The Last Family in England: Deleted Chapters 3

Simon asks Adam to go running

This was chopped because it was unnecessary, and paceless:

Simon was pushing Adam too far. That’s what Kate said. Adam was pushing Adam too far. That was another theory.

He had Something To Prove. Kate said.

But the more he tried to prove it, the less evidence he had.

Take the running.

It had all started a few weeks before, with Simon and Adam talking in the garden.

Simon had asked – malevolently, I sensed – if Adam ever went running. Of course, the right answer, the answer I was anticipating to come from Adam’s mouth was: ‘No, never.’ Indeed, even stick-throwing could sometimes leave him short of air, clutching his shoulder.

But, as well as air, Adam was also increasingly short of right answers, especially when Simon was the one pitching the questions. So although his body told the truth, his words went against him.

‘Running? Er, yes, yes I do as it happens. From time to time.’

Simon’s jaw dropped and closed in a single gesture, as if catching a Frisbee in mid-flight. ‘What about Sunday?’

I had smelt fear, coming from Adam, and sensed his urge to escape. ‘What about Sunday?’

‘Let’s go running,’ said Simon, looking across the lawn at myself returned his gaze with one open eye. ‘On Sunday. First thing, how’s that sound.’

Judging from Adam’s expression, it couldn’t have sounded any worse. ‘Sunday, er, Sunday’s -’

The corners of Simon’s mouth took a smug downturn. ‘Of course, if you prefer to run at your own pace, you know, I don’t want you to feel pressured or anything. I mean, we’ve come a long way since cross-country, haven’t we? I just thought-’

‘No, no. Sunday. Sunday’s good,’ said Adam, even to his own surprise.