Ophelia-Teale Tailiafero aka Madam Teale was born in 1988 to old Virginia money. Her parents, Calvin Taliafero and Iris Rolfe invested in Microsoft and Apple when both companies were small. They also bought income property in NVA before DC encroached on Fairfax County. Quickly, nobody but her Mom ever calls her by her given name. Everybody knows her as Ophie.
Another thing to get out of the way. Ophie’s genealogy is curious. She did a DNA test through Ancestry. She’s mostly Nottaway with Scotts Irish/Dutch/French the next major component and a bit of Igbo from an elopement by her great grandmother. I don’t typically describe a female character’s appearance. A woman’s physique has very little to do with whether she can entertain for 1500 words. Ophie’s, though, is worth describing.
Born This Way
Ophie isn’t much of a looker just out of bed. Post putting her face on, though, and she gets those looks. She shops in Paris twice a year. She usually wears jeans, boots, some sort of close-fitting blouse, a serape, and a hat, all from Paris designers. Wears jewelry, most of it Navaho, and made by a guy she met during Fashion Week. Straight-haired brunette, 5’3″, 116lbs, 34C, blue eyes, olive-skinned from her Igbo and Nottaway ancestors. Most of the time her hair is dyed purple or pink or both.
The Inger connection: Inger and Ophelia are childhood friends. Ophie’s juvenile record involves shoplifting from NVA boutiques and various traffic violations. A Family Court Judge and friend of her Mom set her straight. Inger’s is longer with her incident at Black Hand Coffee being the most recent.
Ophie graduated from St. Catherine’s k-12, has a BA in Classical Studies from William & Mary, and an incomplete law degree from Swarthmore. Swarthmore’s bad attitude towards old money pissed her off. Still, don’t debate Ophie. She still studies on her own after completing her Certificate in Paralegal Studies at UofR. She also has an Associates’s Degree from Liberty University in Apologetics. You . . . believing your sausage gives you brilliance missing from her clam, will get owned.
Ixnay Boogaloo Couch Slugs
Charlie, of this space, had the hots for her and was sure the cure for Ophie was to be barefoot, wear an apron, and knocked up. He told *everyone* that she was stupid, needed a man to bring her to heel and that they would be married in 3 years. All before the first date. That date is worth 5,000 words. It’s enough to say that Charlie woke up in the drunk tank in a restraint chair. That went well.
Madam Teale has enough net worth that employment is an option. Two of the proffered narratives for women—career/super Mom or Wife/Mom are not for her. Mom? Maybe. But within her circle of influence are far too many Charlies. The good guys are either married or gay. She’s dated too many who become deaf and dumb when the bar tab arrives, leave the toilet seat up, don’t clean after themselves, and get petulant in the morning when breakfast isn’t a given.
Ophie is a member of St. Bridgettes. She grew up in this church. Like many, from High School graduation through her mid-twenties she told everyone she was agnostic. Ophie couldn’t shake a feeling that her social justice friends didn’t really accept her. She was too bougie. It didn’t matter that her charitable giving put her in leadership positions. Nor was her broad nose, high cheekbones, and light brown skin any help. She had privilege and this put her in a caste that the woke resented. So one by one, the organizations she supported strongly suggested she take her racism and privilege elsewhere.
No Place Like Home
This upset her. Ophelia wants to be liked, obvi. Her social justice friends would talk long and loud about inclusion and diversity yet when met with doubt would shout her down and insist she was an FBI informant. She met with Monsignor Carr because the church she rejected was more welcoming than the social justice groups she supported. Fr. Carr’s answer was simple: come home and we’ll work out the rest. That was 1996. Since then she’s discovered apologetics and priests who get a big happy grin when she starts asking questions about Revelations.
One more thing. When Ophelia left her board seats and took her money the social justice organizations she supported devolved into vicious bickering and self-destruction. Turns out the lack of other people’s money exposed the ugly underbelly of these organizations and led to their closing.
Since then Ophelia has volunteered at the Housing Resource Center and CARITAS. She does volunteer paralegal work and is a Stephen’s Minister. Her Mom is a Junior Leaguer as is Ophie. Madam Teale/Ophelia and Noelle also do spa days for the women in CARITAS. Social Media? Canceled. Being Catholic and Pro-Life is a problem.
Let’s talk about Madam Teale and Inger’s Finger. Where Ophie is all the expected things of her upbringing Inger isn’t. Inger’s answer to her privilege is to fight. Fight whom? Anybody. Inger also believes in her core that people should follow the law. Ophie’s place is within the Catholic Church working with it to help those who need it. Inger keeps hearing the siren call of the street. She likes being in the mix and solving crimes. Inger is also one of the star-crossed who seems to attract attention from the cops. They are childhood friends so when Inger gets caught she calls Ophie.
Rainy Day Friends
Ophie is also where Inger disappears to when 16th Street, Stuart Street, and Paradise are too hot. It’s good. Ophie is a customer of Jennifer Stoner Interiors, the same company that did Inger’s Stuart Street home. The house is a 4 bedroom, 3 bath rancher on East Old Gunn Road with a view of the James River. It was built in 1963 by her Grandpa on her Dad’s side. Ophie got it as a gift on her 18th birthday. She didn’t live in it for a few years while she traveled with Inger to various protests and concerts around the country.
Inger can decompress at Ophie’s. This is where Madame Teale enters Inger’s Finger. The post titled Tucker is a chapter in the embedded serial novel on this blog titled, “Inger’s Finger”. I have Inger staying at 16th Street in that post. 16th Street is only one of three places Inger lives at. Her room with Ophie has some of the forensic lab equipment Inger bought. Think steampunk and NCIS New Orleans done by a professional decorator.
Breakfast at Ophies
Ophie’s kitchen is mid-century modern. The appliances all appear to be late 1950’s. Formica countertops and matching dining set. Tile floors that look like the old asbestos tiles but are low VOC organic composites. Open doors and the guts of all of it are modern, “How are you?”
Inger, “Medicated. Sort of foggy.”
“I guess that’s better than bouncing between the Justice Center and Tucker.”
“Yeah. Tucker is kind of ok. I saw Neesha there.”
“How is she?”
“Surprisingly well. She’s got a little thing going bartering feminine sanitary supplies and underwear.”
“Nice. When does she get out?”
“I don’t know. It’s a medical sentence so it depends on what the doctors say about her ability to stand trial. Anyway, she kind of likes it at Tucker so it might be a while.”
“I’ll pray for her.”
“She’s not feeling Jesus these days.”
“That’s ok. I do and that’s enough.”
Inger smiles, “Hey, is there any blueberry cobbler left?”
“Yeah. Want coffee? I can start some.”
“That’d be great.”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Not really. Got anything good?”
“Leftover breakfast tacos from Tio Pablo.”
“I love that.”
“Well, there you go. Coffee beans are in their usual place with the pour-over carafe and mugs. Help yourself.”
“Thanks. Are you working today?”
“Yeah, and it’s getting late. I gotta go.”
“Ok, don’t work too hard.”
It’s Monday as I write this. Ophelia’s gig with CARITAS is an 8-5, M-F thing. The need for paralegals among the less fortunate far outstrips the available resources. There is no shortage of work for Ophelia, “Hey, I gotta go. Feel free to stick around as long as you need.”
“Thanks. I want to look at some prints I lifted from the abandoned Cadillac.”
“Cool. Take it easy.”
Ophelia gathered her things and headed to the garage. She got into her XT5 and headed to CARITAS. Inger set about cleaning up breakfast and headed to her room.
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