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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317602
In which Silo gets yet another visitor and more secrets are revealed
Bel wakes up with Kam’s arms around him.

He can tell they are Kam’s arms because of the snake tattoo around the right wrist.

Sunlight pours through the bedroom window. Bel blinks. This is definitely not his bedroom. The bed he’s lying in is bigger, the sheets and comforter covering him are softer and the walls of the room are paneled in dark wood. His body still aches, but not the way it used to. The pain is a dull throb and the fire that was burning inside him before seems to have gone out. He shifts in the bed, trying to figure out where the hell he is, and how the hell he got here.

“Don’t move around too much,” Kam’s voice sounds just above him.

“Kam?” Bel tilts his head back so that he can see Kam’s face. “Where are we?”

“Silo’s place in Pattaya.” Kam’s lips twitch a little bit. “With just about everyone else we know. you had a lot of people worried about you.”

That figures.

“What time is it?” That’s just the first of many questions that are buzzing around in Bel’s head. But this seems to be the safest one.

“Eleven a.m.” Kam is definitely smiling now. “On Wednesday.”

“Huh?” Bel bolts upright. Or tries to bolt. Kam’s hands tighten around him as lines of pain shoot through his body and he winces aloud.

“Careful. You’ve got twenty-one stitches in you, and if you move around like that you could pull them out.”

“You counted?”

“I did, when I sewed you up.” Em crosses to the bed from the armchair where she had been sitting and puts the back of her hand to Bel’s head. “Your temperature’s gone down a lot. How do you feel?”

“Besides the obvious?” Bel raises his eyebrows. With twenty-one stitches in me, how the hell am I supposed to feel?Well…actually… “Hungry?”

This makes Kam chuckle. He kisses Bel’s forehead and climbs out of bed.

“I’ll get you some food.”

The smell of rice and spices leads Kam to the kitchen where the French press is steaming, which means coffee is brewing, and there’s another steaming pot on the stove. Nina is the only one in the room. She looks up from her coffee as Kam goes over to the cupboard.

“You’re downstairs,” she says, just to break the silence. “Does that mean Bel’s awake?”

“He’s hungry.” Kam pulls a bowl from the cupboard and crosses to the stove.

“It’s khao tom,” Nina says, even though Kam can clearly see what’s in the pot. “I made it this morning. It’s Bel’s favorite.”

“I thought that was eggs with chili peppers.”

Nina smiles just a little bit. “He likes that, too.”

She takes another sip of her coffee. Kam spoons the rice soup into a bowl, making sure there’s plenty of meat and vegetables as well. He even takes a spoonful for himself.

“It’s not bad.”

“I put lemongrass in it. But there’s no Crio Bru, so Bel will have to do without.”


Nina hasn’t spoken to him much since he talked about That Night other than to ask after her brother or if Kam has slept, so their conversations have been short, or awkward, like this one. Kam isn’t sure if that’s a good thing or not. He replaces the lid on the pot and turns to go back upstairs.

“Thank you,” Nina says before he has a chance to leave the room. “For taking such good care of him.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Kam knows Nina is being sincere, but still can’t help needling her. “It’s what you're paying me for.”

Nina’s eyebrows rise. “Is that all it is?”

Kam hesitates. “He was really worried about you,
you know.”

“I was really worried about him,” Nina smiles. “But I shouldn’t have been, because he has you, and he always will, right?”

“I told you,” Kam returns her smile. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Except upstairs to take care of my brother, right?”

“Does that mean you’re coming too?”

Bel is sitting up when Kam and Nina go back into his room. Em is sitting on the bed next to him, removing a thermometer from Bel’s mouth, which is why Bel looks and sounds sulky.

“You said my fever broke.”

“Don’t be a baby,” Em checks the numbers on the thermometer. “I said your temperature was down, that’s completely different. It’s still a little high, so you shouldn’t get out of bed yet.”

“I’ll make sure he doesn’t,” Kam says, ignoring Bel’s squall of protest.

“I slept for three days! That’s long enough.”

“You didn’t sleep,” Nina corrects him. “You were unconscious, and you had all of us worried sick.”

“Well, that’s—almost the same thing!” Bel swings his legs over the side of the bed. “I have a job to get back to—”

“You’ve been out of it for almost a week,” Nina says. “So you should do what Em says.”

“But,” Bel tries to play his last card. “What if that bastard comes and attacks us again?

“He won’t.” Nina isn’t falling for it. “Don't snort at me, I know he won’t because he doesn’t know where we are; and even if he did, Silo will take very good care of me, and Kam will take very good care of you—”

“Because you bribed him to?” Bel is still sulking.

“She didn’t bribe me.” Kam is looking down at the patterns on the carpet. “I mean, it was a good chunk of money, but it wasn’t a bribe. All you had to say was that he was Wolf’s son.”

Bel snorts. “Oh, thanks.”

“You know what I mean.” Kam ruffles Bel’s hair before turning back to Nina. “You being his daughter helped, I suppose.”

“But not as much as Bel being his son.” Em can’t help adding.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Bel squalls before Kam can say anything. “Em, what the hell’s so funny?”

“Hmm?” Em bites her lips to try and stop her sniggers but it doesn’t work very well. “I’ve seen you blush before, but I didn’t know Kam could.”

Bel twitches. “It’s hot in here.”

Em rolls her eyes.“It’s forty-three degrees outside, but the AC is on inside, so that can’t be it.”

Nina’s eyes become serious as she looks at Kam. “You don't need my permission to love my brother, Kam. I just need to know you’ll take care of him. You will, right?”

Kam hasn’t let go of Bel’s hand. “What do you think?”

But he looks annoyed.

“What’s up?” Bel asks him.

“Why do you do that?”

Nina and Bel look at him with twin expressions of confusion. “Do what?”

It doesn’t help Kam’s mood that they ask at the same time, but Nina asks in English and Bel asks in Thai.

“Change from Thai to English mid-sentence like that. It happens every time you two talk to each other.”

“Nina and I have been doing it since we were kids.” Bel explains. “It started as a game, but now it’s more of a habit. It’s fun.”

“It’s annoying.” Em says what Kam is thinking.

“Sorry. We’ve done it so long we don’t even think about it anymore.” Nina turns back to Bel, her eyes deadly serious. “You and I have nothing to worry about for the time being, so you’re not moving from that bed until Em says you can.”


“And so help me, if you do anything to rip out those stitches, I’ll—”

“Kill me? Ow, those are my ears!”

Bel rubs his throbbing ear lobes as both Nina and Em smirk at him.“Fine. I’ll stay in bed for a minute. Are you all happy now?”

Nina hugs him. “Thank you little brother.”

“Yes,” Em hugs him too. “Thank you, friend.”

Bel growls and sticks his tongue out at them as they leave the room, then slumps back against the pillows. Kam grins at him.


“Maybe a little bit.”

“Here,” Kam sits on the bed next to him. “Open your mouth.”

Bel glares. “I don’t need you to feed me, Kam.”

“I know,” Kam lifts the spoon toward Bel’s mouth. “But I’m going to do it anyway. Eat up. Nina says it’s your favorite.”

Em sent Talay a text shortly after he gets back to Bangkok saying that Bel is in really bad shape, so Talay changes his mind about driving straight back to Pattaya. He waits a whole week instead.

Which about kills him.

He has plenty of actual work to get done, and not just because Silo isn’t in the office. Also, he has a phone call to make. One he really wishes he could avoid, and waiting an extra seven days to go get Em is a great excuse to avoid calling until he absolutely has to.

If Silo was Kam’s best friend, Kit was Talay’s. One of the things that Kit had said before he went to Italy the last time was that Talay had to call him if his little brother got into something over his head. Talay hadn’t really understood that, he’d promised his would. Which is why Talay is only a little surprised when he comes out of the office that night to find Kit leaning against his car waiting for him.

“I’m guessing this means you got my call.” Talay doesn’t bother to make it a question.

“Yeah,” Kit answers. His voice is expressionless, but his eyes are asking a million questions. “I’m guessing you called because you know where my little brother is. KitKat?”

He holds out half the chocolate bar to Talay, who takes it mostly because it’s the end of the day and he’s hungry and right now refined sugar is as good as any other kind of food. Besides, it’s a green tea Kitkat, and Talay happens to like that flavor. A lot. Kit knows this, too, and doesn’t repeat his question. He just waits until Talay is ready to answer him.

“Pattaya.” Talay says after taking a bite of the KitKat. “He’s been there for almost a week.”

If Talay is expecting a reaction, he’s disappointed. Kit doesn't even blink.


“I’ll tell you on the way.” Talay pulls out his car keys.

“You’re going to tell me everything,” Kit sidesteps, blocking the driver’s side door. “Including everything you didn’t mention on the phone. Right now.”

His tone dares Talay to disobey. Kit pulls another green tea KitKat out of his pocket. Talay hesitates as Kit holds it out to him.

“Are you bribing me?” Talay takes the KitKat anyway.

“I don’t know.” Kit crosses his arms. “Is it working?”

“Kam’s in Pattaya because it’s the safest place for him to be right now.” Talay plays for time while he unwraps the Kitkat, chews, swallows. Just tell him, you coward. What’s the worst that can happen? “We thought that would be the safest palace for him.”

“Who’s ‘we’?” Kit is still blocking the driver’s side door. Talay doesn’t look at him when he responds.

“Nina Delgado, and Em, and me, and Silo. Someone tried to put a bullet in him, so—”

“Bullet?” Kit’s whole body stiffens, and his eyes snap to Talay’s face.

Talay clicks the unlock button on his key fob. “You going to get in the car now?”

For the second time in a week, Silo is less than happy about the extra party that shows up uninvited on his front porch. Truthfully, Kit doesn’t look too happy about being there either.
Talay speaks up before either of the other men have a chance to.

“Where’s Em?”

“Upstairs,” Silo steps back from the doorway to allow both of the men inside. Talay comes in, but Kit remains rooted outside. “Bel’s fever broke the night before last, but Em wanted to make sure he wouldn’t relapse.”

“Why do you think I waited a few more days?” Talay glances over his shoulder as he speaks. Kit still hasn’t come inside.

“So that you could bring me more company?” Silo’s voice is heavy with sarcasm. Kit has always rubbed Silo the wrong way, and it annoys both of them.

For reasons neither of them want to think about right now.

“Kam disappeared almost a week ago without any explanation.” Kit’s tone is accusatory. “Talay told me you could have provided one. He said something about a bullet.”

“I would have explained things if I’d known you were in the country.” Silo’s eyes shoot their own bullets in Kit’s direction.

“You could have called me.”

“Talay has your number. I don’t.” Nevermind that Silo could have asked for it and didn’t. For reasons that made perfect sense once upon a time. “You coming in, or not?”

Kit stays still for just long enough to prove that he’s coming in the house because he wants to, not because Silo told him to. “ Kam is here, right?”

“Talay told you that.” It’s a statement, not a question. Silo can’t resist adding, “I’m guessing he didn’t call you either.”

“My phone battery died.” Kam’s voice sounds from the top of the stairs. “Silo pulled you into this, too?”

“I did.” Talay speaks up before Silo can snap anyone’s heads off, but Silo shoots a glare at him anyway.

“I’m hoping you’re going to tell me why.”

“That’s not my information to give,” Talay turns away from Silo, and looks up at Kam. “Believe it or not, your brother was worried about you.”

Kam has finally slept, so there’s a little bit of color back in his face, but there are still dark circles under his eyes. He’s also the only person who looks even remotely happy that Kit’s there. This is one of the reasons Kit smiles at him.

“You don’t look like you’ve been shot.”

“Not me. Bel.” Kam returns Kit’s smile.“I’m sorry I worried you.”

“Who says I was worried?” Kit keeps his voice light, but his eyes still flick anxiously over Kam. “I wanted a change of scenery and Pattaya’s as good a place as any.”

“Is that what you thought?” Silo mutters.

“Right,” Kam understands what Kit isn’t saying. “Don’t tell me I look like shit. That's all I’ve heard for the past week.”

“Ok.” Kit asks a question instead. “Did someone try to put a bullet in you because of the work Dad did for Intelligence?”

Silo stiffens, but doesn’t say anything. Talay’s head snaps around to look at Kit, but it’s Kam that speaks.

“You knew?”

“I asked him about it before he died,” Kit says, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. “How the hell else would I know?”

“Is this why you wanted me to call you?” Talay asks.

“More or less,” Kit answers Talay, but his eyes are still directed at Kam, and so is his next question. “You didn’t answer me. Does your boyfriend have a bullet in him because of Dad?”

“Not a bullet,” Kam clarifies. “Twenty-one stitches. Whoever it was also had a knife.”

“So that’s a ‘yes’.” Kit narrows his eyes at his younger brother. “Do I have to pry the rest of the explanation out of you?”

Kam shakes his head. “Not unless I have to do the same with you.”

“Fair enough,” Kit nods. “What do you want to know?”

“Let’s start with what the hell you’re actually doing back in Thailand.” Silo is the one who speaks, but only Kam and Kit catch the multiple meanings behind the words. What the hell are you doing in my front hall? Kit cocks an eyebrow at him.

“You want to talk about it standing in the middle of the hallway?”

Silo doesn’t move. “Answer the damn question.”

“Fine,” Kit sighs. “I’m here for the same reason as the rest of you.”

“Because dad worked for Intelligence?” Kam asks.

“As a courier for Intelligence,” Talay corrects him.

“Dad worked as a courier for Intelligence, yes.” Kit confirms. “And so do I. Actually, if you want to be really specific, I’m with Interpol.”

Bel’s fever has broken, so Em let him get out of bed. But she won’t let him leave the bedroom. It’s not like Bel is going to go after the jackass who tried to rip him open—did rip him open—but Em can be just as stubborn as Bel. He should know this by now, but he’s still trying out the puppy eyes, just in case.

“Em, I’m not going to rip my stitches open going downstairs. Ow! Why do you like flicking my ears so much?”

“Because you need to listen to me.” Em doesn’t look the least bit apologetic. “Flashing those puppy eyes at me isn’t going to change my mind.”


“Em, I swear, if you don’t let me out, I’ll lose it.”

“You need rest.” Em is still unmoved.

“The hell do you think I’ve been doing for the past week? Do you know how many wall panels there are in this room? Sixteen. And there are one hundred and thirty ceiling panels, at least.”

“You counted?”

“It’s not funny.” Bel makes for the door. “Besides, I think your boyfriend’s downstairs and I just want to—”

Em plants herself between Bel and the door, arms crossed, eyes deadly serious.

“Bel, you nearly died. I put twenty-one stitches in you, do you understand that? You only just got back on your feet and I’m not risking a relapse.”

“I made it across the room.” Bel takes a couple of steps forward to illustrate his point.“So I’m obviously not going to relapse.”

“Who’s the medical professional here?” Em leans against the door, completely blocking Bel’s exit. “If you were in the hospital, you’d still be in bed.”

“Em, how many times do I have to tell you I’m fine.”

“You can be fine, but it doesn’t mean you’re leaving this room.”

“Why?” Bel is now matching Em glare for glare. “Do you think I’ll go after the jackass who tried to kill me?”

“Actually, yes. At the very least you’ll try to figure out who it is, and Kam and the others are doing that for you.” Em bites her lip. That last sentence just popped out, and she can see from the look on Bel’s face that she’s stung his pride. Instead of protesting, however, Bel just slumps back on the back on the bed.

“Fine. I’ll just sit up here and be useless.”

“Don’t sulk. That isn’t what I meant.” Em moves away from the door and sits next to Bel on the bed. “Can you just for once let other people worry about and take care of you? Is that really so hard?”


“I can take care of myself,” Bel insists, knowing even as he says the words how petty he sounds. Knowing he is going to keep losing the argument, Bel changes the subject. “I heard a car downstairs. Did your boyfriend come back?”

“My boyfriend has a name.”

“Fine. Is Talay downstairs?”

This time, Em nods. “He’s driving me back to Bangkok. Gulf texted and needs me to be back at the restaurant tonight, but you’re supposed to take as much time off as you need. Yes, I know you're fine, but take the PTO until you look less like a stray puppy.”

Bel rolls his eyes. “Yes, ‘mom’.”

“Those were Gulf’s words,” Em clarifies. “Not mine.”

“Gulf was here, too?”

“Oh yes,” Em looks a little amused. “ He left the day before you woke up. A lot of people were worried about you.”

“You’re the second person to tell me that.”

“Then maybe you should listen.”

Down in the library, there’s another argument going on. Actually, less of an argument, more a combination of an interrogation and a briefing. Kit is seated in front of Silo’s laptop, clicking through the photo files from the USB while Silo and Kam shoot questions at him, and Talay and Nina watch from the opposite side of the room.

“I’m supposed to believe you were an Interpol agent,” Silo’s voice is heavy with disbelief. “And you’re working a case.”

“Am.” Kit doesn’t sound the least offended that Silo doesn’t believe him. “I am an Interpol agent. And yes, I am working a case. This case—the same one as you, apparently.”

“That USB was sent to me.” Nina says.

“Who do you think did that?” Kit smiles at Nina, and Silo’s jaw clenches. “I thought six months would be a long enough wait to quell anyone’s suspicions but apparently, I was wrong. And since I had to oversee the delivery of a near-mint-condition Bizzarrini GT Strada anyway—”

“You had the perfect excuse.” Kam finishes for him. “ You know who some of these people are?”
The question is less accusatory, and more curious. Kit still doesn’t look up from the laptop as he answers.

“I helped find some of them. Very Dangerous People. But judging by what Talay told me over the phone, you probably know that.”

“All I did was call him because he asked me to,” Talay is quailing under Silo’s glare. “Kit asked me to call him if anything happened to Kam, and I had no idea what that meant until now. And now that you have the information we need, can we finally do something so someone else doesn’t get a bullet hole in them?”

“No,” Kit stops clicking through the files when he reaches the locked one. “Because we don’t have all of the information.”

Silo bristles at Kit’s use of the word “we”. Talay is bristling too, but not at anything Kit said. He’s glaring at Silo.

“You still haven’t unlocked that file yet? Gulf figured out the password for you, remember?”

“Who’s Gulf?” Kit has an odd look on his face.

“Silo’s been dating him. Well, more than dating actually—when he’s not dating Nina.” Talay turns back to Silo. “It’s on the label!”

“It can’t be that simple.” Silo insists.

Kam cocks an eyebrow at him. “Because you weren’t the one who figured it out?”

“But if it isn’t that simple,” Nina says. “Then whatever is in that file could be erased.”

“I just typed it in. It’s the right password. ”Kit doesn’t look the least bit disturbed by the three matching glares that are shot in his direction. “What? You were overthinking. My dad wasn’t a complicated person—he wrote the password on the USB.”

He turns the laptop around so the other three can see the contents. A single video file looks back at them from the screen. It has no name other than the one randomly generated at the time of its creation. The date is eight years ago.

“What if you were wrong?” Silo’s tone is still accusatory.

“If I was wrong then the annoying houseguest could be blamed, rather than anyone else.” Kit doesn’t flinch. “And I wasn’t wrong, so you’re welcome. You going to keep staring at it or do you want me to push play?”

"24. Why

read from beginning "1. Phone Calls in the Dark
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