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It had been explained at lunch that the tw nike air max ins were to be distinguished by the fact that Pierrot was missing a triangle of flesh from his left earlobe on account of a dog he ha cheap nike air max trainers d tormented when he was three.
Lola looked away. Briony said reasonably, “How can you hate plays?”
“It’s just showing off.” Pierrot shrugged as he delivered this self-evident truth.
Briony knew h cheap nike air max e had a point. This was precisely why she loved plays, or hers at least; everyone would adore her. Looking at the boys, under whose chairs water was pooling before spilling between the floorboard cracks, she knew they could never understand her ambition. Forgiveness softened her tone.
“Do you think Shakespeare was just showing off?”
Pierrot glanced across his sister’s lap toward Jackson. This warlike name was faintly familiar, with its whiff of school and adult certainty, but the twins found t heir courage in each other.
“Everyone knows he was.”
When Lola spoke, she turned first to Pierrot and halfway through her sentence swung round to finish on Jackson. In Briony’s family, Mrs. Tallis never had anything to impart that needed saying simultaneously to both daughters. Now Briony saw how it was done.
“You’l nike air max l be in this play, or you’ll get a clout, and then I’ll speak to The Parents.”
“If you clout us, we’ll speak to The Par nike air max 1 ents.”
“You’ll be in this play or I’ll speak to The Parents.”
That the threat had been negotiated neatly downward did not appear to diminish its power. Pierrot sucked on his lower lip.
“Why do we have to?” Everything was conceded in the question, and Lola tried to ruffle his sticky hair.
“Remember what The Parents said? We’re guests in this house and we make ourselves—what nike air max sale do we make ourselves? Come on. What do we make ourselves?”
“A-menable,” the twins chorused in misery, barely stumbling over the unusual word.
Lola turned to Briony and smiled. “Please tell us about your play.”
The Parents. Whatever institutional nike air max sale ized strength was locked in this plural was about to fly apart, or had already done so, cheap nike air max but for now it could not be acknowledged, and bravery was demanded of even the youngest. Briony felt suddenly ashamed at what she had selfishly begun, for it had never occurred to her that her cousins would not want to play their parts in The Trials of Arabella. But they had trials, a catastrophe of their cheap nike air max own, and now, as nike air max 90 sale guests in her house, they believed themselves under an obligation. What was worse, Lola had made it clear that she too would be acting on sufferance. The vulnerable Quinceys were being coerced. And yet, Briony struggled to grasp the difficult thought, wasn’t there manipulation here, wasn’t Lola using the twins to express something on her behalf, something hostile or destructive? Briony felt the disadvantage of being two years younger than the other girl, of having a ful nike air max 90 l two years’ refinement wei nike air max 95 gh against her, and now her play seemed a miserable, embarrassing thing.
Avoiding Lola’s gaze the whole while, she proceeded to outline the plot, even as its stupidity began to overwhelm her. She no longer had the heart to invent for her cousins the thrill of the first night.
As soon as she was finished Pierrot said, “I want nike air max classic to be the count. I want to be a bad person.”
Jackson said simply, “I’m a prince. I’m always a prince.”
She could have drawn them to her and kissed their little faces, but she said, “That’s all right then.”
Lola uncrossed her legs, smoothed her dress and stood, as though about to leave. She spoke through a sigh of sadness or resignation. “I suppose that because you’re the one who wrote it, you’ll be Arabella . . .”
“Oh no,” Briony said. “No. Not at all.”③

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