- Paul begs Steph to bring him money in prison so he can pay for protection
- Paul's spared a potential beating when Gary Canning shows up
- Brad is appalled when Piper forces Lauren into telling him that Ned kissed her
- Lauren tells Brad she was trying to protect his bond with Ned – a bond Brad says is now tainted
- Ned tries to talk to Lauren, but she tells him she wants him to move out of the house
- Tyler and Piper have a Moment™, but it's interrupted by Terese's return – and Tyler runs to hide
Piper gives a much better- seeming Terese an overenthusiastic welcome home, desperate for her not to discover that Tyler is hidden in the laundry room. Piper tries to hurry Terese upstairs to unpack, and when she wants to get a drink of water, offers to do it for her to prevent her getting nearer to Tyler. Terese interprets this as Piper thinking she has to take care of her following her collapse, so insists she's better now.
Tyler listens in from the laundry room, and Piper is horrified when Terese approaches the laundry to put her jacket in the wash.
The titles roll.
Afterwards, Terese is just barging into the laundry room, when Piper offers to do the washing instead.
PIPER: Just let me take care of you for one more day.
TERESE: Okay! If you insist.
Tyler breathes a sigh of relief, while Piper sends Terese upstairs to have a rest. Once she's safely out of the way, Piper sneaks Tyler out of the house.
Lauren is throwing out some old food from the fridge, when Ned comes in, with his bag ready to pack. Brad finds them together, and it's awkward. Ned explains he's going back to Sydney; Lauren says it was her idea, as she thinks it would be best for everyone.
NED: It's not a good idea for me to hang around.
Brad doesn't say anything – just walks out of the room looking annoyed. Lauren continues to fill up the bin.
Gary is wandering around with a bag of apples, eating one of them. Paul thanks him for intervening to prevent him from being beaten up.
PAUL: So I guess I'm the last person you expected to find in here, eh?
GARY: No, not really. Scum eventually finds its own level.
Gary walks off, but Paul begs him to wait.
PAUL: I need you to protect me.
GARY: Are you joking? You're the reason I'm in here.
PAUL: Well, yeah, I know. But I'll make it up to you.
GARY: What, more of your dodgy money? No thanks.
Paul offers to tell Gary what's going on with his family, but Gary says he gets regular letters from Sheila. Paul quickly hits on something Gary didn't know, though – that Xanthe almost ended up with a foster family after Kyle approached the DHS about her.
GARY: What are you talking about?
PAUL: Give us one of those, and I'll tell you.
Gary gives Paul an apple – or rather, the half of his apple that he hasn't eaten yet! Paul looks annoyed, but starts eating it anyway.
In the kitchen, Paige apologises for not being there for Lauren lately. Paige offers to speak to Brad for her, but Lauren doesn't want her getting involved. Paige is sad that Ned is leaving, as she was just starting to get to know him.
Terese comes in, and a misunderstanding quickly leads to her being told what's happened between Ned and Lauren.
Terese comes in to find Brad drinking alone. She quickly makes it clear that she knows what's been going on.
BRAD: Obviously the Erinsborough Information Superhighway is still going strong. Come on – out with it. Obviously there's something you want to say.
TERESE: Okay. Well, aside from the fact that Lauren clearly has some sort of mysterious hold over the Willis men…
TERESE: … I hope you don't ruin your relationship with her or your son over some silly mistake.
BRAD: Look, I can't have this conversation with you without sounding like a complete hypocrite.
TERESE: Try me.
BRAD: I wish Lauren had told me about the kiss straight away.
TERESE: Well, that was an error on her behalf. But one made for the right reasons. She loves you, Brad.
BRAD: Are you really defending her?!
TERESE: You know what? I know our history should mean I want the two of you to fail. But you know, it doesn't work like that.
BRAD: Doesn't it?
TERESE: If you fail, then what was it all for? Look, Ned is young and impetuous. And what he did was foolish – but unforgivable? I know that your relationship has been really difficult. And I know that you've worked really hard to try and make it better. But we lost our son, Brad. You still have Ned. Don't let your anger and your pride get the better of you.
Gary is annoyed that Sheila has kept what happened with Xanthe and the DHS from him. Paul reassures him that Sheila is doing a good job with Xanthe, but Gary feels out of the loop.
PAUL: She's your daughter, that's all that matters. So, come on, how about this protection?
Gary says he needs to keep his nose clean, so can't spend too much time in the yard. He has a chance of getting parole, he explains – he doesn't want to stuff it up again, like last time. Paul says that without Gary's help, he doesn't stand a chance in here.
Tyler is having a drink, when Piper comes in. He asks after Terese; Piper admits that she seems ‘different, lighter' since coming back from her retreat.
PIPER: Thanks for caring.
TYLER: Yeah, of course. That's what friends are for, right?
PIPER: Do you think if you say it enough times it will be true?
PIPER: Come on, Ty. Friends don't jump apart the minute a parent walks in the door.
TYLER: … Okay, fine. We're not just friends. We're more than that. But we shouldn't be. We haven't crossed any lines yet. We just need to stay on this side of the line.
Tyler puts his hand on Piper's.
PIPER: Yeah. This side.
She strokes his hand. Tyler gets a text message, and pulls away his hand. It's from Ned, explaining that he's leaving town. Piper thinks it's ‘lame' that Ned is running away from his issues.
TYLER: You of all people should get why he's leaving. He wants someone he can't have.
Tyler has to go, and Piper looks frustrated as he leaves.
Ned is still packing to leave. Brad has come in with sheets of paper bearing some of Ned's tattoo designs, but Ned doesn't want them – so Brad asks if he can keep them.
NED: I reckon I've left you with a pretty big mess as it is.
BRAD: It's not what I thought we'd be dealing with, that's for sure. You know, Ned, I've tried to come at this from every angle. But I'm still trying to figure out how you thought it was okay to kiss her. Can you just explain that to me?
NED: I dunno. She made me feel like I belonged here. I didn't mean to, but I started falling for her. You know, I swear, I tried to fight it at first. But when I thought you were getting back with Terese –
BRAD: I told you we weren't!
NED: I know. But at the time, it felt like you were tossing Lauren aside, like you did with Mum. That's when I kissed her. I'm sorry.
BRAD: … You know what? I really thought we were working through our problems. Now we've just got new ones. No matter what your reason, what you did was completely unacceptable.
NED: Yeah, I know. That's why I've got to leave.
BRAD: That's not what I'm saying, alright? Move out of the house, sure – but I would like you to stay close by.
NED: I can't.
BRAD: Ned, I know we've had our fair share of hurdles, alright – but come on, we can try and get past this.
NED: I don't think we can, Dad. I still have feelings for her.
Brad looks incredulous.
NED: Don't blame Lauren. She was trying to be kind to me, and I mistook it for something else. She loves you; she's the one you should be fixing things with now, not me.
Warrinor Prison / The Waterhole
Paul is on the phone to Sheila, claiming to be calling on Gary's behalf and saying he's too proud to call her himself. Paul tells Sheila that Gary thinks she's hiding the truth about what's going on with Xanthe and Kyle from him.
SHEILA: And whose fault would that be?!
PAUL: I don't want to play the middle man here. I suggest you come down here and talk to him yourself.
SHEILA: And why do you suddenly care so much?
PAUL: … Alright, look, I need a favour.
SHEILA: Go on.
PAUL: I need protection in here, and lord knows why, but people just won't mess with Gary.
SHEILA: So? Ask him yourself!
Paul says Gary needs some persuasion to help him, but Sheila doesn't see why she should intervene – since the explosion Paul's been locked away for causing almost killed her grandson.
PAUL: I can help Gary too. He might be the brawn, but I'm the brains. And he's going to need me, guaranteed. Surely you want to see him have the best chance of getting out of here in one piece?
Sheila relents, and says she'll come and see Gary – before bidding Paul goodbye.
Ned is loading his bags into a taxi. Paige and Piper have come to see him off.
PIPER: I think you're an imbecile for what you did.
NED: Thanks (!)
PIPER: But I still want you to stay.
PAIGE: And so do I.
Ned says he's set on leaving. Piper says he should ‘fight' his feelings for Lauren, but when Paige shuts her up, Piper hugs Ned and says she'll miss him. Ned then goes to hug Paige.
NED: You know, I don't think I've said it, but I'm really glad I have another sister. Sorry we didn't get to hang out more.
Brad comes out of the house, followed by Lauren, who maintains her distance, letting the Willises say their farewells without her.
NED (to Brad): If you're gonna ask me to stay…
BRAD: You've made your case. But you're welcome to come back whenever you're ready, and I hope it'll be soon.
Brad hugs Ned, who looks wistfully at Lauren over his shoulder. Lauren looks back in silence, and Ned gets into the taxi, which drives him out of Ramsay Street. Brad gives Lauren a tense look, before walking back inside.
Sheila has come to see Gary, and quickly realises that Gary didn't ask for her to come – it was all Paul's doing. Sheila warns Gary to ‘watch him', as Paul's a desperate man who'll say anything to get what he wants.
GARY: So, was he lying when he said that Xanthe nearly ended up in a foster home?
GARY: What the hell happened, Mum? He said she's been getting into all kinds of trouble.
Sheila plays down Xanthe's exploits. She tells him how Xanthe has formed a band and is planning on going busking (which doesn't reassure him!), and says she's not going to take parenting lessons from Paul Robinson – or Gary, for that matter. Gary accuses Sheila of coming here to try and sort out his problems, and tells her to focus on Xanthe instead – he can take care of himself, and Paul.
In the yard, Paul is reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A gang of non- speaking prisoners come and sit next to him threateningly, but when Gary appears and whistles, they all walk away quickly. Gary tells Paul that the crims are just ‘biding their time'.
PAUL: So, how about that protection, then?
GARY: Can you make it worth my while?
PAUL: I think so, yeah.
Gary takes a look at Paul's book, laughs, and walks off. Paul turns around and smiles smugly at the gang of crims, who are watching him in the background.
Paige and Piper are trying to help reconcile Lauren and Brad, by suggesting to Lauren that the Willises could contribute some recipes to the Carpenter family cookbook. Piper heads home, and when Brad comes in, Paige leaves too, to allow them to talk.
LAUREN: Listen, I know I should have told you about the kiss as soon as it happened.
BRAD: It's okay. I probably would have done the same thing. You know, I keep wondering if this is the universe's way of getting back at us. Well, me.
LAUREN: For the way we hurt Terese?
BRAD: Yeah. But then I realised – if she of all people can be supportive of us, maybe I should cut us some slack, too.
LAUREN: So we're good?
BRAD: We will be.
Brad goes for a shower. Lauren is still looking a bit worried.
Piper is lying in the dark on the sofa, watching a nature documentary.
TV PRESENTER: But life in the wild is not all sunlight and quiet grazing. An increasing number of predators stalk the wild…
Piper turns the TV off, and goes to call Tyler.
No 24 / No 22
Tyler is lying in bed, when his phone rings. He begins a video chat with Piper.
PIPER: It just felt weird not debriefing with you before I went to bed.
TYLER: Did you say goodbye to Ned?
PIPER: More or less. Thanks for the advice. You're good at it.
TYLER: Yeah, when the outcome only matters to me.
PIPER: So now you just have to fix all the other problems in my life. Dad and Lauren are probably going to break up; and who knows if Mum's gonna stay on the wagon this time?
TYLER: Do you reckon there's any reason that she won't?
PIPER: No. But I just keep remembering that feeling when I saw her lying on the floor. I really thought she was dead for a split second; it was awful. Sorry – overshare. We're still on the right side of the line?
TYLER: So far.
PIPER: Even if I said that you're the only person I want to talk to when everything around me is falling apart?
TYLER: Yeah. That might be crossing it.
PIPER: No. Crossing the line would be if I said that, amongst all the craziness in my life at the moment, you're my anchor – and that I want to be with you all the time, and I can't stop thinking about you.
TYLER: … So if I told you that I felt the same way, would that be crossing the line too?
They smile at each other.
PIPER: But we're only talking hypotheticals.
TYLER: Yeah. Yeah, I think we should stop there.
PIPER: … You sure?
TYLER: Yeah. Goodnight, Pipes.
Tyler puts his phone down, and sighs. Next door, Piper puts hers down, and sighs.
A pair of crims are waiting for Paul, as he emerges into the yard with a bag of crisps. One of them, Stan Lewicki, demands to know who said Paul could eat.
PAUL: I'd give those back if I were you. Oh, what, you haven't heard? I'm protected.
STAN: Oh yeah, by who?
PAUL: By him.
Stan thrusts the crisps back at Paul, and walks back inside the building with his sidekick.
PAUL: You might have scared him off now, but he needs to know that you're looking out for me.
GARY: I didn't scare him off. He's just rounding up his crew.
Sure enough, more crims appear at the doorway.
PAUL: In that case, you'd better stay close.
GARY: Sorry. No can do.
PAUL: Hang on! You promised that you would protect me if I made it worth your while!
GARY: I didn't promise you anything. Besides, anything you've got to offer is worth diddly to me.
PAUL: What, so you're just going to throw me to the wolves?
GARY: I'm in this place because of you. My family didn't even get to use the money I gave them for doing your dirty work!
PAUL: That's not my fault!
GARY: And you spun a bunch of lies to my mum to get her out here to talk to me?
PAUL: Yes, because I was desperate. In case you hadn't noticed, my life is in danger!
GARY: And because of you, my son almost died! Why would I help you!
PAUL: Because I'll pay you. I'll pay any amount that you name. Just stay here and help me fight these guys, will you?
Stan and many other crims are now gathered in the yard.
GARY: Did I forget to mention? I've been granted parole. I'm free, as of now. Good luck – you're on your own.
Gary walks away, leaving Paul to the mercy of Stan and the crims.
- Xanthe, Angus and Ben are having a band practice in the No 26 garden
- Someone says they need to pay Tom Quill. Angus quits the band
- Ben tells Xanthe that Angus's mum is really sick, and that he doesn't know
- Paul's in hospital, and Amy goes to visit him – as does Terese
- Karl tells Amy that Paul doesn't want to see her