Shona asking Libby if Mal is seeing anyone. Libby telling her he isn't.
Philip telling Hannah that she's still beautiful even with her braces.
Karl's surgery exploding, throwing Debbie to the ground. Debbie spotting Darren also thrown to the ground by the explosion.
The reception area of the surgery is burnt and blackened. Karl and Mal are inside with some investigators. Karl looks around and groans:
KARL: What a bloody mess.
He adds that the firemen said it's mainly smoke and water damage; there's no structural damage - but patient consultations are going to be very difficult for the next couple of weeks. He comments that there's no doubt it would've been deliberate. Mal asks one of the investigators if he's found anything yet. The man says he hasn't, but the fire was extinguished quickly, so the evidence should be there to find. Mal then comments:
MAL: Why would anyone want to blow up the surgery?
KARL: I know some people hate going to the doctor, but this is going too far...
Libby answers a knock at the door of No. 28 to find Shona standing there! Shona tells her that she thought it would be fun if they walked to school together - unless Libby is getting a lift with someone else. Libby asks her if she means someone like Malcolm! She adds that he's already left - but *she'll* be ready in a second if Shona wants to wait to walk. Shona, however, says she's just remembered that she's got to rush!
Karl and Mal are sitting in the undamaged consulting room. The arson investigator comes in and tells Karl that that's it for now - they'll be in touch. Karl asks him if they'll follow up on the name he gave them, and the man says they will. He turns and leaves. Mal then turns to his father and asks:
KARL: Oh come on, Mal, you don't have to be Einstein to figure out who's got a pretty big grudge against me at the moment.
MAL (sighs): You don't mean Darren...?
KARL: Did I mention his name?
MAL: You didn't *have* to - and you're *crazy* if you think he's involved.
Karl tells Mal not to fly off at the handle; he doesn't think it's him, although he *was* there at the incident. Mal points out that he helped put the fire out. Karl retorts that he should be happy to help the police with their investigations then - and he resents the implication that he has a vendetta against Darren. The two of them head out to the reception area. Mal asks if he has anyone in mind for the clean- up. Karl says he hasn't. Mal heads off, leaving Karl looking thoughtful.
Philip is busy writing at the kitchen table, causing Helen annoyance at the way he's spread out. Hannah comes in and groans that she doesn't feel well: her mouth hurt so much last night that she couldn't sleep, and now her head aches. Philip comments that there's no point going to school if she can't concentrate. There's a knock on the front door and Philip opens it to Mal, who's come touting for work. Philip, though, tells him that he doesn't have anything for Handy Sam's to do at the moment.
Mal climbs a ladder as Darren stands at the bottom commenting that he never thought he'd be working in school maintenance! Mal remarks that he has a knack for finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Looking annoyed, Darren mutters:
DARREN: Your dad thinks I'm bad news and so do you, obviously.
Mal looks down at him and retorts that he was there at the explosion; it's not such a big leap to figure that he might actually have *seen* something. Darren snaps that he didn't; after the good old- fashioned family do, he was so mad that he went for a walk, he found himself outside the pub and suddenly there was a god- almighty explosion behind him and the surgery was on fire. Mal asks if that's all. Darren growls:
DARREN: What are you getting at, mate? Yes, that was bloody all - but if you want to think I'm some nutzoid arsonist then go right ahead.
Hannah joins Helen and Philip in the kitchen and says she can't sleep: her mouth is still too sore. She asks them if they want to play a game, but they're both busy. Helen suggests to Hannah that she give her father a hand: she could look at his story and see what she thinks. Hannah smiles in delight at the idea, adding that she knows heaps more about romance than *Philip* does!
As he climbs down the ladder, Mal tells Darren that he's not saying he had anything to do with the explosion; he just wants to find out who's responsible. Darren retorts that the last thing he needs is for his business partner to think he's involved. Mal insists that he *doesn't*. Shona walks over suddenly and beams flirtatiously:
SHONA: Mal Kennedy! What's a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?
MAL: Just lucky, I guess!
Shona then comments that she heard about the explosion: she's so glad no one was hurt. Mal tells her that it was pretty ugly - his dad was pretty shaken up. Shona beams that he was lucky Mal was there to help him out. Susan walks over suddenly and comments to Shona that she should be engrossed in English Lit, not social chit- chat. Shona mutters that she's just on her way. As she goes, Shona smiles teasingly:
SHONA: See you later, Mal...!
When she's gone, Susan chides Mal for encouraging her!
A woman is standing in Ramsay Street, looking around. She spots Karl climbing out of his car and she walks over and tells him that she's looking for the proprietors of Handy Sam's - particularly Darren Stark. Karl tells her that he's at the local school, quoting on a big job down there. He adds that if she wants to wait around, the boys will be back soon; he knows they'd hate to miss a job. The woman asks if that means they're *short* of jobs. Karl explains that it's a new venture; it takes a while for word to get around - but they're very highly regarded and their work is first- rate. He adds that he can give them her mobile 'phone number—. The woman, however, interrupts him and says quickly that she'll come back later. She climbs into her car.
Philip is telling Hannah the plot of his new story, but Hannah is more interested in what colour hair the heroine has and whether she's absolutely drop- dead gorgeous. She mutters that it's such a stereotype; why can't she have one little flaw? Philip asks:
PHILIP: Like what?
HANNAH: Like... braces?!
Philip smiles and then points out that this is an historical novel; braces weren't even *invented* in the 16th century! Hannah says she still thinks the heroine should be different; not everyone's perfect...
Susan is sitting at a table with Karl, enjoying a coffee and sighing that it's been one hell of a 24 hours. Karl points out that they can't even say it's *over*: the culprit might strike again. He then adds that he's got bigger worries: with his appointment book destroyed in the fire, he can't contact his patients. Susan suggests that he could take the weekend off - and she could really use the extra pair of hands at the school careers seminar... Karl, however, insists that it's out of the question, what with his patients and the insurance forms... Susan presses that he can spare an afternoon, surely - and Tamsin can cover for him. Karl just says he'll see. Changing the subject, Susan asks him if he's considered offering Mal and Darren the clean- up job. Karl smiles that he realised that Mal was dropping hints the size of Texas about it this morning! He adds that he'll ask Malcolm - and Darren - to give him a quote.
Philip is chuckling in delight, and he tells Hannah that he thought about what she said about his heroine being too perfect and he made some modifications. He relates the revised plot and explains that his heroine is now blind. Hannah asks if he's saying blind people aren't beautiful. Philip insists that he doesn't mean that at all; the heroine has had terrible hardships in her life, but she's been able to maintain her grace and dignity and that's what makes her truly beautiful. Hannah shrugs dismissively:
HANNAH: That's a lovely story!
Philip tells her that his story also has a message: about not giving in when things don't go the way you like - like having to wear braces: it's so trivial and temporary and she'll be better off for them in the long run. Hannah gives him a look!
Mal and Darren are getting themselves some lunch from the deli counter, Mal telling Darren as they do so that no matter how many times he looks at the figures, they don't work; they won't make any money out of it. Darren, however, insists that it's a question of getting started - and if they want the gig, they have to put in the lowest tender. Mal points out that they've still got to be realistic; he reckons they could double the quote and still come in lower than anyone else. Karl walks over at that point and Darren puts down his plate angrily and goes to walk out. Karl, however, tells him that it's him he wanted to see; he wants to talk to him about last night at the surgery. Darren snaps:
DARREN: Look, I know what you think of me, and I am not interested in hearing your pathetic accusations.
KARL: I wasn't going to make any—
DARREN: Look, some people aren't prepared to give you a go, and I am *jack* of it.
KARL: I just wanted to ask you what - if anything - you saw last night. Surely that's reasonable.
DARREN (more calmly): Fair enough.
The three of them go and sit down at a table.
Philip finishes writing something and then comments to Hannah that he'd give anything to have his computer back; his hand's beginning to cramp up. Hannah says she's been thinking about what he said before: having braces and being blind are two totally different things. Philip asks her what her point is. Hannah says:
HANNAH: At least when you're blind people don't tease you or give you stupid names.
PHILIP: Like, um, Brace Face?!
PHILIP: I hope you're not trying to tell me that wearing braces is *worse*.
HANNAH: No, not at all. It's just... well, I mean, when you're blind, people give you sympathy.
PHILIP: Well, because it's often permanent. Hannah, some people are making your life difficult at the moment because they know that you won't be wearing braces for the rest of your life.
HANNAH: So the people that are teasing me now, *they're* the ones with the problem? They're just jealous because I'm going to have nicer teeth than them when the braces come off?
PHILIP: Wouldn't surprise me!
HANNAH (declares): Then I don't care what they say.
PHILIP: Does this mean braces are *not* the end of the world?
HANNAH: No. I mean, I don't *like* them, but things could be worse - like my whole head mutates or something!
Philip smiles that he's glad she's finally putting things into perspective.
Libby arrives home from school and Susan asks her if she's seen her dad. Libby muses:
LIBBY: Narrow- minded, bad- tempered bloke, black hair, about so high...?!
Susan remarks that she's still feeling like that, is she? Libby comments that she thought Susan was going to talk to him. Susan insists that she's tried - but after what happened at the surgery, it's not the best timing. She adds that Karl only wants what's best for her. Libby says she just wishes her father would give Darren a chance, that's all. Susan tells her that Karl *is* giving him and Malcolm the chance to quote on the surgery repairs. She adds:
SUSAN: One small step for mankind, one giant leap for Karl Kennedy!
Libby points out that that doesn't mean her father will take them seriously as a couple - but she's never felt like this about *anyone*; he just makes her so *happy*. Susan asks her if Darren feels the same about *her*. Libby replies that that's why he's working so hard: so they have a future - and he's really inspiring. Susan says:
SUSAN: I have to admit, Lib - it sounds like a pretty mature relationship.
LIBBY: It *is*. It's the real thing!
Susan gives her a tight hug, but behind her back looks worried.
Mal and Darren are still working on the quote for the school, but Mal says he still thinks it's way too low. There's suddenly a knock on the door and Darren opens it. The woman who Karl spoke to earlier barges in and says to Darren curtly:
WOMAN: You were supposed to see me last week. What happened?
Darren turns to Mal and says he's got to take care of some business; he'll catch up with him later. He goes to walk outside with the woman, but she snaps that Mal may as well hear it. Mal asks what's going on here; is there a problem with Handy Sam's? The woman growls:
WOMAN: Oh, there *will* be - if certain people don't pay back certain debts.
DARREN (to Mal): It's fine, trust me.
WOMAN: It's *far* from fine, Darren. You owe me a lot of money, and you missed your first repayment. I'm not very impressed.
DARREN: I told you: you'll get your money, OK?
WOMAN: Oh, I'll get it all right - only now you owe me *two* payments. I want them in full by next week, or you're gonna be extremely sorry. Understand?
With that, she walks out. Darren closes the door behind her as Mal demands:
MAL: What the hell's going on? And who's that scare merchant?
He grabs Darren and adds angrily:
MAL: Look, Darren, you'd better tell me because it sounds like our entire *business* is on the line.
DARREN: Yeah, well, unless I pay her back, it *is*.