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    Written by: Betty Quinn   Produced by: John Holmes   Directed by: Graeme Hodgson

Luke is playing a game on Katie's computer in the lounge room at the O'Briens'. Katie comes back into the room with some cups of coffee and Luke tells her that it's all his fault: he came on too strong too soon. Katie, looking awkward, replies that it's not that - it's just-- Luke interrupts and says she still needs time to get over Terry; he understands. Katie, though, tells him that she likes him, and he's a good friend, but she's never thought of him 'that' way; she doesn't think she ever could - not that there aren't lots of girls who'd jump at the chance to have someone like him. Luke retorts that they're talking about 'them' - but he doesn't think he can cope with the sort of talk she's giving him at the moment, so he thinks the less they see of each other now, the better. They suddenly hear voices outside, as Mike and Heather arrive home. Katie, looking worried, says, "Luke..." Luke puts his jacket on. Mike and Heather come in, Mike saying that he couldn't remember half the words! Katie comments that it sounds like they had a good time. Mike smiles and tells her that Heather would still be chatting up Lucky Star if he hadn't dragged her away! Luke announces that he'd better be going. Mike assures him that there's no need to rush off, and Luke thanks him but repeats that he'd better be going. He goes, leaving Katie looking upset. Heather asks if anything is wrong. Katie quickly puts on a cheerful face and replies that it isn't; she guesses she's just tired, so she'll go to bed. She kisses her parents and heads off. Heather comments to Mike that something is the matter - she'd better talk to Katie. Mike, though, says he thinks Katie will tell them when she's ready - and they shouldn't spoil their night. He adds that he's glad he didn't stay home and work now - it's much better fun being with her. Heather tells him that they'll have to do it more often, won't they... They kiss briefly, but then start kissing more passionately. When they pull apart, Mike says "Let's go to bed..."

David is pouring a drink in the lounge room at Toorak. Patricia is sitting on the couch and, looking upset, she asks what went wrong. David, though, tells her to come on: she doesn't need him to spell it out. Patricia retorts that, all she knows is that they had a wonderful time - at least, she thought they did. David agrees that, sure they did - it brought up a lot of old memories. Patricia asks if that's so bad. David explains that they've known each other too long to kid themselves - they need more than a good night out and a few laughs to get back to square one. Patricia tells him that they can take it one step at a time; there's no hurry. David retorts that he just doesn't want them to hurt themselves like they did once before. Patricia points out that they've both learnt a lot since then. David just comments, "Maybe..." He then goes on that he feels pretty bushed - he might go to bed; he'll see her in the morning. He leaves the room. Patricia looks disappointed.

Wayne is sitting in the lounge room at the Fisher house when Karen gets home. As she finds him waiting for her, she comments that this is a nice surprise. She asks how Melbourne was, but he doesn't answer, and so she goes on that he's not there to tell her that he couldn't get the information from the O'Brien boy, she hopes? Wayne retorts that, no, it's all there - Patricia's tender prices for the Wilson account. Karen sits down and says that's good. Wayne goes on that she knew the O'Brien kid had a drinking problem, didn't she. Karen asks him if they'd have the information if she'd told him. Wayne, looking angry, growls that he thought Patricia played rough, but she makes her look like a beginner. Karen tells him that if Jeff hadn't got the money from Wayne, he would have got it from someone else - and it's his parents' job to sort him out, not theirs. Wayne angrily tells her that they're going to get one thing straight: as of now, she does her own dirty work. Karen tells him not to get upset - they won't talk about it anymore. Wayne snaps that, to think he was ashamed to get mixed up in the escort business; at least it was honest work. Karen retorts that so is this if he looks at it the right way. Wayne snaps that she's kidding: she used emotional blackmail to get him to pull that stuff with Jeff; he'd never have gone along with it if they hadn't been having-- A middle-aged man suddenly walks into the room, and Karen exclaims, "Fisher!" Nat Fisher says, "Hello, Karen." Karen says she thought he was flying in tomorrow, but Nat explains that he picked up a cancellation on an earlier flight. He adds that, naturally, he wants to see Todd as soon as possible. Karen replies, "Of course." She then introduces Wayne and explains that he's a business associate. The two men shake hands and Karen then tells Wayne that it's really late - they'll go over the Melbourne figures on Monday morning. Wayne just mutters, "Sure," and he turns to go. As he stands in the doorway, he turns back to Nat and tells him that he knows he's come to see his son - and why - but there's something he should know: Todd went overseas early this morning. Looking shocked, Karen asks him what he's talking about. Wayne explains that as soon as Todd realised he was getting worse, he took off. Karen asks where he went. Wayne replies that nobody seems to know. Karen snaps that someone must: Amanda? Wayne retorts that she has no idea - she didn't even know he was leaving. Karen points out that she was living with him. Wayne asks her if she doesn't think Amanda would have gone after Todd if she knew; she's upset enough as it is, so she should be left alone. Karen snaps that she'll leave her alone when she finds out where Todd is. Nat suddenly interrupts, though, and tells her that Mr. Morrell is right: if the girl is upset, they don't want to make it worse by ringing her at this time of night. Wayne tells Nat that he's sorry - he thought he should know. He goes. Nat sits down on the couch and comments that it seems he arrived too late. Karen sits down next to him and tells him that they'll find him. Nat retorts that they won't if Todd doesn't want them to. Karen insists that they will; Amanda might not know where he's gone, but she'll bet her life there's someone who does... Nat looks at her.

A short while later, Karen and Nat are walking along the corridor at the boarding house. As they stop outside the door to Irene's apartment, Nat points out that she might be asleep, as it is almost midnight. Karen just snaps that they'll have to wake her up, then. She knocks on the door, and after a few seconds, Irene yells out to ask if they know what time it is. She adds that if they've got a complaint, they can make it in the morning, as the landlady is asleep. Karen knocks again, as Nat remarks that it's still the same old Irene. Karen agrees that age hasn't done a lot for her. She then yells through the door that it's her. Nat says he never thought the day would come when he would be standing on Irene's doorstep begging for news of his son. The door suddenly opens, Irene looks at Karen and snaps, "What the hell-- ?" She suddenly realises that Karen isn't alone, and as she stares at her ex-husband, she exclaims, "Nat..."

Wayne arrives back at Dural and walks into the lounge room, where he finds Barbara sitting watching television. As he looks at the screen, he comments that he never knew she was a James Bond fan. Barbara retorts that there's a lot he doesn't know about her. She turns it off and Wayne pours himself a drink. He asks where Gordy is, and Barbara replies that he had an early night. Looking at the expression on Wayne's face, she then comments that it looks as if he came off second best in his little chat with Karen. Wayne explains that they were interrupted: Nat Fisher turned up. He goes on that Nat has taken the news of his son's disappearance pretty hard; he just hopes he didn't talk Karen into ringing Amanda and upsetting her even more. Looking surprised, Barbara says, "Oh... you're very concerned for your wife all of a sudden, aren't you?" Wayne ignores this and asks Barbara if she's heard from Amanda. Barbara replies that she has and she's coming over there tomorrow afternoon. Wayne remarks that she needs to be with family. Barbara then tells him that Amanda wouldn't have a bar of it until she promised that he would be out of the way. Wayne says it's alright - he'll make himself scarce; he won't be hanging round to make things worse for her; it's over between them. He adds that, the crazy thing is, it's for all the wrong reasons - in a roundabout way: he didn't tell Karen about Todd being sick - she found out by accident - but Amanda didn't believe him. Barbara glares at him and he insists that it's the truth: it was an accident.

At the boarding house, Karen curtly tells Irene that they won't leave until she tells them where Todd has gone. She adds that Irene does know, doesn't she? Irene admits, "Yes." Karen snaps that they have a right to know - more damn right than Irene has. Looking surprised, Irene snaps back, "Says who?" Nat interrupts and tells Karen that that's enough. He then turns to Irene and tells her that, as soon as he heard about Todd, he flew out; Todd is his son - Todd needs him; he knows what Irene thinks, but for once, can't she forget what happened between them and put Todd first? Irene retorts that that's what she is doing; he's not to use his bleeding-heart psychology on her as it won't work. Nat suddenly snaps that he wants to see his son and neither she or anyone else is going to stop him. Irene tells him to take her to court, then; that's his style, isn't it? She goes on that she made Todd a promise and she's keeping it. Nat snaps that it's to spite him - that's the only reason she'd keep a promise. Karen chips in that Irene is so keen to score points off them that she doesn't give a damn what happens to her son. Irene growls that they both did their best to blacken her name and keep Todd away from her, didn't they, and yet in the end, she's the one he came to because he knew she'd understand that he has the right to to live whatever he has left of his life the way he wants to. She goes on that that boy has the sort of courage Karen and Nat don't even know about; she's proud of what he wants to do, and no one - least of all them - is going to stop it. She then orders them to clear out before she calls the police and has them chucked out.

The next morning, in the kitchen at the O'Briens', Mike is wolfing down his breakfast because he's late for work, and Heather warns him that he'll choke himself. Mike tells her that it's her fault: who kept him out all night, eh?! Katie comes in and Heather asks her if she wants some tea. Katie replies that she'll have it in a second; there's something she wants to talk about first. Mike tells her that he's sorry but he's already running late. Katie insists that it's important, and so Mike stops to listen. Katie then announces that she wants to go to Sydney. Seeing the expressions on her parents' faces, she tells them not to look so shocked. Heather asks, "Why?" Mike asks if it's a holiday. Katie, though, explains that she wants to check out the market for her computer games. Mike points out that she's got a contract there, but Katie tells him that that's nearly up and she wants to see what else is on offer before she re-signs. She adds that she's got a contact up there - and Fiona said she can stay in the boarding house, so she'll be OK. Heather, looking worried, says, "On your own?" Katie points out that most girls her age are in flats or are sharing. Heather asks her how long she'll be away. Mike chips in and says, "First things first." He then goes on that it's only natural that Katie wants to stand on her own two feet, but they wouldn't be much good as parents if they weren't worried about her being by herself. Katie glumly says, "The answer's 'no', then?" Mike replies, "No - the answer's 'yes' - as long as you send the odd postcard!" Looking ecstatic, Katie gives him a hug. She then says she'll get dressed so she can tell Fiona that she's going with her. She leaves the room. Heather looks worried. Mike tells her that you can't keep them tied to the apron strings forever. Heather comments that it's so sudden - and so far away. Mike asks her if she trusts Katie. Heather replies that of course she does. Mike tells her that so does he - and he thinks it's about time they showed her how much.

Patricia is reading the newspaper in the lounge room at Toorak. Charlie waltzes in and Patricia remarks that it's unusual for her to be up before noon on a Sunday, isn't it? Charlie explains that she's having lunch with that divine drummer she met last night! Patricia comments that she played her cards right, did she? Charlie smiles and replies that she could say that! She then asks Patricia whether she played her cards right. Patricia 'innocently' asks her what she means. Charlie explains that she's talking about her and David of course. Patricia just says, "Oh." Charlie goes on that she went to a lot of trouble to set up that nostalgia bit before she went to bed; she's going to be very disappointed if nothing happened. Patricia warns, "Charlie..." David comes into the room at that moment, and Charlie immediately asks him if he had a good time last night. David just says, "Oh, yeah...." He asks Patricia if she's finished with the paper yet. Patricia tells him that she can have it all, as she has to start work in a minute. David asks what's so important that they have to be dragged in on a Sunday. Patricia explains that they have a lot of work to do if they're going to land the Wilson tender. David asks what the chance is of getting that, and Patricia replies that it's as good as theirs. She smiles as she adds that she'd love to see Karen Fox's face when she finds out - she'll be livid! Charlie chips in that she thinks they're silly working on Sundays - why don't they take themselves off somewhere peaceful for the day?; she's sure they'd enjoy it. She gets up and leaves them. Patricia immediately remarks to David that she doesn't think she's up to Charlie this morning. David remarks, though, that she's fit enough to work all day so that she can give Karen Fox one in the eye. Patricia retorts that she deserves everything she gets. David says he guesses that's a part of what he was trying to say last night: she's supposed to be in business and the minute something doesn't go her way, she starts getting back at people; he doesn't work like that and he doesn't like people who do.

A while later, Mike and Luke are sitting in the study with Patricia. She tells them that she's simply saying that, OK, they've beaten Karen Fox to the Wilson account, but what's important now is that they prove they can handle an account that size; they shouldn't let personal feelings get in the way of their efficiency. Mike remarks that that's a bit of a turnabout, isn't it? Luke chips in that she couldn't wait to grab that account from under Karen Fox's nose. Patricia says she knows, but if they spend time gloating about what they're doing to the opposition, they're not doing their own job properly. Mike tells her that he couldn't agree more. Luke, though, says he thinks they're both making a big mistake. He goes on that if there's one thing he learnt from his father, it's how to be aggressive - get the other guy before he gets you; if they don't put a stop to Karen Fox before she puts that company back on its feet, she'll pull the rug out from under them so fast they won't know what's hit them. Patricia tells him that they'll survive if that happens. She then goes on that the first thing they'd better do this morning is come up with a written draft for their proposal - the figures are fairly-- Luke suddenly interrupts and snaps that he gets ignored as usual; he hopes she's not expecting him to suggest anything constructive on this account, as so far, neither of them have seen fit to trust him with very many of the details. Patricia explains that she had to keep that information confidential in the beginning; the fewer people who knew, the better. She adds that she's sorry - maybe she should have told him. She goes on that Mike can go through the presentation and figures with him while she makes some coffee. She leaves the room, and Mike tells Luke that she isn't used to delegating yet. Luke, though, snaps at him not to patronise him. Mike tells him that he knows what he's going through - he doesn't feel all that secure in his job either; and he knows Luke is upset about Katie. Luke snaps that it's got nothing to do with Katie: Patricia talked a lot of rubbish about ignoring the opposition; Karen will have their guts for garters and all Mike can do is sit there and play the 'yes' man because he's as naive as Patricia. He adds, "Believe me, that is saying something."

At the Fisher house, Nat is standing wearing his dressing gown and drinking a cup of coffee. Karen comes into the room and he tells her that she should have woken him earlier. Karen replies that he didn't get much sleep as it was - and she didn't think he was ready for this last night. She hands him the letter from Todd. He opens it, and as Karen stands next to him, reads:

"Dear Dad, Time's running out for me and there are things I need to say. Twice I started to pack my bags to come to see you, but we never did communicate all that well, so I thought maybe a letter would be easier - for both of us. Maybe you never came right out and said you loved me - but it showed in a million ways; I wanted you to know that. Don't blame me for making contact with mum - I needed to see her and she's really helped to make these last weeks a lot easier. She's a terrific lady, dad; too bad it didn't work out for you and her. She never tried once to come between you and me; she just accepted that I loved you."

Nat suddenly screws up the letter and cries that he has to see him. Karen gently says she knows; they'll find a way. She rests her head on his shoulder.

David is on the 'phone in the hallway at Toorak, talking to Irene, and he tells her that he's sorry - he didn't have any idea things were so bad. Irene explains that Todd didn't want anyone to now. David tells her that he's got a trip to Sydney that he could line up today. Irene asks him if he could, as it would be nice to have some company. David replies that there are no worries. Irene tells him that she promises she won't spend the whole time crying on his shoulder. David assures her that he's there if she needs it. Irene thanks him and hangs up.

In the lounge room, Patricia is tying a scarf round Charlie's neck, and Charlie thanks her, saying she didn't think she'd find anything to go with her outfit. Patricia tells her that she'd better go, as her young drummer won't want to be kept waiting. Charlie, though, says he won't be - she 'phoned and told him to pick her up there. Changing the subject, she then continues that Patricia hasn't told her how it went with David last night. Patricia replies, "Let's just say I'm going to need a little more time than I anticipated." Charlie asks her if she's losing her touch. Patricia assures her that she isn't - she's just in need of a little image-building - so for starters, she's accepted an invitation for the laying of the foundation stone at the Children's Home. Looking surprised, Charlie asks her how she managed that, after all that trouble with Lucy and the money. Patricia explains that it just came through the post, so she's not going to waste it; and then she's taking David to a German beer festival; he'll love that. Charlie remarks that Patricia will hate it, though. Patricia agrees that that's true - but at least she'll be showing him that she's prepared to go along with some of the things he wants. Charlie tells her, "Rather you than me!" adding that she wouldn't stand round swilling beer if you paid her. David suddenly comes into the room and tells Patricia that they'll have to call this evening off as he's got a trucking job to Sydney. Looking annoyed, Patricia asks when that came up. David replies that he just organised it - Irene's having a pretty rough time since Todd left, so he'd like to be around to see if he can help. He heads off to pack, and Charlie immediately comments to Patricia that at least she won't have to endure the beer festival. Patricia snaps that she did all that careful planning to please him, and he goes running off to Irene at the drop of a hat. Charlie suggests that she do something about it, then. Patricia asks, "Like what?" Charlie, a smile on her face, asks since when Patricia has needed someone to tell her how to handle a man. She then announces that she must fly, adding that, like Patricia said, young men don't like to be kept waiting!

A while later, David is in the lounge room and he calls for Patricia. Patricia walks into the room and he asks her if she's seen his overnight bag. Patricia replies that it's in the laundry, she thinks. David says he'd better get going, as he doesn't have a lot of time. Patricia asks him if there's long enough for her to throw a few things in a suitcase. David looks at her in surprise. She adds that he'd like some company, wouldn't he? - it's a long drive to Sydney. David asks her if she's serious. Patricia replies that of course she is. David points out that he'll need to spend time with Irene. Patricia tells him that she wants to talk to Gordon. She goes on that he's right: all the carry-on about Karen Fox was a waste of time - but Karen won't listen to her, so maybe Gordon can act as peacemaker. David asks her if she wouldn't rather fly. Patricia tells him that driving up with him will be fun. David asks, "What about Charlie?" Patricia replies that she can look after herself - and she's spoken to Mike and Luke and she thinks they're rather pleased to get rid of the boss for a few days! David asks if they can run things without her. Patricia tells him that now's the time to find out! David warns her that she's in for a bumpy ride. Patricia smiles and says she thinks she's survived a few of those! She adds that she'll be packed in five minutes. David smiles broadly.

Karen is dialling a number on the 'phone at the Fisher house. Wayne answers the call in the lounge room at Dural, and Karen quietly tells him that it's her. Wayne replies that he can hardly hear her, and Karen explains that she has to be quiet as Fisher is in the next room. She tells Wayne that she needs to talk to him; she's sorry about the O'Brien boy; she wants to explain properly. Wayne, though, tells her to forget it - he's got other things to worry about. He adds, "And don't you give a damn about Todd, either." Karen retorts that of course she does - but Fisher has come up against a brick wall; he hasn't got a hope of finding the boy, which means he'll be flying back to the States - probably tomorrow; they can meet for dinner - she's got tickets for the theatre; they can make a night of it. Barbara walks into the lounge room at Dural as Wayne tells Karen that he's sorry, but he's tied up - she did him a favour pushing him into that Melbourne trip: he met Jeff's sister, Katie O'Brien - she's a lovely girl. Karen, looking annoyed, asks if that's supposed to make her jealous. Wayne muses that he supposes so. He goes on that Katie is arriving in Sydney this afternoon; it's her first trip, so she needs someone to show her around... show her a good time... Karen snaps that she thought he'd grown out of cradle-snatching by now. Wayne laughs and says, "Look who's talking!" He then tells her to remember him to the good doctor, and he hangs up. Barbara immediately asks him since when he and Katie O'Brien have been so matey. Wayne asks her if she was eavesdropping. Barbara retorts that she's just asking. Wayne tells her that Katie is a nice kid and he told her he'd give her a couple of business introductions if she needs them - but it sure got Karen going. Barbara, looking annoyed, snaps that he and Karen are as bad as each other, playing their stupid games. She gets up and storms out.

Karen is looking at the newspaper at the Fisher house when Nat comes into the room. He tells her that he heard her on the 'phone and he asks if there's any news. Karen explains that it was just a business call. Nat asks if it was the gentleman he met her with last night. Karen tells him that something has come up with one of their major accounts. Nat, though, retorts, "You're having an affair with him." Karen, looking taken aback, exclaims, "No." Nat, though, tells her that he's not a complete fool, and he's certainly not blind. He suggests that she confine her 'business discussions' with Mr. Morrell to more suitable hours, and he asks if he makes himself clear. Karen tells him that of course he does. Nat then picks up Todd's letter and says that if only Irene could realise how important it is for him to see Todd again... Karen retorts that she'll never tell him. Nat, though, says she might... He takes the letter and walks out.

A short time later, Irene is sitting reading the letter in her apartment. When she's finished, she stands up, puts it in its envelope and hands it back to Nat, who's sitting in an armchair. Nat tells her that he has to see him. Irene shakes her head and retorts that Todd trusted her; she's not going to break her word. Nat angrily tells her that he has the right - Todd is his son; it's not enough that Todd knows he loves him - he needs to tell him. Irene retorts that he had plenty of opportunity. Nat asks her what she'd do if the boot was on the other foot; what if she was pleading for the chance to say 'goodbye' to her son?; what if she'd had him all those years, but not for the last few weeks of his life?; all he's asking for is a few hours. He suddenly breaks down. Irene realises that he really does love his son. Nat nods. Irene pauses and then reluctantly says, "Alright, Nat, I'll tell you where he's gone."


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