He sat in the worn leather armchair by the fireplace, dying embers glowing with waning angst behind chainmail curtains. The grandfather clock near the front door chimed midnight. He rose and walked to the window nearest the white-lit Christmas tree and tried to look through his haloed reflection in the frosted glass, snow drifting across the lawn and into the dark street. He bit his bottom lip and looked at her graduation picture in the gold frame on the mantle. The doorbell rang. He opened the door, casting the glimmer of the hearth and Christmas lights on the polished badge.