The love song began its life, not with a fanfare or a crash of cymbals, but instead with a knock at a door.
The door belonged to a room in the basement of the Conservatorium of Music, a graceful old building whose wide corridors and stairwells had been almost entirely emptied out by the January holidays and the heat. But even if this had been a busy day in the middle of semester, the sign on the door in question would still have been misleading. DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, it read, even though the room beyond it had only a single occupant. His name was Arie Johnson, he was twenty-six years old, and at just before midday he was sitting at his computer without a clue in the world that he was never going to eat the slightly squashed ham and cheese sandwich he’d made for himself that morning. Or that his life was about to change forever.