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    Written by: Maureen Ann Moran   Produced by: Posie Jacobs   Directed by: Andrew Howie

Andy and Kelly are sitting in Andy's van outside the Reid house. Andy sighs that he wishes someone would turn up. A prim-looking young woman suddenly walks up towards the house, and takes some mail out of the mailbox. Andy comments that it must be Janice. He and Kelly climb out of the van and approach the woman. Andy says, "Excuse me." The woman, though, suddenly lunges at him with her bag and snaps, "You step one foot on this property and you'll get more than you bargained for." Andy bursts out laughing and the woman asks indignantly what's so funny. Andy explains, "I just didn't think they made them like you anymore!" He then adds, "I just want to talk to you, that's all." The woman retorts, "I don't talk to long hairs." Kelly joins them and Janice asks her if she's alright. Kelly replies that she wouldn't mind sitting down for a minute. Janice takes her arm. Andy goes to follow the two of them up to the house, but the woman snaps, "You stay here." Andy asks indignantly, "What do you think I'm going to do: rape you or something?" Kelly sighs, "You're doing a great job of getting her on-side." Janice asks suspiciously, "On-side about what?" Kelly explains, "We're here because we're friends of Fiona Thompson." Janice, looking surprised, exclaims, "My aunty?" Kelly tells her, "Unless someone from your family helps us, she'll die."

Beryl is talking on the 'phone in Fiona's flat, telling Gordon that Wayne went out of his way to be nasty. She adds that she just couldn't let him get away with it. Gordon thanks her for letting him know. The two of them hang up. Fiona then says to Beryl that she might be able to get Irene to pull a few strings and get her back on the operating list for Doctor Robertson. Looking taken aback, Beryl comments, "You've lost me." Fiona tells her, "I've decided to have the operation and the sooner the better." Beryl stares at her, open-mouthed, so she quickly goes on, "Don't gawk! It's a woman's privilege to change her mind. Everything Wayne said was spot-on. I have been a coward and he snapped me out of that with a vengeance. I am going to put up the fight of my life!" She then asks Beryl to call Irene for her, as she wants to make out a guest-list; she's going to throw a pre-op bash tonight. Beryl warns her to keep the numbers down. Fiona, though, exclaims, "Hang the expense! I'm going to spend the last few dollars the way I like and show all my friends I'm not going to cash in my chips without a fight!"

Standing on the front porch outside the Reid house, Andy is telling Janice, "Unless Fiona has this operation, she could be dead in a matter of weeks." Kelly adds, "We've all tried to talk her into it, but she won't listen. That's why we came over here: we thought if her family showed an interest..." Janice snaps, "My father wouldn't go near her. Neither would I; she's a terrible woman." Kelly exclaims, "Janice, how can you say that when you've never even met her?" Janice retorts, "I've heard all about her - and my father never tells lies." Andy snaps that that's ancient history, and he suggests Janice come over and meet her. Janice, though, mutters,"I've got better things to do with my time." Kelly growls, "Your father's down a great job of brainwashing you." Janice, though, snaps, "My father's a wonderful man." Kelly retorts, "And Fiona's a wonderful woman. She's helped me enormously, and when I hear you having a go at her..." Janice asks, "How has she helped you?" Kelly explains, "My mother died not long ago. I couldn't handle it: not just the grief - I was scared stiff. I put on this act about being totally independent. I wasn't. It's scary being blind; it's even scarier when you're alone. Fiona let me know I wasn't alone. I don't want to lose her..." Andy takes out a piece of paper and writes down Fiona's address for if Janice changes her mind. Janice mutters, "I don't suppose it'll make any difference." Looking at Kelly, she adds, "But I'm glad my aunt did one decent thing in her life." With that, she heads inside. Andy sighs to Kelly, "Oh well - at least we tried."

Wayne arrives back at Dural, and Barbara waylays him in the hallway and tells him that Gordon would like to see him. She escorts him into the lounge room where Gordon stands up and snaps, "I heard about your disgraceful behaviour this afternoon--" He doesn't get any further, though, as Wayne interrupts him and says curtly, "Before you get to the bit about kicking me out, tell me one thing: have you also heard if Fiona's having the operation?" Gordon replies uncertainly, "Yes she is, as a matter of fact - no thanks to you." Wayne, though, laughs bitterly, "It's all thanks to me: that was the object of the exercise. You didn't think I'd abuse her for the hell of it, did you?" Barbara murmurs that it had crossed their minds. Wayne sighs, "Look, Fiona and I are never going to be best mates - but she went out of her way to help Mary. When I heard what was going on, I figured I owed her one. I figured if she got mad enough, she'd want to show me I couldn't write her off." Barbara mutters, "I bet you enjoyed every minute of it." Wayne retorts, "Only because I knew it was working." Gordon, looking surprised, comments, "It's easy enough to help a friend - but to help an enemy is something else again. I'm proud of you."

Sometime later, Fiona is talking on the 'phone to Gordon, asking if he'll take an IOU for the money for the op. Gordon laughs, "If you insist!" Fiona then tells him that Wayne is invited to the party, too. Gordon asks her if she's sure. Fiona replies, "Don't worry, too much - I'm sure he won't come, more's the pity. I would have loved to have seen his face when he realises I'd be around for a while!"

Andy and Kelly arrive back at the boarding house. Andy knocks on Fiona's door and she opens it and smiles that she wondered where they'd got to! She then tells Andy that she wants to hire his disco for tonight. Andy looks at her in surprise. Beryl explains, "We are having a pre-op party!" Andy gasps at Fiona, "You've changed your mind?!" Kelly adds, "That's great!" Fiona laughs, "You just make quite sure you've got some dance music tonight, because believe me, I'm going to dance up a storm!"

That night, Irene and Beryl are standing in Fiona's flat, Irene laughing that there's all that food and Fiona can't even eat before her operation! She joins Andy and Kelly who are setting up the disco; Kelly comments that she wishes she could see the lights. Andy hands her the microphone and tells her to have a go. Kelly bursts out laughing as she says into it, "Testing 1 - 2 - 3!" Andy then comments that he wishes he had it this afternoon. Beryl asks what for and Kelly explains that he needed it to shout down Fiona's niece. Beryl reminds them that she did warn them about the Reids. Kelly remarks, "It's a good thing she sent us packing, the way things turned out." There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Irene opens it to let Barbara and Gordon in. Irene suggests to Andy that he page Fiona. Andy says into the microphone, "Paging Fiona Thompson - your party's waiting!" The door to Fiona's room opens and she emerges in a bright, sparkly purple dress! Gordon laughs that it's noticeable! Fiona, though, tells him, "Darling, it is an outrage - and those are my brother's exact words!" She goes on, "You know, when I wouldn't take it back to the shop, he threw it in the rubbish tin. Of course, I went and rescued it. I kept it under lock and key and I wore it to death. I'm sure that has a lot to do with 'Dear George's' high blood pressure!" Barbara comments that it sounds as if the two of them aren't very compatible. Fiona sighs, "'Dear George' has to be the original party-pooper!"

At the Morrell town house, Caroline is standing in the lounge room as Samantha calls to her to ask her if she's wearing her pearl earrings. Caroline just stands there, though, and doesn't respond. Samantha eventually joins her and asks her if she shouldn't be ready. Caroline, though, says quietly that she's too tired after their day out. Samantha sighs that sitting around there isn't going to bring Amanda back. Caroline, however, tells her that she couldn't face a party - not yet. Samantha assures her, "I'm not too thrilled about it, either - but this is one we shouldn't miss. It's Fiona's way of saying she wants to live; now isn't that worth celebrating?" Caroline says quietly, "Alright - I'll get dressed."

The party is in full-swing when Irene opens the door of Fiona's flat to let in Charlie, Alison and Adam. Charlie is wearing an Egyptian headdress! She glances at Fiona and exclaims to Alison and Adam, "I'd kill for that dress! I must ask her where she got it!" She wanders over to Fiona and comments to her that she's looking very Joan Crawford this evening! Alison joins Fiona and tells her, "I'm not gatecrashing - I just came to wish you God speed for tomorrow." Fiona mutters, "Thankyou," and walks away. A few yards away, Irene stares at Alison and comments to Beryl, "Look at her: butter wouldn't melt in her mouth." Beryl murmurs, "I just hope she doesn't spoil Fiona's night." She puts down her drink and heads off to the kitchen, where Alison is getting herself a drink. She immediately warns Alison, "If you've come here to cause trouble, you can leave right now." Alison asks why she'd want to cause trouble. Beryl retorts, "Because you always do - Patricia." Alison looks at her, sharply, before saying, "I think you've had one too many." Beryl, though, explains tersely, "David's told me everything. I'm not going to say anything because for some strange reason I don't believe you did kill Luke Carlyle - but you put one foot wrong and I'll go straight to the police." With that, she leaves the kitchen again. Alison stands there, looking worried.

Sometime later, Samantha and Adam are standing chatting. Fiona, however, joins them and tells them to drink or dance and not just stand there! Samantha laughs that the pace is a bit too fast for them! Wayne joins them and asks what's going on. Everyone ignores him, though. Fiona comments instead to Adam that she hears he's going off to a movie later. Adam nods that he is and Fiona tells him that she wants him straight back here when it finishes. She leaves them and Samantha asks Adam what he's seeing. Adam explains that they're a couple of docos about the Gobi Desert and Inner Mongolia; he's trying to decide where to go for a holiday. Samantha laughs that she didn't know there was an Inner Mongolia. Caroline joins them and mutters, "I can't imagine anything worse: you'll end up frost-bitten and half-starved." She walks off again. Samantha comments to Wayne and Adam that her mother has been like that since the service. She adds that she took her up to the mountains this afternoon; she thought it would do her good to get away. Wayne suggests to her that maybe it's time she got away, and he asks why she doesn't go and see the films with Adam; he'll take this shift with Caroline. Adam asks her if she wants to, and Samantha murmurs that she wouldn't mind. With that, she and Adam head off. Fiona wanders over to Wayne and comments that she didn't think he'd have the guts to show. Wayne, though, smiles, "Wouldn't have missed it for the world." He then looks at her dress and adds, "Reduced to rags from the op shop, are we?" Fiona, though, retorts lightly, "Oh, you can try all night, Wayne: you won't get a rise out of me. I'm back to my old self again." Wayne smiles at her and wanders over to where Caroline is standing by the bar. She asks where Samantha is and Wayne explains that Adam talked her into going to see the films. He asks her what she wants to drink and she asks for a tonic water. Elsewhere in the room, Alison comments to Charlie that Caroline didn't stay grief-stricken for long. Back at the bar, Caroline suddenly decides, "With some gin." Wayne suggests to her that she stay off the hard stuff tonight. Caroline, though, retorts, "I want a drink, not a lecture."

Outside in the corridor, Janice is standing with a smart-looking man. The piece of paper that Andy gave her is in her hand. Noise is emanating from inside, and Janice comments, "There's no mistake: this is her flat." The man exclaims, "It can't be. Even my sister wouldn't throw a party if she's as sick as that boy claims. Let's try the next one down first." Janice mutters, "The neighbours don't have much consideration for others, do they?" George retorts, "You have to be worthy of respect to get it." Janice comments that her Aunty Fiona must have changed a bit, as that girl that came over was a nice type. George, though, mutters, "If my poor sister has finally realised that I was right and she was wrong, I'll be the first to forgive her." Janice growls, "They've got terrible neighbours. If I lived here, they'd be the first to know it."

Inside Fiona's flat, everyone is standing around Fiona, encouraging her to do the charleston! Fiona laughs that she's got to have a practice first! By the bar, Barbara asks Caroline if she hasn't had enough. Caroline, indicating her drink, slurs drunkenly, "Enough what?!" Fiona starts dancing! There's suddenly a knock on the door and Charlie goes to answer it. George and Janice are standing there, looking very straight-laced. Charlie smiles, "Come in, darlings. The party's just warming up!" Caroline suddenly staggers over to George and slurs, "What a cute little bow tie for a cute little man!" George, though, snaps, "Get away from me, woman. You're a disgrace to your sex." Caroline slurs at Janice, "Does he always talk like that?" Janice growls, "You need a cold shower." Caroline, though, slurs, "No I don't - I need another drink!" She staggers off again. Janice then tells Charlie, "We're looking for Fiona Thompson's flat. We tried the others but nobody was home." Charlie explains, "This is her flat. There she is." She indicates Fiona still dancing in the middle of the room. George and Janice step inside and look at her, clearly aghast. Andy - his arm around Kelly - suddenly notices them standing there. He looks worried.

A few moments later, Janice and George storm out. Andy and Kelly follow them and Janice snaps, "You told me my Aunty was at death's door." Kelly cries, "She is - but since we talked to you last, she's decided to have the operation. The party's her way of coping; she knows she mightn't come out of hospital." Janice snaps, "It's no wonder she's afraid to die after the life she's led." Kelly sighs, "Oh, I give up. Go home and forget the whole thing." Andy adds, "Yeah, we won't tell Fiona you and your dad turned up; we wouldn't want to spoil her night." Janice snaps, "If you were real friends, you'd get her to repent before it's too late." Andy and Kelly ignore her, though, and head back inside. Janice yells at the closing door, "I'm talking to you." Adam and Samantha suddenly come along the corridor and Janice snaps at them, "Don't go in - it's immoral." Back inside the flat, Andy murmurs to Kelly that that was a close shave. Adam and Samantha come in and Charlie asks what holiday it's to be. Adam tells her that he's still keen on the Mongolian trip. By the bar, Barbara takes a glass from Caroline's hand and warns her that she's had enough. Wayne joins Samantha and Adam and asks if they had a nice time. Samantha, though, cries, "What happened? Mum's been drinking." Wayne insists, "I tried to keep her dry, but short of locking the stuff away, there wasn't much I could do." Fiona is still dancing as Beryl comments to Irene that it's about time they wound up the party. They look over to where Gordon is talking to Alison, and Irene murmurs that she's got him wrapped around her little finger. Alison takes a piece of paper out of her handbag and tells Gordon that it's the number of the principal. Beryl suddenly interrupts them and tells Gordon that it's time. She then asks him if she can have a word with him after the speeches. Gordon wanders off, leaving Beryl to say quietly to Alison, "I think it's time Gordon knew who he was dealing with." She walks off, leaving Alison looking worried. Andy turns down the music and announces that Gordon's about to make a speech. Alison glares at Beryl as Gordon says, "Fiona, you throw a great party. We all want you to know that our thoughts and our prayers are with you tomorrow, and soon we'll be having another party - to celebrate your recovery." There are cheers of, "Hear hear!" Fiona then says, "Thankyou all very much. Thankyou, Gordon - but thankyou all very, very much for making it such a perfect night for me. God bless." There's a round of applause. The party begins to break up. Beryl tells Gordon that she'll be in the kitchen when he's got a minute. She heads in there and Alison quickly follows. She says to Beryl curtly, "Before you talk to Gordon, there's something you should consider: if I go to prison, I'll take David with me." Beryl asks sharply, "How?" Alison retorts, "He knew I was wanted on a murder charge. He could have told the police where to find me, but he didn't. Isn't that withholding information? Come to think of it, you're in the same boat. You could be inside for anything up to five years; that's an awfully long time to be separated from your baby." Gordon comes in at that moment and asks Beryl what the problem is. Beryl, looking annoyed, quickly tells him that she was wondering if he'd like some recipes for the kids' weekend at Woombai. Gordon smiles that that's very nice of her. Fiona joins them and tells Gordon that Barbara is looking for him. He heads off. Fiona then smiles to Alison and Beryl , "Hasn't it been a wonderful night?" Alison agrees slyly, "Perfect!" Beryl glares at her...


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