Monday, October 16, 2017

Character Spotlight: Dan Jeffries (Hiding Behind The Couch)


Another CV / character profile from the Hiding Behind The Couch series.

Profiles posted so far:

Hiding Behind The Couch is an ongoing series about a group of friends—‘The Circle’ (the original main characters in the series), which has expanded and changed over time to include the ‘extended circle’ (additional main characters, below the circle on the right).


This week, Dan’s up. The image above is my Daz 3D character representations—put together to help me visualise the characters waaay back when I didn’t know them so well. From left to right: Dan, Andy, Mike. Dan is the youngest of the three Jeffries brothers, a businessman and a bit straight-laced. It’s crazy to think when I first set fingers to keyboard to write Book One, my intention was for Josh and Dan to be the two main characters. Beyond that, I had no plan, but apparently, they did. They brought all of their mates along.

You can find both the writing and suggested reading order for the series on this page: deb248211.blogspot.co.uk/p/hiding-behind-couch.html

Dan Jeffries
Name: Daniel (Dan) Jeffries
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown-black, wavy, short
Complexion: Olive
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: no idea
Build: athletic, toned
Tattoos/Piercings: None.
Education: BA Business and Management Studies, MBA
Accent: Northwest English.
Languages: English

Quickfire Questions:
Place of Birth: Northwest England
Siblings: Two brothers - Mike and Andy (both older)
Children: Shu (Shaunna) and Robbie
Places lived: Northwest England, London.
Jobs: Self-employed - coms and security; Jeffries and Associates bespoke logistics; Campion Trust trustee.
Interests: Working out, following the market, cars.
Pets: Koi carp.
Greatest Success: Jeffries and Associates.
Worst thing you've ever done to someone: Disown my brother.
Biggest Trauma: Getting stabbed.
Do you have a secret: Nah.
Favourite Book: I've read a few business books, wouldn't say any were favourites.
Favourite Food: Sunday roast.
Favourite Drink: Beer.
Strength: Determined.
Weakness: Temper.
Best way to spend a weekend: Kicking back with the family.
Closest Friends: Kris, Andy.
Love of your life: the kids and Adele.

And here are some excerpts featuring Dan. He’s in almost every novel and novella (with the exception of a couple of the character specials), but he’s a man of (generally) few words, so the excerpts are all fairly short.

Beginnings

(Setting: Andy and Dan’s Bedroom – aged 11 and 10 respectively.)

The conversation downstairs had come to an end some time ago, and there was no further sound. Dan swung his legs off the side of the top bunk.

“Can we swap back beds?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Andy agreed without argument.

“Cool.” Dan jumped down, and they quickly switched their duvets and all of the other junk they kept on the ends of their beds.

“Want to play Subbuteo?” Andy suggested.

“OK.”

Andy cleared a space on the floor to set out the pitch, and they positioned their players, each watching the other to try and get the advantage on the starting formation. They kicked off.

“What’s high school like?” Dan asked.

“All right, I s’pose.”

“It’ll be weird being the smallest again.”

“Yeah.”

“With the older boys picking on you and stuff.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll just tell them to leave me alone.”

“Yeah?” Andy flicked his striker and scored. “Yeeeeesssss!” He waved his fists in the air.

“Offside,” Dan said, pointing at his defenders.

“You just moved him back!”

“Did not!” Dan protested, but conceded the goal was legal. “So, yeah. If those boys start on me I’ll just tell them. Leave me alone, or I’ll set my big brothers on you.”

Andy waited until the ball was back in play before he replied. “And I’ll be there, right behind you.”

“What, hiding, you mean?” Dan grinned at his brother.

Andy scowled and took a long shot, fouling one of Dan’s players in the process.

Dan scored from the penalty. “In the box. Thank you! Have it!”

“Crap,” Andy grumbled.

“Serves you right for playing dirty.”

Andy shrugged. “Sometimes you’ve got to.”

Downstairs, the living room door opened.

“Dan?” Their dad’s voice. “Can I have a word?”

Hesitantly, Dan got to his feet and walked across the room. At the door to their bedroom, he looked back at his brother, both trying to pretend they weren’t bothered. A second later, Andy followed.

“He didn’t want you,” Dan called up the stairs.

“I told you,” Andy said.

“Yeah, hiding, I remember.”

***

No Time Like The Present

(Setting: the car park of Campion Holdings PLC.)

For a moment, everyone assumed that the lightweight pieces falling on them were clumps of ash and smut being propelled outwards as the windows blew, but that was not the case. It had started to snow. It was bitterly cold, and the wind swirled the flakes in all directions, yet everyone stayed exactly where they were, watching the building burn more furiously with every passing second.

Two fire engines arrived and drew to a halt close to the reception area. The crews piled out of the open doors and unloaded the hoses. This was a big job.

A vicar suddenly appeared in the car park, fighting to open a bright-pink floral umbrella and searching the crowd for someone who looked like they were in a position of authority.

“Now there’s something you don’t see every day,” Andy remarked, as the reverend neared their location.

“Thank Christ,” Dan muttered under his breath. That was one step too far, because, it would seem they were the most official-looking evacuees, and now they had to try and be sensible, when the vision before them made it almost impossible.

“Gentlemen,” the vicar called and gave up on the umbrella. “Would you let your staff know that the church is open for you all to take refuge?”

“Thank you, Reverend. That’s very kind of you.”

“Oh, no trouble at all. Mr. Campion was always very generous. And the Mothers’ Union have just finished their meeting, so the urn is still full of hot water. I’ll ask Mrs. Stevens to make up another pot of tea.” He leaned forward and talked into Dan’s ear directly. “We may even have a few mince pies left over.”

Dan watched the vicar jog back across the road, the heavy flow of cars stopping to let him across. “Only a man of God could get the Christmas shopping traffic to part like that.”

***

The Harder They Fall

(Setting: in the car – Andy is driving; Shaunna is in the front passenger seat; Dan, Adele and their daughter are in the back seat.)

“Adele,” Dan said finally, turning in his seat as far as he could and shuffling over so he could reach across the sleeping toddler between them. Shaunna lifted herself in an attempt to see what Dan had in his hand.

“Where did that come from?” Adele asked.

“My pocket. Where d’you think?”

“And do you normally keep it in your pocket?”

“Always.”

“Oh.”

Ever the optimist, Andy thought. He briefly made eye contact with his brother in the mirror and gave him an encouraging wink.

A few seconds passed before Dan addressed Adele again. “I can’t very well ask you if you’ll marry me, when you just said you won’t, can I?”

“So be creative.”

“I’m trying!” he snapped in exasperation.

Shaunna’s neck was beginning to ache from holding it in such an unnatural position. It was futile, anyway, because she couldn’t see a thing, as they were now on a section of motorway with no lighting.

Andy pulled out and overtook the car in front. Come on, he urged silently. What’s he waiting for?

“Adele,” Dan began for what he hoped would be the very last time. “When we were in juniors, I asked you to come to my birthday party, and you said you didn’t want to be the only girl there. When we started high school, you refused to come and watch the football team, and gave me the same excuse. And again when I asked you to come visit me at uni.”

“What has that got to do with anything?”

“The thing is, Adele, after thirty years I still ask the question, hoping that one day you’ll give me the answer I want to hear. You always were and will always be the only girl. So please, will you just say yes?”

The pause that followed wasn’t very long really; Andy knew, because he was counting down the signs to their turning, and even then, he almost missed it.

***

Red Hot Christmas

(Setting: Dan’s living room.)

CONTENT WARNING: Kris and Dan are discussing their childhood sexual abuse – there are no graphic details.

The colour drained from Dan’s face, but Kris had got this far. He had to do it now; no backing out.

Another swig of beer, another breath…

“Ever since he did what he did, I’ve wanted to tell you that I’m sorry, and I couldn’t find the right time, or if I did find the right time I couldn’t find the words, and then I’d put it off, or justify it in my mind that I had nothing to say sorry for, but I—”

“Whoa!” Dan lifted his hand, his beer sloshing dangerously with the motion. “You don’t have anything to say sorry for.”

“I do, Dan. Hear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s my fault or anything like that, but he was my great uncle, and I should have told my parents.”

“And that would’ve achieved what, exactly?”

“They’d have dealt with it, stopped it from happening again after the first time. But I was a coward and chose to keep quiet.”

“Mate, listen to yourself,” Dan beseeched.

“You know I’m right.”

“Bollocks you are! Have you heard of grooming?”

“Of course I have, but that’s not what happened, is it?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“I could’ve stood up to him, Dan. But I didn’t, and I’ve thought about it a lot since. It would’ve been far more damaging to you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re straight.”

Dan got up and started pacing, bottle in one hand, the other rubbing his head until his hair was standing on end.

Kris wished he’d never opened his mouth. He wanted to make things right for Dan, not re-open his wounds.

“That’s all I wanted to say, anyway. That I’m sorry.”

“And so you should be,” Dan snarled, “for being a fucking idiot.”

***

Two By Two

(Setting: a pub.)

NOTE: spoiler ahead, which might not seem one out of context, but still.

“I’ve had a brilliant idea,” Aitch said. He and Dan were sitting in the pub, waiting for the rest of the team to arrive for football practice. Dan tried hard to fight the smirk. “What’s funny?” Aitch asked.

“I have a cunning plan,” Dan said dryly.

“Don’t take the piss.”

Back in school, Aitch was well renowned for his ‘cunning plans’, which was a turn of phrase he’d picked up from Baldrick in the Blackadder comedy series. Alas, Aitch’s ideas usually turned out about as well as Baldrick’s did. On the plus side, he’d learned not to use that phrase specifically to introduce them. Dan could see Aitch was desperate to share his latest stroke of genius.

“Go on then,” Dan permitted.

“I was thinking, if I pull Rachel in as a witness to the vandalism at the salon—”

“She’ll know what you’re up to.”

“She doesn’t know Mike spoke to me.”

“I mean she’ll know you think she did over the salon.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m banking on.”

Dan frowned, confused.

Aitch picked up his pint and downed half of it in one go, feeling very pleased with himself. “So,” he started again, “I’ll pull Rachel in as a witness, and while I’ve got her, I’ll get a DNA swab—‘to eliminate her from our inquiries’.”

A wide grin spread across Dan’s face. “Aitch, mate. I reckon that’s your most cunning plan yet.”

The rest of the team had just come in. Dan and Aitch got up.

“So as a reward, I could, err, maybe captain the team next season?” Aitch suggested.

“Not a hope in hell.”

“Half a season?”

“Nope.”

“One game.”

“There’s a decent view of the pitch from the bench, Aitch.”

“Ah well. It was worth a shot.”

Dan clapped his friend on the back and they went to join the rest of the lads.

***

Those Jeffries Boys

(Setting: outside Andy’s house.)

When they arrived at Andy and Shaunna’s place, Dan got out of the car with Shu and carried her to the house to expedite proceedings. Andy opened the door as Dan approached, took one look at his younger brother and said, “Cacking your pants, bro?”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Dan admitted. “Got to keep a brave face, though, haven’t I?”

Andy took Shu from Dan and glanced past him, to Adele, who was watching them from the passenger seat of Dan’s convertible. She gave Andy a little wave. He waved back. “She looks like she’s doing all right.”

“Of course she is. She always does. Right, I’m off.” Dan started moving away. “I left a message on Mum’s phone. Dunno where she is, but she can’t have gone far.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m not going anywhere, and Shu loves looking after the babies, don’t you?” Andy held up his hand for her to high-five.

Shu bashed his palm with hers and shouted, “Go Team Jiffies!”

“Team Jiffies!” Andy repeated with a grin.

Dan only half heard their fun interchange, still hung up on don’t worry. He was sick of hearing it, because it was easy for everyone else to say.

***

Thanks for reading!
Deb x

2 comments:

  1. Oh, seeing all those snippets in the same place makes me like Dan more. I always felt a bit like he was just kind of...there. I like him, but more in the sense of "extended family I don't know that well." This is a nice snapshot of who he is. :)

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    1. I know what you mean. In some ways, he's easier to write than Andy - simply because Andy's too laid back these days, he needs some excitement in his life - but at the same time Dan is kind of...stoic. I've got another snippet with him in for the next profile which is far from stoic. :D

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