The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)
‘What happened?’ the wedding planner asks again. Her tone is still compassionate, but this time there’s more firmness in it, a note of authority. The waitress has begun to tremble, so much so that she looks as though she might be having some sort of fit. The wedding planner puts a hand on her shoulder again, as though to quiet her. The girl holds a hand over her mouth, and it seems for a moment that she might vomit. Then, finally, she speaks.
‘Outside.’ It is a rasp of sound, hardly human.
The guests crane in to listen.
She lets out a low moan.
‘Come on,’ the wedding planner says, calmly, quietly. She gives the girl a gentle shake, this time. ‘Come on. I’m here, I want to help – we all do. And it’s OK, you’re safe in here. Tell me what has happened.’
Finally, in that terrible rasping voice, the girl speaks again. ‘Outside. So much blood.’ And then, right before she collapses: ‘A body.’
The day before
I bite down on a tissue to blot my lipstick. This place seems worthy of lipstick. Our room here is huge, twice the size of our bedroom back home. Not a single detail has been forgotten: the ice-bucket with a bottle of expensive white wine in it, two glasses; the antique chandelier in the high ceiling; the big window looking out to sea. I can’t go too close to the window or I’ll get vertigo, because if you look straight down you can see the waves smashing on the rocks below and a tiny wet sliver of beach.
This evening the dying glow of the sunset lights the whole room rose gold. I’ve had a big glass of the wine, which is delicious, while getting ready. On an empty stomach and after the cigarettes I smoked with Olivia I already feel a bit light-headed.
It was fun smoking in the cave – it felt like a blast from the past. It’s inspired me to go for it this weekend. I’ve felt jittery and sad all month: now here’s a chance to cut loose a bit. So I’ve squeezed myself into a pre-kids black silky dress from & Other Stories; I’ve always felt good in it. I’ve blow-dried my hair smooth. It’s worth the effort, even if it comes into contact with the moist air from outside and turns into a massive ball of frizz again, like a hairdo version of Cinderella’s pumpkin. I thought Charlie would be waiting for me, crossly, but he only returned to the room a couple of minutes ago himself, so I’ve had time to brush my teeth and remove any scent of cigarettes, feeling like a naughty teenager. I’d half hoped he would be here though. We could have had a bath together in the claw-footed tub.
I’ve barely seen Charlie since we got off the boat, in fact: he and Jules spent the early evening cosied up together, going through his duties as MC. ‘Sorry, Han,’ he said, when he got back. ‘Jules wanted to go through all this stuff for tomorrow. Hope you didn’t feel abandoned?’