- Nicolette returns with a second baby in tow, telling David and Aaron, 'This is our daughter'
- Paul is annoyed to learn the baby he was given in Canberra is not Isla
- Terese learns that Paul used the bank loan for the Quill deal to pay Nicolette the million dollars
- Aaron is unimpressed to learn that David knew about Paul paying off Nicolette
- Nicolette's apologetic to David and Aaron for what she put them through
- But Nic's in a far less conciliatory mood when it comes to Chloe, telling her she has nothing to say to her
- We learned Britney had been struggling with postnatal depression, hence agreeing to the boys raising Abigail
- Britney now asks Leo whether he wants to be part of Abigail's life
- Nicolette reveals to Jane that part of her agreement with Paul was to cut herself out of Jane's life
- Jane calls Paul a 'disgusting excuse for a human', and slaps him in the face
Charlotte Chimes' return as Nicolette after a few weeks' absence prompts an updated opening sequence today, with Nicolette and a baby pram joining David and Aaron in a fresh shot on the walkway at the lake. Meanwhile Toadie, Nell and Hugo migrate to a new shot outside the coffee hut later in the sequence, now accompanied by Melanie, as Lucinda Cowden is promoted to the opening titles.
We pick up where we left off, with Paul reeling from Jane's slap, and Terese and Harlow observing.
TERESE: Is it true? Paul, did you tell Nicolette that she could never come back?
JANE: I never would've seen my daughter again. Can you imagine what that would be like, if that was one of your children? No, wait! You told me that you could. You said that you would be a mess, as I collapsed, crying on your shoulder! I was a wreck not knowing what had happened to Nicolette, and... you knew all along. And you lied to my face.
PAUL (contrite): Oh, Jane, I'm sorry. I hated seeing you go through what you were going through, but... I did what I had to do.
JANE: Oh, no wonder you were pushing for me to let her go. Especially after I hired your PI... John Wong was in on it, too!
JANE: You said terrible thing to Nicolette before she left. You drove her to leave - and then you made sure that she stayed away. I will never forgive you for that.
Paul looks shamefaced as Jane leaves.
David and Aaron are surprised to come in and find Nicolette sitting on the sofa, with (real) baby Isla. Nicolette explains she left herself in with the spare key, so they could talk.
NICOLETTE: I was always going to come back.
AARON: Were you really?
NICOLETTE: Yes. I just needed time to clear my head.
DAVID: That's easy for you to say now. But it looks like you were pretty happy setting up a life in Canberra for you and Isla, while we had no idea we were taking care of another woman's baby.
AARON: A baby who we fell in love with, who we thought was our daughter. Look, David and I might have stuffed up before you left, but we did not deserve this. And you know what? If Britney didn't come back and take Abigail, I don't think we ever would've seen you again.
NICOLETTE: Well, you can thank Paul Robinson for that. Because I told him I needed more time, and he shoved a cheque in my face and said I could never come back. I want to figure out a way this can work for the three of us.
AARON: So does that mean you're gonna stay in Erinsborough?
NICOLETTE: I'll stay. But I can't follow the agreement we made before I got pregnant.
Britney and Leo are still with Abigail at the hospital. Britney tells Leo she doesn't need an answer straight away about whether he wants to be part of Abigail's life; for the moment, he's still wrapping his head around the fact he's become a father. He points out that he's not sure why his commitment is the question, given Britney was the one who gave Abigail away.
BRITNEY: I've made some bad decisions, but a lot of that was to do with you.
LEO: What, so this is all my fault?
BRITNEY: I wanted to tell you I was pregnant back in New York. But you made it pretty clear you didn't want to speak to me.
LEO: Because I thought you wanted to get back together! If I'd known what you wanted to talk about -
BRITNEY: You didn't want a bar of me! And that told me everything I needed to know. I was raising this baby by myself. The pregnancy, it was super-tough. And that's when I started calling, and *again* you never answered.
LEO: I told you I was sorry, okay? But we did speak once - why didn't you say something then?
BRITNEY: You told me you were seeing someone else.
LEO: That wasn't the truth. I made up the thing about Chloe to get you off my back.
BRITNEY: No, I saw her there at the vineyard. She was asleep, and she was only wearing a jacket.
LEO: Nothing happened between us. And I wouldn't have had to make it up if you'd just told me you were pregnant.
BRITNEY: You are a piece of work! Who makes up a fake girlfriend just to blow someone off?
The recriminations continue, until the pair are disturbed by baby Abigail crying out.
LEO: Why did you give her to Nicolette?
BRITNEY: I was depressed, overwhelmed. And when Nicolette suggested it, it made sense.
LEO: Yeah, well, I'm sure the money did, too!
BRITNEY: It wasn't about that. And after a little while, I just... all I knew was that I wanted Abigail back.
LEO: So where the hell do we go from here?
Paul finds Terese on the patio, still fuming. She wants to know why he didn't call David and Aaron when he found Nicolette, and let them handle it. Paul points out that David wasn't in his right mind.
TERESE: It's his daughter. His decision. Not yours.
PAUL: Nicolette insisted on talking to me alone.
TERESE: Oh, and I bet you relished that!
PAUL: No, there wasn't one part of that situation that I enjoyed.
TERESE: Really? Cos Paul, you thrive on control and manipulation. I mean, surely you would've been in your element.
PAUL: Actually, I was terrified. Terrified that Nicolette would take off, and the boys would never see their daughter again.
TERESE: You didn't even give her a chance!
PAUL: I begged her to come home and speak with the boys - I begged her! And she refused. She gave me no choice, Terese.
TERESE: ... Well, I am so tired. The lies. And how they have hurt everyone we know, including me. So, is there anything else that I need to know about? (...) Any more lies, skirting the truth? Because after today, I don't think I could take anymore.
PAUL: No. No, there's nothing else; you know everything.
TERESE: You are so good at lying, that even I don't know if you're telling the truth anymore.
PAUL: Oh, Terese, please, I -
TERESE: No, that's enough. I can't deal with this. Stay at the hotel tonight. I need some space.
Paul nods reluctantly, and leaves. Terese looks upset.
Nicolette is still with David and Aaron, but says she has to leave to put Isla to bed, explaining that she's staying at No 24 with Jane. Aaron asks if she'll need a cot, but Nicolette says she's co-sleeping with Isla as it's easier for feeding.
DAVID: We already have everything she needs set up here.
AARON: Yeah, plus we're used to getting up in the middle of the night for feeds. That's what we did with Abigail.
NICOLETTE: I'll come back tomorrow. You can spend more time with Isla then.
Nicolette leaves with the baby.
AARON: David, this is wrong. She's meant to be with us.
DAVID: I know.
Nicolette arrives with Isla, and reports to Jane that her chat with David and Aaron went 'as well as to be expected'. Chloe is also present, and offers to make Nicolette a tea while she bathes Isla and puts her to bed. But Nicolette coldly says she's fine, and walks into the bedroom.
JANE: I think it's gonna take a little while.
CHLOE: Yep. And the last thing that baby needs is tension in this house. So I think I'm gonna stay at the hotel. It'll give you and Nic a chance to spend some time together.
Jane thanks Chloe.
Aaron is in the bedroom, looking mournfully into the crib where Abigail had been sleeping. David comes in. Equally upset, David calls Leo on the phone, asking if they can come and see Abigail. But we gather that Leo has told David it's not a good time as he's busy talking to Britney. David ends the call. Noting that David didn't seem surprised earlier to learn of Paul paying Nicolette never to come back, Aaron asks if he knew.
DAVID: ... Yes. I -
AARON: Dammit, David. You realise that if you had've told me, we wouldn't be in this whole this situation?
DAVID: It wouldn't have made a difference. We'd already had Abigail for weeks!
AARON: No, no, because I could've called Nic, and I could've told her that we knew, and to come back. That we would've sorted something out. Instead, now, we have no say over what happens with Isla.
Paul comes in, overhearing this.
PAUL: It wouldn't have changed anything. Look, the moment that Nicolette decided to keep the baby, nothing was gonna be the same. And please, don't turn on David because he kept the payment a secret.
AARON: Stay out of this, Paul (...) This is actually your fault, alright? I don't even know why you got involved in the first place. We could've spent years thinking that Abigail was our own daughter, not realising that Britney could've come back at any point, and taken her away! This whole thing is beyond a mess, and it's because of you!
PAUL: I did everything I did for you and the baby! And David did everything *he* did for you and the baby as well.
AARON: Hold on, no - what do you mean? (to David) What is he talking about? You have something else to tell me?
PAUL: Jesse was asking too many questions as to why we didn't invest in the Quill Group.
DAVID: (...) I told Jesse to leave Terese alone, so she wouldn't find out about the money.
AARON: So you ran a kid out of town for this?
PAUL: Not this! For your family!
AARON (to David): Get out! (to Paul) You too. Go, both of you.
They try to reason with him, but Aaron simply decides to leave the house himself instead. David looks despairing.
Jane is on the sofa with Nicolette and Isla. Jane laments that there's so much she missed out on in Isla's first weeks; she says she's hoping she'll get a chance to catch up.
NICOLETTE: I'm staying, Mum.
JANE: Well, that's... that's something.
NICOLETTE: I promise you, I was going to call you, as soon as I could figure out how to explain to you why I swapped the babies.
JANE: I still can't believe that you did that.
NICOLETTE: Mum, honestly I thought it was the best idea at the time. A way that everyone could get what they wanted. The boys could get their baby, I could keep mine, Britney could use the money to help herself. I hate that I cut you off. But the worst part was how much I missed you. I really needed you. I'm sorry.
Harlow and Terese are waiting when Leo comes in, along with Britney and Abigail. Terese tells Britney to make herself at home; she's more than happy for her to stay here. Leo reveals that the police aren't going to charge Britney now they know she's Abigail's mother. Terese suggests they get takeaway for dinner, while Harlow takes Britney's bags upstairs. Leo asks if Paul's here, but Terese tells him he's staying at the hotel.
David comes in, desperate to see Abigail, but Leo says it's a little late. David gives Britney the bunny that Brent made, telling her it's Abigail's favourite. Leo says maybe David can see Abigail briefly, but David says it's fine - he'll see them tomorrow. David leaves. Leo and Britney look concerned.
The next day, Terese comes to see Jane and Nicolette. She tells Nicolette she's here to apologise for Paul's behaviour.
NICOLETTE: You're always welcome. As long as Paul didn't send you over here to grovel for him.
TERESE: No, he didn't. And I wouldn't. Listen, your mum mentioned that Paul said some things to you before you left. I'd like to know what they were.
NICOLETTE: That no-one trusts me. That I deserved being cheated on. That I will never be a part of your family, and the moment Isla is born, to hand her over and get the hell out of your lives.
TERESE: That's appalling. I don't blame you for wanting to leave.
NICOLETTE: Paul can't get all the credit.
JANE: Well, who does?
NICOLETTE: Chloe. Cheating on me with Leo.
JANE: But she didn't. She rang, left you messages, telling you that that wasn't true.
NICOLETTE: Yes, and I deleted every single one of her lies, because Leo told Britney the day before we left.
TERESE: Actually, Leo lied to Britney, hoping that she'd stop calling him.
NICOLETTE: Are you sure?
TERESE: Yeah. Things are pretty tense at our house.
JANE: Well, maybe if you talk to Chloe, you could sort this out.
NICOLETTE: It doesn't change the fact that she had doubts about us. Do you know how humiliating it was, finding out that the boys knew for weeks? I mean, that's why I needed space, so I could clear my head.
JANE: Well, it's a pity that space ended up taking so long.
NICOLETTE: That was never the plan, Mum. And I told Paul that - that I just needed a bit more time, that I was coming back. But he didn't want to wait.
TERESE (surprised): That's not what he told me happened.
JANE: So Paul lied. Again. And clearly, because he didn't want Nicolette involved in the boys' lives. He has no morals, Terese. He lies to everyone. Without exception.
Nicolette looks like butter wouldn't melt.
David is in a mood when Chloe calls round, and heads straight to work. Aaron admits they're not talking, but says that's 'better than fighting'. Aaron says David is cancelling his parental leave at work in order to keep busy. Meanwhile, Aaron is packing Abigail's things into boxes.
CHLOE: Are you sure you don't want to keep any of this stuff for Isla?
AARON: I dunno, it seems a bit weird. Nicolette has all her own stuff - this is all Abigail's. And Leo and Britney don't have anything of their own, so...
Chloe offers to help, while Aaron heads off to do some other chores. But among the things on the table, Chloe finds the engagement ring that Nicolette bought for her. She takes it out of its box, and slips it onto her finger...
Terese approaches Aaron as he puts out the trash, and asks how he's doing. He says he's keeping busy with packing, cleaning and keeping his distance from David.
AARON: I don't even know who he is anymore.
TERESE: Oh, you two shouldn't be at odds with each other. Not at a time like this.
At this point, Aaron decides he's fed up of secrets - and tells Terese about Paul and David running Jesse out of town, so that Terese wouldn't find out about Paul using the loan money to pay off Nicolette. Terese thanks Aaron for telling her, then walks over to confront Paul, who is just getting out of his car, about this new revelation.
Leo thanks Chloe for bringing around all Abigail's clothes etc from David and Aaron's.
LEO: Can you believe I'm a dad? Cos I certainly can't.
CHLOE: I suppose it's gonna take some time to get used to. I know Az and David are struggling.
Britney comes in, holding Abigail.
BRITNEY: The infamous Chloe. Nic told me a lot about you.
Sensing she's not welcome, Chloe bids Leo a hasty goodbye and goes to leave, just as Paul and Terese come in. Terese is full-on raging at Paul.
TERESE: I can't say that I'm shocked that you ran Jesse out of town, but to involve David?! I mean, that's beyond reprehensible! Poor Aaron is beside himself!
PAUL: Oh, Aaron needs to get over it! And I would do it all again to stop that sociopath from stealing David's child!
TERESE: Is there any part of you that regrets hurting so many people? Not Jesse?
PAUL: I don't care about that boy! He's a Quill, for goodness' sakes.
TERESE: And Jane?
PAUL: Yeah, who happens to be Nicolette's mother.
TERESE: And what about me?
PAUL: Of course I care about you -
TERESE: Well, then why do you constantly lie to me? I have given you every opportunity to tell me everything, and you keep holding back! (...) That Quill deal was my chance to finally find some peace over Josh, and you took that away from me!
PAUL: Terese, Josh is dead. And nothing is ever gonna bring him back. Whereas David *is here*! And he needed our help. He should be the priority, and I don't understand why you can't see that!
TERESE (laughs): Oh, trust me. I can see it all very clearly. This isn't about David, or me. This is about you, and it always has been! You're so selfish, and it's ugly, and you will never change. You disgust me! Pack your bags and get out of my house!
Paul looks horrified.
Coming up on Neighbours
- Harlow asks, 'Is it as bad as it sounds?' Leo replies, 'Probably worse?' Terese looks upset
- Hendrix doing angry sit- ups in the park; Mackenzie asks him what's going on
- Roxy and Hendrix doing shots on a night out
- Britney tells Leo, 'I want to do this on my own'; he replies, 'Fine'
- Nicolette gives Chloe the cold shoulder outside the café
- While holding one of the babies, Aaron tells David, 'I'm sorry, I can't do this'