Briony lay in her bed, staring up at the busy ceiling. Busy, it was, not because of motions; it was rather dull in the perspective of motions, really, as it just existed up there. It must’ve been busy once, with motions, but that was a time of brick builders or sculptures, and nothing that concerned her. No, by busy she merely meant the complicated Victorian-styled pattern that occupied the entire plasterboard, the vines all tangled up, blossoming flowers entwined in whichever empty space—though all were pathetically tight—that was left. They now stared down at her almost like eyes with, could it be, somewhat critical scorns. She knew it wasn’t possible, of course, for these plaster creatures had no life of their own but, ever so childishly, she reassured herself that whoever might be under this ceiling would be met with the same judgement. She was disturbed nevertheless, and quickly closed her eyes to avoid the fierce gaze of those myrtles.
So, what was she thinking about before the sight of this ceiling disturbed her? Right: she was thinking about her novel. Her first novel, to be precise, and the young writer—what a beautiful word, writer!—couldn’t help but wondered about this sensation, dancing in her chest, of fulfilling a task. Though what tagged along was this unshakeable disappointment, gnawing at her, desperate to ruin this supposedly perfect achievement. Now that she thought about it, this evil black dot of negativity grew, just slightly. She caught herself just in time to stop it from expanding more. There shan’t be a thing to destroy her well-deserved pride.
She thought about how it went the other night, in the library, where the rest of her family sat beside the fireplace. They were showing rather an enormous amount of interest, if not too much. Though Briony was yet too young and too excited to ever think that it could have been, well, anything less than genuine. To be completely frank, she detected the teeniest sense of pretence in her sister. But Briony, at the age of carefree and complete illusion in herself, brushed it away. Anyway, Cecilia did sat by their older brother on the ugly floral couch, glasses in one hand and cigar in the other, the corner of her mouth turned up discretely as Briony presented her work. Leon couldn’t have been any more supportive. Ah, just remembering his kind, wide face sent a warm sensation down Briony’s spine. She adored her older brother, to whom sarcasm was a myth and evils did not exist. He made sure that the baby in the family was showered with the maximum possible amount of affection as possible, as it was how their parents managed when he grew up. His occasional letters was something that Briony longs for, especially after he went to Cambridge for what’s-that-course.
To depict her work, to engage her audience, to entertain herself, Briony practised various voices for the portrayal of respective characters. The low, thunderous one was for the evil count, the high-pitched, pleading one was for the meek prince, and the kind, slow one was for the fairy godmother. When Betty heard the little one muttering to herself, sometimes angry and sometimes sad, she almost called for the local priest to check if Briony had gone utterly nuts. It was Emily who calmed their faithful servant, though not without getting subtle scorns from the latter, who never truly agreed with her mistress about how a child should grow up. For one, Betty always thought that boy should not receive that much attention he was getting, though she was now gradually warming to him with each growing day.