The 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.”
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…
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.”
“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.”
Emma 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.
Emma 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 two children, one 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 children 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 children?” 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! And Gretchen is upstairs playing with Evi. 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.”
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!