Thirty-something friends Joel, Charlie and Tess are having a tough time. Joel is recently divorced and now has the hots for doctor Nadia, a raging alcoholic. Tess has quit her job. And Charlie – well, Charlie has cancer. Charlie wants to treat the cancer naturally (its curable if caught in time) but Joel is convinced this is suicide. There’s only one thing for it: kidnapping. Joel and Tess bundle off Charlie to a secret country house and, with Nadia’s ‘help’, begin a course of chemotherapy with Charlie tied to a chair. Tempers flare, temperatures rise, copious amounts of alcohol are consumed and cross-bows are brandished. Mates turn into enemies, enemies turn into lovers and life-long friendships bend, stretch – and shatter.
Joel's divorce brings him a £2 million settlement and reunites him with his best friends from Sixth Form - New Age Charlie and IT nerd Tess. Charlie in particular is a crutch for Joel and gets him dating again. On his first date he meets the sexy and unpredictable doctor, Nadia. But just as Joel has reconnected with his friends he discovers that Charlie has been diagnosed with cancer - Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And he's horrified to learn that he is refusing chemotherapy.
After Charlie's attempted escape, Joel and Tess decide they need to keep a closer eye on him. Tess is tracking the story of Charlie's disappearance on the web as the police launch an appeal. The news of his cancer diagnosis has leaked; the most popular theory is suicide. Good news for Joel and Tess, terrible news for his wife Kira and the kids. So as not to arouse suspicion Joel decides he should go and see Kira. However, while comforting her he finds himself enjoying taking on Charlie's role in this ready-made family.
After Charlie's second escape attempt is thwarted, Joel and Tess decide to secure him behind bars in the cellar of the house. With Nadia gone, Joel is increasingly spiralling out of control, drowning in an unhealthy concoction of drink, drugs and self-pity. His drug-induced paranoia has convinced him that the net is closing in; he even thinks he's spotted Detective Talbot following him to the village supermarket after he paid an unexpected visit to Kira's house with a red velvet cake. Is the whole fragile edifice falling apart?