The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent Read Online (FREE)
I back out of the parking spot and drive east on Mayfair Avenue, toward the Bristowe house. And I don’t need to call first because we’re friends and friends drop in on each other, especially in times of need.
And she needs me.
She needs me now more than she’s ever needed me before.
Aunt Char opens the door in sunglasses, as if the Bristowe house wasn’t already dark enough. Every curtain is drawn. Every light switched off—save for the one above the kitchen sink and a lamp in the living room.
“Can I help you?” she asks, twisting the black pearls around her wrinkled neck.
The darkness seeps out of the house, wrapping me in an ominous embrace. I can feel the weight of Elisabeth’s sadness already.
“I’m a friend of Elisabeth’s,” I say, holding a brown paper bag of raspberry scones I picked up on the way here. I doubt she’s in the mood to eat anything right now, but it’s the thought that counts.
She eyes me up and down, maybe deciding she recognizes me from the baby shower yesterday, and then she lets me in. A couple of police officers chat in the kitchen and Char tells me Elisabeth is upstairs in her room and offers to “fetch” her for me.
I wait in the foyer and a moment later, Char returns, Elisabeth in tow. Her hair has been brushed, pull tight in a low ponytail, and her nose is red, raw.
“Meadow,” she says, gripping the stair rail. When she hits the landing, she shuffles toward me, wrapping me in an embrace though I should be the one holding her.
“Elisabeth, I’m so sorry,” I say.
“How did you know?”
“Everybody knows,” I say. “The whole campus knows.”
She breathes me in and lets me go. “It doesn’t feel real.”
“It doesn’t.” Our eyes hold. “But you’re going to get through this.”
The house is empty, save for the cops and Aunt Char, and I know now more than ever that I’m all she’s got.
“Are you hungry?” I rub her arms. “When was the last time you ate?” Steering her toward the dining room, I pull out a seat. “Stay here. I’ll make you a sandwich. You might not want to eat right now, but I bet that baby does.”
Five minutes later, I return with a turkey sandwich, a container of vanilla yogurt, a napkin, spoon, and a glass of milk, and then I take the spot beside her.
“Thank you, Meadow. You didn’t have to do this.” She lifts the sandwich to her mouth, taking a reluctant bite. I doubt she tastes it.
“How long is Char staying?” I ask.
She shrugs. “She hasn’t said much of anything to me. I’ve asked her to handle the … final arrangements.”
The sandwich falls on her plate and she dabs her eyes with a paper napkin printed with pink stars and purple flowers.
“Who’s going to take care of you after this?” I ask. “Who are you going to call when you need something?”