When Silus visited now, he brought his own bottle. Not because he felt obliged, but rather to make Warren feel small. There was also the matter of Warren buying his liquor cheap on the streets, rather than from the highly-esteemed craftsmen whose shops he used to frequent.
He was already drunk when Silus arrived at the door.
Silus shook a small sheet of snow from the shoulders of his jacket and tossed Warren his cane and hat. "OH!" he exclaimed, as though just waking up from a daydream. "I forgot you don't have a maid anymore. And I thought you were her. My apologies, Warren, old chap!"
Warren scowled as Silus gathered his belongings in his arms and proceeded to the study without invitation.
"We missed you at the club last night," Silus declared, so extravagantly that there was no doubt he was lying. "You really must get out more, my friend."
"Don't want to," Warren muttered, snatching the bottle of scotch from Silus's hand.
"And why ever not?"
"What's the point?"
"Warren, have you recently shaved?"
Warren whipped the top off the bottle and took a swig straight from it, flopping down in the armchair by the fireplace. The grate was cold, grey and empty, as it had been for a while now. Silus perched opposite him.
"Tell me what ails you," he implored, gently taking hold of the bottle as though to correct his friend's behaviour. Instead, he took a swig himself, shivered, and handed it back to Warren.
"Can't tell you," Warren murmured, drooling and gazing at the floor.
"Why ever not? Is it the money business?" Silus leaned forward, elbows on knees, to study his friend's pale face. "You're not having regrets about our arrangement, are you? Because I regret to inform you that we've reached the point of no return."
Weary eyes lifted to meet Silus's. "Wha' you mean?" Warren asked lazily.
"My associates raided an airship this afternoon, presumably the ship that your mechanical kin is aboard. I believe the ship set sail at approximately the same time as they boarded. Or so my sources tell me." And by sources, Warren reckoned Silus meant the drunken pirates in the dingy bars near the docks.
"She's.... On an airship? She's gone?" Warren spluttered, suddenly appalled. He stumbled o his feet and the room started to spin. "No. She can't. She - she needs to come back to me. I need to tell -" He hiccuped, and had to grip the back of the armchair for support. "- Tell her how I feel."
Silus got tentatively to his feet, edging towards Warren with an outstretched hand. "How you feel?" he repeated. "And - how do you feel, Warren?"
Her image flashed through Warren's head; long, silky legs, curvy hips, breasts like two mountains, skin more luxurious than his best silk shirt. His trousers grew tight around the crotch, and his chest grew tight around his lungs.
"Silus," he murmured, eyes attempting to focus on the solicitor's face, but failing. "I think I'm in lo-"
And then Warren doubled over, emptying two days' worth of bad scotch from his stomach, onto Silus's shoes.