Paul introducing Zoe to his new secretary, Sue Wright.
Nikki, Scott, Jim, Helen and Rosemary are sitting around the kitchen table, eating dessert. Jim asks Rosemary if she's going to be flying straight back to the States, but Rosemary says she might stop over in Honolulu. Paul arrives home and Helen tells him that his dinner is in the oven. Rosemary asks him how his day went, and he smiles that it was terrific: he hired a secretary. Jim says:
JIM: I'm sure you won't regret it.
PAUL: So am I!
JIM: Zoe seemed very keen I bet she's pleased.
Paul, however, retorts:
PAUL: Dad, I didn't hire her.
JIM (looking surprised): Why not?
PAUL: Because I employed somebody *else*.
Jim points out to Paul that Zoe has excellent qualifications and she needs a job desperately. Paul, though, says coolly that he prefers to keep his personal business *out* of the office. He heads off through to the lounge room. Scott stands up and says he has four assignments to do before tomorrow. Jim, however, tells him to do the washing up. Helen and Rosemary also head through to the lounge room and Nikki tells Scott that she'll give him a hand. Scott just mutters that he'll have to ask Danny to do another assignment for him if he's going to fit everything in.
Max is sitting on the couch. He finishes his dinner and Madge tells Danny to bring his father his dessert. Danny offers Max more coffee, but Madge says she thinks a little hot milk would be best. Max asks for a little tot of rum in it! Madge and Danny head into the kitchen and Max immediately pulls out a book from under the cushion of the couch. It has a large picture of a heart on the front. He has a quick look inside, then hides it back under the cushion as Madge returns with dessert. Danny comes in with the warm milk and rum. Max holds out his plate of dessert and pleads for a little dollop of cream to go with it, and Danny heads back through to the kitchen to get it, just as Scott comes in through the back door, holding some sheets of paper. Danny sighs at him:
DANNY: Not *more* homework?! I don't know why you don't just give up school!
SCOTT (bitterly): I feel like it believe me!
DANNY: You're better off, you know? as long your old man doesn't charge heaps for rent!
SCOTT: I still want to go to uni, though.
Danny takes the papers from Scott and asks when they're due. Scott tells him that it's the day after tomorrow. He adds that he really appreciates it. Danny heads back through to the lounge room and hands Max a pot of cream. He exclaims in delight:
MAX: Ha-ha! Any fitter and I'd be dangerous!
Madge, looking annoyed, stands up and announces that she's going over to the Robinsons'. As she heads out, she warns Max that he's eating himself into an early grave.
Scott and Nikki are doing the washing up, but Nikki complains about the state Scott is leaving the dishes in. Scott mutters at her that he's not in the mood for this, but Nikki just retorts that if he stopped whinging, they'd be finished by now. Jim comes in and warns them both to cut it out. He then tells Scott that he had a word with his Maths tutor today and he's very pleased with Scott's progress. Nikki glares at Scott knowingly. Jim adds gently:
JIM: Look, I know you've been under a lot of pressure lately, but you keep up the good work and you won't have to go to him for long.
He then tells Scott and Nikki that they can finish the washing-up later: Rosemary's about to leave. The three of them head through to the lounge room, where Helen is saying to her daughter:
HELEN: I wish you didn't have to go.
ROSEMARY: I'll be back again soon I promise.
NIKKI: Before or *after* the wedding?
HELEN: Probably after, Nikki: Gerard wants us to get married as soon as possible.
There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Jim opens it to let Madge in. Rosemary turns to him and says:
ROSEMARY: You know, you should take the plunge again too, Jim.
There's a surprised silence. Jim eventually just says a muted:
He then asks Scott to help him take Rosemary's bags to the car, and everyone starts saying their goodbyes. Paul joins them and tells Rosemary that he'll hear from her soon. Rosemary replies:
ROSEMARY: You're sure to!
PAUL (coolly): I can handle it.
ROSEMARY (smiles): I know!
Rosemary and Helen then step outside. As they stand by the front door, Helen says softly
HELEN: You *will* be all right, won't you?
ROSEMARY (sincerely): Thanks for *everything*, mum. I love you so much.
HELEN: I love you too.
The two of them share a fond hug and Rosemary turns and goes.
Max is sitting on the couch, getting stuck into his dessert, smiling that there's nothing like a bit of cream after a hard day's work! Danny, however, points out that *Shane* did all the hard work! Max then asks Danny what *he's* eating. He points to Danny's plate. Danny tells him that it's bean shoots, and he asks Max if he wants some. Max, however, retorts:
MAX: No fear! Tried to make me eat that stuff in Vietnam!
Danny hesitates before then asking:
DANNY: You feeling all right now, dad?
MAX: Oh yeah, why? [Pauses, then asks suspiciously] All right what do you want?!
DANNY: Nothing! I was just asking!
MAX: Strewth, if it's not one woman, it's another!
DANNY (blankly): What are you talking about?
MAX: If you want to go and see Nikki, go ahead I could *do* with some peace and quiet.
DANNY: I won't leave if you don't want me to...
MAX (patting his chest): Fitty as a fiddle!
Danny puts down his plate and heads out. When he's gone, Max stands up, heads through to the kitchen and picks up a leaflet from a shelf. He puts it down on the counter, looks at it and then starts exercising! He swings his arms above his head and then down to the ground and behind his back, repeating this several times! He then checks his pulse. He starts running on the spot, but that only lasts a couple of seconds before he puts his hand to his chest, looking worried. He sits down at the kitchen table and takes a deep breath.
Sometime later, Max is sitting in the waiting room at a nearby clinic, looking at a pamphlet, when an old woman sits down next to him and comments:
OLD WOMAN: You don't look very well, do you, dear?
MAX (murmurs): You can say *that* again.
OLD WOMAN: Had another attack, have you?
MAX: Pain's something wicked.
OLD WOMAN: My husband was exactly like you.
MAX: Plumber, was he?!
OLD WOMAN: Oh no he never worked; his heart couldn't stand the strain. I couldn't *tell* you the suffering that man went through. His heart never left him *alone*.
MAX: Didn't the doctors do anything?
OLD WOMAN: *Them*? Huh!
The door to the consulting room opens and a nurse sees a pregnant woman out. Max and the old woman look at the nurse and the old woman goes on:
OLD WOMAN: *They* don't know anything. Poor old Ernie: he started off on pills... little did he know. He could hardly get out of bed. We've got ten children, you know?
MAX: Well I got two boys.
OLD WOMAN: Lucky it's not *more*.
MAX: They're pretty worried.
OLD WOMAN: Of course. *You're* only at the *book* stage. [She indicates the pamphlet Max is holding] You wait until they get their hands on you with their needles. Useless, all of it!
MAX (frowns): But they can do heart transplants and *everything*, these days.
OLD WOMAN: I know. They were going to experiment on my Ernie, but nothing worked.
OLD WOMAN (distantly): Ernie... he was so brave. A braver man I've never met. He says to me, Else, he says, there's only one thing to do to beat this thing.
MAX: And what's that?
OLD WOMAN: To forgive them their trespasses those who trespassed against him including the doctors. He made his peace with the world.
OLD WOMAN: Did more for him than any doctor did! You take my word for it, dear and I'm an expert on these things the doctors can't do anything for you. Only the good Lord can.
MAX: Worked, eh?
OLD WOMAN: Like a charm. Fit as a fiddle when he went!
MAX (mumbles): I'm sorry. I didn't know he'd died
OLD WOMAN: He didn't. He ran off with the next-door neighbour!
The woman then tells Max that she thinks he's next. Max, though, looking suddenly worried, gets up and dashes out. The woman muses:
OLD WOMAN: Oh. No. It's *me*!
There's loud music on in the lounge room. Danny and Nikki are sitting on one couch while Helen and Madge sit on the other, Madge telling Helen that Max needs his head read. Helen asks if he's seen a doctor, but Madge retorts that wild horses wouldn't drag him there. The two of them decide to head to the kitchen so they can talk. Jim is working at the desk. Scott emerges from his bedroom and snaps at Danny and Nikki:
SCOTT: Will you turn that down?
He goes and reduces the volume on the stereo. Danny asks what's up. Scott mutters that it's Biology. Nikki suggests to him that he bring his books out and they can help him. Jim calls across to warn that Scott has to learn to stand on his own two feet, and Scott tells Nikki coolly that he can look after himself. Danny, however, insists that Nikki was only trying to help, and he tells Scott to go and get his stuff. Scott heads back to his room. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Jim opens it to find Max on the step. He comes in and he and Jim sit down on the empty couch. Max smiles at Nikki and Danny:
MAX: How are yous two getting along, eh? [To Nikki] He asked you out, yet?
DANNY: Cut it out, dad!
MAX: Life's too short to beat around the bush, Danny!
Jim offers Max a beer, but he declines. Paul tells Jim that he'll get some for the two of them. He heads through to the kitchen, where Madge and Helen are seated at the table, Madge saying:
MADGE: Charlene's no *better*. Heaven knows what trouble the girl's got herself into.
Paul tells the two women that Max is there, but is acting pretty strange. Madge mutters that nothing would surprise her! Paul heads back through to join Max and Jim, leaving Helen to ask Madge:
HELEN: Why don't you go back home?
MADGE (sadly): I don't really *have* a home anymore. Fred's quite happy with his floozy; he doesn't want *me* around.
HELEN: Charlene's still quite young.
MADGE: Oh, she prefers her father to me, I'm afraid. It's my own fault, really: I was too busy trying to turn ducks into swans.
HELEN: Well, we all have high expectations of our children.
MADGE: You know, I never really approved of one-parent families, but Max and Jim seem to have made a pretty good fist of theirs.
HELEN: Oh, they've made their share of blunders.
MADGE: I wish I had Jim's tolerance. He always seems so kind... understanding...
In the lounge room, Max is smiling:
MAX: There's nothing like a mate, is there?!
PAUL (looking bemused): No, I suppose there's not.
MAX: And it's great to see it passed down, like, from father to son. Gives you a sense of sort of, well, eternity, like, eh?
JIM: I've never looked at it like that!
Helen and Madge come through and Max stands up. Looking surprised, Madge asks him what the matter is. Max retorts that he was just talking about being mates. Madge asks why. Max tells her:
MAX: Well, I mean, Scott couldn't find a better mate than young Danny here.
JIM (points out): They've had their share of scraps.
MAX: Yeah, but Danny can always forgive, see? I reckon we all ought to take a leaf out of *his* book.
DANNY (sighs): Cut it out, dad. You're *embarrassing* me.
MAX: I mean, how many kids would sit home night after night doing a mate's homework, eh?
Scott, who's kneeling at the coffee table, looks down guiltily. Jim glares at Max and demands:
JIM: What did you say?
MAX: We're talking about *mates*.
DANNY (standing up): Shut up, dad. I think we'd better be going.
JIM (coolly): Danny, have you been doing the assignments from the tutor? And don't lie to me.
MAX (warns): Hang on my son's not a liar.
JIM: No, but *mine* is.
DANNY (quickly): I can explain, Jim.
JIM (retorts): I don't want to hear from *you*.
HELEN (warns): Jim...
MAX (quickly): Why don't we just forgive and forget, eh?
JIM (angrily): Why don't you go home, Max?
Madge grabs Max's arm and hauls him out, muttering that she doesn't know what's got into him. As she, Max and Danny leave, Jim demands of Scott:
JIM: Have you any idea how much those lessons *cost*?
NIKKI: *You're* the one who put the pressure on.
JIM: That's no excuse for cheating.
Jim then snaps at Scott:
JIM: How could you take the credit for other people's work?
NIKKI: Danny was only going to do the work til Scott caught up.
JIM (glaring at Scott): What have you got to say for yourself?
Scott doesn't respond. He just stares down at the coffee table. Jim snaps:
JIM: There's nothing you *can* say, *is there*?
NIKKI: He just couldn't cope with the workload.
PAUL: Dad, you wouldn't listen to him.
JIM (furiously): Well I'm listening *now*. I don't hear anything. [To Scott] You're not going to get very far in this world, lying and cheating. I'm *talking* to you.
Scott looks up suddenly and yells at his father:
SCOTT: Listen: I don't give a damn about *you* or anything else.
With that, he storms off to his bedroom.
The next morning, Danny is fixing some equipment to the rack on top of Max's van. When he's finished, he wanders over to where Scott and Nikki are walking up the road towards No. 26 and asks them how it went last night. Nikki tells Danny that Jim gave Scott heaps. She turns to Max and mutters that it was all *his* fault: why did he have to dob on them? Max retorts that it was an accident. He asks if he should go and see Jim to sort things out, but Nikki, Scott and Danny all say No!' in unison! Max tells Scott:
MAX: He only wants what's best for you, mate.
SCOTT (bitterly): Yeah. It's a pity I'm such a failure, isn't it...
Helen is preparing breakfast in the kitchen as Jim potters round saying that for the life of him he doesn't understand Scott's behaviour. Helen asks:
HELEN: What were *you* like at his age? And don't tell me how perfect you were!
JIM: I didn't try to cheat my way through the final year, *that's* for sure.
HELEN (points out): You had *one* exam at the end of the year. These days they seem to have one exam every five minutes, and if they fail they have to fight against it for the rest of the year. It isn't a fair system.
JIM: But it's the system we've *got*. It seems to be a lot better system than the one *I* operated under.
HELEN (sighs): Oh Jim, sometimes you're so self-righteous it just isn't funny.
JIM (retorts): *I'm* not the one being irresponsible.
Scott comes in through the back door and announces that he's got the milk. Jim tells his son that he won't have to go and see his tutor today as he's cancelled him: he's not pouring money down the drain. Helen tells Scott that breakfast's nearly ready, but he mutters that he's not hungry. Jim then says to Scott:
JIM: It's sport today, isn't it?
JIM: Good you can stay at home and finish those assignments.
HELEN: Jim, really!
SCOTT (exclaims): That's not fair!
JIM: Neither is getting Danny to do your work. You're staying here, and that's final.
Scott sighs heavily.
Madge, Max and Danny are having breakfast. Max is recalling his childhood, saying that the bother with young Scott brought the memories back. He goes on:
MAX: I never told you this, Madge, but I cheated in a swimming race once.
DANNY: Which one?
MAX: Under-6 championships!
Madge tells Danny:
MADGE: You should've known him when he was young, Danny! He was disgusting! Weasel' we used to call him and with good reason!
MAX: You don't know what the boys used to call *you*!
Madge gets up and walks off. When she's gone, Max says distantly to Danny:
MAX: Your mother and I... we had a great marriage, you know, all things considered.
DANNY: You sure did a lot of fighting.
MAX: It spiced things up a bit, that's all.
DANNY: I *miss* mum.
MAX: Yeah, *I'm* fond of her as well.
DANNY: You don't mind talking about her?
MAX: Oh no, not at all.
DANNY: What was it like when you and mum were first married?
MAX (smiles): Barrel of laughs! Then Shane come along... and you. It wasn't *all* good times, you know?
DANNY: Like when you and mum split up before you had me?
MAX: Yeah... it was funny, that.
DANNY: What happened?
MAX: Well, we had a bit of a fight, see, and, well, I walked out on her and she found out I stayed the night with a... with a friend... Well, she was fit to be tied.
Max asks for more tea, which Danny pours for him, saying as he does so:
DANNY: What happened *then*?
MAX (warily): I don't think it's a fit subject to talk about over breakfast.
DANNY (presses): Come on, dad...
MAX (sighs): Yeah, yeah, you're right: I shouldn't shirk; I mean, you've got a right to know. Well, she took off for the mountains and met some bloke there and... well, you can guess the rest.
DANNY (murmurs): Yeah.
MAX: Listen, if there's anything you ever want to ask me, just go ahead, won't you?
DANNY: Well there *is* something, dad.
MAX: Yeah? What is it, son?
DANNY: Well, ever since Rosemary came back to town, looking for her mother... well, it made me think. Would you help me find my real father, dad?
Max's face drops.
Madge is sitting at the kitchen table with Jim and Helen, muttering:
MADGE: The *gall* of that man! I don't know what's come over him!
Jim laughs that she has to admit that it's pretty funny! Helen points out that he wasn't so amused when *Scott* cheated. Jim, however, retorts that this is different: Madge and Max were only five years old! Madge sighs that she supposes she *is* being rather petty. Nikki comes in and announces that she's ready for school. Helen grabs her car keys and the two of them head off. When they've gone, Madge says:
MADGE: Jim, you look as though you could use a night out.
JIM: I agree. So do you! Why don't we take in a movie tonight?
MADGE: Great, I'd love to!
JIM: Great. You've got a date!
Madge sits there looking pleased.
Nikki is standing in the street, waiting for Helen to reverse her car down the driveway. Danny wanders over and Nikki sighs that she's back again to school. Danny asks:
DANNY: Would you like to go out with me tonight?
NIKKI: Uh, I can't I've got a rule: I can only go out on weekends, and weeknights I study.
DANNY: Fair enough. How about Saturday, then?
NIKKI (smiles): All right!
With that, Danny wanders off again and Nikki climbs into Helen's car. As she does so, Max bends down to the passenger-side door and leans his head in. Helen smiles at him that he's looking very well this morning! Max just muses that you can't judge a book by its cover. He then goes on:
MAX: Listen, that Danny's a funny boy sometimes.
MAX: He told me this morning he'd like to find his real father.
HELEN: You can't blame him for *that*.
MAX (hesitantly): Yeah, but still...
HELEN (insists): Don't worry, Max, you won't lose Danny: he loves you too much. Rosemary finding *her* mother enhanced *our* relationship.
Nikki chips in:
NIKKI: Danny ought to be *grateful* he has you for a father: at least he knows who you are. *My* father's dead and I wouldn't have a *clue* what my mother's really like. I don't *care* anymore, either.
Helen gives her a look.
Scott is sitting at the desk in the lounge room, poring over his books. Jim emerges from his bedroom and asks how it's going. Scott doesn't respond. Jim tells him:
JIM: You'll get there just keep at it.
There's still no response. Jim persists:
JIM: I'm doing it for your own good, you know?
Scott still doesn't answer. Jim gives up and heads out. Scott stares at the papers in front of him and then starts crossing something out. His crossings-out become faster and more furious, and he eventually grabs the sheet of paper he's writing on, screws it up and throws it down on the floor in frustration.