It was a late March day when Fiona Harland made the decision that would change her life forever.
She was sitting on a bench by the Serpentine, wondering why she was still wracked with grief after nine months. She was strong, had always been so. She got over things. So why was there still this feeling of emptiness, this feeling of things being not quite right?
She tried to divert her thoughts by watching the activity around her. It was six o'clock in the evening and still light thanks to the recent change to British Summer Time. The silhouettes of the trees were beginning to blur with their nascent summer greenery and the park was busy with people, rushing through on their way home, strolling along watching the wildlife on the lake or skimming along the walkways on roller blades. Two businessmen in dark suits walked past, one of them glancing at her as he drew level.
Her thoughts drifted backwards as they always did when she wasn't immersing herself in work. Back to that June day when her mobile belted out its electronic rendering of Beethoven's Fifth, a piece of music she hadn't been able to listen to since. And the voice on the other end said could she come down to Barnes Hospital urgently as her parents had been in a car accident. By the time her cab had fought its way through the traffic out to Barnes it was too late. Her father had died at the scene of the accident they said, and despite their attempts to save her mother she died an hour after getting to the hospital.
How quickly and brutally life can change.
Someone had sat down at the other end of her bench, drawing her back to the present. She glanced idly sideways and recognized the dark-suited man she'd seen earlier. He'd opened a copy of the Evening Standard and seemed to be having some difficulty keeping it straight in the slight breeze that had blown up. Without really thinking about it she looked around to see if his companion was nearby. He was leaning against the railings bordering the car park looking rather out of place in his smart suit; as if he should really be going somewhere rather than just hanging around.