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Reunions (HBTC #7)

Daisy Chains
Friday, 21st December

7:30 p.m.


"Good evening, everyone," Shaunna greeted cheerily as she stepped up into the back of the limousine and took her seat next to Andy. Those few words of reassurance from Barbara had made all the difference, and whilst she was still nervous, she was also starting to feel excited about the night ahead. "How good is this? All of us are couples!"

Dan and Adele glanced sideways at each other, and Kris tutted loudly.

"Surely you can play nicely for one night," he said.

Josh gave a snort of disbelief, in response to which Dan leaned back and put his arm around Adele, kissing the resulting scowl. The sudden flash of light soon put paid to that, and Adele stared at Ade, aghast.

"If it's awful, I'll delete it," he offered quickly.

Adele was instantly all smiles. "Shaunna said you're a really good photographer."

"Did she?" Ade gave Shaunna a look that was both questioning and bashful.

"Yes, she did," Shaunna confirmed.

"I only take snaps."

"Maybe, but you've got an eye for a good photo."

Ade's smile didn't do justice to the warm feeling that filled him at Shaunna's words. The ten years before he and Kris got together, he was told repeatedly he was unattractive, talentless and worth nothing without his ex, and it was still hard to accept praise, not least because he wasn't used to hearing it. But the people he was with - Kris's friends - had welcomed and accepted him, history and all.

It was taking time for his self-belief to catch up with the reality of the very different life he had now, compared to when he was with Fergus. Being able to engage in his old hobbies - going to the theatre, writing, photography - still felt like a luxury, and there were days when the sound of Kris's key in the lock had him shoving away the evidence of what he'd been doing. But those days were happening less and less often. He was with someone who loved him, he had friends without the need for permission, and he was acting again. He passed his camera to George.

"Can you take one of Kris and me?" he asked.

"Sure." George waited for Kris