Sharon copying exam questions from a paper Mike had in front of him while Mike is in the bathroom wiping tomato sauce off his shirt.
Henry and Bronwyn are sitting in the kitchen, having lunch, and Bronwyn comments to Henry that it's a pity he missed Mrs. Mangel's wedding. Henry grins that the old dragon finally got a man, eh?! Bronwyn says:
BRONWYN: Mr. Worthington looked like he'd won Lotto! I reckon they'll be really happy.
HENRY (grimly): For about five minutes. Probably end up arguing more than Scott and Lennie.
BRONWYN: Don't be such a cynic! *Some* relationships work out OK.
She points out that Paul and Gail love each other. Henry, however, reminds her that they went through heaps before they got together, and there's no guarantees they'll *stay* like that. Bronwyn exclaims:
BRONWYN: *Nobody* gets guarantees - but you've gotta *try*.
HENRY: Nah, not *this* little black duck. Trying to get involved in relationships is a one- way ticket to disaster, if you ask me.
BRONWYN (quickly): No it's not!
Henry gives her a look. She clarifies quickly that the two of *them* have a kind of relationship and they get along OK, don't they? Henry replies:
HENRY: Yeah, but we're just mates, that's why. Luckily, you had the brains to see we're better off *keeping* it that way.
With that, he stands up and thanks Bronwyn for the feed. Bronwyn asks him if he *has* to go... Henry explains that he's taking delivery of some of the Coffee Shop materials, as Joe's working on the other side of town. The two of them head out into the hallway - just as Sharon comes in through the front door. Bronwyn asks her sister in surprise what she's doing home, and Sharon tells her quickly that she forgot she had geography this afternoon and she needs her book. She then beams at Henry that she *heard* he was back, and she asks him if he's coming round tonight. Henry looks at Bronwyn, who shrugs hesitantly:
BRONWYN: You're welcome to, if you've got nothing else on.
With that, Henry heads off, telling Bronwyn that he might see her later. Bronwyn stands there looking upset.
Todd is sitting on the lounge room floor when Nick emerges from his bedroom and tells Todd that he's going to Sharon's, as she wants him to study for that Maths exam he's doing again. He adds that she figures that if he does OK, he'll stay at school. Todd asks:
TODD: Will ya?
NICK: Don't know. I'll see how I go, I guess.
TODD: I reckon you're pretty dumb dropping out now.
NICK (sarcastically): Thanks, mate!
TODD: You know what I mean: it's not that easy getting a job these days.
NICK: No. Neither's this Maths stuff - but Shazza's going to coach me, I guess.
TODD: Yeah - you got a chance then, I suppose!
As Nick goes to head out, the front door opens and Beverly, Jim, Gail and Paul come in. They head through to the kitchen and Paul asks where they're going to eat. Gail says:
GAIL: Anywhere but Lassiter's!
Beverly exclaims that that's treason! Gail smiles that she loves their restaurant, but she spends half her life there! Jim suggests the new Indonesian place in Elliot Park. Paul nods that it sounds good to him. Beverly agrees to drive. Paul and Gail head out through the back door and Jim and Beverly head through to the lounge room, where Jim looks at the papers and books surrounding Todd on the floor and asks him in irritation if he doesn't ever pick up *anything*. Todd replies that he was *studying*. He grabs a pile of papers and heads through grumpily to his room. When he's gone, Beverly asks Jim:
BEVERLY: Did you *have* to jump on him quite so hard? Last week you were telling *me* to lighten up.
JIM: Paul and Gail let him run riot when he was over there with them, and I don't want anything upsetting you at the moment.
BEVERLY (smiles): It'll take more than a few books on the floor! Besides, you know our *own* room isn't exactly a model of tidiness at the moment...
JIM: Well, um, how about we go in there and mess it up a bit more...?!
Sharon is sitting at the kitchen table with Bronwyn, telling her that she's arranged the problems in order of how hard they are; that way, Nick will get the first couple right and gain confidence. She muses:
SHARON: Maybe I should be a teacher like Mike: moulding young minds... sensitive to the problems of youth...
BRONWYN (mutters): Put a sock in it, will you, Shaz?
Sharon retorts that she was only *dreaming* - but Bronwyn tells her coolly that dreaming doesn't accomplish *anything*. Sharon probes:
BRONWYN (sighs): He doesn't want to know.
SHARON: Are you sure? What did he say?
BRONWYN: That relationships don't work, that he never wants to get involved again, and that I'm a great mate. I give up!
Sharon tells her sister that she can't quit yet: if you want something, you've just got to go for it - like her and Nick. Bronwyn comments to Sharon that she thought she decided she wasn't ready. Sharon, however, explains that she doesn't mean *that*; she means about him shooting through: she doesn't want that to happen, so she doesn't just sit on her back side, she *does* something about it: she talked Mike into organising another exam and she talked Nick into *taking* it; and he's going to *pass* this time. Bronwyn points out:
BRONWYN: You don't know that.
SHARON (grins): I'd put money on that.
BRONWYN (warily): How can you be so sure?
Before Sharon has to answer, though, the back door bangs and Nick comes in. He sits down at the table and Sharon tells him that she's organised some problems for him; they're just like the ones he'll get on the exam. Nick stares at the paper and then smiles:
NICK: Shaz... I *know* the first one!
SHARON (beams): Uh huh - and by the time I'm through with you, you'll know the last one and all the ones in the middle. You can't fail!
NICK (happily): Great!
Jim is sitting on the couch, tying his shoes laces, when Beverly emerges from the bedroom and comments that she's looking forward to dinner at the Indonesian place: everyone raves about it. Jim remarks that it'll be nice to go out on their own and forget about the kids for once. Beverly asks:
BEVERLY: Which particular kid are we trying to forget tonight? Todd?
JIM: No - Scott, actually. I've half a mind to take a quick trip up to Brisbane and sort him and Charlene out once and for all.
Beverly asks what exactly is going on up there. Jim, however, shrugs that that's just it - he doesn't know: Scott was pretty vague on the 'phone - but it must be serious if he's prepared to put his cadetship at risk. Beverly tells Jim not to forget that he's got a business of his *own* to run. Jim shrugs that Rob's a good worker - he can look after things. Beverly tells him that no one likes to see their children unhappy, but she does think that this is one time when dad can't make things right; it's up to Scott and Charlene now. Jim sighs and nods that he supposes she's right. Todd emerges from his room at that moment and says he's finished tidying up in there. He heads through to the kitchen to get something to eat. Jim and Beverly follow him and Jim says:
JIM: Listen, mate, I may have been a bit hard on you earlier on. If I was, I'm sorry.
TODD: All right.
JIM: OK - but amusement arcades and video games are still off- limits, all right?
TODD: Yeah, sure.
The 'phone starts ringing suddenly and Jim goes to answer it in the lounge room, while Todd complains to Beverly that he still doesn't see what's *wrong* with video games. Beverly replies that it's the lying and sneaking around. The two of them turn to listen to Jim's conversation as it becomes clear that something's wrong. When he hangs up, Beverly asks him in concern:
BEVERLY: What is it?
JIM: That was All Saints Hospital in Washington. My mother was admitted ten days ago. She's dying.
A short time later, Jim is sitting on the couch as Todd tells him sympathetically:
TODD: She'll be all right, Uncle Jim.
JIM (softly): No, mate. No, she won't.
Beverly joins them and tells them that Paul's cancelling the reservation. Jim nods that he'll talk to him tomorrow - there are arrangements to make. Todd heads through to the kitchen to get something to eat and Beverly sits down with Jim and says gently:
BEVERLY: I know this is devastating for you. We always think of our parents as being immortal.
JIM: I *knew*. I *knew* her illness was terminal. She just went on...
BEVERLY: Well, Jim, that was her choice. I mean, you've told me how independent she was; how strong.
JIM: Please - don't talk about her as if she's dead already.
BEVERLY: You must love her very much.
JIM: I didn't always. I resented her career - I thought it meant more to her than *I* did. I didn't realise how *hard* she works...
BEVERLY: Jim... children *often* misjudge their parents.
JIM: *Parents* often misjudge their *children*! She came to visit us in Erinsborough a while back - before I met you; came to see Scott, really. [Smiles fondly] They're so alike, those two.
He goes to stand up, saying he'll let Scott know - but Beverly stops him and tells him that tomorrow is soon enough. Jim accepts this and goes on:
JIM: She wasn't going to tell me at the time. She'd been diagnosed already and she knew she didn't have forever.
BEVERLY (sympathetically): Oh Jim, how dreadful.
JIM: Oh, it's my fault. I'd never given her any reason to believe that I'd *care* - but Scott wouldn't leave it at that, and we thrashed it out there and then. Anyway, we parted a hell of a lot happier with each other - but there was so much left unsaid: years and years of things...
He hesitates before adding:
JIM: I have to go to her. I've got... I've got so much to tell her.
Henry and Bronwyn are sitting on the lounge room floor, listening to loud music, as Sharon and Nick sit on the couch, studying. Nick sighs at Sharon that he doesn't get it. Sharon tries to explain, but Nick asks if they can't just give it a rest: he's got simultaneous equations sussed out pretty well; he should just about be able to pass the exam now. Sharon, however, declares:
SHARON: Just passing's not good enough. Come on - let's take it from the top.
Over next to Henry, Bronwyn turns down the music and asks Henry if he could do some yard work for them, as out the back's a real mess. Henry, however, tells her that she caught him at a real bad time: with the Coffee Shop renovations, he's flat to the board. Bronwyn murmurs that the weather will be getting warmer soon so they'll be out there a lot. Henry tells her that he could put his apprentice onto it: Todd. The front door bangs suddenly and Mike comes in. Sharon quickly grabs the papers Nick's working on. He comments that he thought she wanted to go through them again, but she tells him quickly that it'll keep. She then asks Mike where he sprang from. He smiles that he could hear the music from his place and thought he was missing out on some sort of party! Bronwyn says that it may as well be, so she'll get some food - and she asks Sharon to give her a hand. Sharon tries to protest, but Bronwyn tells her that it won't kill her. Sharon reluctantly hands the papers back to Nick and leaves the room. Mike remarks to Nick:
MIKE: So, you've been studying for the exam, mate?
Henry tells him that Sharon's been ramming it into Nick's head all night! Nick tells Mike:
NICK: Sharon's worked out a whole set of equations. She said if I can do these, I'll pass for sure.
Mike asks to have a look, and Nick hands him the papers. Mike looks at them. After a few seconds, he calls out:
MIKE: Sharon - would you get in here?
After a few seconds, Sharon appears in the doorway, looking sheepish...
The next morning, there's an urgent hammering on the front door of No. 26. Nick dashes out of his room and opens the door to Sharon, telling her to keep it down as the family's still asleep. Sharon apologises and asks hopefully if there's any coffee going. Nick replies:
NICK: At this hour? What do *you* reckon?
Sharon sighs heavily and Nick tells her to come in and he'll put some on. They head through to the kitchen and Nick asks Sharon what brings her there. She tells him:
SHARON: The way Mike went off about that exam last night, I couldn't sleep. I figured 'well, why should I have to suffer alone'?
NICK: Oh, terrific!
SHARON: What do you think's going to happen?
NICK: Well, with any luck Mike got it all off his chest last night.
SHARON: You don't think he'll report us to old Muir?
NICK: A little less of the 'us' stuff, please! It wasn't *my* bright idea to copy the exam.
SHARON: Well... you were talking about leaving school and leaving Erinsborough; I just wanted to help.
NICK (smiles): You'd like me to stay on a bit longer, wouldn't ya!
SHARON: Yeah! Sure! But it isn't *just* that: *I* may not *like* school, but I know it's important.
NICK: OK, I'll give you that - but don't you see that I have to do it for myself, or it doesn't mean anything?
SHARON (sighs): Guess I blew it again...
NICK: Maybe not. Mike's not such a bad guy - and he cottoned on before anything actually happened. With any luck, he'll drop it now.
SHARON: Yeah. Maybe...
Paul and Jim are standing with Gail as she hangs up the 'phone. Jim thanks her for her help with his travel arrangements. Gail comments that she was lucky she was able to pull a few strings; she just wishes there was *more* she could do. Jim tells her that there's not a hell of a lot *any* of them can do. He then tells Paul that he'd appreciate it if he can keep an eye on the workshop while he's away. Paul asks warily if that's a good idea, as things didn't work out too well *last* time. Jim, however, explains:
JIM: I had a word with Rob on the 'phone about that last night: he's quite happy for you to look after things. And I've signed a Power of Attorney on the company accounts for you; not that you'll need them, but I don't know how long before... before I get back.
Paul assures him that he'll take care of everything. Gail tells Jim that she's really sorry - she knows it's a dreadful time for him. Paul asks Jim to give her love to his grandma. With that, Jim heads out. Left alone with Paul, Gail puts her arm around him and asks him gently if he's OK. Paul nods:
PAUL: Yeah. Yeah. Better than dad.
GAIL: Yeah, well, I think he's standing up to it very well. He seems to have accepted the inevitable.
PAUL: Ah... something more than simple acceptance involved here, Gail. Their relationship's very complex. I'm afraid when Grandma Robinson dies, dad's going to be shattered.
GAIL: It's too bad Beverly can't leave her practice: having someone with you at a time like that can make all the difference.
Paul looks suddenly thoughtful.
Beverly and Todd are sitting at the kitchen table, having breakfast, when Jim comes in. Beverly tells him that she rang all the others, except Lucy, as she didn't see any point in upsetting her yet. Todd tells Jim that he's really sorry about his mum. Jim thanks him and adds:
JIM: Now listen, Paul is looking after the business, but I'm counting on *you* to look after the family.
Beverly tells Jim that she and Todd have already had a bit of a chat: Todd knows his responsibilities - he'll do the right thing. The doorbell rings suddenly and Todd says he'll get it. He runs and opens the door to Henry, who asks him if he can do him a favour: Bronny needs some gardening done. Todd asks if he gets paid for it. Henry smiles that there's a few bucks in it. Todd nods that he'll get stuck into it straight after lunch: they've got rehearsals for the school play, but he's not in it. Henry adds:
HENRY: A word of warning, though: watch your step around Bronny. Shaz got into a bit of trouble last night, and I don't think the dust has settled yet.
TODD (muses): What *else* is new...?
Bronwyn is in the kitchen, getting ready to go out, when the front door bangs and Sharon comes in. Bronwyn asks her why she isn't at school. Sharon retorts:
SHARON: I've *been*.
BRONWYN: What do you mean? Shaz, you can't start wagging - you're in enough trouble as it is.
SHARON: Oh, tell me about it. I didn't even get as far as my locker: old Muir hauled me straight off to his office.
BRONWYN: *Why*? Mike didn't tell him about the exam, did he?
SHARON (bitterly): You bet he did. He couldn't wait to dob on me, I reckon.
BRONWYN: He mightn't've had any choice: he *is* a teacher.
SHARON (snaps): He's also supposed to be a *friend* - but that didn't stop me getting suspended.
BRONWYN (exclaims): *Suspended*?
SHARON: Uh huh - and you can thank our friend Mike for it.
Bronwyn stands there looking worried.
Jim and Beverly walk into the kitchen and Jim puts some final items in a suitcase on the table. He comments that it's hard to know what to take when you don't know how long you're going to be away. He adds that he's put in lots of photos of everyone; he only hopes his mum can *see* them... Beverly assures him:
BEVERLY: She'll see them - and she'll find great joy in her family.
JIM: Is that a medical opinion?
BEVERLY: In a way. I *have* dealt with a lot of terminal patients. With many of them, there is a sort of clarity at the end.
JIM: Yeah. Well. I only hope I'm there in time - we've got a lot of talking to do.
BEVERLY: Say what you have to say; don't feel you have to hide your grief.
JIM: Is that fair? I mean, to *her*?
BEVERLY: Well, from what you've told me, Bess is a realist. She'll have accepted that she's dying. Her concern will be for *you*. Let her comfort you - it's the last she can do for her son.
Jim accepts that and murmurs that he'd better get moving. Beverly tells him to ring her. She adds:
BEVERLY: I love you...
She gives him a fond kiss. At that moment, Paul comes in through the back door, holding a suitcase. Jim stares at him in surprise and says:
JIM: What's all *this*?
PAUL: I'm coming *with* you.
JIM: But you can't just walk out; what about the business?
PAUL: Dad, dad, Gail can take care of that while we're away. I thought the family was more important.
Jim pulls his son towards him and gives him a grateful hug.
Back yard of No. 30
Bronwyn is sitting in the back yard, by the pool, with Jamie. Todd is standing with her, saying he reckons Sharon's lucky - *he* wouldn't mind a couple of weeks off school! Bronwyn, however, retorts that Shaz's grades are bad enough as it *is*; the only subject she's passing is Maths; she'll be lucky if she doesn't have to repeat the whole year. Todd sits down and comments:
TODD: It was pretty dumb letting Mike catch her cheating like that, though.
BRONWYN: No dumber than it was for Mike to go to the Principal. She didn't *have* to get chucked out, you know?
TODD: You're pretty mad about that, aren't you!
BRONWYN: Let me put it this way: when I get my hands on him, he's going to wish he'd chosen another career!
At that moment, they hear the sound of a motorbike out in the street, and Bronwyn asks Todd if he can watch over Jamie for a sec, as she's got a few things to say to Mike that a child of his age shouldn't hear!
As the front door opens and Mike and Bronwyn head inside, Bronwyn is snapping that it was a *family* matter; he should have let *her* deal with it. Mike, however, retorts that she obviously has no control over Sharon, otherwise this wouldn't have happened. Bronwyn snaps:
BRONWYN: Hey, don't go blaming *me*. *You're* the one who left her alone with the exam in the first place.
MIKE: I thought I could trust her to do the right thing. I should've known better.
BRONWYN: Yeah, you should've. She's not going to pass up a chance to help out a friend.
MIKE: Hey listen, *I'm* supposed to be a friend as well, you know?
BRONWYN: Friends don't dob.
MIKE: Well, teachers *do*.
BRONWYN: Well, then what are you? A teacher or a friend? If you weren't a friend, you wouldn't've come round last night and you wouldn't've known anything about the exam.
MIKE: That is beside the point: once I knew about it, I had to do something about it.
BRONWYN: You didn't have to get her *suspended*. She's worked hard since she's been here. All that's down the tubes, now; she'll *never* catch up.
MIKE (sighs): That is her bad luck.
BRONWYN: Huh! That's a *great* attitude for a so- called teacher. Kid makes one mistake and out?
MIKE: What did you *expect* me to do, huh?
BRONWYN: Well... you could've switched exams. That way it would've been fair on Nick and nobody would've known the difference.
MIKE: I couldn't do that!
BRONWYN: Why not? Is it against the teacher's code of ethics to give somebody a fair go?
MIKE: Bronwyn, I had already told Mr. Muir which exam I was going to give Nick. I had to tell him why it had to be changed.
BRONWYN (snaps): You were just protecting your job.
MIKE (angrily): I have had just about *enough* of this, OK? What Sharon did was wrong. If it had've been any other student, I would've reported them as well.
The doorbell rings suddenly and Mike breaks off to go and answer it. To his surprise, he finds Malcolm Clarke standing there, and he beams at him and tells him it's good to see him! Malcolm steps inside, walks over to Bronwyn and comments that she must be the new nanny. He adds that *he's* Des's dad. He smiles that he hasn't seen his grandson in weeks, but Des tells him that he's thriving.
Back yard of No. 30
Todd is playing with Jamie, and he tells him that Bronny will be back soon. All of a sudden, a soccer ball comes flying over the fence from out in the street, and Todd picks it up and tells Jamie that he'll be back in a tick. He heads over to the fence and throws the ball to two boys out in the street. He starts talking to them about their kicking technique, and therefore doesn't notice as Jamie gets to his feet and starts toddling towards the edge of the swimming pool...