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He thought the night was just beginning.

There had been lights, bright, welcoming.  There had been voices calling him.  Men’s voices were steady and strong, clearly heard, calling to him across crowded rooms.  Women’s voices were warm and smooth, flowing towards him like fine wine sliding down the sides of cut crystal glasses.

Little wonder then that he thought this would last forever, that the night was just beginning.

He slapped backs while his was slapped in turn.  He laughed at humour only half heard, enjoying all the while the camaraderie, the feeling of one.  The company pleased him.

She stood apart in some way he couldn’t quite understand.  It was n’t as if she was silent, not as if she wasn’t part of the continually changing crowd.  When there were surges of crowds coming and going she was still there.  When there were side shows of romantic endeavours forming, she was still there.  In the midst of swirling streams of free flowing speech, she was still there.  He was attracted to such stillness, apparently self-sufficient calm.

All the time she smiled, nodding in an attentive way, listening, speaking, engaging.

He liked what he saw, was intrigued by what he heard.

After some more drinks, when he bought her one, when she had accepted, they were chatting.

It may have been aimless, idle, light and harmless, but it was conversation.  It was easy he felt, it was definitely good.  When she smiled he smiled in return.  When he smiled she too smiled in reply.

He thought the night was just beginning.

She knew the night was over an hour before.