Played last night at a little restaurant in Carnac, run by a friend of Alexander's. The place has been refurbished and we were booked to play on the opening night. Although it's January the place was fully booked. Alexander and Michel had set up by the time I arrived and some of the guests were already taking their seats.
Ines was late, as usual, and when she did eventually turn up it was obvious she'd been drinking. She ranted on about her taxi turning up late and complained about the driver not knowing where he was supposed to be going. We listened patiently, but I could tell Alexander was fuming. Halfway through the first song Ines forgot most of her lyrics and, during the second verse, resorted to humming. I scanned the room, hoping no-one had noticed: thankfully there was a lot of noise with people chatting. It was then I caught sight of Adele, seated at one of the tables with a dark haired man. At first I thought I must have been mistaken, but no, it was definitely her. She was talking to him and wasn't looking at us. By now Ines had abandoned the lyrics altogether and was humming through the whole song. What a relief when reached our first break. Alexander suggested we meet in the foyer. Michel, desperate for a cigarette, disappeared outside while I followed the other two.
Ines, who was close to tears, apologised and said she's missing Gavin who's performing in Milan. (I guess, from recent events, she wonders what he gets up to when he's away). However, Alexander didn't accept this. He was getting more irritated, telling her we would have to find another singer if she carries on in this way. I've never seen him so angry. This seemed to sober Ines up. She assured us she was ready to continue.
Back inside the restaurant I took a glance at Adele. She was still there, talking to her companion. What was she up to? Surely it couldn't be coincidence she had booked a table here. I tried to focus on the music whilst Ines struggled through the next songs. After our second break Alexander's suggested we play a few instrumentals. I think we were all relieved to get to the end of the evening. Michel said he'd drive Ines back as he was going in the same direction.
After they'd left Alexander introduced me to Andre, the owner of the restaurant, who seemed happy with the way the evening had gone and asked if we could play there again. He talked about the previous restaurant he used to manage near Bordeaux. He's moved to Brittany to be near his daughter and grandchildren. Thankfully Alexander was in a considerably better mood when we packed up. The restaurant was empty now, apart from a couple of waiters busy clearing the tables.
When I got to my car I was surprised to find it unlocked. As soon as I opened the door I was aware of a familiar musky perfume. Adele was sitting in the front seat; a fixed smile on her face. I cursed myself for leaving the car door unlocked and asked her what on earth she was doing? What happened to the man she was sitting with in the restaurant? She laughed saying she'd met him on an internet dating site and found him so boring she told him to go. She'd decided to wait for me and asked if I wanted to go back to her place. She clung on to my arm and started telling me (in her little girl voice) how I was so much more fun to be with and why don't I come back to her place just for tonight. Although I hate arguments I told her no, and said I would just drop her off at her apartment.
She then started to shout, calling me self-centred and inconsiderate and telling me how fortunate I was to know her. But as soon as I said I'd call her a taxi, she calmed down and accepted the offer her a lift. She had recently moved and gave directions to a place just outside Lorient. She was quiet for most of the journey. However she did talk about Ines; criticising her dress sense and making ridiculous remarks about the Spanish temperament. She asked if I thought Ines was attractive. When I didn't answer she questioned me about Celine, asking where she was and why hadn't she come this evening. I said nothing.
When we reached her apartment, a modern nondescript block on the outskirts of the city, she asked me inside. I refused. She glared at me for a moment then got out of the car and slammed the door. I watched her enter the foyer of the building and drove off.
Back at my cottage, she'd already sent me a text: Thanks for the lift. See you soon.
I made myself a coffee and thought about the evening. Whatever I say or do, I can't seem to get rid off the woman. During the journey Adele had said she'd been reading my Amatore novel and asked which of the characters was inspired by her. Although I didn't say so, I wondered if Nicole from La Belle Charente might be appropriate: I certainly hope not.
I phoned Celine and, while she has enough to deal with (her dad has got worse and isn't expected to live much longer), I told her about Adele. She said I should just ignore her. Obviously I agree, but I'm not convinced it'll work.
Very cold tonight!