Jane telling Paul that either she or Kevin Harvey will have to go. Paul retorting that if he was forced to decide, it would have to be her.
Hilary is playing the piano when the front door bangs and Matt comes in. He comments that he didn't know the piano was arriving today. Hilary reminds him tersely that she told him at breakfast. She adds that it's going to need tuning: Mr. Muir has given her the name of someone who can do that. Matt remarks that she and Mr. Muir are very friendly! Hilary goes on that she can give Matt lessons, but Matt declines, explaining that he tried learning once, but his hands have no rhythm!
HILARY (distantly): That's surprising. I would've thought the talent would've passed on from your father...
HILARY (quickly): Oh, nothing.
Matt presses her, trying to find out what she meant. Hilary, however, just tells him to go and wash his hands, as dinner will be ready soon.
Des opens the front door and looks astonished to find Jane standing on the step. She comments awkwardly that she thought he'd be at work. Des explains about his long-service leave. Mike joins them and, seeing the expression on Jane's face, asks what the matter is. Jane replies:
JANE: I just lost my job.
Des asks in astonishment why. Jane explains about how Paul hired a temp while she was away, and about her ultimatum. Mike exclaims that it doesn't make sense that Paul would pick a stranger over her. Des offers to have a word with Paul, but Jane shrugs that he's made his decision and she just has to accept it.
MIKE: So what are you going to do?
JANE (shrugs): Look for another job.
Office of the Robinson Corporation
Gail is ranting at Paul that she can't believe he sacked Jane: she ran the company for them while they were in New York. Paul retorts that that doesn't necessarily give her a lifetime tenure – and he didn't *sack* her. Kevin comes in with a couple of letters. Paul takes them and tells Kevin that he may as well go home: there's not much else he can do there today. Kevin heads back out. When he's gone, Paul tells Gail not to get too upset: stress doesn't help the pregnancy.
GAIL (angrily): Well you should've thought of that before you sacked Jane, shouldn't you?
PAUL (coolly): Gail, she gave me an ultimatum: him or her.
GAIL: So you chose a stranger over a loyal friend?
PAUL: Kevin can do a lot more for me than Jane right now, eh?
GAIL (gasps): How can you be so mercenary?
PAUL: Oh look, it's a fact of life in big business and you *know* that.
GAIL: Well I am still a *part* of this business and I am supposed to be consulted on major decisions, remember?
Paul retorts that hiring and firing of office staff hardly constitutes a shareholder's meeting. He goes on angrily that he's trying to save the business. Gail just snaps that it's always for the sake of the business; how far is he actually going to *go*? Paul snaps back that Jane will get another job; right now they've got more important things to worry about.
Dean Gardner walks into the Waterhole, where Gloria's working. She comments that she's surprised to see him, but he explains that he was going past so he thought he'd come visit. He then asks his mother if she'll be working this shift tomorrow. Gloria replies that tomorrow she'll be working ten ‘til four. A look crosses Dean's face, and Gloria asks if something's wrong.
DEAN: Oh no, no. It's just that Mr. Smithers, one of the senior partners at work, has organised a lunch here.
GLORIA (curtly): Well you don't have to worry: I'll keep out of sight – and I won't let anyone know I'm your mother, since it seemed to embarrass you so much.
Dean insists that it's not for *him*:
DEAN: Mr. Smithers is very straight, and I don't know how he'd react if he found out my mother worked behind a bar. *Please* try and see it from my point of view.
GLORIA (sadly): Don't worry about it. I understand. Perfectly.
Todd pokes his head in through the back door at No. 24 and calls to Henry and Bronwyn, who are sitting the kitchen table, to ask if Mr. and Mrs. B. are home. Henry laughs that the coast's clear! Todd walks in and Henry asks him if the Purple Pool Bandits have been caught. Todd tells him that Toby and Katie had purple hands, which was a bit of a giveaway! Henry sighs that now that the filter's fixed, he's going to have to run it all night to clear the colour; the Robinsons are going to love it! He then changes the subject and asks Todd what he can do for him.
TODD: I need your help – but it's kind of personal.
Bronwyn suggests that the two boys head through to the lounge room, so they do so. Todd then explains to Henry:
TODD: I was sitting next to this girl on the bus on the way from Adelaide. She's coming to stay with her aunt ... Yeah, well, her name's Alison – Alison Ryder – and we got talking for most of the trip. She likes the same things as *I* do: reading the same books... movies... video games and *everything*!
HENRY: Then I don't see that there's much of a problem.
TODD: No... It all started when I hopped off the bus, though: I kept on thinking about her all the time. I'm a bit worried because I think I'm in... love with her...
A knowing grin crosses Henry's face!
The next morning, Hilary is sorting through a pile of sheet music, looking quite upset. Matt comes in and asks if the music is something special. Hilary, however, retorts that it isn't. She offers Matt a lift to school, but Matt turns her down, saying it's a bit uncool to turn up with a member of staff!
HILARY: Yes, well, perhaps we shouldn't attract *too* much attention to ourselves at the moment: we don't want to attract unnecessary gossip.
Matt then changes the subject and says to Hilary that when they were talking about the piano last night, she said something about his father. Hilary retorts that it was a simple slip of the tongue, and she goes to walk out. Matt stops her, though, and says testily:
MATT: You're doing it again: every time he comes up in conversation, you either get angry or change the subject.
HILARY: It's just that he's a figure of the past; it's not really worth talking about.
MATT: It's important to *me*: you're the only person who knows anything about him and you owe it to me to tell me something; you can't keep me in the dark.
HILARY: Matthew, I don't know very much.
MATT: You know more than *I* do. Look, I've had enough of growing up and not knowing who my real parents are.
Hilary pauses and sighs heavily before saying:
HILARY: Well, we were very young. We studied music together – that was our passion – and out of that passion grew a wonderful relationship. I fell very much in love.
MATT: Well, what happened?
HILARY: Because I was so young and so in love, I... I acted unwisely – because, you see, I thought we'd eventually be getting married anyway. Then he was, um, well, he won a music scholarship and was sent overseas. Soon after he was gone, I discovered I was, um, expecting *you*.
MATT: Did you keep in touch?
HILARY: Yes, for a short while, but then it just faded out.
MATT: Does he know about me?
Hilary then suggests that if she doesn't leave for work now, she'll be late. Matt, however, pleads:
MATT: Hilary, where is he now?
HILARY (looking upset): I don't know, Matthew. I'll see you after school.
Gloria stirs a cocktail and hands it to a couple of customers. Dean comes in with a couple of colleagues and they sit down at a table. Gloria walks over to them and offers them a drink, but Dean asks if she can come back later, as they're waiting for someone else to join them. Neither of them acknowledges their relationship. At that moment, an older man walks in and sits down at the table. Gloria looks at him and exclaims suddenly:
GLORIA: Stinky Smithers! I don't believe it!
SMITHERS (looking delighted): Gloria Gardner! Come here and give me a hug!
The two embrace and Gloria beams:
GLORIA: Stinky, it's been *years*! How ya doing?
SMITHERS: Oh, I'm battling through. *You* look *gorgeous* – just like you were in high school!
Dean looks at two of them and asks in surprise if they know each other. Smithers smiles that they're old mates! Dean explains that Gloria is his mother, causing Smithers to exclaim that he doesn't believe it! He then asks Dean why he didn't invite her to their cocktail party. Dean sits there looking awkward. Gloria interjects and tells Smithers that she *was* invited, but had a bad ‘flu, so couldn't make it. Smithers then asks Gloria if she remembers the school dance. Dean sits there looking less than happy.
Todd has turned up at No. 24 during his lunch break and Henry chuckles:
HENRY: How are you my willing student? Ready for your lesson with Romeo Ramsay?!
Bronwyn joins them as Todd tells Henry that Alison has given him the ‘phone number of where she's going to be staying, but he doesn't know whether he should 'phone her or not. Henry exclaims that of *course* she should ‘phone her: girls don't give out their ‘phone numbers unless they want to be called. Todd tells Henry that he wouldn't know what to say. Henry beams that by the time he's finished, Todd will be the coolest kid in Erinsborough!
Gloria gives Smithers a farewell hug and he and everyone except Dean heads off. Dean lingers to have a word with Gloria. He says to her stiffly:
DEAN: Mum, I owe you an apology.
GLORIA: Yeah, I reckon you *do*.
DEAN: Seeing you and Mr. Smithers together made me realise I've been acting like a pretentious idiot lately. I'm sorry.
GLORIA: I didn't think I brought my kids up to be snobs.
DEAN: Will you forgive me?
Gloria pulls Dean into her arms and they hug. Dean tells his mother:
DEAN: I'll make it up to you, mum.
GLORIA (sincerely): You just did.
As Dean turns and heads out, Paul comes in and asks Gloria in an urgent tone if she's seen Kevin. Gloria retorts that he hasn't been *there*. Paul asks that, if she sees him, can she tell him to come over to the office immediately?
Des is telling Jane that the Robinsons and Bishops are fighting and won't be in the same room with each other... and Sharon and Nick said they won't come because Mike's not their favourite teacher at the moment. Jane asks him what he's going to do. Des sighs that he'll try and talk to them. Jane wishes him luck, adding that the Robinsons and Bishops can be pretty stubborn at times. She then asks if Mike knows, but Des admits that he hasn't had the heart to tell him; he wants to leave it ‘til the last minute. Mike arrives home at that moment. He asks Jane how she is, and she muses that she's getting used to unemployment. Mike asks her what she's going to do. Jane murmurs distantly that she thinks she'd like to try something new. The ‘phone starts ringing and Mike answers it. Jane tells Des awkwardly that this might just be the thing for her career. A few moments later, Mike hangs up the ‘phone and Des asks what's up.
MIKE: That was my mum, calling from Fiji.
DES: That's great! She say ‘Happy Birthday'?
MIKE: Yes and no...
JANE: What do you mean by that?
MIKE: Well, she reckons she's coming to Erinsborough: seems she's going to be here for my 21st.
A few moments later, Jane remarks to Mike that he doesn't sound very happy about it. Mike shrugs that he doesn't know *how* he feels: he was all ready to move in with his mum when his dad died, but when she found out how much insurance there was, she just went overseas. Des says he understands how Mike feels, but Barbara had a pretty rough marriage; maybe she just needed some time to sort herself out?
MIKE: She didn't have to forget about *me*, though, did she?
DES: She *hasn't*. She set up a trust fund. She cares about you. Maybe she just needed a complete break from her old life?
Jane points out that Barbara is coming all this way to see Mike for his birthday; surely that proves that she loves him?
MIKE (distantly): Yeah, I suppose you're right.
Office of the Robinson Corporation
Paul is sitting at his desk, looking agitated. There's a knock on the door suddenly and Kevin comes in. Paul says to him curtly that he's a little bit worried about this deal, and he asks how long it'll take to get it through. Kevin replies that if Paul writes a cheque now, as soon as his mate puts it in his account, the zoning will go through. Paul opens up the company chequebook, telling Kevin as he writes the cheque that he wants it delivered by hand. Paul has his head down and Kevin has his back to the office door, and so neither of them notices the door opening and Gail coming in. She stops in her tracks and listens to the conversation:
KEVIN: This sort of thing happens all the time – it's standard operating procedure.
PAUL (grimly): It's also a lot of money.
Paul spots Gail suddenly. Kevin takes the cheque and heads out, leaving Gail to ask Paul suspiciously what that was all about. Paul says quickly that it was just a part-payment for the hotel repairs.
GAIL: A cash cheque?
PAUL (waving it away): Yeah, yeah!
GAIL (tersely): Paul, we *never* pay workmen with cash cheques – you *know* that.
Paul stands up and mutters that he hasn't really got time to talk about this at the moment. He heads out of the office, leaving Gail looking worried.
Todd has the ‘phone to his ear. Henry is standing behind him, listening with a grin on his face as Todd says:
TODD: Hi, babe, remember me from the bus? I haven't stopped thinking about you, so let's rap about the three of us: you, me and romance!
HENRY (beams): Yeah!
A look of shock crosses Todd's face suddenly and he says quickly down the ‘phone:
TODD: I was on the bus from Adelaide... I was hoping to speak to Alison, please... She's not? I'll call her back. I'm sorry I had to bother you. Goodbye.
He hangs up and tells Henry that that was Alison's aunt! He looks worried.
Office of the Robinson Corporation
Gail is sitting at Paul's desk when Paul comes back in. She tells him curtly that he should shut the door, as she thinks they need to talk. Paul does so. Gail then demands:
GAIL: That $10,000 cheque you just wrote: who was it really for?
PAUL (chuckles): I told you: it was part-payment for the hotel repair.
GAIL (coolly): I can tell you're lying, Paul. *Kevin* obviously knows what it is, so is *he* your partner now, or is it still me?
PAUL: Gail, why are you so interested in this cheque? I mean, it's chicken feed compared to what we're going to be making soon.
GAIL (sighs): *Always* looking to tomorrow, aren't you? It doesn't matter *what* happens today, as long as we achieve tomorrow's goal.
PAUL (dismissively): Oh come on, you're over-reacting a bit, Gail.
GAIL (impatiently): Are you going to tell me where that money went, or do I have to find out myself?
Paul pauses and sighs heavily before replying:
PAUL: OK, OK. Look, that cheque went to a member of the council so that he'd speed up the re-zoning of the land I'm trying to sell.
A look of disbelief crosses Gail's face. Paul goes on:
PAUL: Gail, don't you understand? If it *is* re-zoned, we make a huge profit which covers the cost of the repair bill, eh?
GAIL: You're bribing a public official?
PAUL: Gail, it will *save* us.
GAIL (looking shocked): I can't *believe* this. I thought I *knew* my husband, but the minute something goes wrong, suddenly you're a *criminal*.
PAUL: Oh come on, that's a bit strong, isn't it?
GAIL: Well what would *you* call it? ‘Creative accounting'?
PAUL: Look, I know it's not *exactly* legal...
GAIL (snaps): It is not legal in *any* sense of the word - *or* ethical. In fact, it's downright shameful.
PAUL: All right, all right, maybe you're right; maybe I did get a little carried away.
GAIL: *That's* an understatement. Why didn't you tell me what you were planning?
PAUL: Because I didn't think you'd understand, and Kevin said it was so simple and easy.
GAIL (coldly): There's that word again: ‘Kevin'. Paul, that man is finished with this company, and I want you to stop him from sending that cheque.
PAUL (murmurs): It's a bit late for that.
GAIL (sharply): What do you mean?
PAUL: It's been hand-delivered, hasn't it?
GAIL: Oh I see – so whether I like it or not, the Robinson Corporation has just paid off a public official. Great...
Paul stands there looking sheepish.