Melissa telling Todd that her father's taking her and the rest of the family overseas for at least six months.
Todd says he reckons Melissa's father is trying to keep them apart. Beverly, however, tells him not to jump to conclusions. Melissa explains that her father's moving to Chicago for his job, and the company only just sprung on him that they want him to go for six months – and he doesn't want to be apart from his family for that long. Todd asks her when she has to leave and Melissa replies that it's the day after tomorrow. Jim says he knows he wouldn't want to be away from *his* family for that long; not many kids get a chance like this, so she should be very excited. Melissa cries:
MELISSA: But I'll have to leave Todd.
BEVERLY: Only for six months. He'll be here when you get back.
TODD: Only six months? That's *forever*.
Hilary is talking to Kenneth Muir on the ‘phone in the hallway. Sharon and Matt are sorting out tapes in the lounge room. Hilary hangs up and comes in. Sharon asks her with a smile if she's got a big date lined up and Hilary tells her coolly that she's having dinner with Mr. Muir tomorrow night. Sharon remarks that it's getting very serious; they might hear wedding bells in Ramsay Street soon! Hilary, however, mutters:
HILARY: That's enough of your nonsense, Sharon – we're merely very good friends.
MATT: Sure! That's what they *all* say!
Hilary insists that it is perfectly true. Sharon asks if the poetry quote and flowers make them ‘just good friends'. Hilary, however, retorts that Mr. Muir was merely helping her over her embarrassment after that nasty little trick played by Todd. She adds that there is nothing untoward going on: she and Kenneth have a cerebral relationship. Matt assures her that he and Sharon are only teasing. Sharon says she's looking forward to having a few little romances *herself* now that she's available again. Hilary, however, muses:
HILARY: What a very unfortunate way of putting it. I shouldn't have thought *any* young lady would like to think of herself as being ‘available'.
SHARON (sighs): Hilary, I just want to go out with a few different boys and have some fun.
HILARY: Sharon, I do hope you're not going to become boy crazy – you'll very quickly get a bad reputation.
SHARON: I thought you didn't *like* me going out with just Nick – you used to say that I *should* see some different people.
HILARY: Well... yes... but I was talking about an occasional date. You sound as if you're going to ‘paint the town red'!
Matt chips in that he thinks Sharon just wants to have a good time for a while, and he thinks it's a good idea. He goes on that *he* doesn't want to settle down too soon, either; listening to Kerry talking about all the things *she's* done... he can imagine just grabbing a backpack and going off round the world. Hilary points out curtly that he's still at school. Matt, however, tells her that, after Year 12, why not just hit the road for a couple of years? Hilary mutters:
HILARY: If you two intend just sitting round talking irresponsible rubbish, well, I have far better things to do than stand around listening.
With that, she marches out.
The next morning, Todd and Melissa are walking to school together, Todd sighing that he can't believe it's the last time they'll be able to do that. Melissa tells him to come round this afternoon to say goodbye. Todd comments:
TODD: You'll probably meet up with some cool American dude and forget all about me.
MELISSA: Don't be silly – I won't even *look* at anyone else. And what about *you*? There's tons of girls at school who'd like to get with you!
TODD: Yeah? Like who?
MELISSA: I'm not going to tell you!
Melissa then assures Todd that she'll be faithful for the whole six months.
Jim and Helen are sitting at the kitchen table, having breakfast, while Beverly prepares some formula for Rhys. Helen offers to help and Beverly thanks her and says she'll give Rhys a bath. Jim comments warily that Beverly can't let Rhys interfere with her work, but Beverly insists tersely that it's probably only for a few more days, and Jim shouldn't make such a mountain out of a molehill.
Hilary emerges from No. 30. Kerry is standing outside No. 32 and she calls across to Hilary to say good morning. Hilary looks at her and calls back curtly that she'd like a word with her. Kerry asks in surprise if she's done something wrong. Hilary says sharply:
HILARY: Filling Matthew's head with foolish ideas about ‘backpacking' around the world.
KERRY: I was just helping him with an assignment—
HILARY: I'm sure it all sounds very exciting to Matthew, but I want him to go on to tertiary studies, and I don't want him dropping out as *you* obviously did.
Kerry repeats that she was just helping Matt with an assignment, and she adds that she doesn't believe he's likely to take off because of a few things *she* said. Hilary retorts that it may not have been Kerry's intention, but Matt's specific learning difficulty makes things quite hard for him; it wouldn't surprise her if he could be influenced and simply toss it all in. Looking astonished, Kerry says:
KERRY: Specific learning difficulties? I didn't know anything about *that*.
HILARY: Well, yes, he's having remedial teaching for dyslexia – and it's... it's still very hard for him to adjust. Now, the last thing I want is... is for him to be made unsettled by talk of adventures in far-off places.
KERRY (nods): Well, I can understand you don't want to lose him now you've become so close.
HILARY: Of course not – he's my *son*.
Kerry says she's very sorry if she's done the wrong thing – and she's sure Matt was just talking off the top of his head and will have forgotten about it in a day or so. Hilary says she hopes so. She then appeals to Kerry to be careful what she says to him in the future, adding sadly:
HILARY: If I lost him *now*... well, it doesn't bear thinking about.
Beverly is playing with Rhys on the lounge room floor when Helen arrives home with a bouncy stand for him to lie on. As she hands it over, she asks Beverly warily if she thinks she should be buying things for Rhys. Beverly replies that Debra can't afford it, and *she* doesn't mind helping out to get her started. Helen asks:
HELEN: Do you really think she'll come back?
BEVERLY: Of course she will! She couldn't desert *this* little darling!
HELEN (concerned): Then isn't it important not to become too attached to him – because it's going to be terribly difficult when you have to hand him back.
BEVERLY: Oh, we'll be able to keep in touch. I'm sure Debra will let me help. I can become a surrogate aunt!
With that, Beverly picks Rhys up and lays him on the stand. Helen sits down and asks:
HELEN: What if Debra *doesn't* come back? You'll have to hand him back to the welfare authorities – so if you *have* become too attached, it'll be a dreadful wrench for you.
Beverly mutters at Helen that she sounds like *Jim*. Helen insists that she has exactly the same concern as *he* has. Beverly tells her:
BEVERLY: I do know what I'm doing – but it's no good asking me not to become emotionally involved with this baby; I already *am*. I was from the moment I knew he'd been left in my care. And I do understand the risk I'm running: I'm a woman who desperately wants a baby and obviously it's going to hurt to hand Rhys back; but I also know I may never have a baby of my own. Don't deny me the pleasure of mothering this little fellow for a while. It's a time I think I'll treasure all my life.
Sharon is doing her homework in the lounge room when she hears the front door close. She calls out:
SHARON: Hi Matt!
It's Hilary who walks in, though. She's had her hair styled, and Sharon stares at her in astonishment. Hilary asks in embarrassment if it's all right. Sharon insists that it's very nice. Hilary smiles awkwardly that she doesn't make a habit of going to the hairdresser's, but Marian at the library said it might help give her a whole new image. Sharon nods that it certainly has! Hilary adds that she just wants to look as smart as possible for Kenneth tonight. Sharon smiles:
SHARON: You'll knock him off his feet, Hilary.
HILARY (uncertainly): Do you think so?
SHARON: It's just a shame you gave away that slinky little number at the clothes-swapping party!
HILARY: Oh good heavens – I never would've worn *that*! I once bought that overseas in a moment of silly impetuousness!
SHARON: It's *good* to be impetuous now and again!
Hilary murmurs that she's not sure about that. She then says she wants to take things rather quietly with Kenneth. Sharon smiles that she thinks it's great Hilary has found someone she really likes. Hilary murmurs that, after Matthew's father, she's rather *avoided* men. Sharon comments:
SHARON: That's a long time between drinks, Hilary!
HILARY (admonishes): Sharon!
Sharon explains that she means people aren't *made* to be alone: she felt terrible when she and Nick first broke up, but it's worked out for the best as she's going out with Trent Baxter tonight. Hilary asks in surprise if that isn't the boy who kept ringing Sharon up after the school dance. Sharon nods that he's been hassling her to go out with him for ages, so finally she's had a chance to say ‘yes'. Hilary muses that, after all Sharon's declarations of undying love, it amuses her that she's forgotten Nick so easily. Sharon, however, insists that they're still friends. Hilary tells Sharon to just show some propriety. She adds:
HILARY: Romance should not be a serious business – at *your* age!
Kerry is in the kitchen. Matt knocks on the back door and heads inside. He tells Kerry that he wanted to thank her for her help with his assignment – and he thought maybe he could have a look at her photos from overseas. Kerry, however, says warily that she doesn't think she could lay her hands on them right now. Matt asks her if she could have a look. Kerry, however, says:
KERRY: Matt, I wouldn't like you to think that backpacking around the world is a piece of cake, because it's not, you know? It can be pretty difficult.
MATT: Yeah. Well, while we're having a look at the photos, do you reckon you could tell me a few more stories and stuff?
Kerry nods reluctantly that she'll bring them over later. Matt smiles:
MATT: Great! You know, for the first time in my life, I'd really love to see a bit of the world.
KERRY: Yeah, well, like I said, it's not easy.
Todd opens the front door to find Melissa standing on the step. She heads inside, saying as she does so that she can't stay long as her dad's waiting in the car. She adds that she's got Todd a present. Todd smiles that he's got one for her too. They exchange gifts and unwrap them: they've bought each other writing sets. Todd tells Melissa that he'll write to her all the time. Melissa smiles sadly:
MELISSA: Yeah, me too.
TODD: And none of those American dudes, all right?!
MELISSA: *You* have to stay away from Cody Willis at school.
TODD: Cody Willis? Why?
MELISSA: She's been after you for ages!
TODD: I won't let her get me. *You're* the only girl for me.
With that, Todd and Melissa kiss passionately. When they pull apart, Melissa murmurs that she has to go. Todd tells her:
TODD: I love you.
MELISSA: I love you, too.
Melissa then turns and heads towards the door. She takes one final look at Todd and then walks off down the path. Todd closes the door and leans against it, looking upset.
It's evening-time. Kerry is sitting with Matt in the lounge room at No. 32, telling him that she thinks it's best to wait ‘til he can afford to travel with a bit more style than she did. Matt, however, retorts that, no, he wants to do it while he's young; if he could scrape the money together now, he'd drop out of school now and *go*. Kerry says quickly:
KERRY: No, you mustn't. It's very important to finish your education first.
MATT: Did *you* finish Year 12?
KERRY: No – but only because I was having such a hard time with dad and felt I had to get out. But I regret that now. You're getting on so well with your mum, aren't you? You shouldn't think about rushing off now – she'd be so upset.
Matt comments that it's hard to tell with Hilary: she doesn't show her feelings that much. Kerry insists that she's changing – and in a few years, she'll be a much softer person that she is now. She adds:
KERRY: She just needed somebody to love – and I know she really loves *you*.
Matt remarks that Kerry really cares about people – even his mum. Kerry admits that they haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but she does feel that, underneath, there's a very warm person struggling to get out. The front door opens suddenly and Hilary comes in with Kenneth Muir. Matt comments in surprise that he didn't expect them back so soon. Hilary explains that they thought it would be nice to come back there for coffee – and she thought Matt would have been off in his room studying. Matt explains that Kerry brought over some overseas photos to show him. Hilary says sharply:
HILARY: *Did* she?
Kerry explains quickly:
KERRY: I was just trying to convince Matt that backpacking around the world isn't an easy thing to do and that he should definitely finish his schooling.
Mr. Muir chips in that he agrees that Matt should certainly do *that*. Matt introduces Mr. Muir to Kerry and they shake hands. Kerry smiles at Hilary that her hair looks great and Mr. Muir says he's been trying to convince her of that all evening. Hilary thanks him, but then says coolly that if she'd known they were going to find a house full of people, she wouldn't have suggested coming back. Kerry says she was just off home, and she tells Matt that he can return the photos tomorrow. Hilary says to Kerry:
HILARY: I suggest you take them *with* you.
Matt, however, says he'd like to have another look at them before he goes to bed, and he'll bring them round tomorrow, if that's OK. Kerry wishes him a good night. She goes to the door, where she says quietly to Hilary that she wasn't *encouraging* Matt – honest. Hilary just snaps back that she shouldn't have brought the photos over in the first place.
Beverly, Helen, Jim and Todd are playing Scrabble, but Todd looks distracted. Jim points out that it's his turn, and Todd puts down tiles that spell out ‘ALONE'! Jim comments that he suggested this game to take Todd's mind *off* things! Todd sighs that he just can't stop thinking about Melissa. The ‘phone starts ringing suddenly and Helen goes to answer it. A few moments later, she tells Beverly that the call's for her: it's Debra Turner. Beverly dashes to the ‘phone and says:
BEVERLY: Hello Debra ... Yes, yes, I've got him here ... Yes, he's fine, but he should be with *you*. When are you coming back? ... Well, why don't you come into the surgery tomorrow and talk to me about it? ... At least let me know where you are ... Yes, I promise you, he's fine, but I do think—
She breaks off as the ‘phone goes dead, and she hangs up. Jim asks if Debra said when she's coming back. Beverly replies that she said she's not ready yet: she needs more time. Jim asks:
JIM: How *much* more time?
BEVERLY: She didn't say – but she was worried about the baby, and she wouldn't be if she'd abandoned him, would she? So, I guess I'll just have to keep him here until she decides she's ready.
Jim doesn't look happy.
Kenneth Muir is telling Hilary, as they sit in the lounge room:
KENNETH: You know, I find it very hard to believe that you're old enough to be the mother of a teenage son.
HILARY: Oh, goodness me, Kenneth, you *are* full of compliments tonight!
Hilary adds that it's a wonder she doesn't look 200: looking after a couple of active teenagers is very trying! Kenneth comments that *he* has enough of them all day at *school*! Hilary then says slightly awkwardly:
HILARY: It amazes me, Kenneth, that, er, you haven't been married. I would have thought that some lucky woman would've snapped you up *years* ago.
KENNETH: Well, to be honest... I- I've never found it easy to get on with women – not on a personal level. I'm sure they think of me as stuffy, and knowing that makes me even stuffier. It's a sort of vicious circle.
HILARY: *I* don't find you like that at *all*.
KENNETH: No... I suppose that's why I'm able to relax with you.
Hilary smiles at Kenneth, warmly. He then goes on:
KENNETH: Hilary... I- I think it's time I said a few things.
KENNETH: Well, firstly I'd like to say that—
Before Kenneth can go any further, though, he leans back and clutches his stomach, apparently in pain. Hilary moves across to the sofa and sits next to him, asking in concern if it's indigestion. Kenneth says he's not sure, but he *does* feel a little off-colour. Hilary feels his brow and tells him to just relax. Kenneth then takes her hand and murmurs:
KENNETH: You're a wonderful comfort, Hilary.
The next morning, Matt is packing his schoolbag in the lounge room. Sharon joins him and spots the photos that Kerry brought over. Matt says he'll show them to her at lunchtime. The two of them head out into the hallway just as Hilary comes out of the kitchen with a tray. Sharon looks at it and remarks:
SHARON: Breakfast in bed this morning, Hilary?
HILARY: Yes, that's right, Sharon.
Just at that moment, though, Kenneth Muir emerges from the bedroom area, doing up his tie. Sharon pulls Matt into the lounge room and gasps in astonishment:
SHARON: He spent the night?!
MATT (looking surprised): Yeah...