Fog had settled on the windows, coating the glass with icy breath and pattern. The warmth of the room inside spread tendrils of heat along the same glass; thin lines, like scrapes left behind by manicured fingernails, appeared in the frost. She wanted to press her hand to that window, to see the print of her flesh warm the cold and melt the ice. She didn't move from her seat in the middle of the room; she only stared off to her distant left and waited. A dark shape passed the window, a silhouette that faintly resembled some half-human beast, tall and without much discernible form, save broad shoulders and a hint of the shape of a human body. That silhouette edged forward and turned toward the door, blending into the shadows. It was a cold night.
The door opened, the bell ringing. The low whistling of the wind blew white crystalline water into the room as a draft of air brought a chill to her bare neck. She turned with a smile, watching him close the door, his cheeks brightly reddened, laughing with the man closest to the door who had said something laughable about the cruelty of opening a door to let the bitterness in. She smiled even as he turned, the traces of laughter still on his smooth face, to meet her eyes and then turn away to the bar. She smiled as he greeted the bartender, their friends, their friends' wives and girlfriends. She smiled when he made his way to her, kissed the top of her head and took the seat next to her.
"Nice table," he said. "Didn't I reserve one closer?"
"I don't think so," she replied, taking a sip of water. "Robbie told me this was the one, so I guess if I'm wrong, we'll have to take it up with him."
"Don't be a smart ass," he said admonishingly, taking her hand in his and smiling into her face.
She reddened. "I'm sorry."
Music began to play; the band had gotten to the stage while she spoke with Nathaniel. She spared a glance for the musicians and when her eyes returned, his had flicked forward, also. He still gripped her hand. She smiled to herself, drinking in his features like wine. The overhead light glinted in his silver eyes: silver, not gray or blue, but a swirling silver that she could never decide was real or a result of colored contacts. She never asked. He possessed a quality of mystery that wasn't really secret; it often seemed simultaneously that he could speak to you and include you and love you but always be watching, calculating, careful.
He was like that, she often supposed; it was enough that they were in love without analyzing their reasons and she would never pressure him to.
The room had become much colder with the opening of the door. Sara couldn't tell if anyone else noticed, but gooseflesh had prickled all along her arms, and Nathaniel still held her hand in his. There was little warmth to be had in the once cheery room. Her eyes traveled the line of the microphone cord to the edge of the stage, to the wall, to the shadows behind and along the trim at the floor. The window to her left was open just enough to let the air flow in and creep along between the feet of the customers; the cold had swept up her bare legs, leaving her nerves tingling. The movement of the air had erased the icy patterns from the windowpane; it was blank, bare, and black as the night it reflected.