Episode Three: The Grand Opening Written by David Nirved
“Are you done yet?”
“Just a minute, I’m adding finishing touches!”
“You’ve been adding finishing touches for the past ten minutes!” Haresh complained, poking his head through the door.
“Oh, Haresh, don’t be silly, flowers are delicate!” Gita chuckled, finishing her flower arrangement. She dusted her hands off proudly, admiring her handiwork. “Look at it, isn’t it perfect?”
“Yes, it’s marvellous Gita, but if you’re quite done, there are people outside waiting for you.”
“Already?” Gita squeaked. Her gaze drifted to the clock and she gasped. “Oh, goodness, it’s almost time for the unveiling! Why didn’t you tell me sooner?!”
“Me?” Haresh spluttered. “I was trying to, but-”
“Oh, never mind that, let’s get on with it!” Gita exclaimed, hobbling past him in excitement. Haresh huffed and joined her in the front area. There was a handful of guests present. Gita recognised most of them. Sarah Jane and her entourage of youngsters, Melody, Zoe, Beth and Dan, Zoe’s little cousin Bloom and brother Finn and a strange old lady sitting in the corner of the room scowling bitterly at her. “Ooh, hello, everyone! Welcome to the grand opening of Bloomin’ Lovely! Isn’t it marvellous? I didn’t have a such a big reception last time, it’s remarkable!”
“I wonder why,” Dan whispered to Finn, only to receive a painful elbow jab from Zoe as punishment. Their glares turned into plastered smiles as soon as Gita’s excited eyes landed on them. Sarah Jane had made them promise to be on their best behaviour for Gita’s grand opening. As soon as her back was turned, the pair resumed their bickering.
“Well, anyway, I suppose Bloomin’ Lovely 2.0 is open for business!” Gita cheered. The audience clapped half-heartedly at the woman’s exuberance, apart from the little old lady in the corner who simply scowled at Gita for no apparent reason. “Feel free to look around!”
The crowd dispersed, and Gita clapped excitedly at Haresh, who had enough decency to shoot her a small smile.
“Ooh, Haresh, this is so exciting!” Gita giggled. “I wish I had a rope- you know the ones Mayors always have? And the ones on telly? We need one, Haresh! Find me rope?”
“Come on, move! We need that rope!” Gita hurriedly pushed him into the back room. Haresh stumbled over a plant pot as Gita slammed the door in his face. She sighed and clapped her hands excitedly. Everything was going smoothly. The teenagers were browsing through individual flowers- though poor Beth looked strangely solemn- and the old lady was hobbling about the small shop. Gita noticed Sarah Jane and Bloom were approaching her and beamed. “Hello Sarah and little girl!”
“Hello!” Bloom yelled brightly, hopping on her feet and craning her head to look at Gita. She was awfully small.
“Gita, this is a wonderful grand opening,” Sarah Jane commented as she admired the flowers.
“Ooh, thank you, Sarah! Is that a new car of yours I spotted outside, my darling?”
“Why, yes, I had it delivered to me.”
“Ooh, can you do that nowadays?”
“Well, no, a friend of mine brought it.”
“Oh, that’s nice! Are you after an interview, my darling? Is that it?”
“An...interview?” Sarah Jane blinked dumbly. Gita nodded excitedly.
“That’s what this is about, isn’t it? Ooh, I’m onto you, Sarah!”
“Lovely,” Gita dismissed her comment as if it was an afterthought. “But you’re trying to butter me up for an interview on my new shop!”
“Shop?” the old lady scoffed as she hobbled towards them. “You call this a shop? It’s nothing like a shop!”
Gita regarded the strange lady. “My darling, I think you’ll find this is a shop.”
“Don’t you ‘my darling’ me!” the old woman scowled. “I have been to flower shops better than this shabby, two bit one!”
“And...who are you, my darling?”
“Oh, you poor lady,” the woman sneered. “I am Mrs Hartran. Didn’t you know that?”
“Well...no.” Gita admitted. The strange woman cackled as she hobbled out of the shop. A loud crash brought Gita’s attention to Finn, who was lying on the floor with several flowers showered over him. Zoe and Dan were wrestling for something, and Bloom was jumping up and down on Finn’s body, declaring she and Melody were the Empresses of the Galaxy.
“I couldn’t find the rope,” Haresh informed her as he entered the room. “What on Earth happened here?”
Gita stood in confusion. It had been a weird grand opening.