Chapter Fourteen: Mal
My Eyes, My Eyes!
Kaden's shirt was sticking to him, the once light grey material now dark in places with sweat. They'd only managed to make it through roughly a third of the boxes so far. Mal grabbed a bottle of water and tipped his head back as he drank the now warm liquid down. Some spilled down the side of his mouth and ran down his neck and to his chest. When he emptied the bottle and rubbed at the water trailing down his body, he noticed Kaden watching him.
Kaden's eyes looked unfocused as he stared at Mal's naked chest and his hand moving over it. Mal, feeling playful, trailed his hand down and adjusted his dick that twitched at the way Kaden devoured him. Even though Mal had told Kaden initially they shouldn’t get involved together, the more time he spent with the shifter, the less his reasons mattered for not taking their friendship to the next level.
He chuckled when Kaden blushed, swallowed and then quickly turned away. Mal placed the now empty bottle back in the bag and strode inside once again, he went right back to where he had been working and pulled the next box off the pile and placed it on the small table he was using as a workbench.
Mal peeled the tape off the top of the box and opened it up. On top looked to be pillows, still in the covers that had been on Anya's bed. Mal reached out a shaking hand and lifted the pillow, bringing it to his nose. The scent of his sister still clung to the material, although it was only light now, the weeks since she had been gone fading her imprint.
Mal pressed the pillow harder against his face and breathed in deeply. His sister had always smelled so good to him. It was a scent he had been imbibing since the day they'd been born. To think that he was never going to smell it again tore a little more of his already damaged heart.
His eyes filled with tears and Mal had to hold back the sob that wanted to break free. He had to push his emotions down and get to work, otherwise, he was never going to be able to make it through the day.
Reluctantly Mal placed the pillow on the table next to the box then removed the second one that had been squashed on top as well. The box hadn't been that heavy so he wasn't holding out much hope that there'd be anything more substantial in here.
When he glanced down again at the contents of the box, Mal screamed and made a run for it out of the shed. Mal closed his eyes and shuddered, his hands frantically wiping at his face.
"Mal? What's the matter?" Kaden asked worriedly.
Mal couldn't talk, he just pointed. His body still shuddering at what he'd seen. Mal didn't think he'd ever get the images out of his head.
"Bleach, I need bleach," Mal whispered.
Kaden made his way over to where Mal had been working and glanced inside the box. He then burst into a fit of laughter.
Kaden pointed at Mal as he tried to get his breath back. "You… You screamed like a three-year-old little girl," he rasped as he doubled over.
"I did not," Mal said indignantly as shudders racked his body again.
"You so totally did," Kaden said, then stood to look in the box again. Kaden reached inside.
"No don't…" before Mal could turn away Kaden came up holding a pair of thick leather handcuffs and a strap-on device, the plastic dick bright purple against the black leather of its small mounted base. Kaden moved both items to one hand then went back in for the second time.
"Kaden!" Mal cried out, but it didn't stop the man from pulling out the flesh coloured double header and waving it around. "Please, put it away. I really don't want to see what my sister got up to in the bedroom."
"There's more in here. Way, way more," Kaden said as he glanced at the box again. Thankfully he didn't pull anything else out. "Glass dildos, plugs, leather—"
Mal closed his eyes, stuck his fingers in his ears and sang "La, la, la" at the top of his voice. A short time later he stopped when he felt a tentative touch on his arm. Mal cracked open his eyes and removed his fingers from his ears, and he glanced down at Kaden, happy to see the man no longer held any sex toys that used to belong to his baby sister.
"I've put the box away."
"You know, I think I would have liked your sister."
"Please don’t say that after looking at how she used to get her freak on in the bedroom," Mal said.
"Doesn’t change how I feel. Plus, I wouldn't have taken you to be the type of guy that would be prudish about a couple of toys. Toys can be fun and spice things up."
Mal cupped Kaden's cheeks then placed a light kiss to his lips, pulled back and stared into his eyes. "I know just how much fun toys can be as I have several of my own, and enjoy using them, not only on my partners but also on myself when the occasion warrants it."
Kaden's eyes went wide, the colour darkening, Mal saw him swallow, then his tongue poked out to lick his lips.
"I just never wanted to see what my sister got up to behind closed doors. Anya was my twin, and I know, if things were reversed, and she was standing her instead of me, there's no way I would want her knowing what I got up to with the men I slept with."
Kaden nodded. "Was your sister gay?"
Mal shook his head. "She was bi, liked both sexes equally. She refused to limit herself to just one gender as she didn't want to miss her soulmate. She was always on the lookout for that one special person." Mal's voice broke and Kaden leaned forward and hugged him. Mal wrapped his arms around Kaden as he remembered his sister and everything she'd never get to do now.
Mal didn't know how long they stood like that but they eventually stepped back.
"Come on," Kaden said. "These boxes aren't going to check themselves."
Mal nodded and walked back into the storage unit. Mal glanced at the pile of boxes they'd already checked and had to smile when he saw a box that Kaden had written on "Not for Mal's eyes!!!" Mal grabbed the next box in the stack and got back to work.
His stomach growled loudly, letting him know he was way passed the point of being hungry, and Mal was about to call a halt so they could go and grab something to eat when Kaden called out to him.
"You might want to come and have a look at this."
Mal glanced at Kaden who was studying a folder in front of him. He carefully made his way over to where Kaden had been working on the other side of the storage shed and glanced over Kaden's shoulder at what he was reading.
His eyes widened when he started to read. What in the world had his sister stumbled onto?
Mal and Kaden had called it a day a couple of hours later after finding nothing else of note in Anya's belongings. The file and notebooks had been securely placed in Kaden's backpack so they could look them over in more detail when they got home. The little Mal had seen had made his blood run cold.
Now here they sat at the small round table in Kaden's apartment, notes and pictures spread out in front of them. Kaden stared at them all with wide eyes; Mal felt the same. How the hell had Anya gotten on to this? She was an accountant for fucks sake. Not an investigative reporter.
The more he read, the more he started to understand just why someone might have wanted to have his sister killed. Shadowy organisations, dragon experiments, murders, cover-ups. Mal shook his head. Why the hell hadn't Anya told him anything about this.
"Mal," Kaden said quietly from beside him. Mal blinked as if in a haze then looked at Kaden. "You might want to read this. It has something to do with Rangers."
"What the fuck!" Mal said as he grabbed the small notebook and started to read his sisters scribbled handwriting. His eyes prickled with tears as he read about the experimentation that was taking place, not only on dragons but on some ranger teams as well. At the end of the notes written in capitals and circled several times his sister had written MUST CALL MAL!
Mal had received that call, but he hadn't picked up. It'd gone to voicemail, and he hadn't even realised it until two weeks after Anya's death. If only he'd known she'd called. If they could have talked. Maybe his sister would still be alive.
He put his head in his hands and tried not to break down in tears again. Kaden's warm, comforting hand rubbed soothing circles on his back. The sound of a phone ringing disturbed the silence of the room. Kaden's hand disappeared as he got up to grab his mobile off the kitchen bench.
Mal didn't pay any attention to the conversation taking place only feet away from him. He was too lost in his thoughts, grief over his sister's death, anguish that he may have been able to help her if only his phone had been working properly, and anger at what Anya had uncovered.
He ran his fingers through his hair and stared down at the table top. Two letters kept appearing in her notes over and over. Sometimes they were circled, sometimes they were underlined. RL. Now just what the hell did that stand for?