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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)

‘We’re so happy to have you all here,’ I say. I smile. My lipstick feels waxy and unyielding on my lips. ‘I know it was a long way to come … and difficult to get time away from everything. But from the moment this place came to my attention I knew it was perfect. For Will, so outward-bound. And as a nod to my Irish roots.’ I look to Dad, who grins. ‘And to see you all gathered here – our nearest and dearest – it means so much to me. To both of us.’ I raise my glass to Will, and he raises his in return. He’s so much better at this than I am. He exudes charm and warmth without even trying. I can get people to do what I want, sure. But I haven’t always been able to get them to like me. Not in the way that my fiancé can. He gives me a grin, a wink, and I find myself imagining carrying on what we started earlier, in the bedroom—

‘I didn’t believe this day would ever come,’ I say, remembering myself. ‘I’ve been so busy with The Download over the last few years that I thought I’d never have the time to meet someone.’

‘Don’t forget,’ Will calls. ‘I had to work pretty hard to persuade you to go on a date.’

He’s right. It seemed somehow too good to be true. He told me later that he’d recently got out of something toxic, that he wasn’t looking for anything either. But we really hit it off at that party.

‘I’m so glad you did.’ I smile down at him. It still feels like a kind of miracle, how quickly and easily it all happened. ‘If I believed in it,’ I say, ‘I might think we were brought together by Fate.’

Will beams back at me. Our gazes lock, it’s like there’s no one else here. And then out of nowhere I think of that bloody note. And I feel the smile waver slightly on my lips.

 

JOHNNO
The Best Man
It’s pitch-black outside now. The smoke from the fire fills the room, so that everyone looks different, hazy around the edges. Not quite themselves.

We’re on to the next course, some fiddly dark chocolate tart. I try to cut into it and it goes shooting off my plate, crumbs of pastry exploding everywhere.

‘Need someone to cut your food for you, big boy?’ Duncan jeers, from the far end of the table. I hear the other blokes laugh. It’s like nothing has changed. I ignore them.

Hannah turns to me. ‘So, Johnno,’ she says, ‘do you live in London too?’ I like Hannah, I’ve decided. She seems kind. And I like her Northern accent and the studs in the top of her ear which make her look like a party girl, even though she’s apparently a mum of two. I bet she can be pretty wild when she wants to be.

‘Christ no,’ I tell her. ‘I hate the city. Give me the countryside any day. I need space to roam free.’