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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)

Callum said he loved me first. I was too scared of making an arse of myself. But eventually I felt like I had to say it too, like it was bursting out of me. When he broke up with me, he told me that he would love me forever. But that’s total crap. If you love someone, really, you don’t do anything to hurt them.

‘I didn’t leave just because he broke up with me,’ I say, quickly. ‘It was …’ I take a big drag on my cigarette. My hand’s trembling. ‘I guess if Callum hadn’t broken up with me, none of the rest would have happened.’

‘None of the rest?’ Hannah asks. She’s sitting forward, interested.

I don’t answer. I’m trying to think of a way to go on, but I can’t find the right words. She doesn’t push me. So there’s a long silence, both of us sitting there and smoking.

Then: ‘Shit!’ Hannah says. ‘Is it me or has it got quite a lot darker while we’ve been sitting here?’

‘I think the sun’s started to set,’ I say. We can’t see it from here as we’re not facing in the right direction, but you can make out the pink glow in the sky.

‘Oh dear,’ Hannah says. ‘We should probably make our way back to the Folly. Charlie hates being late for anything. He’s such a teacher. I reckon I can hide for another ten minutes but—’ She’s stubbing out her cigarette now.

‘You go,’ I say. ‘It’s fine. It’s not important.’

She squints at me. ‘It kind of sounded like it was.’

‘No,’ I say. ‘Honestly.’

I can’t believe how close I came to telling her about it all. I haven’t told anyone the other stuff. Not even any of my mates. It’s a relief, really. If I’d told her, there’d be no taking it back. It would be out there in the world: what I’ve done.


The Wedding Planner
Seven o’clock. The table is laid for dinner in the dining room. Freddy’s got supper covered, which means it’s a free half hour. I decide to pay a visit to the graveyard. The flowers need refreshing and tomorrow we’ll be run off our feet.

When I step outside the sun is just beginning to go down, spilling fire upon the water. It tinges pink the mist that has begun to gather over the bog, that shields its secrets. This is my favourite hour.

The ushers are sitting up on the battlements: I hear their voices floating down as I leave the Folly – louder and slightly more slurred than earlier, the work of the Guinness, I’ll bet.

‘Got to send them off with a bang.’

‘Yeah, we should do something. Would only be traditional …’

I’m half tempted to stay and listen, to check they aren’t plotting mayhem on my watch. But it sounds harmless. And I’ve only got this brief window of time to myself.

The island looks at its most starkly beautiful this evening, lit up by the glow of the dying sun. But perhaps it will never seem quite so beautiful to me as I remember from those trips we took here when I was a child. The four of us, my family, here to stay for the summer holidays. Nowhere on earth could possibly live up to those halcyon days. But that’s nostalgia for you, the tyranny of those memories of childhood that feel so golden, so perfect.