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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)

I couldn’t even make my fingers work on my phone. But eventually I unlocked it. I WhatsApped him. I saw that he’d read it straight away. I saw the three little dots appear – it told me that he was ‘typing’, at the top. Then they disappeared. Then they appeared again, and he was ‘typing’ for about a minute. Then nothing again.

I called him, because clearly he had his phone right there, in his hand. He didn’t answer. I called him again, it rang out. The third time, it went straight to the voicemail message. He’d declined it. So I left him a voicemail – though I’m not sure he would have been able to work out what I was actually saying, my voice was wobbling so much.

Mum took me to the clinic to have it done. She drove all the way from London to Exeter, nearly four hours door to door, and waited for me while I had it done and then drove me home afterwards.

‘It’s the best thing,’ she told me. ‘It’s the best thing, Livvy darling. I had a baby when I was your age. I didn’t think I had any other choice. I was at the beginning of my life, of my career. It ruined everything.’

I knew Jules would like hearing that one. I heard an argument with them once, when Jules had screamed at Mum: ‘You never wanted me! I know I was your biggest mistake …’

It was the only thing I could have done. But it would have been so much easier if he’d answered, if he’d let me know he understood, felt it too. Just a line – that’s all it would have taken.

‘He’s a little bastard,’ Mum told me. ‘For leaving you to go through all of this on your own.’

‘Mum,’ I told her – in case through some freak chance she happened to bump into Callum and go off on a tirade against him, ‘he doesn’t know. I don’t want him to know.’

I don’t know why I didn’t tell her it wasn’t Callum. It’s not like Mum’s a prude, like she would judge me for the whole thing with Steven. But I suppose I knew how much worse it would make me feel, reliving it all, feeling that rejection all over again.

I remember everything about that drive back from the clinic. I remember how Mum seemed so different to usual, how I’d never really seen her like that before. I saw how her hands gripped the steering wheel, hard enough that skin went white. She kept swearing, under her breath. Her driving was even worse than normal.

She told me, when we got home, to go and lie on the sofa, and she brought me biscuits and made me tea and arranged a rug over me, even though it was pretty warm. Then she sat down next to me, with her own cup of tea, even though I’m not sure I’d ever seen her drink tea before. She didn’t drink it, actually, she just sat there with her hands clenched around her mug as tight as they had been on the steering wheel.