Lauren and Joey may not be brave enough to admit it to their family, but there is definite chemistry between them. “I would rather snog Ian Beale back in the tramp days,” Lauren insists to her dad, but it seems her statements are falling deaf ears – Max has told Joey he has to move out as Derek isn’t happy with him living there.
Afterwards, while helping Joey search for a new place to live, Lauren confesses that she spends her time drawing and Joey is amused when he accidentally finds numerous portraits of him. After sharing a tender moment, the pair find they are unable to fight the sexual tension and fall into each other’s arms.
But their happiness proves to be short-lived. Later in the week, Joey schemes to discredit his dad by claiming that Derek has given him a bloody nose. However, Derek gets his own back when, after spying Joey and Lauren kissing in the car-lot office, he warns that exposure could be imminent.
Fearing that they’ll be separated if Max and Tanya find out, Lauren and Joey decide to leave Walford. Joey steals Derek’s beloved car and, with Lauren at the wheel, they speed off into the night. But the evening ends on a dramatic note when, after swerving to avoid a parked car, Lauren loses control, mounts the curb and crashes through a shop window.
There’s yet more drama for the Brannings when Tanya tracks down an ‘Ava Hartman’ on the internet whose date of birth matches that of her long-lost sister. Patrick is aghast when Tanya reveals that she’s made an appointment to meet Ava at the school where she works.
Pretending to enquire about Oscar joining the school, Tanya looks for an opportunity to reveal the truth to Ava. But Tanya panics at the last minute and leaves without revealing the reason she came.
Tanya tells Patrick that she still cannot understand why Cora would have given up her child, only for Patrick to explain that Ava being the daughter of a mixed race couple would have been seen as a huge transgression: “Let sleeping dogs lie,” he advises, “that way nobody gets bitten.”
What Tanya doesn’t realise though is that she’s accidentally left her purse behind. Cue Ava turning up in Albert Square with the missing item and the truth spilling out! Cora is, at first, outraged that Patrick helped Tanya find Ava, but eventually calms down enough to reveal that Ava’s father deserted Cora before finding out she was pregnant and that her parents were so ashamed that they forced her to give Ava up for adoption.
Ava explains that she once tried to track down Cora but changed her mind deciding not to dig up the past. She tells Cora that she still feels this way and Cora watches her leave, desperate to reach out to her daughter but not willing to show any vulnerability. Staring out of the window after Ava has left, the grief overwhelms Cora and she breaks down.
At least Poppy finds something to smile about after a week of worry. Her concerns spring from the fact that her younger sister Tansy is set to visit: “She’s got a fiancé, an ISA and not so much as a split end,” Poppy frets.
Up until now, Poppy has managed to get away with her lie that she manages her own salon and lives in a penthouse apartment with two designer dogs – but is the truth about to come out? Not if Fats has anything to do with it – he dons a flash suit and pretends to be her high-flying businessman boyfriend.
But just as Tansy is smelling a rat, Lucy and Whitney arrive pretending to be Poppy’s salon staff. Tansy suddenly bursts into tears admitting she has split from her fiancé but was too embarrassed to say. It’s obvious that Poppy is lying about managing the salon but Tansy tells her that Fatboy has feelings for her. Poppy is overwhelmed by the lengths he has gone to help her today, she finds him in The Vic and thanks him with a lingering kiss.