- Introducing Dean, David's friend and colleague, a cleaner from the hospital
- Karl tells Aaron that Dean is lonely having broken up with his boyfriend recently
- David tells Aaron that Glen's invited them on his bush getaway; Aaron grudgingly says he'll think about it
- Zara denies lighting the school fire, but tells Sergeant Rodwell about the stolen pendant
- Aubrey threatens to blame Sadie for masterminding the fire if she tells the truth about their starting it
- Zara calls Sadie a 'gutless liar' for not telling the police the truth
- Mackenzie tells Hendrix that she believes Zara about Aubrey and Sadie starting the fire
- Jane tells Amy she's done an appalling job of raising Zara
- Zara overhears Amy talking as if Zara being found guilty of lighting the fires is a foregone conclusion
- Zara runs away, leaving a note telling Amy, 'You're better off without me'
Toadie and Amy are on their way to the police station to report Zara missing. Amy's worried that if they go to the police, Zara could be in more trouble, but Toadie tells her it's important they find her quickly, and the police have the resources to do that. They run into Levi and Sergeant Rodwell before they get to the station, and tell them Zara has packed a bag and run away. Amy shows them the note Zara left.
AMY (tearful): I'm scared she's gonna do something drastic.
TOADIE: Let's not concentrate on the what-ifs.
Sergeant Rodwell tells Levi to put out a KALOF (keep a look out for), and Levi reassures Amy that they'll find Zara. Amy is still crying.
Jane and Terese are with Susan for a cuppa. Jane is moaning about her altercation with Amy, and how Nicolette called Jane a hypocrite for critiquing Amy's parenting skills.
JANE: Which is completely ridiculous!
SUSAN (diplomatic): Well, she probably thought you were being a bit hard on Amy.
TERESE: Yeah, and to be fair, you and Nicolette haven't always seen eye-to-eye.
JANE: Well, there is no comparison! I would never have let Nicolette get away with half the antics that Zara has.
Susan raises a judgy eyebrow. At this point, Toadie arrives, and tells them all that Zara is missing.
JANE: Does Zara really think that she can escape consequences that easily?
TOADIE: I'm not too sure what Zara's thinking. In fact, we're a bit concerned about her mental state.
Terese says she'll get onto the Lassiter's staff with a picture of Zara, and tell them to keep a lookout - while Susan volunteers to contact teachers and parents. They all rush out, leaving Jane alone in Susan's house, drinking her tea!
Glen pops round to see David and Aaron, to tell them everything is on track for their getaway next week; he's hired a minibus for them all to get there. David asks Aaron if he's given any more thought to going, but at that moment, David's phone starts ringing on the table - and displays 'Dean' as the caller. David turns it off, and Aaron sighs in disbelief. He tells them the getaway 'isn't good timing', and walks out.
GLEN: I didn't know the getaway was such a sore point.
DAVID: It's not about the getaway. I opened up about our relationship issues to a friend at work, Dean.
GLEN: And Aaron doesn't like it.
DAVID: Which is ridiculous. Because he vents to his friends - everyone does.
GLEN: True. Does Aaron know this guy?
GLEN: So there's someone out there who knows all this personal stuff about him.
DAVID: I guess...
GLEN: Maybe it's not so ridiculous.
Paul comes in in his dressing gown, fresh from a walk in the car park. Karl remarks that his movement seems to be better, but Paul's frustrated his recovery feels like it's taking forever.
KARL: You just have to be patient with yourself. Because you are a *patient*, after all.
Karl laughs at his own joke, but Paul is staunchly unamused.
KARL: Tough crowd.
Karl says he'll call by Paul's room and see him later, but thinks he might be ready to go home. Pleased at least with this, Paul heads to his room.
Dean comes into reception and approaches Karl, asking if he's seen David today.
DEAN: I know you're neighbours. He didn't return my call before and I just wondered if you'd run into him.
KARL: Oh, he's just come off a double shift, so hopefully he's resting.
DEAN: That makes sense. I was just worried. I know him and Aaron are going through a bit of a rough patch.
KARL: Well, I'm not one to gossip! I don't know if I'd go so far as to describe it as a rough patch. I think David and Aaron will be fine.
Karl tries to walk away, but Dean keeps talking.
DEAN: I said the same thing about me and Keith, but then one fight leads to the next, and before you know it, you realise that you don't want to be together.
KARL: Well, that won't happen to David and Aaron, because they're very much in love. A few disagreements won't change that.
DEAN: I hope you're right. David is such a good guy, and he deserves to be happy.
Dean says he's going to try calling David again, just to make sure he's okay. Karl doesn't object, but looks bemused as Dean walks off.
Levi is rallying the Ramsay Street residents - namely Amy, Harlow, Kyle and Ned - in the search for Zara, providing them with a map and dividing it into sections for them to search in. Kyle suggests Zara might've gone back to Cairns to visit her dad, but Amy says she hasn't as far as she's aware.
LEVI: Guys, these first few hours are critical - especially since Zara's very upset.
They all get moving, except Kyle who sits there playing on his phone until he's told a second time! Ned stays behind to talk to Amy. He puts a comforting arm around her.
NED: You're handling this incredibly well.
AMY: You're very sweet. No, I'm not. Having to call Eric and tell him what's happened, it's just really brought it home, about how I've ruined things.
NED: That's not true. It will be okay. We'll find Zara and you can sort things out.
Hendrix is sitting with Mackenzie, who's sitting up and eating jelly in bed.
HENDRIX: At least they gave you red jelly. The green jelly you had before was all kinds of wrong. Just saying.
MACKENZIE (croakily): Any kind of jelly is all kinds of right for this throat, okay?
Chloe comes in; she's spoken to Terese on the phone, who's told her that Zara has gone missing, and everyone's out looking for her.
HENDRIX (scoffs): It's pretty dumb to take off now. Just makes her look even more guilty. Come on - if you were innocent, then why not stick around and try and prove it?
MACKENZIE: Because nobody believes her. You'd probably do the same thing.
CHLOE: I don't know Zara too well, but Mack's got a point.
MACKENZIE: If anyone could clear her name...
She stares meaningfully at Hendrix.
HENDRIX: You want *me* to try and prove that she's innocent?! After what she did to us?
MACKENZIE: If something terrible happens and it turns out she was innocent, then how would we feel then?
Sadie is working a shift, when Hendrix comes in in his work uniform. He immediately begins to scope Sadie out, to see if he can uncover any holes in her story.
HENDRIX: So I'm guessing you heard about Zara? It's pretty wild, hey?
SADIE: Yeah. I'm not really supposed to talk about it; I already gave my statement to the police, so...
HENDRIX: Ah, yeah. Fair enough (...) Mackenzie told me that Zara tried to blame you and Aubrey for the fires. I mean, that's crazy, right?
SADIE: I guess she's just jealous of us, and some kind of revenge.
HENDRIX: Mm. That's weird, though, isn't it? Like, you'd think being new in town, she'd be stoked to be friends with the popular girls.
SADIE: I guess that's just Zara.
Aubrey comes in through the back door, and sees Sadie talking to Hendrix. But Hendrix has his back to Aubrey and doesn't see her.
HENDRIX: So, Aubrey said that she saw Zara starting the fires. What exactly did she see, and why didn't she say anything sooner?
AUBREY (approaching): Because Zara's a psycho, and I was scared of what she might do to me. Why are we talking about it, anyway?
HENDRIX: (...) Just trying to make sense of things.
Aubrey alerts Sadie to a supposedly messy table outside, and suggests she come and clean it - in reality, so they can talk alone. Hendrix looks suspicious as the girls leave.
Karl turns up, hoping to speak to David, but Aaron says he's asleep following his double shift.
AARON: Is it something I can help with, or -
KARL: I think Dean has a crush on David.
KARL: I know I told you there's nothing to worry about, and I'd lay good money that nothing has happened.
AARON: But do you think Dean might want it to?
KARL: Well, I don't have anything concrete. It's just a feeling I got when Dean was asking about David, that's all. I wouldn't read too much into this. Hospitals are very high-pressure places, you know? People are forced into intense situations, and feelings like this can arise. I mean, I've had one or two, or three, nurses develop a crush on me, if you can believe it!
AARON: If you think this is nothing, then why are you telling me?
KARL: Well, I was just worried I gave you the wrong impression, that's all. I mean, Dean's a very quiet, introverted type of guy. I doubt he'd even make a move. And if he did, obviously David wouldn't reciprocate.
Aaron agrees, though doesn't look entirely convinced. Karl hopes he hasn't upset Aaron by mentioning it; Aaron insists it's fine, but is quick to show Karl the door. Once he's gone, Aaron picks up a novel from the table that David has been reading. Looking inside the front cover, he finds a message from Dean. It reads, 'Hope you love this as much as I did. Can't wait to talk about it with you - Dean'.
Aaron looks concerned.
Aubrey tells a panicking Sadie to get it together.
AUBREY: Do you *want* to be locked up?
SADIE: We deserve this, Zara doesn't. I just -
AUBREY: Look, I didn't mean to make things go this far, but now it's either her or us.
Hendrix approaches, and asks them what's going on. Aubrey claims Sadie's just a bit upset after an intense few days. Hendrix tells Aubrey she can take off; he will take care of Sadie.
AUBREY: Okay. (menacingly) Take *care*, Sadie.
As Aubrey leaves, Sadie thanks Hendrix, but tells him she'll be fine.
HENDRIX: I heard you two talking.
SADIE: What did you hear?
HENDRIX: Enough to know you feel guilty as hell. There's something you want to come clean about, but Aubrey won't let you - am I warm?
Sadie doesn't answer, but Hendrix isn't letting it go.
HENDRIX: Is it about the fires? Zara didn't light 'em, did she? Was it Aubrey? (shouting) Answer me! Was it Aubrey?!
Sadie snaps, and bursts into tears.
SADIE: We didn't know people were gonna get hurt!
HENDRIX: But you blamed Zara - why would you do that?
SADIE: Because Aubrey wanted to send Zara away, and then, it just got out of hand!
HENDRIX: Why did you go along with it all? Why, Sadie?
SADIE: Because Aubrey made me. She's been making me do that stuff for years (...) It started out as shoplifting, and then it just became a pattern, I guess. I could've stopped it, but she would've talked to my dad (...) and then he would've got kicked out of the police, and...
HENDRIX: You got in too deep, I get it. But you still should've stood up to her.
SADIE: I know. What are you gonna do now?
HENDRIX: I'm not gonna do anything. You are. You're gonna come clean.
Sadie continues to sob.
Toadie and Amy are at home when Levi turns up. He explains they haven't found Zara yet, but there has been some other news - Sadie Rodwell has confessed to her role in the fires, and is at the police station giving a statement.
LEVI: She wanted us to let you guys know, straight away. Amy, apparently her and Aubrey lit the fires. They set Zara up, just like she said.
Amy is devastated to hear this.
AMY: So she's innocent?
LEVI: It looks that way, yes.
AMY: We have to find her! We have to tell her what's happened.
Levi says that all major transport hubs have Zara's photo, so she won't be able to leave the metro area; it's only a matter of time till they find her.
AMY: What if she's hitched a ride with a stranger, huh? You can't trace that.
LEVI: That's true. But, Amy, sooner of later she's gonna use her card. She's gonna use it to buy something, and leave some sort of trace.
AMY: Yeah. Assuming nothing bad's happened to her. I've been so hard on her - and now she's gone! She doesn't even know that we know the truth!
LEVI: We're gonna find her, Amy.
AMY: What if we can't?!
Amy briefs a veritable war cabinet of RSRs - comprising Susan, Toadie, Jane, Ned and Harlow - on the current situation. Sadie has finished giving her statement, and Aubrey will be next; if anyone sees Zara they need to let her know that they all know she wasn't responsible for the fires, or she'll keep running. She says she'll forward round a new map from Levi of which areas to check next.
Feeling guilty for how she's treated Zara, Jane tells Susan she wants to join in the search - but Susan suggests it might be best if Jane sits this one out, saying there are plenty of other ways she can make amends with Amy. Everyone else prepares to head off, and Ned offers to walk with Amy since their search areas are adjacent. But she's reluctant, telling him she thinks she needs to be alone. Ned looks hurt.
Meanwhile, Hendrix tells Jane he's just thought of somewhere Zara might be. She's eager to go and check it out. Hendrix points out she's still recovering from the fire, so he'll ask one of the others. But Jane insists she wants to help.
JANE: I owe it to Amy and Zara.
Hendrix shows her the location on the map...
David is still asleep in bed. Aaron walks into the room, and finds another novel on the bedside. Like the last, this one contains a message from Dean in the front - 'This is one of my all time favourites. Hope you find it as moving as I do. - Dean' He picks up another, whose message reads, 'See if you can guess which part made me cry. Hugs.' In another book, Dean writes that the main character reminds him of David.
Frustrated, Aaron flings the last book onto the bed, waking David.
AARON: What's going on? You didn't tell me these books were from Dean.
DAVID (drowsy): Huh? They're just books.
AARON: Ah, yeah. They're just books with a nice little handwritten note from Dean - every single one of them.
DAVID: We're work friends, we like reading! Why are you turning this into a big deal?
AARON: I don't want you to hang out with him anymore. Please.
DAVID: Excuse me?!
AARON: You're sharing our personal business with some guy who's got a crush on you!
DAVID: Look, I shouldn't have opened up about our relationship with him. I'll give you that, and I won't do it again.
AARON: Look, can you please just stop talking to him?
DAVID: Well, that's not happening. I get to decide who I'm friends with, not you.
Aaron looks worried as David walks out to have a shower.
Jane has tracked down Zara, having spotted her from a distance. She calls Amy to let her know where they are, then cautiously approaches Zara. The moment she sees Jane, Zara prepares to run, but...
JANE: Zara, we know it wasn't you who lit the fire. Hendrix convinced Sadie to confess, and the police know, and your mother knows. And I'm sorry I let you down.
ZARA: ... How did you find me?
JANE: Hendrix figured that out, too. He remembered you saying that you loved the pier.
ZARA: Why would Hendrix want to help me?
JANE: Because Hendrix is a good person. And I suppose he believes that you are a good person, too. Despite your mistakes.
ZARA: So, everyone knows about the fires - I mean, my charges have been dropped?
JANE: It has only just happened, but... I'd say so. Zara, I owe you a huge apology. I believed the girls even after you said you were innocent. And I'm so sorry I never took the time to hear your side of things. Everyone deserves that.
Karl, Susan and Hendrix are with Mackenzie. Susan reports that all the charges against Zara have been dropped, and Hendrix adds that he's asked the police not to take the theft of the pendant any further.
HENDRIX: I'd rather just put the whole thing behind me, and Zara's been through enough.
MACKENZIE: Are you really feeling okay about it?
HENDRIX: Well, no, I said that she's been through enough. Not that I forgive her.
Hendrix gets a message. It's from Jane's phone, but Zara has written it - to thank him for his help.
MACKENZIE: Are you gonna reply?
HENDRIX: I'm glad she's safe and the truth came out... but I don't want anything to do with her.
Amy and Toadie rush onto the scene, and Amy and Zara share an emotional hug.
AMY: I'm so sorry.
TOADIE: We both are. We should've had more faith in you.
ZARA: I didn't exactly give you a reason to believe me.
AMY: Let's just get you home. Your dad is so worried; we're gonna call him on the way.
Toadie explains Sadie and Aubrey are with the bail magistrate as they speak, and are going to face charges for the fires. When Zara's ready, she'll need to give another statement.
AMY: I know we've got a lot to work through, hon. But let's just get you home, okay?
They walk off together, with Toadie and Jane following behind.
David is outside the main entrance, when Dean turns up to greet him, surprised David's here so early. David explains he couldn't sleep, so thought he'd come straight in.
DEAN: What's happened?
David asks if they can walk and talk.
DAVID: Aaron is under the impression that you have a thing for me.
DEAN (scoffs): Oh, now, that's quite the impression!
DAVID (polite laugh): Is it true? I mean, you've been so kind, and I...
DEAN: Yeah, but you were, like, my rock when I was breaking up with Keith. It's only fair that I'm yours now.
Dean sits on a bench, and David sits down next to him.
DEAN (laughs): You're not that irresistible.
DAVID: Sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up.
DEAN: Don't be sorry.
Dean puts an arm around David's shoulders.
DEAN: You can tell me anything.
DAVID: I'm just really struggling. Everything is a mess, and I don't know what to do about it.
Dean pats him on the back comfortingly.
Zara, Amy, Levi and Toadie walk into the courtyard in slow motion. Coming the other way are Sergeant Rodwell, out of uniform, with Sadie and Aubrey.
RODWELL: Sadie? Anything you want to say to Zara?
SADIE: I'm sorry. And I know you probably don't want to hear that right now, but I truly am.
Aubrey remains silent, and the police escort Aubrey and Sadie into the station. Zara is visibly upset. Amy suggests they go for a meal somewhere, but Zara just wants to go home.
TOADIE: Takeaway, then, eh?
AMY: Brilliant. Love that. (to Zara) What about that?
ZARA (subdued): Whatever. I'll be in the car.
Toadie and Amy look worried as Zara walks away.
Chloe and Aaron are walking towards the hospital - Chloe to visit Mackenzie, and Aaron with a bunch of flowers for David. Aaron is beating himself up for having 'seriously overreacted' to the Dean situation. Aaron's worried the flowers are 'lame' but Chloe says they're a nice way for Aaron to make things right with David.
AARON: I hope so. He even said he wouldn't share our personal life with Dean anymore. I mean, that should've been enough.
But at that point, he sees David on the bench, and Dean with his arm around him. They haven't seen Aaron.
DAVID: Sometimes lately it feels like we're failing to connect on every level.
AARON (shouting): Seriously?!
Aaron rushes towards them, and Chloe follows. David stands up.
DAVID: Aaron, it's nothing. I was just upset, and Dean was here.
AARON: Oh, of *course* he was just here.
Aaron shoves the bunch of flowers at David. Dean objects to this.
DEAN: Hey, back off! Calm down!
AARON: Hold on, hold on. Who the hell do you think you are?!
DEAN: Someone your husband feels safe talking to, and I'm not surprised since you're such a Neanderthal!
Aaron lunges at Dean, grabs him by the collar and presses him up against a nearby car. Freya, who has appeared outside the hospital, shouts over at them.
FREYA: Cool it - hey!
Chloe and David look worried as Aaron pins Dean to the car angrily.
Coming up on Neighbours
- David tells Paul, Glen and Leo that he doesn't understand where Aaron's jealousy is coming from
- Aaron tells David they need to talk and spend time together, but David says he needs space
- Freya flirtily asks Levi if he'd mind if she was secretly watching his every move; he says he wouldn't
- Nearby, Ned and Harlow notice Levi and Freya flirting
- Chloe asks Freya, 'What if Gareth doesn't want to be found?'