Lou commenting to Libby that her parents and Phil and Ruth seem to be enjoying themselves during their meal together. Libby retorting that if she'd known her parents were going to be there, she wouldn't have volunteered to do the other shift.
Susan telling Libby that she way she humiliated Karl was pretty low, and that sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and get on with loving someone.
Susan is sitting watching TV when Libby arrives home. Susan switches off the set and tells her daughter that she's been waiting for her. Libby says irritably:
LIBBY: Why? I was just over at Drew's. Look, if you're going to give me another serve about what happened at the pub tonight, don't bother.
SUSAN (warns): You're too hard on your father, Lib.
LIBBY: Mum, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one, OK? I'm tired; I'm going to bed.
SUSAN (quickly): You can't run away forever. You're an adult; it's about time you started *acting* like one.
LIBBY (flippantly): Maybe you're right; maybe I should. You know, I think the most adult thing for me to do would be to move out, then you and dad can have your cosy little life all to yourself.
SUSAN (tersely): There is nothing ‘cosy' about my life with your father at the moment.
LIBBY (meekly): Yeah, I know. I'm sorry.
SUSAN: Do you *want* to move out? Is that what this is all about?
LIBBY (shrugs): Well, Mike and I have been getting on pretty well; I was thinking about moving in with him.
SUSAN (blankly): Who's Mike?
LIBBY: My boyfriend!
SUSAN (looking incredulous): You've never even *mentioned* him!
LIBBY (retorts): Yes I have. Maybe you're just too busy with your own affairs to *listen*?
SUSAN (curtly): I don't think so, Lib. I think I would have remembered something like that. How long have you known him?
LIBBY (shrugs): Ages. Mike's the guy I went to Carrington Bend with. You spoke to him on the ‘phone when everyone thought I was lost.
SUSAN (angrily): Well I'm sorry, Lib, he didn't exactly say, “Hello, Mrs. Kennedy, this is Libby's boyfriend.” How am *I* supposed to know?
LIBBY (coolly): Well maybe it wasn't the time to be sociable. What's the problem? You want me to be an adult. Adults don't go running to mummy and tell them everything, do they? Goodnight.
With that, Libby storms off to her room, leaving Susan with an expression on her face like she's sucking eggs.
Harold is making a hot chocolate in the kitchen. It's late evening. Madge emerges from the bedroom and Harold tells her that he couldn't sleep. He then says he's been thinking. Madge replies that so has she. Harold says:
HAROLD: You first.
MADGE: Get Lou kneecapped!
Madge adds quickly that she's only joking! Harold then says he wonders if Lou would accept mediation; they could find someone he trusted, like Phil. Madge shrugs that it's worth a try. Harold says he'll give Phil a ring and see if he's willing. Madge asks if he'll appreciate a call this late at night, but Harold tells her that the lights are still on next door.
The next morning, Madge and Harold are sitting at the kitchen table with Phil, but there's no sign of Lou. Phil suggests that he must have been held up. Madge, however, retorts that Lou's doing it deliberately: it's all a game of one-upmanship; he knows he can't win. Phil points out carefully:
PHILIP: Madge, this meeting is for mediation; it's not about winning.
MADGE (sighs): Phil, I know, I'm sorry – but we've made him a decent offer for the land. We've been fair and reasonable.
Harold pats Madge's hand and suggests they be patient.
MADGE (curtly): We are *being* patient, Harold – and Lou's behaving like a spoilt child; *worse* than a spoilt child.
Madge then tells Philip that she and Harold will wait for another fifteen minutes, and if Lou doesn't turn up, they're leaving. Harold suggests suddenly that something serious might have happened to Lou.
MADGE (mutters): I hope it *has*.
Billy is buttering toast in the kitchen when Susan emerges from her room. He asks her if she got his note last night. He indicates a piece of paper on the counter, but Susan admits that she was a bit distracted. Billy tells her excitedly:
BILLY: We got the house!
SUSAN (less enthused): Oh... gee... that's... that's wonderful news.
Susan then asks when they found out. Billy replies that it was late yesterday afternoon. Susan asks what they're going to do for furniture. Billy tells her that he and Toadie are going to hit the op shops this weekend. He adds:
BILLY: And you know that old sideboard that you're storing in the garage...
SUSAN (pointedly): The one that you're going to restore for me...?
BILLY: You don't *really* need it, do you?
SUSAN (rolling her eyes): I'll survive!
Susan then warns him to make sure he eats properly.
BILLY: I'm relying on my mother missing me so much she'll be coming round with hot meals every day!
SUSAN: Oh, I'll miss you – but I won't miss cooking for you, or cleaning for you, or doing your washing...!
The two of them head over to the table as Susan tells Billy that Libby said something last night about moving out as well.
BILLY: What? Who with? Not *Mike*?
SUSAN (looking astonished): What? So you know all about him, do you?
BILLY: Not a lot. She hasn't told you anything?
SUSAN: No... I mean, you know, it's her business, but it would be nice to know *something* about him – like a surname; that would be *something*.
BILLY: I don't know his surname, but I do know he's a lecturer at uni and he's got a wife and an eight-year-old daughter.
SUSAN (looking shocked): He's *what*?
BILLY: They're separated – for over a year, now.
SUSAN (gasps): Why didn't you *tell* me any of this?
BILLY: I'm sorry, mum – a lot has been going on. Besides, I thought you would have known that by now.
SUSAN (curtly): Well I don't.
There's still no sign of Lou, and Madge declares that that's it: he's had his chance. She then thanks Phil, adding that she knows he meant well, but Lou obviously had no intention of co-operating. Phil asks if he should organise another time.
MADGE: No way. He obviously wants a battle instead of peace; well he's really got one on his hands *now*.
With that, she and Harold head off. Phil calls after them to wish them luck. Madge just calls back:
MADGE: It's not *luck* we need, Phil, it's *justice* – and we're going to get it. Bye.
As Madge and Harold return to No. 24, they discover that Lou has placed traffic cones on their driveway to mark the one metre of land that belongs to him! Madge exclaims:
MADGE: How *dare* he...
She tells Harold to get rid of them. Harold warns her not to lose control completely. Madge just retorts:
MADGE (growls): I am totally *in* control, Harold. There are a few things I need to say to Mr. Carpenter...
Madge then yells across to No. 22:
MADGE: Lou Carpenter... I know you're in there. Come out here and face me. You can't hide away forever.
Billy opens the front door and lets Karl in. Karl tells his son that he has the cheque for his bond. He hands it over. As he takes it, Billy asks his father if he can give him a lift to the agent's later; he wants to sign the lease as soon as he can.
KARL: Are you going to the house straight after that?
BILLY: If there's time, yeah.
KARL: I'll come with you, if you like – I'll help you fill out the Condition Report.
BILLY: Thanks, dad. Much appreciated.
Billy then announces that he's got to get to work. Karl suggests that he should go too. Billy, however, says quietly:
BILLY: She's in the bedroom. Why don't you stay and have a coffee?
With that, Billy heads out. A few seconds later, Susan emerges from her room and looks surprised to find Karl standing there. He explains awkwardly about him coming over to drop off his half of Billy's bond money. Susan offers him a coffee and he accepts. He then says:
KARL: I enjoyed last night.
SUSAN (warmly): Yeah, so did I.
Susan then asks:
SUSAN: So, you happy about Billy leaving home?
KARL: I'm not entirely comfortable with it, but what can we do? The boy's old enough to vote, and drive a car, and crash a car! He's old enough to go to *war*. We can't really stand over him and tell him he's not old enough to move out.
SUSAN: *Toadie's* got pretty good survival instincts. If he's going to make a go of it with someone, it may as well be *him*.
KARL: You're being very philosophical about this.
SUSAN: I'm trying.
KARL: You've still got Libby.
SUSAN: For the moment – although she's not very easy to live with right now. She has a new friend...
KARL: Oh? Anyone we know?
SUSAN: No. Well – yes: I've spoken to him on the ‘phone when she was at Carrington Bend, so she tells me. Apparently it's been going on for quite some time; last night was the first I heard of it.
KARL: Then why would she keep it a secret from you?
SUSAN: That's what's worrying me...
Libby is sitting at a table when Drew comes in and sits down with her. She tells him that she's glad he could make it. Drew comments that she sounded a bit upset on the ‘phone. Libby sighs that she's done something lousy. Drew asks what's up.
LIBBY: I've been horrible to my mother. Spitefully, really.
DREW: That's not like you.
LIBBY: I don't know what to do to make up.
Drew says he's sure Libby is exaggerating, and he asks what she did. Libby explains that she hates that Susan is taking Karl back, so she's been avoiding being close to her.
LIBBY: I hadn't told her anything about Mike until last night. And Bill's moving into a house with Toadie.
DREW: Yeah, I heard.
LIBBY: Mum's a bit down about it.
Drew tells her that mums always are; they get over it, though. Libby goes on:
LIBBY: So I told her I was thinking about moving out with Mike.
DREW: And this was the first she'd heard of him?
Libby nods meekly.
DREW: And *are* you? Are you going to move out with him?
LIBBY (shaking her head): I didn't have any plans to.
DREW: I get it – so this is a sort of a ‘what can I say that'll really hurt her?' type of thing.
LIBBY (sighs): Yeah, sort of.
DREW: And did you?
LIBBY: Probably. And now I feel horrible. How did she manage to do that to me?!
Drew, however, tells Libby that he thinks she probably did it to herself. He then says:
DREW: If you want to know what *I* think: I think your parents' relationship is none of your business. Whether they get back together or not, it's not up to you, it's up to them. You're not there to advise them or guide them, Lib; they're grown-ups. You can't see into their relationship; no one can. Relationships are private.
LIBBY (mutters): Great. Thanks. Now I feel even worse.
DREW: Good. So you should. Ring her and apologise.
Libby, however, sighs that she's not very good on the ‘phone. She adds that she's still angry about her mother letting Karl off so easily.
DREW (insists): It's none of your business.
LIBBY (sighs): All right. OK. I get the message! I knew I could count on you to be brutally honest!
Karl and Billy are wandering around the house. As Karl takes in the state of the kitchen, he muses:
KARL: This speaks for itself...
As they continue to look around, Billy making notes, Karl asks him how work is. Billy replies that it's not much yet, but he thinks it's where he wants to head.
KARL: You think you've found your vocation?
BILLY: Yeah – I do.
Billy then asks how Susan was.
KARL: She was friendly.
Karl remarks that the paintwork in the house is disgusting – but he then smiles that it's a lot bigger than the place he and Susan first moved into.
KARL: I hope the walls are a bit thicker, though: we could hear everything our neighbours got up to! No doubt they could hear *us*, too! Landlords got away with murder in those days; probably still do.
Karl then suggests that they'd better get Billy back to work; they don't want to give his boss the wrong impression this early. Billy however, replies that his boss is sick. Karl points out that Billy doesn't want his boss thinking he's taking advantage of that. He then smiles:
KARL: It's a good place, Bill; a pretty good house for a carpenter! It's quiet, anyway.
At that moment, a neighbour starts up a chainsaw. Billy says:
BILLY: This can be Toadie's room!
Libby is clearing glasses from a table when Madge comes in and asks where Lou is. Libby replies that she doesn't know: he was in for a little while this morning, but he didn't tell her where he was going.
MADGE: Right, well, would you tell him from me that he can either face *me* or face the consequences?
LIBBY: OK – I'll tell him next time I see him.
Madge then places a white feather on the bar and adds:
MADGE: And give him that from me, would you? He's a coward.
Drew opens the front door to Harold. Harold says he needs to see Lou. Drew, however, replies that he doesn't think Lou wants to be found.
HAROLD (sighs): Please tell Lou that he really must see us. I'll do what *I* can – but he must meet us half way with the reconciliation, otherwise I can't be held responsible for Madge's actions!
Drew says he'll let Lou know as soon as he sees him. Harold just murmurs that he thinks Lou has got the message by now.
Libby arrives home, holding a small bunch of flowers. Susan is standing by the table and Libby says to her meekly:
LIBBY: I'm sorry about last night.
She hands over the flowers and Susan takes them, commenting that they're lovely. Libby then asks:
LIBBY: Would you like to meet Mike?
SUSAN: *Yes*! And I assume I will before too long!
She goes on:
SUSAN: Billy tells me that he's a lecturer at uni.
LIBBY: Yeah. He's away at our country campus for a couple of days, but when he gets back I'll set it up.
Susan then says:
SUSAN: I've invited your dad for dinner tonight. Will you be here?
LIBBY: I'm sorry – I only popped home for a minute. I've got another double shift at the pub.
SUSAN (raising her eyebrows): Lou's working you pretty hard...
LIBBY: I don't mind; the extra money's good.
SUSAN: As long as it doesn't interfere with your studies...
LIBBY: Don't worry – I won't be making *that* mistake again.
With that, Libby goes to head off. Susan quickly grabs her and gives her a hug. Libby then says:
LIBBY: By the way - that crack I made about leaving home: I didn't mean it. Mike and I are close and everything, but we're not *that* close yet.
A short time later, Libby is about to put her scooter helmet on when Billy walks up to her and tells her that Jack's in hospital. Libby, looking concerned, asks what's happened to him. Billy, however, shrugs that no one at work knows. Libby tells him that it's probably nothing. Billy sighs that it's not much fun at work without him: he's back to sweeping floors. With that, he heads inside. Libby gets on her scooter and rides off down the street.
In the driveway of No. 24, Madge and Harold are erecting a sign saying ‘Lou Carpenter's greed knows no bounds!'. Harold is holding the post while Madge hammers it into the ground! Harold asks her warily:
HAROLD: Do you really think this is such a good idea?
MADGE: I think it's a *brilliant* idea!
HAROLD: It won't inflame things further?
MADGE: Oo, I hope so! He wants a war? War's what he's got!
It's evening time and Billy is talking on the ‘phone, asking if Jack can have visitors. He listens to the response and then asks the person he's speaking to to pass on his regards. He then hangs up. Susan asks:
SUSAN: Any news?
BILLY (glumly): He's had a stroke. It's left him paralysed down his left-hand side.
SUSAN (exclaims): That's terrible. The poor man...
BILLY: It gets worse: they don't know if he's going to recover or not, so in the meantime they're only going to finish the jobs which are on the board, which makes *me* unnecessary.
SUSAN: You haven't been retrenched?
BILLY: Not yet, but it's not looking good.
Susan insists that he should try not to worry. She adds that Jack could be on the road to recovery before they know it and everything will go back to normal.
BILLY (glumly): I wish I could believe that. I'm going to have to tell Toad the house is off: I can't afford it without a job.
Madge is making dinner and she asks Harold what he wants. Harold, however, sighs that he's not all that hungry.
MADGE (curtly): I do wish you'd stop sulking.
HAROLD: I'm *not* sulking.
MADGE: At least I *did* something instead of sitting around twiddling my thumbs, hoping it would all go away.
HAROLD (exclaims): That's not fair! I'm a peaceful man and I fully believe that if we let time take its course, this whole sordid affair will just fade away.
MADGE (coolly): Harold, I am not going to sit by and let Lou steal our land, no matter *what* you think.
All of a sudden, someone outside starts sliding a piece of paper under the front door. Harold goes and picks it up. He and Madge read it and Harold gasps:
HAROLD: It's from Lou. It's an official notice of offence.
MADGE (roars): What?!
Madge then opens the front door and yells:
MADGE: Lou Carpenter, you come back here!
Susan opens the front door to find Karl standing on the step with a large bunch of flowers. She smiles that it looks like it's her day for feeling special! She indicates Libby's flowers and Karl asks if he should be worried! Susan explains about them being from Libby as an apology for her behaviour lately. Karl asks if Libby will be joining them tonight. Susan, however, explains that she has another double shift at the pub. She then tells Karl about the possibility of Billy's house falling through. Changing the subject, Karl grabs a beer and proposes:
KARL: Here's to you.
There's an awkward silence, which Karl breaks by sighing:
KARL: I'm trying too hard, aren't I?
SUSAN (nods): A bit, yeah.
There's another silence. Susan then says:
SUSAN: I've been thinking: all that silly stuff about having to write two cheques for Billy's bond... that's all just a bit time-consuming, isn't it? I just wondered what you thought about us... going back to, um... to a joint bank account...
KARL: Would I be rushing things if I suggested I'd do it tomorrow?!
SUSAN (softly): I don‘t think so.
As Karl goes to open a bottle of wine, he says:
KARL: The only thing is that of course I pay the rent for my apartment out of that account; that might be a bit inconvenient...
SUSAN: When does the lease expire?
KARL: On the apartment?
KARL: It's a weekly arrangement. I wasn't sure exactly how long I'd, er—
SUSAN (chuckles): *You* were confident!
KARL (seriously): No, I just... I had trouble accepting that... I *was* thinking I'd have to go for something more permanent, anyway.
Susan stares at him and then says softly:
SUSAN: You don't have to...
KARL: I'm sorry?
SUSAN: I mean, you know, if you want to, that's fine. I'm just saying that, well, you know, you don't have to.
KARL: Well I don't want to.
SUSAN: You don't want to what?
KARL: I mean I don't want to stay away. If you're asking me to come back home...
SUSAN (quickly): Yeah, I am.
KARL (sincerely): Thank you.
Susan smiles at him weakly.
KARL: I love you.
Susan stands there. She hesitates, clearly struggling to know how to respond. The most she can bring herself to say is:
SUSAN: I believe you.