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The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)

I look down at the spilled contents, shining gold tubes of mascara and lipsticks rolling in a bid for freedom across the floorboards, an overturned compact leaking a trail of bronzing powder.

There, in the middle of it all, lies a tiny folded piece of paper, slightly soot-blackened. The sight of it turns my blood cold. I stare at it, unable to look away. How is it possible that such a small thing could have occupied such a huge space in my mind over the last couple of months?

Why on earth did I keep it?

I unfold it even though I don’t need to: the words are imprinted on my memory.

Will Slater is not the man you think he is. He’s a cheat and a liar. Don’t marry him.

I’m sure it’s some random weirdo. Will’s always getting mail from strangers who think they know him, know all about his life. Sometimes I get included in their wrath. I remember when a couple of pictures emerged of us online. ‘Will Slater out shopping with squeeze, Julia Keegan’. It was a slow day at the Mail Online, no doubt.

Even though I knew – knew – it was a terrible idea, I ended up scrolling down to the comments section underneath. Christ. I’ve seen that bile on there before, but when it’s directed at you it feels particularly poisonous, especially personal. It was like stumbling into an echo chamber of my own worst thoughts about myself.

— God she thinks shes all that doesn’t she?

— Looks like a proper b*tch if you ask me.

— Jeez love haven’t you heard your never meant to sleep with a man with thighs thinner than your own?

— Will! ILY! Pick me instead! 🙂 🙂 🙂 She doesn’t deserve you . . . . . .

— God, I hate her just from looking at her. Snotty cow.

Nearly all of the comments were like this. It was hard to believe that there were that many total strangers out there who felt such vitriol for me. I found myself scrolling down until I found a couple of naysayers:

— He looks happy. She’ll be good for him!

— BTW she’s behind The Download – favourite site everrrr. They’ll make a good match.

Even these kinder voices were as unsettling in their own way – the sense some of them seemed to have of knowing Will – knowing me. That they were in a position to comment on what was good for him. Will’s not a household name. But at his level of celebrity you get even more of this sort of thing, because you haven’t yet risen above people thinking they have ownership of you.

The note is different to those comments online, though. It’s more personal. It was dropped through the letterbox without a stamp, meaning it had to have been hand-delivered. Whoever wrote it knows where we live. He or she had come to our place in Islington – which was, until Will moved in recently, my place. Less likely, surely, to have been a random weirdo. Or it could have been the very worst kind of weirdo.