Dean was one of the other teenagers at the retreat Matilda went to after she developed bulemia.He and one of the other residents, Vanessa, were introduced to Matilda by their counsellor Mel.Both Dean and Matilda had difficulty talking about their problems but when Dean saw Matilda reading a letter Lucas had given her she confided in him that Lucas was her first love but she was confused about how she felt about him.
With the pair having difficulty talking about their problems, Vanessa took them out into the bush and persuaded them to release the tension by screaming loudly.However, later they saw Vanessa arguing with Mel and slapping her.Although Mel refused to discuss the incident, one of the other residents, Skye, told them the story Vanessa had told about her mother dying and not getting on with her stepfather was a lie:her parents were both alive and she was there because she was violent and attacked her younger sister.Matilda and Dean were shocked when Vanessa was taken away in an ambulance after trying to commit suicide and were left believing that their own problems were comparatively minor.
With all retreat activities cancelled for the day, Tony, Beth and Lucas came to the retreat to collect Matilda and she suggested Dean come back to Summer Bay with them.Lucas wasn't happy about how close Matilda was to her new friend and stormed out of the Diner when Dean tried to be friendly towards him.He was even less happy when Matilda turned to Dean for comfort after Tasha was kidnapped.Realising the tension between him and Lucas was adding to the problems, Dean went back to the retreat.
Dean gave Matilda a pep-talk before her private counselling session and afterwards the pair shared a kiss. Dean backed off and went to a counselling session and Matilda later saw him arguing with a boy named Gareth who he claimed was his brother;Dean said that even though the retreat were convinced he was over the drink and drug problems that had caused him to be sent there, his family still didn't want him home.As Matilda prepared to return home, she and Dean shared a second kiss.
Now firmly established as Matilda's boyfriend, Dean came to Summer Bay to support her when she had a skin graft operation.Lucas was still suspicious of the newcomer and saw him arguing with Gareth again.He refused to believe he was his brother and later pointed Dean out to Drew and Belle, prompting Drew to realise they had been to boarding school together and Dean was an only child.He also recalled that Dean once skipped school and thought Drew had dobbed him in and the pair wondered if Dean was responsible for the series of arson attacks that Drew was being framed for.Lucas went to Matilda to tell her what Drew had said but she chose to believe Dean.Lucas and Drew did some digging and learned Dean had been expelled from school for setting fire to the principal's car but when they went to confront him he told them that the real culprit, Evan Rice, had been caught.What none of them knew was that the police had a missing poster of Dean at the station.
When Dean came home from the hospital with Matilda, Tony and Beth, Lucas accused him of being behind a recent attack on Drew.Dean was questioned by the police but had an alibi.However, he was heard having heated phone conversations with Gareth, claiming he wasn't into "that sort of thing" anymore and wasn't going to hurt Matilda.Lucas was shocked when he followed Dean to a meeting with Gareth and saw them having an emotional conversation and then hugging and realised Dean was gay.He confronted Dean but he denied it, saying Gareth was a friend from boarding school who developed a crush on him, and repeated the story to Matilda when Lucas went to her with his theory.Soon after, Dean was approached by Lara, who had recognised him from his poster and told him his family had reported him missing.Dean insisted his family didn't care about him and, even though Lara would have to tell them where he was, since he was seventeen he refused to contact them or go back home.
Matilda arranged a romantic dinner for the pair at the Hunters' house but en route Beth, who had been talking to Lucas, stopped Dean and asked if it was true he was gay.Dean denied it but turned up for the dinner angry about all the stories about him.He made a clumsy attempt to seduce Matilda in order to "prove" his sexuality then ran out.Matilda followed him to the beach and asked if Gareth was really just a friend.Dean admitted he had become attracted to Gareth and been in a relationship with him and when his dad found out he threw him out of the house.That was when he turned to drink and drugs and when the police caught him shoplifting they sent him to the retreat.Matilda left, upset, but the following day she tracked Dean down and told him that her experience at the retreat had taught her that neither of them had any control over whether he was gay or not.She encouraged him to make things up with Gareth and she and Cassie watched from a distance as the couple were reconciled before the four of them went to the surf club together.
A few days later, Lucas and Matilda ran into Gareth and Dean, who explained that Gareth had got a job in the city and they were moving there together.Sorry for the trouble he'd caused the pair, Dean arranged a romantic picnic for them as a farewell present but ultimately it made them realise they only saw each other as friends anyway.
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