Libby telling Drew that she hates that Susan is taking Karl back.
Susan asking Karl to come back home.
Joel and Billy are walking along a road, Joel asking Billy when he gets the final word on his job. Billy replies that it'll probably be this morning: he's going to the hospital to see Jack so he can get the bad news in person. He sighs:
BILLY: Yesterday I had a job... a life... a future...; and today absolutely nothing.
JOEL: Do you reckon you'll go back to school?
BILLY: I wouldn't mind getting another job if I could.
JOEL: Yeah – you and a million others...
The two of them stop in their tracks as they turn and head up Ramsay Street. Joel comments that it looks like Billy isn't the *only* one with problems. They stare at the sign that Madge and Harold planted outside No. 24. Some of the words of ‘Lou Carpenter's greed knows no bounds' have been crossed through and the sign has been changed to read ‘Our greed knows no boundaries'! He adds that the situation really should have been settled by now!
BILLY: Mate – when Lou Carpenter and the Bishops go head to head, *nothing* gets settled that easily!
Susan is preparing breakfast in the kitchen when Billy and Joel arrive home. The three of them go and sit down at the table and Susan asks the boys how they got on at the pool.
BILLY (shrugs): Not bad.
JOEL (incredulously): *Not bad*?! You knocked half a second off your two-hundred freestyle this morning!
Susan then asks Billy what his plan is for the day. Billy replies that he thought he might head over to the hospital and see Jack; and after that he'll go over to the real estate agent's and see if he can get himself out of the lease. Susan suggests that he take his dad with him, as these things can sometimes be a bit tricky to get out of; Karl might be able to negotiate a better deal.
BILLY: Maybe... maybe not... But see, the thing is: I got *myself* into this mess, so it's up to me to get me out of it.
Libby emerges from her bedroom at that moment. Susan comments to her that she's early; she didn't think her first lecture was until 11am.
LIBBY (breezily): Yeah, it is. I thought I'd catch up with a few people first, though.
BILLY (looking at Susan): For ‘a few people', read ‘Mike'!
Libby, however, retorts:
LIBBY: For your information, big mouth, Mike's not getting back from the country until this arvo. We're catching up for drinks *then*.
SUSAN (muses): Who knows... she might even introduce him to *us* one day...!
Susan then comments to her daughter that she's not going to be too late home, is she?
LIBBY: Probably not. Why?
SUSAN: Oh, I just thought that, er, we might have a family get together; sort of a, um, welcome home dinner for your dad.
Everyone stares at her. Libby says coolly:
LIBBY: ‘Welcome home'? You mean as in for good?
Susan nods at her.
BILLY (exclaims happily): Yes! Why didn't you tell us sooner? This is the best news I've had all week!
Libby, however, just murmurs distantly:
LIBBY: Yeah, yeah, that's great. That's good. Dad must be pleased.
She then gets up from the table. Susan looks at Billy in concern.
Toadie sits down on the couch with Sarah, who's writing on some sheets of pink paper. He asks her what she's doing, and she tells him that she's making some signs advertising for a couple of new housemates to move in. Toadie holds out his hand and says:
TOADIE: In that case, um... Hi, I'm Jarrod Rebecchi.
SARAH (looking puzzled): What?!
TOADIE: I've come to apply for one of the rooms.
SARAH: You're nuts!
TOADIE: No, no, no, I'm serious. See, here's the deal: the house with Bill kind of fell through. Billy lost his job and I can't afford the room on my own, so I'm going to need my old room back, aren't I...
SARAH: Of course, there'll be a few things I'll have to consider, Mr. Rebecchi. For a start, I'll need to see references!
TOADIE: Not a problem. I'll get one from my last flatmate: she's a lovely girl; you'd really like her!
SARAH: And I'll need your absolute assurance that you'll do your share of the cooking.
TOADIE: No problems.
TOADIE: I wouldn't have it any other way!
SARAH: Do you have your own ironing board?
TOADIE (grins): I've got several, baby!
SARAH: Then you can move in straight away!
Sarah then adds a warning, though: that she wants him to stop that ridiculous Post-It system:
SARAH: If I see another one of those pieces of yellow paper, I'm going to scream!
She then smiles that she's really glad he's staying. Toadie points out that they don't need to waste the signs: they still need a third person to rent, so they should change the signs to say one bedroom to rent rather than two, and stick them up anyway.
Billy opens the front door and lets Anne in. She gives him a kiss and then comments that Phil told her the job's looking a bit shaky. Billy sighs that good news travels fast...
ANNE: It's not *all* that bad!
BILLY (incredulously!): How do you figure *that*?
ANNE: Well if you *do* lose the job, you won't be moving into the house with Toad!
BILLY (looking surprised): And that's good?
ANNE: It is for *me*; it means I still get to see you almost every single day!
Anne then tells Billy that he can walk her to school. Billy, however, asks if they can do lunch instead, as he's heading to the hospital to see Jack, then to the real estate agent's, then to the job centre.
ANNE (looking surprised): The job centre?
BILLY: To see about a job. If I get the flick, I'm unemployed.
Anne comments that she guesses she thought he'd be coming back to school; the only reason he left was because he got offered the job with Jack, but now that's all changed...
BILLY (indignantly): So who says I won't get work someplace else?
ANNE: Do you realise how hard it is to find a job these days – especially without any experience.
Susan emerges from the bedrooms, holding a pile of ironing, and Anne asks her quickly if she doesn't think Billy would be better off going back to school.
SUSAN (warily): Uh... what I think doesn't matter. It's Bill's decision. Early days, yet; plenty of time to weigh up his options.
She looks at Billy and raises her eyebrows!
Toadie hands Sarah the Room to Let notices he's written, but she looks at them and exclaims:
SARAH: What's this? ‘No new-agers, no stamp collectors and no Swans supporters'?!
Toadie tells her that it doesn't hurt to be more selective about the class of people they want to attract! Changing the subject, he asks Sarah if she's heard any messages from Karen on the answer machine. Sarah says she hasn't.
TOADIE: It's really weird. I've been trying to call her for days: I've been round to her house... left notes... Haven't heard hoo. Haven't even seen her over at Lou's.
SARAH: Are you worried?
SARAH (teases): Scared she's run off with another man, hey?!
TOADIE: Right! As if she could find another guy to replace *me*!
Toadie then suggests that they head to the Coffee Shop, then the hospital, then make up another notice for the uni board... Sarah says quickly:
SARAH: Actually, speaking of boards...
TOADIE: Ah, yes, the ironing board! Let's go to the tip and give it the final send-off it deserves.
Sarah, however, tells him:
SARAH: Actually, I've got a much *better* idea...
Susan is making a shopping list at the kitchen counter while Joel dries some dishes. She asks him to check in the fridge for butter, but he looks and realises there isn't any. Susan sighs that she bets Billy put the empty container back in the fridge. Joel, however, admits that it might have been him.
SUSAN (chuckles): At least you're honest! And since you're a paying guest, I'll let you off the hook!
JOEL (looking serious): Actually, I've been meaning to talk to you about that.
SUSAN: About what?
JOEL: About me being a paying guest.
SUSAN: Well, when I say ‘paying guest', you know that I mean more like a member of the family.
JOEL: Yeah, I know, I know, and I really do feel like part of the family – which makes it even harder to say what I'm about to say.
Susan stares at him as she realises:
SUSAN: You're moving on.
SUSAN: Just when I was getting used to having you around!
She then adds:
SUSAN: I hope it's not anything that any of *us* have done – because I would understand if the last few weeks have made you feel pretty uncomfortable.
JOEL: No, it's nothing like that, I promise: you guys have done nothing *but* make me feel comfortable. It's just with Karl coming back, I kind of figured you'd all want some space.
Susan insists that that's very sweet, but he doesn't have to move out. Joel, however, tells her that they always agreed it was only a temporary thing, and now that he's made some friends and got himself established, it's time to find something a little more permanent.
SUSAN: So, have you got somewhere in mind?
JOEL: Actually... I'm thinking about taking over Bill's lease and moving into the house with Toadie!
SUSAN (chuckles): I should have guessed!
Susan then tells Joel that he should speak to Toadie before the real estate agent re-advertises the place.
Toadie and Sarah are driving down a street in Toadie's car. They pull to a stop outside a house as Sarah says:
SARAH: This is it; this is the house. The one with the green Commodore in the drive.
Toadie stares at the house and at the car parked *next* to the Commodore. He exclaims:
TOADIE: That's *Karen's* car.
SARAH (blankly): What?
TOADIE: The red one; well, it's her flatmate's, but Karen drives it. What's it doing *here*?
SARAH: I don't know. Maybe...
TOADIE (angrily): Maybe she and Alex have both been playing us for *fools*?
Toadie climbs out of the car and storms round to the rear door on the passenger side.
TOADIE (snaps): I bet they're seeing each other.
SARAH: Don't be ridiculous!
TOADIE: Well it makes perfect sense. The reason why neither of us has heard from either of them? I mean, they got on great at the dinner party, didn't they? I bet you she stayed the night.
SARAH: Oh come on... you're reading too much into it.
TOADIE: You think so?
With that, Toadie pulls the old ironing board out of the back seat and approaches the two cars parked in the driveway with it. Sarah looks fearful that he's going to throw it into the cars, but instead he lobs it over the top of them and it hits the wall of the house before clattering to the ground.
A short time later, Toadie pulls his car up in Ramsay Street and he and Sarah climb out, Sarah crying at him that there could be a *million* reasons why Karen's car was there.
SARAH: One of her subjects at uni... isn't it Psychology?
SARAH: So that's Alex's field of expertise. Maybe he's helping her with an assignment?
TOADIE (sarcastically): Yeah – and maybe the Lotto office is going to call me and tell me I'm a millionaire!
SARAH: I think you're jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts.
TOADIE (rants): What's there to *know*? She hasn't called me; she hasn't returned my calls; her car was parked next to his at nine o'clock in the morning. You don't have to be a genius to work *that* out.
SARAH: No, but you could try being a bit more rational. Why don't you drive over there and talk to her? I'm sure you'll find there's a rational explanation.
TOADIE (gasps): You've got to be joking, right? I couldn't think of anything more humiliating. I can't believe she's *done* this to me...
Billy and Anne are having lunch, and Anne asks Billy how bad Jack was. Billy replies that he's paralysed down one side. Anne asks if he can talk.
BILLY: Enough to confirm I'm out of a job – not that *my* troubles matter or anything...
He adds that it was awful to see Jack like that, going on that there's a chance he might recover partially, but even then, it takes a hell of a long time, so it doesn't help *him*.
ANNE: I take it you didn't have much luck at the Job Centre, then?
BILLY (glumly): Not unless I want to make a career out of pizza delivery – and even then you need your own car.
ANNE: So why don't you come back to school?
BILLY (warily): I don't know...
ANNE: Come on! You've only missed one week!
Billy says he needs more time to think about it. Anne, however, points out that the longer he takes, the more he'll have to catch up. Billy just retorts that he said he needs time to think.
BILLY (coolly): Now can we just drop it and eat? I'm hungry.
Toadie is sitting on the couch as Joel stands in front of him and says:
JOEL: Anyway, I figured we could save Bill a heap of hassles by taking his name off the lease and putting my name on.
Toadie, however, tells him that he should have spoken up sooner; he told Sarah this morning that he was staying in Ramsay Street. Sarah comes in at that moment with tea, and she smiles that if Toadie changes his mind again, his new address will be the morgue! She then suggests:
SARAH: If you're so desperate for a new place to stay, why don't you move in *here*?
JOEL (looking surprised): In *here*?
SARAH: Well, we've got a spare room... we're looking for another person... the rent's reasonable.
TOADIE: We'll even throw in free use of the pool if you're lucky!
Looking at the expression on Toadie's face, Joel asks him if he's OK. Toadie sighs that his love life has just bitten the dust. He then asks Joel what he reckons about moving in. Joel says he doesn't know.
SARAH: You don't have to make up your mind straight away.
JOEL: No, no, it's OK.
SARAH: It's a big decision.
JOEL: Um... yeah, I'll take the room.
TOADIE: Wow! That was quick – and stupid! Welcome to the House of Horrors!
Toadie then asks:
TOADIE: So how come you left the Kennedy clan? You must have been on a pretty good wicket there?
JOEL: Yeah, I was, I was, but it was only ever a month-to-month arrangement, and what with Karl coming back...
Sarah's face drops. She says hesitantly:
SARAH: Is he? I didn't know it was definite. It's great news...
Toadie looks at her in concern.
Libby is sitting at a table with Mike. She puts down an empty glass and he asks her if she wants another one. She tells him, though, that she really should be going. She then adds that he could always come with her!
MIKE: Oh yeah? Where?
LIBBY: Home, of course. Mum's organised this family dinner.
MIKE (grinning): What – and I'm going to be the entertainment for the evening? “Hey, everybody, come and check out Libby's new boyfriend”?!
Libby sighs that her mum's been going on about how she's kept him a big secret – and it *would* be a good chance for him to meet everyone.
MIKE: But if it's a family thing, I'm going to feel like an intruder, Lib.
LIBBY: Trust me: you won't be an intrusion; more like a welcome diversion...
MIKE: What do you mean?
LIBBY: It's dad's official Welcome Home. It's a pretty big deal for mum; you know, she's determined to make it a happy event; but *I'm* not going to find it so easy – and with you there, it might just take the edge off a bit.
She then pleads:
LIBBY: Please?! You'd be doing me a huge favour!
MIKE: I can't really say no, can I?! I'm going to have to front up for inspection sooner or later!
Toadie is standing in the hallway with the ‘phone to his ear, trying to get through to Karen, but there's no response. He mutters bitterly into the answerphone at the other end:
TOADIE: Obviously you've got something better to do, so give me a call: we need to talk.
He heads back into the lounge room, where Joel is sitting on the couch and Sarah in an armchair. Toadie tells Joel:
TOADIE: The rent is due on the first Monday of every month, and we split the gas, electricity, water and ‘phone three ways.
SARAH: Except for STD calls: you pay for those yourself.
JOEL: Great! What about cooking... cleaning... shopping...?
TOADIE: Sarah wants to do that all herself.
SARAH (indignantly): Hey!
TOADIE (muses): It was worth a shot!
Sarah explains that everyone cleans up their own mess and the rest of the stuff they take in turns. Joel asks when he can move in. Toadie tells him:
Joel, however, suggests he start tomorrow. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Toadie gets up to answer it. He finds Karen standing on the step, and she smiles warmly:
KAREN: Hi, you! Long time no see!
TOADIE (growls): Yeah, and I wonder whose fault *that* is...
Karen tells him that she's really sorry that she hasn't had time to return any of his messages, but she's been snowed under.
TOADIE (mutters): Yeah, I bet.
KAREN (looking surprised): Is something wrong?
They head into the lounge room, where Joel says quickly that he's got to meet Drew at the pub. Sarah tells him that she'll come with him. As she heads out, she wishes Toadie luck. Karen then demands of Toadie:
KAREN: What did she mean by *that*? What – is there something going on I should know about?
TOADIE (coolly): That's really funny – ‘cos I was just about to ask you the same thing...
A short time later, Toadie is snapping angrily:
TOADIE: Come on, Karen, you must think I was born yesterday. I've been trying to call you for *days*.
KAREN (yells): Yeah, and I told you: I've been busy.
TOADIE: Your car was parked at Alex's house this morning. You've been seeing him since that dinner party, haven't you? Since you both snuck off together.
KAREN (indignantly): We did not ‘sneak off' together. We left because you and Sarah were fighting, making it impossible for anyone to have a good time.
TOADIE: Oh, so you decided to go off and have a good time with each *other*, then?
KAREN (shouts): No!
Karen then goes on:
KAREN: Look, so what if I've been seeing Alex? He's good company; we've got things in common.
TOADIE: Yeah – like you're both two-timers.
KAREN: If you must know, Alex has been helping me with my Psych assignment.
Toadie bursts out laughing disbelievingly as Karen continues:
KAREN: ...which is why my car was parked outside his house this morning. Anyway, why should I have to stand here justifying myself to *you*?
TOADIE (yells): Because *I* thought that you were my *girlfriend*. I thought that we had something *special*.
KAREN: We *did*. We *do*.
Toadie just stares at her.
Sarah and Joel walk in and Sarah asks when Drew's getting there. Joel, however, replies that he's not; that was just an excuse to get out of No. 30. Sarah then tells Joel that she'll be back in a tick. She crosses to another table, where Alex is sitting on his own. He invites her to sit down and apologises for not having been in touch. Sarah asks if he's sure, because if he's waiting for someone...
ALEX: Actually, I *am*. You know Karen, your flatemate's girlfriend? It turns out one of her uni subjects is Psychology.
SARAH (muses): How about that...?
ALEX: Anyway, she's got this big assignment that I've been helping her with and she asked me to meet her here to go over a few notes. You're welcome to join us.
SARAH (hesitantly): I, er, don't think she's going to be here for a while... Very generous of you, though, to help her that way.
ALEX (shrugs): I like to do what I can.
SARAH: I only hope she lives long enough to *finish* the assignment...
ALEX (looking surprised): Sorry?
SARAH: Because the last time I saw her, Toadie was about to *kill* her.
SARAH: He knows you've been seeing each other.
ALEX: Yeah, but only in a student-teacher kind of way.
SARAH: Well, ‘teach', her car was at your house this morning – early. We saw it when we dropped-off the ironing board.
ALEX: What, and you're telling me he's jealous? Or are we talking about *you*?
SARAH: *Me*? Come off it; *I'm* not jealous. There's never been what you'd call anything *serious* between us; we were just friends. But *as* a friend, I expect the truth, and if you've been fooling around with my housemate's girlfriend behind his back, I at least expect you to have the decency to tell me.
Karl is sitting on the couch when the front door opens and Libby arrives home. She says a muted ‘hi'. There's an air of awkwardness between them. After a brief silence, Libby says she might start dinner. Karl says he'll help. Libby, however, tells him that he doesn't have to do that. Karl insists. He goes to look for the plates, but they aren't where he expects to find them. Libby points out the cupboard they're in, and explains that Susan had a big clean-out a few weeks back. Susan arrives home at that moment and comments that she wasn't expecting Karl so early. Karl explains that his house calls finished early. Billy then comes in and smiles at his father that it's good to have him back. Susan looks on fondly at her family all gathered together again.
Alex is telling Sarah that he and Karen didn't *mean* for it to happen.
SARAH: Just one of those things, right? Oh, look, it's OK; it's not like *I'm* in any position to judge anyone, is it? Go on.
Alex tells her that it really did start out quite innocently – him helping Karen with her assignment – then one thing led to another. Sarah comments that it just would have been nice to have found out face-to-face, instead of by accident. Alex tells her that he's sorry.
SARAH: It's OK. Lucky for you, I'm the forgiving type – although I can't say the same about Toadie...
Karen is sitting on the couch as Toadie stands and says tersely:
TOADIE: So far, you haven't been able to tell me what any of this is all about. All I have heard is how I'm so busy... how I'm never there for you... yet you still haven't answered the original question.
KAREN: Which is?
TOADIE (leaning down and staring into her eyes, coldly): Are you seeing Alex?