Mal asking Libby if she knew Darren had borrowed money from a loan shark and was behind with his payments.
Philip astonished at having written a new book unwittingly while suffering from the 'flu!
Susan telling Karl that she's put his name down to talk at the school's study/lecture weekend.
Cheryl is snapping at Darren that she doesn't blame Malcolm for wanting to call the partnership off. Darren retorts that things will work themselves out - they always do. Cheryl yells:
CHERYL: When are you going to wake up and start taking life seriously?
DARREN (shouts furiously): I *AM*.
Cheryl tells him that he's got to slow down, otherwise—. Darren concludes that she means he'll end up back in jail. Cheryl cries that that will be the saddest day of her life. Darren insists that it won't happen; he and Mal will get on top of this - he promises. Cheryl looks worried.
Billy is dancing around in the lounge room! There's suddenly a knock on the front door and he goes and opens it to Toadie, who heads inside and tells Billy that this is his chance to enjoy the Kennedy hospitality without the Doc pestering him! Billy points out that they've only got one night. He then suggests that they have a party for four: him and Mel and Toadie and... whoever he wants. Toadie frowns that he thinks he's exhausted every possible date in Erinsborough, but Billy assures him that Mel's got heaps of friends - and they've never met him!
A short time later, Billy is at the Holy Roll, inviting Melissa to his house. She smiles that she'd love to, as long as one of his parents can drive her home. Billy then tells her that Toadie will be there too - and he had to promise to find him a date... Melissa exclaims in horror:
MELISSA: A date...? Toadfish...?!
She then recalls a girl called Fleur Williamson from netball: she was talking about Toadie yesterday - she said she liked him! Billy laughs and asks if she's all right! He adds that they'd better ask her, quick!
Jo walks into the bar and Cheryl asks her tersely for a chat. She sits her down and says:
CHERYL: Now Jo, you do understand what a silent partner is, don't you? That's the person who keeps their mouth shut and doesn't tell the active partner how to do their job and doesn't go interfering in the running of the business by going behind the active partner's back.
Jo tries to insist that she hasn't, but Cheryl just presses on that she was prepared to forgive hiring the band, but Jo seems to be making a habit of it. Jo asks what this is about, and Cheryl replies that she's talking about the exhibition. Jo asks if she can have her say, but Cheryl tells her that she has no rights and no responsibilities; she just has a capital investment which entitles her to a share in the profits, that's all. Jo shrugs that she guesses there isn't going to be an exhibition then.
A girl - Fleur - walks into the Holy Roll and says Hi to Billy and Melissa. Billy leaves her and Melissa to it. Fleur comments that this sounds exciting! Melissa says to her:
MELISSA: Can you remember the other day when we were playing netball and some of the guys came over and grabbed the ball and started kicking it around...?
FLEUR (uncertainly): Yeah...
MELISSA: Yeah. And can you remember saying that you thought Toadie was really cute?
FLEUR: I said he was *funny*.
MELISSA: Y- yeah - but didn't you mean in a cute sort of way?
FLEUR: Did I?
MELISSA: Well, I think he likes you.
FLEUR: He does?
MELISSA: Yeah - and he wants you to come over for dinner tonight, at Billy's house - but he's too shy to ask.
Fleur smiles that she didn't have anything else planned.
It's evening- time. Toadie is wearing a jacket of Karl's and Billy stares at it in astonishment! Toadie then tells Billy that he's been thinking about Fleur all day! Billy catches a waft of aftershave and Toadie explains that he found it in Mal's room! There's a knock on the front door, and Toadie suddenly exclaims that he can't do this! Billy points out that Fleur's a *girl*! Toadie retorts:
TOADIE: Yeah, but she's a girl who *likes* me!
Billy tells him to take a deep breath and relax. He then opens the door and kisses Melissa, who steps inside. There's no one with her, and Billy asks where Fleur is. Melissa sighs that Fleur is *so* nervous about this, and she heads back outside to fetch her friend. Fleur comes in and Toadie smiles at her:
TOADIE: Why don't we make ourselves comfortable while we wait for dinner? What kind of music do you like?
FLEUR: Well, anything really.
Billy looks at Melissa in relief.
Cheryl opens the front door to find a woman standing on the step - it's the loan shark. She steps inside and asks if Darren's home. Cheryl replies that he isn't. McGinty says she'll wait. Cheryl retorts:
CHERYL: Right. Well, then you'll wait outside. Who are you?
The woman introduces herself as Jude McGinty and explains that Darren's repayments are overdue and she's come to collect. Cheryl repeats that, like she said, Darren isn't there and she doesn't know when he'll be back, so there's no point waiting. McGinty retorts that *she* thinks there *is*: every time he misses a payment, the amount goes up. Cheryl asks hesitantly how much it is now. McGinty tells her that it's $14k - and every week Darren misses, she adds another grand. Cheryl stands there looking thoughtful. She then tells McGinty that she'll get her the money just as soon as Darren gets back; she wants her out of the house and she'll bring her the money. McGinty says sarcastically:
MCGINTY: Oh. Do you *know* my address?
CHERYL (admits): No, I don't.
MCGINTY: That's right: you don't. But we know where *you* live, Mrs. Stark.
With that, she walks out. Cheryl pushes the door shut forcefully behind her.
Hannah is looking over Helen's shoulder at the sketch she's working on and tells her that she's in trouble if it's meant to be Cheryl! Philip is looking at a newspaper article about how there's growing calls for sports psychologists to help top athletes re- enter something they call 'the zone' - it's a documented state of mind. Helen asks him if he thinks 'the zone' is where his latest short story came from. Philip nods that it may be; it's certainly different from his other romance novels. He suggests that maybe he needs to do something special: a novel the critics would like, rather than books that people laugh at. Helen, however, comments that it seems he has a chip on his shoulder about his books - but he shouldn't: there are thousands of people out there who love them just the way they are. Philip persists:
PHILIP: But what if I could improve the standard? That I could write like this all the time?
HANNAH: Do you think you can?
PHILIP: I don't know - but I'm going to try everything I can before I give up on it.
Toadie is laughing as he and Billy tell Fleur a story that makes the two of them and Melissa laugh. Fleur doesn't seem to get it, though. There's an awkward silence, which Toadie breaks by suggesting that they've heard enough of the music that's playing. Billy heads over to the stereo as Fleur asks if they've got any Techno, but he has to admit to her that no one in the family's really *into* Techno! Fleur remarks that that's a shame. Toadie just murmurs in embarrassment:
TOADIE: Yeah... *real* shame...
Cheryl is feeding Lolly as Darren arrives home. She tells him sternly that she wants a talk to him: she had a visit from that McGinty woman; she knows what's going on and she knows where he went this morning. Darren stares at her. Cheryl tells him that throwing his money away on horses isn't going to get rid of the debt. Darren, however, tells her that he won; everything will be OK. Cheryl asks how *much* he won - $100? $1,000? - and what's going to happen to the $1,000 that's overdue? Darren insists that his winnings will keep McGinty off his back, but Cheryl asks what he's going to do next time he falls behind. She goes on angrily that these loan sharks don't play games. Darren murmurs that he knows. Cheryl cries:
CHERYL: What are we going to do about it?
DARREN (shrugs): I have no idea.
Fleur is standing with Toadie in the kitchen area, saying to him:
FLEUR: I bet you're a good kisser, Jarrod.
TOADIE: Yeah. The best!
FLEUR: Prove it.
TOADIE (nervously): *Here?*
FLEUR: They're not watching!
Toadie looks over to where Billy and Melissa are pashing on the couch, oblivious to the two of them. Fleur then grabs him - before turning on the tap to simulate the waves on the beach! Toadie, however, turns the tap off again before saying:
TOADIE: Listen. Fleur. Um... You really are a great girl - and tonight... talk about fun! But, um, don't you think we're rushing it a bit? I reckon that we should become really good friends before we go into something, don't you?
Looking only slight disappointed, Fleur shrugs that that's all right. She adds:
FLEUR: I was going to let you go as far as you wanted tonight, Jarrod - but I should've known a nice guy like you would've liked me whether I did or not. Thanks!
With that, she gives him a kiss and says she'll freshen up and then he can walk her home. She heads off to the bathroom, leaving Billy to call over to ask Toadie how it's going. Toadie just hisses:
TOADIE: For a guy who's meant to be really smart, how can I be such an idiot?
Darren and Cheryl walk into the bar, where Jude McGinty is waiting. She comments sarcastically to Darren that he brought his mum: how nice. Cheryl retorts that she came to clear up this business. The three of them sit down at a table, where Cheryl tells McGinty that they'd like to pay the loan off in full. McGinty smiles that that's wonderful: it's $14,000, as of today. Darren has to admit that they don't have it yet. Cheryl adds that they'll get it. McGinty growls that she's heard that before. Darren insists that this is for real: his mum's got the money - and he hands over the $1,000 for last week's interest. Cheryl explains that they just need a little bit of time to organise the rest. McGinty tells them:
MCGINTY: In the meantime, with the interest clicking over, the amount you owe goes up.
CHERYL: Oh come on - surely you can see you're going to get the money. Can't you put everything on hold for just... even *two* weeks?
MCGINTY (snarls): Do I look like a bank manager to you? Don't ask me for favours - either of you - because I don't give them. [To Darren] Your next payment's due at the end of the week: another grand - and every week after that, until the whole lot's paid back.
CHERYL: And what if we refuse? What if we just give you the amount that Darren borrowed off you and then go to the police the moment that you try and harass us?
MCGINTY: Oh, you *wouldn't* be going to the police.
CHERYL: Why not?
MCGINTY: Look, how would you *get* there? You certainly won't be able to *walk*. You see, pet, it's not just *me* you owe this debt to; it's my business partners, and they depend on their weekly interest payments; and, uh, my business associates aren't very patient people.
With that, she walks out. Cheryl looks at Darren in concern.
Debbie and Helen are talking in the kitchen, Debbie expressing concern about her father staying up all night to work. She looks over at him as he begins to fall asleep at the typewriter. Helen smiles that he'll snap out of it eventually! Philip stands up suddenly, though, and says he needs a good stretch to get the blood moving. Debbie asks him if he's not going to bed, but Philip tells her that he's just got his second wind!
Darren asks his mother where she's going to get the money from. Cheryl retorts that she has an idea, but she doesn't want him thinking he's out of the woods yet, in case things don't turn out as she wants them do; and if they *do* work out, it'll only be due to considerable humility on her part. Darren tells her that he's really sorry. Cheryl sighs:
CHERYL: You said that in court when they took you off. It's not much good realising you're in the wrong after the event. That's not really when you've got to do the thinking.
DARREN (mutters): Yeah, well, I guess I'm not much good, am I?
Looking suddenly upset, Cheryl pulls Darren into a hug. She tells him that he drives her crazy and he's trouble because he doesn't think things through properly - but he'll learn; she never doubted that he's got what it takes. She adds that she wouldn't be doing this unless she loved him very much. Darren looks at her fondly.
Billy and Melissa are lying back on the couch and Melissa comments that she always *knew* Toadie was a nice guy underneath all that grossness! They two of them watching TV, but Melissa stretches and groans that she's uncomfortable on the couch; they're going to end up like cripples. Billy suggests that they could sit up. Melissa, however, responds:
MELISSA: We could go to your room.
BILLY (surprised): My *room*?
MELISSA: Oh, not to *do* anything. I just want to hold you for a while.
Billy comments that his dad will be back from the school thing of Libby's in an hour. Melissa nods that she has to be home by midnight anyway - and it'll just be nicer waiting for them in the bedroom. Billy smiles:
BILLY: OK - but no funny business!
Philip is typing and sipping a hot drink. He sighs heavily, though, as he pulls a sheet of paper out of the typewriter and tosses it into an already- overflowing rubbish bin.
The 'phone rings at No. 28 and Billy staggers out of his room to answer it, looking half asleep. Mr. Drenth comes on and Billy looks at his watch as he realises in horror that it's past Melissa's curfew. He tells her father that they *did* promise to have her back by now; she's only late because they were waiting for his parents to give her a lift home. He listens to Mr. Drenth and then tells him that he'll get Mel for her. He calls to her, telling her to hurry up. He then stands there looking worried.