- Nicolette getting trapped under a shelf at The Hive
- Jane reassuring Nicolette that her and the baby will be fine
- Brent running away and leaving a letter for David, Aaron and Emmett
- Harlow telling Paul she'll never forgive him for his behaviour towards Brent
- Mackenzie calling Toadie out on being unfair towards Melanie
- Toadie and Melanie hooking up in secret
Toadie and Melanie get dressed after their rendezvous and look set for another round until they're interrupted by Paul knocking at the door. Melanie hides in the kitchen while Toadie speaks with Paul, who's looking for Harlow. Toadie informs him that Harlow's out searching for Brent with David and Aaron, which causes Paul to look displeased. He tells Toadie to ask Harlow to give him a call when she's back, then does a double take at Toadie's dishevelled appearance. "Are you working from home, because you look like you just rolled out of bed," he quips. Melanie thankfully manages to keep her laughing under control until Paul leaves.
Harlow, David, Aaron and Emmett are disappointed they're hitting more dead ends in their search for Brent. David wants to start getting Emmett ready for school after he missed the first day back, but Emmett knows he won't be able to concentrate till his brother's found. Aaron figures no news is good news, though, and maybe Brent doesn't want to be located right now. Paul walks in and is happy to see Harlow, but the feeling isn't mutual. Harlow asks David and Aaron if they can resume the search after the boys have checked in with Nicolette, then heads to the counter to pay. Paul turns his attentions to Emmett and invites him over to play chess that afternoon to take his mind off things. Harlow looks intrigued by their interaction.
After returning from hospital, Chloe gets Nicolette settled on the couch. Nicolette can't help but wonder where David and Aaron are, just as the boys knock at the door. They apologise for not visiting her more at the hospital but they've been kept on their toes with searching for Brent and keeping Emmett settled. Not looking too happy, Nicolette quips that perhaps they need to prioritise better, but the boys miss her underlying meaning and say she shouldn't be worrying about them when she needs to focus on herself. Nicolette looks even more unimpressed when David and Aaron say they can't stay because they're heading out to look for Brent again.
Rebecchi Law Office/Lassiters Hotel Office
Melanie brings Toadie some affidavits to sign and they both get a smirk on their face when Melanie presents him with a specific piece of stationery. "That pen has a lot to answer for," Melanie grins. There's a flashback scene of Toadie and Melanie sharing a drink in the temporary hotel office around the time when Olivia dropped her statement against Karl. Melanie encourages Toadie to take a break and have an early night, which he plans on doing, until he accidentally drops a pen and they pick it up at the same time. Sharing a 'moment', they both admit they shouldn't be thinking about hooking up and that they don't actually find each other attractive, but that doesn't stop Toadie from whisking everything off his desk and hauling Melanie onto it. Back in the present moment, Toadie and Melanie share a knowing smile with one another, quite pleased with their little secret.
Jane's over for coffee and doughnuts and tells the girls that she's torn about going to Mildura. On one hand she'd love some space from Curtis and Susan, but then she doesn't want to leave Nicolette so soon after her attack. Nic encourages Jane to go and mutters that "priorities change" anyway, so she might as well. Jane and Chloe can see something is bothering her, and Nicolette admits she doesn't like Aaron and David's "obsession" with finding Brent.
JANE: Are you feeling neglected?
NICOLETTE: Feeling or being?
CHLOE: They were really worried about you when you were in hospital. We all were.
NICOLETTE: It shouldn't take for me to be unconscious for them to care. You'd think they'd properly check in with me now that I'm awake. I was assaulted, I could have lost my baby! (Rethinking her words) Our baby. But no, they're caught up in Brent's endless cycle of drama.
Jane says that the fact the boys are so consumed with Brent could be a good thing as it shows how committed they'll be as parents. Nicolette pretends she agrees with Jane and encourages her again to head to Mildura, claiming she'll be fine.
Rebecchi Law Office
Toadie and Melanie keep acting flirty with each other. Toadie says they might need Mackenzie back in the office to keep them on the straight and narrow - especially since she called him out on treating Melanie unfairly. It's also revealed that they were "farewelling the old office" when they were nearly sprung by Mackenzie and Hendrix. The 'jammed' door was actually Toadie and Melanie trying to hold it closed. "In our defence, it is hard to resist the allure of an empty office," Melanie says, before dropping the pen on the ground again. She crawls under Toadie's desk to retrieve it, just as Terese pops in for a visit. Melanie hides in place as Terese has a chat with Toadie about settling back into the new/old digs. Terese leaves and Toadie and Melanie are a bit shaky about nearly being sprung.
Emmett takes the chess board out to the back room just as Harlow calls in to see Paul. She tells her granddad not to get his hopes up as it doesn't mean she's returning home, but seeing him with Emmett earlier reminded her that Paul can be kind and she doesn't want to keep being mad at him.
HARLOW: I'm willing to forgive what you said to Brent, even though it was incredibly wrong and manipulative.
PAUL: Again, I was simply saying what I believed.
HARLOW: Granddad, stop.
PAUL: You were saying.
HARLOW: I'm willing to forgive you on one condition.
PAUL: Sure, name it.
HARLOW: Hire your PI to find Brent.
Immediately rolling his eyes, Paul tells Harlow that he cannot in good conscience bring Brent's influence back into her life. Or Emmett's for that matter, particularly now there's criminal charges involved. But Harlow reminds Paul that Emmett being with his brother is most definitely in his best interest. Fed up, Harlow leaves and Paul only just realises Emmett's overheard most of their conversation.
The Waterhole/Number 24
Susan and Karl run into David and Aaron and ask if there's any news about Brent. The boys say they're still searching and calling everywhere they can, but no luck so far. David apologises to Susan for Emmett missing school, but Susan says school can wait; she just hopes Brent turns up safely. The couples part ways when Aaron's phone rings and he takes a speakerphone call from Chloe. She's ringing to let the boys know that Nicolette's feeling really sidelined at the moment and still shaken up. David and Aaron feel bad and say they just assumed because Nicolette was usually so tough she'd be okay. Chloe agrees that Nic usually puts up such a strong front that it's difficult to know when she needs support.
DAVID: To be honest, I don't think we've even worked through what's happened yet.
CHLOE: I don't think Nic has either but she could really use some TLC when you've got the time to give it.
Paul suggests they get their game of chess started, but Emmett is ready for an uncomfortable conversation and flat out asks Paul why he only likes him and not Brent. Paul admits that he thinks Emmett's a good kid at heart - even when he's in trouble, it's because he's trying to do the best with what he's got. Emmett says it's the same for Brent, but Paul replies that's where their opinions differ.
PAUL: My gut instinct tells me that he's dangerous.
EMMETT: He's had a hard life but that doesn't make him dangerous.
PAUL: Yeah but I'm sick of him upsetting the people that I care about, including you.
EMMETT: But you don't get it, because every time he does one of those bad things he's just trying to be a good brother. Like you said, he's trying to do the best he can with what he's got.
PAUL: Yeah, well, I don't see it that way.
EMMETT: He's not that different to you. (Off Paul's frown) He'd do anything to protect his family. Linda's overseas and mum's god knows where; it's just him and me. No one else.
PAUL: Emmett I understand that you love him.
EMMETT: Then find him.
Emmett walks off just as Terese enters the room. She looks sternly at Paul and asks what he's done now.
Terese is catching up with Harlow after hearing what happened with Paul. Harlow's disappointed that Paul's too stubborn to use his resources to find Brent. Terese admits she does understand Paul's hesitation as Brent's done some pretty dangerous, questionable things. Harlow says she doesn't deny it either, in fact, she's probably more angry with Brent than Paul is. But when it comes down to it, she still cares and doesn't want to give up on him.
TERESE: I imagine Aaron and David feel the same.
HARLOW: I just don't want to end up like granddad, writing people off whenever they need me.
TERESE: It takes a lot of courage to do what you're doing. And heart.
David and Aaron have returned to apologise to Nicolette for not being around more, and they promise things will settle down soon. They also promise Nicolette that her and the baby are their number one priority and they won't let her down again. This assuages some of Nicolette's fears and she tells them that she was just so scared of losing the baby, "I couldn't stand to let you guys down." Aaron says she shouldn't have been concerned about them when she was in so much pain.
DAVID: We were so worried about you.
CHLOE: It's true, we were all waiting for you to wake up.
NICOLETTE: I keep forgetting I was unconscious.
CHLOE: I wish the rest of us could.
NICOLETTE: It's nice to know I wasn't alone.
To make things better, the boys invite Nicolette and Chloe over for dinner and board games later.
Rebecchi Law Office
Toadie is worried that their secret hookups might be wrong, but Melanie says they're both single, consenting adults who are having a fun time. A very, very fun time. Toadie agrees with that sentiment, but reminds her that their current client made compliance mandatory for a reason and now they're "practically slide five on inappropriate workplace relationships". He suggests they end their fun, but Melanie isn't really keen on stopping, and it doesn't take much for Toadie to admit he doesn't want to either. So Melanie says they should just keep going with their fling until it fizzles out. Toadie sees Karl and Susan walk past and stops them to ask if they could mind the kids that night as he'll be 'working', freeing up some time for more fun with Melanie.
Number 32 Backyard
Sitting on the steps of the back porch, Nicolette admits to Chloe that she has been a bit high maintenance lately, but she was just feeling neglected. "Not on my watch," Chloe smiles. Up on the deck, David ends a phone call with Harlow and looks stressed. He tells Aaron and Emmett that there's been a sighting of Brent at a youth centre in Melbourne. Emmett is immediately keen to go there for himself, but the boys say Harlow's already on her way. The more David and Aaron push back, the more agitated Emmett becomes about finding his brother. His anxiety builds up until he barges past Aaron and angrily whacks a glass to the ground where it smashes precariously close to where Nicolette and Chloe are sitting. Aaron and David haul Emmett inside for a "time out", leaving Nicolette rattled and quietly fuming.
Terese sees Jane out on the street and calls her over for a chat about Mildura. Jane says she was second guessing the trip since Nicolette's only just out of hospital, but she's seen that Chloe has things under control so she probably will head off next week. Paul brings groceries from the car and joins their conversation, unable to refrain from putting his two cents in about Brent when Jane brings him up.
PAUL: The kid's a circus. Everywhere he goes it's bedlam.
JANE: I have seen his good side but I know what you mean.
PAUL: Well I wish he'd give Emmett a call, let him know that he's okay. The poor kid's worried sick.
JANE: I suppose he's just running on instinct.
PAUL: Then he's got very bad instincts.
JANE: What will happen when he gets back?
PAUL: When? You mean 'if'. I just hope he's got the good sense to stay away completely.
TERESE: Either way, all we can really do is support our families and try not to make an already difficult situation harder for them.
She throws a pointed look Paul's way before inviting Jane inside for a cuppa to talk about Mildura some more. Once they're inside, Paul takes it upon himself to call his PI and say he's got a job for him.
Aaron empties the broken glass into the bin as David returns from speaking with Emmett in his room. David says the teen is calmer but still upset, and it didn't help that Harlow called back and said the Brent sighting was a false alarm. The boys are concerned and say they didn't realise Emmett had all that stress bottled up. While they speak, Chloe and Nicolette sit on the couch and listen. Nicolette doesn't appear too happy, and when the boys apologise for dinner not going to plan and for all the tension, she doesn't agree with Chloe's statement that it's 'okay'.
NICOLETTE: It's not okay, though, is it?
AARON: What's not okay?
NICOLETTE: All of it. All of this. This is never going to end! As long as Emmett and Brent are in your lives, you're going to be stuck in this constant cycle of chaos. Even without Brent here Emmett just completely lost control.
AARON: Nic trust me, it's a tricky situation, but he is a good kid.
NICOLETTE: Yeah but his brother is a terrible influence.
DAVID: I'm confident things will calm down.
NICOLETTE: Well I'm not! And as long as they're in your lives your priorities are going to be all over the place. And I don't want our daughter coming second.
DAVID: What do you mean?
NICOLETTE: I'm sorry, but as long as Emmett or Brent are living here, I'm not comfortable handing over my baby.