The 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…
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.
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.
Marvin’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.
Monique 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.
“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.
Monique 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.”
“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!”
“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!”
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!