The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)
‘Aye,’ Mattie says. ‘The wind’s set to get up. This evening is looking quare bad. There’s a big one brewing out to sea.’
‘A storm?’ I say, surprised. ‘I thought it was just a little wind.’
He gives me a look that tells me just what he thinks of such Dubliner naïveté – however long we’ve been here, Freddy and I, we’ll forever be the newcomers. ‘You don’t need some forecast fella sitting in a studio in Galway City to tell you,’ he says. ‘Use your eyes.’
He points and I follow his finger to a stain of darkness, far out, upon the horizon. I’m no seaman, like Mattie, but even I can see that it doesn’t look good.
‘There it is,’ Mattie says triumphantly. ‘There’s your storm.’
The Best Man
Will and I are getting ready in the spare room. The other guys should be joining us in a sec, so I want to say the thing I’ve been planning first. I’m bad at stuff like this, speaking about how I feel. But I go for it anyway, turning to Will. ‘I wanted to tell you, mate … well, you know, I’m properly honoured to be your best man.’
‘There was never anyone else in my mind for the job,’ he says. ‘You know that.’
Yeah, see, I’m not totally sure that’s true. It was a bit desperate, what I did. Because maybe I was wrong, but I got this impression that, for a while, Will’s been trying to cut me out of his life. Since all the TV stuff happened, I’ve hardly seen the bloke. He hadn’t even told me about the engagement – I read about it in the papers. And that stung, I’m not going to pretend it didn’t. So I called him up and said I wanted to take him for a drink, to celebrate.
And over drinks I said it. ‘I accept! I’ll be your best man.’
Did he look a bit awkward, then? Difficult to tell with Will – he’s smooth. After a short pause he nodded and said: ‘You’ve read my mind.’
It wasn’t totally out of the blue. He’d promised it, really. When we were kids, at Trevellyan’s.
‘You’re my best mate, Johnno,’ he said to me once. ‘Numero uno. My best man.’ I didn’t forget that. History ties us together, him and me. Really, I think we both knew I was the only person for the job.
I look in the mirror, straighten my tie. Will’s spare suit looks like shit on me. Hardly surprising, really, considering it’s about three sizes too small. And considering I look like I was up all night, which I was. I’m sweating already in the too-tight wool. Next to Will I look even more shit because his seems to have been sewn on to his body by a host of fucking angels. Which it has, in a way, because he got it made to measure on Savile Row.
‘I’m not at my best,’ I say. Understatement of the century.