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The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent Read Online (FREE)

“Tea?” she asks as I wipe the marble counters in the recently refurbished kitchen of the nineteenth-century Victorian she shares with her husband. “I bought some Earl Grey … I know how much you love it.”

Before I have a chance to decline—we’re not supposed to accept gifts of any kind from clients—she’s waddling toward the Keurig machine and dropping a pod inside. I’d mentioned, briefly, several weeks ago that I wasn’t a fan of coffee, that Earl Grey was my hot drink of choice.

And she remembered. She didn’t have to. But she did. And that speaks to the kind of person she is. Thoughtful. Compassionate. Detail-oriented to a fault.

This woman doesn’t miss a thing.

“Oh, did I tell you? It’s a girl.” Elisabeth hands me a navy-blue mug with a copper handle and some cheesy saying about coffee on the side. Her mouth pulls into the widest grin. She wanted a girl. She told me that once, in confidence. She wanted a little girl more than anything in the world.

I couldn’t be happier for her.

“A girl? Congratulations!” I say. And I’m truly excited for them. Picturing Reed with a baby daughter wrapped in his strong arms warms me from the inside out. He’s going to be an incredible father, the kind that will take her to the library on the weekends instead of planting her in front of an iPad. The kind that will take her on nature walks instead of dumping her at the child care center of the local gym. And he’ll read her books. God, will he read her books. Good ones. Time-tested ones. None of those cutesy anyone-can-be-a-children’s-book-author kinds with the God-awful illustrations. “Any names picked out?”

Elisabeth takes a seat at the kitchen table, in front of the laptop that contains her newest work-in-progress. She’s a novelist. The next hot thing, if you ask me. Women’s fiction, mostly. Nothing fluffy or meaningless. Her books are the kind that gut you, that rip out your entrails before putting you back together. They have substance, staying with you for days, sometimes weeks, like a haunting melody playing on a loop in your head. They don’t use cheap tricks or plot twists and they’re not formulaic, mindless entertainment meant for the masses.

I would know.

She has me critique them for her from time to time, and she actually takes my feedback into consideration. She even changed the ending of her last book simply because I told her I wasn’t feeling it.

“We have a shortlist,” she says. “Reed wants to name her after his grandmother, Adelaide. I’d like something a little less old-fashioned.”

I don’t tell her that I think Adelaide is an adorable name. And that I can picture her already. Reed’s dark hair and deep dimples. Elisabeth’s hazel, almond-shaped eyes.

“What’s at the top of your list?” I ask.

“I really like Mabry,” she says. “It was my mother’s maiden name.”

Was. My heart breaks for a second. A year ago, I’d come in to find Elisabeth standing over the sink, tears in her eyes. It was then that she told me about the death of her mother, Cindy, who’d raised her as a single mom, working two jobs just to put Elisabeth through school. In the end, Cindy died sick and penniless, her death both a burden and a relief on her daughter, who’d been her primary caregiver those last years.