The West Enders: Episode Eighteen, Spring Bank Holiday, Part II – the Aftermath

 

SG208731The party is over; the eligible bachelors have all departed, each thinking what a charming family of beautiful women they’ve just visited. Corbin is busy talking up Deangelo to Dasia.

“Oh, he’s a great guy, Dasia, and really smart. He’s about to start his PhD with Jamal Jones in the autumn. Besides being smart, he’s just a really nice guy – and he seemed to really like you!”

“He seems very nice,” agrees Dasia.

“I’ve never seen him at the pub,” adds Blessing. “That’s always a good recommendation. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen Jamal there either.”

“Oh my God, Jamal!” laughs Corbin. “Did you see Monique’s face? Who knew Robbi was going to try and steal her date!”

“I don’t think it’s very funny,” says Blessing. “And I doubt Monique did either.”

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Blessing is right, and as she speaks, fireworks are erupting downstairs.

“Roberta, I cannot believe or forgive what you did to me tonight,” shouts Monique. “I would never ever in a million years flirt with a date you brought home. I would never treat you that way. You two have always hated me and would do any spiteful horrible thing to hurt me.”

“Whoa” says Erika. “Leave me out of this!”

“Who’s a nasty jealous cow?” sneers Roberta. “As if I would try to steal a man who studies bugs for a living! He’s all yours. Little does he know what a praying mantis you are!”

“I can’t believe you even know what one is!”

“You’ve always thought you were better than us, Miss Smarty Pants, but I happen to be as well educated as you are. Always Daddy’s little princess, with her straight As…”

Ouch. This doesn’t look as if it’s going to end well or soon…

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In the meantime, Emma and Marvin are giving Lavinia and Grace a tour of the house.

“We shared the house with several families at first,” Emma explains. “It’s owned by Barbie Roberts, like everything else in town, but as our population has grown, we’ve all become overcrowded. One family has moved out already and everyone is in the market for houses. We’ve made an offer on this one, and essentially, we’re now the only ones living in it.”

“Hmmm,” says Lavinia. “Whose room is this?”

“This was Barbie and Ken’s, and often a guest room…” Emma starts to say, but Lavinia interrupts.

“Great, it will be perfect for me, then. I’ll tell Corbin to bring up my suitcases.”

Emma frowns but remembers her manners. She and Marvin had planned on moving into this room but Lavinia is a guest. “Of course, Lavinia, while you’re here you’re welcome to stay in this room.”

SG208724“Emma, darling! Didn’t Marvin tell you? I’m not leaving – this is my new home. I’ve come to live with you two.  London is impossible – it’s so expensive and now that dear Mr. Devine has left this world, I just can’t bear to stay there.” Lavinia suppresses a tiny sob, but not inaudibly. “And here Grace can go to school with Viviane. She’s already made herself at home upstairs.”

SG208726Emma and Marvin are speechless. Emma is trying to keep her face composed while Marvin wonders what Emma is going to say to him when they are alone.

SG208721Emma isn’t the only one to get a shock this weekend. The Panenka-Puppe family have moved into their new house, a cosy beach cottage. Kevin returns from work at the pub and finds Steffi outside with her sisters enjoying the nice weather. Recently sister number six, Claire, has turned up with her son, just a tiny infant.

“Ah, ladies,” says Kevin, “Don’t you love the new house? So much less crowded now, Steffi, don’t you think? But I have a bit of news. We’re going to be joined by a new family member. My brother Alistair has run into a bit of trouble at school and is going to join us to do his last year of Sixth Form here. He can give me a hand at the pub as well – he’s eighteen.”

“Oh, sweetheart, that’s nice,” Steffi responds. “It will be a bit crowded, though, with Claire and her baby moving in with us as well. And of course, Bonnie, Ivana, Katie, and Olly will be coming and going too.”

Kevin too has a moment of speechlessness. “Doesn’t Claire wish to return to the father of her child?” he finally asks, trying to think of the right way to phrase it.

“God, no,” Claire interjects. “He’s a monster.”

“I’m so happy to have Claire here! Look at little Paul, he’s just six weeks old! It will be so nice to have someone home with me and the children. I won’t be so lonely anymore.”

“And her dog?”

“And her dog.”

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Kevin doesn’t know what to say. All he can do is raise his hands in despair and go into the new house, now spoiled forever by the addition of more Panenkas!!!

Stay tuned for the next episode. Nick’s job interview is coming up and the wedding of the year will soon be here!

The West Enders: Episode Seventeen, Spring Bank Holiday, Part I

SG208700The long awaited second May bank holiday has arrived and with it, the Ekpo-Holmes family’s barbecue party. Marvin has been grilling up a storm and is really proud of his burgers, hot dogs, steak, and pork ribs. He’s happy as can be.  Family members he hasn’t seen in ages have turned up; his aunt Lavinia, recently widowed, her daughter Grace, and Emma’s sister Dasia are all on hand. He’s just a little bit nervous that he hasn’t actually told Emma that Aunt Lavinia and Grace are here to stay…

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Erika is also happy and carefree. Sutton has turned up early enough for them to grab a semi-private seat away from the picnic table – and the embarrassment of having to chat with Monique.

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Corbin’s friend Deangelo is quite smitten with Emma’s sister Dasia. He’s doing his best not to stare down her dress but she is extremely curvaceous, wearing a very revealing outfit, and he is struggling manfully to keep his eyes on her face, as lovely as it is.

SG208698Marvin’s aunt Lavinia is also quite curvaceous and is also wearing a very revealing outfit. Steven, however, doesn’t even try to keep his eyes from straying and Lavinia doesn’t seem to mind.

SG208706Monique is not happy. She is not just unhappy, she’s steaming and fuming and close to exploding. She’s been waiting for this moment for weeks, inviting Jamal to the party in hopes to kindle a romance. She’s so impressed with his knowledge, manners, and his sexy good looks, she’s been dreaming about this moment and hoping that by the end of the party, he will have invited her to to be his date to Midge and Sam’s wedding. She’s dressed carefully, wearing a clingy dress in a colour she knows flatters her complexion and hair. But what has happened? She and Jamal have grabbed some food, sat down, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, Roberta has plopped down next to him. She’s had several drinks and is tipsy, giggly and flirtatious and she immediately begins to talk to Jamal as if he is her date. In the meantime, the blue haired bimbo and Corbin have sat down next to Monique and she is beginning to feel herself trapped in a nightmare instead of a romantic dream.

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“Oh, c’mon, Jamal, you don’t really study BUGS do you,” giggles Roberta. “What do you call it, ent, ant, ento…”

“Entomology,” says Jamal calmly. “It’s fascinating, Roberta. Do you realise that insects have the world’s largest biomass? Nobody even knows how many species there are. And I get to go to some really amazing places for fieldwork – South America, the South Pacific…”

“Oh, Jamal, I think you’re the only man in the world who can make bugs sounds exciting!” coos Roberta.

SG208716Monique thinks, “I can’t listen to this any longer. I’m going to explode. Worse yet, I’m going to burst into tears. I have to pull myself together. Deep breaths. Deep deep breaths. Think of yoga. Yes.”

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“Hey, sweetie, what are you doing standing here so pensively on your own?” Emma asks Blessing, who has strolled to the edge of the deck and is gazing over the garden.

“You look pretty pensive yourself, Emma,” Blessing responds, “Everything okay?”

“I asked first!”

“I’m fine,” says Blessing. “Nothing is wrong. You know, working in the pub makes it hard to socialise with people sometimes. It’s as if I can’t ever let go and feel as if I’m not at work. What’s up with you?”

“Nothing really,” says Emma. “I just feel unneeded. Everyone has found someone on their own. You know how I love matchmaking. I wish I could find someone nice for you, Blessing. I had so hoped you and Steven… but look at Lavinia, all over him!”

SG208715“Oh my goodness, Emma Ekpo!” says Blessing in disbelief. “You have no idea how thrilled I am to see Lavinia swooping down on Steven, like a golden eagle on a bunny. I love it! I could never be in a relationship with Steven Obi! The man spends every spare hour drinking at the George. Do you really that’s what I want in a man? No way!”

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Suddenly Marvin joins them.

“Darling, you are the most fabulous hostess in the world! What a great party! Everyone is having so much fun and it’s all due to you. I would never have thought of this on my own. I just want to give you a hug because you make me so proud to be your man!”

With that, we’ll leave the party and close for now. Don’t miss the next episode when the fallout from all the new arrivals really hits the fan!

INTERLUDE: I know I said that I was going to post an episode about Nick’s job interview next, but a number of things have come up in my big universe that mean I have to move things around. I haven’t forgotten him, however! And the wedding will be coming up soon!

The West Enders: Episode Sixteen, the Bank Holiday Music Festival

The first May bank holiday brings beautiful weather and a music festival at the university. Luna and the Dolls are backing up the Ladies in Black, who will have a special guest; none other than our own Nicole Bernstein! The crowd begins to gather in the university gardens outside the Student Union, where the concert will be held.

SG208669Marcelo and Audrey arrive early. As the Dolls manager, Marcelo wants to make sure everything is set up and ready to go.

SG208680The crowd begins to gather. There are some new faces here, whom we will get to know better in the autumn when the university term begins. For now, pay attention to the handsome lad in the middle, Corbin’s friend Deangelo Davis. We’ll be seeing more of him at the next bank holiday, when Emma hosts her match making barbecue party.

SG208677Another important new face is this man, Jamal Jones. His sister Michelle is one of the Ladies in Black, and he has brought his other sister, her twin Chrisandra, to see the concert. Jamal is a Senior Lecturer in Biology at the university and was recently seen having coffee with Monique and Bonnie on the day Monique came to discuss the technician job.

IMG_2860.jpgMonique was quite impressed with him – quite the different man from Sutton! She’s planning on inviting him to the barbecue and Emma can do her matchmaking elsewhere.

SG208673Yuki has come along with Corbin and Jazmin and Corbin’s pal Zayn. Zayn is quite taken with Yuki. To her horror, however, she sees Pierre standing directly behind her, alone. Then she remembers that Nicole is the guest star. She tries not to look as perturbed as she feels. At least there’s no sign of Nick – that would be unbearable.

SG208684Mira has come with Tommy and is also feeling a bit perturbed. He has brought along his “personal assistant,” Lilli Akana, who we saw with him in the pub. Mira is starting to wonder about her relationship with Tommy. They’ve been together for almost six months and the romance seems to be completely stalled. They go out, they chat, but no sparks fly, no passion builds, nothing. And what man brings his PA on a date? Tommy claims that as he is in the music management business, this is work as well as play and he trusts Lilli’s musical judgement. Mira is not impressed.

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Inside, the Ladies in Black use the coffee shop as their backstage area while Luna and the  Dolls perform.

SG208639The Dolls are rocking down the house, as usual. But there are some surprises in store for their fans.

SG208641Jake is on piano…

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And Dexter is on guitar! And he’s wearing Jake’s guitar necklace. When Luna introduces the band, it’s the first thing Jenny notices from the audience and she is not happy. That’s the necklace she gave Jake for Christmas!

SG208644Dexter has been replaced by a new bass player, whom Luna introduces as Gwenhwyfar Hughes. Robin is still on the drums and he and Luna are the only two who aren’t a surprise. The fans don’t mind, though – the addition of the piano is fantastic and Dexter is a fabulous guitarist. Gwen and Robin are also great together and the Dolls have never sounded better.

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During the break, it’s the Doll’s turn to gather in the “backstage” coffee shop. Suddenly, Jenny and Kurhn burst in. Kurhn is looking very distraught and Jenny – she doesn’t even say hello!

“Why is Dexter wearing that necklace?” she demands.

SG208656“Whoa, Jenny, what’s going on here?” Jake responds. “I gave it to him. It’s a guitar. He’s the guitarist. I’m the piano player. It looks good on him.”

“You can have it back,” Dexter says. “I didn’t realise there was an issue.”

“There isn’t an issue,” Jake says.

SG208657“That’s it, Jake Blake! I’ve had enough!” Jenny shouts. ” We’re through. I gave you that because I cared about YOU, and you don’t care enough about me to even keep it! You never spend any time with me anymore, you’re always rehearsing, or hanging around with Dexter. You treat me like dirt, and I’m not going to take it any more!” With that, Jenny bursts into tears and runs out of the shop.

SG208659Kurhn doesn’t know what to do. Obviously she wants to run after her best friend and comfort her, but her voice teacher is about to perform! She’s hoping that Nicole will put in a good word for her so that she too can some day sing as a guest with the Ladies in Black. Finally, it’s too much for her, and she mumbles, “I need to see this performance,” and heads out the door as well.

SG208660“I want to catch this too,” says Luna, and heads out after Kurhn.

SG208662“So, Jakey boy, trouble with the lass, eh?” says Robin, laughing. “Not to worry, kid, it’s not every woman who can be with a musician. It takes a special sort, someone who’s happy to be in the audience and dance, or another musician. Or just somebody with a passion of their own.”

SG208665“How about your bass player, Robby,” says Gwen playfully. “Is she good enough for a lad like you?”

“Way too good for the likes o’ me, Gwen,” laughs Robin. He and Gwenhwyfar seem to have hit it off from day one.

SG208661“Wow, Jake, I’m really sorry,” says Dexter.

“It’s not your fault, Dex. I suppose I have neglected Jenny. It just seemed logical for you to have the necklace. It looks great on you and I want you to keep it. Maybe Robin’s right – Kurhn has her own musical career to think about so she doesn’t care about you rehearsing. I’m not sure what to do about Jenny. I do care for her – a lot.”

“I know you do,” Dexter replies. “Why not let it rest for now, mate, and see what happens.”

SG208646The Ladies in Black are fabulous as always.

SG208648Sandra has replaced Jake at the piano.

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“And now,” announces Amy. “I’m sure many of you are familiar with the amazing duet between Luciano Pavarotti and James Brown doing ‘It’s a Man’s World.’ Well, today I have a chance to do my own version, with the one and only Nicole Bernstein!”

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Amy and Nicole are incredible! The crowd loves it and among them, Pierre’s heart swells with love for this amazing woman. He feels like the luckiest many in the world. Kurhn too is beside herself with joy – her teacher! She’s the luckiest girl in the world.

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After the concert, the crowd leaves in high spirits.

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Among the last to go are Steven and Sutton.

“What did you think of our old friends’ performance?” says Steven. “They never come round to the George anymore. Sandra has never responded to a phone call or a text since Valentine’s Day. Seeing her makes me care not at all – she’s lost weight and she’s way too thin for me. I like a woman with some meat on her bones. Your old friend Merida looked as juicy as ever, though.”

Sutton doesn’t know what to say. Merida looked better than he’s ever seen her. Confident, sexy, oozing sensuality. Erika Holmes has invited him to a family barbecue on the next bank holiday and he’s really torn. Monique will be there, of course, and how embarrassing will that be? He really likes Erika and her sweet girl next door air – but Merida! He’s not going to think about her. That possibility is over, forever. Time to move on.

Stay tuned to the next episode! Before we find out what happens at the barbecue, we need to look in on Nick, who has passed his PhD viva with flying colours and now has a job interview at the university coming up.