“You’re late,” Kendra said as Bianca swung her long body into the booth.

“Sorry, I had the day from hell. A shipment of new dresses from Singapore went missing. Imagine, 3000 dresses no one can find them! You wonder how these idiots manage to get out of bed every morning.” She grabbed the passing waitress. “Please vodka martini, quick, it’s an emergency.”

The drink arrived and Bianca motioned for the waitress to wait. She downed it and handed the empty glass back. “Another one, please.” Then she turned to Kendra. “Okay I think I’m human now. So how was your day?”

Kendra smiled. Her day had been pretty fantastic, though it started out awful. She’d received an email from Asra. He was in Los Angeles overnight but was looking forward to getting to London Saturday night, only two days away. Kendra never knew how good an email could make a person feel.

“Must be something good,” Annah said.

“Well, yes, it is actually, an email from Asra. He’ll be back in London this weekend and we’ll get to spend the whole of Sunday together.”

“So you’re taking him to Hy’s then?” Annah asked.

“No. Why on earth would I do that? He’s not ready for my mother and Fred.” Kendra would put that meeting off for as long as possible. “God no!”

“Did you forget Sunday is Fred’s birthday?”

“Oh no! Yes I forgot. Oh crap! I’ve got to go to the party but Asra is only here on Sunday. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! My mother and Fred are so…so out there. Asra just will not understand them.” Kendra let her head fall to the table. “But I need to spend time with Asra, he’s hardly ever here.”

“You could bring him to the party. It’s not like he’ll be under the full glare of Hy and Fred, there’ll be lots of people there. Me and Robert will be there, we’re pretty normal.”

Kendra looked up at Annah. “Do you think? Do you think it will be okay?”

“Yes, I’m sure it will be fine. I don’t know, I love Hy and I think Fred is a riot. You might find Asra likes them too. You just never know.”

Kendra emailed back to Asra explaining the situation. She hoped he wouldn’t get scared off meeting her parents already, but what else could she do? She had to be at Fred’s party and she wanted to be with Asra every minute that she could. Maybe they could duck out early.

She waited the entire day for a response, checking her email a thousand times. By the time they were about to knock off, she had decided she’d scared him off completely. It was over. Who invites a man to meet her parents after only two dates? It was over, she’d ruined it. But then she checked her email one last time and there it was:

“I’d love to go to the birthday party. Anywhere is great if you’re there.”

And that was why she was smiling at dinner with Bianca.

“Are you kidding me? Taking Asra to your weird mother? I don’t think it’s the best idea,” Bianca said. “I mean I even questioned our friendship after I met the notorious Hyacinth.”

“I don’t know, maybe he’ll like her. And besides there’ll be many people there… a sort of watering down of the Hy effect as it were.”

“You’d need to fill Wembley Stadium to dilute the effect of Hyacinth Miller and her evil sidekick Fred.”

Now Kendra was wavering. Was Bianca right? In any case, it was too late now. “Why don’t you come to the party? You’re a big personality it could help with the dilution. And as an added bonus you could get to know Asra. He really is the most fabulous man.”

Bianca shook her head. “Nope. Can’t pay me enough to join that weirdo, hippyfest. Besides I have plans.”

Bianca’s voice went all coy and Kendra knew something was up. “Plans with whom?”

“The plastic surgeon. You didn’t think I was getting rid of him already did you?”

Kendra was surprised. It had been two weeks since Bianca met Devin, she never hung onto a man for that long. “Dr Devin? So is there something there?”

“Who knows? Maybe it’s the ‘spring of romances’?”

She laughed a bit too loudly and in that laugh Kendra could hear something she’d never heard before from Bianca. The flippancy had disappeared; the laugh was barely hiding the fact that she liked this doctor. Could it be Bianca was actually getting serious about a man? Maybe she was right, maybe it was the ‘Spring of romances’. Kendra hoped so.

“Did I tell you Dr Devin is Egyptian? Isn’t that an odd coincidence?”

“Yes, very odd.” It wasn’t like Dr. Devin was anything like Asra though. But he must have something to have tamed the wild Bianca.