We had always been acquaintances. We belonged to the same social circle; we had spoken to each other at the same parties.

For roughly two years I had been pursuing Katharine. She was the most interesting person I'd ever met, an accomplished professional musician at both cello and piano – probably other instruments as well, though not as well known. She always played perfectly, her body swaying with her music, one with her music. No matter what I saw her in, her striking turquoise eyes and creamily pale skin always were complemented by her clothing. Her silky auburn hair, whether she wore it up or down – it had a habit of down of its own accord – shimmered dully, always perfect. Always perfect – that was Katharine.

But me? Far from it. Jonathan Tyler, accountant and desk jockey extraordinaire, with glasses that hid muddily claret eyes, and wavy sandy hair that I could never control.

Which is why I was especially shocked when Katharine accepted my invitation to my place. By now, she had refused me so often it was more of a habit than a real offer, she always shaking her head with a rueful smile playing at her crimson lips, her aqua eyes never meeting mine.

But this would be the last time I asked her, I resolved. If she says no, so be it. But she said yes, her eyes finally meeting mine, a delicate smile curving those cerise lips.

She followed my Impala in her Aurora to my brownstone, me thanking whatever cosmic forces were at work tonight.

I knew that Katharine was unique, and that by nature she would affect my life. But as I opened her car door for her, offering her my arm, I did not realize how profoundly Katharine would affect my fate.