Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317589-11-Silicone
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317589
In which we learn the story behind Silo's nickname, and a new ally is introduced
“If they’re all closed cases, then what good does it do us?” Nina asks.

Nina met Silo this morning after he called her last night. He said he had gone through about half of the files, but he found something, and wanted to tell her in person. Only what he found was not what Nina was hoping for.

All of the files on the USB drive referred to activities that had taken place eight years previously, and all the cases related to said activities were closed. As in, not being investigated anymore. Which, as far as Nina can see, is a dead end.

She had figured that much out herself—that the cases were closed—which is why she shared the USB with Silo in the first place. When she had said as much to Silo, he’d told her to just trust him and get in the car, so she had, and now she and Silo are walking down the street to meet someone Silo says can help.

Silo isn’t looking at Nina. He’s looking at his phone. She pokes him.


“What?” He doesn’t raise his head, and now he’s texting.

“Did you hear what I said?” Nina repeats her question. “What good do eight-year-old closed cases do us?”

“No good yet,” Silo replies. “But we haven’t asked the right people. He’s on his way.”


“Talay,” Silo jerks just head in the direction of the man coming toward them. “He went to uni with Kam and me. Now he works under me in Intelligence.”

Nina raises her eyebrows. “You have a gofer now?”

“Don’t let Talay hear you say that.” Silo warns. “He prefers the word ‘assistant’.”

“Did I hear my name?”

The newcomer is taller than Nina, but a little shorter than Silo, and built like a beanpole with the face of a monkey. His smile verges just on the edge of goofy, but it’s charming just the same. Right now, all of that goofy charm is focused on Nina.

“You’re an intelligence officer?” What Nina doesn’t say is that he looks less like a member of Thai Intelligence and more like a harassed member of an IT team. His clothes look like he’s slept in them, half of his dark hair flops over his face while the other half stands almost on end as though he routinely runs his fingers through it, but his brown eyes are totally alert.

“I know I don’t look it,” Talay has heard the question Nina hasn’t asked. “But yes, I am. I’m someone who shouldn’t be underestimated.”

“According to who?” Silo mutters.

“Me,” Talay says it like his authority is not to be questioned, and flips Silo the bird while he’s at it. “Dipshit.”

Silo flips it back. “Asshat.”

“Thank you,” Talay glances at Nina. “And you are?”

“Nina Delgado,” Nina likes this particular friend of Silo’s. “I’m—”

“A friend,” Silo says, putting more emphasis on the word than is probably necessary. “Who needs your help.”

“Ni-na,” Talay splits the name into two syllables, smiles at her, and waggles his eyebrows. That and the significance he puts on her name makes Nina glance at Silo.

“Why does every one of your friends say my name like that?”

“Because of what happens to Silo’s face when we do,” Talay’s smile gets bigger. “It’s actually an expression I didn’t know people could make—like you can’t make up your mind how you feel about something, you know? So your face isn’t quite sure what to do? Except, the only time he ever makes that face is when your name comes up, so—”

“Talay,” Silo’s face is totally calm, but his eyes are shooting daggers.

“But when he makes that face,” Talay says. “That means someone’s in deep shit if he doesn’t shut his big mouth.”

Silo’s face becomes, if anything, even stonier. “Are you done?”

“Yes, I’m done.” Talay doesn’t look the least bit phased by the expression on his friend’s face. “Why does Silo’s very attractive friend need my help? He did tell me you were in trouble—something to do with Gray Wolf, who was your dad, right? But there’s more, right? So why don’t you do that now?”

So Nina tells him: about the arrival of the USB, and the hiring of Kam to protect Bel, and the potential hit and run both on the street and at Gulf’s restaurant. Silo doesn’t say anything; he just lets Nina talk. By the time she’s finished, Talay is staring.

"You know this sounds a little bit like 'Bourne Identity' meets 'Mission Impossible', right?"

“Oh yes,” Nina sighs. “I am fully aware, but it’s the truth.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t believe you.” Talay looks back at Silo. “Is this why you sent me those files last night?

“You already looked them over?” Silo looks a little surprised.

“I have no social life, remember?” Taylay has the look of someone seeking sympathy. He even casts lonely puppy dog eyes in Nina’s direction. “How else was I supposed to spend a lonely night?”

Silo doesn’t look the least bit sympathetic. “Find anything interesting?”

“Other than that they are all closed cases?” Talay considers for a minute. “They’re surveillance reports, and they were done by someone named Manirat, which means—”

“Manirat,” Silo's eyes narrow. “You’re sure?”

Talay nods. “Most of the report was blacked out, but the names of Gray Wolf and Manirat were pretty clear. Which means—”

“We can’t look into this officially,” Silo says. “Nina’s not here officially. If the case is closed, and those working the case aren’t around anymore that should be the end of it. But it’s not. At least, not from where Nina and Bel are standing.”

“You think there’s a loose end.” Talay makes it a statement, rather than a question. “You think—”

“Yes,” Silo nods. “Exactly.”

“Who’s Manirat?” Nina asks. “I saw that name on some of the files, but I’ve never heard it before.”

“Manirat,” Talay says, shooting a Look in Silo’s direction. “Is Kam’s last name. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”

Nina remembers the voicemail that Bel had left her, about the potential hit and run at the restaurant. “So that car wasn’t trying to hit Bel, but it was going after Kam? Why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Because I wasn’t sure, and now I am. This is progress. It’s minimal, but it’s still progress.” Silo turns back to Talay. “You can get into the archives without too many questions being asked, right?”

“Ye-es,” Talay’s answering look is wary. “But so can you. Why?”

“I need you to do a little digging for me.” Silo says. “Off the record. There will be fewer questions asked if you do it, because you’re my assistant. Information on those files has been redacted, and it’s information we need.”

“Like…a list of people who could want Nina and her brother and Kam dead?” Talay offers. “That could be a long-ass list.”

“Not necessarily.” Nina says. “But we want to make sure.”

“This is why you wanted to meet outside the building, rather than inside?” Talay asks. “I gave up my lunch break to—”

“You’re not the only one skipping lunch to do other things,” Silo says. “Don’t pretend we haven’t bent the rules before.”

“Yes, but that was when we were at uni, and the consequences weren’t as bad,” Talay protests.

Nina’s curiosity is peaked. “What the hell did the two of you get up to at uni?”

“A lot,” Silo grins at her. “More then we have time to get into right now.”

“You know we could both get fired for this,” Talay says, but he’s weakening. “It’s not even part of an official assignment.”

“You’re going through the archives, Talay.” Silo emphasizes. “That’s all you have to say if you’re asked.”

“Fine,” Talay sighs. “I’ll do it.”

Silo blinks. “I’m sensing a ‘but’.”

“Smart boy,” Talay puts a hand on Silo’s shoulder. “I want your sister’s number.”


“You only have one sister. Can you give me her number?”

Silo shrugs Talay’s hand off. “Can’t you get it yourself?”

“You see her more often than I do.” Talay’s answer isn’t completely true, but it’s the best he can come up with at the moment. “Em’s number for me to go digging through the archives. Come on, Silo. I’m not going to do anything weird.”

“I doubt Em will allow you to do ‘anything weird’.” But Silo holds out his hand for Talay’s phone. “She’s going to kill me.”

“Just how badly do you need me to go through the archives for you?” Talay knows he’s won as he hands the phone over to Silo. “It’s just dinner. One dinner, and if she says no after that, I won’t bother her again. But she won’t say no.”

“You’re really confident about that, aren’t you?” Nina says. Watching Silo and Talay banter is a breath of fresh air after all the frustration and dead ends she’s encountered since coming back to Bangkok.

“I’ve known Em since she was a kid.” Talay turns his triumphant smile on her. “She likes me.”

“She feels sorry for you,” Silo hands the phone back to Talay. “I’ll send you the rest of the files later today.”

“The rest?” Talay’s face drops.

“There’s five hundred of them.” Now it’s Silo’s turn to smile. “Have fun.”

Silo walks away from Talay before his friend can say anything else. Nina follows him, glancing once over her shoulder in time to see Talay put the phone to his ear, grinning like an idiot.

“Do you really think he’ll find anything in the archives?” She asks.

“It’s worth a try,” Silo says. “Since this isn’t an official assignment for either of us, it’s not like we can use the usual resources.”

What Silo says is true, but it doesn't make Nina feel any less frustrated. Now that there are three people—possibly more—looking into whatever is on that USB, Nina is also worried. If whoever sent it in the first place really did want her dead, and tried to hurt both Bel and Kam, what was to stop them from going after Silo, Talay and Em if whoever it was knew they were involved, however minimally?

They’ve reached Silo’s car, and Nina waits for Silo to unlock it so they can both get it. But Silo doesn’t reach for his keys. Instead, he reaches for her.

“You’re doing that thing again,” Silo says. “The thing where you get all quiet because you start to overthink. Don’t tie your brain in knots trying to solve whatever you’re thinking by yourself.”

“Silo,” Nina turns to face him. “ If I’d just taken the USB to Langley, they could have solved it easily and no one would have to get hurt, and I wouldn’t have to worry about Bel or you or—”

“How do you know your people at the CIA could have solved this easily?” Silo puts a stop to the storm of words before Nina’s emotion gets too out of hand. “That package was sent to you for a reason, and this is not a problem you can solve on your own. You want to play the ‘what if’ game? ‘What if’ you did take it to Langley and they told you it was nothing to worry about and shoved it in a file drawer somewhere and forgot about it? ‘What if’ you didn’t say anything and the next thing you saw was an obituary with your brother’s name on it and no explanation as to why?”

“What if I did something really stupid by coming back here?” Nina whispers. “The only thing we have is redacted reports and the last name of the man I hired as my brother’s bodyguard.”

“I told you, minimal progress is still progress.” Silo puts his arms around her. “Sometimes that’s how things like this works. We move the puzzle pieces around at a snail’s pace and then something finally clicks. We’re just waiting for the click. Right?”

“I guess.” Nina feels just a little bit better. Neither of them say anything for a minute. Nina doesn’t want to move, she doesn’t want to think. She just wants to stay in Silo’s embrace for as long as possible. She’s forgotten what this felt like.

Silo doesn't move. He doesn’t want to, really. He hasn’t seen Nina-the-Ice-Queen melt in years. Yet here she is, in the middle of a crowded street, coming apart at the seams. And that does something to him.


She looks up into Silo’s face. His eyes are boring into hers. Eyes dark with concern and…something else. Then, without quite knowing why, Nina goes up on her tiptoes, and kisses him. They’ve kissed before, several times, so there aren’t any fireworks or anything. But their lips meet exactly the way they're supposed to, and each knows how much to give and how much to receive. It feels…comfortable? Yes, that’s the perfect word. Like finding something you’ve lost and being relieved that it’s still there.

Silo breaks the kiss first. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t need to. He gets the car keys out of his pocket, unlocks the car, and they both get in. Nina doesn’t speak either, not until they’ve pulled into traffic and driven for a couple of blocks.

“Thank you.”

“For what?” Silo’s tone is casual, but the words he says aren’t. “I don’t like seeing you worried.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re worrying with me.”

Silo smiles at her. A smile that slides off his face when his phone rings, and Em’s face pops up on the screen.

“Did you give Talay my number?” Em’s tone makes Silo wish he hadn’t put the phone on speaker.

“No,” He tries to keep his voice casual when he responds, but the guilt shows through. He can’t hang up on her because Em will keep calling and calling until she gets the answers she wants. Also, traffic has stopped, so that means that not only is he stuck in the car and on the phone longer than he wants to be, but Nina gets to hear his sister yell at him, too.

“Silicone.” Em sounds like she wants the truth, and she wants it now. Next to him, Nina makes a choking sound that she turns into a cough.

“Silicon? Seriously?”

Silo shoots her a dirty look.

“Em, did you have to use my full name?”

“I only use it when it’s deserved,” Em snaps. “Like when you give out my number without telling me. You’re lucky I can’t castrate you over the phone.”

“It was necessary.” Silo winces, though Em sounds only half serious. “I needed a favor.”

“And later, you’re going to tell me what that favor is, right?”


“Does this favor have something to do with the reason Bel suddenly has a boyfriend?”

“Boyfriend?” Nina’s eyebrows are shooting up to her hairline.

“Yeah,” Em clearly enjoys knowing things nobody else does. “Kam someone. He came to see Bel the other night, and Gulf let him stay, because apparently this Kam is Bel’s boyfriend. I’m guessing there’s an interesting story behind all of this?”

“Yes,” Silo is wishing he hadn’t picked up the call.

“And you’ll tell me said interesting story?”


“You promise?”


“You’re lucky I like Talay,” Em says. “Or you’d be in even deeper shit than you are now.”

“Thanks, Em.” Silo hangs up the phone before Em can cause any more trouble. Nina is looking at him.

“You’re really scared of your sister, huh?”

“Actually, yes,” Silo keeps his eyes on the road, and not just because traffic is moving again. “Em is the only person who can make threats I believe—other than you.”

“You really think she’ll cut your balls off if she’s mad enough?”

“The first time I annoyed her, she tried to do it while I was asleep,” Silo is completely serious. “She was four.”

“What did you do to annoy her?” Nina is enjoying herself.

“A lot.”

Nina smiles again, but doesn’t say anything. It’s quiet in the care for a couple of blocks, and Silo hopes that Nina has forgotten the other interesting tidbit of information that was provided on the phone. No such luck.

“Sooooooo,” Nina leans toward the driver’s seat. “Story?”

“It’s stupid.”

“Obviously or you wouldn’t be so annoyed…Silicone.”

“Fine,” Silo gives in. “It’s because of my hair.”

Nina shoots him a disbelieving look. “Your hair.”

“I bleached it when I was a kid. My mom said it looked like I covered my head in silicone and the name stuck. It’s not funny.”

“No,” Nina makes the choking sounds again. “Why don’t I treat you to dinner to soothe those hurt feelings of yours?”

“French food. Full course,” Silo tells her.

“Obviously.” Nina says. “And then maybe we can do something after.”

“Wait,” Nina’s answer pulls Silo up short. “Something after? Really?”

“Unless you have plans with Gulf.”

“He’s busy.” Silo only sounds a little bit disappointed. “It’s a weekend night.”

“All right then,” Nina smiles. “It’s my turn for date night.”

Em has the night off today, so she’s only too happy to accept Talay’s dinner invitation. Actually, Talay made it sound like it was a life or death request, but Em had accepted anyway. She liked Talay the first time she’d met him at an open house held by Silo’s university.

She’d gone to another school, but kept her brother’s friend on the edge of her radar. Silo was one of those older brothers who got stupidly protective when it came to potential dates. Which drove Em absolutely crazy because Silo could date whoever the hell he wanted.

Another thing Silo got stupidly protective about was what he did for work. Or maybe secretive was a better word. Em knew that there were certain parts of his job that Silo couldn’t talk about, but whatever he was involved with this time had nothing to do with his official work. And while she hadn’t said it out loud, Em was pretty sure that Bel’s boyfriend Kam was the same Kam who went to uni with both her brother and Talay, and Bel was definitely not dating him. Yet.

So why did Kam hang around the restaurant every night? And why did Bel stick so close to him every time they left? And why, that first night, had a car tried to run them both down?

Em couldn’t ask Bel because he’d call her nosy and tell her to butt out; and she couldn’t ask Silo because he’d get all secretive and protective and change the subject; so Em decides to do the next best thing. She would ask Talay.

Nighttime traffic is heinous, so Talay parks the car in public parking and the two of them just walk. Em gives Talay just enough time to feel comfortable before she goes in for the kill.

“What did Silo ask you to do for him?”

“Huh?” Talay trips over his own feet, a sign that he’s scrambling for a lie. “I’m his assistant, I have to do whatever he tells me.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“Where do you want to eat?”


“We can go anywhere you want.”


“Did you say you would go out with me just so you could interrogate me? Because I think that hurts my feelings.”

Em stops walking and turns to face Talay. Yes, she did agree to go out with Talay to get answers, but she also really likes him. She just won’t tell him that yet.

“I know my brother’s up to something, Talay, and I want you to tell me what it is.”

“Pick somewhere to eat first.”

Talay can be just as stubborn as Em, if he makes enough of an effort. All right, fine, if that’s the way he wants it. Em points just down the street.

“Let’s go there.”

It’s a porridge shop, and there are lots of people inside already. Which means that they can look like they’re on a date, and still talk about other things. Except they are on a date. Talking about other things.

Talay follows Em into the shop, and lets her order century eggs spicy salad and porridge while he orders the same but with stir-fried morning glory instead. When Talay asks if she wants anything else, Em just glares at him. So Talay just signals for a waitperson to come pick up the paper he’s written their order down on, and starts tapping the table with his fingers, while Em continues to look at him.

“I asked you something, Talay.”

“I know,” He squirms in his seat, wanting food first before explanations because then he can make sure his mouth is full if he doesn’t want to say anything.

“So are you going to tell me, or not?” Em has decided to push.

“I can’t tell you because I don’t know,” Talay finally says. “Not all of it, anyway.”

“What can you tell me then? I know it’s probably something to do with Bel’s so-called boyfriend, and the hit and run they were involved in—don’t look at me like that, I work with Bel, and I’ve known Kam since you guys were at uni together, and I was working the night the car tried to hit them—and I want more details as to what that actually is.”

“You know, when you really want something, you don’t take a breath between sentences?”

“I’m serious, Talay!”

“So am I! I’m supposed to look into some files that Silo sent over with Kam’s last name on them because somebody wants Kam and Nina and Bel dead. Shit!” Talay claps a hand over his mouth. Em had got what she wanted. She made him say all that with just one little look. She was definitely Silo’s sister.

Em doesn’t say anything after Talay spilled his guts. She just sits there, digesting that one little sentence and all its implications until the food is brought to their table. Talay isn’t sure if she’s angry, or scared, or confused, but she’s definitely hungry. She eats several bites of her salad and a couple bites of porridge before speaking again.

“Can I help?”

Talay chokes on his morning glory, spitting pieces of the leafy greens and chili back onto his plate.

“Swallow your food before you answer me,” Em deadpans. “And I want to help because I just saw a car try to run down a good friend of mine and that pisses me off. That was the question you were going to ask me, right?”

Talay says nothing. His mouth is full. Whether that’s deliberate or not, Em isn’t sure, so she keeps pushing.

“I won’t do anything dangerous, but at the very least I can help keep an eye on Bel. I see him almost every night anyway, since we work in the same place.”

“If I tell you that I will let you know when you can help,” Talay finally says. “Will you be satisfied with that?”

“Unless you’re only saying this to shut me up,” Em replies. “Then, yes. But you are going to tell me, right?”

“Of course,” Talay nods, pouring as much sincerity into the words as he possibly can. Then his eyes cloud over.“Em, you didn’t just agree to go out with me because you want in on whatever is going on, right?”

“Partly,” Now it’s Em’s turn to be absolutely sincere. “But I really do like you, so instead of asking Silo for my number, you could have just asked me in person.”

“It was more fun this way. I like watching your brother get all protective over you.” Talay’s face suddenly clouds over. “Silo is going to kill me for letting you help.”

“If he kills you, then I’ll kill him,” Em retorts.

This will be interesting.

"12. What Kam Actually Does

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://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2317589-11-Silicone