realize that I had to do something , and since vomiting on what I assumed was a crime scene would not be helpful, I figured I would pass off the problem to somebody else. Before I could instruct my legs to get moving, the restroom door opened, and Timothy burst in.
    “Oh, Jesus.” Timothy, in a show of gallant behavior far exceeding my reminiscences of first-aid photos, practically fell onto Eric’s body and cupped his hand over the bleeding slice in Eric’s neck while yelling, “Oh God! Oh God!” Timothy pulled off his expensive navy shirt and pressed it to Eric’s neck. “Chloe, don’t look! Get out of here! Go!” he shouted at me.
    My feet finally decided to work. I hurried out of the men’s room, came to a halt, and found myself staring numbly at the bustling restaurant, which was full of diners and waitstaff. Looking toward the kitchen, I saw Garrett hacking away at a piece of red meat. I stared at the huge cleaver blade as Garrett repeatedly whacked someone’s dinner.
    I’ve heard people say that when you faint, your vision narrows, like a black circle enlarging to constrict your field of view. Truth. The last thing I clearly saw was the chef ’s cleaver cracking through a bone.
    “Chloe? You okay? Come on, wake up.” I opened my eyes to see a shirtless Timothy peering at me with great concern.
    There I was, sprawled out on the floor with a group of restaurants patrons murmuring pitying comments like, “The poor thing!” and “She just absolutely collapsed!”
    When I tried to sit up, Timothy immediately pushed me back down. In my dazed state, I somehow noticed that he’d washed his hands and wasn’t going to leave a bloody print on my arm.
    “No, don’t sit up,” he instructed me. “Just lie still and don’t move.” Ordering a perfectly healthy woman to remain motionless after a minor fainting incident? What kind of stupid first-aid class had he taken?
    First aid! Oh, Christ, when I’d fallen, I’d probably given myself a revolting compound fracture! I looked down. All my limbs were intact. “Seriously, I’m fine. Just let me get up,” I assured the crowd. I rose from the floor and walked to a nearby table, where I sat down and tried to assume an air of normality. Oh God, poor Eric! Then I asked a question so stupid that I can’t believe it left my mouth. “Tim, is Eric okay?” What did I expect to hear? That really, aside from the knife wound that had practically severed his head from his body, he was in great shape?
    “Chloe, I’m so sorry . . .” Timothy’s voice trailed off. “Eric is dead. The police and the ambulance should be here any second.”
    How odd: an ambulance for a dead person. I mean, the EMTs weren’t miraculously going to revive a cadaver. Shouldn’t EMTs devote themselves to tasks that had a chance of success, such as taping cups over eyes? Although my thoughts felt logical, I must have looked woozy. Timothy went to fetch me a glass of water and instructed Cassie to sit with me, presumably to make sure I didn’t keel over again. It’s a good thing that Cassie became a waitress instead of a nurse. She did nothing except smile politely as we sat uncomfortably together and listened to the sirens approach the restaurant. I looked out the window to see what I guessed to be about six hundred emergency vehicles pull up outside.
    The scene that followed could have been staged for some prime-time cop show. Official-looking people took over the premises, as I imagined the restaurant would now be called, and no one was allowed to leave. After pushing the crowd away from the men’s room, the police sealed off the corridor to the restrooms with neon yellow streamers printed with Do Not Cross. Cassie and I watched as cops and EMTs rushed around. And firefighters. Why were they here? Not to hose down the bloody tiles. To put out Garrett’s flames?
    Looking around, I wondered about all the guests and what they’d do and

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