Lochy spotting the ‘ghost' outside the haunted house and chasing after it.
Matt reluctantly chases after Lochy, following her across the grounds leading up to the house. Lochy reaches the front door of the house, where a person wearing a long coat and a hat is opening the door. Lochy grabs the person's hat and pulls it off. The person spins round to see who's there. It's Lee! Lochy exclaims:
LOCHY: *You?* *You're* not a ghost!
LEE (indignantly): I never said I *was*.
Matt joins them and asks what's going on. Lochy tells her that Lee isn't a ghost; she's just some girl they met at the park today. Matt asks Lee what she thinks she's trying to do, scaring the kids half to death. Lee, however, retorts that she doesn't have to tell him *anything* and she snaps at him to rack off. Matt suggests that maybe she'd like to tell the police; squatting is against the law. Lee insists that she's *not* squatting; she lives there with her folks. Matt sighs:
MATT: Sure. Then how come everyone thinks the owners are away, and the lights are never on?
LEE: Well... the power got cut off. My folks are overseas, right, and I spent all the money they left me, so I couldn't afford to pay the bill. Satisfied?
MATT: Not really.
Lochy tells Lee that she's lying: she and Toby came to the house and Lee pretended to be a ghost and tried to scare them. Lee mutters:
LEE: Think what you like.
Matt tells Lee that he doesn't want to hassle her; he just wants to know why she's trying to frighten people away. Lee shrugs:
LEE: OK. This place belongs to my aunt and uncle. I'm only staying while they're overseas. They just don't know about it.
MATT: Where are your parents?
LEE: They're having hassles right now – and I got sick of being in the middle of it, so I left.
MATT: Are they splitting up?
LEE (nods sadly): Yeah.
Lochy mutters that it's a bummer: all the kids thought the place was haunted and it turns out to be some girl! Lee smiles! She then asks Matt if she's Lochy's brother, but he explains that he's just babysitting. With that, he and Lochy go to walk off. Lee pleads quickly:
LEE: Don't tell anyone I'm here, OK? I've got nowhere else to go.
Matt and Lochy both agree not to say anything. They walk off and Lee heads into the house.
It's late-evening. Toby has woken up and is crying at Joe that the ghost is in his room and tried to grab him. They're in the kitchen, and Kerry insists that it was just a bad dream. Toby, however, insists that he *saw *it; it tried to grab him. Joe sighs that Lochy needs a good talking-to for putting stupid ideas in Toby's head. Kerry offers to come and tuck Toby in, but Toby cries:
TOBY: I don't *want* to go back to bed; I want to stay up with *you*.
JOE: Oh, you can't stay up all night, mate.
TOBY: I'm not going back there.
Kerry asks Toby how he'd like to sleep with her and Joe, then. Joe doesn't look happy at the idea, but Toby nods gratefully.
The next morning, Harold, Madge, Henry and Bronwyn are sitting having breakfast. Harold asks if anyone has seen all the new plants in the Mangel front yard, as they must have cost a fortune. Henry, however, explains that they were all freebies from the new nursery Joe opened: probably figured he'd get more publicity on ‘Joe the Gardener', especially if he wins the gardening competition! Harold looks most put-out! At that moment, Joe bounces in through the back door and asks Henry if he's ready for an honest day's work! Harold, however, mutters:
HAROLD: *You're* a fine one to talk about honesty, Mr. Mangel.
JOE (grins): Something bothering you, Harry?
HAROLD (tersely): Yes there is, as a matter of fact. This nursery sponsoring you in the gardening competition: now, that is hardly ethical.
JOE: Don't give me that! Those plants are payment in kind. I've done my bit, throwing their name round on Henry's show.
Madge says it sounds to *her* as though Joe is getting an unfair advantage. Joe, however, retorts that he's not breaking any rules – and he's doing all the landscaping himself. Harold asks Henry if *he* condones this sort of behaviour. Henry replies innocently that *he* hasn't done anything. Joe tells Henry quickly:
JOE: Don't worry about Harry, mate – he's just got sour grapes because he knows he hasn't got a hope in heck of winning the comp!
HAROLD (glares): That is a matter of opinion.
Reception area/Office of the Robinson Corporation
Melanie is sitting typing at the reception desk when Paul and Helen come in. Melanie leaps up and gives Paul a hug to welcome him back! Helen smiles that *someone* got out of the right side of the bed, and Melanie explains that it's just so good to see Paul back again! Paul just asks Melanie coolly what she's doing in so early, and she explains that she thought she'd get some of the office correspondence out of the way before he got in. Paul looks at the letter in the typewriter and says tersely:
PAUL: Often in the habit of referring to our clients as ‘Dear George', are you?
MELANIE (slightly embarrassed): Well, maybe there was one teensy-weensy personal letter, but it's only a quickie – I promise!
Paul glares at Melanie and she quickly takes the sheet of paper out of the typewriter and puts it in her drawer. Helen points out to Paul that Melanie *was* doing it in her own time. Ignoring this, Paul looks at all the cuddly toys Melanie has placed around her desk and snaps:
PAUL: This is an office, not a junk room. Just get rid of them, will you?
HELEN: Oh, I don't think a few knick-knacks can do very much harm.
PAUL (growls): Gran, we have important clients coming through here all the time. I don't want them thinking that we don't take ourselves seriously.
HELEN (rolling her eyes): Heaven forbid...
Paul then says:
PAUL: Look, Melanie, I like you working here, but I'll tell you this: I don't and won't put up with any of your eccentricities. Now, just get rid of them, will you?
With that, he and Helen head into the office, leaving Melanie looking glum. *In* the office, Helen tells Paul that that wasn't very fair: Melanie's done a wonderful job in his absence. Paul retorts that he's just telling her to do a better one. He heads back out into the reception area and tells Melanie to get ready to do some dictation. Melanie looks at him and salutes flippantly. Paul gives her a look and she mutters:
MELANIE: I mean ‘yes, Paul'.
Matt approaches the house and knocks on the front door. Inside, Lee looks down from the upper floor, warily, as Matt opens the door and steps inside. He calls out that it's only him. Lee comes down the stairs slowly and asks:
LEE: What are you doing here?
MATT (holding out a bag): I thought you could do with some food.
LEE: I didn't ask for any favours.
MATT: That doesn't mean I can't *give* any.
Lee then asks Matt if he's told anyone about her. Matt assures her that he hasn't. Lee thanks him, but tells him that she really doesn't want his help – and hanging round there is only going to make people suss about the place. Matt shrugs that he'll leave the food, and he turns to leave. As he does so, Lee says quickly:
LEE: Hang on a sec. Why are you doing this?
MATT: Look, I'm just being friendly. Anyway, it's not every day you get to feed a real, live ghost, is it?!
Matt turns to leave again, but Lee then comments she doesn't even know his name. Matt says:
MATT: Matthew – but I prefer Matt.
LEE: Well, I'm Leanne – but my friends call me Lee. Do you want to join me while I have my breakfast?
Matt smiles and accepts the offer.
Henry and Joe are carrying a heavy concrete column from Joe's ute into Joe's front garden. Joe asks where they should put it. Henry suggests:
HENRY: How about on the bottom of Lassiter's lake?!
JOE: You saying you don't like it?
HENRY: No, no, it's not that – it's just... well, I don't think any of this stuff is going to look right round here. This is Ramsay Street, mate, not Buckingham Palace!
The put the pillar down next to an ornamental fountain and a small statue of a cherub(!) before then returning to the ute to pick up more ornaments and statues. Henry looks at a large statue of a mythical creature and comments that it's one ugly mongrel! Joe says he just hopes Toby doesn't see it, as he's been having nightmares lately after reckoning he saw some ghost in some deserted house; he hasn't been sleeping properly for *days*. Henry says he reckons the best thing Joe can do is take Toby back to the house and prove there's nothing to be afraid of. Joe, however, says they must have seen *something* to shake Toby up that much – so it's not safe. Henry offers to go with them. Joe hesitates and then nods that Henry's on: they'll go tonight. At that moment, Madge walks up to them and says coolly:
MADGE: You're not seriously thinking of keeping those hideous things in your garden, are you?
JOE: Jealousy's a curse, Madge!
MADGE: Ugliness is worse! Have a nice day!
With that, Madge walks off!
Office/Reception area at the Robinson Corporation
Paul is sitting at his desk, asking Helen if anything *else* went wrong while he was away. Helen tells him about how there was a catering gaffe at a wedding but everything worked out. Paul, however, mutters that he remembers something like that happening a while ago. He goes to the filing cabinet to look for an employment file, but discovers it isn't there. He sighs and heads out to the reception area, where he asks Melanie where Andrew Newton's employment file is. Melanie explains that she moved things around a little bit, and she goes to the cabinet next to her desk and takes out the file Paul wants. Paul grabs it and snaps:
PAUL: What is it doing in here, and why is it filed under ‘C'?
MELANIE: Because he's in charge of catering! I thought it would help if I re-did the files; put people in their own departments.
PAUL (growls): Well, you can just change it right back again – to the way it *used* to be: easy to find.
MELANIE (mutters): First thing tomorrow morning, Paul.
Paul heads back into the office and shows Helen the file, commenting that the same thing happened with Andrew Newton when he first started – so he's going to have to go. Helen exclaims that Paul can't be serious: Newton made a mistake, but he covered up very well. Paul snaps that he can make his mistakes at the expense of some *other* hotel's reputation. Helen says she thinks Paul is being far too tough on him. She goes on:
HELEN: I understand the hurt and the anger you feel about Gail, but you can't take it out on—
PAUL (curtly): Gran, this is nothing to do with her. And you think I'm being too tough? Well, *I* think *you're* too *soft*. Now, you'd better get used to the new way things are running around here, because that's the way they're going to stay.
Helen looks at Paul, a worried expression on her face.
Kerry serves Lochy and Toby with tea in the kitchen. Lochy tells Toby that she's got a secret about the haunted house. Kerry, however, tells Lochy to stop it right there: she's trying to frighten people just because she thinks it's funny. Toby says he doesn't want to hear it anyway: his dad's already said he's going to take him to the house tonight, and that's enough bad news for one day.
Lee is lying back on a sheet-covered couch when someone knocks loudly on the front door. She goes to dash upstairs, but Matt comes in and she exclaims that she nearly jumped out of her skin. Matt apologises, saying he didn't know whether she'd be home or not. Lee points out that she hasn't exactly got anywhere *else* to go. Matt then asks what she does with herself all day. Lee shrugs:
LEE: Go for walks... read... sometimes do a bit of window shopping, although that gets a bit boring when you can't afford to buy anything. Oh, and I frighten kids away who come snooping round!
MATT: Things must have been pretty rough at home if you prefer being here alone.
LEE: Oh, it wasn't *always* bad: we used to have a lot of fun – but then my parents started having problems and they just couldn't stop fighting; and they were always trying to get me to take sides. I just had to get out.
MATT: Must get pretty lonely.
LEE (shrugs): It'll be all right when I get a job. Been looking around, but there's not much happening at the moment.
Matt tells Lee that he could ask round for her, but Lee retorts that she can handle it. Matt then says he was thinking he could bring round some food and stuff until she gets back on her feet. Lee, however, mutters that she's not some charity; she can look after herself. Matt murmurs that he's beginning to think he shouldn't have come back – he keeps putting his foot in his mouth. Lee, however, assures him:
LEE: It's not your fault. I've probably be on my own so long, I've forgotten how to talk to people.
Matt then says he'd better get going – but he could come back and visit later. Lee tells him to bring a torch – it gets dark as hell in there at night. Matt smiles at her and heads off. Lee sits down, looking thoughtful.
Reception area at the Robinson Corporation
Paul is standing with Helen in the reception area when Hilary comes in. She tells Paul tersely that she thought he would have let her know that he was coming back, but she had to hear it from *other* members of the family. She goes on that they've all been working very hard while he's been away, and she has one or two suggestions on how they could improve the place. Paul rolls his eyes and mutters:
PAUL: Like the valet parking idea, perhaps?
HILARY (sharply): Pardon?
PAUL: Look, no offence, Hilary, but I'm getting a little bit sick to death of these so-called ‘good ideas' that you're coming up with all the time. Why don't you just leave the running of the company to people that know what they're talking about?
HILARY (coolly): I happen to be a substantial shareholder in this company, and therefore quite justified in putting forth suggestions. Now, how many times need I remind you of that small, but important, point?
PAUL (mutters): Once too often. Now, if you're not happy with the way that I'm running this company, Hilary, then you can take your money elsewhere. Mind you, I don't think that's a very sound business decision, do *you*? – because, as we all know, you make a very tidy profit from your investment here; but it's entirely up to you, isn't it?
With that, Paul and Helen head out, leaving Hilary looking stony-faced. She murmurs to herself coldly:
HILARY: I see...
Sometime later, Hilary is climbing out of Helen's car in Ramsay Street, saying tersely that it was a totally unprovoked, vicious attack, and it's very lucky for Paul that she knows a profitable investment when she sees one, otherwise she would withdraw her capital quick-smart. Helen listens patiently, but then tells Hilary that they really need to be a little more patient with Paul at the moment: the marriage break-up has affected him more than he cares to admit. Hilary suddenly notices the statues and other concrete ornaments dotted around Joe's garden, and she exclaims in horror:
HILARY: What on earth has that man done *now*?
HELEN: Oh my goodness. I think Joe's taking the spirit of competition a little too far.
HILARY: It's lowered the tone of the whole street. It wouldn't surprise me if property values plummeted.
As the two of them cross the street to take a closer look, Harold pulls up in his car – which has foliage sticking out the rear windows – and joins them, exclaiming:
HAROLD: That is appalling.
HILARY: It's positively *embarrassing*. At least you don't have to live *next door* to the man.
HELEN (muses): It *is* rather out of character with the rest of the street.
HILARY (coolly): Helen, it's an eyesore. [To Harold] I hope you don't intend to take *your* purchases the same way.
HAROLD (retorts): I intend to improve the aesthetics of my garden, not make a fool of myself.
Hilary mutters that she's going to speak to the local council about this, and she marches off to her house.
It's evening-time and it's dark. Joe pulls up his ute outside the massive iron gates, and he, Henry and Toby climb out. Toby says nervously that he doesn't think he'll be having any more bad dreams, so they should just go home. Joe, however, insists that Toby shouldn't worry: he'll see there's nothing to be scared of. The three of them walk up to the gates, which creak ominously as they open them.
Inside the house, Matt is sitting with Lee in the dark. Lee is holding an unlit torch and she thanks Matt for bringing it. Matt tells her that the food he brought should keep her going for a while – and she can pay him back when she gets a job. The two of them hear voices outside suddenly – one of them being Joe's, saying the place is sure to be locked. Lee looks at Matt in horror and exclaims:
LEE: You didn't tell anyone else you were coming here?
Lee leaps up and Matt follows her up the stairs. Down below, Joe opens the front door and he, Henry and Toby creep in, shining torches in front of them. Joe asks why the owner would keep the door unlocked. Toby cries that he's scared. They close the door. Joe tells Henry to check in one direction and he and Toby will check in another. Matt and Lee watch them from upstairs and Matt whispers to Lee:
MATT: I *know* these guys: they're neighbours of mine. Let's go downstairs and—
LEE: *No!* I don't want any *more* people knowing I'm here.
Matt sighs heavily.
Harold is preparing dinner in the kitchen when Bronwyn emerges from her room and says:
BRONWYN: Well! Wish me luck with my exam!
Harold kisses her on the forehead and wishes her luck! She heads out just as Madge comes in. She wishes Bronwyn luck as well and then turns to Harold and asks him:
MADGE: What are all those plants doing out the front?
HAROLD: Oh, I bought them to improve our chances in the garden competition.
MADGE: Oh. How much did you spend?
HAROLD (dismissively): Oh... not much.
MADGE (presses): How much is ‘not much'?
HAROLD: It's not important, Madge; the important thing is that it gives us an edge on our competitors.
MADGE (gruffly): Harold, I'd like to know.
HAROLD (sighs): Oh, all right, then. $250.
Madge stares at Harold in shock and asks him if he's gone stark raving bonkers! She adds that there are a lot more important things they could spend that money on than a silly competition. Harold retorts that he doesn't happen to think it's silly. Madge tells him that if he's not careful, he'll turn into Joe Mangel and turn their garden into an amusement park for garden gnomes! Harold insists:
HAROLD: I would *never* go so far. Mind you, I thought a little fountain right next to the rhododendron might look—
MADGE (warns): Harold...
Harold looks at her. She shakes her head slowly and decisively!
Joe, Toby and Henry enter one of the rooms with their torches. They take a few steps forward and then head to a cupboard under the stairs. Joe goes to open the door as Matt and Lee watch from upstairs. Joe opens the cupboard door and a load of tools and implements fall out, startling everyone with their clattering! Matt and Lee burst out laughing! Henry grins:
HENRY: At least we know where the closet is now!
Joe tells Toby that it's little accidents like that that start stories about haunted houses. Henry sighs that he doesn't think they're going to find anything and he suggests they pack it in. Joe, however, points out nervously that they haven't checked upstairs yet. Toby pants:
TOBY: That's where me and Lochy saw the ghost: at the top of the stairs.
JOE: Well... that's where we're headed. [To Henry] After you, mate.
HENRY: Oh, age before beauty!
All of a sudden, the main house lights are switched on and everyone spins round to face the front door. They find a man in his forties standing there. He demands angrily:
MAN: Who the hell are *you*?
Henry, Joe and Toby just stand and stare at him, looking like rabbits caught in the headlights.