The Last family in England: Deleted Pages 4
Hal doubts his looks
This was chopped because it added little to Hal’s character which wasn’t already known. Also quite sentimental, even by Prince’s standards:
‘Mum, am I good-looking?’
‘Of course you are darling. You’ve grown up into a very handsome young man.’
Hal sighed. ‘Well why don’t any girls like me then?’
Kate’s head shot up in disbelief.
‘Hal what do you mean? Everybody likes you.’
‘Girls don’t. Not in that way. One girl said that she thinks I’m funny but could never ever imagine me as a boyfriend. She also said that she couldn’t even imaging me being with any girl, because she didn’t think I was the type to have girlfriends. She doesn’t think I’m gay or anything she just reckons I’m not the sort of boy girls fancy.’
As Hal spoke, sadness smells filled the room. They were coming from Kate, mainly. Her face crinkled, and tilted in sympathy.
‘What girl?’ she asked.
‘Just a girl. From school. You don’t know her. Sally Janson.’
‘Well, it sounds to me that she just wants to hurt you and girls like that aren’t worth bothering with anyway.’
‘But she’s right. I’m ugly. I’m tall and skinny and I’ve got horrible moles on my face. Why would any girl ever want to get near me.’
‘Horrible moles?’ Kate’s voice was now cross. Caring-cross but still cross. Her head rose and stretched her neck. Eyebrows moved closer. The display of bafflement she often deploys. ‘You can’t even see your moles.’
‘She can. And anyway, you’re my mother. You’re biased.’
‘Well, I can hardly change that can I? And anyway Hal, you’ve got to stop being so silly. There’s nothing wrong with you. You look lovely and you are very warm and funny and intelligent and caring and once you get to university girls will be falling over themselves, you wait and see.’
‘No. That’s it. Come on, you’ve got bigger things to think about. Nobody cares about looks anyway.’
‘You do,’ he gestured over to a dressing table cluttered with Kate’s face creams.
Kate laughed. Some of the sadness smells started to lift. Others lingered. ‘They’re anti-ageing products,’ she said. ‘I don’t think you have to worry about that just yet.’
Hal sat down on the bed next to his mother. I wagged my way over and rested my head on the space between them then gave them the look. A knowing glance at both of them, punctuated with a blink between. Intelligent eyes, but not so intelligent they would get suspicious. A hint of humour.
They both laughed and stroked me. Well, Kate stroked me. Hal gave me a quick, playful tug of the neck. We bonded. The three of us. It wasn’t enough to take away the sadness, not entirely. But it helped bring them closer together, that was the main thing.