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The Perfect Roommate by Minka Kent Read Online (FREE)

A folded Meyer State Herald lies abandoned on the seat beside me, the headline reading CAMPUS MURDER – WHAT YOU HAVEN’T HEARD. Since when did the Herald become The National Enquirer? Grabbing the paper, I scan the article. It’s all hearsay mixed with speculation in a way that makes it seem legit. Some of the facts, I can confirm—he was discovered by a night guard who was making his rounds. He was wearing a t-shirt and a ball cap. He was shot in the back. There were no witnesses as far as I know, but the article is begging anyone who knows something to come forward immediately. At the bottom of the article, in italicized print, are the words: For tips and corrections, please email Editor-in-Chief Emily Waterford at ewaterford@meyerrstateherald.edu.

I almost choke on my spit.

Emily Waterford.

The clock above the projection screen says class should’ve started five minutes ago, but the TA doesn’t seem any closer to being ready than she was before. I shove my pen and notebook into my bag and make the decision to cut class. Outside, I sprint across campus, heading straight for the Herald Headquarters on the south side.

 

The directory at the entrance shows Emily’s office on the fourth floor. 41A.

I blink and I’m there and I don’t remember if I took the elevator or the stairs, all I know is I have to talk to her immediately and her door is closed.

Lifting my fist to knock, the door swings open before I get a chance to begin. A petite girl with shiny auburn hair, a polka dot shirt, and a pencil skirt jumps back.

“Oh. Hello,” she says, one hand over her chest and another gripping an empty coffee mug. “Can I help you?”

“Are you Emily Waterford?”

Her eyes go from side to side. I probably look like a crazy-eyed, breathless psychopath, but I don’t care.

“I am,” she says slowly, carefully. The tiniest crow’s feet flank her pretty green eyes and she speaks with one of those young, baby-doll voices.

“What do you know about 47 Magpie Drive?” I ask.

I’d searched for her in the campus student directory once, coming up empty-handed. But it makes sense now. She’s staff. Not a student. And she’s been here all along, hiding in plain sight. I just didn’t look hard enough.

“I used to live there,” she says. “Only for a few months. I was waiting to close on a house. Why?”

“So you know Lauren Wiedenfeld.”

Her mouth twists at the side. “No. Don’t think that I do? Why?”

“She lives there,” I say with as much conviction as I can muster. “You were her roommate.”

Emily releases a nervous titter. “Is this some kind of practical joke? I have no idea what you’re talking about. Did Kevin set me up?”

She glances down the hall, half expecting to see someone.

“Lauren’s parents own that house,” I say. “Her brother lived there before. And she’s lived there for the last four years. She said she’s never had a roommate, but I found some mail with your name on it under one of the beds.”