The Coffee Shop exploding in a fireball while Des is inside.
Lassiter's complex/Coffee Shop
Harold rushes out of the Daniels Corporation offices and stares at the burning coffee shop. Bronwyn cries at him that Des is in there. Harold rushes into the shop, coughing as he inhales the smoke. He spots Des on the floor and crouches down to lift him up.
Outside, Paul emerges from the offices next door, calling for Harold. Bronwyn yells at him that he's gone into the Coffee Shop after Des.
Inside the Coffee Shop, Harold has hoisted Des onto his shoulders in a fireman's lift. Paul dashes in, but Harold orders him to get out. He carries Des outside and puts him down on the grass in front of the Waterhole. He then tells Paul to call an ambulance and get a blanket – quickly. Paul dashes off. Bronwyn – who's holding Jamie – runs over and looks at Des, lying unconscious. She says soothingly:
BRONWYN: It's all right, Jamie. It's all right.
Nick is in the garage at No. 26, with a canvas set up. Sharon walks in and asks him what he's doing. He tells her that he's doing his picture of Paul for Helen's art class, but he doesn't want anyone to see yet – not even her. Sharon tries to peek, but Nick tells her firmly:
NICK: Nobody sees it until it's finished, all right?
SHARON: Is that why you didn't wait for me?
NICK (sharply): What?
SHARON: You were supposed to walk home with me from the Coffee Shop, remember?
NICK (sarcastically): Oh, you were having such a good time with Vanessa and Pam I didn't think you'd notice I was gone.
SHARON (exclaims): Oh, what?
NICK: Look, I don't like them, all right? I never have. I don't know what you see in them.
SHARON: They're just in my English class, that's all. I don't ‘see' *anything* in them.
NICK: You could've fooled *me*. All their big talk about smoking. You think that's cool, you're as dumb as *they*are.
Sharon coughs suddenly and Nick says he bets she's been smoking with them. Sharon mutters guiltily that she's not stupid. Nick warns her:
NICK: Just don't get sucked in, all right? Girls who smoke are a big turn- off.
SHARON (indignantly): Oh, but it's all right for a guy, though, is it?
NICK: I didn't *say* that.
SHARON: Well that's what it sounded like.
NICK: Smoking's dumb no matter *who* does it.
SHARON: But it's only a turn- off if it's a *girl*, right?
The two of them suddenly hear an alarm sounding across the road. Nick exclaims in astonishment:
NICK: What the hell's *that*?
Jane has walked in through the front door of No. 32, tripping the burglar alarm. Mrs. Mangel runs out of the kitchen and turns it off, explaining to Jane as things quieten down that Joe thought it was a good idea. Jane sighs that someone might've warned her. Mrs. Mangel comments that she thought Joe had all the problems sorted out; she'll have to get him to look at it again. Jane says:
JANE: In the meantime, do you think we could leave it switched off? I'm absolutely exhausted.
MRS. MANGEL (remarks): Well, it certainly doesn't sound as though *you've* had a very good time.
JANE: That's just it: everyone thinks modelling must be really glamorous and great fun, but it isn't.
MRS. MANGEL: Yes, well you know what *I* think about the whole thing...
Jane heads into the lounge room and turns the TV on. She says she's glad she went; she's just a bit tired, that's all. Mrs. Mangel comments that hopefully it'll be the last modelling work for some time. Jane, however, says:
JANE: Er, no – the photographer wants Sylvie and myself for some more shots tomorrow.
MRS. MANGEL (tersely): I think Paul's expecting you back at *work* tomorrow.
JANE: Mm, I know. I'll have to go over and ask him about it later.
She then goes on that Sylvie's a really nice girl; she might ask her over for dinner one night.
The Coffee Shop is still burning as Des is lifted on a stretcher into an ambulance. Harold, Paul and Bronwyn – holding Jamie – are watching. Harold tells the others that they'll go to the hospital in *his* car. The fire brigade has arrived and they cross the bridge, ready to start tackling the blaze. Across on the other side of the complex, Mike rides up on his bike and stops and stares at the burning building in shock.
A short time later, Beverly is with Des as he's wheeled through the corridor on a trolley. Paul stops her and asks what the situation is, but she tells him that she won't know anything until she's examined Des; she'll let them know as soon as she has. Harold heads off to give Madge a ring and let her know what's happening. Left alone with Bronwyn and Jamie, Paul tells the little boy gently that his daddy's going to be fine – just fine. Bronwyn says:
BRONWYN: That's what *I* told him.
PAUL (insists): He *will* be...
A while later, Bronwyn is pacing the corridor, crying that they've been in there for *ages*. Harold and Paul are sitting waiting and Harold tells Bronwyn that Beverly's obviously being very thorough; Des being knocked out like that, there's all sorts of complications she'd have to check for. He then realises what he's said, and adds quickly that he doesn't mean there's likely to be anything wrong. Madge and Mike arrive and ask if there's any news. Paul tells them that there isn't. Bronwyn cries that it's taking ages, but Madge tells her gently not to worry: Beverly knows what she's doing. Harold murmurs:
HAROLD: That's what *I* said; that's what I *tried* to say – but I made my usual muck- up of things.
MADGE: Oh Harold...
BRONWYN (insists): You weren't mucking up, Harold.
HAROLD: I'm sorry. I'm a bit shaken, I think. Things are just starting to catch up with me. It's silly, really.
Paul stands up and says sincerely:
PAUL: Harold... any man that goes and drags another man out of a burning building is entitled to be shaken up a little.
MADGE (gasps): What?
Harold tells her that Paul was there too. Paul says:
PAUL: Sure, I gave you a bit of a hand. You're not wriggling out of this one, Harold: that's got to be one of the bravest things I've seen in a long time.
Madge puts her arms round Harold lovingly.
Mrs. Mangel has the ‘phone to her ear, but she hangs up when there's no response. She tells Jane that she was trying to reach Joe to fix the alarm, but nobody was answering. Jane suggests that they leave it switched off for the time being. They head into the lounge room, where Mrs. Mangel comments that she doesn't want to tempt providence. Jane smiles:
JANE: Would providence mind if I got a couple of hours' sleep first? I really am tired.
She then asks how things went last night at No. 30, but Mrs. Mangel muses that the least said about that, the better. She adds that the only good thing about it was that she managed to get Joe to come to church with her this morning. Jane exclaims:
JANE: You're kidding!
MRS. MANGEL: Not at all. [Pointedly] And it wouldn't hurt if some *other* people around here showed up a little more often, either.
JANE: Yes, nan!
Mrs. Mangel then tells Jane that there's a church fête next week. Jane sighs that the church is *always* having fêtes. Mrs. Mangel retorts that some of them think raising money for people less fortunate than themselves is a worthwhile thing to do. She adds that she'll be doing *her* bit: she's going to set up a stall and read tealeaves. A grin crosses Jane's face, but before she can say anything, Mrs. Mangel goes on:
MRS. MANGEL: Yes, I know *your* opinion about that, but it's a God- given gift, and *I* think we should *all* be prepared to use our talents at times like this...
JANE (smiles): All right, nan, what are you getting at?
MRS. MANGEL: Well, I did think that you and this model friend of yours could organise a little fashion parade or something.
JANE (sighs): Nan, Sylvie's a professional model. It wouldn't be fair to ask her to do something like that for nothing.
MRS. MANGEL: Oh, it *is* for *charity*, Jane – and you did say she was a nice girl. It can't hurt to ask, can it?
JANE (giving in!): No, I suppose not.
MRS. MANGEL (smiles): Fine!
Paul and Harold head through the swing doors in the corridor, followed by Mike. They're carrying hot drinks. Paul is saying that it'll be a while before they get a full report on the damage – and the way the place went up, he thought the office was going to go as well. Harold muses:
HAROLD: So much for my wonderful idea of opening on Sundays...
Madge, however, tells him not to keep blaming himself: it was probably an electrical fault or something like that. Beverly walks across to them at that moment and smiles that Des is going to be fine: he's conscious and suffering from mild concussion and first- degree burns to his hands and arms, but they'll heal quickly without any scarring. She adds that he's been very lucky – but she'll keep him in under observation for the next day or so, as what he needs most of all is rest. She then tells Bronwyn that Des has asked to see Jamie – so *she* can go in, and perhaps Mike as well, but that will have to be it. Paul comments to Harold and Madge that there's no point *him* hanging around, so he'll go back and start checking the damage.
Des is lying in bed, a plaster on his forehead and bandages wrapped around his hands and wrists. Mike and Bronwyn walk in and Des says a weary g'day to them. He then asks where Jamie is and Bronwyn explains that he started to cry, so she left him outside with the nurse. She goes on:
BRONWYN: Doctor Marshall says you're going to be fine.
DES (looking at his hands): Yeah. It'll be a while before I'm using *these* things again, though. [To Mike] I'll need you to give me a hand when I get home, mate.
MIKE (smiles): I don't mind playing nurse for a while!
DES: Yeah, but you've got exams coming up.
MIKE: I can handle it.
Bronwyn interrupts and suggests that she could move into Des's mum's old room until he's better. She adds that she's at his place most of the time anyway, looking after Jamie, and she'll be able to spend more time with him and help out with the housework as well. Des tells Bronwyn that he's not asking her to do that. Bronwyn, however, insists that she's *offering*. Des asks warily if it isn't going to be a bit uncomfortable for her and Mike. Bronwyn replies:
BRONWYN: Why?! OK, so we're not going out together anymore – but we're still friends, aren't we?
MIKE: Yeah, course we are!
Des comments that that's one problem solved, anyway. He then turns to Mike and asks him if he had a chance to drop in and see how the Coffee Shop was. Mike tells him that the fire brigade managed to stop it spreading to Paul's office, but... Des sighs:
DES: Not much left, eh?
MIKE: That's about the size of it.
BRONWYN: Have you got insurance?
DES (sadly): Oh, we can rebuild it all right – but it won't be the same. It won't be Daph's place anymore. It's just another little bit of her I've lost, that's all...
Nick is still painting in the garage as Sharon bounces a ball around. She tells him that she can go away if she's putting him off. Nick mutters that she's *not* putting him off. He suddenly spots Paul pulling up in the street outside, and he tells Sharon to get out of there, as he doesn't want Paul seeing the portrait. The two of them dash outside and Nick closes the garage door. Paul wanders over to them and asks them what they're up to. Nick shrugs that they're just mucking around. Paul then says:
PAUL: Did you hear about the fire?
PAUL: The Coffee Shop. It's practically gutted.
NICK (looking shocked): What...?
SHARON: You're joking...
PAUL: I wish I was. Apparently a gas cylinder went up or something. Des was caught inside; they had to take him to hospital. It was a close call. It's all right, though – he's OK.
Nick asks how it happened. Paul replies that the fire chief was pretty cagey about it, but he reckons that it probably started at the rubbish bin in the kitchen. Sharon's eyes grow wide, but she keeps quiet. Nick asks Paul how the fire brigade know that and he explains:
PAUL: The pattern of the scorching on the woodwork. He showed me: it's pretty convincing. You can see how it all radiated out from that point.
With that, he heads up the steps to the house to speak to Helen. Sharon stands there looking worried.
A short time later, Nick and Sharon head into No. 32, Sharon looking glum. Nick comments to her that the fire must've started just after she left – she could've been in there *too*. The two of them head into the lounge room and sit down, Nick saying as they do so:
NICK: I don't know about it starting in the rubbish bin, though. The only way I could see that happening was if Harold was lighting the gas and chucked the match away.
SHARON: *He* wouldn't *do* that...
NICK: That's what *I* reckon, anyway. Oh well – looks like you're out of a job for a while.
SHARON (snaps): Oh, what's *that* matter? Des is in *hospital*, for heaven's sake.
NICK (trying to calm Sharon down): All right, all right, all right...
Mrs. Mangel walks in and tells Sharon sternly to be quiet, as Jane is trying to rest. Sharon apologises and Mrs. Mangel leaves them. When she's gone, Nick says to Sharon tersely:
NICK: OK – what's up?
NICK (retorts): Like fun it is, Sharon.
SHARON (sighs): Mr. Bishop didn't start the fire, all right? *I* did. There. Happy now?
NICK: What are you on about?
SHARON: You know if you asked me if I had a smoke with Vanessa and Pam—
NICK: Oh no...
SHARON: It was really foul. I took one drag and I chucked it in the bin. I thought it was out.
NICK: You idiot. Why didn't you check?
SHARON: I don't *know*. [Tears welling- up] I've really messed it up *this* time, haven't I? Oh Nick, what am I going to do...?
Des is lying in his hospital bed. There's suddenly a gentle knock on the door and Madge pokes her head round and asks him if he feels like some visitors. He tells her and Harold to come in. He sits up and, looking at Harold, murmurs:
DES: What could I say, mate? You saved my life. ‘Thank you' doesn't go halfway, does it?
HAROLD (grimly): Yeah, well, under the circumstances it was the *least* I could do, eh?
Des looks at Harold blankly. Madge tells him not to listen to Harold as he's somehow got the ridiculous idea that he's responsible for what happened. Looking at Harold, she goes on:
MADGE: Honestly, you are the most exasperating man. This morning you were quite convinced you were a coward.
DES: That's *one* you can strike from the list, mate.
Harold smiles weakly. Des tells him that the first thing they've got to do is find out how the fire started and what they're going to *do* about it.
Sharon is crying as she says to Nick:
SHARON: Look, if I tell them it was me who started the fire, then they're just going to pack me straight back to Narrabri. They *are*; you *know* they are. I'll have to go back to living with dad and Bill and Edie breathing down my neck all the time. It's not fair – I just got *away* from all that.
NICK: So what do you reckon you should do?
SHARON: Well... the insurance should cover the Coffee Shop. I mean, it's not going to help Des, is it, if I own up; it's not going to make him suddenly get better or anything.
Nick stares at her. Sharon sighs:
SHARON: Yeah, all right, all right.
NICK: I didn't *say* anything.
SHARON: It's they *way* you didn't say it. You think I should own up, don't you?
NICK: No, *you* think you should own up, or you wouldn't be trying so hard to talk yourself out of it.
The burglar alarm starts going off, suddenly, and Sharon and Nick put their hands to their ears in shock. Mrs. Mangel dashes out into the hallway and calls to Sharon and Nick to ask them what they did to it. She turns it off, muttering that Jane's trying to *sleep*. Jane emerges from her room, sighing:
JANE: ‘Trying' is *right*.
She adds that she thought her nan was going to leave the alarm switched off. Mrs. Mangel retorts that she *did*, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Nick suggests that there must be some sort of short in the wiring. Mrs. Mangel says she's going to get onto Joe straight away. She heads into the lounge room. Jane says to Nick and Sharon that she may as well go and see Paul. Nick tells her:
NICK: He's over at the Robinsons' house, telling everyone about the fire.
JANE: What fire?
SHARON (murmurs): The Coffee Shop.
JANE (gasps): What?
NICK: Yeah, well, Paul reckons it's totalled. They had to take Des to the hospital.
A look of shock crosses Jane's face.
It's night- time. Des is lying in his hospital bed, dozing and murmuring:
He comes- to and finds himself staring at someone. He murmurs again:
It's Jane who's there, though, and as he wakes up properly Des apologises to her, explaining distantly that he was just dreaming. Jane says gently:
JANE: About Daphne?
DES (nods): I just saw you there and I thought... Silly, isn't it!
JANE: Yeah. I just came to make sure you were all right. I wasn't too sure what sort of reception I'd get, though.
DES: Oh... you mean because of Penny.
JANE: Oh Des, I had no right to say any of those things.
DES: No, Jane. I told you – it's all over. Look, if I had've been ready for a relationship, and Penny was the right person, nothing anyone would've said would've made any difference. The fact is you made me feel guilty, and you couldn't've done that if, deep down, I knew that it wasn't the right thing.
JANE: It still doesn't excuse what I did.
DES: You were tired... overworked... Look, I've told you that your friendship means everything to me. Nothing's changed.
JANE (gratefully): Thanks, Des.
With that, she leans forward and gives Des a gentle kiss on his forehead
Sharon and Nick are sitting back in the lounge room. Nick tells Sharon that it'll be dinner soon; he'll have to head back home. Sharon just mutters:
There's suddenly a knock at the front door and Sharon goes to answer it. She finds Harold standing there and she tells him quickly that Mrs. Mangel's in the kitchen. Harold, however, says:
HAROLD: Oh no, no. Actually, it was *you* I wanted to see.
SHARON (warily): Oh? Why?
HAROLD: Well, Paul said the fire brigade are almost certain that that fire began in the rubbish bin in the kitchen. Now, you were the last one there today, so I wondered if you had any idea of how it might've happened.
SHARON: Oh, well—
Nick interrupts suddenly and says:
NICK: It was me.
HAROLD: I beg your pardon?
NICK: The fire. I was smoking and I threw the butt in the rubbish bin. I thought I put it out properly but I can't've. It was me.
HAROLD (darkly): I see...
Sharon stands there staring at Nick in horror.