Family Business Part 11

Family Business Part 11

It’s Christmas time at Family Business Part 11: Laura, Juno and Paul are enjoying the peace and privacy, while everyone else heads off to Norfolk to celebrate with Rosa.  Will the Edges welcome Nick back into the fold for good?  And with unannounced guests turning up every minute, will the turkey go round? 

 

                                                                          Family Business Part 11

To: Laura

From: Rosa

Date: 24 December

Subject: Families and Christmas – a noxious mix!

Dearest L

How I wish you were here!  It’s been utterly mad since the crew descended.  The boys get wilder and more excited every year, it seems.  With all these relatives suddenly crowding out the place, they can get away with more than usual too.

First to arrive was Pearl; even more badly behaved than usual, since she’s getting over her most recent beau.  She told me the story in great detail over a drunken supper (the boys – and Nick to be fair – were agog).  Seems this chap wanted to dress up in her clothes!  I know she could easily be mistaken for a drag queen in some lights, but you have to feel sorry for her.  He was a nice mild accountant too.   She really thought she’d fallen on her feet this time – but the notion of a sixty-something balding short-sighted gent being let loose in her wardrobe is a bit much for even the most broad-minded.  And, she’s spitting feathers about Frank too.  You know how she’d been flirting with him and toying with the idea of a new car?  Well, no sooner had Frank sold her one of his second-hand jags, than he was suddenly too busy to see her anymore.  She’s fuming because it seems like Frank has sold her a real duffer.  She’s already had to have the AA out twice!

Her awful luck with the opposite sex would be enough to drive anyone to drink I suppose but she doesn’t half pack it away.  Nick’s already done an emergency run to the offie, and I suspect there will be more.

Thank goodness Frank isn’t here after all.  It seems that when mum told him she was going to delay accepting the offer on Oak Farm, they had a blazing row and he’s huffed off to Florida to play golf.  Imagine going through airport security behind him – do you think those hideous rings ever come off?  And surely all those gold teeth would set the alarms off!

Mum arrived on her own and with nothing to distract her, is amusing herself making superior comments about Pearl.  It was a relief when Uncle Tony turned up.   I guess he’s enjoying being a retired priest – I don’t suppose he’s ever been off for Christmas before.  It’s odd to see him off duty but bless him; he was his twinkly good self.  He took it upon himself to teach mum and Pearl to play new card games and channeled their rivalry into some serious betting.  He must be the only person who can actually turn a profit from their squabbling.  You’ve got to watch him on the sauce though!  My goodness that generation can put it away. I guess he’s compensating for the lack of communion wine these days.

Lorenzo’s lot were next – and I began to wish it was just us, Uncle Tony, mum and Pearl, nice and simple!

Nick and Lorenzo have been bickering more or less ever since.  Nick made a couple of snide comments about the aluminium swing seats that Lorenzo’s bought being only fit for a Florida retirement home and Lorenzo went mental.   He’s so sensitive about his outdoor products and doesn’t seem to realize that what was cutting edge when we were growing up, doesn’t really do it anymore.  Not helped by my dear husband also being very dismissive of Carla’s input in the Garden Furniture Marketing Dept and her use of Herb as celebrity endorsement.  He kept on going on about how naff Herb is – how he’s no more green fingered than a toddler after playgroup.  Lorenzo’s nothing if not loyal, so he leapt to Carla’s defense and just ended up sounding preposterous.   I swear if Lorenzo hadn’t had so much to drink and if it hadn’t suited him to put 200 odd miles between Maria and Garry, he’d have packed them all up last night and headed off.  Oh, stupid me – that would mean missing the turkey!  Not his style after all …

The way Lorenzo tells it, he practically had to kidnap Maria (she was holed up with Garry – one of the other guys at the warehouse tipped L off).  So, Maria’s here, heartbroken and dignity affronted by being treated like the immature teenager she is.  She keeps going on about being held against her will and how her human rights are being violated.  They’ve confiscated her phone so she keeps sneaking off to use our landline.  Actually, it’s quite nice to see a teenager who isn’t constantly texting for a change!

If Maria’s depressing company, that’s nothing to her mother.  Carla is mooning about and constantly texting.   I’m afraid she’s carrying on with Herb and Lorenzo’s either too stupid or too exhausted to care.  I suspect it’s the latter.  I’ve never seen the old trout be more horrible to our poor brother – she’s constantly niggling away at him.  Lorenzo, in turn, is seeking solace in the larder.  He’s taken to sneaking around in the wee hours (says he can’t sleep because of his bad back) and I know he’s been at the Boxing Day ham.  The daschunds follow him around everywhere which is all the evidence I need.  He always was a messy eater and I imagine he drops quite a bit in the dark!

Still waiting for Flora and Charlie to get here.   I think they’re arriving in the morning.  Massimo however, was due yesterday but typically didn’t turn up and then rang today to say he was bringing Poppy with him.  Honestly!  If he thinks I’m running a hotel, he’s got the wrong sister.

Hope you and Paul have a lovely, quiet time,

Rosa x

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To: Rosa

From: Laura

Date: Christmas Eve

Subject: Happy Christmas Darling!

Dear Rosa

It doesn’t seem right to be emailing you a Christmas greeting.  I don’t think we’ve spent more than a handful apart since we were born!

Anyhow, just a quick one this before chaos descends in the form of a small over-excited girl a stocking and a naughty French bulldog.  Bet we’re up before you lot go to bed!

Firstly, give my love to fruity Uncle Tony.  You are lucky having the fairy godfather at your feast.  And to poor Pearl – she does pick them, doesn’t she!  I did feel she and Frank made quite a good match for each other until I heard about the jag.   Perhaps I was just desperate to get him away from mum …

Flora and Charlie came over for supper earlier.  Will you try to sus her out for me?   I’m pretty sure Flora wants in to the family firm.  I never had her down as someone who gave a stuff about metal patio furniture, but whether it is because she and madam aren’t getting on too well at the Country Club or whether it is because of a plan of Charlie’s, I’m pretty sure she’s going to make a pitch to join the board in the New Year.  Perhaps it is just that she wants to get rid of Carla and doesn’t like the idea of her inheritance being squandered by such ineptitude.  She has a point but I’m not sure she’s cut out to work in the Edge’s Outdoor Furniture.  It’s served her very well to keep herself to herself all these years.  I can’t imagine she could go on hiding that she’s gay from mum if she was here 24/7.

Lots of love to everyone (Trouts excepted)

Laura xxx

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To: Rosa

From: Laura

Date: Xmas Day – really late

Subject: OMG!!!!

Dear Rosa

You are sworn to utter secrecy on this.  I promised not to tell anyone but don’t think a twin counts as anyone …

We were sitting down to our sweet little family of 3 Christmas dinner when there was a knock on the door and dad walked in.  Yep, I did type that although my hand’s shaking and I’ve drunk too much gin.  He’d been up to Oak Farm and finding it empty came on here.

What was he thinking?  A nice cosy family reunion?  He’s been missing for two months and he strolls in tanned and slimmer than he’s been in years as if butter wouldn’t melt.  I was furious but being dad, he just turned on the charm, made a huge fuss of Juno and the dog and drew up a chair and joined us.

I’d say tell mum but I’m not sure that it’s going to help to prepare her.

The bastard was in Croatia – he said things got a bit ‘lively’ with some of his card playing friends so he thought he’d lay low for a while till he’d got the cash together to sort it.  Must have been some debt if it’s kept him away for 2 months – even if we don’t shift many metal patio sets at this time of year, you’d think we could pay a gambling debt between us.  That’s the Recession for you.  Would never have happened in the Seventies.

I think he’s only come back now cos he saw a photo of mum and Frank with Lazy Susan looking a bit too much like a loving couple in the Racing Post.  I scared him when I told him about Oak Farm being on the market!  He declared that he’d drive over to yours right away to sort it with mum.  However, we put that idea to bed (along with him) since he’d already snaffled half the Mouton Rothschild 1990 and more than his fair share of the Warre 1977 port.

Apparently, he doesn’t want the rest of the family to know before mum does – so he’s headed your way tomorrow morning.  So you can’t tell anyone.

X L

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To: Laura

From: Rosa

Date: Boxing Day

Subject: !!!!!!!

Dear Laura

What a day.   Thank god you warned me!  Thank god for gin!

Dad always did have a great sense of timing, didn’t he?  He clearly didn’t leave yours as early as he’d planned to, so we were all sitting down to the remains of the ham (Lorenzo had certainly shaved a few inches off both ends so it didn’t stretch far) when he strolled in.  Mum promptly burst into tears and fled the room.  He shot after her and I filled everyone in on your email.

It made me realize what a lot has happened in the last two months.  After all, he comes back expecting to pick up the pieces and carry on much as before to find a) Charlie helping to run the firm, b) the family feud with Nick at an end and everyone sitting around enjoying his hospitality and c) his home on the market and his wife walking out with the co-owner of her racehorse, Lazy Susan.  Plus, Maria’s gone from being a spotty teenager to a home-wrecker.  Serves him right!

When mum and dad did come downstairs again, it rather looked like they’d been making up for lost time.  I think Frank had better reset his sites on Pearl if he wants a sniff of this family’s money in a hurry.  Dad schmoozed the room in typical style but the first thing he noticed of course was Carla’s trout pout.  I know he’s getting on and not so quick on the uptake, but he kept on asking her if it was an allergic reaction – to Christmas pudding – to mince pies – to aftershave …

Charlie was his usual urbane self and cleverly started asking dad’s advice about business.  What did he think about rattan versus aluminium garden furniture?  Did he think these new parasols with Bluetooth speakers would hot this year?  Those two are going to get along just fine.

Massimo almost immediately asked for a hand out since he wants to get a flat for him and Poppy.  This, despite the fact that he kept sloping off to phone someone and I reckon it was the girl from the pub.  Dad’s always adored Poppy so he made a lovely fuss of her which seemed to cheer her up a bit. Although, dad wasn’t the only one to single her out.  Do you remember how Charlie seemed to spring to her aid at Lorenzo’s birthday bash?  Well he was very attentive.  Seems Poppy and Charlie share a passion for chess so they played several matches, off in quiet corners (for the concentration, m’dear).    I don’t think Massimo is aware that he has a serious rival, but I’d put money on it.

Lorenzo went all pompous about handing over the reins of the family back to dad, and about how he’d steered the ship in his absence.  Didn’t dwell on his daughter’s recent adventure, however!

Lorenzo had been planning to leave after lunch today – basically because relations with Nick have completely broken down.  We’re now in a worse position than we were before they went on that garden furniture buying trip to China together.  I think it has set us back years.  However, you know how paranoid big bro is – he couldn’t leave us all here with dad and not be right in the midst of everything, so now they’re all staying as long as mum and dad do.

As for mum and dad; things won’t go back to how they were.  Mum’s found her business mojo and I can’t see her being happy to while away her hours on the golf course when the rest of us are all hustling at work.   Pearl was very naughty and kept mentioning Frank, leaving dad in no doubt about just how friendly he and mum had become.  There’s not a lot dad can do about it other than give mum everything she wants for a while.  But at least it means the house is off the market.  And I guess we won’t have to put up with Flashy Frank anymore.

I’m exhausted so off to bed with my kindle,

Love Rose

Family Business Part 11

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