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The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent Read Online (FREE)

“Exactly.”

We finish our scones, chat about nursery colors—she’s leaning toward peach—and the time flies as I suppose it does when two friends are truly enjoying one another’s company. Within an hour, we arrive at the community center. Elisabeth offered to drive us both and bring me back to my car, but I insisted I follow.

She’s already been too kind.

Pink and white streamers drape from the ceiling, twisted and taped so they hang just so, and a table in the back of the room is covered in rose-gold tissue paper anchored by a three-tier cake—white frosting and real flowers. Silver plates of cucumber sandwiches and pacifier-shaped sugar mints flank the sides as well as a bowl of ginger ale punch, which everyone is drinking out of champagne flutes.

It’s sweet that Reed’s aunt would do all of this for her … especially considering the fact that his family supposedly doesn’t like her. But maybe with the recent death of her mother they felt obligated? And maybe that’s what Elisabeth was really trying to say back at Bellisima? I’m sure the more we get to know one another, the more insight I’ll glean. For the time being, I pop a mint into my mouth and ladle some punch into two champagne flutes.

A group of women, mostly older, circle Elisabeth, smiling and chatting, their hands on her belly. I can’t see her face, but I imagine she’s playing right along, pretending she’s thrilled to be here, even if she isn’t.

I love that she trusted me enough to be honest, to confess her little secret.

That is the true marker of a friendship.

Honesty. Zero secrets.

“Look who it is!” someone squeals from the crowd of ladies dressed in pastel dresses.

Everyone turns to the doorway where Reed stands, shit-eating grin and palms open as they flock to him to shower him in hugs and kisses and sweet sentiments about how much they’ve missed him.

Elvis has entered the building.

Elisabeth stands back. Forgotten. Abandoned.

I go to her, handing her a flute of punch and remaining at her side. “Wow. They really love him, don’t they?”

She smirks, huffing through her nose. “This is how it is … every … single … time. They just love him. Don’t we all though?”

Reed’s dimples and dark hair and pressed button down and slim-cut khakis command the room, and each aunt or cousin he talks to has his full, undivided attention. And he’s engaged. Like everything they’re saying is fascinating.

Reed Bristowe has charisma down to a science.

And he has everyone fooled.

Eventually he makes his way to his wife, slipping his hand around the small of her back and leaning down to kiss her forehead. Her demeanor relaxes, softening like a kitten napping in the sun.

“Meadow.” He finally notices me. “Hi. Wasn’t expecting to see you here. Glad you could make it.”

“I invited her,” Elisabeth says. “We had tea this morning.”

Reed nods, a pleased glint in his eye. I wonder how many times he’s told her to get out of the house, to find friends.