear you clear across the house—even with all the doors closed. You had a lot to say.” Kam is only half teasing. He doesn’t like what he heard last night, but if Bel won’t talk about it there’s not much he can do.

“I’m a virgin because I choose to be. I’m not about to commit to some asshole just because he’s—umm.” Bel is looking right at Kam, and color is climbing up the sides of his neck.

Kam cocks a brow at him. “I’m the asshole in question?”

Now the color of Bel’s face matches both his shirt and the little round packages that are in his top drawer.

The condoms that Kam saw.

Right before they kissed.

Which still shouldn’t bother him as much as it does.

“I asked you a question, Bel.” Kam says.
“Shut up!” Bel stares at the laptop like it’s the most important thing in the room.

And it is.

For more reasons than to stop him from looking in Kam’s direction.

Kam shuts up, but he doesn’t stop smirking. The redness of Bel’s ears, however, screams the answer louder than anything Bel will or won’t say.

He is the asshole in question.

Bel takes another sip from his mug, and clicks through whatever he’s looking through on his laptop. Before the mug is back on the table, Kam swipes it. Instead of the squall of protest Kam was expecting, Bel just looks at him.

“You drink your coffee black?” Kam’s eyebrows are cocked again. He knows Bel has a sweet tooth, so why isn’t he adding sugar or cream to his coffee?

“It’s not coffee.”

“Then what is it?” Kam takes a sip. And then another. And another. Bel still doesn’t protest. He watches him instead.

“What’s with the face?”

Kam returns the mug to Bel. “That’s not coffee.”

“I told you,” Bel is grinning. He can’t help himself. “It’s Crio Bru. Nina brings it for me when she visits, but I order it online, too.”

“What exactly is it?”

“Brewed cacao.”

Kam’s lips quirk. Of course it is. “You’re a chocoholic.”

“You noticed.” Bel drains the mug, refills it, and Kam snatches it again. “That means you like it?”

“Didn’t say that.” But Kam’s not giving the mug back, so Bel gets another one. If Kam likes it as much as he does, then Bel would have to either order more or pester Nina for some of hers. “You want more?”

Kam says nothing, but the mug is empty again, so Bel pours him some more.

“You got any cream?”

“Cream?” Bel looks like Kam asked if he had any arsenic. “It’ll ruin the flavor.”

“You drink your Crio whatever the way you want to, I’ll do the same with mine. Where’s the cream?”

“In the fridge, where it’s supposed to be. You want it, then get it yourself.”

Kam is already at the fridge. “You were talking in your sleep last night.”

Bel’s fingers clench on the mug handle. He’s glad Kam is facing the fridge and can’t see, because it’s easier to keep his voice steady than keep his body relaxed. “So you said.”

“I couldn’t understand any of it, if that makes you feel better.” Kam’s telling the truth. He understands what the words Bel said, but not what they mean. You can tell me when you’re ready, Bel. I’m not pushing you.

“I’ve talked in my sleep a lot. Ever since I was a kid. Used to drive Nina nuts.”

“Could be worse.” Kam keeps his tone light. “You could snore.”

“How is snoring worse than talking in my sleep?”

“Snoring’s annoying.”

“Talking in my sleep isn’t?”

“Not to me.” Kam turns to face Bel. “Sleep-talking doesn’t last as long as snoring does. Besides, I don’t want to waste my money on earplugs.” And I can’t help you if I can’t hear you when you need me. “You going to work today?”

“Obviously.” Bel has finished his Crio, and puts the mug in the sink. “Are you going to follow me again?”

Kam has turned back from the fridge and is watching him. “It’s what your sister is paying me for. You’re not going to wash that?”

“In a minute, ‘dad’.” Bel goes into his room and checks his phone. No messages from Nina. He’s not sure if it’s good or bad.

He’d called her last night before going to sleep and left a voicemail about the “hit and run” attempted on him and Kam last night. Bel put the term in air quotes because it makes him feel better. Was it just a joyrider? Or was someone looking to kill Kam, too? Why?

When he goes back into the kitchen, Kam is seated at the table, looking at the images on the laptop screen. Not just scanning through them like Bel has done, but actually looking at them. He’s even blown one up to try and get a better look at it.

“Is this what was on the USB your sister gave you?” Kam expects Bel to close the laptop and walk away from him, but instead, Bel nods.

“I have no idea why the hell Nina gave me this, but I’m supposed to show it to you.”

Kam stares. “There are five hundred files on this thing. What exactly are you supposed to be looking for?”

Bel shrugs. “Something to do with my dad, I guess. How much did Nina tell you when she—hired you?”

“Other then that someone tried to kill her and wants you both dead?” Kam takes a sip of the Crio Bru. “Not very much.”

Bel resumes his seat and Kam watches over Bel’s shoulder.

“What exactly did your dad do?” Kam asks. “Or am I not allowed to ask that?”

“I thought you knew at least a little bit,” Bel says. “You knew my dad’s code name.”

“These are government reports,” Kam points to a file with several lines of text blacked out. Bel squints at the image on the screen.

“How do you know?”

“You didn’t see the letterhead?” Kam gets his answer from the look on Bel’s face. “And even if you didn’t, did you wonder why half of this is blacked out? Why are you chewing on your lips?”

“I’m not,” But Bel removes his teeth from his bottom lip. “There are five hundred of those things so…I didn’t really notice?”

“You notice them now?”

Kam is doing the Eyebrow Thing again, and Bel pushes him away from the laptop.

“It’s weird you looking over my shoulder like this. You really want to help? Then give me a sec.”

Bel highlights all the files, then goes over to the printer on the other side of the room.

“So if your sister does Intelligence work, and your dad did Intelligence work, then what do you do?” It’s just one of the many questions Kam wants to ask, but he’ll start with this one.

“Honestly?” Bel pulls the extender tray out of the printer so the paper doesn’t go flying everywhere when the print job starts. “I don’t really know what I want to do. Tending bar is fine, but that’s supposed to be temporary—at least that’s what I told Nina.”

“She doesn’t believe you?” Kam already knows the answer.

“I was supposed to come back to Thailand on a gap year. I was at NYU, but I didn’t really study anything other than my general classes. College almost ate me alive. I nearly flunked out.”

“Why didn’t you go to school here?”

“My dad went to NYU, so I did, too. He met and married my mom while they were both in London. He was working and she was at school, and they just—clicked, I guess? They moved back to Bangkok before Nina was born.” The printer hums and paper starts to spit out the documents sent from Bel’s laptop. Bel turns back to Kam. “Is it my turn to interrogate you now?”

“You don’t have to interrogate me,” Kam says. “You know about the dealership and custom car company.”

“Gulf mentioned it,” Bel reminds him. “That doesn’t mean I know about it.”

“You know I inherited it from my dad.”

“So,” Bel wants to ask more about Kam’s father, but changes his mind after seeing the look on Kam’s face. “Where’s your mom?”

“Italy,” Kam’s face closes up. “She moved there with my brothers about a month ago.”

Idiot, Bel. If Kam doesn’t want to talk about his dad, why the hell would you bring up his mom?

“You have brothers?”

“One older, one younger.” The words are neutral, but there’s a warning in Kam’s eyes.

Enough with the personal stuff, Bel. Can’t you ask a safer question?

“Where did you go to school?”

“Coventry University for my undergrad,” Kam seems only too happy to answer questions that aren’t about his dad. “And then the Royal College of Art in London for my masters in Engineering and Vehicles Design. So now, I run my dad’s dealership, customize cars, and sell them to clients all over the world. What are you gaping at me for?”

Bel closes his mouth. “No reason. Nothing.”

“What?” Kam grins at him. “I make you feel like an underachiever?”


Yes. But you were the one to ask him the questions, Bel. You asked, and he answered.

“No,” Bel repeats the word in a less defensive tone, still feeling every inch the college dropout. “It’s just—impressive, that’s all.”

“Yeah,” Kam leans forward, with that smirk back on his face. “And when I’m really bored, I babysit brats like you. Supplemental income.”


Because that’s what you are, Bel.

Supplemental income.

The print job has taken longer than “a sec”. Bel plunks a ream of paper in front of Kam.

“There. Now you have a copy, too. Earn your ‘supplemental income’.”

“Is your sister going to like this?” Kam looks at the pile of paper with distaste.

“Nina told me to show it to you, so that’s what I’m doing.” Bel resumes his seat. “Government reports makes sense. I know Nina does government work, but I’m not sure if it’s the same as what my dad did.”

“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘spy’.” Kam says. “Which means your sister is one, too.”

“She’s CIA,” Bel rolls his eyes. “That’s different.”

“Different how?” Kam asks.

“Just—it’s different, that’s all.”

“So you don’t think she’s in the same line of work as Silo,” Kam makes it a statement, rather than a question. Bel raises his eyebrows.

“You know Silo’s Intelligence?”

“He told me about six months ago.”

“The same time your dad—I mean,” Bel bites his lip. Shit.

“About the same time my dad died, yeah,” Kam isn’t looking at Bel. He’s looking at the pile of papers again. “I just don’t know exactly what he does, other than Know People. You’re chewing on your lips again.”

“I didn’t mean to bring up your dad,” Bel says. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s fine.” But Kam’s voice is light, but the look on his face makes it clear that Bel should shut up, and shut up now.

There is silence for a minute. Bel looks at the files on his laptop. Kam looks at his paper copies. Kam is the one who breaks the silence.

“Did you know some of these are pictures?”

“Yeah,” Bel noticed while he was scrolling through the first time. “Pictures, documents, reports, there are all types of files here. Nina and Silo are probably better at looking through stuff like this than I am.”

“It’s just reading,” Kam has finished reading another page, and flips to the next one. “What exactly are we supposed to be looking for?”

“No idea,” Bel looks as frustrated as Kam is starting to feel. “It would be easier to figure out if some of these documents didn’t have whole paragraphs blacked out. Like puzzle pieces.”

“You like puzzles?”

“Not this kind.” Bel rolls his eyes. “Maybe you’ll find something on the printed out copy that I missed.”

“So what, we just call your sister and tell her everything we find?” Kam’s frustration is starting to show in his voice.

“She just said anything weird,” Bel shrugs. “And no, I don’t really know what that means either.”

Kam flips over another page, and this time, he stares at the date at the top of the document. “As in ‘this case is no longer active’? That kind of weird?”

“What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I said,” Kam slides the paper across the table to Bel. “This case was closed eight years ago. And this one, and this one.”

“But,” Bel’s forehead wrinkles. “Why would someone want to kill over a couple of closed cases?”

"11. Silicone

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
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