“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.”
The Future Mrs. Brightside
by Fiona J.R. Titchenell
Genre: Women’s Fiction
After a year of making beautiful music together, Chloe Hatherly thinks she’s more than ready to make the age-old promise to her bandmate, Jon. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. When the sudden death of Jon’s father forces the couple to postpone their wedding in favor of a funeral, however, their relationship veers rapidly off course from the ever after they’d both envisioned. Now living in her intended father-in-law’s memory-steeped house and acting as round-the-clock caregiver for her fiancé’s worsening depression, Chloe finds herself afflicted with a songwriter’s block for which she’s only ever known one cure: leaving and writing a killer breakup song. Unlike the subjects of her past lyrical rants, Chloe can’t picture her life without Jon in it, and she begins to wonder if there’s a way to save the music she loves while keeping the vows she never had the chance to make — or if she and Jon have already been irrevocably parted by death, albeit not their own.
The Future Mrs. Brightside is an uncomfortably honest, sometimes hilarious, fiercely romantic prose ballad to the hideous beauty of love in good times and bad.
FIONA J.R. TITCHENELL is an author of young adult, sci-fi, and horror fiction, including Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir, The Prospero Chronicles, and the Summer 2018 Feminist Book of the Month, Out of the Pocket. The Future Mrs. Brightside is her first foray into contemporary women’s fiction. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Cal State University Los Angeles in 2009 at the age of twenty. She currently lives in San Gabriel, California, with her husband and fellow author, Matt Carter, and has also published under the initials F.J.R. Titchenell. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.fjrtitchenell.weebly.com.
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