28-year-old Ainsley has been in love with a married colleague for the best part of her twenties. When she finally admits the truth to herself – that he’ll never leave his wife— she starts the search instead for Mr. Right.
But is this love, or is this Ainsley making the same mistake again, and falling for a man she can never have?
Upbeat,sunny, everyone’s best friend, Ainsley was the common link at the singles table that brought everyone together. Her closest friend is,strangely, her older family friend (and landlord) Heather. She offered her granny flat when Ainsley moved from the suburbs and has become a bit of a mother figure for Ainsley.
As a successful real estate agent, Ainsley is a total gun administratively and professionally — she’s a natural people person with a knack for motivating teams and winning over clients with her warm charms.
Unfortunately, many of these qualities have seen her fail dismally in the relationship department — she’s always the listener, always the organiser, always the problem solver, always the moral support.
At 30, doctor Harry still lives at home with his over-involved immigrant mama. Diligent and responsible to the point of self-injury, the secretly gay Harry needs to break free before it’s too late.
Everyone agrees that Harry is the perfect son — he’s caring, honourable, family minded, and most glowingly of all, a doctor. His mother, Indian-born Manju, simply cannot understand why he’s still living at home. What Manju doesn’t know is that Harry is gay. His many wonderful qualities hide his real superpower — avoiding
conflict. He’s always looking for the middle ground to sidestep whatever uncomfortable issue is invading his life.
Harry likes to keep things compartmentalised. Professional decisions in this box. Family matters in that one.
Love life…there’s not really a box for this. Which explains why he hasn’t told his mother yet. Harry’s not a virgin but his hook ups have been few and fleeting. This house feels like a chance to fully include his sexuality into his life.
A status conscious lawyer, 42-year-old Liz is struggling to keep up appearances as she faces a messy divorce and spiralling debt. Moving into the house strictly as a last resort, Liz sees it as a humiliating rock bottom, telling herself things can’t get any worse…
For Liz, moving into the house represents a Blue-Jasmine-esque plummet down the social ladder. But she doesn’t plan on being here for long. Ever the driven optimist, Liz is preparing to sell up as soon as she can and bounce back from this momentary hiccup, stronger and smarter than ever.
Making it all bearable is her best friend Harry who has shared many a late night TV binge with Liz since she helped rescue his late father’s estate. Harry came out to Liz before anyone else and she’s become a big sister to him, always confident in offering sage advice about life and love. But in their relationship, Liz is always the
fixer, not the fixee. Liz is about to find herself in a situation where, for the first time in her life, she needs fixing.
The 35-year-old tradie Ben seems pretty straightforward: He’s your typical chippie who lives day to day with a stronger-than-usual aversion to hygiene and responsibility. He’s also been living in a caravan for the last two years and has an estranged daughter. But he probably forgot to tell you that. Honest mistake.
Ruggedly handsome, open, friendly and strangely enigmatic, Ben’s the sort of guy who can talk to anyone, free of judgment or preconceptions. He’s genuinely interested in new people and new experiences and could just as easily contribute to a conversation about craft gin from the Tasmanian midlands or Nietzsche, depends who’s listening.
But Ben’s not great at responsibility and has never really lived in a place where it’s been possible to be in anyone’s hair, let alone a house where nudity isn’t optional, or even encouraged. This is a man who lives in the moment — the past is a hazy memory, the future’s a mystery. He’s sure of himself and charming, but his inability to take on real responsibility is stopping him from having a relationship with his estranged daughter.
But then, a surprising relationship gives Ben a chance to grow up.
Heather has been trapped in a jail of two layabout sons and a sleepy, unmotivated husband for the last two and half decades, and surprises nobody more than herself when she decides to buy in to the house. The decision opens a new and unexpected world of possibility for world-weary Heather that is at first exciting, even sexy but ultimately, lands her in a bigger mess than she started with.
Heather hates people. Not all of them, but enough to generalise. She’s a long serving/suffering aged care nurse and can no longer remember any previous ambitions before wiping her first arse. Her quick wit and droll sarcasm are both a weapon and a shield against a world that seems determined to disappoint. It’s not like she’s given up, she’s a fighter. It’s just she’s forgotten what she’s been fighting for all these years.
For the past two and a half decades, Heather has been locked in suburban purgatory with her two sons and her husband Colin. The boys are now adults and treating the home like a hotel. Unadventurous Colin seems only conscious when he’s about to close a bid on eBay orsussing out a kerbside disposal. Like Shirley Valentine, the whip smart Heather is in desperate need of a circuit breaker. And she’s about to get one…
If you met Lachlan, you’d love him. Everyone loves him at first. He’s disarming, open-hearted, laconic. A salt of-the-earth guy who gives great hugs. When he pays you compliments, he means it. And he honestly has problems seeing things from other people’s perspective. He wants to!! He truly wants to! At work, Lachlan and Ainsley are the Dream Team, their rapport in real estate legendary, even after nine years. Even after those couple of slip ups that maybe involved a closer intimacy than a working relationship normally requires.
Ainsley feels certain she and Lachlan have a genuine connection, and she’s not wrong. But their connections aren’t quite balanced. For Ainsley, it’s a kind of insomnia-inducing burning. For Lachlan, it’s a delightful warm buzz that evaporates when someone else comes along.