The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)
My stomach flips. I feel as though it’s me that has swallowed the fish, quick and slippery, swimming about in my belly. And as the boat begins to list in the other direction, I lurch to the side and throw up my cream tea.
I’m standing in front of the mirror in our room, the biggest and most elegant of the Folly’s ten bedrooms, naturally. From here I only need to turn my head a fraction to look out through the windows towards the sea. The weather today is perfect, the sun shimmering off the waves so brightly you can hardly look at it. It bloody well better stay like this for tomorrow.
Our room is on the western side of the building and this is the westernmost island off this part of the coast, so there is nothing, and no one, for thousands of miles between me and the Americas. I like the drama of that. The Folly itself is a beautifully restored fifteenth-century building, treading the line between luxury and timelessness, grandeur and comfort: antique rugs on the flagstone floors, claw-footed baths, fireplaces lit with smouldering peat. It’s large enough to fit all our guests, yet small enough to feel intimate. It’s perfect. Everything is going to be perfect.
Don’t think about the note, Jules.
I will not think about the note.
Fuck. Fuck. I don’t know why it’s got to me so much. I have never been a worrier, the sort of person who wakes up at three in the morning, fretting. Not until recently anyway.
The note was delivered through our letter box three weeks ago. It told me not to marry Will. To call it off.
Somehow the idea of it has gained this dark power over me. Whenever I think about it, it gives me a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach. A feeling like dread.
Which is ridiculous. I wouldn’t normally give a second thought to this sort of thing.
I look back at the mirror. I’m currently wearing the dress. The dress. I thought it important to try it on one last time, the eve of my wedding, to double-check. I had a fitting last week but I never leave anything to chance. As expected, it’s perfect. Heavy cream silk that looks as though it has been poured over me, the corsetry within creating the quintessential hourglass. No lace or other fripperies, that’s not me. The nap of the silk is so fine it can only be handled with special white gloves which, obviously, I’m wearing now. It cost an absolute bomb. It was worth it. I’m not interested in fashion for its own sake, but I respect the power of clothes, in creating the right optics. I knew immediately that this dress was a queenmaker.
By the end of the evening the dress will probably be filthy, even I can’t mitigate that. But I will have it shortened to just below the knee and dyed a darker colour. I am nothing if not practical. I have always, always got a plan; have done ever since I was little.