The Parting of the Ways
October 26, 2013
Running time
Production code
Flash sideways
Centric character(s)
Written by
Directed by
Guest Starring
CelesteGleek - Valentina Thorn
AndrewVDK - Andrew Robinson
Desperatehousewives14fan - Jacob Smith
Gabrielle4349 - Annie Hadland
JMsapphireZ - Bob Miller
ForeverDesperate - Lydia Ashdale
Nosh - Walter Ashdale
RenaBOT - Rudolfo Abelho
Marcia123 - Christina Belindro
Michu1918 - Miguel Belindro
Matthewbrianc - Brian Matthews
The St. Berry Fairy - Amanda Taylor
Leoandpiper - Leonardo Ashdale
Girlrocks002 - Miss Harrison
Gregaus - Greg Larkin
Betty Applewhite - Betty Grapeblack
James 1234 - Jack Taylor
Station7 - Victoria Lyons
Daleylife - Jimmy
Orsonhodge - Orson Michaels
Burke1364 - D.A. Sarah Burke
Steve50 - Judge Stevenson
KiMO - Kimo
Paddykthedj21 - Paddy
DelfinoLivesOn - Mike
Andy1854 - Andy
Baker1000 - Barrett
Derpster01 - Desmond
with DoctorStrange - Henry Strange
and Game widow - Hugo Daniels
Special Guest Star
Special Guest Star

"The Parting of the Ways" is the 63rd episode of Desperate Schoolboys, as well as its fifth season finale and series finale.


All seems well as the wedding of Annie and Brian approaches; the schoolboys are back where they belong and everything is right with their lives. Ben takes a little detour on his way to the ceremony, watching someone who changed his life get what they deserve before he surprises Liz with a gift or two. Joe, while happy to have been reunited with his family, still feels like something's missing, much to Katie's dismay. When Mary puts forward an unexpected idea, Rena finds himself gaining advice from a highly unexpected source. Josh prepares to dance with Dean at the wedding, but still has doubts about who he truly is. Meanwhile, the Gales go ahead with their plan to put an end to the four friends' lives for good. And with things in Wiksteria coming to a close, rest assured that there's still time for drama: with one last wedding, one last proposal, one last kidnapping, one last disaster, one last funeral and one final goodbye. Desperate ever after.



As I told you long ago, up until the day I died, I lived my life in an exceptionally ordinary fashion. You can, however, consider this to have been a lie. Although my life may have been through-and-through mundane, there was one aspect that was far from ordinary: my friends. My friends infused my life with excitement when it had none, and now that I'm dead, they're even better at doing so. When most people die, they watch over the living, quietly accepting that what is happening is happening. Not me though. Not only have I watched all this time... but I've been thoroughly entertained. Thinking back, I wish I could have drawn the same reaction to their many misfortunes when I was, corporeally speaking, right in front of them. But I didn't. Instead, I wasted my time trying to comfort them. I should have known that comforting my friends would never be so easy...

We see James walking in the center of the group. Rena and Josh are on one side of him. Ben and Joe are on the other. They are exiting school.

This is the last time I ever saw them, in a manner of speaking. What would probably more factually accurate is: this is the last time they ever saw me...

"So, have you guys got anything interesting planned for the summer?" James asks. They all groan, seeming slightly miserable. "What's wrong?" he asks meekly. "What have you got planned?" Rena asks. "First off, I'm going on holiday," James says happily, hoping to infuse them with a little excitement. It doesn't work. "Sounds nice," Joe says distantly. "I haven't said anything about it yet..." James points out. "Um... maybe the whole holidays is a bit much, you guys got anything planned for... the next month?" Silence. "Week?" Silence. "Any of you know what you're doing tonight?" "I'm just heading home," Ben says, "My mom said that if I'm late for another dinner, I'm going to get grounded for the entire summer..." "Harsh," says James, "Why have you been late for dinner?" "I've been... taking detours past Liz's house..." Ben admits. The others sigh in unison, and Ben flushes slightly pink. "Josh, what about you? Any plans?" James wonders. "Yeah, I've gotta get ready for a date tonight," Josh tells them. They all sigh in unison again. "How many girls is that this week?" Rena asks, "Three? Four?" "Eight," Josh tells them proudly. "How is that even possible?" Joe wonders, "It's Friday!" Josh simply continues to look smug, his smile only faltering slightly. James forces a chuckle. "I'll just be hanging at home, don't think I'll be doing much," Rena says, "Mom gets scared that summer will force me to become 'over-active'." "How can you be 'over-active'?" James wonders. Rena shrugs, "She doesn't like it when I get out too much." "Weird..." Joe comments. "And you, Joe? What are you doing this summer?" James wonders. "Finding someone," he replies. "Meaning what?" asks Josh. "I found this old pic of me, my mom and my dad the other day..." Joe explains. "Your dad?" says Ben. Joe nods, "And I've kinda been contemplating talking to my mom about meeting him..." "Why don't you?" wonders James. "She's kinda unapproachable," Joe says, "Unless I was a douche in a bar with a wallet." "Well, I think you should," James tells him, "Maybe something will happen that'll make you realize that life's too short to hold back." "Maybe..." Joe agrees, though finding this statement odd. The four of them step out of the school gates; the sign Wiksteria High is lit up by the sun behind them. "Well, if we're all heading straight home..." James says. Joe, Josh, Rena and Ben all nod, and begin walking their separate ways. "Um, bye!" James calls after them, but none of them reply. "Goodbye, guys..." he utters hopelessly, sighing.

Perhaps if they knew they'd never again see me in person, they'd have made our final goodbye slightly more ceremonious. But it wasn't goodbye, not really...

A saddened James begins walking home alone.

...It was the moment their lives truly began. Because after this, things would never be the same again...
James Clark

We are shown Henry Strange stab James in his kitchen ("Who You Really Are, Part 2"), followed by Joe angrily throwing a vase against the wall ("Pilot"), Ben failing to talk at his grandfather's funeral ("Conscious Decisions"), the school fire causing debris to fall upon Ali as she's swarmed by flames, dying ("Burning Bridges"), Josh being escorted out of his home in handcuffs, Matthew being shot by Annie ("The Truth Comes Out, Part 1"), and Rena knocking his mother out with a phone. ("The Truth Comes Out, Part 2") James lying on his kitchen floor, there is a knife jammed into his belly, he's still alive. Barely. He attempts to stand up, his hand grasped around the knife that's killing him, and makes a grab for the counter. A hysterical Justine bangs on the glass of a visitors room as Rena watches from the other side ("Sorrow is Forgiven, Not Forgotten"), Liz attacks Val in the middle of the cafeteria ("My Girlfriend, the Bitch"), Ben is pushed down the stairs by Nick ("Wanting for Everything"), Josh is punched in the face by Ben ("Boo!"), Erwin and Donald burst into the school cafeteria with machine guns ("One Fell Swoop"), Joe and Silvia are tied to chairs by Dr. Sonya; he punches Joe in the stomach ("Who You Really Are, Part 1"), and Ben witnesses Nick's death; Liz pushes him from the roof. ("Who You Really Are, Part 2") James falls back down to the floor and cries out in pain before going for another attempt, this time he grabs for the phone and manages to pull it down with him when he falls a second time. Ben is hit by a car, driven by Emma ("The Start of Something New"), Rena manages to successfully pull Mary from the wreckage of the fallen clock tower right before a large sheet of glass and pile of rubble kills them both ("For Whom the Bell Tolls"), Adam Hall fixes a noose around Josh's neck ("Infinity, Part 1"), Joe is shot by Silvia. ("Infinity, Part 2") With his life slipping away, James frantically uses the phone to dial 911. Scaffolding falls upon Mary ("Flashes Before Our Eyes"), Joe is running through the woods in wake of Katie ("Death Do Us Part"), Emma is murdered by Fraser ("Secrets That Lay Buried"), Josh and Alex are faced by Ted, who's in his car, at the ranch ("The Madness Within, Part 1"), and the four schoolboys, and Katie stand over Fraser's dead body. ("The Madness Within, Part 2") The flashes keep speeding up: Fraser's body is buried ("The Greatest Lie of Omission"), Alex jumps from the clock tower ("Hidden Truths"), the four schoolboys drive away from Wiksteria ("And Suddenly We Say Goodbye"), Ben is placed into a cell; the others are running through the woods ("There's Nothing Left to Grasp"), and Joe bursts into Ben's court case. ("End of the Road"). Back in his kitchen, James' head falls back and his eyes close. He is dead. The screen goes black, and a voice is heard: "911, what's your emergency?"

Act I

It was the night before the wedding of Annie Hadland and Brian Matthews. And my friends had gotten together, pleased the ordeal of the past few weeks was finally behind them. If only because they were desperate for life to return to normal.
James Clark

It's a silent night in the town of Wiksteria, a full moon lighting the dark sky. Standing in front of the school is Ben, Joe, Rena and Josh. "I can't believe that I'm actually excited to go back to school," Josh says. "Tell me about it," Joe adds. "We need to savor it while we can. Six more months and we'll be leaving this place for good," Ben says almost sadly. "I don't know how I'll cope not seeing you guys every day," Rena says. "Aren't we sick of each other yet?" Josh asks, causing the boys to chuckle. But suddenly Joe goes serious, "Guys, we will still see each other, right? Once school finishes?" "Of course," Ben assures. Rena adds, "Nothing will keep us apart." The boys all smile. "Well, at least you guys are going to college. I don't know what I'm going to do after school," Josh sulks. "You didn't get accepted?" Rena asks. Josh shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Josh. With everything that's been going on we forgot to ask," Ben says. "It's alright," Josh assures them. "You should appeal," Joe tells him. "Nah, it's too late," Josh shrugs, "I'm just not clever like you guys." Everyone looks glum for their friend, but Rena puts his arm around Josh in comfort, "Hey, who took out a former Marshal? If it wasn't for you, who knows what would have happened to us? You're a bright guy, Josh." Everyone smiles in agreement, and Josh nods, "I guess. Thanks, guys." "Well, we should get to our homes. A big day tomorrow," Ben smiles, and they all nod in agreement. "See you all tomorrow," Joe says, as they all wave and disperse.

In his bed at home, Rena is seen waking up and lets out a big yawn. "Good morning," he says happily, going to hug Mary but realizing no one's there. "Mary?" he utters as he sits up. Rocky then barks and jumps onto the foot of the bed. "You seen her?" Rena wonders. Rocky stares blankly at Rena before simply lying down on the covers, going back to sleep. "I'll take that as a 'no', shall I?" says Rena, "Mary?!" he calls again. "Relax, relax, I'm here," Mary says, walking into the bedroom with a tray of food. "There's breakfast?" Rena takes this to mean. "Homemade breakfast," Mary says, placing the tray on Rena's lap. At this, Rocky stands up and approaches the tray, delighted. "Not for you," Rena makes clear. "Your food's downstairs," Mary tells the dog, snapping her fingers and pointing, and the white husky leaps from the bed and heads out of the room. "Pancakes and jam," Rena says happily, beginning to eat. "I know how much you hate syrup on your pancakes, 'cause you're weird," Mary states as she makes her way around the bed, sitting beside her beaux. She stares at him with a smile on her face. Rena, still eating, notices this and stares back, "What? What is it? Have you done something to these?" Mary rolls her eyes, "No, I haven't done something to them. You've just... been through a lot lately and I figured it was the least I could do." "Well fank woo," Rena replies through a mouthful of pancake, and Mary kisses him on the cheek. "Now, I wanted to talk to you about something..." Mary tells him slyly. "Oh cwap," Rena says, swallowing, "What is it?" "You don't have to assume it's something bad," she says. Rena replies with, "Yes I do, you're being overly nice, which means the news is overly awful..." There is a brief silence, during which time Rena takes another nonchalant mouthful of pancake and Mary slaps his cheek, forcing him to spit it out. "Would you just listen?!" "Okay! ...And ow!" he exclaims, and Mary moves the tray so that the two of them can face each other properly. "Now, I have been doing a lot of thinking, and I have thought of every possible outcome of this, trust me, and I probably wouldn't even be proposing it if you hadn't just come home from being kidnapped, and nearly dying, which made me think over some stuff about saying things to people while we can, and we're in such a good place right now and—" "Honey, you're rambling," Rena points out, "What is it?" "I wanna try for another baby," Mary blurts, and Rena's eyes widen. "You what?" Gulping, Mary slowly repeats, "I would like you and me to start trying to have a baby." "You realize we're in high school?" Rena says, eyes still widening. "I do, yes, but..." "And you realize we're teenagers?" "Yes, but—" "And you realize this is a very weird breakfast-time announcement?" "Rena!" she yells, and he falls silent, "This is something I really want. When I lost out baby, I lost a part of myself too... but if we do this, I know that I can find it again. And we have the money, if that's what you're worried about. He have plenty, Miguel does amazing in his job," she points out. Rena is still silent. "And I just know we'd be amazing parents..." she adds. Rena is still silent. "And think how cute it'd look riding Rocky like a horse..." Rena is still silent. She slaps him again; "Ow!" "Will you just say something?!" "First you shush me then you tell me to talk... you're a wild ride," he tells her. "I really want you to think about this," she says, placing her hand on his. "To be honest, babe... I don't think I really need to," he tells her gently. Mary takes her hand off of Rena's. "I have to go and get ready for the wedding. You should too," she says, her face gone blank. "Don't be mad..." he begs. "I'm not mad, we're not supposed to see each other on the day of the wedding," Mary points out as she leaves. "I think that refers to the bride and groom..." Rena tells her. "WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION TRADITION?!" she yells, heading for the bathroom and slamming the door hard behind her. Rena sighs in bed and Rocky runs back into the room. He immediately feasts on the stray piece of pancake on the floor that Rena was earlier forced to eject. "Meh, just have them," Rena says, depressed, placing the tray on the floor and stroking his dog's head; Rocky merrily scoffs the pancakes. Rena stands up and approaches the door where his tux is hanging. He lays it out on the bed and, after a spray of deodorant, begins applying the shirt. "I dunno what to do, Rocky... me and Mary just got back to a good place in our relationship, and she springs this on me... I just wanna be able to take it slow for once. I mean... on our first date, we were locked in a basement. We move in together and she gets pregnant. We start preparing for the baby and she miscarries, then gets hooked on drugs, then goes to rehab, then I go on the run, then I get kidnapped, and here we are! Happy! I just wanna stay happy for a little while longer..." Rocky barks, bored. "You're right, I should just talk to her properly," Rena nods, now in his tuxedo bottoms; he begins tying his bowtie. Rocky does something that resembles a nod, and Rena gives him another stroke on the head before heading downstairs with his jacket. Rocky licks up the pancakes' final remnants. "You got ready fast," Miguel points out as Rena makes his way downstairs. "Well, Joe's making me help set up for the reception, so..." Rena says. "You're not going with Mary?" Miguel asks. "I don't think so," Rena tells him. "Your bow tie," Miguel says. "Excuse me?" Rena asked. "You know how to tie a bow tie?" Miguel asks, "Who taught you?" "Oh, it was my..." Something suddenly occurs to Rena. "Anyway, do you need a lift to the wedding? I probably won't stay myself, too much champagne around," Miguel offers. "No, but... thanks, dad. You just gave me an idea." "I did?" Miguel asks, surprised. "Yeah, and screw Joe because I'm not helping set up. I gotta make a detour." Rena grabs his car keys as he exits the house.

Inside Josh's bedroom, he is standing in front of the mirror, dressed in a suit, fiddling with his hair, not going to be satisfied until it's perfect. There is a knock at the door and he says, "Come in." He then looks to see Bob who walks in and comments, "Wow, don't you look sharp. You almost ready to go to the wedding?" "Almost, just got to finish my hair," Josh tells him. "Oh, so another few hours then," Bob chuckles. Josh doesn't look too amused. "Do you need a lift there?" Bob asks. "Thanks, but Dean is picking me up," Josh tells him, almost uncomfortably, still doing his hair and looking in the mirror. Bob nods and then says, "You know, Josh, when you went missing, again, I did some real thinking...and...and...I want to tell you that I'm proud of you." Suddenly Josh's hands drop and he looks up from the mirror and up at his dad. Bob continues, "I wasn't always supportive of who are you. But...but that's only because I didn't really know who you were. But I see who you are now, son. And I couldn't be prouder." Josh begins to tear and he utters, "Oh, dad..." before leaping forward and hugging his father. Bob hugs him back, but quickly steps back when he begins to tear; he wipes his eyes and says, "Right, that's enough of this girly stuff." Josh smiles, as Bob then looks at Josh's improperly fastened bow tie and says, "Let me get that for you." Josh allows his dad to fix it and then says, "Thanks, dad." Bob nods, before Josh leaves the bedroom for the wedding. He sees Joanna in the hallway and she comments, "Wow, you look great, Josh. Have fun at the wedding. And we'll see you at the reception." She kisses Josh on the cheek and he nods, "Thanks mom," before heading down the stairs with a smile.

Joe and Brian are seen sitting side-by-side in a lawyer's office, sitting opposite said lawyer with a desk between them. On this desk is a document that Brian, who's holding a pen, signs. He hands it back to the lawyer who stacks it with a few other documents, placing them into a folder. "And just like that, I am officially your father," Brian says. "Really?" Joe asks happily. "Just as soon as those papers are filed," Brian assures him. The lawyer gestures for the two of them to leave and they do so, making their way through the halls of the law firm; they step into the elevator together and hit ground. "I'm really happy about this," Joe tells Brian. "Me too," Brian says, smiling. "So... am I the one taking you home?" he wonders. "No, mom is," Joe tells him, "We're going home so that we can get ready, and your tux is waiting for you at one of your groomsmen's house." "I don't see why we can't just all get ready in the same house..." Brian says. "Because the bride and the groom can't see each other on the day of the wedding. It's bad luck," Joe tells him. "Do you really believe that?" Brian wonders. "I believe... that I've had pretty much all the bad luck a lifetime can serve. But still, I'm not taking any chances." "Fair enough," Brian says, "And it'll change." "Huh?" asks Joe. "The bad luck, it'll change. Everything's gonna be different from now on," Brian assures him, patting him on the back. "I hope you're right," Joe says. "Of course I'm right," Brian tells him, "I'm your father. You gotta believe every word I say." "I'm happy," Joe utters. "Huh?" Brian asks now. "To finally have a proper father... thank you..." Joe tells him. "I hope I can do you proud," Brian says. "I'm sure you will," Joe assures him. The lift stops and the two of them step out. "Right, I gotta go meet mom in the parking lot," Joe says. "See ya'," Brian says in turn, and the two of them part ways. Suddenly, Joe runs up and hugs Brian, "Goodbye, dad," he says before running off again. Brian laughs and calls after him, "See you at the wedding, I'll be the one in the tux!" Joe smiles as he makes his way to the parking lot, where Annie is waiting by the car. "How did it go?" she asks as he approaches her. "All's well," Joe assures her as he gets into the passenger seat. She gets into the driver's seat and starts the ignition, the two begin driving away. "Right, I guess I got a dress to fit into," she says, and Joe notices her hand shaking on the wheel; he steadies it with his own. "It's okay, you don't have to be nervous," Joe tells her. "Doesn't mean I'm not," Annie says. "Well, you shouldn't be," Joe continues to assure her, "Today is not a scary day – it's the day that things are finally going to be perfect." Annie smiles at her son as she continues to drive.

Ericson Lyons is sitting in his cell, dressed in his suit, ready for court. He is pacing around the small cell, shaking and dripping of sweat, as visions flash through his head. We see him shooting Javed Bundy, and then taking pills as the bodies of Javed Bundy's victims are scattered around. We then see Victoria smiling at him, them embracing. And we see Hunter running towards him shouting, "Daddy!" Soon, Eric has taken off his suit jacket and tie, and is sitting on the floor cell, rocking back and forth, sweating through his shirt as he tries to get the visions out his head. Orson Michaels then comes towards the cell; he looks at Eric shaking, and then says, "Eric, what the hell is going on? You're due in court. They're about to give sentence, and you look like this!" Eric looks at him, still shaking, " life is at stake here, I think I have the right to be anxious." Orson doesn't look convinced, "Eric, I know a drug user when I see one. What is going on?" Eric looks up and stutters, "Javed...Javed Bundy." "What about him?" Orson asks. "He....he raped, tortured and killed all those girls...I couldn't just hand him over to some scumbag lawyer who would get him back on the I killed him....but then there came the visions....and I couldn't get rid of I got some pills that helped keep my head in the game...I can't function without them." Orson looks unamused, "Eric, I can't get you drugs. Now, come on, the Judge is waiting." "I...I...can't testify like this," Eric says shaking, "I can't even make out my own thoughts." Orson helps him up and says, "Come on, put on your jacket and splash some water on your face. You're going to be fine." Eric nods, "Has...has my wife asked about me?" Orson looks alarmed, "Your wife?" Eric nods again, before asking in delusion, "My wife and son...are they here at the trial?" Orson replies, "Eric, your wife and son..." Eric looks at him with pitiful eyes, and Orson, sighs, unable to tell the deluded Eric the truth, "Come on, let's go."
We cut to Ben sitting in the courthouse and watching as Eric and Orson sit at the defence table, across from Judge Stevenson. Ben is on his phone to Joe and says, "They're about to give sentence. Can I really do this, Joe? Just sit here and watch someone else take the fall for what I did?" "Yes!" Joe shouts, "Ben, we are all free, if you do something to jeopardize that, I will kill you myself. Now, if you don't mind, I'm getting ready for my parents' wedding!" Ben nods glumly and hangs up the phone, turning his attention to the front.
Eric is sitting at the defence table, still sweating and shaking. His hand is shaking so much against his wrist that he has scratched off the skin and his wrist is beginning to slightly bleed, Orson sees this and shakes his head, "You gotta be kidding me." Judge Stevenson then begins, "Now, Mr. Lyons, before your sentence, do you have something to say?" Eric stands and nods, before beginning:

Yes, yes...I do. I...I...Thomas and Eloise Gale...they...they said that they would come after me...if I didn't kill the four schoolboys. might wonder how that is connected...but...but it's all connected, you'' a web...a web in this mess...a web that I got caught in...I...I got caught like a fly...a fly, in this web of Thomas and Eloise Gale...because...because they knew what I did...I...I...killed a serial killer that I was pursing...Javed Bundy...and...and the Gales wanted to expose it...but...but...then they didn't stop there...when I refused to do what they asked, they...they threatened the lives of my, so I did what I did...because....because...two people of this country...citizens of the country that I dedicated my life to serving and protecting...exploited me...and blackmailed that I would kill for them...and I did everything that they asked me order to protect my family...I...I just want to go home to them...I just want to see my wife and please...may I please go and do that...please....
Ericson Lyons

Eric looks up at the Judge with pitiful and begging eyes, who looks back at him flabbergasted. Meanwhile, behind, Orson shakes his head. While D.A. Sarah Burke turns to her colleague and says with a smile, "They should have pleaded insanity."
We cut to Jury member #1 standing as Judge Stevenson asks, "How do you find the accused on the murder of Javed Bundy?" "We find the defendant guilty," the jury says. "On the murder of Alex Manning, how do you find?" he asks. "Guilty," is replied. "On the shooting of Benjamin Ashdale, how do you find?" he asks. "Guilty," is replied. "And on the murder of Fraser Gale, how do you find?" Everyone looks up as the jury announces, "We find the defendant, Eric Lyons, guilty on all charges." Eric looks down in horror. Judge Stevenson then says, "Ericson Lyons, it is the judgement of this court that you be given three life sentences served back to back without the possibility of parole. So be it." And the Judge slams his gravel. We pan on Ben watching, and he looks down guilty.

In the white mansion of Thomas and Eloise Gale, Thomas is sitting in his study as Eloise enters. "Are you ready?" he asks. She nods and then enquires, "Is everything set up?" He nods back, "It is. This is it, Eloise, we are going to get our revenge." She smiles, "And justice for Fraser." Thomas says, "Yes, people are going to die. And we're going to strike at the wedding."

Act II

Inside the church, the wedding guests are seen to be sitting down, chatting. The ceremony hasn't begun yet, but Brian is standing at the end of the aisle in wait with a minister next to him. Outside, Joe, who's now in a tux, is seen waiting, and is happy to see a limo pull up outside the church. Annie's bridesmaids step out before her, and when she does, she is seen to be wearing a gorgeous white dress. She happily approaches Joe and hugs him. "Careful," he says, "You'll ruin your dress." She smiles and takes a step back; the bridesmaids begin pairing up with groomsmen, who are waiting in the church's entrance hall, and the wedding march is heard as they proceed down the aisle. "You look beautiful," Joe assures her, taking a look at his mother. "Thank you," she says, "It's white. No one's gonna buy it, huh?" He laughs and links arms with his nervous mother; she's still shaking and takes a deep breath. "I'm doing the right thing, aren't I? With this wedding? I'm not rushing into anything like the first time?" she asks. "Mom," Joe tells her, "Not only are you doing the right thing, but... I'm proud of you." "What?" Annie asks, turning to him. "You've really stepped up on the mom-front, and this is proof of it." She smirks. "You have," he assures, "I'm not gonna pretend that you've always been the best mother, but you're being one now, and that's all that counts." Annie smiles and kisses her son on the forehead; she's no longer shaking. "Here we go," she says, and Joe begins walking his mother down the aisle. She and Brian smile at each other as she approaches, and eventually, Joe hands Annie over, and takes a seat in the front row. Katie is beside him, looking pretty in a floral lilac dress. She kisses him on the cheek as the wedding begins. "You look great," he whispers. "Thank you," she whispers back; she takes note of the tux and tells him that he looks handsome. He smiles and the two of them watch the ceremony. However, when Katie looks at Joe, she notices his smile falter. She nudges him and he turns to her. "What?" he whispers. "What was that?" she asks, whispering also. "What was what?" "That look." "What look?" "You just looked... sad," she says. "I'm not sad," he assures her. He turns back to the ceremony but Katie nudges him again. "Do you mind?" he asks. "Not really," she replies, "Something's wrong, tell me." "Nothing's wrong," he tries. "Joe, I know you. I know that look. You're not happy; what's wrong?" "I don't know," he replies. "How can you not know?" Katie wonders. Joe shrugs, and continues in a hushed tone, "I feel like... I should be happy but I just can't quite... get there. You know?" he asks. She stares at him blankly, "No." He sighs, "I can't help feeling that there's something missing..." "Something missing?" she repeats, seeming annoyed. "Yeah... I don't know, it's weird..." "Unbelievable..." she utters. "Excuse me?" Joe asks. "You. You're unbelievable. You're not happy? What don't you have? What do you want?" she wonders. "I don't... want anything," he tells her. "Then what the hell?" she asks. "Katie, this is nothing to get upset about..." he assures her. "I'm not the one who's upset," she says, "Apparently, you are." "Just forget I said anything," Joe asks of her. "I was so excited because everything was finally perfect..." she utters, "But nothing's ever truly perfect for you, is it?" She then slides to the opposite end of the pew and refuses to look at Joe; her arms folded. Joe sighs, and turns back to the ceremony. He watches stoically.

A panoramic view of Wiksteria Women's Prison, inside, we see Rena sitting in the visitors room opposite the glass. No one is on the other side. Soon, someone in an orange jumpsuit is seen approaching, and Rena grabs the phone. Justine Abelho sits opposite him and grabs the phone on her side also; she is ecstatic. "I was surprised to hear that you wanted to see me," she says, "Why are you all dressed up?" she asks, looking at his tuxedo, "You look charming." "I'm going to a wedding reception; I took a little detour," he tells her. "Well I'm grateful. Is there any particular reason you came to see me or...?" she wonders. "I wanted... advice," he says. "Oh?" "Mary told me this morning that she'd like to have a baby with me," Rena tells her. "What about the baby she's already pregnant with?" Justine asks. "She miscarried..." Rena replies, and Justine's eyes widen, "What?! When were you going to tell me?!" "It happened a while ago..." Rena says. "You never visit me, not even a phone call!" she exclaims. "I've been kind of distracted," Rena tells her. "Oh? Anything else I've missed?" Justine wonders. "Not much... Mary got hooked on drugs then got better... me and my friends got accused of murder and then went on the run and then got kidnapped and almost killed by that's all over now and me and Mary are back in a good place and it's nice, you know?" he tells her. Her eyes are wide. "Oh, that's... wonderful?" she tells him, not knowing if this is the correct response. "Tell me about it. I'm just not sure about this whole thing. I mean, we're kids, you know? But, I suppose we've done more growing up than anyone else our age has had to do... Financially, it'll be fine, but... what do you think?" he asks her. "I think that you simply need to follow your heart, and it'll lead you to the answer," Justine tells him. He points out, "That's a little... really corny." She smiles, "I suppose. But it works. Do you love Mary?" "Of course I do," Rena assures her. "And you wanna make her happy?" Justine continues. Rena sighs, "Yes, but..." "I think you're listening too much to your rational side. This kind of decision needs to be made with your whole self. Your heart and your head." Rena closes his eyes and thinks; he thinks very hard and eventually, his eyes shoot open; "I think I know what to do..." "Good," Justine tells him, "I'm glad." "I didn't know you had such an emotional appeal," Rena tells her. "Well..." she points out, "If I had thought with my head a little more often I wouldn't have ended up in here... but I also would never have had you." Rena smiles at his adoptive mother but soon squints his eyes, confused, "Are you wearing make-up?" he asks, taking note of Justine's lips, eyes, cheeks and hair, all of which have been made over. "Ah... that," she says. "That what?" Rena wonders. "The cameras roll this morning," she explains, "They're making a documentary – The Real Prison Wives of Wiksteria – and they've asked me to star!" Rena chuckles, "I would've thought you had more integrity." "Screw integrity, I'm gonna be a star!" she exclaims. Rena laughs some more, and tells her, "Well, good luck. I'm going to go follow my heart." "Goodbye, Renato. Enjoy the wedding," Justine says. "Goodbye, mom," Rena replies, hanging the phone on the receiver. He proceeds to leave, noting to himself that he has to make another quick detour.
Later, we see Rena approaching a little shop in Wiksteria by the name of Mrs. Harold's Jewellers. He walks inside.

Ben and Liz are sitting together at the reception. "That was a lovely service," Liz smiles. "Does it make you wish we had a big wedding?" Ben asks. Liz shakes her head, "Ours was special in a different way." Ben smiles back, "Well, I'm glad to hear that because in the same spirit of crazy spontaneity, I have booked us a know, to make up for the honeymoon we never had." Liz looks ecstatic, "Really?!" Ben stops her, "Wait, wait, there's more." Liz looks intrigued. "Well, I got a small job on campus at the university we're going to, so I managed to put a payment down on a small apartment near the campus," he explains, "We're going to be living together." "Oh, Ben, that's amazing! I hope you didn't go to too much trouble," she says. "It's no trouble," he assures. "What spurred on all this impulsive behaviour?" she asks. "After everything that's happened: getting shot, being on the run, almost going to jail. I've realised that life is too short, that we need to make every grab for happiness we can and live in the moment," he says. Liz smiles at this, "Come on, let's dance." Ben shrugs, "What the hell?" She chuckles and they both stand, holding hands, and make their way to the dance floor.

Hugo and Betty walk past the gift table at Annie and Brian's reception. Betty looks at all the gifts and looks guilty, "I didn't know we'd need to get something." "What?" Hugo asks. "A gift! We should have brought a gift!" she clarifies. Hugo ignores this and says, "Speaking of gifts, I have something for you." Betty looks intrigued, but her expression turns to confusion when Hugo brings out a cheque and says, "A cheque for one hundred and eighty six dollars." Betty asks, "What on earth for?" Hugo explains, "Well, chronicling my life inspired me to look back on my family history. And it turns out that when my family first moved to Wiksteria, they had a farm, and well, on this farm they had help." "Help?" Betty asks. "Slaves. They had slaves," Hugo admits. "Oh, well, lots of people had slaves back then, Hugo, there's no need for you to feel guilty about it. And why one hundred and eighty six dollars, seems like a very random number?" "Well, I made some deductions once I learned the slaves lived in the house. Let's face it, for a black person in those times, that's a sweet deal," Hugo admits. Betty shakes her head, "But you don't owe me money just because I'm black." "My family committed a sin against humanity and I demand to restore the Smith family honor by making things right!" Hugo shouts, "Besides, other than you and that insufferable gay kid, the only black people I know are on TV." "Um, Hugo, your last name isn't Smith," Betty informs him. Hugo ponders and then says, "Oh, in that case I'll be needing the cheque back."
Meanwhile, Josh walks past the two elders with drinks in hand, bringing them over to a table where Dean is waiting for him. Josh sits down with a big grin. "What are you smiling so much about?" Dean asks. Josh explains, "Before the wedding I had a really great conversation with my dad." "That's great," Dean says. Josh nods, "Yeah, he said that he's proud of me. That he's happy with who I am. I really needed to hear that. I feel I can be proud of me now too." Dean says, "I didn't realize you were so uncomfortable with who you were." Josh shrugs, "Isn't something that's easy to admit. I always felt kind of...I don't know, ashamed or not normal. I guess that's why I can be so mean sometimes, trying to hide it. But I've came a long way, a long way from the boy who lied about who he was, and that's because of you, Dean." Dean smiles. Suddenly they are interrupted by the D.J who says, "We now invite people to join Annie and Brian in their first dance." Everyone turns to see Annie and Brian make their way to the centre of the dance floor. Dean turns to Josh, "You want to dance?" Josh looks a little uncomfortable but shrugs, "Sure." He takes Dean's hand and they both begin dancing together, smiling. However suddenly a teenage boy looks at them and points with a laugh, "Ha, fags!" Josh quickly turns round and punches the boy in the face, hitting him to the ground of the dance floor. Dean looks a little surprised but Josh turns back to him and they continue to dance, as does everyone else, still smiling, before kissing.


Lydia is standing by the buffet table, holding Ana. She utters snidely to Ana, "Honestly, Annie, a buffet... There will be no such thing at your wedding, Ana, I can assure you. It's almost as distasteful as that horrid excuse of a DJ they have." But Ben then comes over and says, "Hey, mom. Having a good time?" Lydia smiles, "Oh, yes, it's lovely, almost a perfect night." Ben begins, "Mom, I have something to tell you." "What is it?" she asks. "After school, I'm going to be moving out the house. I'm moving into a place with Liz," he explains. Lydia looks down. Ben asks, "Mom, what is it? You look upset? Surely you didn't think I'd be living at home forever." "No, I guess I always knew that my behaviour would eventually drive you away from me," she remarks. "That's not what's happening here. I'm doing this to be with Liz and to go to college, for a new chapter. And I'm only able to do this because of how well you raised me," Ben says. Lydia looks up, surprised by this remark. He continues, "I know you were strict because you only wanted the best for me. And I know that Ana will turn out great because of you too." Lydia looks touched and she begins to tear. Suddenly Walter, who was standing behind and overheard, puts his hand on Ben's shoulder and says, "If she turns out half as good as you, son, we will have done a great job." Ben smiles at this and the turns to hug his dad, before Lydia also joins, hugging one arm around them, with Ana still in the other hand. "And don't think you're getting rid of us that easy. We'll be visiting every weekend," Lydia remarks. Ben utters, "I look forward to it."

"Ugh, our boyfriends are such jerks," Mary says during a conversation with Katie at the wedding. "Tell me about it," Katie replies, "Who's Joe to say that he's not happy? He's got me! Humph. And all this" – she gestures the wedding reception happening around them – "He's got nothing on the babies in Africa! Of course, half of them get adopted by celebrities so their lives would probably be better than most people's, but then of course you have the press to worry about. Maybe if you got adopted by a B-lister so that the paparazzi aren't hounding you so much? But then they might get jealous of the other poor babies who got adopted by richer parents... Although speaking of attention-seeking actors, did you catch that film last night? You know, the one. With that guy who was a detective in that movie where there was a murder? That guy. Anyway, there was this creepy house and... wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah! We need to start raising money for those poor kids in Africa! Their living conditions are just so... no, hang on, that wasn't it... something about poor people... was I talking about Portugal?" "Honey," Mary tells her, "No offence, but if you don't stop talking, I'm gonna have to strike you." "I get that a lot," Katie says, nodding. "But yeah, men are dicks!" Mary says, grabbing a glass of champagne from the table and downing it. "I'm telling you, if I see Rena at this thing, I am going to—" "Oh look, there he is! Hey Rena! Over here!" Katie calls, waving. Rena, who's just walked into the reception, spots the two girls and begins approaching them. "What the hell?!" Mary asks. "I'm sorry, totally spaced, were you talking about striking someone?" "I'm thinkin' 'bout it!" Mary tells her, and Rena is soon standing behind his girlfriend. "Mary, can I talk to you for a minute?" he requests. Mary, who refuses to look at him, simply states in a blunt tone, "You're late." "I know, I took a few detours," Rena tells her. "You said you'd set up, I had to help," she tells him bitterly. "I'm sorry," he tells her. "You should be." "I am." "Okay," she says. "I'll prove it." Mary folds her arms and stomps her foot, still refusing to look at him. "Um, Mary..." Katie says. "Yes?" Mary asks Katie. "I really think you should turn around..." she tells her. "Fat chance," she states. "Seriously, Mary..." Katie tries. "Nope. Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen." "MARY JUST TURN AROUND!" Katie screams, and suddenly, the music stops and everyone is left staring in Katie, Mary and Rena's direction. Each one of them gasps. Katie steps back, and Mary turns around to see Rena, down on one knee, presenting her with a diamond ring. She is taken aback. Speechless. "I don't want our future babies to be born out of wedlock, but I definitely want to have them, and I want to have them with you," he tells her. "Mary," he starts, "Will you marry me?" Mary gulps, everyone is staring at her; she's trembling. "I... I..." she slaps him across the face. "Ow! What the hell?!" "Yes, I will marry you!" she exclaims, taking the ring out of his hand and placing it on her left hand. "Then what the hell was the slap for?" he asks, rubbing his cheek and standing up. "You put me on the spot, I panicked," she tells him. "Well, all I know is... you are the only person I want slapping me for the rest of my life." She smiles and kisses him; everyone in attendance cheers.

Dean and Josh are still dancing together, when Dean says to him, "Josh, I have some news to share. I was going to wait until after the wedding but I just can't wait any longer." "What is it?" Josh asks. "Well, you know how you applied to the college I'm going to and didn't get in?" Dean begins. "Yes..." Josh scowls, confused. "Well, you're accepted," Dean says. Josh's eyes widen, "What?" "I appealed on your behalf, and they accepted," Dena explains, "And not only that, but we'll be sharing the same dorm." Josh looks overcome with joy and exclaims, "That's amazing! Oh, thank you, Dean!" He wraps his arms around his boyfriend and hugs him tight.

Joe is seen sitting beside Brian who's sitting beside Annie at the dinner table. He looks at Katie, who's on the other side of the room talking to Liz, and sighs. He barely notices Brian tap his champagne glass for people's attention and announce, "And now it's time for a speech from the best man!" People watch Joe expectantly as a microphone is shoved into his hands. He stands up, bewildered, looking out at all of the wedding's guests. His gaze fixes upon Katie who's watching him also, and he starts to talk.

Um... I didn't actually get round to preparing a speech, but... I'll give it a shot. Annie and Brian, or... should I say, mom... dad. This is it; this is the, uh... big day. We made it. I think we all know it's been a bumpy journey, but here we are. Safe, healthy... happy. But, in many ways, that's life. I know my life certainly hasn't been easy, and the pursuit of happiness? Not even a little bit. I never had the best of upbringings, I don't think anyone did, and because of that, I had this ridiculous fantasy that one day, everything would just sort itself out... everything would be perfect. And because of this ridiculous image I had in my mind... nothing ever measured up. And nothing ever will measure up. But that's okay because now that I really think about it, and I think if we all really, really think about it... I don't want that. I wouldn't trade in a single second of my life because all of the hardship and the pain and the sheer madness... has led me to be right here, right now, happy. A real life, and one that truly is perfect. And it is so, so, so much better for having you in it... because you exceed perfection...

He is now looking directly at Katie; tears are in his eyes and in hers as well. She gives him a look that says "All is forgiven", and Joe turns back to his newly-wed parents, who look slightly confused at this flyaway speech.

Um... may your life together be absolutely full of flaws, because they are what truly make it worthwhile. And I think that if we learn to treasure them... all our lives will match up to perfection. So to Annie and Brian... to mom and dad... and to life's every flaw.
Joe Hadland

Joe takes a sip from his glass as his speech's final line is echoed throughout the room. "To life's every flaw," the guests utter as Joe and Katie stare at each other across the room, smiling.
Joe and Katie are soon seen on the dance floor; slow music is playing as Katie buries her head in Joe's shoulder. They rotate slowly, their hands linked. Other couples, such as the newly engaged Rena and Mary, Ben and Liz, and Dean and Josh are dancing around them. "I'm sorry I overreacted earlier," she tells him. "I'm sorry I made you overreact," he replies. "I'm sorry I sent you that angry text," she adds. "What text?" "Oh... don't check your phone..." "I'm sorry I haven't been paying you enough attention since I got back," he says. "I'm sorry you had to go in the first place," she says in turn. "I'm sorry I dragged you into that whole mess." "I'm sorry I didn't remain strong through that whole mess..." "And I'm sorry I wasn't there for you like I should have been." "I'm not sorry I love you," she tells him. "I'm not sorry I love you too," he replies, and the two of them kiss.

Ben heads outside of the hotel where the reception is being held, wiping his forehead of sweat, when he looks to see Joe, Josh and Rena already standing outside too. He walks over to them, "Too hot in there for you guys too?" "Just needed to step out for a moment," Joe says. Josh smiles, "This has been a lovely night." "It’s true," Rena agrees, "Everything just seems so perfect right now." "I wonder how long that will continue," Joe jokes. But as if on cue an eerily voice comes from the darkness, accompanied by faint footsteps against the wet parking ground, "Not very." They turn to see Thomas and Eloise Gale approach. The four boys stand defensively, and Rena utters, "What do you want?" "Justice," Eloise answers. The four boys turn to run but they look to see four hired thugs of Thomas Gale blocking they way, they turn back to the parents of the child they buried and lock eyes angrily. "It's time for you boys to pay for what you did," Eloise says. "But we won't be stopping there now. Everyone is going to pay. Everyone you love. Ben, we're going to lock that wife of yours up and torture her until she can take no more. And Joe, we're going to burn down that lovely Hadland family house with your parents locked inside. Josh, I'm going to personally lynch that boyfriend of yours, and have it so your gay-hating father gets the charge. And Rena, after letting him endure the loss of his grandson for a while, I'm going to take a trip to the retirement centre and beat that old man of yours until he's an inch from death, and I'll keep him alive so that I can shoot his new wife and pet dog right in front of him. We are going to destroy everything that you boys love. But first, we're going to deal with you four." "It's me who killed your son. Take me," Ben tells them. "Why are you even filled with so much hate? Don't you see that Ben had no choice?! He didn't want to kill your son!" Joe shouts. "Shut up!" Eloise tells him, covering her ears not wanting to hear it. "Your son was a monster!" Rena adds. "We know!" Thomas screams unaffected, "But you must still pay, because....NO ONE FUCKS WITH ME!" Thomas is red with an enraged hatred as he clicks his fingers, and the four thugs obey his order by placing velvet hoods over the four boys, grabbing them and then dragging them to a parked van. The four boys squirm to get free from the men's grasps, but it's in vain, as Thomas watches them get thrown into the van, laughing sadistically and kicking them on their way.

Act IV

Ben wakes up, followed by Joe, followed by Rena, followed by Josh. They are sitting in this order, each one of them with their hands tied behind their backs and their ankles tied to chairs. They are sitting in a row inside the empty auditorium of the abandoned Wiksteria High. "What the hell?" Rena utters. "We've been kidnapped," Joe states. "Huh?" asks Josh. "Haven't you been kidnapped enough times to know you've been kidnapped?" Joe points out. "Yes, I have, and yes, we have," Ben states, attempting to move his tightly bound wrists; he is unable to. "So... what do we do now?" Josh wonders. "Who did this?" Rena wonders. "The Gales," Ben states. "Right... now I remember... aren't they still actively trying to kill us?" he asks. "What do you call this?" Joe asks him, pointing out the current situation. Rena says, "Right..." and struggles to no avail in his bounds. "Again, what do we do now?" Josh asks. "Sit back and wait to be rescued," Joe tells him. "Rescued?" asks Ben. "Of course," Joe says, "When are we ever not rescued?" "What are you basing that on? I've only been taken hostage twice," Rena tells him. "Most people don't get taken hostage once," Ben points out. Joe giggles, "Twice? Only twice you've been taken hostage?" "Oh, and it's happened to you so much more?" Rena asked. "Bitch please, I've been taken hostage five times. Four, if you don't include this place." "Not including this place?" Josh chimes in, "Then three times." "Are we counting kidnappings? If so then only twice for me too. I did take a hostage once though," Ben adds. "Exactly. We've all been through it. We've all come out alive," Joe points out. "And how many of those times involved a heck of a lot of luck?" Rena asks. "Well... first time my mom shot my dad... then I got saved by a skilled sociopath who I went on to date... then I got shot right where my kidney used to be... and then the pipe I was chained to broke, but you guys were there for that one... so... all of them?" Joe replies. "I was saved by Dean," Josh says, smiling, "Twice. Other time was Lyons with you guys." "I was saved by Liz twice too," Ben nods. "I only kinda got rescued by Ben in Mary's dad's basement..." Rena reminisces, "'Cause afterwards, the whole house caught fire..." "Ah, Spring memories..." Ben says fondly. "The point is, here we are, unscathed. And by the end of today, we'll still be unscathed... with maybe like a few scathes." "Joe..." Ben starts, "Did you hear what these people did to Ericson's family? If they want you dead... they'll kill you." "They'll kill us you mean," Josh points out. "Optimistic..." Joe says. "Since when were you the voice of optimism?" Rena wonders. "This is just typical!" Josh exclaims, "Everything's finally going right for once and we get fucking kidnapped!" "Don't you just hate it when that happens?" says Ben. The others nod in genuine agreement.

Back inside the hotel at the wedding's reception, Liz is looking for Ben, walking over to the bar and looking around. She sees Katie and Dean walk over and she asks, "Hey, have you guys seen Ben?" "We can't find Joe or Josh either," Katie informs her. "Strange," Liz comments. Mary then joins them, "Have you guys seen Rena?" Suddenly they all turn at the sound of the bar's TV being turned up. A reporter is standing beside a police van, she announces, "I'm here at the transport vehicle that was transporting Ericson Lyons from the courthouse to the prison, following his trial. As you can see, the van is empty. The driver of the vehicle said that he somehow managed to break open the back door and escape. Eric Lyons is now on the run and police are searching for him. Eric Lyons is responsible for three deaths, including two young boys." Watching the TV, the partners of the four schoolboys all gasp at the news.

In another part of the school, Eloise and Thomas Gale are standing with Jimmy. "Is everything all set up?" Thomas asks. "Just as you ordered," Jimmy replies, "If I were you two, I'd start getting far away from this place. That's what I'm doing." "We'll evacuate soon enough," Thomas tells him, handing Jimmy a briefcase of money. "Pleasure doing business with you," Thomas tells him. Jimmy, counting his money, smiles, "Anytime." Jimmy then turns for the door of the school, and the two Gales also turn, heading back down the hallway of the school. However as soon as Jimmy exits the door of the school, he is immediately shot in the head by an unknown source, and his body falls to the ground dead.

The four schoolboys are still seen sitting in a row, each tied to chairs. Thomas and Eloise Gale enter the auditorium and approach them. "Hello, boys," Thomas says, "I do hope you weren't too roughed up on the way here. I hate to be rude to someone right before I'm about to have them killed." Eloise takes a look at them and states, "Normally I'd make a snide remark about the cheap tuxes you're all wearing, but I make a point not to speak ill of the dead." "Can't you just go ahead and kill us?" Joe asks. "Yeah," Rena agrees, "No need to drag it out." "Oh, but there is..." Eloise assures them. "We want to see the look in your eyes when you all realize that your hope is gone," Thomas says, smiling, "They all still have that annoying... sparkle in them." "Fraser's eyes used to sparkle," Eloise says fondly, "Until you bastards killed him!" "Now, now, dear, calm down. We wouldn't want our guests to become uncomfortable now, would we?" Thomas says coolly. "Yeah, great job," Josh retorts. "Honey," Thomas tells his wife, "Would you mind unveiling the guest of honor?" "Gladly," Eloise says, walking over to something relatively large covered by a sheet. She lifts the sheet and throws it to one side, revealing a large amount of explosives with a timer attached to the front. "His name is a fuck-load of bombs. The way it works is this one goes boom and sets off all the other little surprises we have strategically placed around the entire school." "So when your bodies are vaporized by fire," Eloise continues, "There'll be so much rubble on top of you that it's unlikely even a single hair will be recovered. Of course, maybe you'll get lucky and your loved ones can mourn your toenail or an eyeball scrap." "They're gonna know you did this," Ben assures them, "You have the perfect motive." "Oh, we're not the only ones looking for revenge on you four..." Thomas tells them. "What are you talking about?" Rena demands. "Money is ever so useful," Thomas explains, "With the right amount, you can bend pretty much anyone to your will. Maybe a few guards accidentally-on-purpose slip up and leave a certain Mr. Lyons' cell unlocked." "And when Ericson was a U.S. Marshal, what was one of his many specialities?" Eloise asks, pretending to ponder. "Explosives," Thomas replies. "Ah yes," Eloise says, "That's it." "So we press the button, and that timer starts. From then on we'll have five minutes to get out of here and drive as far away as we can." "I hope you trip," Joe states, and Thomas stares at him angrily. "Ericson will get the blame and we'll go away scot-free," Eloise says happily. "Poor Lyons, I'd feel almost sorry for him if I cared at all. Having his bitch a snot-nosed brat slaughtered was just too much fun," Thomas fondly reminisces. "You sick motherfucking cunts..." Josh utters. "Now now," says Eloise, "Language." "If you had them killed so easily..." says Ben, "Then what's with all the elaborateness?" "That was a punishment," Eloise starts. "This is revenge," Thomas finishes for her, "Something we always do ourselves." "We pride ourselves on it, really," Eloise tells them. "So, is that everything? I think that's everything..." Thomas tells his wife. "I don't think there's a single thing we haven't covered..." says Eloise, "Actually, there's one thing I have yet to say: burn in hell, brats." "Right well... rot in pieces, I suppose," Thomas adds, taking a small device out of his pocket. He presses the large button in the device's center and a 5 minute timer begins counting down on the explosives near the boys. Just as Thomas begins cackling wildly, a large bang is heard, and the rich madman falls to the floor; blood pours from his head. Eloise screams with fright, and attempts to run; however, she is soon shot in the head too. She falls to the floor, dead. The schoolboys are absolutely taken aback. "What..." Ben starts. "The..." Joe continues. "Actual..." Rena adds. "Fuck?!" Josh finishes. Ericson Lyons steps out of the auditorium's shadows; he tucks his recently-fired pistol into the holster beneath his blazer.

Act V

"I told my son that I'd catch the bad guys in all this," Eric says, standing over the bodies of the Gales. The four tied up schoolboys all look up at him. "What are you doing here?" Josh asks. "I couldn't let anyone else die at the hands of these monsters," Eric says, bending down to begin untying them, "Besides, I owe you boys. What I did was unforgivable." "Consider yourself forgiven," Joe assures him, still looking at the two bodies on the floor, gaped and eye widened. "There's a bomb," Ben tells him, looking over at the timer which is not reading 3:04. "And there's only three minutes left," Rena adds. Eric finishes untying them, but Joe worries, "We'll never make it out the door in time." "We can try!" Rena tells him, heading for the hallway. Eric looks at the bomb and ponders, "You boys get out of here. I've disabled a bomb or two in my time..." "We can't just leave you!" Rena shouts. "Come with us!" Joe adds. "Boys, you're running out of time, go!" Eric urges them. Rena and Joe look at him, and then glance at the timer counting down, before turning. Josh tells him, "I'm sorry about your son," before turning and joining the other three. Joe shouts over to Ben, "Come on!" Ben looks at him and says, "I'll catch up!" Eric tells him, "You should go, son." Ben replies, "You don't have to do this. You can come with us." "My head is beginning to get clear, without those drugs, and for the first time I can see what I really did. What I did to you boys, there was no excuse for it," Eric says, "I deserve what will happen here." "No," Ben tells him, "You made some wrong choices, but you did it for those you love. Nothing can cloud our judgement more." Eric looks at the timer, now reading 2:24. He says, "If I can save you boys then I must." "Then I'm staying," Ben insists. "No, you have something to live for. A future. A girl. Friends. A family. I lost my family, and I have nothing to live for now. But if I can save you boys, then their deaths won't be in vain. And if I don't, then I can be with my family once more. Please, let me save you kids, to atone, and so my wife and son didn't die for nothing." Ben glances at the clock, now reading 2:02. He nods, "You really think you can defuse this thing?" "I can try," Eric says. "I believe in you," Ben tells him, turning and running down the hallway after his friends. Eric turns to face the bomb and he kneels down beside it, ready to get to work, before taking out a picture of Victoria and Hunter, he looks at it and smiles.

The four schoolboys exit the school with extreme haste. Knowing that the bomb is near the end of its countdown, Ben, Joe, Rena and Josh all run for their lives. They hurriedly make their way across the schoolyard, making it as far from the school building as they possibly can.
Inside, Ericson is attempting to defuse the explosives, but he soon gives up, seeing that the countdown is within its final five seconds. He closes his eyes in preparation for what's to come.
Ben, Joe, Rena and Josh continue to run. Running. Running. Running. And then, finally, BOOM! The entire school explodes behind them like a chain reaction. One bang happening after the other, yet all at the same time. By pressure of multiple bombs going off at once in a fiery inferno, the four schoolboys, still dressed in tuxedos, dive to the ground and all hit it simultaneously. The four of them look behind them and see nothing but a burning pile of rubble that used to be Wiksteria High. They stand up, not with ease, and stare through the flames at what the Gales have just caused. Knowing that Ericson Lyons is most definitely dead, they exchange a moment of silence, and the shot pans out from the four teenagers, looking on at their exploded school.

A camera flashes, and Ben, Joe, Rena and Josh are now seen sitting in Wiksteria's local police station. "And that's everything that happened," Ben concludes. "Mhm. Thomas and Eloise Gale tied us up," Rena agrees. "And blew up the school," Joe adds. "And Ericson Lyons saved us," Josh finishes. "Alright," says Greg, who's recording everything, "I think that's all we need. Aye, aye, aye, first day on the job as chief and I get something of this calibre..." Greg utters. "You're chief now?" Josh asks happily. "Yeah," Greg tells him, gesturing his badge, "After the extreme actions Marius took against you, and you turned out to be innocent, they deemed him unfit." "Well... congrats," Ben says. "Thanks," Greg says, "I'm so surprised Lyons saved you..." "Not as surprised as we were," Joe assures him. "In the end, he was a hero," Rena says, and the others nod in agreement. "That's a real shame..." Greg tells them. "A shame that he saved us?" Josh asks, confused. "A shame that there's no one to claim him, or rather... what's left of him," Greg explains, a little disgusted. "Have they managed to... salvage anything?" Ben wonders. "I haven't heard back from the search team yet," Greg says, "Heard back from the construction company though. Most of their workers' life savings have stemmed from your school." "What school?" Joe points out. "So... there's really no one to claim Ericson? He won't get a funeral?" Ben asks sadly. "He has no friends, and, as you may have heard, no family..." Greg informs them. The four schoolboys look to one another and eventually simultaneously state, "We'll claim him."

One Week Later

Everyone is standing in the graveyard, watching as Eric's coffin is lowered into the ground. The minister, the same one from Annie and Brian's wedding, is saying some prayers, while the schoolboys each hold hands with their partner and look sadly into the grave. Ben glances over at the neighbouring grave which reads Victoria Lyons and Hunter Lyons. He says, "Well, at least he can be with his family now." They nod in agreement, while Liz consoles Ben, stroking his arm. "If the Gales had hired anyone else, then we'd probably be the ones in graves," Rena says. "He did what was right in the end," Joe agrees. "Did he? He didn't have to die," Josh utters. They all go quiet at this and then turn at the sound of the coffin reaching the bottom of the grave. They each walk over.
From the bottom of the grave, looking up at the Earth, we see Josh who drops down some dirt. Rena then walks over and releases more dirt from his hand. And Joe does the same. Ben then walks over too and stands above the grave, uttering, "Rest in peace," before dropping some earth from his hand, it falling below, and covering the shot.

Act VI

Six Months Later

The whole school is standing at their graduation, dressed in robes, standing before the newly rebuilt school. The Principal stands before them, finishing his announcement, "...And so it has been a pleasure to watch you all grow up over the past four years. And I wish you all the very best of luck in your futures. And with that, your valedictorian, Elizabeth Taylor." Everyone begins clapping, as Liz makes her way to the stage and looks at all her fellow students:

Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for helping me get to this point of achievement. And I want to congratulate every single person sitting here, for being a member of this class. Because everyone here has played a part. Even those we may not have known so well. So I ask you to turn and look at everyone here. And to go out your comfort zone and talk to those who you may not have spoken to much over your high school years. Because they're all important. And responsible for making our high school experience. And as we move on after today, to work or college, it's important that we don't forget what made this experience. What made us. And it's important that we see that this isn't goodbye. But only a new beginning.
Liz Taylor

Suddenly a boy standing beside Liz on the stage, with a guitar in his hands, begin playing. And everyone stands to join in the song:

As we go on,

We remember...
...all the times we...
...had together.
As our lives change,
Come whatever,
We will still be...

...friends forever.
Students of Wiksteria High

"Renato Abelho!" the Principal soon calls. Rena is the first student in Wiksteria High to go up and accept his diploma. He shakes the principle's hand, moving the tassel on his hat from one side to the other.

Rena would proceed to wed Mary Strange later that very year...

Flash to Rena and Mary, who's in a white dress worn over a very large baby bump, standing at the altar as they declare their love for one another.

And their first daughter was born later that very day....

Flash to Mary, still in a wedding dress, being pushed on a gurney through hospital; she's in labor. Rena is following, and we then flash to him holding their baby girl before handing it to a tired Mary.

And she certainly wasn't the last...

"Honey, I'm home!" an older Rena calls as he walks through the door. He's immediately met by six children, two girls and four boys, who run up and hug him. He laughs happily and greets his children before they disperse. An older but still beautiful Mary is then seen approaching him. "Welcome home," she says before giving him a kiss. Rena then goes and sits down on the couch and looks to his side to see Rocky, who's sitting in his basket beside a female white husky. The two dogs are tending to several fluffy white puppies.

Rena's life had been full of bad situations, but with the family he had by his side, he knew he could overcome anything...

Flash to an elderly Rena and Mary. The two of them are sitting on the same couch together; it's Christmas and the house is decorated accordingly. Their now adult children, and their children's many children, sit all around them and open presents. Rena and Mary look at this, and then to one another, and they smile.

"Benjamin Ashdale!" the Principal calls. Ben stands and heads to the stage to get his diploma.

Ben would go on to do very well at college. Becoming a doctor of the human and criminal mind...

Flash to Ben graduating from college, being handed his doctorate.

Assisting people...

Flash of an older Ben standing in a police station, giving a profile of a suspect to a room of cops.

Understanding people...

Flash to Ben sitting in a police interview room, talking to an imprisoned criminal.

And protecting people...

Flash to Ben on the phone to an armed man inside a bank with hostages, doing a negotiation.

But nothing would ever be more important to Ben, than helping people...

Flash-forward. A black limbo is going past Wiksteria High, before pulling up. The door opens and an older Ben steps out. "We're going to be late for the book signing," the driver calls out the window. "I'll just be a minute. This is my old school," Ben smiles, before looking over at a teenage boy sitting glumly on the steps to the school, looking very much like a desperate schoolboy. Ben walks over and asks, "What's the matter?" "Leave me alone," the boy retorts. Ben sits down beside him, "Closing yourself off and being alone, it helps with the pain, right? Because it doesn't feel real if people don't bring it up. I have something for you, kid, something that I think will help." "You're not one of those crazy religious guys, are you?" the boy asks. Ben chuckles, "No, no, I'm not a crazy religious guy. The only person that I want you to believe in is yourself." Ben takes a book out his bag. The boy looks at it and asks, "So, that's not the bible, right?" Ben chuckles again, "No." He holds up the book and it is titled: A Teenagers Guide to Desperation by Dr. Benjamin Ashdale. Ben hands him the book, "Read it. And I promise that you'll feel better." The boy takes it. Suddenly Liz pops her head out from the limbo and calls, "Come on, Ben!" "I'm coming, darling," Ben replies, before turning to the boy and saying, "Remember, always believe in yourself. All you can be is happy with who you are, and know the world isn't always judging you. Because no one's prefect. It's dealing with our flaws, improving our faults and coming face to face with desperation, when we see just how strong we really are. Always believe in you."

"Joseph Hadland!" the Principal next calls out, and Joe proceeds up onto the stage where he's handed his diploma.

Joe and his wife, Katie, would find themselves never leaving Wiksteria...

Flash to Joe carrying Katie through the door of their Wiksteria home for the first time after their wedding. There are boxes all around, signifying it's relatively new. Katie is set down and the two of them kiss happily.

The both of them would go on to work at the school...

Flash to Katie happily teaching a class of students. An older Joe walks by the window, on his way somewhere, and the two of them share a brief wave and smile.

And Joe would be filling in a position that had been left vacant for years...

We see Joe arriving in his office, the door of which reads Dr. Joseph Hadland, underneath which is School Psychiatrist.

Which allowed him to help many a desperate soul find their way to happiness...

Flash to Joe inside his office in a large armchair. A schoolboy is lying on his couch, and Joe nods at what he's supposedly just said. "And, how did that make you feel?" Joe asks, writing something down in a notebook as the schoolboy continues.

"Joshua Miller!" the Principal yells, and Josh goes up on stage to receive his diploma.

Josh would later move to the city with his husband Dean...

Flash of Josh and Dean, older, standing in a modern and luxury looking apartment, overlooking a busy city.

Where he became a success as the next big TV talk show host

Flash of Josh interviewing a celebrity, as the host of his own TV show.

While having hobbies such as travelling...

Flash to Josh and Dean sitting at a cafe together in Paris.


Flash to Josh dirt bike racing on a track.

And protesting for gay rights...

Flash to Josh protesting in the city streets, with a crowd of other people.

...While being an inspiration to those who weren't completely comfortable with themselves.

Flash to people watching Josh on their TV screen and smiling.

With all the seniors of Wiksteria High now having graduated, celebratory claps emanate through the crowd. As Joe kisses Katie, Rena gently pats Mary's stomach, indicating that the two of them are currently expecting. At the same time, Ben and Liz are seen hugging; their wedding rings glow in the sunlight before their lips meet, and Dean and Josh part from each other as the latter stands with Ben, Joe and Rena, who too separate from their respective partners. They begin conversing amongst each other, as do other graduating members of the school, such as Mike and Paddy. The four schoolboys smile at one another, as claps continue to fill the air.

As my friends stood there, basking in the moment that was their graduation, they couldn't help but feel proud of all they had accomplished. And they weren't the only ones. Their loved ones shared equally in their moment of glory. Some of whom were still with them, others, regrettably, were not...

Watching Rena is Hugo and Betty. Betty kisses Hugo's cheek as the two of them look on. Rudolfo Abelho, who's dressed in a white suit, stands beside them, and smiles as his son's accomplishment. Nearby is Miguel, who remains completely unaware that his wife, Christina, whose also wearing a white number, is cheering alongside him. Rocky lets out a bark of pure delight as Justine, who's viewing in an orange jumpsuit with shackles around her wrists and ankles, sheds a tear of joy. Watching Joe is Annie and Brian. The former is in the latter's arms and is currently clapping for the both of them. Around them are more people dressed in white; visible are Henry Strange and Miss Harrison, the former of which is clapping for his ecstatic daughter, who he's completely proud of. Elsewhere in the crowd of parents are Lydia and Walter; little baby Ana is seen in Lydia's arms, and Walter is currently working to make her clap for her brother. Near them is Ben's deceased grandfather, Leonardo Ashdale, and near him, Joanna and Bob Miller are clapping and cheering for their son. Theodore Manning stands beside his former wife, and Andrew Robinson stands beside his father. Jack and Amanda Taylor happily watch their daughter Liz. Jack has his arm around his former wife, signifying that the two of them have gotten back together. At the front of the crowd is Ericson Lyons, who looks very peaceful. His wife Victoria stands next to him and he smiles. His son Hunter approaches him also and Eric picks him up so that he can get a better view of the graduation. His smile grows wider. In an overview shot of the parents' seating, we see a lot of clean white clothing mixed in with the rest.

I was proud of my friends for reaching this grand milestone, but today was a day to celebrate everyone, and so everyone was in attendance...

Added on to the rows and rows of graduating students, all of whom are dressed in black caps and gowns, is an extra row of students who are sadly no longer with us. Their caps are white, as are their gowns, and they have the appearance of teenage angels. Alison Sword is the first to be focused upon. Her smile is ever so peaceful, and she moves the tassel from one side of her cap to the other. On one side of her is Valentina Thorn, who's standing next to Nick Williams. Nick's smile seems slightly forced, as does Valentina's, but the two of them are joyous nonetheless. On Ali's other side stands Emma Swift, happy. She has let go of any and all anger or resentment, just as she promised in life. Jacob Smith stands in line with Kimo, Desmond, Andy and Barrett, all of whom are staring happily at their friend Mike, who is still conversing with Paddy. The two of them kiss. Silvia Mayfair, also known by many other names before her time of death, like Ali, moves her tassel from one side of her head to the other. However, like Nick and Val, her smile, too, seems a tad forced. Alex Manning is then seen, next to Silvia, and ecstatically watches his brother. An expression on his face wishes him all the best. We are now shown an overhead shot of the crowd of students, the white caps contrast beautifully with the black, all of which are thrown into the air. As the caps mingle in the sky, louder and louder cheering and claps is heard emanating from the enormous crowd.

I am very happy with the life I have been dealt after death. After all, I'm still able to experience the world as life goes on through it; we all are. As I told you, when most people die, they sit idly by and watch as whatever happens, happens. But not us. Not these ghosts. Not this town. Not this school. Because in Wiksteria High, not only is life full of surprises, but death is as well. We thoroughly enjoy viewing it as it unfolds, where most people are unable to. And although we count ourselves lucky for this oh so wondrous experience, rest assured that it's not all it cracked up to be. True, we've let go of anger and sorrow, and bitterness and regret; such unwholesome feelings simply floated away. But don't, ever, even for a second, think that that means we're not just as desperate as the living.
James Clark

The camera finally settles upon James Clark, whose white cap is still on his head, and whose white gown appears ever-so-slightly whiter than the others. He watches as his four best friends in the world – Ben, Joe, Rena and Josh – all merrily throw their graduation caps into the air. James then smiles, and does the same.