“How is he?” Breanna asked.
“I don’t know,” said Chloe. “Surprisingly calm, at the moment.”
“How are you?”
“Okay, I think.”
“What can I do to help?”
“Probably nothing. Thanks for coming.”
Chloe helped Breanna carry the bags to the kitchen table and unpack them. There were tissues, M&M cookies, a block of cheese, a vegetable platter, and a gallon tub of Oxiclean with sponges.
“Did it happen on the carpet or the tile?” Breanna asked softly when Chloe unpacked this last item.
“Yeah. When my cousin OD’d, this was the only thing that could get him out of the padding.”
This was another thing Chloe had subconsciously assumed someone else would do. Maybe if the room upstairs had been a crime scene, someone would have, but it was only a death scene, which she kept having to remind herself was different.
The morticians were only coming for the body itself, eventually. Once it was gone, the stains would still be there.
She needed to sit down.
It wasn’t even the prospect of cleaning corpse secretions out of white carpet that was specifically making her dizzy; it was the endlessly unspooling list of tasks to be done, more people to be contacted and met with, accounts to be settled, utilities to be notified, services to be planned. Chloe didn’t know how any of these things were done, how one even went about getting them started.
All she knew was that they existed in the abstract, needing to be taken care of, and that Jon probably didn’t know any more about them than she did. Even if he had known more, she didn’t want him to have to share a single ounce of the panic the to-do list was currently instilling in her, because no matter how overwhelming it got, what he was already dealing with was worse.
“Breathe,” Breanna reminded her. “You’ll be glad you have it later, but it’s not later yet.”