"I Offer You Solace" is the 53rd episode of Desperate Schoolboys.
Josh's grieving process is interrupted when a homeless Joanna shows up on his doorstep, much to Bob's dismay. Rena goes out of his way in order make Mary happy again, and when Ben discovers a distressed Liz, he finds himself on a mission to recover the one wedding present she really wants. Meanwhile, Joe confronts Katie about her constant need for punishment, and with Inspector Lyons on their case, she could soon get a chance to atone for her guilt.
Ever since she'd been off cocaine, Mary Strange was depressed...
Flash to her and Rena attending school together. She sighs.
Flash to her and Rena arriving home together. She sighs.
Flash to her and Rena waking up together. She sighs.
And this had not escaped the notice of Renato Abelho. And so he vowed to put a stop to it.
Mary and Rena are sitting at the breakfast together. "So, got any interesting lessons today?" Rena asks. Mary shrugs. "Doing anything after school with anyone?" he tries. She shakes her head. "Are you doing anything today at all?" he asks finally, and Mary ponders this, before stating, "No." "At last, she speaks!" Rena announces. "What do you mean?" Mary asks. "What I mean is that you've been all mopey and depressed ever since I confiscated your blow," Rena tells her. "Well how did you expect me to react?" Mary wonders. "Well, you could smile once in a while. You have a great life. Nice house. Good grades. Awesome dog. A sexy mofo boyfriend. What do you have to frown about?" he wonders. "I did what I did to distract myself from a depressing point in my life. And that's what it was, a distraction. Right now I'm as happy as I was when I started taking that stuff, plus the fact that now I have to give it up, which is a lot more difficult," Mary explains. "You said you could handle it..." Rena reminds her. "And I can... if you just let me be sad," she requests. At this, Rena goes back to his breakfast and the two of them dine in silence for a moment. Until – "No," Rena states. "Excuse me?" asks Mary. "I'm gonna cheer you up," Rena assures her, "I will find away even if it kills me."
Unfortunately for Rena, most vows made by people are simply lost causes.
There was a time when Liz Taylor believed in fairy tales. She still remembers this time, because it was her father who would read them to her...
We flash to a young Liz in her bed as her father, Jack Taylor, sits on the bedside with a book in hand and reads to her.
They always began the same way...
"Once upon a time..." her father reads.
They always involved a prince and princess...
While reading the book, Jack looks up from the bedside and sees Amanda standing at the doorway watching them. They smile at each other.
And they always had a happy ending...
"...happily ever after," Jack finishes, kissing his daughter, who has fallen asleep, on the forehead and tucking her in. "Good night my princess," he says, before Amanda walks over and wraps her arms around him.
Because of course, true love conquered all...
Amanda and Jack kiss before heading to their own bedroom.
But then one day, Liz's fantasy of real fairy tales came to an end...
Liz walks into the kitchen of the Taylor house, Amanda is crying at the breakfast table, at the door Jack is standing. He is dressed in a coat and he picks up a suitcase, he turns and glances at Liz, but he's unable to bring himself to say any words, he turns and exits the house. Liz stands, watching her father leave, as a tear falls from her eye and she runs over to console her mother.
The scene flashes to present day. Ben enters the Taylor house and calls, "Hey Liz, are you coming to school?" He looks at the kitchen table to see Liz sitting, crying over a picture of her father. Ben looks over concerned and sits beside her, "What's wrong?" "Oh, nothing," Liz assures him, wiping her eyes. "Tell me," Ben insists. "It was just that, your proposal, got me thinking...thinking that my dad will never walk me down the aisle...it's been so long since I saw him," she explains. Suddenly she stands, forcing herself to smile, as she cleans her face, "Well, I'm fine, let's go to school." She begins heading for the door. Ben continues to sit, watching her, and ponders.
...Yes, Liz Taylor had long since grown up. But luckily for her, Ben still believed in happy endings and he was determined to make Liz's fairy tales come true.
Ben smiles to himself, before standing and going over to walk with Liz.
Katie Vaala was a guilty young lady, and like all guilty young ladies, she needed to be punished. Again...
Flash to Katie throwing a pencil across the room so that it hits a teacher in the back of the head. "Detention!" he shouts.
Katie is walking through school when she accidentally-on-purpose trips and knocks over a teacher. "Detention!" she shouts.
Katie is in class when she suddenly tips over her desk in a violent manner. The teacher turns round and yells, "Detention!" Katie smiles to herself.
However, this new little hobby had not escaped everyone's notice.
Joe, who's in the same class, watches as Katie leaves the room. His face is one of confusion.
Joe is sitting outside the principal's office when Katie steps out. She's surprised to see him, "What are you doing here?" she asks. "I could ask you the same," Joe tells her. "I was here to see the principal..." Katie utters. "Yes. And from what I here, this is your fifth visit this week. Katie... what's going on with you?" Joe asks. "You know what," she says angrily. Joe sighs, "This again?" "Yes, 'this again'!" she exclaims, looking around to make sure no one's there before sitting beside him. "Katie... when is this little phase gonna be through with?" Joe asks. "'Little phase'? Little phase?! We..." she lowers her voice, "We killed someone." "Yes, I know. I was there," Joe points out, "But that doesn't explain why you've been upturning desks and throwing hole-punchers at teachers' heads!" "It was one teacher and it was a pencil..." Katie corrects him. "That's irrelevant," Joe says, "The points is, what the hell are you doing?" "I just feel like I need to be punished, it feels right..." she admits. Joe stares. "Why are you looking at me like that?" she wonders. "'Cause I'm wondering how the bucket of crazy that replaced your head can talk..." he says. "Great. Now I'm crazy," she says annoyed. "There's a difference between being crazy and acting crazy," Joe points out. "Then right now you must be multi-tasking, because you're both acting like and being a douche," she states before getting up and walking away.
Josh is sitting in the living room of the Miller house, watching television, when there is a knock at the door. Getting up, he goes to answer the door and standing is Dean. "Dean?" Josh exclaims surprised, "What are you doing here?" "I came to see how you're doing, about Alex," Dean says. Josh nods, "Yeah, I saw you at the funeral. Thanks for coming." "It was terrible what happened. I didn't know he was so troubled," Dean replies. "Neither did I," Josh adds with anguish, "Well, I thought we had made progress. I told him that I was going to be there for him for now on...I can't believe he would jump after that." "Shame that officer wasn’t able to talk him down; it seemed things were going alright. He should have grabbed him before he was on the edge," Dean comments. Josh nods silently at this; it's clear the ordeal with Lyons is something he's given thought to and has caused confusion for him. Josh looks up and asks, "Do you want to come in?" Dean shakes his head, "I don't think I should." Suddenly they turn their heads at the sound of someone coming down the street, exhaling tiredly and pulling suitcases after them with a great struggle - it's Joanna. Josh looks at her confused, "Mom?" The makeup has run from Joanna's eyes as she looks at her son and cries, "I've been evicted from my house." Dean turns to Josh and says, before leaving, "I'll leave you two alone."
"This isn't where we normally walk home..." Mary points out as she walks beside Rena. "That's because we're not going home," Rena tells her, stopping to unzip his bag before pulling out two tennis rackets. "What are those for?" Mary wonders. "Remember how you used to play tennis to keep your mind off things?" Rena asks. "Vaguely," Mary replies. "Sure you do. It's what you told Josh way back when, the day he met Dean," Rena reminds her. "Yeah, look how well that advice panned out, now they've broken up..." she says. "True, but the tennis thing still might work," he points out. She sighs as the two of them approach the town's tennis courts. Soon, Mary and Rena are standing on opposite sides of a net, each with a racket in their hands, and Rena serves. Mary misses, lazily moving her arm, and the ball rolls off court. "Fifteen – love," Rena announces. "Yay you," Mary says monotonically. He serves again and she lazily hits it back. He hits it in reply, as does she; this goes on for a while. Eventually, however, Rena hits it with high speed, and the ball goes zooming into Mary's face. Rena is now running to his girlfriend's aid, seeing that she's lying on the ground, having banged her head, clutching a bleeding nose.
Inside the Miller living room Joanna is sitting on the couch with a tissue in her hand, and her suitcases at the living room door. Josh and Bob sit by her as Josh asks, "Mom, how were you evicted?" "Teddy was the breadwinner...and with everything that's going on: Teddy dying and Alex's suicide, I haven't had the chance to find a job...I haven't been able to pay any of the bills," she sobs. "You haven't paid any bills?" Bob asks, "Did you think they'd take sympathy on you and let you live in the house for free?" Josh glares at his dad, who looks down guilty. "It's okay, mom," Josh consoles, "You can stay here with us." "What?" Bob mutters. Joanna looks up overjoyed, "Really? Are you sure? I don't want to impose." "It's no problem. Right, dad?" Josh glares at him again. Bob nods reluctantly, "Sure, no problem at all." Joanna smiles
Rena and Mary walk into the home, Mary with two black eyes. "I told you not to do anything..." she utters in a nasally tone, due to her nose. "Blame me for trying, why don't you..." Rena utters. "Yes, I will blame you, because of you, I look like a clown!" she exclaims, pointing at her black eyes. "It does look a little domestic-abuse-y..." Rena notes, and Mary scowls at him. "So, tell me, any more tricks up your sleeve?" she asks. "Well..." "You're kidding..." Mary begs. "Hold on," he says, rushing upstairs, "Funny you should mention clowns!"
Mary is seen waiting t the bottom of the stairs a few minutes later when Rena comes rushing down them, dressed in a clown costume with full make-up. "What is this?" Mary asks, confused. "I had it left over from when I tried to scare gramps," Rena says. "And you're wearing it because..." "Because I wanted you to crack a smile!" he tells her. "I'm not laughing," Mary points out. "I can see that," Rena tells her glumly. "It's a shame..." he utters, "You have such a beautiful smile. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with you. I'll go change then, shall I?" "I think that'd be best," Mary tells him. He begins to make his way up the stairs but stops, turning around. "Is there any chance that clowns turn you on?" he asks, hopefully. "Funnily enough, no," Mary states, and Rena ascends the stairs, even more glum.
Ben knocks on the front door of the Taylor house as Amanda answers, "Oh, Ben. Liz isn't here." "I know. That's why I've came over," Ben says. Amanda looks confused. "To see you," Ben clarifies. "Me?" she asks. "Yes. Can I come in?" Ben asks. "Okay..." Amanda says, still confused, as Ben walks in the house. "I need your help," Ben begins. "With what?" Amanda asks. Ben says, "Things have been kind of difficult with Liz. Things are a little down right now. But I think you can get it up." "I beg your pardon?!" Amanda exclaims, misunderstanding. Ben smiles to her oblivious.
The scene cuts to Amanda hitting Ben with a pillow, who exclaims confused, "Hey, hey! What are you doing? I'm asking for your help in finding Liz's father!" Amanda suddenly looks shocked, she lowers the pillow and asks, "Jack?" Ben nods. "Why?" she asks. Ben stutters, "Well, she just really wants to see him. I thought it would be a nice surprise." "Liz doesn't need that man," Amanda tells him, "He walked out on her and has never been there since." "Right, right, but she just wants to know him. Please, Ms Taylor," Ben pleads. Amanda looks at him and then sighs, before grabbing a letter from a drawer, "This is his last address I know of, back from when he actually use to pay child support." Ben takes it, "Thank you."
Joe and Katie walk into the former's house. "Is anyone in the living room? I wanna talk in private," Katie says. "Nope, no one," Joe says, and the two of them make their way inside.
"You wanna do what?!" Joe exclaims. "Keep your voice down!" Katie yells in a whisper. Joe sits back down, having stood up in shock. "We are not going to the police," Joe tells her. "Why not?" Katie asks. "Because then we'd be betraying our friends!" Joe points out. "What if I told them I killed Fraser?" Katie suggests. "What?" Joe asks confused. "I was his ex-girlfriend, it's plausible..." Katie points out. "And then you wrapped him up and dragged him through the woods by yourself? No one would believe that, and nor should they. We would never let you take the blame like that," Joe assures her. "But I wanna take the blame! I wanna rot in jail for the rest of my life! I just wanna be free!" "And being in jail will set you free?" Joe asks. "In a manner of speaking..." Katie replies. "No. Just no. Stop this," Joe demands. "I can't stop. I'm being eaten alive..." Katie continues.
Outside, we see Eric Lyons perched outside Joe's house, on the phone. "You're at Hadland's home?" asks Thomas Gale on the other line, "Are you going to deal with him?" "Sort of..." Lyons replies. "What do you mean 'sort of'?" Eloise Gale asks. "I just wanna incriminate him," Lyons tells them. "That's not your mission," Thomas reminds him. "You're meant to kill them!" yells Eloise. "Alex Manning was suicidal, killing him, effectively, had with it the perfect alibi. If I went in there and shot the boy and his family, do you really think I'll get away with it? Or you, for that matter..." Lyons points out. "Just what are you planning to do?" asks Thomas. "I've got something up my sleeve..." Lyons says, approaching the door.
Inside, Joe and Katie are still arguing when there's a knock at the door. "Who's that?" Katie asks. "I'll go get it," Joe tells her, approaching the front door. He looks through the peephole and sees its Lyons. He steps back in shock. "What is it?" Katie asks, coming into the hall. Joe tells her to keep her voice down, and Katie asks why. "Because on the other side of that door is the cop who's been on our case about Fraser," Joe tells her. Katie's eyes widen. "What are you gonna do?" she wonders. "First? I'm gonna answer the door," he tells her, "Go back into the living room." Katie obliges and Joe opens the door. "Hello, Joe Hadland?" Lyons asks. "Yes," Joe tells him. "I'm a detective inspector investigating the disappearance of Fraser Gale. I believe him to be a school friend of yours. May I come in and ask you a few questions?"
Lyons is sitting opposite Katie and Joe in the latter's living room. "So, Fraser was a boyfriend of yours?" asks Lyons. "Y – yes," Katie answers shakily. "And you ended on bad terms?" he wonders. "N – no. It was m – mutual," she says, attempting a smile and faltering. "And you, Mr. Hadland, you were a friend of Fraser's? You were close?" "I wouldn't say close," Joe says, "We knew each other. I saw him round school. We hung out occasionally... honestly, this is the first I'm hearing of his disappearance." "Is that so?" asks Lyons. "It is," says Joe. "And you have no idea as to Fraser's whereabouts on the night of August 3rd this year?" Lyons persists. "August 3rd?" Joe asks, wondering its significance. "It's when we believe him to have vanished," Lyons tells him. "Doesn't ring a bell..." Joe lies, "But I was spending most of my summer with Katie here." "Is that so?" Lyons asks again, turning to Katie. Katie nods, looking scared. "Well, that checks out," Lyons tells them. "It does?" Joe asks. "You seem surprised," Lyons points out. "I just thought interrogations lasted a little longer is all," Joe says. "This wasn't an interrogation, Mr. Hadland. And I'll be seeing you. I intend to find out the truth behind this case, but rest assured that you have nothing to fear... so long as you have nothing to hide." And with that, Eric Lyons makes his way out of the Hadland household. Katie takes a large exhale. "Oh my God I was so scared," she says in a stream of words. Joe holds her comfortingly as she hyperventilates, "It's okay, it's okay, it's over now..." "I'm sorry," Katie says, "I don't... I don't wanna go to the police... not anymore... that was so scary..." she breathes. Joe hugs her again and the shot moves to under Joe's coffee table, where a small device is seen.
Lyons is sitting in his van outside, and listening in to the conversation via the bug he planted. "I'm sorry," Katie says again. "It's okay," Joe assures her. "You have nothing to worry about... I'm going to keep the secret," she assures Joe. "That's very good to hear," Joe says, and Lyons smiles to himself upon hearing this.
Bob walks down the stairs and heads for the kitchen when he notices Joanna tearing over a picture of Alex in the living room. Bob peers in, "Joanna? Joanna, are you alright?" "It's my fault," she cries. Bob walks in, "No. No, don't think that." "I acted like he was a burden. Like I only took him in 'cause no one else would," she explains. Bob sits beside her. She continues, "He really was a really sweet boy, you know. He was strange, sure. But he wasn’t like Ted. He didn't let what he was forced to do turn him into a monster. I only wish I knew how much it was tearing him apart. How could I have not seen it? I should have gotten him therapy. Who wouldn't need therapy after going through what he did?" Bob consolingly strokes her leg, she looks him, slightly forming a smile, and he leans in and kisses her. She kisses back and the two fall back on the couch in each other's arms. Josh is seen watching this from the doorway and he smiles to himself.
Mary walks down the stairs where she finds Rena waiting expectantly. "Oh, God... something else?" she asks. "Something else," he assures her. She tries to head back up the stairs. "No! Wait! Just hear me out," Rena asks of her. Mary sighs ad turns to him, "What?" "I'm done with activities and costumes, all I wanna do is curl up with you on the couch, watch some crappy movie... we don't even have to talk if you don't want to... just you. Me. A movie. No distractions. Just us," he says. At this, Mary smiles, "That sounds lovely." "That's the first time I've seen you smile in a while," Rena points out, and Mary approaches him and hugs him. "You get the movie ready," she says, "I'm going to go and make a drink." Rena smiles as Mary heads on into the kitchen, picking her purse up from the end table as she does so. When in the kitchen, she digs through it before pulling out a pre-paid cell phone; she dials. "Hi, I know I said I wouldn't be coming to you anymore, but... I need some. I'm down to my last bag." Mary smiles at the surprise and hangs up the phone, tossing it into the trash once she does so. She then walks over to the framed picture of her, Rena and Rocky on a day out, and pulls a small bag of cocaine out from behind the photograph. She notes its safety and smiles to herself, before putting it back and going to make herself a drink.
Ben is walking through a fairly rough looking suburban area. He is holding a bit of paper in his hand with the address that Amanda gave him on it, he looks up at rundown looking home with the matching address. He goes over to it and peers through the window however it's empty, clearly having been abandoned. Ben looks glum, but then he turns to the neighbouring house - it is the only well looked after home on the street, and the owner is currently outside attending to her garden. "Excuse me," Ben calls over, "Did you know the person who lived here?" She looks up and answers defensively, "Who wants to know?" "I'm the boyfriend of his daughter. Did you know him?" Ben asks. The woman nods, "Yeah, I knew him. Sweet man. Best neighbor I had...didn't sell meth for a start. But he was a troubled man. Depressed. Drank away and gambled what money he had. That's why he moved away, debt problems." "Do you know where I can find him now?" Ben asks. The woman looks at him suspiciously. "Please, it's for my girlfriend, you see we're getting married and it would mean a lot to her to have her father walk her down the aisle," Ben explains. "A little young to be getting married aren't you?" the woman asks. Ben shrugs. "You're out of luck. He moved states. And quite far," the woman says. "That's fine. I'm not stopping here," Ben persists. The woman nods, "He gave me his address to forward his mail. Wait here." Ben smiles, "Thank you." The woman heads for the house to get the address but she turns before entering and says, "But be warned kid, this guy doesn't want to be found." Ben nods anxiously.
No matter how independent we may be, we all, at a time, need someone else to console us. Whether over a past you never quite dealt with...
Flash to Ben comforting Liz as she cries over her father's image.
...Or a habit you were trying to give up...
Flash to Mary and Rena sitting on the couch together watching a movie.
...Not being able to deal with loss...
Flash to Bob comforting a crying Joanna.
...Or not being able to deal at all...
Flash to Joe comforting a shaking Katie.
But sometimes there are people who are lonely in times of needed consolation. And what do these people do? They take as many people down with them as they can.
We see Lyons sitting in his van. He replays the recording of Joe and Katie. "I'm going to keep the secret," Katie's voice says. "That's very good to hear," Joe replies. Lyons plays it again and continues to smile to himself before downing a few pills.