Ember: Great! I can hardly wait to taste it. I know everything will be delicious.
Rowan: I know you wanted mostly cold items so that nothing had to stay heated. The only warm item is the hot dogs for the children. I'll bring a few out and leave the rest warming in the kitchen. You'll just have to grab them when you need them, if that's okay.
Ember: Yes, we can go get them when we need them. No problem.
Erwyn: Excuse me, Mommy. Can I put these napkins on the other table?
Ember: Sure, Honey. You are such a big help.
Ember: Thank you! I'm doing my best to raise her right, but she has a lot of that personality on her own.
Rowan: I hope to be that good of a parent one day. We'll see.
Ember (laughing): Well, I'm sure if you just do your best, your children will benefit.
Rowan: I'm going to go grab more of the food.
Ember: Okay. Please let me know if you need some help.
Rowan: I'm fine. You already have your work cut out for you getting ready.
Rowan heads to the kitchen and passes Ember's cousin Drexel, who is carrying his neice, Tylyn, her Aunt Tandra and Uncle Kendrick on her way.
Ember: Hey, you guys. I'm glad you could make it.
Tandra: Of course, Mi Querida! I even made sure your mother looks good. Well, as sexy as I could get her to look.
Kendrick (laughing): Poor Fatima. I can just imagine you critiquing her.
Ember (laughing): Me too. They are nothing alike. Mom is about looking nice and subtle. Aunt Tandra is all about ensuring she can turn heads.
Tandra: Yes! The way all women should be. I am a good example, no?
Drexel: Speaking of turning heads, who was that woman we passed? She came out of here.
Ember: That's Rowan, she owns the Flavor Café and provided the catering.
Drexel: Smart and fine. Hmmm....
Drexel put Tylyn in a chair near Erwyn so they can talk. Aunt Tandra sits down at a table and Uncle Kendrick chats with Ember. Rowan walks back in with more dessert and is followed by Henna.
Rowan: Hi, yes it is. What's your name?
Drexel: I'm Drexel, Ember's cousin. Do you need some help? It looks like you have some more food to bring in.
Rowan: Thank you, but I can handle it. You're a guest. You should be enjoying your party.
Henna: It's okay, Rowan. He should be a gentleman and help you. Please let him do so. He can act like a guest later.
Rowan: Okay. If you insist. Thank you.
Drexel follows Rowan to the kitchen to grab more food.
Erwyn: Hi, Aunt Henna. Where's Grandmom? Mommy says she lives with you right now, but we are having a party because she has to leave.
Henna: She's here, but she is being escorted in by my friend, Maurice. She's probably just taking her time. And, yes, she was staying with me for a while, but she has her own house some place far. You've been there. Are you going to miss her?
Erwyn: Yes, she is fun.
Henna: I'm going to miss her too. But we'll see her again.
Rowan comes back in with a sandwich tray, followed by Drexel who also has a sandwich tray.
Ember: Boy, you do not need to bother her. Don't you have a bunch of girlfriends at any given time right now? That woman is just being nice to you. I doubt she has time for your juggling ways.
Drexel: You just have to know how to give them all the right attention. They love it.
Ember: Uhuh. I'll just bet. I haven't seen you in a while. Did I get a hug today?
Henna: Ember, I don't see any ice or the other drinks.
Ember: I know. Syren is bringing those things. She should be here soon. I hope.
Henna: She's not usually late.
Ember: I know she is bringing Marlin. Maybe she had to pick her up and Marlin is a little delayed.
Drexel: Is Marlin cute?
Henna (laughing): For heaven's sake, Drexel. You are not the stud you think you are.
Drexel (laughing): I'm just playing.
Kendrick: No, but I'm sure they will ask where she is. They probably just think she's coming later.
Drexel: I don't even want to talk about it. It's all I can do not to go over there and kick his a@$!
Kendrick: I know, Drex. She's my little girl and I hate to see her so miserable. It makes us all angry, but violence isn't the answer. Especially since Quinn could turn around and go right back to him. Then what good would it have done to get arrested?
Drexel: I know some people.
Kendrick (smirks): So do I, but it's still not the answer. Quinn has to change things.
Tandra: I tell her, she doesn't listen. Then he hurts her again.
Kendrick: Well, let's not focus on that right now. It's a party and we're here to have a good time. Okay?
Tandra and Drexel: Okay.
Maurice walks in with Fatima on his arm.
Maurice: This lovely lady was ensuring her entrance would be perfect. I don't know how she could make it any better.
Fatima: You're so sweet. He's a keeper, Henna.
Henna: Buttering up my mother to have an ally. Good one, Maurice.
Maurice: Whatever it takes to make you all mine, Sweetheart.
Tandra: Yes, he is so sweet. Come here, Maurice. I have barely seen you.
Maurice dutifully walks over to Aunt Tandra.
Tandra: Henna says you work out. You train, no?
Maurice: Yes, I am a trainer. I have my own business. Maybe one day instead of just going to my clients, I'll have my own gym.
Tandra: Well, I like your muscles. Nice and strong. That's good. My niece needs a strong man. She's a strong woman, você vê?
Henna: Et tu, Aunt Tandra?
Maurice (grinning): I don't know those last words, but I agree. I like that she's strong. Beautiful too.
Aunt Tandra gives Maurice a quick hug then sits back down. Maurice has a seat near Henna. Tylyn and Erwyn are up playing.
Drexel: Well, you'll get photos with me and one other sister. Quinn isn't coming.
Fatima: Oh. Is she ill?
Kendrick: No, she broke up with Tyquan again and she's taking it pretty hard. We've had Tylyn for a few days so she can pull herself together.
Fatima: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Well, I hope she's going to be okay. She shouldn't alone too long.
Tandra: We told her she could come stay with us so she could relax and still see Tylyn every day. She just needs some time.
Drexel (getting loud): She needs to not go back to that sorry...
Kendrick: Drexel! Watch your temper. Tylyn is right there. She doesn't need to hear you talking about her parents.
While the group is talking, Windsor and her man, Cameron, walk into the room.
Windsor: I don't know. But I suspect it's about Quinn again. Drexel is angry, I'm sure. I swear his face turns red every time Tyquan's name comes up.
Cameron: Oh! Well, should we interrupt?
Windsor: Well, it may lighten the mood. But I want to say hi to these little Sweetie Pies over here first. They look so cute playing together.
Cameron: Yeah. One day we'll have some Sweetie Pies to join in. (Seeing a look on Windsor's face) After we're married, of course.
Windsor: Good answer.
Ember: Well, Sy, Marlin, Windsor, and Cam. I invited Cyann, but she said only she and Brenna are coming. Gray and Brooklyn have been ill and are recovering.
Henna: Oh, and if he has time, Parker said he'll be here. I guess that's it. They can just eat when they arrive. We just need that ice.
Tandra: I'm hungry too.
Fatima: I think we can at least start nibbling.
Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye