- Chloe's taken with the idea of fostering after seeing Aaron and David's experience with Emmett
- Pierce asks if she might be interested in them doing it; she says 'maybe'
- Grant makes things right with Mackenzie, praising her courage and saying he's proud to be her dad
- Dipi assures Mackenzie that she and Shane are 'Team Mackenzie'; Mackenzie says that's good to know
- Emmett, David and Aaron are all thrilled when the agency approves his staying with them longer- term
- But difficulties arise when Emmett's driver doesn't turn up to collect him after school
- Aaron promises to figure something out, and asks Paul to pick Emmett up as he's in the area
- But when Paul arrives at the school, he can't see Emmett anywhere; Aaron breaks the news to David
Berrington High School / No 32
Paul is on the phone to Aaron, telling him not to panic - he'll find Emmett. In the garden at No 32, David tells Aaron that they should head to the school themselves; Aaron wants to call the agency first, but David tells him to call in the car. However, at that moment, Paul spots Emmett by the road nearby, and he puts him on the phone to Aaron.
Emmett explains that his phone died while they were speaking earlier, so he went to try and catch a bus. Paul says he'll take Emmett home, and Aaron agrees to this - but once he's hung up, David points out that Paul should still not be picking up Emmett because of his criminal record.
AARON: Well, he can't just leave him there, can he?
DAVID: Well, get him to wait with him, while we get up there!
AARON: Are you serious?
DAVID: The rules on this stuff are really strict.
AARON: David, the agency doesn't have to know it happened.
DAVID: They already know that the driver mixed up the booking.
AARON: Okay, so then, they'll realise that it was an emergency caused by them.
David looks frustrated as Aaron walks off.
Chloe and Pierce come out of the lift into the lobby. Chloe's on the phone to Terese, who is explaining why Paul can't make a meeting they had scheduled, as he had to pick up Emmett. Chloe feels bad for Emmett, and says they should let David and Aaron know that they can call on them if they ever need anything.
CHLOE: Or (...) we could just get our own foster kid.
PIERCE: Is that something you want to discuss some more?
CHLOE: Yeah, I think I do.
David apologises for being short with Aaron before, and Aaron does likewise, saying they were both stressed. He explains he's emailed Leila at the foster agency, who has admitted it was the driver's mistake. But Aaron has told Leila that he and David picked Emmett up, rather than Paul.
DAVID: So you lied.
AARON: You said we would get into trouble if they found out.
DAVID: You said it wouldn't matter!
AARON: Well, this way, we don't have to worry about it, do we?
DAVID: Lying's only gonna make it worse.
AARON: Yeah, only if they find out.
At this point, Paul and Emmett arrive; Emmett is philosophical about the afternoon's events, saying it's not the first time it's happened to him. But Aaron promises him they'll get it right from now on. Emmett shows off some paint- pens (?) that Paul has bought him, which can be used to do 'tags and stuff'; Aaron jokes that he should make sure they're only used on paper.
Paul leaves them to it, having agreed to them shouting him dinner at The Waterhole later to say thanks. Leila phones, and Aaron reiterates to her that everything is fine now, as they drove out to pick up Emmett. However, Emmett, who had gone inside the house, comes back out again and overhears Aaron lying to Leila. David and Aaron look awkward.
Mackenzie and Grant are taking a walk together; Grant asks how things are between Mackenzie and Shane and Dipi. Mackenzie reports that she spoke to Dipi about the recent tensions, and things are going to be okay.
GRANT: Good. That was all my fault, but if you're willing to give me a second chance, perhaps you can give them one, too.
MACKENZIE: Yeah. And after everything that happened with Hugo, I don't want to add to the drama.
GRANT: So, everything's set for the, err...
MACKENZIE: Gender confirmation surgery?
MACKENZIE: You really want to talk about that?
GRANT: Why wouldn't I?
MACKENZIE: You only just started seeing me as your daughter. Surely that's a lot to get your head around.
GRANT: Well, it is a big operation, I am your dad, and I'd be worried about you no matter what it was.
Mackenzie explains she's decided to have the operation during the upcoming school holidays, so it doesn't impact her schoolwork as much. She'll need to be in hospital for a week, then recover at home. Grant offers no comment other than, 'That's good, love'. Mackenzie smiles.
Emmett is still raving about his new pens, and practising tags with them. David and Aaron want to have a chat with him.
EMMETT: Did I do something?
AARON: Uh, no - no, you didn't. Actually, I did. You heard me on the phone earlier, to Leila, when I said that David and I picked you up?
AARON: Well, I need to explain why I did that.
EMMETT: Well, cos Paul isn't on the list of people who can drive me around.
AARON: Yeah, yeah. Actually, that's exactly it.
EMMETT: You can just put him on the list.
DAVID: Dad's done some things - a long time ago - that the agency might not like.
AARON: Yeah. He wouldn't be allowed to drive you around.
DAVID: But we wanted to make sure that you know that lying isn't the right thing to do.
AARON: We're going to have to tell Leila the truth.
EMMETT: No. Don't!
AARON: Emmett, I'm sorry, but we have to.
EMMETT: If you get in trouble, I might have to go live somewhere else. And I don't want to leave yet. I didn't call you from school because I didn't want to cause any trouble.
AARON: You're not.
EMMETT: I won't say anything about Paul driving me. No- one has to know.
David and Aaron look uncomfortable.
Grant tells Shane that his WorkSafe claim has been successful, thanks to Toadie's efforts, meaning he's being put 'on the register' till his back's better, and can fully go back to work once he's recovered. Shane queries whether Grant would want to go back to his existing job, given how the boss has treated him. Grant says he hasn't many options in Barham, and wants to pay Shane's loan back.
SHANE: Mackenzie's gonna be disappointed you're leaving.
Grant looks worried.
Mackenzie is happily telling Harlow and Hendrix about how her dad broached the topic of her operation without prompting. They think it sounds like Grant is a changed man.
MACKENZIE: For once in my life, everything feels like it's falling into place.
Grant tells Shane that he wishes he could be here to support Mackenzie through the operation, but that he'll be on the phone to her every day. Shane says Grant can always call him too, as he's aware he'll be up in Barham on his own.
GRANT: Well, actually, uh, that might not be the case.
SHANE: What do you mean?
GRANT: I haven't been upfront about something.
SHANE: What is it now?
GRANT: Look, it's nothing. Well, not really, it's, uh... Look, it affects Mackenzie, so I want to tell her first.
Pierce and Chloe are visiting David, Aaron and Emmett; now Chloe is raving about how 'cool' Emmett's pens are, too (is this a product placement?) Aaron sends Emmett to put his shoes on so they can go and meet Paul for dinner. Chloe and Pierce are impressed at how smoothly things are going with Emmett, despite the 'rough arvo'.
CHLOE: Actually, you have inspired us (...)
PIERCE: We're thinking we might want to start fostering, too.
Aaron and David think this is great, but ask if they've told Hendrix. Pierce admits, not yet - they just want to get some info first. David and Aaron suggest they talk to Leila from the agency, who's coming to see them later on. Chloe asks David and Aaron if they can 'hook us up' with Leila.
David and Aaron are talking to Paul about the possibility that they could get into trouble because Paul picked Emmett up from school; he hadn't been aware of this. But Paul agrees with Aaron's instinct to keep it quiet until it blows over, saying what the agency doesn't know won't hurt them. Terese points out, however, that this isn't setting a great example for Emmett.
DAVID: I don't feel great about the lying either. But let's be honest - it's not the worst thing that's happened in his life.
Emmett, who has been fetching a soft drink, rejoins them. Paul asks what the agency is going to do about future school runs for Emmett; Aaron explains it will be up to him and David to manage their work schedules around it, and pick up Emmett themselves from now on.
EMMETT: Or I could just move schools.
AARON: Hey, I thought you wanted to stay where you were?
EMMETT: Yeah, but if it's better for you...
DAVID: Don't worry about us.
EMMETT: Well, I don't mind.
DAVID: Leila thinks you should stay where you are, until you're settled at ours.
EMMETT: Well, I am settled.
DAVID: Even so, changing schools is a big decision.
EMMETT: Well, I've done it heaps of times. This way, you won't have to come and get me all the time. And I won't have to spend two hours a day in the car.
Aaron says that if this is what Emmett wants, they'll look into it. Emmett nods, smiling, but then looks quietly unsure.
Chloe and Pierce are tidying up, having secured a same- day meeting with Leila through David and Aaron. Hendrix comes in, and Pierce and Chloe tell him that Leila is on her way to discuss the possibility of their becoming foster carers. This, of course, is the first Hendrix has heard of it.
CHLOE: We haven't decided anything yet.
PIERCE: Yeah, sorry, mate. I mean, the recruiter was in the area, and it's really just an informal chat, okay? Any decisions we make, we will make as a family.
HENDRIX: What if my decision was, 'I don't want to'?
PIERCE: Then we'll talk about it, okay? We weren't trying to sneak something past you.
HENDRIX: Really? Cos you've got form! You make massive life decisions, and dive in without even talking to me (...) How about the way you guys got engaged?
Chloe assures him they're not 'diving in' to anything yet; but at this point, Leila turns up for the meeting. Chloe and Pierce welcome her in...
Grant and Mackenzie are walking towards the courtyard; Grant's apologising for leaving so soon, but says they can talk on the phone any time. Mackenzie says she understands he needs to get back to Barham.
GRANT: But first, I might take a little detour.
MACKENZIE: What do you mean, detour?
GRANT: ... Uh, to see someone. Look, I should've told you this earlier, but when I left you and your mum, I took up with another lady.
MACKENZIE: Is *that* it? Dad, it's been ages since Mum. You're allowed to move on.
GRANT: Yeah, uh, but... we had kids (...) You've got a brother and a sister.
MACKENZIE: ... Excuse me? Why haven't you said anything?
GRANT: Well, I... I wanted to tell you. But I wasn't sure how, and I didn't want to hurt your feelings.
MACKENZIE: Why would it hurt me? Knowing they existed wouldn't... They don't know *I* exist, do they?
MACKENZIE: You were too embarrassed of me to tell them.
Pierce and Chloe are giving Leila a tour of the house, while Hendrix raids the fridge; Pierce tells her Hendrix has a younger sister, Alana. Leila asks if Chloe has any kids; she confirms not.
PIERCE: We have considered having one together, but that decision would be... well, it'd be up to Chloe.
CHLOE: Right now, I'm a satisfied stepmum.
Leila very quickly seems to clock that Hendrix isn't being very responsive as the four of them chat, and pointedly turns the spotlight on him.
LEILA: Foster care would be a big job for you, too, Hendrix. We count on the older kids to be good role models.
HENDRIX: Hmm. There's not a lot of people that would call me one of those.
PIERCE: He's joking!
But Leila doesn't look altogether convinced. Hendrix says he's enjoyed spending time with Emmett. Leila says he's a good kid, but that a lot of foster kids have experienced major trauma, and it can be a challenge to meet their needs. Thanking Chloe and Pierce for their time, Leila says she has to leave to see Aaron and David, and asks Hendrix to walk her out, saying they can chat on the way.
Pierce and Chloe look a bit worried as Leila and Hendrix go outside.
Grant and Mackenzie are talking about her surprise half- brother and sister!
GRANT: If I had my time over, I would've told them about you. I was just ashamed about what I did, and I would've had to have told them that I... abandoned you.
MACKENZIE: You went looking to make another family because you stuffed up ours.
GRANT: That's not how it was. Oh, I haven't been a very good dad to any of you. It's been ages since I've seen 'em. I'd really like to try and make that up to 'em now. You know, after my accident, I thought long and hard about all the choices I've made. I really want to put things right (...) This time that we've spent together, Mackenzie, has been so important. I'm determined to do better by them, too.
MACKENZIE: Good. So what are you gonna do now?
GRANT: I'm gonna pay 'em a visit. I'd really like it if you came with me.
Emmett is playing pool with Paul and Terese, while Aaron and David talk to Leila. She says she'll support Emmett moving schools if that's what he wants, providing The Department™ and his mum don't object.
LEILA: It is weird, though. Emmett's always been very resistant to changing schools. I can't believe that he was the one who suggested it.
AARON: Oh, well, I dunno, maybe he feels comfortable with us. Could that be it?
LEILA: Maybe. But it could mean the opposite (...) If a foster child feels that there's a chance they might be moved, then sometimes they think of ways to lock themselves into you. Has anything happened to make Emmett nervous about his security?
David and Aaron look shifty.
AARON: Well, no, not really. Not that I can think of.
LEILA: Okay. Well, I'll get it all sorted out tomorrow.
Leila leaves, and David and Aaron look at one another guiltily.
Pierce and Chloe are discussing their fostering options as set out by Leila - they could either apply to be full- time carers or just provide weekend respite care. Chloe is keen on the latter, given that they are both so busy during the week - adding that Hendrix might prefer that, too.
PIERCE: Well, I think this could work.
CHLOE: Is it what you want?
PIERCE: I think it might be. You?
PIERCE: So, we're doing this?
CHLOE: Let's do it!
Mackenzie is with Harlow, seeking advice on whether or not she should go with Grant to visit her surprise brother and sister. Harlow thinks it's great Mackenzie is on good terms with Grant, but reminds her that she doesn't owe Grant this.
MACKENZIE: I know I don't... I don't want my brother and sister growing up thinking that their dad doesn't love them. And if I can help him connect with them, then I should.
HARLOW: Speaking from experience... you might not get what you're expecting.
Mackenzie reconvenes with Grant.
MACKENZIE: Finding out you've got siblings - it's a lot.
GRANT: Is that a good lot?
MACKENZIE: I've always wanted a little brother or sister. And now I've got both.
GRANT: I reckon they're gonna love you.
MACKENZIE: I hope so - because I really want to meet them.
Grant says they could delay the trip until after Mackenzie's operation, but Mackenzie wants to go now - she's too excited to find out who they are. Shane and Dipi are picking up some schoolwork for her, so she's ready to go whenever Grant is.
GRANT: Thank you, Mackenzie. It means a lot.
MACKENZIE: It does for me, too.
Outside the hotel, Pierce is apologising to Hendrix if he feels he was kept in the dark over his and Chloe's decision to look into fostering.
PIERCE: You know, we'd never make a decision this big without you.
HENDRIX: Doesn't hurt to tell me what you're thinking, though.
PIERCE: No, you're right. And, you know, it all just happened so quick.
Hendrix asks what their current thinking is; Pierce confirms he and Chloe are mainly looking at being respite carers at weekends.
HENDRIX: Where did this foster idea even come from? (...) You guys had a rough patch a few weeks ago, and now you want to potentially add someone to the house. It seems kind of like you're trying to use this to fix things.
Pierce is objecting to this, when Chloe turns up. She's had a 'weird' text from Leila, who's said she isn't going to send them the fostering application forms.
CHLOE: She said she doesn't think we're ready. Apparently we need to 'sort out our family situation' first.
PIERCE: What is that supposed to mean?
CHLOE: She didn't say. Is it just me, or does this feel really unfair? We hadn't even told her we wanted to sign up yet.
Pierce looks over at Hendrix, who's been staying quiet.
PIERCE: What did you say to her?
Coming up on Neighbours
- Emmett tells David and Aaron that he stuffed up; they ask what happened
- Bea angrily tells someone on the phone to stop calling her
- Toadie tells Heather he has given 'all of you so many chances'
- John Wong tells Toadie that if his friend wants to know her father, she needs to act fast
- Toadie says, 'She needs to know'; Elly replies, 'Does she?'
- Levi brags to Kyle about his encounter with some 'welcoming locals'; Kyle asks who she was