The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)
Will’s shifting on the ground, trying to sit up. I’m not going to help him. ‘Johnno, mate, Jesus—’
‘Yeah, oh, and I didn’t leave the wilderness retreat to set up the whisky brand. How pathetic is this? Wait for it … I got fired for being stoned on the job. Like a teenager. This fat bloke on a team-bonding course – I let him go down too fast on the abseil and he broke an ankle. And do you know why I was stoned?’
‘Why?’ he asks, wary.
‘Because I have to smoke it, to get by. Because it’s the only thing that helps me forget. See, it feels like my whole life stopped at that point, all those years ago. It’s like – it’s like … nothing good has happened since. The one good thing that’s happened to me in the years after Trevs was that shot at the TV show – and you took it away from me.’ I pause, take a deep breath, prepare to say what I’ve finally come to realise, after nearly twenty years. ‘But it’s not like that for you, is it? It’s like the past doesn’t affect you. It didn’t matter to you at all. You carry on taking what you need. And you always get away with it.’
The four ushers explode back into the marquee. Peter Ramsay does a knee-slide across the laminate, nearly crashing into the table bearing the magnificent wedding cake. I see Duncan leap on to Angus’s back, his arm making a tight headlock around his neck so his face begins to turn purple. Angus staggers, half laughing, half gasping for breath. Then Femi jumps on top of both of them and they collapse in a tangled heap of limbs. They’re pumped up, excited by their stunt I suppose, carrying Will out of the marquee like that.
‘To the bar, boys!’ Duncan roars, leaping to his feet. ‘Time to raise hell!’
The rest of the guests follow them, taking this as their cue, laughing and chattering. I stay sitting in my seat. Most seem thrilled, titillated, by the speech and the spectacle that came after it. But I can’t say I feel the same – though Will was smiling there was a disturbing undertone about it all: the blindfold, tying his hands and feet like that. I look across to the top table and see that it is almost completely deserted apart from Jules, who is sitting very still, apparently lost in thought.
Suddenly there’s a commotion from the bar tent. Raised voices.
‘Whoa – steady on!’
‘What the fuck is your problem, mate?’
‘Jesus, calm down—’
And then, unmistakably, my husband’s voice. Oh God. I get to my feet and hurry towards the bar. There’s a press of people, all avidly watching, like children in a playground. I shove my way through to the front as quickly as I can.
Charlie is crouched on the floor. Then I realise that his fist is raised and he’s half-straddling another man: Duncan.