At home, Barb calls the credit card company and says she's Nicolette Grant, and consults a very erroriffic cheat sheet with everybody's info -- Bill, 17 May 1955; Barb, 10 June "1974"; Nicki, 18 Nov 1974; Margene, 22 May 1978; "Amanda," 3 Dec 1983; Ben, 22 Jun 1985 -- to give the guy Nicki's last four digits and mother's maiden name. "I just wanted to know you got payment I sent," she says, and he asks on which account. Causing Barb's voice to do a thing I haven't heard it do before.
Barb piles into Nicki's house, yelling for her with a scary face, up the stairs with the credit report in hand, and finally spotting the boxes under the bed again. Nicki comes in and gets shirty with her, but Barb's just like, "Nicki..." Nicki screams over and over that Barb has "no right," but come on: "Do you have any idea what you're doing to us? Your family? When were you going to say something? When the creditors came crawling all over us?" Nicki does the usual, shifting the blame to something else that's ugly, about how Barb has nerve lecturing her about secrets, but Barb doesn't even have the energy to deal with (or lie about) that -- "No. This is about this." I like that. Barb asks how many credit cards Nicki has, and it takes a few tries to tell the truth (9) and the total debt ($58,000, rounding down apparently). Barb just kind of shakes and sits down beside her, asking why this is happening. Nicki cops to being compulsive, and admits that Bill doesn't know thing one about any of it. Barb's like, "But the $3000 payment?" And -- this is important -- Nicki starts crying real tears for real, because she knows, because she's always known. She admits it was Roman that made the payment. Barb momentarily drops her own mask, and you can see that she knows more than she's letting on, too -- about Roman, the Hendricksons and Grants, and Lois and Frank -- but it's not like she's going to say that to Nicki. Or -- and this part hurts -- even show it to her, just in case. Barb gets proactive about how they'll tell Bill, and Nicki freaks about how she can't tell him, because he'll throw her out, which seems ridiculous to Barb (and me, frankly) but very, very real to Nicki, thanks to Roman. Nicki breaks right the heck down, further than you thought she could go, and Barb holds her.