- Chloe unwittingly leaves Dipi and Pierce alone in the pub together prior to Ned's exhibition
- Dipi tells Pierce she's scared that her marriage won't survive this
- Pierce and Dipi have an almost- moment at No 30, when an oblivious Shane interrupts
- David and Aaron become close to Nicolette and invite her to stay permanently
- But Pierce tells David that Nicolette staying around will make things harder for him and Chloe
- Aaron tells Pierce Chloe and Nic won't be friends again; he need have nothing to do with her
- Nic taunts Pierce, saying she's loving living on Ramsay Street and never intends to leave
- Pierce retorts that he couldn't be less interested
- Nic gets a text from 'Audrey', telling her she can hide no longer; she knows where she is
A rattled Nicolette is on the phone to 'Audrey', justifying her having been ignoring her messages.
NICOLETTE: It was just unexpected, that's all - and I didn't know what to say... Because we agreed, didn't we? No more contact, to be safe? ... No, coming here is not a good idea.
Aaron and David come in; they've decided to pay Ned a visit later to offer some friendly support, and ask if she wants to come.
NICOLETTE (terse): No, why would I?
AARON: Wow, okay (!) Maybe she's not all sunshine and rainbows after all!
NICOLETTE: Sorry, it's just I barely know the guy. Give him my best, though.
Aaron says they will.
Dipi and Shane are talking about Yashvi and how she is coping with the Ned situation; Dipi says Yashvi barely touched her breakfast. Shane suggests they have a family movie night to take her mind off it, but Dipi's not sure Yashvi would be up for it. She sees Pierce jogging toplessly nearby, and looks flustered - before telling Shane he's a 'good man' for trying to help Yashvi.
Shane gets a text from the uni, confirming his reenrolment for next semester. Dipi looks concerned.
David is trying to talk to Nicolette about their progress with getting Karl to pay for the damage to the ceiling, but she's distracted texting 'Audrey', asking her to meet her at Harold's Café. However, at this point there's a knock at the door, and David goes to answer it.
DAVID: You have a visitor.
A woman comes in and greets Nicolette, saying, 'Hi, surprise!'
NICOLETTE (feigning surprise): Oh, my god, Audrey - I can't believe you're here!
AUDREY: Well, I am!
NICOLETTE (feigning happiness): It is so good to see you!
David goes to put the kettle on and calls out for Aaron to come and join them; Nicolette's keen to get Audrey away from them, so suggests they go out. But David's determined for Nicolette to feel at home here now she has her 'first visitor'. Nicolette and Audrey look awkward.
Shane is all enthusiastic about gearing up for his uni return, but Dipi queries whether he might be moving a bit too fast by reenrolling.
DIPI: The pressure of studying is what led you to your addiction in the first place. I'm not sure you're ready to go back.
SHANE: ... You're worried I'll relapse.
DIPI: No, I want you to be careful about how much you take on. And I want us to talk about what you're ready for.
SHANE: Right, we're talking now.
DIPI: Okay. I feel like this is only gonna be harder this time around. You're doing well - but you're still recovering.
SHANE: And I always will be. But I can't sit on the bench for the rest of my life.
DIPI: Sure, but... some days, it's like you can take on the world, and there are other days, Puff, when you... you struggle to even have breakfast.
SHANE: It kind of sounds like you expect me to fail.
DIPI: No, that's not what I'm saying.
SHANE: Good. Cos I need you in my corner. I have to achieve something, Dip. So, can you please just have a bit of faith in me?
Dipi doesn't reply, so Shane walks away. She looks worried.
Pierce comes in from his jog and finds Chloe making enchiladas for breakfast. Hendrix makes gagging sounds from the couch as Chloe declares Pierce her 'sweet, sweaty prince'! Chloe is keen to continue the 'fiesta' that she and Pierce started last night on their date night.
HENDRIX: I'm down for some margaritas!
CHLOE: I'm down for you being some place that isn't here!
But Chloe shouts Hendrix fifty dollars to go to the movies, so he takes the hint
HENDRIX (leaving): Hey - you two kids have fun!
Chloe suggests to Pierce that they should jiggle their schedules and spend a romantic morning together. Pierce looks pleased, and says he'll make the margaritas.
Nicolette and Audrey are talking in the back garden.
AUDREY: I know you don't want to be friends.
NICOLETTE: It's nothing personal, but we both agreed, for both of our sakes.
AUDREY: I'm struggling with what we did.
NICOLETTE: Well, it was in the past, so forget about it.
AUDREY: I want to confess.
Nicolette looks horrified, but at this point, Aaron and David appear with coffee. David asks how Nicolette and Audrey met. Nic explains they worked together in Canberra.
AARON: So you drove all the way here just to surprise her?
NICOLETTE: Oh, seven hours in the car is nothing for your bestie, right?
Aaron asks how long Audrey's in town for, but before she can answer, Nicolette announces they're going out to Harold's.
DAVID: Are you sure?
DAVID: These are fresh beans.
AARON and DAVID (simultaneous): Single origin!
AUDREY: We can stay for a cup.
NICOLETTE (abrupt): No, we can't. I mean, I don't know how long you're here for, and I just want you all to myself.
An increasingly rattled Nicolette struggles to maintain her fake smile.
Aaron comes in, and gets 'way too much information' from Chloe about her date- night- turned- morning with Pierce, as she informs him it's been 'very rewarding'.
AARON: I just wanted to let you know that we've returned all the baby shower gifts.
CHLOE (sadly): ... Right. Thank you.
Hendrix comes in, having found nothing at the movies worth watching, and makes a beeline for the fridge to raid it. Chloe asks what's going on in Aaron's world; Aaron tells her about Nicolette's friend Audrey turning up from Canberra.
CHLOE: I've never heard her mention an Audrey!
Chloe looks a little disconcerted that Nicolette has another friend than her! Hendrix goes to his room with some leftover food (having refused Aaron any!), and Pierce emerges from the shower. He's keen to continue his romantic time with Chloe - but her mood has changed, and she says she needs to clear up the breakfast things.
Nicolette and Audrey are discussing their mysterious secret.
NICOLETTE: We agreed not to see each other again. This is risking everything.
AUDREY: I know, but... I feel guilty.
NICOLETTE: Years later, all of a sudden?
AUDREY: I never wanted that money.
NICOLETTE: Could've fooled me.
AUDREY: You talked me into it.
NICOLETE: That is not how it happened.
AUDREY: I didn't spend a cent. I couldn't. Until a couple of weeks ago. I caved, and bought an expensive handbag.
NICOLETTE: Good for you.
AUDREY: Everyone noticed. I got all these comments and then questions. It scared the life out of me.
NICOLETTE: Seriously, that is the most Audrey conversation I've ever heard.
AUDREY: I felt so bad, I returned it.
They both clam up as the waitress appears with their drinks, then, once she's gone...
AUDREY: Look, I want to give the money back. I can't enjoy it. I can't spend it. The guilt is killing me, so what's the point?
NICOLETTE: You just need to let it go.
AUDREY: It wasn't my lottery ticket, or yours. It belonged to Marco.
NICOLETTE: And Marco died. Naturally. After being well looked after by us for a long time.
AUDREY: I want to give the money to his family.
NICOLETTE: They don't deserve it. You know that. Where were they, while we were looking after Marco? And, remember that one Father's Day? He had you help him put on a tie, and he sat in the front room, and waited all day, and they never showed.
AUDREY: They didn't even call.
NICOLETTE: *We* were his family in the end. He would be much happier knowing we got the money.
AUDREY: ... I'm giving it to his children. In person, with an apology, and... I want you to do the same.
Nicolette looks unconvinced.
Dipi has come round for a cuppa with Susan and Jane, and expresses her concerns to them about Shane not being ready to return to uni. Susan points out that uni is important to Shane and was one of his recovery goals. Jane is more of Dipi's point of view, and thinks Shane should've talked to her first.
DIPI: A conversation would've been nice. I know he didn't deliberately keep it from me, but he just... he doesn't think (...) I'm just so sick of being the one who has to do all the thinking, all the time. I do everything. I work like crazy to bring most of the money home, I do all the housework, the kids, the emotional labour.
SUSAN: It is a lot for you to carry.
DIPI: Yeah, and I can't even trust him to look after himself like he used to. I hate feeling like his watchdog, or his mum. I don't like who we are right now. And I really don't like the person this is turning me into.
Meanwhile, Shane is chatting through his feelings on the matter with Karl and Toadie. Toadie seems to share Dipi's reservations about Shane throwing himself back into uni as he really struggled last time. Shane says he's prepared this time, and learned coping strategies at rehab. Toadie points out he was only in rehab for a short while. Shane feels Dipi doesn't trust him.
KARL: Dipi's just trying to look after you. Your mental health.
TOADIE: And hers. Think about the associations that she's got with you and studying. The amount of pain that it caused for her, and your family. Maybe you want to look at things from her perspective.
Nicolette is still with Audrey. She reminds her that Marco's family weren't 'forgiving, reasonable people' judging by what he used to say about them - so if they confess to stealing the lottery money, they could go to the police. Plus, Nic adds, her part of the money is already gone - she spent it while she was travelling.
AUDREY: In that case, maybe we should go to the police ourselves.
NICOLETTE: Have you lost your mind?! If they charge us, we could go to prison!
AUDREY: Maybe we deserve to.
Jane has come in, and Nicolette changes the subject. She introduces Jane to Audrey.
JANE: Are you in town for long?
NICOLETTE (firmly): No, she's leaving soon.
Conversation dries up, so Jane leaves them to it. Audrey comments that she thought Jane and Nicolette didn't get on; Nicolette explains they've patched things up, and over- eggs how happy she is to be in Erinsborough and reconnecting with Jane, presumably so Audrey will drop her idea about going to the police!
Pierce and Chloe run into Aaron at the pub. Pierce and Chloe are going for a picnic, and have come to pick up some sparkling wine. While Pierce takes a call, Chloe seizes the opportunity to quiz Aaron about Nicolette's friend Audrey. Aaron can't tell her much, but Chloe keeps asking more questions.
AARON: Is this the best idea?
AARON: You being so interested in what's going on with Nicolette.
CHLOE: I'm not! Look, I just think it's weird, okay? If Audrey's her bestie, how come Nic never mentioned it?
AARON: Are you jealous, are you?
CHLOE: What am I, twelve?
CHLOE: I'm not jealous! But I do still worry about her. And care for her. When I heard the news second- hand, I just had a little moment.
AARON: Oh, Chlo.
CHLOE: I miss Nic, okay?
But Pierce has returned and overhears this.
PIERCE: I'm sorry, what?! You want to go back to being friends with her again?
Aaron makes himself scarce.
PIERCE: She caused huge problems for us. How could you even think about having her in our orbit again?
CHLOE: She lives with my brother. Literally across the road. She's gonna exist in my life no matter what I do.
PIERCE: Yeah, but that doesn't mean you need to go and seek her out.
CHLOE: I'm not! I'm just talking about her, okay? But I do miss her.
PIERCE: We're supposed to be having one- on- one time today, and your mind's on Nicolette. But then again, why am I surprised? I should be used to you giving her more attention than our marriage.
He walks off, leaving Chloe looking peeved.
Dipi is annoyed to come in and find Shane hasn't sorted out the washing.
DIPI: You couldn't have folded that?
SHANE: Coulda, shoulda, and will. Hey, Dip... You were right. It wasn't fair of me to make plans about uni without talking to you first, so... I'm gonna drop out.
SHANE: Yeah, it'll give me time to focus on you and the family.
DIPI: I never said you should quit.
Mackenzie appears at the door, and looks alarmed as voices begin to be raised.
DIPI: I wanted you to properly consider the risks involved, for us to talk about it together. Speak to your doctors and lecturers, and figure out the best way for you to succeed at something you love.
SHANE: So, you do want me to go back, then.
DIPI: I wanted it to be a discussion between the both of us! I don't know how I can make myself any clearer!
Mackenzie slinks away again, realising it's a bad time to enter the room.
SHANE: I just can't do anything right, can I?
DIPI: There's no need to get defensive, Shane.
SHANE (laughs): Well, that just kinda proves the point, doesn't it? I've said the wrong thing again.
DIPI: Grow up, Shane!
SHANE: Nah, you know what? How about you just tell me what to do from now on, and I'll do it, no questions asked.
DIPI (angry): Are you *serious*?! That is exactly what I don't want to have to do!
SHANE (angry): Well, I've got no idea, have I?! No idea how to make you happy!
DIPI: You know what? You are a hundred percent right. You really don't!
She walks out.
Nicolette admits to Audrey that her relationship with her mum hasn't been easy, but it's starting to work after years of acrimony.
NICOLETTE: Which is why, if she found out, she'd be so disappointed, and it'd undo all of that hard work.
AUDREY: That tells me you know it was wrong.
NICOLETTE: No, it's just that Mum is so straight down the line that, you know, if the police got involved, she'd be so disappointed, and that would be it. I would be out in the cold again.
AUDREY: That is the last thing I want for you. But it's better if she knows the truth. Your mum loves you, she'll stand by you, and in the end, it'll probably make your bond even stronger.
NICOLETTE: I don't want to risk it. So here's my plan. We give the money back to Marco's family, but we do it anonymously.
AUDREY: We can't. You've already spent yours.
NICOLETTE: I'll work it back up again. Beg, borrow, steal...
NICOLETTE: It's an expression. You go back to Canberra, I'll sort the money legitimately, and then we can give Marco's family the surprise of a lifetime.
AUDREY: I can't go back. I... I left the hospital (...) just before I came here. It was all too much after the whole handbag debacle.
Pierce has come in, and notices the heated discussion between Audrey and Nic.
NICOLETTE: Fine. I will get you a job here, and then you can stay until you get sorted.
AUDREY: It doesn't matter where I am. I'm just aching to confess.
NICOLETTE: We're not confessing! Please - just let me fix this, okay?
Pierce, watching from a distance, looks suspicious.
Hendrix is on a video call on his phone to Harlow when Pierce comes in. Hendrix notices he looks angry, and tells Harlow he'll call her back later. Pierce complains to Hendrix about Chloe wanting to be friends with Nicolette again.
HENDRIX: Can I ask you something? Are you jealous? That Chloe's, you know, paying attention to somebody that isn't you?
PIERCE: No, that's honestly not the issue.
HENDRIX: Well, then, why are you so steamed?
PIERCE: Because Nicolette causes problems wherever she goes. She's chaos, and I'm the only one who sees it. HENDRIX: I see it.
Pierce tells Hendrix he saw Nicolette at the café with a scared- looking woman, and he thinks Nicolette might've been threatening her. Hendrix mentions what Aaron said about an old friend of Nicolette's visiting from Canberra, and figures it must be her.
HENDRIX: But it's weird that she seemed scared. You should follow that up.
Hendrix said he got a weird vibe from Nic's one- night stand, Alex, and that it turned out Nicolette was 'being shady' - so it might be a similar story with this woman. Spurred on by this, Pierce decides to go and find out what was going on.
Shane rather bitterly tells Dipi he's told the uni he'll defer for six months.
SHANE: Unless you change your mind again.
DIPI: I never changed it the first time. This isn't a battle one of us has to win - it's about making decisions together, like grown- ups.
SHANE: But can't you see that it always comes back to what you want? So let's just cut to the chase, and you tell me.
DIPI: You're being juvenile, Shane! We should be talking through things together, but clearly you don't think that's the right thing to do.
Shane walks off, and Pierce, who's overheard the argument from across the courtyard, approaches Dipi. He offers her a friendly ear, but Dipi doesn't think they should be talking about their relationships to one another anymore, 'given the situation'. Pierce agrees this is sensible, and they go their separate ways.
Nicolette assures Audrey that everything will be okay, and to stop stressing. She offers to take Audrey on a tour of the neighbourhood. Pierce comes in, just as Nicolette goes to the bathroom. He sits down at a surprised Audrey's table, and introduces himself, explaining Nicolette used to work for him.
PIERCE: Look, this may sound a little odd, but I just wanted to make sure you're okay.
AUDREY: Why wouldn't I be?
PIERCE: Well, when I saw you two before, things just looked a little heated. I just wanted to make sure she wasn't bullying you, or something. I mean, are you guys friends? Because that's not usually how friends treat each other.
AUDREY: Umm, we are, but... I'm sorry, why are you asking me these questions?
PIERCE: Look, I know it's none of my business, okay, but... you just looked scared. And I know how Nicolette can be. So, if she's making you feel uncomfortable, or she's pressuring you into something, you can tell me, okay? I want to help.
PIERCE: Of course. Do you want to tell me what's going on?
Audrey looks conflicted.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Dipi and Pierce agree to never speak of 'it' again, and put it behind them
- Dipi looks guiltily towards a happy- looking Shane
- Levi tells Ned, 'we can't rule out homicide'; we see Ned stumbling through the maze
- Yashvi tells Ned she'll do her best to clear his name
- More footage of Ned stumbling through the dark