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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)


Earlier that day
The Bride
I open my eyes. The big day.

I didn’t sleep well last night and when I did I had a strange dream: the ruined chapel crumbling to dust around me as I walked into it. I woke up feeling off, uneasy. A touch of hungover paranoia from a glass too many, no doubt. And I’m sure I can still detect the lingering stench of the seaweed, even though it’s hours since it was removed.

Will moved to the spare room first thing in a nod to tradition, but I find myself rather wishing he were here. No matter. Adrenaline and willpower will carry me through: they’ll have to.

I look over at the dress, hanging from its padded hanger. Its wings of protective tissue dance gently to and fro in some mysterious breeze. I’ve learned by now that there are currents in this place that somehow find their way inside, despite closed doors and shut windows. They eddy and caper through the air, they kiss the back of your neck, they send a prickle down your spine, soft as the touch of fingertips.

Beneath my silk robe I’m wearing the lingerie I picked out for today from Coco de Mer. The most delicate Leavers lace, fine as cobweb, and an appropriately bridal cream. Very traditional, at first glimpse. But the knickers have a row of tiny mother-of-pearl buttons all the way through, so that they can be completely opened. Nice, then very naughty. I know Will will enjoy discovering them, later.

A shiver of movement through the window catches my attention. Below, on the rocks, I see Olivia. She’s wearing the same baggy jumper and ripped jeans as yesterday, picking her way in bare feet towards the edge, where the sea smashes up against the granite in huge explosions of white water. Why on earth isn’t she getting ready, as she should be? Her head is bent, her shoulders slumped, her hair blowing in a tangled rope behind her. There’s a moment when she’s so close to the edge, to the violence of the water, that my breath catches in my throat. She could fall and I wouldn’t be able to get down from here in time to save her. She could drown right there while I stand here helpless.

I rap on the window, but I think she’s ignoring me – or, I admit it’s likely – can’t hear me above the sound of the waves. Luckily, though, she seems to have stepped a little further away from the drop.

Fine. I’m not going to worry any more about her. It’s time to start getting ready in earnest. I could easily have had a make-up artist shipped over from the mainland, but there is no way in hell I’d hand over control of my appearance to someone else on such an important day. If doing your own make-up is good enough for Kate Middleton, it’s good enough for me.

I reach for my make-up bag but a little unexpected tremor of my hand sends the whole thing crashing to the floor. Fuck. I’m never clumsy. Am I … nervous?