Madge banishing Harold to Henry's room until he does something about his snoring.
Nick is walking up the street when he bumps into Sharon and says a muted 'hi'. Sharon remarks that she didn't see him after school. Nick explains that he had to do some of that community service stuff. Sharon asks him coolly how come he's been avoiding her today: he's hardly spoken to her at *all* and she thought they were supposed to be friends. Nick retorts that he thought they were supposed to be *more* than that. Sharon mutters:
SHARON: You're still mad at me about the other night.
NICK (retorts): Work it out for yourself.
SHARON (exclaims): It's not fair. *I* can't help it if I'm not ready to go as far as you are. I've never done anything like that before.
NICK: Then you shouldn't've acted like such a tease, should you?
SHARON: All I did was *kiss* you; what's so wrong with *that*?
NICK: Nothing - except you gave it to me like you wanted *more*.
SHARON (indignantly): I did *not*.
Calming down, Sharon tells Nick that she's sorry - she doesn't want to fight with him. She asks if they can still be friends. Nick just retorts:
NICK: Sure - when you grow up a bit.
With that, he heads off towards No. 26, leaving Sharon looking downcast. Jim pulls up in his car, parking it in No. 26's driveway. As he climbs out and removes some bags of shopping from the boot, Paul and Gail walk over and Gail asks how Beverly is. Jim sighs that things were pretty tense when he left home this morning: he can't seem to say anything without getting snapped at. Paul remarks that it sounds like he could do with a beer. Jim says he really ought to take the shopping inside - but Gail tells him that *she* can do that; she was going go and see Gail later anyway. Jim thanks her and hands over the bags.
Todd and Katie are sitting on the couch, studying. Beverly emerges from the kitchen, stares at the lounge room floor and then yells towards the bedroom area:
BEVERLY: Nick - come and pick up your bag *NOW*.
Katie tells her aunt that he probably didn't know he left it there, but Beverly just retorts that she can do without the smart remarks. Katie cries that she *wasn't* being smart. Nick emerges from his room and Beverly snaps at him that she's told him before about leaving his bag where everyone can trip over it. Nick picks up his bag and mutters that it's not the end of the world. The doorbell rings and Beverly opens it to Gail - just as Katie cries again that she wasn't being smart. As Gail steps inside, she asks warily if she's come at bad time. Todd demands of Beverly why she's picking on Katie. Beverly tells him to keep out of it. Katie cries that it's not fair, and she runs off to her room. Todd goes after her, muttering at Gail as he does so that Beverly's gone real mental. Beverly has returned to the kitchen, and as Gail joins her, Beverly says she's sorry about that. Gail just smiles:
GAIL: What are kids for if not to be yelled at, hey?!
She then offers Beverly a hand with the carrots she's peeling. Beverly, however, insists that she's OK. Gail goes on that she's got a mountain of spaghetti sauce in the freezer that she could bring over to save Beverly doing all the preparation. Beverly stares at her and says coolly:
BEVERLY: I am not an invalid, Gail. Believe it or not, I *can cope* with dinner.
GAIL: Yes, I know, but it would save you the bother.
BEVERLY (irritated): Will you stop being so *helpful*?
She then calms down and sighs that she knows she's being difficult: everyone's falling over themselves with concern for her and she's feeling smothered. Gail asks Beverly if she wants her to leave. Beverly replies:
BEVERLY: No. I want you to help me cut up these rotten vegetables before I *stab* them to death.
GAIL (sympathetically): That bad, huh?
BEVERLY: 'Fraid so!
Joe is with Des at the Coffee Shop, doing some measuring- up and making suggestions as to how to improve the place. Des tells Joe that he knows he's got make a few changes, but not so many that it doesn't feel like Daph's shop anymore. Joe says he'll draw up a rough plan and they can argue it out from there. He then reaches into his shirt and exclaims that he almost forgot his mum's wedding invites: it's on Saturday. He hands over an invite and Des says he wouldn't miss it for the world! Harold comes in suddenly and Joe hands him an invitation as well. Harold remarks:
HAROLD: Ah. I *wondered* when somebody was going to invite *us*.
JOE: Oh, don't worry, you're on top of the list, mate: she reckons you're the ants' pants!
Joe then looks around and suggests moving the kitchen door to give them better access than they had before. Des comments that that's a good idea - but Harold mutters that after Joe's so- called repairs to his exercise bike, he takes anything Joe says with a large grain of salt. Joe insists:
JOE: Relax, Harold - I'm much better when I'm working on an idea from scratch.
HAROLD (retorts): You'd *need* to be!
Joe heads off to take a few measurements in the kitchen, leaving Harold to exclaim to Des that he doesn't know how he can possibly let Joe give them a quote: the man's a total incompetent. Des, however, tells Harold that Joe has come up with some good ideas - and it's just a quote; there's nothing wrong with that, is there? Harold shrugs:
HAROLD: It's up to you, of course. Huh!
Des sighs and asks Harold if he's in a bad mood for any particular reason. Harold retorts that he's *not* in a bad mood - but if he is, it's Madge's fault: she's been far too critical lately. Des asks why. Harold retorts:
HAROLD: Huh! My snoring! I mean, the truth is I hardly snore at *all*.
DES (frowns): Harold... how would you *know*?
HAROLD: Ha! I... *I* haven't heard anything. I have slept with myself for every night of my life. I haven't woken *myself* up, have I?!
DES (muses): I don't think that's such a good test(!), but, to be honest, your snoring's pretty loud.
HAROLD (darkly): I see. You're taking *Madge's* side, are you?
DES: I didn't say that!
HAROLD: Well, it just isn't fair. I mean, what do people expect me to do: stop breathing?!
Jim is sitting with Paul in the lounge room at No. 22. Paul offers him another beer, but Jim says he'd better get back; hopefully Gail will have cheered Beverly up a bit by now. Paul remarks that he doesn't sound that confident. Jim admits that he *isn't*: he doesn't know what to do with her; whatever's going on, she won't talk to *him* about it. Paul says:
PAUL: You don't think you're expecting too much, do you? Losing a baby must be pretty traumatic for her.
JIM: It was my baby too. That doesn't mean we have to tiptoe around the house, making each other miserable.
Gail arrives home as Paul says he supposes Beverly will get over it - it just needs a bit of time. Jim asks Gail if there's any improvement, but she replies that she doesn't think so. Jim says he wishes he could help her; he really does. Gail tells him that she thinks the only thing he can do is keep on loving her and let her find her own way out of it. Jim says he guesses that will have to do. He heads out, leaving Gail to remark to Paul that she doesn't think either Jim *or* Beverly are doing too well - and it's affecting the way Beverly deals with the kids: she was practically *screaming* at them when she got there. Paul frowns that that's not good. Gail goes on:
GAIL: Todd's starting to resent it, too.
PAUL: Wish there was something we could do.
GAIL (thoughtfully): Hmm... I think there *is*...
Sometime later, Paul and Gail are sitting in the lounge room at No. 26 with Jim, Beverly and Helen, Paul saying:
PAUL: Well? Is it a good idea or isn't it?
Gail adds that if they decide it is, it was *hers*! She then smiles that, honestly, they've *love* to have Todd and Katie for a couple of days - and it'll give Jim and Beverly a bit of a break. Beverly says she thinks it's a terrific idea, but it should be up to the kids to decide. Jim calls to Todd and Katie, who emerge from their bedrooms. Todd asks what's up. Helen tells him and Katie:
HELEN: A surprise. Paul and Gail have come over to invite you *there* for a couple of days.
PAUL: Yeah - if you *want* to.
KATIE (excitedly): Stay overnight and *everything*?!
GAIL (smiles): Would you like to do that?
Jim looks at Todd and asks him what *he* wants. Todd shrugs that he guesses so. With that, the two kids head off to pack some things, leaving Gail to remark that that wasn't too hard. Beverly muses:
BEVERLY: Wait 'til you've had them a few hours!
PAUL (grins): Nah... piece of cake!
Joe finishes totting up some figures on a notepad and then says to Des and Harold:
JOE: Look, I don't know how this sounds to you, but I reckon I can get this done for under ten grand. Nine and a half, to be exact.
Des looks at Harold and exclaims that it's great; it's almost a thousand bucks cheaper than the next lowest quote. Harold, however, points out quickly that that does not necessarily mean a thousand dollars *better*. He asks Joe if he can look at his notebook. Joe hands it over. Harold peruses it and then says:
HAROLD: Ah. This timber is very cheap. How did you arrive at that figure, eh?
JOE: Special supply, Harold. Good price for me, good price for you.
HAROLD: But what if your supplier increases *his* price?
JOE: Then it's bad luck for *me*, isn't it, Harold? I mean, this quote's fixed, whatever happens. You can have that in writing, if you like.
A look of surprise crosses Harold's face. Joe asks if he's got the job. Des takes Joe's notebook, glances at it and then admits that he's pretty tempted. Harold tells Des that he still thinks they should talk it over privately before they make any firm decision. Joe says that's fine by him: he'll just slip over to the Waterhole, sink a couple of coldies and they can join him when they've made their decision. With that, he heads out. When he's gone, Des exclaims:
DES: What's the matter, Harold? Isn't the quote *good* enough?
HAROLD: Well, yes, it is *cheap* enough... but that's what *worries* me: I keep thinking about the cheap carpet with the fleas, and the... oh yes, the cheap burglar alarm that went off every time you blinked at it.
DES: But this is different: all the building materials and the timbers are specified. All we've got to do is keep an eye on him; make sure he doesn't palm off the wrong materials onto us. We're capable of *that*, aren't we?
HAROLD (tuts): It's what *Joe's* capable of that worries *me*. [Sighs] But you are right - it *is* cheap.
DES: Then we go with it?
HAROLD: Oh, I suppose so - but I'll tell you something: I'll be keeping an eye on him, every step of the way.
Paul and Gail help Todd and Katie carry their things into No. 22 and Katie asks them how come they're giving them a holiday. Gail replies:
GAIL: Because we like you!
TODD: Oh yeah?
PAUL: And also because Beverly's had a bit of a bad time and we thought she and dad would feel better if they had a bit of space.
TODD (snaps): Sure - just like *our* parents: we gave *them* a bit of space and they *still* don't want us back.
Katie asks Paul and Gail if that means she and Todd aren't allowed to go back to Aunty Beverly ever. Gail smiles that this is different, but Todd snaps:
TODD: No it's not.
Paul insists that it *is*: for a start, they only live a couple of doors down, so they can go and see Beverly whenever they want; and secondly, Beverly isn't sick like their mum was. Todd says:
TODD: You're not just bulling us?
PAUL: No, mate. Look, you've got my word on that, OK?
Gail smiles that now they've got *that* sorted out, what's Paul going to cook them for dinner?! Paul smiles back that he thought he'd cook them some takeaway Chinese! Gail comments that she'll need the bowls she lent Sharon for her party, and she asks Katie if she'll pop over and get them. Katie heads out. Todd picks up his and Katie's bags and heads upstairs with them. When they're alone, Paul and Gail put their arms round one another and kiss happily.
Sharon is in the kitchen, talking to herself, saying distantly:
SHARON: I thought I was going to *drown* - but then, when you swum out to me with your big, strong arms, I *knew* I'd be safe. You carried me back to the shore and put me down so gently on the sand, I knew you'd always—
She breaks off as she spots Katie standing watching her! She explains quickly that she was just pretending. Katie nods that *she* does that sort of thing a lot - making up stuff. Sharon sighs:
SHARON: Well, as far as my love life goes, making it up's the best I can do at the moment.
Katie comments that she and Nick are still in love, aren't they? Sharon retorts:
SHARON: Huh! We aren't even in *like*! We had a fight and now we're hardly even *speaking* to each other.
KATIE: What was the fight about?
SHARON: Well... it was about something that I've got that he wants; something I won't give to him.
KATIE: That's like me and Sonia - this friend I've got at school: she wanted my pencil case, except I wouldn't give it to her.
SHARON: And now I suppose she hates you?
KATIE: Oh no, she's still my friend. She's not mean enough to stop liking me just because I want to keep something that's *mine*.
SHARON: Huh! I wish *Nick* felt like that.
KATIE: Well, he *should*. He's supposed to be your friend because he *likes* you, not because of something you've *got*
SHARON: Katie, I think you've hit on something there.
KATIE (frowns): But *everyone* knows that, don't they?
SHARON: They *should*... but Nick doesn't.
Helen is with Jim and Beverly in the kitchen, and she remarks that without Todd and Katie demanding dinner, she'd forgotten how peaceful the place could be! With that, she heads out to her art class. Left alone with Jim, Beverly comments that it was nice of Paul and Gail to take the kids; she hopes they're not too much trouble. Jim says he's sure they won't be - but if they are, Paul and Gail can always send them home. He sits down at the table with Beverly and tells her that they need to have a talk. Beverly, however, says:
BEVERLY: I know... but not now. I think I'll lie down and read for a bit.
With that, she heads off to her room. Nick comes in and remarks to Jim that it doesn't look like Beverly's mood's improved. Jim tells him to go easy on her: she's having a pretty rough time of it. Nick mutters that *all* women are weird: he thinks they'd be better off *without* them. Jim comments in surprise:
JIM: I thought you *liked* women.
NICK: I *do*. I *did*.
JIM: Why the change?
NICK: 'Cos they're giving me hassles. Well, one is, anyway. See, she was acting really rapt in me, she was chasing me around and wanted to kiss me and stuff—
JIM (grins): That's a problem?!
NICK: Well, I didn't think so at the time - but she'd sort of given me the green light to go for it, and when I did she acted like I was a sex maniac or something. I *still* can't figure out what I'm supposed to have done wrong.
JIM: Sounds to me like you might have misread the signals.
NICK: Yeah, it seems that way, doesn't it. How am I supposed to get it *right*?
JIM: Do you really *care* about her?
NICK (nods): Sure.
JIM: Then you have to let her set the pace. Don't just *assume* what she wants; let her tell you.
NICK: How long am I supposed to wait?
JIM: As long as she needs, mate. See, that's a part of being in love with someone: you have to give each other time and space. If you do that, eventually they'll come around.
Jim doesn't look convinced by his words, though. He adds after a second:
JIM: That is if *they* love *you*...
Paul, Gail, Todd and Katie are having dinner, and Paul smiles at Katie that she should have entered Des's ice- cream- with- chopsticks eating contest: she'd have won for sure! Gail asks Todd if he wants any more, but he replies that he's full. She then asks what they're going to do after dinner, as he and Katie must have some pretty good games amongst all that stuff they brought over. Katie exclaims:
PAUL (groans): Oh no...!
Gail asks Todd if *he's* going to play, but Todd says he can't: he promised he'd go to Gary Ling's place to study tonight. Katie glares at him, but doesn't say anything. Paul tells him to be back by 9:30pm at the latest.
Beverly is lying on the couch. Jim comes in and puts a mug of coffee down on the table for her. He suggests they hire a movie, but Beverly says she's not really in the mood. Jim presses that it might cheer her up; they can get something mindless. Beverly, however, snaps:
BEVERLY: I *said* I'm not really in the mood.
She then apologises and tells Jim that she knows she's being difficult at the moment, but he'll just have to bear with her. Jim says:
JIM: For how long, darling? I mean, *I* can handle it, but it's a bit tough on the *kids*.
BEVERLY (retorts): I'm not doing it on *purpose*, Jim.
JIM: No. No, I know - but it might make it a bit easier if you'd let me help you.
Beverly sits up and demands:
BEVERLY: How? Can you bring the baby back?
Jim stares at her for several seconds before mouthing:
Beverly comments that that was low; she shouldn't have said it. Jim tells her that he supposes he's only worried because he's used to her being so *strong*; the same with the kids - they're used to her being there when they need her. Beverly retorts that they're just going to have to get *un*- used to it for a while, because right now being needed is more than she can cope with. Jim looks at her in concern.
Todd is in the middle of a video game when a boy walks up and peers over his shoulder. He remarks:
BOY: *You're* doing OK.
Todd says he's only got to get 3,000 more and he'll get the highest score. The boy asks him if he reckons he'll make it. Todd retorts:
TODD: What do *you* think?
At that moment, though, he loses his final life. The Top Scores screen flashes up for him to enter his name and he types in 'TODD' underneath the top entry: 'SKINNER'. The boy comments to him that number two is pretty good. Todd, however, says he knows he can beat the top score, and he asks the boy to lend him some more money. The boy points out to Todd that he already owes him $4. Todd insists that he'll pay the boy back, but the boy says he hasn't got it. He adds:
BOY: Anyway, you'll never beat that score. That Skinner guy's too good - whoever he is.
TODD (declares): I can beat him. Go on.
BOY (retorts): What, are you deaf? I said no.
With that, he walks off, leaving Todd staring at the Top Scores screen ruefully.
Sharon is studying at the kitchen table when there's a knock on the back door. She opens it to Nick, who asks if he can come in. Sharon lets him through. He asks where Bronwyn is, and Sharon replies that she's next door, helping Jane and Mrs. Mangel with all the wedding stuff. Nick hesitates before then saying:
NICK: Er... the reason I'm here is because I've been doing some thinking about what happened at the party, and I want to speak to you about it.
SHARON: Yeah, well, I've been thinking about it too, and can I go first, please?
SHARON: All I've got to say is that I'm not ready to give you the things that you want, and if you've come over here to try and persuade me, you can forget it. If that means you don't want me for a girlfriend anymore... well, I won't *like* it, but I guess you'll have to find someone else.
NICK (quickly): I don't *want* someone else. I want *you*.
NICK: Yeah. It's OK about the other stuff: if you don't want to then I won't hassle you about it.
SHARON: You mean that? You won't pressure me or anything? We can still go out together?
NICK (smiles): Of course.
SHARON (happily): Oh Nick... thank you.
The two of them hug tightly. When they pull apart, Nick says:
NICK: Is it still all right to kiss you, though?
SHARON (looking relieved): It's more than all right.
The two of them move towards each other and start kissing.
Todd arrives home as Paul, Gail and Katie are clearing away the game of Twister. He tells Paul that he's got an excursion tomorrow, and he asks for some money. Paul asks how much and what's it for. Katie, however, glares at her brother and snaps:
KATIE: You *liar*, Todd, you *haven't* got an excursion; you're just making it up.
TODD (growls): Shut up, Katie.
Paul stares at the two kids and asks what the story is. Katie spits:
KATIE: He wants money so he can play the video games at the arcade, but it's not fair because Uncle Jim already told him he's not allowed to go there anymore.
Todd stands there looking guilty.