- Paul begging Terese not to go through with the separation
- Harlow telling Paul that he can connect with Terese via her
- Paul having words with Terese for trying to turn Harlow against him
- Harlow admitting she doesn't want Terese to keep fighting with Paul
- David telling Nicolette they'll battle it out in court over Isla
- Aaron feeling uneasy about David's stance on going through the courts
- Toadie telling Nic and Jane he doesn't want to be involved in their legal woes
- Jane saying the only way she'll forgive Paul is if he calls off the lawyers
Lassiters Hotel Penthouse
Paul can't believe Jane of all people would use their friendship as a bargaining tool. Jane says it's hardly blackmail, she just can't see a way through it all if David and Nicolette are battling it out in court. Jane thinks if Paul ends proceedings before they escalate, then it would at least begin to make up for what he did.
PAUL: Jane you know how much our friendship means to me. But Nicolette will never be my blood, and I have to do what's best for my family.
JANE: So that's it then? You're determined to keep driving a wedge between our children.
PAUL: No, I am doing nothing of the sort. I am simply trying to protect my son, the same way you're protecting your daughter.
Paul knows it must have taken a lot for Jane to try and change his mind, but he also knows David, Aaron and Nicolette should stick to the original arrangement. Nothing will sway his feelings on the matter.
David arrives home from work and tells Aaron it was nice to spend a few hours not thinking about lawyers. Aaron admits to David that he's no closer to reaching a decision, and he's not about to accept Paul's offer on a whim. Nicolette eavesdrops in the hallway while she holds Isla, intrigued to learn that the boys aren't on the same page with the lawyer situation. Making herself known, Nicolette pleasantly asks the boys if they want to spend the afternoon with Isla. Aaron happily agrees and takes the baby from Nic, telling Isla they missed her last night. "Yeah, we did," David pointedly replies, earning a quiet reprimand from Aaron. When Nicolette heads out, Aaron tells David he didn't have to be so short with her.
DAVID: She says fifty- fifty arrangement but she's still calling all the shots. This is exactly why we need proper legal help to settle it.
Frustrated, Aaron passes Isla to David and says he's going for a run.
Number 22 Backyard
Terese pours out two plunger coffees, looking slightly rattled. Harlow joins her and Terese asks how she's going after everything that happened with Brent. Harlow says she was upset for a short while but now everything's hunky dory. When Harlow takes one of the coffees, we discover why Terese looked upset: she accidentally poured one for Paul out of habit. Harlow encourages Terese to talk to her about it, but Terese doesn't want her to get caught in the middle. Terese would like it if she and Harlow spent more time together, though, and suggests visiting Isla later to cheer them both up. "I like seeing Isla, but I don't need cheering up," Harlow insists.
Jane tells Clive that she hopes everything between Nic and the boys can be sorted without a lawyer. Clive agrees it'd be better to avoid the court, but doesn't know if it's still possible. Nicolette approaches them and divulges the "thinly veiled hostility vibe" that's going on at home. However, she knows David and Aaron aren't on the same page about the criminal lawyer. Jane thinks Aaron could possibly convince David to go through mediation instead and leave the lawyers out of it, which piques Nicolette's attention. "I should get through to Aaron then," Nicolette says with a renewed sense of hope.
Aaron jogs over the bridge and then sits down on a bench to try and sort through his troubles.
Terese and Harlow are visiting David and Isla when Paul drops by. Things are immediately awkward between Paul and Terese, so Paul says he'll come back later. Harlow doesn't want him to leave, believing they can all be in the same room for a few minutes, but Paul says he should have called ahead first. He tells David to drop by the penthouse later so they can go through some things. Harlow doesn't look impressed with Terese when Paul leaves.
Aaron speaks to Toadie and wonders if he's heard how tense things are with Nicolette at the moment. Toadie admits he has, especially now Paul wants to get a criminal lawyer involved. Aaron is slightly rankled to learn that Nicolette and Jane asked Toadie for advice earlier, and that Nic already knew about the lawyer and didn't tell them. Toadie thinks Nicolette might be trying to butter Aaron and David up. Aaron then asks Toadie if he thinks getting a criminal lawyer involved is overkill in a custody case.
TOADIE: Depends on what your end goal is.
AARON: Full custody like we originally agreed to. It's just that at the moment it feels like Isla is barely ours.
TOADIE: Well then involving a shark could be the best way of winning the court. And Nicolette does have a sketchy history.
AARON: I don't know what to do. It's not like we wanted to cut Nic out, that was never the plan. Having a mum in the picture is why I liked doing it this way in the first place, but it's just so messy.
TOADIE: I know going to court does sound drastic, but if you guys can't reach some sort of agreement then involving lawyers could be the best move forward.
Toadie warns Aaron to be prepared, though; if he does go down this route things can get ugly.
Clive strolls across the bridge with Jane as they chat about Nicolette. Clive knows this is all taking a toll on Jane too. Jane just wants them all to sort everything out without the legal drama. She obviously loves Nicolette and wants what's best for her and Isla, but Jane also wants a good outcome for the boys.
JANE: But still, Nicolette has to come first.
CLIVE: Well in the end, really, your position's the same as Paul's.
JANE: I suppose in a way that's true. Although I will always stand by Nicolette, I truly have everyone's best interests at heart.
CLIVE: I know you do, that's why I love you.
Number 22 Backyard
Terese wonders if Harlow is okay as she's acting a little distant, but Harlow says she's fine - unlike Terese. Taken aback, Terese asks what that's supposed to mean, but Harlow points out how distressed she was when Paul showed up at #32. Terese admits she did feel confronted when Paul appeared unexpectedly.
TERESE: But these things are complicated and our feelings aren't always tidy, that's why I keep saying to you please be open about Brent.
HARLOW: I'm not lying, I don't have feelings for Brent. And you're just trying to focus on me because you're the one having a hard time. I saw how stressed you were over that cup of coffee.
Terese reluctantly says Harlow is right - she was making Paul coffee out of habit and that brought up memories and regrets. Harlow asks if Terese misses Paul, and she says yes. Harlow then asks if Terese still loves him. "Yeah," she replies with a rueful smile. "I planned on spending the rest of my life with him, so yeah, it hurts knowing that's not going to be the case." Harlow doesn't understand why Terese won't work things out with Paul if it hurts so much.
TERESE: It doesn't work like that. It's not up to me. Paul needs to demonstrate he knows how much he hurt me and how wrong his behaviour was. And he needs to apologise, mean it and change.
Lassiters Hotel Penthouse
Paul is brooding on the balcony when David arrives with Isla. David asks what's wrong and Paul says seeing Terese with Isla before got him rattled. He always imagined they'd spend time with Isla together as her grandparents. Changing the subject, Paul tells David that the lawyer is free to speak with him on Monday, but David says he can't make that sort of decision without consulting Aaron. Paul says the longer David leaves it, the harder it's going to be.
PAUL: Every day that Nicolette is in Isla's life it makes it easier for her to argue that she is the primary carer.
DAVID: I get that, but I'm not ruining my relationship over this.
Harold's Cafe Exterior
Nicolette finds Aaron sitting out back of the cafe and joins him to speak about Isla. She thinks they can both agree that dragging their daughter through the courts isn't the best way to go. Aaron feels uneasy talking about this without David present, but Nicolette just wants Aaron to hear her out. She brings up the mediation idea Jane floated by her and tells Aaron that she's keen to try anything that will avoid a nasty legal battle.
NICOLETTE: I know David has other ideas, so if you and I could work together as a team to convince him this is the better option-
AARON: Nic you're not really asking me to gang up with you against David are you?
NICOLETTE: When you put it like that - no. Mediation is the best option, we've just got to get Paul out of David's ear so that he can think the same way as us.
AARON: Nic I'm sorry but there is no 'us'.
Jane and Clive walk by and are concerned to see Nicolette and Aaron having words.
NICOLETTE: We don't have to be at odds.
AARON: No, except you're trying to get David and I to play against each other! And even if we do go with mediation there's absolutely nothing that says you won't change your mind again.
NICOLETTE: Are you for real?
Trying to broker peace, Jane gently tells Nicolette that it appears she's made her case to Aaron, so she should give him space to think it over. Jane then tells Aaron she has some research on mediation she'd be happy to pass on. Nicolette reluctantly leaves with Jane and Clive. "I don't know why you had to butt in," Nicolette mutters, "I was getting through to him." But Jane says she's not entirely sure about that.
Lassiters Hotel Penthouse
Harlow has dropped by to tell Paul she had an interesting chat with Terese he might like to know about. "You've been on her mind, it's been making her emotional," she smirks. Paul's intrigued to hear that Terese is missing him, and Harlow thinks now is the perfect time for him to make a move and win Terese back. Paul loves to hear it - but is confused by Harlow's support.
PAUL: Aren't you still angry with me?
HARLOW: I got over it.
PAUL: Oh, just like that? I've been trying to reach out to you and you kept batting me away. So what's changed?
HARLOW: Well haven't you heard the saying about gift horses? I mean, would you rather me be in my room sobbing over Brent - who you didn't even like anyway.
PAUL: No, but you just haven't been yourself lately.
HARLOW: Yeah because maybe I'm exhausted about people constantly questioning my mood. I'm not angry with you anymore, end of story.
Harlow tells Paul that he shouldn't waste this chance to win over Terese. Paul reminds her that the last conversation he had with Terese didn't exactly go well, but Harlow says this time he'll know exactly what she's hoping to hear from him.
Aaron finds David walking with Isla and surprises him by saying he's on board with hiring the criminal lawyer. It doesn't take long for Nicolette to approach them. She thinks Aaron has been talking to David about the mediation idea, but gets a rude shock when she hears they're going ahead with the lawyer plan. David thinks it would be wise for them to avoid communicating about the issue, except when it's in writing. Nicolette points out how crazy that is considering they live together, it'll be bound to come up in conversation, but David says they'll just have to stick to safe topics.
NICOLETTE: This is exactly the kind of ugliness I was hoping to avoid. What changed your mind?
AARON: Nic to be honest, I wasn't a fan of how you tried to come in between us and play games.
NICOLETTE: That's not what I was doing.
AARON: Well I was leaning that way already, especially after some advice from Toadie. Either way the decision is made.
The boys head home with Isla leaving Nicolette frustrated and upset.
Nicolette rushes in to tell Jane and Clive that Aaron has decided to go with the lawyer. Jane doesn't understand how things could have gone backwards so quickly. Nic would love to ask the boys but apparently they're not allowed to talk about it anymore! Clive asks if she's going to keep living at #32, but Nicolette says she doesn't have a choice.
JANE: Of course you do, that environment doesn't sound good for your mental health.
NICOLETTE: That's not the problem right now. The fifty- fifty arrangement that I'm suggesting works, so if I stay then hopefully I can convince them of that.
CLIVE: That's probably true.
NICOLETTE: And where else would I go? Chloe's? No thank you. I'm trapped!
JANE: Don't say that. I will always support you, Nicolette. We'll get through this together.
CLIVE: For what it's worth I think you should accept the boys' decision about taking this to court. If you try and change their minds you could make things much worse.
Nicolette realises this now, and gets angrier when she sees Toadie walk in. "Mind you, I wasn't the one who changed Aaron's mind," she seethes, striding over to Toadie.
NICOLETTE: Couldn't you have kept your opinion to yourself?
TOADIE: Good afternoon to you too. I take it this is about Aaron?
NICOLETTE: I thought you said you didn't want to get involved? Turns out you were just lying! You're on the opposite team.
TOADIE: No, I'm not on any team.
NICOLETTE: (yelling louder) And now my baby's going to be dragged through the courts thanks to you! I hope you're happy with yourself.
JANE: Nicolette that's not very fair.
NICOLETTE: No what's unfair, mum, is that everyone in Erinsborough is against me - again!
Terese's hands are shaking slightly as she does work on her laptop. Paul walks over to her holding two takeaway coffees, claiming he ordered an extra one by mistake. "Force of habit I guess," he says, giving her the spare one. Terese offers him a curt thank you, but doesn't make eye contact. Pressing on, Paul says he's been thinking a lot since their last conversation. Terese thinks "conversation" is a nice way of putting it, but Paul says the two of them have always been great at pushing each other's buttons.
PAUL: You were right, I was feeling guilty about Brent and I turned it on you. And I was wrong.
TERESE: Well I think it's fair to say that neither of us were at our best.
PAUL: I suppose I should be a lot better at making apologies than I am considering how many I've had to make over the years. Please know that I understand how wrong I was, and just how badly I've behaved for a long time now.
Terese suddenly gets suspicious with just how familiar these apology topics sound and she soon realises that Harlow has told Paul all about their earlier conversation. She lets Paul dig his grave a bit deeper before turning her attention back to her work. "Well that must have been very difficult for you to say," she retorts, confusing Paul with her stoic demeanour. "Thanks for the coffee," she adds, waiting for him to slink away before she quietly fumes over Harlow's betrayal of trust.
Aaron helps David prep dinner and wonders if Nicolette will move out. David says it wouldn't surprise him, but when Nicolette appears in the kitchen she politely asks if she can help with dinner. Aaron hands over the potatoes to peel, and the three of them work in a weird, tense silence until Isla starts to cry. They all freeze then Nicolette and David both make a move to go to her. Aaron holds David back, though, leaving Nicolette tend to Isla.
Number 22 Backyard
On the warpath, Terese storms outside where Harlow is reading and rages at her for betraying her trust. Terese is further enraged when Harlow doesn't even try to deny it. Harlow states that she just wants her granddad to be happy - and Harlow knows getting back with Paul is going to make Terese happy too.
TERESE: Harlow, not if I'm going to be manipulated into it! Passing on to Paul what I told you was a complete betrayal. Why would you do that?
HARLOW: Because I'm tired of it! Are you going to spend the rest of your life wallowing? Am I supposed to be supportive and understanding forever?
TERESE: (in disbelief) I didn't think a little compassion was too much to ask.
HARLOW: You knew who you were marrying. Why are you so shocked about what he did? He's not going to change, so just take him back, okay? The self- pity is pathetic.
Outraged, Terese tells Harlow if she's sick of her then she can leave. Not realising what Terese actually means, Harlow snits that she wanted to head up to her room anyway.
TERESE: No I mean leave the house - tonight! For good!
HARLOW: You're kicking me out?
TERESE: You're damn right I am. You can find somewhere else to live!