Monday, November 13, 2017

Character Spotlight: Andy 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).


Today, it’s time to meet Andy Jeffries, the middle brother, adventure sports nut, the wayward one (or he was…).

I can’t find any images (free, stock or otherwise) even vaguely similar to how Andy looks in my head, so the image above is my Daz 3D representation. It’s close enough for rock ’n’ roll.

Note: for readers who haven’t read as far as In The Stars / Red Hot Christmas, the spoilers start in Andy’s CV, and there are MAJOR spoilers in the later excerpts.

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

Andy Jeffries
Name: Andrew (Andy) Jeffries
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown-black, wavy, longish
Complexion: Olive
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: no idea
Build: athletic
Tattoos/Piercings: One ear pierced. No tatts yet
Education: Local technical college - BEng Civil Engineering
Accent: Northwest English
Languages: English

Quickfire Questions:
Place of Birth: Northwest England.
Siblings: Two brothers - Mike (older), Dan (younger).
Children: Krissi, Rosie and Sorsha.
Places lived: Northwest England.
Jobs: Far too many to recall - scouting overseas coms jobs for Dan, site supervisor in Dubai, director of Jeffries and Associates, stay-at-home dad.
Interests: Surfing, scuba-diving, snowboarding - pretty much will try anything.
Pets: None.
Greatest Success: Getting the girl.
Worst thing you've ever done to someone: The Party.
Biggest Trauma: None, really.
Do you have a secret: Nah.
Favourite Book: Haven't got one.
Favourite Food: Thai curry.
Favourite Drink: Beer.
Strength: Easy-going.
Weakness: Irresponsible.
Best way to spend a weekend: With my girls and their mum.
Closest Friends: Dan, Charlie.
Love of your life: My girls and their mum.

And here are some excerpts featuring Andy.

Beginnings

(Setting: Detention in first year of high school.)

Another hour wasted in another deserted classroom, while the upper-school team played against Holy Rosary just outside the window. They cheered again, and Andy instinctively turned to look.

“Mr. Jeffries. We’re not here to entertain you,” Mr. Long said loudly without looking up from his marking.

Andy sighed and went back to his maths. Boring, boring, boring. And his own fault. He was late—third late in three weeks equals detention with the headmaster, or, in fact, the deputy head, Mr. Schlong, as he’d heard some of Aitch’s mates call him. Andy had laughed along, but didn’t have the faintest clue why they called him that.

Sir coughed into his hand and adjusted his position in his teacher seat. Andy sighed again and completed question four of twenty. He was allowed to go when he’d finished them. That’s what Sir had said, but his mind kept drifting off, to the big lads in footy kits, distracted by the thwack of a well-placed boot and another round of cheers, slightly quieter than before. The opposition had scored.

“Come on, laddo, crack on with it,” Mr. Long chastised, a little more sympathetically this time. “The sooner it’s done…”

“I know, Sir. Sorry.”

Andy sat up straight and tore through another five questions before he started to daydream once more. He was never in this much trouble at primary school—a few playtimes and lunch breaks spent in the corridor outside Mrs. Patel’s office, mostly for fighting, and usually with Dan. Sometimes he didn’t even know why he was in trouble. Like Bonfire Night in first year of juniors, when he took sparklers to school. It wasn’t as if they lit them inside, or anything. They’d even waited until all the infants had gone in, just to make sure. And Mum was fuming.

***

Hiding Behind The Couch

(Setting: an airfield, with Dan.)

“Right, then.” Dan untied the snowboards. “You want excitement? I’ll give you excitement.”

Andy looked around him at the open space of the airfield. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on. Dan had hardly spoken to him in months and then he turns up at the house and tells him they’re going to do things together, the way brothers do. It made no sense.

“Why are we at an airfield with snowboards?”

“I saw this thing the other week. Skysurfing, it’s called.”

“Are you mad? Skysurfing needs special boards. And training. Jay does it.”

“They’re close enough, unless you want to buy the real deal. Oh, sorry, I forgot, you don’t have any money.”

“OK, that was low. But you’re scaring me for real now. What the hell’s going on?”

Dan didn’t reply. He handed Andy his board and set off in the direction of a small, distant building. Andy followed reluctantly. He’d promised Jess he wouldn’t do anything dangerous, and he’d only been parachuting twice, paragliding once. He was a fairly accomplished snowboarder, but this was way beyond anything he wanted to experience right now. He’d never seen Dan like this, and everything inside him was telling him to refuse, but somehow he couldn’t stop himself from going along with it.

***

The Harder The Fall

(Setting: Bhagwan’s pickup truck descending a mountain in Nepal. Dan is sick and asleep; Andy and Bhagwan—his friend from Kathmandu—are chatting about their families to pass the time.)

“We’ve not always been close,” Andy said. “I did something really stupid when I was young and Dan covered up for me. He’s always done that, you know? Taken the blame when it was my fault. I got him into so much trouble at school sometimes. I’d go off on some mad thing or other and he’d just follow, idiot.”

“Not idiot. He is the younger brother, yes? This is what we do.”

Andy laughed. “Yes, that is what younger brothers do. We’ve got another brother, too—three years older than me—but we never felt the need to always be getting in the way of whatever he was up to. Still don’t now, as a matter of fact.”

“You two are the same. He is different to you perhaps, your other brother?”

“Very much so. Me and Dan—we like the same music, football team, girls. Other than Adele. She is stunning, of course, but she’s always been off-limits. And their little girl. Honestly, Bhagwan, you wouldn’t believe how beautiful she is! She has the darkest brown eyes and she just sort of looks up at you, blinking those big eyes. She’s going to be a heartbreaker when she grows up, for sure. And she’s started to talk now, too. She shouts ‘Addy’ whenever I go round to see them. She’s just awesome. And she’s growing up so fast. When she was born, she was so tiny you could fit her on your hand. Amazing!”

“You want children?”

The question took Andy by surprise. Luckily, the darkness was hiding his face, because he hadn’t intended to gush like that about little Shaunna, but Bhagwan was right. He did finally feel ready to be a parent, although he and Jess didn’t have that sort of relationship, so it was unlikely they’d be experiencing the ‘patter of tiny feet’ anytime soon, if ever.

“Maybe one day,” he said cagily. “Tell me about your children. How old are they again?”

***

In The Stars Part II

(Setting: National Trust parkland; Andy has invited Shaunna on a picnic.)

“Here looks good,” Andy suggested, pointing to a grassy area under a sycamore tree. Shaunna spread the blanket out.

“You do realise it’s only ten o’clock?” she said.

“So?”

“So it’s very early to be out for a picnic.”

“Which means we’ve got a whole day to do it, if that’s what we decide.”

“OK.”

“To be honest, I thought you’d probably want to be home before Kris got back from work.”

“He’s won’t be back until at least six.”

“Awesome. That’s another eight hours of your wonderful, sober company.”

Shaunna laughed. “I bet you get bored by, oh, I give it till about eleven.”

“Hey! I resent that! Even I can last longer than an hour.”

“That wasn’t quite what I meant.”

“I know.” Andy put the picnic hamper down on the corner of the blanket and unbuckled the two straps. He flipped the lid open. “However, I must tell you that I have been known to stick at a single activity for several minutes at a time.” He took out two plastic tumblers, then a flask, which he duly opened, decanting the cloudy liquid into the tumblers. He handed one to her.

“Whole minutes, eh? I’m impressed. Cheers!” She banged her drink against his and took a sip. It was cold and sweet, with a sharp edge to it. “Mmm. That’s nice.”

“I made it myself. With real lemons.”

“Really? You’re full of surprises.”

“Also…” Andy delved in the hamper again and extracted a small, plastic box. He popped the lid, and she glanced inside. “I made these, too. Kind of.”

“Lemon curd tarts. Excellent. I love lemon curd tarts.”

“Yeah. I remembered that from way back, although I wasn’t sure you still did.”

“I still do,” Shaunna confirmed. She sat down and patted the blanket. He accepted her invitation but was careful to keep space between them, for he genuinely had no ulterior motive. Life was complicated enough at the moment without the added challenge of trying anything on. Besides, she’d said she didn’t want a relationship.

***

(Setting: Jess’s kitchen, with Shaunna.)

“Kris is upstairs,” she whispered, disbelieving.

“I know,” he whispered back. “That’s why I did it.”

She frowned and stepped back slightly. He moved with her.

“Just for the thrill?” she asked.

He sighed, humouring her, and kissed her again. “Because it’s safer.”

She understood now. However much they wanted it, they couldn’t go any further with Kris there.

“Bet you’d like that,” he said, a smile dancing on his lips. She stood on tiptoes and ran the tip of her tongue up the cleft in his chin, just as she had always wanted, and kissed him back.

“Would you?” she asked, a hint of a dare in the question. He didn’t answer. “Of course, you’re not really his type. You’re too…” Her hand trailed down over his firm pectoral muscles, traced his abs. She inhaled deeply and let go of the breath very slowly, put her head down, fighting herself and the desire within, pushing her towards complete abandon. F**k Kris. Just take me here and now. Her mind even fleetingly considered the fortuity of the towels and sheets being so close by, and she could feel him throbbing against her. He didn’t seem to care that his state of arousal was so obvious, almost as if he were showing off. Look what I have for you. She pushed against him and looked up again. He was smiling.

“Patience, my red hot baby.”

“I thought that was the Mustang.”

“Jealous?”

“Of a car? Get real!”

“Well, you know how she loves me to gently ease down her top and run my hands over her sexy curves. When she’s ready, I just slide right inside, get her started, and we take it nice and slow at first—don’t want to rush it when it’s that good, then we take it up a gear…”

Shaunna shook her head. “You sound like a complete sleazeball.”

***

Red Hot Christmas

(Setting: Andy’s living room.)

“I was wrong,” Kris admitted. “About everything.”

“That’s just it. You weren’t. You love Shaunna and Krissi, and I admire what you’ve done for them. I’m so bloody jealous of what you’ve got, and that’s not who I am. A jealous guy.”

“Why wouldn’t you be jealous? You love her, don’t you?”

“You’ve no idea.” Andy slapped his palms over his eyes. He could feel tears prickling, and there was no way he was going to cry. Not in front of Kris.

“Can I make you a drink or something?” Kris offered. Andy laughed behind his hands.

“No,” he said, dragging himself to his feet. “I’ll do it. Tea or coffee?”

“Coffee, thanks.”

Andy wandered off across the room. “Sit down,” he called back.

Kris perched at one end of the sofa, trying to keep at bay the noxious thought of how many times Shaunna and Andy had screwed on this very spot. It no longer made him angry, or not with them; with himself, for trying to keep them apart. Andy returned and collected the empty spirit bottles.

“You got hammered last night,” Kris stated.

“Yeah,” Andy confirmed. “Feeling it this morning.” He took the bottles away.

“Me and Dan had a few beers.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah.”

It was a shouted conversation across the expanse of the enormous lounge, but a conversation nonetheless.

***

(Setting: on a plane, somewhere above Manchester.)

“So,” Shaunna said as soon as the safety belt light went out. “Mile High Club?” She walked her fingers up the inside of Andy’s thigh. He slapped them still before they reached their destination.

“No way!”

She glanced around the almost empty cabin. “No-one’ll know.”

Andy shook his head. “D’you think they might have security cameras on planes these days?”

“I thought you liked the idea of getting caught in the act.”

“I don’t like the idea of starring in Caught On Camera!”

Shaunna giggled. “I can see it now,” she said. She braced her shoulders, stuck out her chest and said in a deep voice, “Adele? Come and look at this. Do those arse cheeks look familiar?”

Andy laughed. He reached over and kissed her. “Patience, my red hot baby. You’ll just have to wait till we get to the hotel.”

“Damn.” Shaunna sat back in her seat and leaned against Andy’s shoulder. “I can’t believe Kris did this for us.”

“I know. He’s awesome.”

“And still scary?”

“Nah.”

Shaunna leaned forward and examined the bulge in Andy’s jeans. She licked her lips and flashed him a seductive smile. “Then that must be for me.” She put her free hand on his knee, and he captured it immediately.

“Later!”

“Spoilsport.”

He turned and kissed her head. “It’ll be worth the wait, I promise.”

***

Two By Two

(Setting: Barbara and Len’s—Andy and Dan’s mum and her husband—kitchen table.)

“How’s the car?” Len asked Andy.

“Yeah,” Andy said, nodding and swallowing half a sandwich in order to answer. “She’s beautiful.”

“She?” Barbara queried. “How d’you decide that an enormous American car is a ‘she’?”

“She’s sexy, Mum. How could she not be a she?”

“It’s just a car, Andrew.”

“That’s a terrible thing to say. She’ll be hurt.”

Shaunna stuffed her sandwich in her mouth and chewed fast. Damn those giggles. She glanced up and caught Barbara’s eye. The older woman gave her the slightest of mischievous winks.

“And does she have a name?” Barbara asked.

“Err, not really,” Andy said. Dan snorted.

“Yeah, she does,” he said.

“No.” Andy glared at his brother. “She doesn’t.”

“Yeah,” Dan continued, “she’s a hot motor, for sure.”

Andy growled.

“Red and hot.” Dan nodded and smirked.

Shaunna tipped her head so that her hair blocked her view of everyone else. Barbara looked around the table at all the different facial expressions―Andy’s embarrassment, Shaunna’s giggling, Dan’s delighted amusement. Len carried on eating his sandwiches, oblivious to what he’d set in motion.

***

Those Jeffries Boys

(Setting: Andy is at home, talking to Dan via video-call.)

“Alright, bro? We’ve got a problem.”

Andy lifted Rosie’s bottom and slid the clean nappy underneath. “Can’t you start a convo with ‘how’s it hanging’ or something?”

“Alright, bro? How’s it hanging? We’ve got a problem.”

Andy gave up. “What this time? You need me to fly out to Tristan da Cunha?”

“Who?”

“Not who, what.”

“You lost me.”

“No surprises there.” Andy fastened Rosie’s nappy and put her in her bouncer so he could properly continue his conversation with Dan—once he’d stopped laughing at the view onscreen of his brother’s sweaty red face. “What are you doing?”

“Workout.” Dan grinned and hoisted Robbie a few inches up, and down, and up, and down again. “I’m at Mum’s.”

“I figured.” Andy could hear the whirr of a treadmill belt. “So, what’s up?”

***

(Setting: Campion Trust office, with Alice.)

Not a revelation, a reminder, that on the other side of the tempest he was sailing with his brothers, his daughters and their mother were awaiting his safe return. “My life is awesome,” he said. “I’ve never told you about Shaunna, have I?”

“Not in words.” Alice’s eyes twinkled mischievously. Andy felt himself blush, and Alice laughed. “Let me tell you…” She held up her forefinger. “I should make us some tea first.”

Before Andy could protest—not that he’d intended to—Alice trotted out of the office and across to the kitchen, from where, soon after, he heard the sounds of the kettle boiling and a teapot being prepared. He used the time to send Shaunna a text: How are my girls? x

Her reply—We’re good. What time ru home? x—came as Alice returned with a tray bearing a teapot, a milk jug and two cups and saucers. Andy typed a quick response: After tea with Alice. Love you. x

Alice set the tray down on the desk Jason shared with whichever trustee happened to be working on any given day. Andy’s phone buzzed in his hand. We love you too. x. He smiled and put his phone away, aware that Alice was watching him, or, rather, studying the air around his head. Once upon a time, he’d found it disconcerting, but he was well used to it by now. She was analysing his scent, and from it his state of mind.

“That’s much better.” She smiled and nodded her approval. “Now, where were we? Ah, yes.” She paused to adjust the tea cosy and resumed her seat at her desk but still facing Andy. “Are you going to sit down, dear?”

Obediently, Andy pulled out the chair next to the other desk and sat. “Should I pour the tea, Alice?”

“Not yet, dear.”

“OK.”

“Tea, like all good things, takes time to reach its potential.” Alice raised an eyebrow and tilted her head to indicate she meant him.

“A good thing.” He nodded with fake arrogance. “I can go with that.”

***

Thanks for reading!
Deb x

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