Iris is an aspiring actress, so when Mick, a well-known visiting Aussie director, takes an interest in her, she's flattered. He's fourteen years older, attractive, smart, charming and sexy—in other words, nothing like her hapless ex-boyfriend, Tommy. But when Iris and Mick start a secret relationship, she soon witnesses Mick's darker side, and his temper frightens her. Before long, she becomes the target of his rage, but she makes endless excuses for him. Isolated and often in pain, Iris struggles to continue going to school, where she is preparing for her role as Ophelia. When her family and friends begin to realize that something is terribly wrong, Iris defends her man, but she also takes the first tentative steps toward self-preservation.
Mick decides that his long-term relationship with Jade is finally over. After ending it, he realizes the hardest part will be saying goodbye to her little brother, Gavin, who suffers from severe migraines. Mick's friends suspect that Jade's constant calls for help are just too convenient to be real. What are the chances Gavin would relapse every time Mick is out with someone new? Mick admits they're not very good—but he's seen the boy. A four-year-old can't fake an illness like that. Turns out both Mick and his friends are right.