I didn't even bother to turn around. Had this been why I had come out so late? Was this a last-gasp manifestation of the closeness we had once shared, some vestige of the unspoken communication all couples had, telling me he would be here? Normally I wasn't night-restless.
Had I hoped to meet him?
"I thought that might be you in the bar tonight. I didn't see you until you were leaving, and even then, I wasn't sure. You were the one who asked for Chopin, weren't you?"
I could see him now. He had walked up into the light from the shadow of a grove of trees off to the side. Despite a few more wrinkles and an almost invisible scar on his forehead, his features hadn't really changed; his eyes were still dark and hooded, his mouth full and surprisingly sensuous on such a hawkish face.
On closer examination, though, there was something indefinably different about him; the fire was gone from his once brilliant eyes. There were deep lines on either side of his mouth. Even in this light a faint dusting of silver showed in his wavy black mane. Obviously the last two and a half years had not been good ones. He looked older, harder, bitterer.
I suppose I did, too.
"Yes, as soon as I recognized you."
"That wasn't kind."
"I didn't..." I began then stopped. Had I meant it to wound? I didn't know.
"I'd like to have seen your face when the waitress told you I didn't know any Chopin." A brief, bitter smile flirted with the corners of his mouth and then faded. "Of course, I didn't know it was you then."
"It was a surprise. What's this Jerry Grant bit, Jared?"
He shrugged and leaned against a pole. "The name Jared Granville was a little notorious there for a while."
"The accident. I know." It was a chore to keep my voice level. I had read the grisly details, as had most of the country, and if I had grieved irrationally that I had not been the one to die beside him ... well, that was no one's business but my own. "I didn't mention it to anyone."
Following the abrupt change of subject with ease, he looked at me with some surprise. He was still very handsome. "I didn't think you would."
"Well, our parting was..."
"I..." He began, and then silence fell between us, thicker and more deadly than the drifting snow.
There seemed to be nothing more to say, so we stood there for a while watching the snow fall. Odd. I had pictured our meeting again over and over and over. In my fantasies it had been sometimes passionate, sometimes acrimonious, but never silent. It was incredible, but we had nothing to say.