Commitment remains a theme and metaphor in the narrative. Scarpetta is in love with a man, Mark, whom she met in college. Scarpetta and Mark had a torrid affair for a year in college, but the relationship ended and Scarpetta married another man. However, years later, Scarpetta and Mark found each other again. Their relationship was just as torrid the second time around, until career pressures caused turmoil in their relationship. Mark and Scarpetta began fighting so much over their mutual commitments to their jobs that Mark decided to put in for a transfer that would take him halfway across the country. Now Scarpetta is alone and wondering if Mark was ever willing to commit to her. When Mark fails to call her over the long months they are apart, she decides he does not love her.