The Guest List by Lucy Foley Read Online (FREE)
The whole thing has gone very smoothly since: no fumbles over the vows, like at some weddings I’ve been to. The two of them speak the words loudly, clearly, as we all look on silently, the only other sound the whistling of the breeze among the stones. I’m not actually looking at Jules and Will, though. I’m trying to get a glimpse of Charlie, instead, all the way down at the front. I want to try and see what expression he wears as Jules says I will. But it’s impossible: I can see only the back of his head, the set of his shoulders. I give myself a little mental shake: what did I think I was going to see, anyway? What proof am I looking for?
And suddenly it’s all over. People are getting up around me with a sudden explosion of noise, laughing and chattering. The same woman who sung while Jules walked into the chapel sings us out, too, the notes of the accompanying fiddle tripping along behind. The words are all in Gaelic, her voice ethereally high and clear, echoing slightly eerily around the ruined walls.
I follow the trail of guests outside, dodging the huge floral arrangements: big sprays of greenery and colourful wildflowers which I suppose are very chic and right for the dramatic surroundings. I think of our wedding, how my mum’s friend Karen gave us mates’ rates on our flowers. It was all done in rather retro pastel shades. But I wasn’t about to complain; we could never have afforded a florist of our choice. I wonder what it must be like to have the money to do exactly what you want.
The other guests are a very well-dressed, well-heeled bunch. When I looked around at the rest of the congregation in the chapel I realised no one else here is wearing a fascinator. Maybe they’re not the thing, in circles like this? Every other woman seems to be in an expensive-looking hat, the sort that probably comes in its own specially made box. I feel like I did on the day at school when we hadn’t realised it was home clothes day and both Alice and I wore our uniforms. I remember sitting in assembly and wishing I could spontaneously combust, to avoid spending the day feeling everyone’s eyes on me.
We’re given crushed dried rose petals to throw as Will and Jules step out of the chapel. But the breeze is stiff enough that they’re whipped quickly away. I don’t see a single petal land on the newlyweds. Instead they’re carried off in a big cloud, up and out towards the sea. Charlie’s always telling me I’m too superstitious, but I wouldn’t like that, if I were Jules.
The bridal party are taken off for photographs, while everyone else pours away to the outside of the marquee where there’s a bar set up. I need some Dutch courage, I decide. I pick my way across the grass towards it, my heels sinking in with every couple of steps. A couple of barmen are taking orders, sloshing cocktail shakers. I ask for a gin and tonic, which comes with a big sprig of rosemary in it.