The air was colder here. Much here colder. But in a different way. I come from Minnesota, so I should be used to these kinds of temperatures. But this was different. This was a peaceful cold. A busy cold. Just a different cold.
I had to admit I liked the way it nipped at my ears and fingers. Like little needles dancing on my skin, it pricked sharply. I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck.
The luggage compartment was opened and I retrieved my bag. I headed into the station. The warmth inside assaulted me, but I can't say it wasn't welcome.
My eyes scanned the area, searching for a head of curly red hair. Upon finding none, I heaved a sigh. That's when I noticed the coffee shop just to my left. Before I had time to think, my feet were already heading in that direction.
Once my brain caught up with my body, I realized that I was craving something extremely caffeinated. Like an espresso. I stood in line for a minute, half hoping the person at the counter spoke English. I was relieved to hear her thank the customer in front of me in perfectly understandable English.
"I'll have a double espresso," I told her. She nodded and got busy with that. I fished around in my wallet for my credit card. I didn't have much cash on me, and I wasn't sure if American dollars were accepted here.
I received the espresso and handed her my card. I watched her slide it through her little machine and print out the receipt. I signed and thanked her.
Now, onwards to locate the individual I had travelled all this way to meet. I sipped at my drink and found the bitter taste invigorating. It was strong. Strong enough to wake me up.
That's when I saw it. A flash of red. Before I could react, this fluffy red thing had all but tackled me. I stood there for a moment, trapped in the embrace of a stranger.
"Sorry I'm late," it mumbled.
I grinned. "No problem. I used that extra minute to acquire some liquid energy."
He stepped back and we both got a good look at each other. He wasn't too much taller than me, thank god. I didn't have to strain my neck to look at him. And look at him I certainly did. His hair was rather long, definitely curly, and quite red. I had to resist the urge to reach out and touch it.
The eyes were a pale shade of green, reminding me very much of my cat. He was thin and pale. Dressed in...something black. I was unsure if it was men's or women's attire, but in the end it didn't matter much.
While I was giving him the once-over, he was doing the same to me. I watched his eyes roam over my face, my hair, scan down and then quickly shoot back up.
I grinned. He smiled back.
"Nice to finally meet you," I said.
Yes, the air was much colder here. And yet, it was also a lot warmer.
Author's Note: This ties into My Escape, My Exile. The scene takes place after that oneshot.