- Nikki implies that she thinks Jack has feelings for Paige
- Nikki says she's not into ‘churchy stuff' when Jack invites her to Blaze Outreach
- Toadie is shocked when Sonya brings up the idea of being a surrogate for Mark and Steph
- Steph tells Toadie she feels like there's a hole in her relationship with Mark since Charlie left
- Sonya's thrilled when Toadie agrees to her offering to be a surrogate
Toadie and Sonya are getting ready for work, and agree they need to make time to talk to Steph about the surrogacy. Steph comes in, and they try to talk, but she's really late for work and dashes off to the shower. Sonya and Toadie agree that they'll talk to Mark and Steph respectively and arrange a lunch together today to discuss the surrogacy idea.
Here be titles.
Paul is whining to Mark about Jacka Hills having been let out on bail. Mark explains that Jacka's sentencing for blowing up Lassiter's has been held up by Paul's previous guilty verdict. As Paul stomps off, Sonya comes in, and invites Mark to lunch today with her, Toadie and Steph.
The Flame Tree
Toadie asks Steph to lunch too.
STEPH: Oh, why?
TOADIE: To eat!
Mark tells Sonya he can't make lunch, as he has lots of paperwork to do.
The Flame Tree
Likewise, Steph tells Toadie she feels like she needs to be at the motel.
Sonya tells Mark that the lunch has to be today.
SONYA: Because I can't tell you! But I'm gonna tell you at lunch, so can you just please – this is very important.
The Flame Tree
Toadie tells Steph he'll see her at 12 for lunch, before she has a chance to object further!
Mark grudgingly agrees to Sonya's invitation, and she tells him she'll see him at 12. Sonya grins as Mark leaves.
Paige is teaching an art class at the outreach centre. Among the participants is Nikki, and after the session, Paige compliments her on her artistic talents. Nikki seems very keen to come to the next class; however, Jack then arrives, and Nikki seems uncomfortable as she packs her things away. Paige, oblivious to this, tells Jack it's nice for Nikki to have another outlet to express her feelings.
JACK: Seems as though you're actually a good teacher!
PAIGE: Don't sound so surprised, Jack!
JACK: Well, it's just not a role I ever saw you in.
Nikki watches as they talk, sensing the connection between them. When Jack walks away, Paige suggests to Nikki that they have some one- on- one classes together. But Nikki has suddenly changed her tune.
NIKKI: I'm not so into hanging around at a place where a priest is always around.
PAIGE: Oh, no, Jack's a great guy!
NIKKI: Who's a priest. And they're dodgy as.
PAIGE: You can't assume all priests are the same.
NIKKI: Haven't you seen what's on the news? Do you reckon that's okay?
PAIGE: Definitely not. But if you get to know the guy, he's really just normal.
NIKKI: Not happening.
Nikki walks off. Paige looks worried.
Sonya is frantically tidying in preparation for the talk with Mark and Steph, when Toadie comes in. They're both panicking over how to bring up the surrogacy idea.
SONYA: We could say something like ‘we've been thinking'.
TOADIE: You've been thinking.
TOADIE: It's got to come from you (…) It's not exactly my bits that are gonna get used, is it?
Mark and Steph come in.
STEPH: Where's lunch?
SONYA: I completely forgot!
Sonya and Toadie laugh nervously, and usher Mark and Steph onto the couch. There's a long and awkward silence before Sonya begins.
SONYA: We love you both so much.
STEPH: We love you too…!
SONYA: And watching what you've been going through lately, it's just been devastating. I mean, you finally had Charlie back into your life, and you were a family, which is what you both always wanted. And now he's gone. And you talked about, you know, having a baby together. But you can't, because of Steph's health issues. And I – we – we were thinking, we just want to help you, yeah? And so I would – I would like to offer to carry your baby as a surrogate.
Mark and Steph look shocked.
STEPH: This is huge. Do you really understand what's involved?
SONYA: Yeah, we've done our research.
STEPH: Yeah, well so did I. We were both there when Libby wanted to have a baby. And I don't know if you realise, but I actually offered to be her surrogate. But I didn't happen, for the same reasons as why I can't have one now. But this – this is not a straightforward offer. This is incredibly complex, both physically and emotionally.
Sonya seems to have it all worked out, though. She says they'd go through a clinic, consult a fertility specialist, and all have individual counselling sessions, before their case would be judged by a review panel. Toadie adds that they'd need to have contracts drawn up to make it all official. Steph points out that she has a criminal record, but Toadie's researched it and thinks it will be okay.
MARK: So… Whose baby is it?
SONYA: It's yours and Steph's. You've just got to think of me as temporary accommodation for him or her.
But Mark in particular seems awkward at the idea.
Nikki is helping out with some tidying while Paige plays with her phone. Jack turns up, and finds Nikki unwilling to talk to him, despite Paige's best efforts to encourage dialogue between them. He asks Paige what her problem is, and Paige explains that Nikki thinks all priests are weird! Jack is disconcerted by this, and challenges Nikki outright.
JACK: You don't really know me.
NIKKI: Doesn't matter. You're all weird.
JACK: Okay. How about you ask me anything you like. Just to see how weird I really am.
JACK: Anything. I've got nothing to hide.
As they leave No 30, Mark and Steph discuss the Rebecchis' offer – neither of them had any idea that it was coming. Mark thinks it's an out- there thing for Sonya to offer, just because they were missing Charlie; but Steph admits that she told Sonya she didn't think her relationship with Mark would last if they couldn't have kids. Mark insists that's not an issue, and that he loves her.
STEPH: And I love you. But I don't think that's enough. I know how much you want a baby of your own, and I want nothing more than to be able to give that to you. But I can't, and I know that one day you're gonna wake up, and you're gonna realise you've missed out on all of this because of me, and then – it's gonna be the end of us.
STEPH: Look, I think we both just need some time to think about this.
They kiss, and agree to meet up later. But Mark looks worried as Steph leaves.
Toadie and Sonya discuss Mark and Steph's reaction; Sonya's worried they've done the wrong thing, and doesn't want their friendships to change. Toadie seems less worried about this.
SONYA: I feel stupid.
TOADIE: Well, don't. You are the most incredibly selfless person I know. And regardless of what happens, I love you for what you've done.
They kiss, just as Mark comes back in. He thanks them for the surrogacy offer, but says if they're doing this to save his and Steph's relationship, that's not a good enough reason. Sonya insists it's not about that.
SONYA: You and Steph are our family, Mark. And we know how much you want a baby, and we'd do anything we could to help you.
MARK: I know, but this is so… out- there!
SONYA: Well I wouldn't just offer it to anyone!
Sonya admits she had reservations about Steph and Mark's relationship at first, but says she's realised how good they are for each other.
SONYA: You'd both be such wonderful parents. Please – I would be honoured if you'd let me do this for you. To help you make this happen. Please, just think seriously about it, okay?
Steph is telling Paul about Toadie and Sonya's offer, in the hope of some friendly advice. He basically tells her she's an idiot for even considering it!
PAUL: You know that I do not support your relationship with Mark. I never have, and I never will. But even if I did, having Sonya carry your child? Someone with dependency issues? It's madness!
Steph objects, saying Sonya's worked really hard to get where she is, and she has no issues day- to- day, despite having a full- time job and kids and running a business.
PAUL: Why do you even want another child? You already have Charlie and Adam!
STEPH: Well, because Charlie is never gonna be a part of my life full- time again, and Adam's never been a part of my life since he was a baby. This is about me and Mark now; it's about our future. We both really want this.
Paul suggests adoption, fostering or overseas surrogacy as other options if Steph really wants another child – because getting her friends involved will not end well, he says.
Nikki is with Paige and Jack, and seems to be relaxing a little more around him. She's still asking him questions, though. Paige listens awkwardly throughout.
NIKKI: Have you ever committed a sin?
NIKKI: Like a real bad one, not like swearing or anything like that.
JACK: Yeah. I've stolen a few cars when I was a teenager.
NIKKI: Have you ever slept with anyone?
JACK: … Yeah.
NIKKI: Girl or guy?
JACK: Girl. Before I was a priest.
NIKKI: Full on. Were you in love with her?
JACK: In a teenage kind of way.
NIKKI: Have you ever been in love for real?
JACK: Yes, I have.
NIKKI: Who with?
JACK: … That's private.
NIKKI: But you said I could ask you anything.
JACK: And I didn't say I was gonna answer everything.
NIKKI: Fair enough. You've been pretty good so far. What about all this stuff on the internet, about the priests and what they did?
JACK: Yeah. That's a hugely shameful chapter of the church's history. I'm just glad there's a royal commission.
NIKKI: But how can people still go to church, and not think, ‘is this one of the dodgy ones?'
JACK: And yeah. Trust is a massive issue. We're at ground- zero and it's gonna take a long time to get that trust back.
NIKKI: Is that what they told you to say?
JACK: … No- one forced me to be a priest. I chose it because I wanted to have a positive impact on people's lives. And I believe being a part of the church is still the best way for me to do that.
Paige and Nikki look thoughtful.
Mark and Steph are talking about the Rebecchis' offer again. Mark admits it threw him completely.
MARK: Whenever I thought about having a baby, it was always the traditional way. Being there for its first kick, and talking to the child before it was born, so it got to know my voice. But I'd be doing that to Sonya's belly, and not yours. Now isn't that weird?
STEPH: Well, kind of. But all of the things you're talking about are not possible for us.
MARK: But just the idea of our child being inside Sonya. It's just so odd, and I'm pretty sure that Toadie feels the same way.
STEPH: Well, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have offered if they weren't both okay with it.
MARK: Sounds like you want to accept?
STEPH: Well, we've got a lot to talk about. But I just – I think given the fact that I can't naturally have a baby, it's something we should consider.
MARK: Well, if we want to have a family, there are other options. Adoption.
STEPH: Adoption in Australia is very difficult.
MARK: Overseas adoption. Fostering.
STEPH: Yeah, maybe – maybe.
MARK: Hey, hey – I love you. And I'm committed to us 100 percent, you and me. Kids or no kids.
STEPH: So you don't even just want to think about it?
MARK: I'm not comfortable with the idea of Sonya carrying our baby.
Steph says she understands, and that she'll tell Sonya. But she looks a little regretful.
Sonya is doing the dishes, when a tearful Steph appears and hugs her spontaneously.
STEPH: I don't know what I've done to deserve someone like you in my life.
SONYA: Well, I'm just as lucky to have you too, you know.
STEPH: Sonya, your offer is so amazing and generous. I love being a mum, and I've made so many mistakes, and I never ever thought I'd be given the chance to do it again, and do it right. And thank you, for having faith in me.
SONYA: Oh, of course.
STEPH: But Mark and I can't accept.
SONYA: I mean, are you sure? You can still just think about it?
STEPH: It's not gonna make any difference.
SONYA: I'm so sorry.
They hug, as Steph cries.
Nikki is still hanging out with Paige and Jack, and now seems very comfortable. Nikki gets a text from her mum, who wants to come and check out Blaze – Nikki says it's a good sign that she feels able to leave the hospital, where Angelina is presumably still recovering. Jack suggests that he, Nikki and her mum go to a footie match.
JACK: That's if you're okay being seen with me and all my weirdness!
Nikki doesn't refuse, but just smiles and leaves. Once she's gone, Paige congratulates Jack on how he managed to change Nikki's view of him.
JACK: Thanks to you.
PAIGE: I think you could've done it on your own.
JACK: I do better with you.
There's still chemistry in the air. Jack leaves, and Paige smiles.
Steph is on the phone to a mystery person.
STEPH: I was thinking maybe we could catch up? … Oh yeah, sounds good… Actually, I was wanting to ask you a favour… There's someone else that I'd like to see too.
Paige is tidying up when she spills a bottle of cleaning fluid all over herself. She's soaking wet so, checking she's alone, she whips her top off and looks around for something else to wear. Jack comes back in suddenly, having forgotten something – and is shocked to see Paige topless! She doesn't turn away, and he doesn't avert his eyes – they just stare at one another lingeringly.
Nikki comes in, also having forgotten something – and gasps at the sight in front of her. While Paige finally covers herself, Nikki assumes that Jack is responsible for her state of undress!
NIKKI: I knew you were too good to be true! You're a sleazebag, just like the rest of them.
Jack looks upset as Nikki storms out.
- Piper suggests the idea of a hot air balloon ride to Lauren
- Karl, Mark, Tyler, Toadie and Ned play mini golf in the No 32 garden
- Ned and Brad have a beer with creepy wooden mannequins bearing Josh and Doug's faces
- Mark tells Ned not to underestimate Jacka, while Jacka himself stalks Elly in the park
- Jacka introduces himself to Elly in the pub, using the name ‘JD'