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 Fifteen, Easter

SG208633It is Easter Sunday, sunrise, and Midge and Sam are surprised to be awakened by Sasha’s voice calling, “Midge! Midge!”

“What on earth is it, Sasha? What’s wrong?” Midge immediately sits up to find out what is going on.

“I want to hunt Easter eggs with Lottie,” replies Sasha.

“Sasha, you’re joking? That’s why you woke us up? You know you can’t hunt Easter eggs. I doubt that Lottie and her family are even awake at this hour! We’re Jewish – we don’t celebrate Easter.”

To Midge’s astonishment, Sasha begins to cry. “I want to hunt Easter eggs!”

“Sasha, this is ridiculous. Lottie doesn’t celebrate Passover and you don’t celebrate Easter. Lottie didn’t get to go to a Seder and ask questions and be very important, the way you were.”

“I don’t care!” shouts Sasha.

Sam is awake by now. “Sasha, stop it, this is silly,” he interjects.

“YOU AREN’T MY GUARDIAN! YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Sasha shouts.

“Okay, Sasha,” says Midge. “That’s enough now. You’re being extremely naughty, as you know, and I don’t know what to say. I want you to come upstairs to the nursery with me right now. We’re going to sort this out.”

SG208635Once upstairs, Midge asks Sasha why she is behaving so badly. Sasha is sullen and refuses to answer. But Midge is a clever and insightful woman, and decides that this is not the right approach. So she tells Sasha she is going to tell her a story.

“There was once a little girl whose parents died when she was very young. It made her sad and lonely. But she had an older sister and that sister agreed to be her guardian. Then she wasn’t alone any more and she was happy because she and her sister loved each other very much. Then one day, something went wrong. A man came along who loved her sister too. Her sister began to spend a lot of time with this man. Too much time. The little girl was scared. What if her sister forgot all about her? Would she be all alone again? But she didn’t know that this man loved her too, very much. And he wanted to look after her and keep her safe forever. So these people made a family and the little girl was happy again.”

Sasha burst into tears and threw herself into Midge’s arms.

SG208637“Sasha, don’t you know how much I love you?” says Midge. “I’ll never leave you alone – we will always be together as a family. Sam loves you too. And you know that he will be your guardian too when we are married and are a family together. Plus, I have been keeping a special surprise from you, but now it’s time to tell you.”

“What is it?” asks Sasha eagerly.

“You are to be my bridesmaid, my maid of honour at the wedding. I will have no other bridesmaids. You aren’t going to be a flower girl, you’re going to be super special. I have saved a special dress for you. It belonged to our mother and I believe it will fit you perfectly. I’ve saved it just for you.”

Sasha hugs Midge and holds tight. All thoughts of Easter eggs are forgotten.

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Later in the morning Easter eggs become the centre of attention again. Lara, Josh and their daughters, Lottie and Alexandra, are ready for an Easter egg hunt in the garden. Uncle Nick has joined them as has Lara’s friend Esmée and her daughter Layla. The Easter bunny has been and brought an Easter basket which Lottie carries. The children are ecstatic at the eggs they have found and there are biscuits and chocolate bunnies to eat, along with plates of fruit; grapes, clementine sections and watermelon slices. Lara will never serve just chocolate without allowing the girls to choose fruit too if they wish. SG208632After church, attended by Steffi, her children, and Skipper, the Puppe-Panenka family gathers in the front room. Katie has brought her new boyfriend Olly home to meet her sisters. Ivana and Bonnie are there as well, and the sixth sister, Claire, is due any moment. Kevin is feeling extremely grumpy. He can’t stand Steffi’s sisters; a bunch of cackling hens is how he feels about them. And this boyfriend with his bizarre hair! Where on earth did that useless bimbo Katie dig him up? He wishes he hadn’t taken the day off. Now the supreme bimbo of the universe, that twit Claire, will soon be here too. He wishes he were anywhere else. He is so glad that the sisters are rarely around and is horrified to hear that Ivana, Katie, and Claire are hoping to “stay at home” now. He’s completely outnumbered by stupid females except for the completely useless Olly and little Uwe, sitting on his knee. Ugh.

SG208629Downstairs in the kitchen, Marvin is slightly less grumpy, although equally surrounded by women. Corbin is there, but announces that he is off to the Uni to see Luna and the Dolls in concert; his friends are expecting him.

“You aren’t planning on eating Easter dinner with your family?” asks Emma frostily.

“No, sorry, Em, Jazz is waiting for me,” says Corbin and makes his escape.  Marvin is on his own.

SG208630Marvin’s cousins have all turned up. Monique’s two younger sisters, Roberta and Erika, are there. Monique is the eldest; Erika, Roberta, and Corbin are her half siblings. Her father remarried after her own mother died and she has an uneasy relationship with her half sisters. Corbin is the youngest of the siblings and doesn’t bother her much but Erika and Roberta have a certain sibling rivalry with both her and each other. They have just finished their degree programmes and have new jobs, as does Monique. They all share their news with Emma and Blessing.

“I have a new job,” says Monique. “I’m leaving the Medical Centre and I’m going to train as a palaeontology technician with Bonnie Panenka. I’m really excited. She does palaeohistology and my skills will come in handy, as well as my training in dental restoration. I’ll be working on fossils now! And, best of all, Roberta is taking over my job with Esmée and Lara as nurse-technician!”

“Thank you so much for recommending me,” says Roberta.

Emma is very excited to have all these single women around. She’s just sure they need to find bachelors and she’s the one to do it. She can’t start with her match-making until making a little jibe at Monique, however.

“What a shame you couldn’t join us for church this morning, Monique,” she says. “Blessing, Roberta, and Erika joined me and Viviane. The sermon was inspiring and the music and choir were fabulous.”

” Well, you wouldn’t have this nice Easter dinner waiting for you if I had, would you, Emma?” Monique retorts. Emma is silenced, but only briefly.

“I’ve had a text off my sister Dasia,” says Emma. “She’s about to graduate from Emory University in the USA. I don’t know when she’ll be home, but I must organise a party – maybe the second May bank holiday. I need to invite some eligible bachelors for you young ladies. Let’s see – there’s Sutton Matthews and Steven Obi…”

“The two biggest bar-flies in town,” says Blessing.

“Don’t invite Sutton for me,” says Monique. “I’ve met someone else I want to invite.”

“No, invite him for me,” says Erika, glaring at Monique. “I know you went out with him. He told me. Just because you don’t want him doesn’t mean nobody does.”

“Yes, Erika,” says Blessing, “I saw him chatting you up at the pub last week.”

Emma is gobsmacked. What is going on? Sutton and Erika? Monique with a man she found on her own? Stay tuned!

The West Enders, Episode Twelve: March Weekend

sg208566Valentine’s Day is past and the milder weather of March sets in. A new coffee shop opens in town, managed by Zayn, who is a very ambitious young man. It’s an immediate hit and on a busy Saturday morning, there can be quite the queue.

sg208568Charlotte, Monique, and Mira meet up for a post-yoga class coffee. Monique fills her friends in on her Valentine’s Day ball date with Sutton.

“I was so angry at Emma,” she says. “I can’t believe how blatantly she set me up and made it impossible for Sutton to do anything except invite me. Does she think I am incapable of finding my own date? Does she think that I even want to go to a ball? Does she think about me at all? I love Emma, but she gets so fixated on things in her own head that she never even bothers to ask anybody if they want their lives to be micro-managed.”

“I don’t blame you for being upset,” says Mira. “But at least the ball was fun and the music was great. Kurhn did a great job – she has a beautiful voice.”

“I suppose,” says Monique.

“Did you like Sutton at all? Did you have a good time with him at least?” asks Charlotte.

“He’s okay,” Monique admits grudgingly. “But he’s not my type. He’s one of those guys who lives, breathes, and eats sport all day long. And he’s not very intellectually inclined. I doubt he’s read a book since uni.”

Poor Merida! If only she knew how little Monique cared about her date with Sutton, she might not have behaved so badly. She’s still very depressed and has decided to see Midge professionally. She’s not sure if she needs counselling or coaching or a combination of the two but Midge is qualified in both so she decides to make an appointment.

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Midge tries to help her to focus on what she wants out of life now that she’s not modelling any more. Merida is so fixated on finding love that it’s a difficult task at at the moment.

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In the kitchen, the young women are having a girly chat with Jazmin, the newest member of the house. The tweens especially are fascinated with her and she, Yuki, and Momoko are becoming fast friends since they are all students at the same university.

sg208596Kurhn is continuing her voice lessons with Nicole.

sg208598Luna and the Dolls are rehearsing in the yoga studio after the morning yoga class finishes.

sg208565There’s a new musical group rehearsing as well, but in the student union at the university where the ball was held. It’s the only space with a grand piano, which is Sandra’s instrument. Barbie’s younger sister is a singer as well and has been touring for some time. She’s come to town with her group, Ladies in Black, and Barbie and Sandra join them for an impromptu songfest.

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Barbie tries not to be jealous of Amy, who is younger and very beautiful. At the same time, Amy tries not to be jealous of Barbie, so wealthy, so successful. There’s more than a little sibling rivalry between the sisters.

img_2706Kevin is home on Saturday afternoon and  has agreed to watch the two youngest children while Steffi takes Evi out to play in the garden. The other children are there and Steffi enjoys the company and the gossip. There’s a football match on but Kevin thinks that Blessing and Yvette can handle the crowd at the George without him. He’ll come in for the evening shift.

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Bonnie has agreed to meet Nick for a drink. Neither realised that there was a match on and that the George will be heaving. Nick is close to finishing up his PhD and has applied for a lectureship at the university where Bonnie is a senior lecturer. Bonnie is happy to help Nick with his application and gives him advice on the best way to write up his application materials. Nick is feeling as if he is under a lot of stress. He really wants this job and he’s doing everything he can to finish his thesis. The problem, he realises, is Yuki.

Nick is starting to question everything about his relationship with her. He’s really fond of her, she’s charming, fun, sweet and young. So young. Very young. He’s completely baffled by her new friendship with Jazmin, whom he finds positively infantile. Yuki is happy to let him get on with writing except when she wants sex. She wants a lot of sex. All the time. Nick is starting to feel very stressed about that, almost as if the core of their relationship is built on sex. Well, he thinks, it is. It has been from the beginning.

He looks at Bonnie, sitting across from him. So mature, so adult, cheerful and pleasant, intelligent, a scientist, so interested in her field and so unaffected. No focus on fashion, just down to earth, jeans and a red checked shirt. Like him! He’s wearing a red checked shirt too. sg208576

There’s just one problem. She’s tall. Very tall. And he is not. All the Panenka sisters are tall. Tall and blonde like a pack of giantesses or Valkyries.

Suddenly his reverie is stopped cold. Bonnie has just said something very alarming.

“What did you say?” he asks.

“Yuki. Your relationship. I’m sure it can’t be a problem, it started when you were both students. She’s not in our department or even our Faculty, so I’m sure it won’t matter but the university takes a very dim view of academic staff having affairs or romantic relationships with undergraduates – or even post graduates. I’d just keep it discrete if you are hired so it never becomes something you have to explain.”

Nick is gobsmacked and can’t think at all. Then he sees a woman standing at the door, waving at someone in the crowd. She’s stunning. Completely and absolutely stunning.

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And she’s short.

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Nick can’t stop staring at her.

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And then she notices and looks back at him. Poor Nick is completely flustered and tries once again to focus on what Bonnie is saying. He finishes his pint as quickly as he can, thanks Bonnie and heads out.

Who is this beautiful woman? What’s Nick going to do about Yuki? Find out in the next episode!

The West Enders, Episode Eleven: Valentine’s Day Part Two, All the Single Ladies and a Seduction

sg208544In our last episode, we saw how some of the dolls enjoyed their Valentine’s Day Ball, but once again, we’re going to backtrack, this time for only a few hours, to Steffi and her young charges.

Steffi is trying hard not to feel sorry for herself. She loves children and tonight, while everyone enjoys their romantic activities, she’ll be home with her own four and five others. Kevin will be at the George, of course – no romance for Steffi! Viviane has made her a homemade Valentine and she’s really touched, but sometimes she just wishes she and her husband had some romance in their marriage. She tells herself, somewhat wistfully, this is how they make a living and she just has to accept it.

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Downstairs, Corbin and Jazmin have their romantic dream of a night alone spoiled by Hari, Skipper, and Rikki, who have decided to spend the evening watching films on the computer. No matter how they try to persuade them to go to the cinema, it’s no use. Corbin resigns himself to watching flicks online with “the kids.” He certainly looks like he’s not bothered! Of course, he and Jazmin might have gone to the cinema instead, but as usual, neither has any money.

sg208528At the George, it’s “All the Single Ladies” night and drinks are half price for all unescorted women. Once the night gets underway, the single men who have also gathered have zeroed in on the single lady of their choice. Merida, alas, is not one of them and sits drinking glass after glass of wine while pouring her heart out to equally single Bonnie and Esmée.

“I thought I really had something going there with Sutton,” she sighs. Bonnie and Esmée can only exchange glances. “Ever since I left the modelling agency my life has gone downhill. I’ll never find love.”

“Maybe you should concentrate on your own life, instead of trying to find a man,” says Bonnie. “I would love to have a boyfriend, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of my existence.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Merida retorts, “You and Esmée have exciting careers!”

“I wouldn’t call being a dentist exciting,” says Esmée, “But it’s lucrative, I’m independent, I’m providing a service to the community, and I don’t have to wait for a man to make my life complete.”

“Well, you must have had a man at some point, since you have a daughter,” responds Merida, all discretion and manners gone at this point.

“Yes,” says Esmée, “Layla had a father. And now she doesn’t.”

Bonnie gives Merida a hard stare as if to say, “Shut it, Merida.” Merida gets the hint.

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Behind the trio, a little drama is happening quietly.

“Charlotte, please talk to me,” pleads Marcelo, in a rare loss of his usual total composure.”You are the only woman I can ever love. You know that. I know how much I hurt you. I’ve changed, I promise. Don’t keep putting me off. I love you.”

“Save it, Marcelo,” is Charlotte’s cold response. “I loved you more than life once and you cheated and cheated and I will never forgive you for breaking my heart, ever. It’s over.”

Neither notice that behind them, Yvette is listening, completely crushed. She’s been yearning for Marcelo’s attention since New Year’s Eve. “If perfect Charlotte is the kind of woman he goes for,” she thinks, “I have no hope.”

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At the other end of the bar, Blessing is being chatted up none stop by Zayn. When she stops to serve someone, Zayn texts Corbin to tell him about the hot new barmaid at the George. When Corbin texts back to tell him it’s Emma’s cousin, he’s slightly taken aback at first, but then regains both ardour and charm and keeps on bending her ear. To be honest, she seems less than impressed.

But what about Momoko’s plan to seduce Ryan once and for all? How’s that going?

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Momoko and Yuki have prepared a feast of Japanese food for Ryan and Nick, served with generous amounts of wine. Ryan and Yuki, have small glasses (Yuki has learned her lesson about alcohol!) while Nick pours himself a large glass. Momoko is feeling a bit nervous about the plan but decides the wine is delicious and drinks a glass, then another, and another. Ryan is a bit concerned and asks if she’s okay, but she giggles and brushes him off. “I’m fine,” she says. “But I have a little surprise for you upstairs. Wait five minutes then come up to the bedroom!”

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Once upstairs in the bedroom, Momoko finds Yuki’s sexy nightgown laid out on the bed for her. It certainly should do the trick, she thinks, but why is she feeling so dizzy?

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Whoa! Poor Momoko really doesn’t feel well.

sg208548She’s just a bit tired, that’s all. Maybe if she gets into the bed and waits for Ryan…sg208549Momoko gets into bed and promptly passes out.

sg208550Ryan waits and then goes eagerly upstairs to the bedroom, having guessed what Momoko is up to. Alas, ’tis not to be. He shakes her gently and calls her name, but all he gets in response is some incomprehensible mumbling in Japanese. He leaves Momoko to sleep it off and heads home. So much for that seduction!

Don’t miss the next episode as the dolls chat about their Valentine’s Day experiences and start on their next adventures.