"Zara De Luca," Silus sighed to himself as he relaxed into his chair with a shudder. "Zara De-fucking-Luca." As a rule, Silus Splendid was an expert at keeping other humans out of his head, especially in matters such as affection and desire. Yet just as that she bypassed his doors and security measures, Zara managed to also bypass all of his common sense and proper decorum.
He had just begun to tidy his belt and pull himself together, when the small bell over his door jangled to life. Silus frowned. While a lot of his clients preferred to visit his office under the cover of the foggy London darkness, he still wondered who on earth was still wandering the streets at this hour. He knew it wasn't the De Luca twins returning for some forgotten business; surely, they would have again opted for the window.
Still wearing his coat, having been intercepted immediately upon arrival, Silus swept out of the office and down the dingy stairwell. He passed by other closed doors as he made his way towards the building's main entrance; the rest of the units were owned by brothels and used as overflow, so the screams and groans which emerged in the darkness were no surprise.
Enraged and disgusted, Silus flung open the door, which fell out upon an alleyway which stank of shit, piss and coupling, where a tiny boy in a dirty, threadbare sweatshirt stood staring up at him. Although small and young, he seemed far from frightened at being in this portion of the city. A street urchin if Silus had ever seen one, and God knows he had seen his fair share.
"Wister Splendid?" the boy spluttered through chipped, crooked and missing teeth.
Silus narrowed his eyes, instinctively drawing his shoulders back and cocking his chin, all the while eyeing the boy from above his nose. "Yes?"
"I gots a letter for ya." The throwaway produced a small square of paper from inside his jumper, and Silus gingerly took it between his fingertips, praying that it carried no ticks or diseases in its folds.
Turning it over in his hands, Silus recognized Warren's stupid little red "M" which sealed the paper shut. The wax didn't quite sit in the middle either, and the "M" itself sat on its side. Unusual, as Warren was meticulous about little things like that. Silus parted his lips to murmur a gruff thank you to the boy, but he had scampered away already. The smell of piss and excrement had lifted considerably now that he was gone, Silus noted. He shook his head and opened the letter, a fluttering sensation moving between his chest and his throat.
Warren's scribbled words suggested nothing but nervousness and suspicion - and, most likely, a certain level of intoxication - but with Zara's fragrance still hot in Silus's nostrils, and her voice still thick and creamy in his mind, the tiny nudge was enough.
And so, Silus Splendid did something he had not done since he'd been a smelly urchin boy himself; he ran. He ran after the only woman he lusted after. He ran towards the nearest inn, where she had promised she would be.
"Zara!" he cried, all dignity abandoned, just like the open door of the office building. His patent leather shoe came down in a pile of something brown and slippery, and a moth flew into his mouth, but he kept running, throwing a glance down every side street he could see, calling her name.
"Jeez, Si, you don't do things by halves, do you?"
Silus's heart hopped against the back of his throat as her slim shadowy figure literally dropped out of the sky right in front of him. He quickly glanced upward, about to ask her where she had just come from, but his attention immediately snapped back to her slender, curved form and her glistening violet eyes.
"Well? Did you really just run all the way down here to stare at me and act like a retarded child?" Zara folded her arms and flashed him a smile.
"No. I didn't," he said, struggling to keep the quiver from his voice. "It's much more interesting than that."
A second shadow slithered out of the darkness to stand just behind Zara. Zara De Luca may have wielded a dagger like none other, but Ezra De Luca fired them from his eyes. Silus shuddered.
"We're listening," Ezra growled over his sister's shoulder.
Silus drew a steadying breath through his nose and pulled his chest forward. "I believe you will be familiar with the name Lydia Hiddlestone."