Monday, November 27, 2017

Character Spotlight: Adele Reeves (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, it’s time to catch up with Adele, who—in my head—looks a fair bit like the image above. Images used in these character spotlights (this one included) which aren’t from book covers / Daz3D are from Pixabay.

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

Adele Reeves
Name: Adele Reeves
Eyes: Blue-grey
Hair: Blonde, straight
Complexion: Fair (but tanned)
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: under 9 stone
Build: petite
Tattoos/Piercings: Both ears x 2
Education: Local technical college – Diploma Fashion and Design, Level 4 Beauty Therapy
Accent: Northwest English.
Languages: English, French

Quickfire Questions:
Place of Birth: Northwest England.
Siblings: None.
Children: Shu (Shaunna) and Robbie.
Places lived: Northwest England, London.
Jobs: Beautician, window dresser, event planner.
Interests: Beauty products, working out, gossip mags.
Pets: None.
Greatest Success: Passing level 2 English.
Worst thing you've ever done to someone: Married Tom.
Biggest Trauma: Michelle Reeves.
Do you have a secret: No.
Favourite Book: I don't read books. Magazines?
Favourite Food: Cream cakes.
Favourite Drink: Red wine, champagne.
Strength: My looks.
Weakness: My dyslexia.
Best way to spend a weekend: With the children and Dan, maybe a bit of shopping, a drink with friends...
Closest Friends: Shaunna.
Love of your life: the kids and Dan.

And here are some excerpts featuring Adele.

Beginnings

(Setting: Mrs. Kinkade’s primary school classroom.)

Across the room, Adele had glue in her hair. Shaunna didn’t put it there, but once again, she got the blame at first. Adele knew who had put it there. He did it on his way to the bin and then went back to his table. Now he was pretending he was innocent. Her mum was going to go mad. Last week, she’d had to cut her hair because the end of one of her plaits was suddenly, and for no reason at all, shorter than the other. The week before that she needed a new cardigan. Her mum came in to complain to the headmistress and passed Daniel Jeffries’ mum in the foyer, where she was telling the reception lady about having to replace his shirt because someone had cut a hole in the back.

“Daniel!” Mrs. Kinkade said his name so loudly that all of the class stopped what they were doing and turned, first to look at her, then to watch him, as he pushed his chair in with force and huffed. He walked towards the door. “Where do you think you are going?” Mrs. Kinkade snapped in the same loud, teacher voice.

“Outside, Miss,” Dan replied, a little confused, but still indignant.

“Come here,” Mrs. Kinkade commanded. He turned and walked back towards her, his face to the floor, hands dangling at his sides.

George rotated in his seat and watched Dan stomp past, sticking out his tongue at Adele on the way.

***

Hiding Behind The Couch

(Setting: Adele’s living room, with Josh.)

[Josh] “I’ve had a dream about a waterslide about six times now.”

[Adele] “A waterslide? What do you mean?”

“One of those big tubes they swoosh water through so you don’t get friction burns on the way down.”

“Oh, yes. We went to a water park with those in Italy.”

“It’s definitely not my idea of fun.”

“They’re dead good, although Tom wasn’t happy about me going on them, not in my condition. Why don’t you like them?”

“I don’t know, really. It’s just not something I’ve ever wanted to do. I can swim and all that, but there’s a big difference between popping to the local pool and going to one of those places. The only time I did, Ellie tried to force me down a massive slide, and I bottled out. Not my cup of tea at all.”

“Each to their own.” A few moments’ silence passed, and Adele started to fidget. “So, what happens in this dream of yours?”

“Not much, actually, although it does change a bit each time. Basically, I’m at the top of one of those tubes, waiting to step into it, and there’s a queue of people behind me, getting impatient. I can’t get down off the platform, and then I realise I’m naked. The next thing, I get pushed, I think, into the tube, but that’s when I wake up.”

“Ooh. How weird. My dream book says loads of stuff about dreaming you’re naked. But then, you know more about that than me, obviously.”

“Not necessarily. What does it say?”

“I’ll go and get it.” With that, Adele sprinted off to another room. For a minute or so, there was a lot of banging about and the sound of tape being torn off boxes, before she returned with the tiny, hardback book.

“Let’s see, N…N…naked, page…Right. Dreaming you are naked: you are worried you are going to be found out about something. Oh, no, this is it. To suddenly discover you are naked means you are feeling vulnerable.” She returned to the book’s index to see if waterslide was listed.

At least the book was in agreement with everything Josh knew about dream symbolism, but he wasn’t the vulnerable sort. Or maybe on a subconscious level he was, and if so, what was he suddenly feeling vulnerable about? That was a big question, and he didn’t have an answer.

“Water.” Adele found the page. “There’s nothing here about waterslides, or running water, what about boiling water? Was the water warm?”

“I have no idea, but it was bubbling, so it’s close enough.”

“OK, well, it says you are either going through emotional turmoil, or you are ready to deal with something in your unconscious.”

“I see,” Josh said flatly, but he really couldn’t. It was like reading one’s horoscope—sweeping generalisations that were supposed to apply to millions of people who happened to have been born in the same month, or in this case, because they’d had a similar dream.

“So, Josh, are you going through emotional turmoil?” Adele was quite enjoying herself.

***

The Harder The Fall

(Setting: Dan and Adele’s apartment/garden.)

A beautiful September evening: the setting sun cast a red glow over the garden; house martins chirruped and swooped above the rooftops; a faint smell of cut grass hung in the air as gardeners undertook what they hoped would be the last mowing of the season.

Adele fed the fish, checked on the baby, laid her hand against the wine bottle and decided it was chilled enough. She reached to the back of the cabinet and carefully extracted the two glass goblets, each more than capable of holding a whole bottle, and divided the wine equally between them. A minute or so later, the doorbell sounded, Shaunna’s halo of auburn hair instantly recognisable through the frosted window. Adele picked up the two glasses on her way, handing one to her friend and hugging her at the same time.

“Thanks.” Shaunna grinned. “How’s your day been?”

“Blissful,” Adele said, clanging their glasses together. “Quiet, unmessy, unmoody, unmenny.”

“Unmenny?” Shaunna repeated in puzzlement.

“Yeah. Without men. In other words, absolutely perfect.”

Shaunna laughed and nodded in agreement at Adele’s description. They adjourned to the garden and settled into a pair of large, wooden chairs.

“What have you been up to today?” Adele asked.

“Not much. Work, then went to see Dad.”

“Oh, right. Nothing exciting then?”

“Not really.” Shaunna sipped at her wine. There wasn’t much to say now they had cycled through the usual daily round of pleasantries, which didn’t mean they had nothing to talk about; just that, after being friends for so long, they didn’t need to talk to fill a silence, but would undoubtedly find much to fill it with as the wine loosened their tongues. It was, after all, the calm before the storm, so to speak. Eleanor and James were getting married in less than two weeks.

“Is your dress sorted now?” Adele asked. The order had been given that no-one was to wear blue, but only after Shaunna had been out and bought her outfit, which was bound to be the wrong colour. If she’d bought a red outfit, then that would have been Eleanor’s choice also. These things always happened, simply because they all knew each other so well.

“Yeah. I just swapped it for the green one,” Shaunna said.

Adele nodded. What this line of conversation was actually about was Adele’s desire to be questioned on her own outfit. Shaunna was aware of this and was struggling to pretend otherwise, but Adele looked ready to burst, so she relented.

“And how about yours? What colour did you go for in the end?”

“I’m glad you asked,” Adele breathed. She put her glass on the table and tottered back to the house, reappearing a few seconds later, clutching a burgundy faux-suede garment bag. Shaunna rolled her eyes and waited for ‘the reveal’.

“Ta-da!” Adele declared, freeing a short flowery dress and coordinating jacket. The dress was predominantly orange, with large pink roses, and the cropped, single-breasted jacket was of the same shade of pink.

“Oh, it’s very you,” Shaunna gushed. Adele held the dress, still on hanger, against her front and twirled.

“My shoes are the same as these—” she indicated to the black high-heeled wedges she was wearing “—only in pink, obviously.”

“Obviously,” Shaunna echoed. It was a lovely outfit, but it was one which only Adele could get away with, or maybe women under the age of nineteen who hadn’t had children.

***

(Setting: the back of a limo, with the rest of The Circle bar Dan and Andy.)

“Hi!” Adele said brightly, looking around the group in the back. “Ooh! Champagne. This is great, you guys.”

Kris passed the last two glasses to the newest passengers, and they both slurped giddily at the contents. It was apparent that it wouldn’t make a jot of difference whether Jess apologised or not, because Adele didn’t seem remotely bothered by what had passed between them.

It was all down to Shaunna’s good work, knowing precisely how to talk her friend around, so that she was aware that what she’d done, whether deliberate or not, would have been quite hurtful to Jess. Unfortunately, Shaunna had stopped short of advising against bringing it up in conversation.

“I just wanted to say,” Adele began, swivelling in her seat to face Jess. Shaunna was sitting between them and shrank back as far as she could. “I’m really, really sorry for telling Dan about tonight.”

“Thanks,” Jess grunted begrudgingly. “And I’m sorry I called you…whatever it was I called you.”

“Oh, that’s OK.” Adele smiled.

This time, it was Josh who stared into his lap. He’d seen that smile before, and it wasn’t a good sign. Adele wasn’t quite as dense as she liked to make out and had a malicious streak that was usually reserved for Dan. Now, it was directed right at Jess, and the close proximity of the warring factions didn’t give any room for manoeuvre, physically or psychologically.

“I totally understand,” Adele continued, unperturbed by the presence of the other six people—seven, including the driver, who was safely concealed by a relatively soundproof black screen. “I mean, while the cat’s away… And of course you don’t want Andy worrying about all that, not when he has Dan to think about. So you’re right. It was a stupid, selfish thing to do.”

Eleanor couldn’t believe Adele had just said it. They’d all thought it, but no-one would ever have said it. And now it was Jess’s turn.

***

Two By Two

(Setting: a supermarket, with George.)

George’s phone buzzed in his hand and he was relieved to see Adele’s name displayed on-screen.

“Hi, Adele. Thanks for calling back. I’m having a total nightmare!”

“Oh? What’s up?”

“Always or Bodyform?”

Adele started giggling. George waited it out in silence.

“Sorry,” she spluttered eventually.

“It’s OK. I know it sounds ridiculous, but seriously, which ones do I get? There’s about twenty different sorts of each. Does it matter?”

Adele’s sensible, sensitive side kicked in. “OK. It doesn’t matter which brand―they both do the job. I prefer without wings.”

George didn’t ask why. He just scanned the shelves and found the packets that didn’t mention wings, although he was considering buying some with wings, just to see what these ‘wings’ looked like. Feather lining for comfort, perhaps?

“OK. Found them.”

“And I’d say just go for the ones for normal flow.”

George located the ‘normal’ packets.

“Got them!”

“Anything else I can help the new father with this morning?” Adele asked. George grinned to himself.

“No. I think I’m OK now. Thanks, Adele. You’re a life saver.”

“No problem. See you soon.”

“Bye.” With a sigh of relief, George hung up and took his purchase to the checkout…

***

Those Jeffries Boys

(Setting: the labour ward, with Dan.)

A nurse came into the room and wheeled a blood pressure monitor over to the bed. “How are you feeling, Adele?”

“Great.”

The nurse fastened the cuff around Adele’s arm. “This is your second one, is that right?”

“Yeah. We’ve got a little girl. She was prem.”

“How early was she?”

“Thirteen weeks. Nine hundred and thirty grams.”

“Wow, she was tiny. How old is she now?”

“Four next month.”

“And is she doing OK?”

“She’s doing brilliantly.”

The blood pressure monitor beeped, and the nurse smiled again. “All fine.”

“Phew! No pre-eclampsia this time.”

“No, and that’s a good, strong heartbeat baby’s got. I think you’re going into theatre next, so you’re looking at about half an hour before they take you down.”

“So soon?” Dan asked.

“Nothing to worry about,” the nurse said and then left them alone again.

Dan stayed turned towards the door so Adele couldn’t see his face. “You’ve not had any more contractions since we got here.”

“No, but the consultant said he’d do it today anyway.”

Dan swallowed hard, annoyed with himself for getting tearful.

“Come here, sweetie,” Adele commanded gently. He shook his head. “Come on.”

“I should be looking after you.”

“We’re looking after each other.”

***

Reunions

(Setting: the back of a limo, with the rest of The Circle bar Eleanor and Jess.)

Adele patted Josh’s hand to get his attention.

“I saw Suzie at the gym yesterday. She’s been in every day for the past two weeks.”

“Has she?”

“Yep. I think someone might not be coping too well with going up a dress size. Or three.” Adele gave Josh an overplayed innocent pout.

“Oh, Adele,” he gasped. “You are outrageous!”

And she’s had her hair cut.” Adele’s perfect nose turned up, and she blinked her huge false eyelashes. “Doesn’t she know she’s far too old for a pixie cut?”

“Oh my god, she has not?” Josh asked, hamming up a campness he had never possessed. George leaned forward and studied him with a frown. Josh pushed his face away.

Adele nodded very slowly. “It must be so hard for her to see me every day, doing fabulous forty for real.” She gave Josh a wink to imply she was joking.

“You do do fabulous forty for real, Adele,” he said earnestly.

Her mouth became a tiny ‘o’, and her eyelids fluttered almost shut. She didn’t feel fabulous. Her implants were due to be replaced again—it would be the second time since she’d had the surgery at nineteen, but it was the first time she’d acknowledged that she didn’t need them anymore. She had two beautiful children and a handsome, successful, pain-in-the-ass fianc√©. This weekend, they were moving into a new house, and she had so many ideas—for the house, and setting up her own business, and doing more college courses—she didn’t know where to start.

***

If you’ve made it this far…here’s a sneaky preview from Season Eight (work in progress)!

Alumni

(Setting: a pub, at lunchtime—think ‘ladies what lunch’. :) With Shaunna and Adele’s stepmother, Sally-Anne.)

“Who wants a drink?” Sally-Anne asked.

Adele shook her head. “I’m treating everyone today—business expense.”

Sally-Anne slow-blinked, then rapid-blinked. “Business? I don’t understand.”

“I’ll explain once everyone’s here. Lime and soda?”

“Yes…thanks, that would be perfect, sweetie.” Sally-Anne watched Adele totter away to the bar and then turned back to Shaunna. “How are you, sweetie?”

“I’m great, thanks, Sally-Anne. You?”

“As well as can be expected.” She shrugged and attempted a smile. “I put on a brave face, you know? For Adele’s sake, but the truth is, I’m lonely.” She sighed and rolled her eyes. “And frustrated.”

“Ah, yeah. I know that feeling.” Shaunna picked up her glass, which was almost empty, and shouted to Adele, “Are you getting more wine?” Adele nodded to confirm she had it in hand; Shaunna tipped the last of the wine into her mouth.

“The batteries are costing me a fortune,” Sally-Anne opined.

Shauuna swallowed the wine and put her glass down again, then burst into giggles.

For a moment, Sally-Anne scowled, affronted, but then she joined in. “Sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

“Nothing, by the sound of it,” Shaunna pushed out between the guffaws and tears, and then those, too, disappeared into the silence of giggles beyond giggles.

Adele returned and stuttered to a stop next to the table in bewilderment. “What’s so funny?” she asked with a forced smile. “Are you laughing at me?”

“No. Oh, God.” Shaunna couldn’t catch her breath. “Excuse me,” she said and set off for the Ladies’ with a view to getting her giggles back under control.

Adele sat down and took out her tablet, glancing over the notes for what she wanted to talk about without taking in a single word. Sally-Anne had her compact mirror in her hand and was touching up her lipstick, intermittently spluttering a laugh. In the end, Adele switched off her tablet and sat back with arms folded. “What?”

“Sorry?” Sally-Anne snapped her compact shut and put it back in her bag, then blinked innocently at Adele.

“You and Shaunna, giggling. Why?”

“Ah, well…” Sally-Anne bit her glossy bottom lip. “It was girl talk, you know? S-E-X… You remember I told you about that new…toy I bought? Well, it eats up batteries.”

“OK, I don’t want to know,” Adele said quickly.

“You did ask, sweetie.”

“Yeah.” She really wished she hadn’t.

“Why didn’t you say?”

“Say…what?”

“It upsets you, doesn’t it? When I talk about…that.” Sally-Anne’s brows came together, crinkle-free, thanks to the Botox.

“No, it’s fine,” Adele said, even though Sally-Anne’s over-sharing had been making her nauseous for the better part of twenty years.

“I’m sorry. I always thought…well, it was hard to find some common ground, you know? And I thought to myself…Sally-Anne, she’s a young woman, beautiful, dating boys… I didn’t want you to feel that you couldn’t talk to me about sex. But, of course, you didn’t want to hear about me and Hen—your father. How stupid I am.”

“No, Sally-Anne.” Adele threw out all caution and reached across the table, taking both of her stepmother’s hands in hers and holding them firmly. Sally-Anne’s admission had sparked a new understanding, and tears, which Adele would prefer didn’t ruin her make-up, but she could fix that later. She needed to fix this right now. The opportunity might never come again. “Thank you,” she said.

***

Thanks for reading!
Deb x

2 comments:

  1. Not sure if I've ever mentioned, but I really like Adele. Is that surprising? I think in real life, I have virtually nothing in common with her. But she's like that one friend, the one you can't help liking even if she's a bit much sometimes. Also, I love the sneak peek!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think you have mentioned liking Adele. :) I almost killed her off in book one! :o As for the sneak peek - it was fun going back to it because I wrote it months ago, and I'd forgotten all about this conversation.

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