Todd – who's looking after Jamie in No. 30's back yard – not noticing as Jamie toddles towards the edge of the swimming pool.
Back yard of No. 30
Todd is still talking to the two boys over the fence when the back gate opens and Bronwyn comes through. She immediately spots Todd and she calls to him to ask him where Jamie is. He looks at her and says:
TODD: He's sitting over by the—
He breaks off as he realises to his horror that Jamie isn't where he left him. Bronwyn stares at the pool and then cries in shock:
BRONWYN: Oh my God... Jamie!
She runs towards the pool and dives in. Jamie is floating face- down on the surface...
Mike is making a cup of tea in the kitchen area. Malcolm is sitting on the couch. Des arrives home and, finding his dad there, tells him warmly that it's good to see him. He invites him to stay for dinner and Malcolm accepts. He then asks Des if he's heard anything from his mother; shouldn't she be back by now? Des replies that she keeps delaying her return: he reckons she's having too good a time. Mike adds:
MIKE: Apparently she's met some guy she's really keen on—
He breaks off, realising he might have put his foot in it. Malcolm, however, assures him that he'd be delighted if Eileen met someone who could make her happy. He adds:
MALCOLM: I think Sally mentioned something about him in one of her letters. Incidentally, you know she's decided to stay on for a while with her mother and her stepfather?
Des comments that he *misses* Sally a bit: it seemed like he only had a sister for a little while and now she's gone. Malcolm nods that he knows what Des means: out of the blue he has a daughter, then suddenly she's thousands of miles away. At that moment, someone starts hammering on the front door. Todd's voice then yells:
TODD: Mr. Clarke...
Des goes and opens the door. Todd tells him immediately:
TODD: Something terrible's happened to Jamie.
DES (exclaims): What?!
TODD: He's fallen into the pool.
Des, looking horrified, dashes out, with Malcolm following him. Todd stands there looking guilty.
Nick is in the kitchen with Helen, telling her that he feels pretty guilty about Sharon: Mike was such a rat for dobbing her into Muir; two weeks' suspension is tough... Helen points out that Mike was only doing his duty as a teacher. Nick, however, snaps that he shouldn't have let her do it. Helen remarks that Nick told her he didn't *know* that Sharon was copying the exam paper. Nick retorts that he *didn't*; he means he shouldn't have let her con him into doing the exam again; it wasn't that important anyway; people don't *always* need good marks to get by. Helen gives him a look and murmurs:
HELEN: That doesn't sound like you.
Nick just shrugs and says he'd better head back – although he wouldn't mind calling in on Sharon first, to make sure Bronwyn isn't giving her a hard time. Helen, however, warns him that it might be better to leave it for a while: he could end up making things a lot worse. Todd comes in suddenly through the back door and marches towards his room. Helen calls out to him that that was quick; surely he hasn't finished the gardening already? Todd just mutters:
Helen calls after him in concern, but he doesn't respond.
Sometime later, Jamie is playing on the lounge room floor at No. 28 as Mike, Malcolm and Des fuss over him. Bronwyn is in the kitchen area and she asks Des if he'd like coffee or something stronger! Des, however, says he won't have anything; he'd better get Jamie down for a sleep, as he's had enough excitement for one day. Malcolm offers to take him, but Des tells him:
DES: Oh no, dad, cripes, you've done *enough*: come and visit us, then spend the rest of the time in Emergency!
With that, he takes Jamie off to his room, leaving Malcolm to remark that it's been quite an afternoon. Mike comments that they could have done without all the hassle. He then turns to Bronwyn and asks her pointedly why she left Jamie with Todd anyway; he's just a kid himself. Bronwyn cries:
BRONWYN: Stop it, Mike. I feel bad enough as it *is*. I thought Todd would be more careful; I didn't realise he'd be distracted so easily.
MALCOLM (coolly): Yeah, well, perhaps you shouldn't have left a baby with anybody else to *begin* with.
Des returns and comments to Bronwyn that it looks like Jamie isn't going to have a kip, and he asks her to take him in a few toys to play with. Bronwyn tells him:
BRONWYN: Des, I really am sorry. I couldn't've stood it if anything had happened to Jamie.
DES (gently): No, neither could I. But it's over, OK? I'm just glad you remembered all that stuff about resuscitation.
BRONWYN (sighs): It's still no excuse.
DES: Bron... Look, there's no hard feelings. I don't blame you.
Malcolm chips in sharply:
MALCOLM: Just a minute. *Somebody* is to blame. My grandson's *life* was in jeopardy.
DES (sighs): Calm down, dad, don't blow a fuse. I'm going over to talk to Todd anyway.
MALCOLM: I'm coming with you.
DES: Oh no you're not. You stay here.
Malcolm refuses to stay where he is, though. He and Des head out, leaving Bronwyn to comment to Mike in concern:
BRONWYN: Mr. Clarke looked fit to *kill*.
MIKE (coolly): Well, you can hardly blame him, can you?
Todd is sitting at the kitchen table with Nick. Helen is preparing dinner. Katie offers Todd some chocolate, but he declines. The front doorbell rings suddenly and Helen goes to answer it. Finding Des and Malcolm standing on the step, she invites them in. Todd gets up reluctantly from the kitchen table and joins them. Des says to him that he just wanted to tell him that Jamie's all right, thanks to Bronwyn. Helen frowns in surprise:
HELEN: What's happened?
TODD: It's OK—
MALCOLM (sharply): No, it *isn't* OK, son. It isn't OK at *all*.
Des, however, stops his dad and tells Helen that Jamie had a bit of a tumble in the pool over at No. 30; Todd was supposed to be looking after him. He goes on that it could have been fatal, but Bronwyn turned up in the nick of time and did all the right things. Todd insists that he only forgot about Jamie for a *second*, and he explains about how he threw the ball back to the kids playing soccer; he didn't even *think* about the pool. Malcolm says:
MALCOLM: That's the trouble, son: you *didn't*.
Des asks his father to pipe down, but Malcolm ignores him and tells Todd:
MALCOLM: Don't you *ever* take your eyes off a youngster, especially if they're near water. It only takes a minute for tragedy to strike. My grandson could've *drowned*.
HELEN (appeals): Malcolm, please, Todd's usually very responsible.
MALCOLM: Yes, well, *I* haven't seen much sign of it. [To Todd] You're a menace, son, and until you're prepared to be a lot more responsible, I suggest you stay right out of *my* sight.
With that, he walks out. Des goes after him, looking exasperated. Helen looks at Todd in concern.
Back at No. 28, Mike comments to Malcolm that it sounds like he was pretty hard on Todd. Malcolm retorts that it's nothing he didn't deserve. Des, however, sighs at his dad to give it a break. He then joins Bronwyn in the kitchen and comments that the nibbles she's put together look good. She picks up the plate and goes to take it over to the sofa area – but as she does so, she spills the contents on the floor, and she cries in distress:
BRONWYN: Oh God...
Tears well- up as she tells Des that it's been a *rotten* day; she feels really guilty; it's *her* fault, not Todd's – she should've kept Jamie with her. She adds:
BRONWYN: You'd better get someone else; someone who's not going to make such stupid mistakes.
As he helps pick up the nibbles, Malcolm tells Des that Bronwyn might have a point there. Des, however, retorts:
DES: What are you on about, dad? First you tear strips off the Landers kid, now you're blaming Bronwyn. Make up your mind.
MALCOLM: Yes, well, she shouldn't've left Jamie, now, should she?
Des tells his father to just go and sit down and have his beer. Malcolm does as he's told! Des then turns to a tearful Bronwyn and tells her that he doesn't want to hear any more talk about chucking the job in: she's the best nanny Jamie has ever had – and he's had some beauties! He continues:
DES: Listen – the main reason I'm not going crazy about all this is I know how easy mistakes can happen. I remember the first day I met you, at the supermarket. I took my eyes off the little bloke a second and he'd gone on walkabout.
BRONWYN (half smiles): And I found him and blamed you for being so careless.
DES: That just goes to show you that it happens to the best of us.
Mike tells Bronwyn that Jamie would really miss her too. Des smiles that he sure would. He asks Bronwyn if she'll hang around for a bit longer, then. Bronwyn doesn't get a chance to respond before Des smiles that he's glad that's settled! Malcolm doesn't look so pleased.
Helen is sitting on one of the couches with Todd, who sighs:
TODD: Talk about heavy...
HELEN: Well, perhaps Mr. Clarke *did* go overboard, but it was a natural reaction. As Des said, it could've been *fatal*.
Sitting on the other couch with Nick, Katie pouts that Des's dad is still a big meanie. Helen, however, points out that he was right: you *can't* let young children out of your sight; if you accept a responsibility—
Todd interrupts and cries:
TODD: That's the bit I *hate*. *Bronwyn's* the one who's supposed to be responsible for looking after Jamie, and *I'm* the one who cops all the aggro. I reckon it *stinks*.
HELEN (warns): Todd...
TODD (snaps): Well it *does*.
Helen looking concerned, turns to Katie and asks her to go and wash the chocolate off her face. Nick says he's got homework to do. Left alone with Todd, Helen says:
HELEN: I don't understand you sometimes. You behave like two different people. You can be so sensible and yet so immature.
TODD (mutters): I don't reckon I *am*.
HELEN: Look, you'll never *really* grow up unless you can learn from your mistakes.
Todd, looking annoyed, stands up and snaps that he's had *enough* lectures; why can't everyone just get off his back? Helen nods:
HELEN: Very well – but can't you see it's your *attitude* that's the problem?
She walks off to her room, leaving Todd looking annoyed but thoughtful.
Joe is lying back on the couch, in a messy lounge room, listening to a horserace on the radio – but just when he thinks he's winning, his horse is overtaken! He turns off the radio, looking disappointed – just as Bouncer comes in and starts eating the fish and chips that Joe has left in its wrapping on the carpet! Joe stares at him and growls:
JOE: You've asked for it, dog!
He gets up and starts chasing Bouncer round the couch! When he eventually catches him, he tries to drag him outside, but Bouncer refuses to move! Joe sighs that he doesn't know if he can take much more of this. Out in the hallway, Jane comes in through the front door – and almost trips over a pair of boots Joe has left in the middle of the floor. She heads into the lounge room and a look of despair crosses her face at the scene that greets her!
It's evening- time. Katie is sitting on the couch with Todd as he plays his handheld video game. She challenges him to a competition, adding that she bets she could beat him! Todd just sighs that she probably *could* today: he can't score at *anything*. Katie suggests cards, then – or Scrabble – and she runs through to the kitchen to ask Helen where the board is. Helen, however, tells her not to start anything now, as dinner's nearly ready. Nick, who's sitting on the other couch, studying, tells Todd:
NICK: You could always finish *my* homework for me, if you like!
Todd doesn't look impressed! Katie sits back down next to him as he says:
TODD: I wouldn't mind going down to the arcade and playing a *real* game.
KATIE (points out): But you're not allowed.
TODD (sighs): Don't remind me.
NICK: Todd, we all know what it's like to have hassles with the oldies – but today's been *nothing* compared to what *I* used to cop from old Ferguson.
KATIE: Who's *he*?
NICK: Oh, the guy who manages the caravan park where I used to live. Used to give me heaps for no reason; blame me for *everything*.
KATIE: But you did *something*.
NICK: Yeah – only once, though, after grandma got sick. Anyway, I felt really low about it afterwards, but did old Ferguson lay off? No way.
TODD (mutters): He'd get on well with Mr. Clarke.
Todd then asks why everyone can't just lay off. Helen comes through and tells the kids that dinner's on the table. Katie and Nick head through, but Todd just sits and plays his game. Helen snaps at him to move it.
Joe is listening to another race as Bouncer sits on the lounge room floor, eating from a bowl. Jane comes in and sighs at him to turn the radio down. She also holds out a plastic sack and reminds him that he said he'd clean the place up. Joe tells her he *will*. Looking exasperated, Jane starts going around and picking up rubbish, saying in annoyance:
JANE: This really isn't fair, you know. We promised nan we'd look after the house and all you've done so far is act like a slob. It's really making me angry.
JOE (disinterestedly): Yeah?! Me too!
With that, Jane turns off the radio, and she tells Joe firmly that it's staying off until he listens. Joe mutters that a bloke can't even listen to the gee- gees in peace. Jane snaps at him:
JANE: I have had your gee- gees up to ‘here'. I'm sick and tired of picking up cans and plates and bits of chips out of the couch. You're treating this place like it's your own and it's *not*. Nan would have a *fit* if she knew you were abusing her things like this.
JOE: Oh, settle down, they're OK!
JANE: No, it's *not* OK. And as for feeding Bouncer in here...
The ‘phone starts ringing suddenly and Jane goes to answer it in the hallway. Joe turns the radio back on. On the ‘phone, Jane listens and then tells Joe that it's for him. Joe comes out into the hallway to take the call and Jane goes and turns the radio off again. Joe listens to the caller as Jane carries on tidying up the lounge room. Joe eventually tells the person that they'll do a deal about the timber, and he hangs up. He rejoins Jane in the lounge room and she comments coolly:
JANE: Another one of your mates, was it?
JOE: Yes, it was, as a matter of fact, Jane. Strictly legit, though.
JANE: Yes, well, I hope the Coffee Shop isn't going to get *too* shoddy a facelift, because Des is a friend and he deserves better.
JOE (irritated): Oh, cut the sermon, Jane – I had a gutful of that while *mum* was here.
He turns the radio back on and snaps:
JOE: You know what? The way *you're* carrying on, it's like she hasn't even *left*. Talk about a chip off the old cheese.
With that, he heads out of the room with his radio, leaving Jane looking annoyed and thoughtful.
Sometime later, Jane is standing in a still- messy lounge room when the front door bangs and Joe comes in with some takeaway. He asks Jane if she wants some, but she tells him that she's eaten. Joe shrugs:
JOE: Suit yourself.
JANE: Like *you* always do, you mean?
JOE (sighs): *Now* what's up?
JANE: Joe, if you think *I've* been carrying on like nan, well, let me tell you something—
JOE: Oh, I see. That's it, is it? They say the truth hurts.
JANE (snaps): No one would blame me for being fed up. I can't keep this house together for *five minutes*, the way you've been treating it. I mean, it's a pigsty. It's *never* been like this.
JOE (mutters): There you go again: nag, nag, nag.
JANE: Come on, I don't want us to fight; I want us to get along; to try and co- operate with each other. I can't *cope* with this. I shouldn't *have* to. And what bugs me even more than the mess is that you've broken your promise to nan.
JOE: I said I'd look after you, didn't I, Jane? What do you think I'm *doing*?
The doorbell rings suddenly, and Jane goes to get it, muttering at Joe as she does so that he just doesn't get it, does he? She finds Bronwyn at the door, and Bronwyn invites Jane over for a while, explaining that she's a bit down in the dumps and she feels like some company. The two of them head into the lounge room and Bronwyn looks around and remarks:
BRONWYN: Boy – you can sure tell your nan's away!
JANE (grimly): Yes – her son's decided to *destroy* the place...
Bronwyn laughs at Joe that he should think himself lucky: whenever she or Shaz messed up, they'd always get caught; no matter how much time they thought they had, his mother had this amazing knack of always coming home early! Joe looks suddenly nervous – and he stands up and begins helping Jane to tidy!
Todd is helping Helen with the washing- up, but he sighs that he doesn't feel so well; he might crash out for a while. He heads through to the lounge room. He walks towards the front door – but Helen calls after him and stops him. Joining him by the door, she remarks coolly:
HELEN: The amusement arcade is calling you, is it?
TODD: I decided to go for a walk.
HELEN (tersely): Oh come on, Todd, stop pretending. If you're going *anywhere*, it should be to patch things up with the Clarkes.
TODD (snaps): Why should I? I've said sorry. What *else* do they want?
Helen warns Todd not to imagine that just because Jim's away he can act any way he pleases. Todd retorts that he's old enough to do what he wants. Helen, however, snaps:
HELEN: *Old* enough? It seems to me the older you become, the less responsible.
TODD: Yeah, well, if people would just butt out and stop hassling—
HELEN (coldly): If you don't go your room, I'm butting right in – and if I have to, that word could take on a very painful meaning...
Todd, looking annoyed, storms off to his room.
Joe removes a painting from one of the walls in the lounge room just as Jane and Bronwyn come in to find the furniture all piled up. Jane stares at Joe and asks what's going on. He tells her that he's doing what she wanted. Jane retorts that she asked him to *tidy* up the place, not spring- clean the whole house. Joe insists that he *isn't*. Jane asks him what he's doing, then. Joe explains:
JOE: It's something *Bron* said, actually: triggered the old grey matter. See, I figured the best thing – the *safest* thing – would be to move mum's furniture out into storage.
Jane asks warily what they're supposed to use in the meantime. Joe replies that that's simple: he'll move *his* stuff in. Jane mutters:
JANE: Great. Don't you think that might be a bit of a waste of money? I mean, can't we just agree to look after *nan's* things better?
JOE: Jane, removal and storage needn't cost the earth. I heard that somewhere! So I rang a mate – Chicka Munroe – and guess what?
JANE (warily): He's going to do it on the cheap.
JOE (grins): Yeah! Good thinking, eh?!
Jane looks far from convinced! Bronwyn stands there and giggles!
Des, Mike and Malcolm are sitting at the table, finishing a pizza for dinner, and Malcolm smiles at Des that it's good being there again, seeing him and Jamie. Des tells him that they *like* having him there. Malcolm then comments to Mike that he takes it the university is keeping him pretty busy. Mike explains that he's actually been doing a bit of prac teaching at his old school, Erinsborough High. Malcolm remarks that that's lucky: familiar faces, close to home... Des smiles that he doesn't think *Mike* would agree about that! Malcolm laughs and asks if the kids have been trying it on. Mike muses:
MIKE: Well, they tried it on at first, but they're OK now. I actually made *one* enemy out of it.
MIKE: Yeah, Sharon Davies, the girl next door – you know: Bronwyn's sister. I had to report her to the Principal and now she's been suspended for two weeks.
MALCOLM: You must've had a good reason.
MIKE: Yeah, I did: she came over yesterday, while I was trying to choose an exam paper for a friend of hers; stupidly I left it sitting there while I had to go out for a minute. Anyway, she copied it and tried to help him pass. Luckily *he* didn't know anything about it; he could've been in big trouble if he did.
MALCOLM (declares): Then the girl *deserved* it.
MIKE: Yeah, but I didn't like doing it, though. I mean, she got pretty aggro about it, and so did Bronwyn – *she's* aggro... It just didn't help the friendship much, you know?
MALCOLM: That should be the *least* of your worries. I don't know... trouble seems to follow those girls around. The best would be not to get involved, huh?
DES (sighs): Dad, kids are kids – they can't *always* do everything right. They'll never learn if they don't make a blunder *once* in a while.
MALCOLM (exclaims): After what happened *today*?
DES: Look, today's over. Just forget it. Have another piece of pizza.
MALCOLM (wearily): I don't know... you younger generation. Where's the steadying influence in your lives, eh?
DES: We do all right!
MALCOLM: Yeah, well, I reckon you could do a whole lot better! As a matter of fact, I think I might like to move in for a while, just to make sure you *do*. What do you say, son? How would you like to have your old dad around again, eh?
Des and Mike look at each other warily!
Nick is studying at the kitchen table while Helen sits next to him looking at a recipe book. She closes it, though, and sighs heavily, telling Nick that she thought if she made something special for Todd, it might cheer him up – although she's not sure that he deserves it. Katie comes in and says:
KATIE: Todd won't even *talk* to me, gran. His door's locked and he yelled at me to go away.
HELEN: Don't worry, darling – he'll get over it.
As Helen and Nick continue discussing Todd's troubles, neither they nor Katie is aware of Todd appearing in the doorway to the bedroom area, a bag over his shoulder. He creeps to the front door, opens it quietly and heads out...