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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)


The Plus-One
I’ve wandered into the dance tent. The first dance is over, thank God, and all the guests who were watching have swarmed in to fill the space. I’m not sure what I want to find in here, exactly. Some distraction, I suppose, from the churn of thoughts in my head. Charlie and Jules. It’s too painful to think about.

It feels as though every single guest is crammed in here, a hot press of bodies. The band’s vocalist takes to the mic: ‘Are you ready to dance, girls and boys?’

They begin to play a frenzied rhythm – four fiddles, a wild, foot-tapping tune. Bodies are crashing around as everyone attempts, unsuccessfully, drunkenly, to do his or her version of an Irish jig. I see Will grab Olivia out of the crowd: ‘Time for the groom to claim his dance with the bridesmaid!’ But they seem oddly out of step as they careen on to the dance floor, as though one of them is resisting the other. Olivia’s expression gives me pause. She looks trapped. There was this bit in the speech. I thought that before. What was it? It had struck me as oddly familiar. I grope about in my memory for it, trying to focus.

The V&A museum, that was it. I remember her telling me last night about how she brought Steven there, to a party, held by Jules. And everything goes still as it occurs to me—

But that’s completely crazy. It can’t be. It wouldn’t make any sense. It must be a weird coincidence.

‘Hey,’ a guy says, as I push past him. ‘What’s the hurry?’

‘Oh,’ I say, glancing vaguely in his direction. ‘Sorry. I was … a bit distracted.’

‘Well, maybe a dance will help with that.’ He grins. I look at him more closely. He’s pretty attractive – tall, black-haired, a dimple forming in one cheek when he smiles. And before I can say anything he takes hold of my hand and gives me a gentle tug towards him, on to the laminate of the dance floor. I don’t resist.

‘I saw you earlier,’ he shouts, over the music. ‘In the church, sitting on your own. And I thought: She looks worth getting to know.’ That grin again. Oh. He thinks I’m single, here by myself. He can’t have caught that scene with Charlie in the bar.

‘Luis,’ he shouts now, pointing to his chest.


Maybe I should explain that I’m here with my husband. But I don’t want to think about Charlie right now. And holding this flattering new image of myself through his eyes – not the badly dressed imposter I thought I was, but someone attractive, mysterious – I decide not to say anything. I allow myself to begin to move in time with him, to the music. I allow him to move a little nearer, his eyes on mine. Perhaps I move closer, too. Close enough that I can smell his sweat – but clean sweat, a good smell. There’s a stirring in the pit of my stomach. A little sting of want.