Shona suggesting to Mal that they pretend to be married when they go and watch the auction for No. 22.
Cheryl telling Marlene that Lolly's crèche has detected behavioural problems.
Libby telling Mal that Darren's in jail.
Libby asks Cheryl if her solicitor will be able to get Darren out quickly. Cheryl, however, just sighs about how much she's got going on - including someone coming to talk to her about Lolly tomorrow. Libby admits to Cheryl that she had to tell Mal about Darren, so he wouldn't sack him. Cheryl asks in concern if he'll tell anyone. Libby retorts that she doesn't know - it depends how bad things get.
Shona's friend, Becky, walks into the Holy Roll and smiles at Shona that she hasn't seen her for ages. Shona and sitting at a table with Mal, and she introduces Becky. After making some smalltalk, Becky leaves them to it. Mal tells Shona that she doesn't want her dumping her friends just because *they're* going out, but Shona insists she'll get over it. Mal tells her that sometimes you have to put yourself out for your friends. Shona assures him that all she did was let Becky know that they want a bit of space.
The next morning, Danni is at No. 24, telling her mother that she came over to help tidy, but she needn't have bothered, the place is so clean! Cheryl remarks that Patricia Barker even has a *name* that sounds like she'll take Lolly away. She asks Danni if she'll stay and give her some support, but Danni says she doesn't know if she can - she would if she didn't have to organise the Masquerade Ball. She asks if Darren can take an hour off work, but Cheryl tells her that he can't. There's suddenly a knock at the door and Cheryl sighs that that will be her. She goes to the door - to find Steve standing there. She exclaims:
Danni tells Steve to tell Cheryl that she's a good mum. Steve does so! The two of them then head out.
A short time later, Steve and Danni walk into a shop, which has been decorated to be Danni's new store. Danni looks around at the decor and exclaims that it's perfect! She beams:
DANNI: What can I say?
STEVE: Don't say anything. Look, just grab on to the future with both hands and hold on tight!
Danni hugs him in delight, exclaiming that she absolutely loves it!
Philip and Mal walk into Helen's room and Helen smiles at Mal that this is a surprise. Philip explains that he brought Mal along to explain about changes they've made at home. Mal starts to tell Helen about the rails he's put in and the extra seats she'll be able to use, but Helen just mutters that it'll make her feel even more useless. Philip tells her gently not to be ridiculous, but tears well- up in her eyes and Mal asks Philip if he should leave him to it. Philip tells him softly that it'll be all right. Mal heads off, leaving Philip to say to Helen:
PHILIP: You're going to have to realise that what we're doing for you is for your best.
HELEN: It might be for my best, but is it going to help me lead a fulfilling life?
PHILIP: You can't expect things to go back to the way they were - not immediately.
Helen murmurs that she's sorry - she guesses she'll get used to it. She tells Philip to go and catch up with Mal and let him know that she's just a silly old fool. Philip heads off. Helen starts crying again...
Cheryl opens the front door to Patricia Barker and lets her in. She tells Cheryl that a lot of mums worry that this is judgemental about their mothering, but nothing could be further from the truth. Cheryl asks what the problem is with Louise and Patricia explains that the crèche staff have noticed that she's a little bit unsettled in herself and they're just trying to work out why. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Cheryl excuses herself and goes to answer it. To her concern, she finds Malcolm standing on the step. He says:
MAL: It's all right - I haven't come round to see Darren. Libby told me what's been going on.
CHERYL: Yes, I know.
MAL: I don't know why you had to lie to me, though - I *am* his business partner.
CHERYL (quietly): Could we have this discussion at a later time?
MAL: Yeah, I just thought you might like to know that I'm not going to go around telling everyone that your son's in jail, all right? Not even mum and dad.
Cheryl looks at Patricia in concern. She then thanks Mal curtly for dropping by, and she closes the door.
Danni is hanging dresses over mannequins and she tells Steve that they should give the place a proper launch. Steve smiles that they need to invite magazines and a few celebrities. He tells her to leave it to him!
Cheryl is telling Patricia that she always makes sure she finds quality time to spend with Lolly every day. Patricia comments to Cheryl that her family's under some pressure at the moment, but Cheryl insists that it's nothing she can't handle. Patricia insists that it's bound to have had an effect on Lolly, but Cheryl tells her that Darren wasn't living at home when Lolly was born, so she probably doesn't even know he's gone - and it doesn't affect her time with her daughter.
Libby walks into the Holy Roll. Shona is at the counter and she comments to Libby that she hasn't seen her with Darren recently; are they having a break? Libby retorts that they aren't. Mal is sitting at a table and he tells Shona that it's really none of her business. Libby storms off. When she's gone, Shona asks Mal if there *are* problems with her and Darren, but Mal insists that it's nothing for her to worry about. Changing the subject, Shona asks him if he can come to her mum and dad's party at 7:30 tonight. Mal exclaims that he can't go out partying all night - he's got to get up for work early. Shona teases that they can just make an appearance and then go somewhere a bit more private. Mal grins:
MAL: And do what?
SHONA: Well, you've been really stressed out lately. You need to relax. It'll be fun. And you said you wanted an early night...
Mal smiles and agrees to 7:30!
Danni has finished putting up stock in her shop. Steve asks her if anything's missing and Danni says it isn't. Steve says:
STEVE: What about Luke? Not missing *him*?
DANNI (gruffly): Thought we were talking about the *shop*.
STEVE: The shop... your life... Not really a part of it, *is* he?
DANNI (shrugs): I don't know.
STEVE: It's a very important day for you and where's old Lukey?
DANNI (mutters): Just stop it.
Steve tells her that he only wants her to be happy. He adds that this place is the beginning of the rest of her life: the Ferrari and penthouse are just around the corner! He goes on more seriously that he knows heaps of people who are looking for someone to house- sit while they're overseas - for six to eight months at a time. Danni stands there looking thoughtful.
Libby is back at No. 24 saying to Cheryl she wanted to make sure the police would let her in if she goes to see Darren. Cheryl tells her about how Mal let slip in front of Patricia Barker about Darren being in jail. Libby mutters that it's hardly *her* fault, but Cheryl retorts that Libby shouldn't have told Malcolm, like they agreed she wouldn't. She then sighs and asks why Darren had to get himself in trouble at *this* time. Libby glares at her and growls that this is hardly the way a mother should be supporting her son.
Mal opens the front door. He's dressed up, expecting Shona, but it's Danni at the door. She steps inside and asks him if he can do catwalks. Mal starts strutting around like a model! Danni, however, laughs that she needs it for her ball. She then asks if he's taking Shona somewhere flash tonight. Mal sighs that *she's* taking *him* somewhere flash, with her parents. He adds that whoever invented relationships should get their head read.
DANNI (glumly): Yeah, I think you're right.
MAL: You're still missing Luke, eh?
DANNI: Yeah. But I don't know if *he's* missing *me*. Look, he thinks that I'm seeing Steve - you know, the real estate agent.
MAL: You're not?
Mal gives her a look and she continues:
DANNI: OK, fine, don't believe me, then! We haven't been. We're just friends.
Mal asks her if she's not just trying to make Luke jealous, but Danni insists that she isn't. Mal tells her that they'll sort it out. Danni then asks if it's cool about the catwalk. Mal replies that any other time, yes, but he's flat out trying to do all of Darren's work at the moment; if he gets out before her parade—. Danni interrupts and frowns:
DANNI: Gets out?
DANNI: Of where?
MAL: Of jail.
DANNI: He's not *in* jail.
MAL: Yes he is.
DANNI (astonished): What? Why didn't someone tell me?
MAL: I'm sorry - I thought you knew.
There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Mal says that'll be Shona - but he opens it to find Cheryl on the step. Danni immediately demands to know if it's true that Darren's in jail; does everyone know except *her*? The two of them head outside and Danni mutters that Darren is probably wondering why she hasn't visited him yet. Cheryl pleads with her not to be angry with her - she couldn't handle that on top of everything else. Danni tells her that she's got to stop trying to do everything herself - and if she wants to keep it a secret, she can trust her. At that moment, Libby walks up and Cheryl asks her for a few minutes, just to explain about earlier.
Helen is still looking upset as Philip asks her if she doesn't *want* to come home. Helen cries that she'd be a burden. Philip tells her that she's just feeling down, but it'll make all the difference when she's at home. Helen insists:
HELEN: I've thought a lot about it since you left this morning.
PHILIP (insists): Helen, you're *not* a burden.
HELEN: You may not think so now, but you'll get sick of it eventually. I always said when the time came that I'd make things easier for you all.
PHILIP: Don't do this...
HELEN: It's *my* decision. I know I'd feel much better in a nursing home...
Cheryl is telling Libby that she shouldn't have taken it out on her - she'd go to the ends of the earth to get Darren out of that place. Libby tells Cheryl that Darren hates to disappoint her - and he knows he's given her a rough time. She then suggests that they take it in turns to strangle him for what he's put them through!
Danni sits down on the couch and declares that her mother should have told her about Darren. Mal suggests that maybe Cheryl thought she was already upset enough about Luke taking off. He asks Danni if she wants him back. Danni replies that of course she does - Steve is trying to help, but he's not really. Mal smiles:
MAL: Bit keen on you, is he?!
MAL: You sure you're not keen on *him*?
DANNI: No! And even if I was, it's too much to deal with at the moment. Oh, it's a mess. Everything in my life is always a mess.
Mal gives her a hug and smiles that he's glad they're still mates. At that moment, Shona walks in and, finding Mal and Danni hugging, snaps at Mal that *he* doesn't waste any time. Mal insists that he and Danni are *mates*. Shona ignores this and snaps:
SHONA: You two- timing pig.
DANNI: He was just trying to cheer me up.
SHONA (disbelieving): And that's *exactly* what it look like.
Mal snaps at Shona to shut up. He walks over to her and goes on angrily:
MAL: I'm sick of it. Now, if you think there's something going on between Danni and me, that is *your* problem. Until you can grow up and give me some space, you can go to this party on your own, all right? This is *my* life and I'm not going *anywhere* with you tonight.
Shona glares at him as he adds:
MAL: Go on - you don't want to keep your parents waiting.
She storms out as Danni looks at Mal in surprise.