The coco pinchard boxset.., p.24
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       The Coco Pinchard Boxset: 5 bestselling romantic comedies in one!, p.24

           Robert Bryndza
 

  I thought, after all that has happened, he is the most important thing in my life, the one I am most proud of. He dreamed of putting on his own play, with Christian, yet when it was all taken away from him he conducted himself wonderfully. He has never moaned, even when we were wet and cold and I made him wear speedos on the Royal Mile. I said my award was for him.

  When I sat back down next to him, he had tears in his eyes,

  “You’re like wicked mum,” he said.

  He meant “wicked” in the cool sense, I think.

  Chris was also emotional and directed his speech to his parents.

  “Mother and Father, I now have a career. A profession, so you can’t marry me off. I have work to do!”

  He was gutted when I told him afterwards that it hadn’t been televised.

  Beryl was rather bewildered when she went up to accept her award.

  “Best newcomer? I’ve been doing this for thirty years… I was a Benny Hill girl.”

  Regina Battenberg was nominated in the solo show category, but lost out to One Man Titanic. I wished the ceremony had been televised, if only to see the look on her face when she lost! I was pleased for Mike though, his ice issues have continued to plague him.

  On Regina’s table were various producers, publicists, Pippin, and Dorian, my old agent! When Regina went off to hobnob, I sat beside him.

  “Coco!” he said grabbing Pippin, who was trying to eat the centrepiece on the table. “Well done. You know if you’d have come to me with the play idea, I’d have gone with it…”

  I gave him a thin smile. “Really? I thought I was a loose cannon?”

  “No, I was misquoted. I said ‘loose woman’,” he wormed. “You know, like the girls off that lunchtime show. They’re great!”

  “I’ve heard Regina is going to leave you,” I said. “Right now she’s discussing a media deal with BBC Worldwide.”

  Luckily, at that very moment, Regina was sat at a table engrossed in conversation with Alan Yentob, the former BBC television controller. Dorian went pale and began to sweat. On cue, Pippin peed down the front of his shirt!

  After the ceremony, Angie had to fly back to London so I went outside to have a cigarette with her before she left. I’d run out of Marlboro Lights, so asked if I could nick one.

  “See,” she said. “I told you I didn’t want you nicking my fags at award ceremonies… But I’ll let you off this once, you did great, babe.”

  “You did great, babe.”

  “I’ve done even better,” she said, hugging me. “We’ve got a meeting next week with the Trafalgar Studios. They want to talk about transferring us to the West End!”

  I was going to go home after the cigarette but hearing that spurred us all on to a pub crawl and then, at 2am, to CC Blooms, a gay bar in Leith.

  I don’t know how they are going to perform the last show today.

  Monday 31st August 13.41

  TO: angielangford@thebmxagency.biz

  I’m hiding in Byron’s little office, on her computer in Palace Apartments. The soundtrack to Chasing Diana Spencer: The Musical is booming throughout the house. Byron made a recording of the last show. It sounds awesome. The actors are all singing along with themselves, packing, and cleaning so hopefully we will get our security deposit back from Mrs Dougal.

  I have so much to tell you! Everyone came to see the last show. Marika, Meryl, Tony, Ethel, and Chris’s parents.

  Clive swears by Doctor Theatre, and it worked for the actors. You would have never known half of them were throwing up just beforehand. The performance was perfect. There was no time to get sentimental afterwards and Byron collared me to help with the “git out” (get out). All the costumes and props had to be loaded into my car boot, and we had to leave the premises.

  As I was parking the car outside Palace Apartments, my phone bleeped with a text message. It was an unknown number, which said,

  “SUM1 SPECIAL IS HERE TO SEE YOU.”

  I wanted to text back but my bloody phone died and my charger was packed in the bottom of my suitcase under all the props in the car. I parked the car and then walked back into the city centre where I had promised to meet everyone in The Carnegie Theatre bar. My mind was racing. What if it is Adam? I tried to remember if I had deleted Adam’s number in a fit of rage, but I hadn’t. Also, wouldn’t he say that he was here and not talk about himself in the third person?

  When I arrived at the bar, I found Chris in the foyer showing his parents his Edinburgh Fringe Award.

  “Darling, it’s a piece of slate off a roof?” said his mother Edwina as her anorexic frame buckled under the weight. “Shouldn’t awards, well ones that matter, be golden?”

  “Now Edwina,” said his dad. “This is a real achievement for Christopher.”

  There was an awkward moment where they should have hugged, but he broke it by saying they had dinner reservations, and they left.

  “Don’t worry,” I said. “At least they came.”

  And I took him into the bar.

  It was crowded, and as I looked around expectantly, there in the corner was Meryl, Tony, Ethel and… Daniel!

  I didn’t know what to do. Meryl waved, and called me over saying, “Oh Coco! We loved the show, aren’t you clever!”

  “You know, I saw the Queen Mother once,” boomed Tony, red in the face. “Well, I’m sure it was her, but she was in disguise. You know, once she took those hats off she could be anybody.”

  “Oh gawd,” said Ethel. “’E’s on about the Queen Mother again, why would she go to a car boot sale in Milton Keynes?”

  I looked at Daniel.

  “Hi Cokes,” he said, bashfully.

  “Ooh! Look ‘oo it is Coco,” said Ethel. “It’s Danny. Did ya get me text message?”

  “That was you?”

  “Yeah, look. I got me one of them Chinese telephones,” she said holding up a brand new iPhone. “I’m gonna get Rosencrantz to put me on Twitter.”

  “What are you doing here?” I said to Daniel.

  “’E’s got a surprise!” said Ethel. “Danny wants to say something,” and she dragged off Meryl and Tony.

  Daniel smiled. He was wearing a black suit and his long hair was greased and tied back with an elastic band.

  “Can I get you a G&T?” he said. “How about some dry roasted peanuts?”

  “You still haven’t told me why you are here? What’s the surprise?”

  “Your phone call, the other week, you wanted me back…” his face dropped, “didn’t you?”

  “No!” I said, incredulous. “No. I was low, and I’m sorry if I gave you that impression.”

  “So now the show is a success, you don’t want me?”

  “You’re telling me that YOU are the surprise? You really think that you being here is some kind of special treat for me!” I was becoming shrill. Daniel looked at his shoes.

  “Whistle Up The Wind has been cancelled.”

  “Leave me alone and go home,” I said.

  “Let’s try again,” he said, taking my hand. “Really try, forget all the silly stuff.”

  “Silly stuff?” I shouted.

  I grabbed his pint of lager and poured it over his head. Then, grabbing a bowl of dry roasted peanuts off the bar, I emptied it on top of his greasy wet hair.

  “That is silly stuff. Cheating and divorcing me is a whole other load of words!”

  Daniel stood there dripping, with clumps of dry roasted peanut dust congealing on his face.

  Ethel appeared holding out her new iPhone. “’Ere let me take a photo of you two!”

  She saw Daniel and her face dropped.

  “Ethel,” I said, “I will never get back together with your scumbag son.”

  I stalked off and found Marika. We went for a conference in the ladies loo.

  “What’s going on?” she said.

  “Oh, an unwelcome surprise guest.”

  “You mean Adam?”

  “No, Daniel has appeared.”

  “No. Adam was at
the show,” said Marika. “You didn’t get my text?”

  “What? No. My phone is dead. Adam is here?”

  “Yeah, I’m sure it was him, he sat a few rows behind us. He waved to me.”

  I was trying to take this in when the toilet door opened, and in came Ethel.

  “Danny’s in the bog with Meryl’s travel wash,” she said. “I knew it was a long shot you taking him back, I just didn’t want ‘im in me spare room. Me ‘n’ Irene are using it for Tarot readings, we’re making a mint. Tha’s how I bought the Chinese telephone.”

  Then Rosencrantz came in.

  “Oh Rosencrantz, you were brilliant,” said Ethel ruffling his hair. “You’re like a young Rock Hudson.”

  I asked him if he had seen Adam. He said no. Then Ethel took Rosencrantz to the bar for a drink. I looked at Marika.

  “Are you sure it was Adam?”

  “I think so, yes.”

  “This is stupid,” I said. “I’ve just won an award and heard we could be transferring to London. I’m obsessing about two stupid men.”

  Then Ethel rushed back into the bathroom.

  “Are you two done?” she shouted. “Only my Danny’s knocking seven bells of shit out of some bloke!”

  We ran out. Daniel was rolling around on the carpet with another guy. Ethel was screaming,

  “Wallop ‘im son! Remember the boxing lessons yer father gave you!”

  I realised I knew the middle-aged guy. He was a reviewer from The London Evening Standard, called Al Malone. Daniel produced his own musical in 1988 called Do-Ray-Moi. It was a whimsical and rather crap tale of an obscure French piano teacher. It ended up being a load of French girls with hairy armpits dancing around Daniel as he bashed out discordant tunes on the piano, whilst I had busted my arse painting a huge mural of the Eiffel Tower.

  Al Malone had reviewed Do-Ray-Moi calling it “Woeful artistic hand relief”. Daniel always said if he ever saw Al Malone again, he would punch him.

  The fight came back onto its feet and Al seemed to get the upper hand, landing a blow to Daniel’s face. He staggered back into a fruit machine, his nose pouring with blood. Al hit him again, and again.

  “Leave ‘im alone, yer bastard!” shouted Ethel, scrabbling in her handbag. “I’m gonna film this on me new Chinese telephone, an’ give it to the pigs!”

  She didn’t get the chance because then, like a dream, in rushed Adam pulling Al away from Daniel. Al realised Adam was at least a head taller and backed off. Meryl and Ethel ran to Daniel.

  “Hi Coco,” said Adam.

  We looked at each other.

  “Your show was wonderful.”

  “I’ve really missed you,” I blurted. “And I’m sorry about not explaining, things, I wasn’t cheating, unfortunate timing, if that makes sense.”

  “Sorry I turned into… an obsessive girl,” he said.

  He pulled me into his chest for a hug.

  “Hang on,” I said pulling away. “What about Tonya?”

  “What about that old guy you’re dating?”

  “What?”

  “Him,” said Adam pointing across the room at Clive, who was playing darts with Byron.

  “You thought me and Clive were dating?”

  “Yeah, you were holding his arm, and he was wooing you when I saw you at the allotment.”

  “The ground was too bumpy for him,” I laughed. “He’s lovely, but no.”

  “Oh,” he said looking embarrassed. “I only went on a few dates with Tonya. Then I realised, you’re my girl. That’s why I’m here.” He grinned.

  Tony lumbered past, red in the face, saying, “Good job there, mate, breaking it up. You just pipped me to the post, I was about to intervene myself.”

  We looked over at Daniel. Meryl was gobbing on a hanky and cleaning the blood off his nose. Ethel was pulling chunks of pineapple and cheese off a cocktail stick to make a splint. Adam put his arms round me,

  “Can we try again?”

  I nodded. He leant in and we kissed. It was a real knee-buckling kiss.

  Meryl came back and told us she had put Daniel in a taxi back to his Bed and Breakfast. Chris, Rosencrantz and Marika joined us.

  “Where’s your father, Chris?” asked Meryl. “I did so want to meet Sir and Lady Cheshire.”

  “She brought one of your napkins to sign,” said Tony.

  Meryl flushed red but still let Chris take it with him, to be signed later. Ethel looked around at everyone and bit her lip.

  “I’m sorry, I can’t keep it in any longer. Meryl’s up the duff!”

  Meryl gave Ethel a look, then smiled at Tony,

  “We were going to wait for my twelve weeks but yes, I am pregnant.”

  “Meryl,” I said, “congratulations.”

  We all hugged and Meryl began to well up,

  “I’m going to be someone’s mummy,” she sniffed. “We’re so happy.” Tony hugged her close.

  “’Ere,” said Ethel. “Tell ‘em what Irene said.”

  Meryl shot Ethel a look, “No, they don’t want to hear that, thank you.”

  “No!” said Ethel. “It’s spooky. It’s about when they, you know, did the business.”

  Meryl went red but Ethel carried on.

  “Meryl and Tone ‘ad a bonk, you know, made the baby, after their Rotary Club Dinner on the twenty-sixth of June. The same night Michael Jackson died.”

  Ethel looked around for effect.

  “Irene is very psychic, and she says that their baby IS the reincarnation of the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson.”

  No one knew what to say. Adam and Rosencrantz raised their eyebrows, and I saw Chris and Marika turn away and smile. Ethel raised her glass.

  “To the reincarnation of the King Of Pop!”

  I felt so sorry for Meryl, who once again had to experience Ethel stealing her thunder.

  We stayed talking in the bar until late. I let Marika have my bed at Palace Apartments. Adam had booked us a room at The Scotsman Hotel.

  We finally made it back to the hotel at four-thirty in the morning. He led me up to a beautiful room with a view over the city, slowly waking up in the first light. On the pillow of a four-poster bed sat a small green box, which made me think, Tiffany! I opened it, and nestling on the little satin cushion was a beautiful silver necklace.

  “Is this real Tiffany?” I said.

  “No rubbish,” he said, holding up the box.

  “I’ve wanted one of these since…”

  “Christmas?”

  “Yes. How did you know?”

  “Well, I did read all of your emails,” he said, with a grin.

  He gently took it out of the box and secured it around my neck.

  “But I didn’t get you anything.”

  “I know how you can make it up to me,” he said, as we sunk back into the soft cover of the four-poster bed.

  September

  Tuesday 1st September 10.01

  TO: angielangford@thebmxagency.biz

  Hi love, just a quickie, I will be back in London next weekend. Daniel begged, again, to let him stay, but I said no. He can move in with Ethel until he finds his own place. However, he has exacted his petty revenge. The iPhone, which he gave me for Christmas, is still in his name, and he is now demanding it back to use for himself. His got crushed in the fight and he says he cannot afford to buy a new one. I have to organise a replacement phone and a new number, so I will be offline for a week or so.

  If you need to pick up those copies of Chasing Diana Spencer for the producers at the Trafalgar Studios, Rosencrantz will be around all week, as will Marika and Clive. He is going to be staying for a while so he can get himself together. He deserves it far more than Daniel does.

  I had better go. Adam is waiting in the car and I have to put this phone through the door of Daniel’s Bed and Breakfast.

  We are going to drive down to London over the next week, stopping off along the way. Adam has booked some lovely hotels. I have never seen the Lake District or Yorkshire, and
we might even go and have a look at Dublin!

  See you soon to conquer the West End!

  Lots of love, Coco

  Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding

  To everyone who loved the first book, thank you for all your wonderful letters, emails and tweets - this is for you.

  November 2010

  Sunday 14th November 21.56

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  Dear Chris,

  Today was the day. Rosencrantz left home. Of course, my only son flying the nest happened at the worst time. I’m a week over the deadline to finish my new novel, The Duchess Of York: Secret Agent. So I spent most of the day holed up in my little office, having to watch him lug boxes past the door aided by his father and Adam.

  He kept popping in to show me things he’d unearthed whilst packing, including his first teddy bear, a Christening present from Meryl and Tony. How has Rosencrantz grown up so quickly? It was like yesterday I remember the Vicar asking him what he wanted to name the teddy.

  “How about something from your Sunday School class,” he said, sipping his tea by the buffet table. “Noah? Jacob? Job?”

  The guests watched on, charmed by my cute little boy dressed in a miniature black suit and furrowing his tiny eyebrows deep in thought.

  “I’m going to call her… Bitch!” he squeaked, causing the Vicar to choke into his cup. “Meet my new teddy bear Bitch! Bitch, bitch, bitchy, bitch, BITCH!”

  Several guests froze with their fruitcake mid-air, and a lady in a big hat gasped in horror.

  “He just loves the word ‘Bitch’,” I said grinning awkwardly. “Of course, he doesn’t know what it means. I’ve been reading that Jackie Collins novel, The Bitch.”

  “Not as a bedtime story to him, I hope?” said the Vicar irritably, mopping tea off his cassock. Suffice it to say Rosencrantz never went back to Sunday school…

  I looked fondly at Bitch, now a bit threadbare and faded, sat beside my computer screen; she came with us on every family holiday and was even admitted to hospital with Rosencrantz when he had his appendix removed.

 
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