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    Written by: Ian Coughlan   Executive Producer: Don Battye   Directed by: Alister Smart

Andy is providing instruction to a woman in the main room at the gym when Sarah walks in and asks him, "Ready to go?" Andy replies, "I'll be ready in about twenty minutes. What do you want to do tonight?" Sarah suggests grimly, "How about a funny movie? I need a laugh after today." Andy comments, "Yeah, Greg told me what happened to Tick. Close shave, eh?" Sarah murmurs, "Too close for me. When I think what could've happened to him..." Andy puts his arms around her, pointing out gently, "But it didn't." Greg joins them suddenly and smiles, "Hey! That's enough of that!" They pull apart. Sarah then asks Andy, "Did Greg tell you Wayne's not allowed to see Tick anymore?" Andy retorts, "Serves him right, if he can't look after him any better than that." Sarah, however, sighs, "There was nothing wrong with the way Wayne looked after him. It was my fault Tick ran away, but Wayne copped all the blame." Andy tells her, "I would not waste too much sympathy on that guy. He's a creep. If I told you half the things--" Sarah interrupts and assures him, "You don't have to. I don't have any illusions about Wayne." Greg remarks, "Could've fooled me! I thought you were going to nominate him for Father of the Year!" Andy comments, "If she did, she wouldn't get my vote. The guy is bad news." Todd joins them and, looking at Andy standing around talking, says, "Just because I wouldn't give you an early mark..." Andy says quickly, "I'm just warning Sarah about Wayne." Sarah insists, "You don't have to: he did a great hatchet job on himself this afternoon." Looking surprised, Andy comments, "That's unlike Wayne; he spends half his life whitewashing himself." Changing the subject, Todd tells Andy, "You can shoot through, if you like - it's close enough to five." Andy beams, "I'm not going to argue with that!" Turning to Sarah, he adds, "I'll be ready in one minute, OK?" Greg tells Sarah and Andy, "I'll join you. What's on the agenda?" Sarah, however, retorts, "I don't remember inviting you." With that, she and Andy head out to the reception area, leaving Greg standing there!

A while later, Todd is standing behind the reception desk when Wayne walks in and says a hesitant, "Hi." He then goes on, "I'm glad you're still here - I just wanted to say thankyou for all the help you gave me this afternoon." Todd tells him, "I'm just glad it turned out alright." Wayne murmurs, "Me too. Tick's a great kid - I'm going to miss having him around; but I should've seen it coming: Alison's always had it in for me." Todd asks in surprise, "What's she got to do with it?" Wayne explains, "She called the Carters - Tick's foster parents? - and told them it was all my fault." Todd muses, "That's a bit low." Wayne murmurs, "Them's the breaks. It's just one of those things. I guess I'll go home and have a few quiet scotches; drown my sorrows." He turns to leave. As he does so, Todd says, "If you feel like some company, I finish my shift here in a few minutes. I could use a drink myself, after all that's happened today." A sly look crosses Wayne's face before he turns back to Todd and nods, "Be my guest."

Sometime later, sitting in the lounge room at Dural, Wayne empties the remains of a bottle of scotch into a glass and remarks in a slightly slurred tone, "This is great. I'm starting to feel no pain..." He smiles at Todd. Todd warns him, "I'd slow down a bit, if I were you." Wayne, however, retorts, "What for? Thanks to Madam Carr, I don't have to set a good example anymore." Todd says, "I'm sure Alison thought she was doing the right thing by the kid." Wayne, however, growls, "She didn't give a damn about Tick. You know what happened today? She figured out Tick was hiding in the boot of Susan's car but wouldn't tell me until I had agreed to do a little deal." Looking surprised, Todd asks, "What are you talking about?" Wayne tells him, "She's paranoid about those twins: Greg and Sarah. Thinks they'll leave her if I tell them half the things I knew about her - so she made me destroy my credibility with Sarah before she'd tell me where Tick was." He stands up and heads over to the bar. Todd asks, "You're saying she would've let it go that far?" Wayne picks up a new bottle of scotch as he replies, "She didn't realise I'd sent the car to the wrecker's - but even if she had... anyway, that's all water under the bridge now." Todd, however, mutters, "I reckon it stinks. I've got a good mind to tell Sarah the truth." Wayne says quickly, "No, it's not worth worrying about. The last thing I want to do is drag you into my problems." He opens the scotch and goes and sits back down. Refilling Todd's glass and then his own, he asks, "Who will we drink to now: the lovely Charlie?" Todd smiles, "I'll be in on that." They chink glasses and Todd says, "To Charlie." They take a sip and Wayne then says, "I'm glad Charlie's found someone like you; she's one of the best." Todd nods, "I reckon. Funny, isn't it? A few months ago, I never would've believed that I'd be making such a commitment, but here we are setting the date... lining up the church..." Wayne smiles, "Yeah? You and Charlie... I reckon you're right for each other; you know that? It's time Charlie settled down! When's the wedding?" Todd, however, sighs, "Me and my big mouth. I wasn't supposed to let anybody know that we'd gone as far as setting the date." Wayne asks, "Why not?" Todd explains, "Alison reckons I'm after Charlie's money, and if she thought it was all systems go..." Wayne assures him, "Point taken; I won't tell a soul." Todd smiles in relief, "Thanks, mate." Wayne tells him, "No worries!" He then goes on, "Charlie and me... we've had our differences over the years but I've always liked her; I'd never do anything to make trouble for her. So, I had better send you home sober!" The two of them stand up. As they do so, Wayne says, "I wouldn't mention you were over here - Alison would regard it as consorting." Todd mutters, "Tough." Wayne says, "I know you can handle her, but there's no point in giving her ammunition she can use against you." They head out to the hallway as Todd concedes, "Good point." Wayne opens the front door and says, "I'll see you later." With that, Todd heads out. Wayne closes the door and heads back into the lounge room. He heads behind the bar and takes out an orange folder from the drawer. He places it on the bar and picks up a pen. Inside the folder is a sheet of paper. Alison's name appears in the middle, with a large circle drawn round it. Coming off in spokes from the centre are other circles, each with words written in them: 'Todd', 'Boarding House', 'Sanders and Carters', 'Sarah' and 'Greg'. He puts a Tick in the circle with 'Todd' written in it... He then murmurs to himself slyly, "That's got you started. Now, who's next...?"

The next morning, Alison is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's when Charlie walks in, groaning and holding her head. Alison smiles at her, "Sleep well?!" Charlie, however, replies, "Oh, no. I had the most bizarre dream: Wayne - as a wolf in sheep's clothing - trying to lure Sarah away." Alison insists, "He doesn't have a chance." Charlie asks, "Have you thought of something to keep him at bay?" She sits down. Before Alison can answer, though, Greg and Sarah walk in, Sarah asking her brother, "What are you doing today?" Greg tells her, "I thought I might lie round the pool." Alison, however, says to him quickly, "I'm afraid you won't be able to work on your suntan today. Holiday's over, kids: time to start job-hunting." Greg mutters, "I knew it was too good to last." Alison insists, "I don't like to be a killjoy, but I've invested heavily in this air charter service and now I have to raise additional funds to buy a new aircraft; that's why the mansion's up for auction today. So all in all, things are a bit tight." Sarah tells her, "It's time we started to pull our weight anyway. In fact, there's something I've always thought I'd like to do." Greg muses, "The mind boggles!" Sarah goes on, "I kind of thought I'd like to be a hairdresser." Greg laughs, "What? Our Sarah? Queen of the hot tongs?!" Sarah ignores him. Alison holds out the newspaper to her and suggests, "Why don't you 'phone around? Line up a few interviews." Sarah takes the paper. She then looks at Greg and muses, "I'll look for a dishwasher's job while I'm at it!" Greg, however, retorts, "That's out for me: I'm allergic to detergent!" He then looks at his arm and comments, "I reckon I've worked up enough muscle to be a bouncer by now!" Sarah sighs, "Are you serious?" Greg grins at her. He then peers over her shoulder, at the newspaper, and says, "OK - let's see what we've got." Alison and Charlie stand up and Alison tells the twins, "We'll leave you to it." The two of them head out of the room. Out in the hallway, Charlie whispers to Alison, "Is that the plan?" Alison replies quietly, "If they're occupied during the day, that'll keep them out of Wayne's orbit - and when they're here, one of us will always be around to keep Wayne from getting a foot through the door." Charlie smiles, "Brilliant!" Alison muses, "Yes. Just let him try and carry out his threats..."

Wayne is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Dural. He has his file open on the coffee table and is tapping the 'Carters and Sanders' circle on his hitlist with a pen. He appears to make a decision, suddenly, and he stands up and heads over to the bar. He picks up the 'phone and dials a number. When the call is answered, he says, "Mr. Pryor, please..." When Ron Pryor comes on, Wayne says, "It's me. I have a job for you... I want a full credit check run on Mr. Doug Fletcher... I mean everything: personal loans... business investments... every deal he's been involved in since coming back from the US. Oh - and Ron? I want the info. as soon as possible... I'm not interested in how you do it, mate; just do it." With that, he hangs up, looking pleased with himself.

Alison heads in through the front door of the mansion. Andy is heading the other way and Alison looks at him and says, "On your way out, I hope." Andy retorts, "What's it to you?" Alison tells him, "We're holding the auction here in twenty minutes, and this time I'm not standing for any of your smart games." Andy says, "I don't know what you're talking about." Alison, however, growls, "Oh yes you do. I suppose you and Janice thought it was clever putting Mrs. Brennan off buying this place. Well, this time we're playing by my rules, and if there's any trouble I'll call the police." Andy mutters, "You just couldn't care less, could you? The fact that you're dumping Fiona and all the rest into the street means nothing to you." Alison says tersely, "I offered her a way out and she wouldn't take it. Besides, I need to raise money for this new aircraft and this is the only way I can do it. Now, you stay out of my way or you'll be sorry." With that, she goes to head into Fiona's room.

A downcast-looking Fiona is sitting on the couch in her room, with Michael, who's telling her gently, "There's no saying the house will sell. Maybe they won't get the reserve? Four hundred thousand's a lot of money." The door to the room opens as Fiona sighs, "Then she'll just drop the price and try again. She's determined to sell and nothing's going to stop her." Alison walks in and says brightly, "I'm glad to see you've accepted that." She then goes on, "Er, we're holding the auction in the hall and I'd rather you kept out of the way; I don't want you going hysterical and upsetting the buyers." Fiona looks at her and murmurs, "There's no need to worry: they won't even know I'm here." Michael suggests, "Why don't you come and have lunch with me? We'll get right away from it all." Fiona looks at him and says sincerely, "Thankyou, Michael. I appreciate the thought, but I'm really not hungry - and I might as well be here as anywhere else. When this house goes, part of me goes with it, and running away is not going to change that..."

Greg is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's, staring at the newspaper. Charlie walks in and asks, "Find anything?" Greg tells her, "Looks like a toss-up between a rock star and an astronaut!" Charlie sighs, "You really should take this seriously, Greg; your sister is - she was thrilled when I told her my hairdresser was looking for an apprentice!" At that moment, Sarah walks in, wearing a black dress and elbow-length black gloves. She smiles at Charlie, "I'm ready! How do I look?" Charlie beams, "Oh stunning, darling! You'll have Raphael eating out of your hands." Sarah says, "I hope so - I really want this job." Greg chips in, "If you don't get the job, you could always try out as a department-store dummy!" Charlie glares at him and snaps, "Goodness, you are rude, Greg." Sarah growls at her brother, "It's a very upmarket salon. It's important I make the right impression." Charlie assures her, "You will, darling. Just relax." Sarah murmurs, "I'll try. I'll probably mess it up." Greg, however, retorts, "Garbage! You'll walk it in." With that, Charlie takes Sarah's arm and they head out.

Andy is standing behind the reception desk at the gym when Greg walks in and says, "Hi!" Andy replies, "G'day! How's it going?" Greg tells him, "Crook. Alison wants me to get a job." Andy muses, "My heart bleeds! Got anything lined up?" Greg admits, "Not yet. Any ideas?" Looking suddenly thoughtful, Andy nods, "Yeah... There was a guy in here a few weeks back said if I ever needed a job, to get in touch with him. Maybe you should give him a buzz?" Greg says, "It's not an office job, is it?" Looking down behind the desk, Andy replies, "No. No way." He picks up a card and hands it over. Greg stares at it before chuckling, "I always said I'd try anything once. Could be a bit of fun!" Andy adds, "And couldn't you see the looks on Charlie and Alison, huh?!"

An auctioneer is standing in the hallway at the mansion, surrounded by a number of people, including Alison. He says, "Very well, ladies and gentlemen. You've all had a chance to inspect the property, so we know what we're talking about. Let's get things moving. Can I have an opening bid, please, on this fine old property? Somewhere in the area of $300,000, I would think." There's silence. Alison looks around. The auctioneer says, "Ladies and gentlemen, do I have an opening bid?" A large man in his fifties raises a finger. The auctioneer says, "Thankyou, sir. We have an opening bid on this property, but I'm sure we're all agreed that it is worth far more. It has enormous potential for renovation and restoration. I'll accept advance bids in tens." He looks around. Another gentleman shakes his head , but then raises his hand and holds up five fingers. Looking uncomfortable, the auctioneer says, "Thankyou, sir. I have a bid for $305,000. I will accept that. I have $305,000. Do I hear $310,000?" Alison stares at the gathering, looking worried.

In Fiona's room, Michael is standing by the door, listening as the auctioneer says, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're looking at an excellent property. I can't just consider letting it go unless we have some serious bidding. I'm looking for $310,000." Michael looks across to the desk, where Fiona is tidying up some sheets of paper, sadly, and comments, "Not exactly knocking each other down in the rush." Fiona just closes her eyes tightly as the auctioneer says, "Who will give me three-ten?... And we have three-ten." Fiona murmurs at Michael, "You were saying?"

Wayne is lifting some weights in the main room at the gym. Todd is standing with him and he comments, "Didn't know if you'd be in this morning." Wayne asks, "Why not?" Todd replies, "I seem to remember we put away a fair few drinks last night!" Wayne assures him, "I'm fine. How about you?" Todd smiles, "A bit seedy. Nothing terminal!" Wayne then says, "By the way: you didn't tell me when's the big date." Todd queries, "Huh?" Wayne reminds him, "You and Charlie: the wedding." Todd tells him, "We haven't sorted it out yet." Unnoticed by either of them, Charlie walks in as Wayne says, "Last night you said you'd set the date." Charlie stares at them and, looking shocked, gasps, "Todd!" Todd turns to her as she goes on furiously, "Have you been telling Wayne about the wedding?" Todd insists, "Not really. Well... it just slipped out." Charlie exclaims, "I told you I didn't want anyone to know - least of all Mr. Big Ears." She looks at Wayne, who murmurs, "Excuse me!" Todd asks Charlie, "What harm is it if he does know?" Charlie retorts, "A big deal. Have you stopped to think for a moment the kind of person he is?" Wayne says sincerely, "Charlie, I'm really happy for you both." Charlie, however, hisses at him, "You stay out of it." Wayne murmurs, "OK. I'm sorry." He heads out of the room. Charlie then cries to Todd, "I really thought you cared more for me than going gossiping about our personal affairs to Wayne." Todd insists, "He's not that bad. He's just lost his wife and he's not allowed to see Tick anymore... You can't help but feel sorry for him." Charlie growls, "He cheated me out of a great deal of money. If he had his way I'd be starving in a gutter by now." Todd stares at her and exclaims, "You're having me on!" Charlie says coolly, "You really don't know what kind of person he is." Todd suggests, "Maybe if you'd explain?" Charlie retorts grimly, "I'd be happy to."

A short time later, Wayne is standing behind the reception desk when Todd storms out of the main room and demands, "Is what Charlie just told me true?" Wayne looks at him and shrugs, "I don't know. What did she tell you?" Todd snaps, "You conned her into buying this place and ripped her off for a fortune." Wayne retorts, "It's not true. Charlie thinks it is, but it's not." Todd snaps, "You want to explain?" Wayne sighs, "It's just one of those things that happens in business. We both lost a lot of money. Nobody was to blame, but Alison convinced Charlie I set it up." Todd demands, "Why would she bother?" Wayne replies, "I told you: Alison hates me - and she's out to make trouble. But because she and Charlie are old friends, Charlie believed her. I've tried to explain, but Charlie simply won't listen." Todd asks, "Why would Alison hate you that much?" Wayne sighs, "I don't know. Possibly it's because Charlie and I used to get on well and I guess Alison was jealous - just as she's jealous of you." Looking surprised, Todd says, "You reckon?" Wayne asks, "Why else would she be so against you?" There's silence. Wayne then says, "Look, Todd, what you think of me doesn't really matter, but you're a nice bloke and I'd like to see you and Charlie happy. But you have a real problem, mate: Alison will do everything she can to prevent your marriage." Todd insists, "She's got no chance." Wayne, however, points out, "It took her just one day to take Tick away from me and turn Sarah against me. I'd watch your back, mate." Todd stands there, looking worried.

At the mansion, the auctioneer is saying, "$400,000. I have $400,000. Is there any advance?" Alison looks around at the gathered bidders. There's silence. The large man who bid first nods his head suddenly. The auctioneer says, "I have $425,000." There's silence again. The second man who bid then says, "$450,000." The auctioneer says, "Thankyou, sir. I have $450,000 - which is certainly not high for such a fine old building. $450,000. Do I hear $455,000?" There's silence. The auctioneer then says, "No? Well I have $450,000 once... $450,000 twice... for the third and last time... Sold! for $450,000." A smile of relief crosses Alison's face.

Fiona, who had opened the door to her room slightly, to listen, closes it, a look of devastation on her face. Michael puts his arm around her and says gently, "It's not the end of the world." Fiona murmurs, "I know." Michael goes on, "Remember that business with Nick, when I was all set to give up being a doctor? I got over it, thanks to you - and you'll get over this." Fiona, however, cries, "Michael, I know what you're trying to do, but this is completely different. You have your whole life in front of you; mine is behind me - and I really am just too tired to start again." Michael insists, "You won't be alone; your friends--" Fiona interrupts, however, and cries, "No, I've made up my mind. All I want to do is spend what's left of my life in peace and quiet - and I just don't want to discuss it any more." Michael stares at her, looking concerned.

Alison is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's, adding up some figures. Charlie is pacing the floor, exclaiming, "Don't you think it's suspicious? Why would Wayne go out of his way to make friends with Todd?" Alison, however, sighs, "Charlie, please - I'm trying to do my sums before I ring Doug with the good news." Charlie snaps, "I just thought you'd be interested. I still thinks it's suspicious." Alison suggests, "Maybe Wayne thinks Todd could influence you to break up our friendship? It'd give him some sort of juvenile satisfaction." Charlie, however, smiles, "Oh, no one could ever do that, could they, darling!" Alison assures her, "Of course not!" Charlie then goes on, "Anyway, I told Todd a few home truths about Wayne. That should break up their little friendship!" The front door bangs suddenly and Sarah calls, "Charlie! You home?" She heads into the lounge room and then announces, "You're looking at Raphael's newest apprentice!" Charlie and Alison beam at her in delight and Alison gives her a hug. Charlie exclaims, "Wonderful! I knew you could do it!" Sarah replies, "I know - but it was my first time at getting a job and I was so nervous." Alison tells her, "You never get anywhere in this world if you act like a mouse. You have to psych yourself into believing that if you really want something, it's yours for the taking." Sarah says, "I'll try to keep that in mind." Greg walks in suddenly, through the french windows, and smiles, "Guess what, everyone: fantastic news! I've got a job and I'm perfect for it!" Alison muses, "Don't tell me: you're testing poolside furniture - or different brands of suntan oil!" Greg, however, replies, "Nope. It's in the communications field." Sarah asks, "Doing what?" Greg tells her, "I'll give you a clue." He then starts swaying his hips suggestively and undoing the top button of his shirt." Alison says, "Er... demonstrating hula hoops?" Greg, however, announces, "I'm delivering strippergrams!" Sarah bursts out laughing. Greg goes on, "It's just the kind of job I've always wanted! Think of all the great-looking chicks I'll get to impress." Charlie exclaims, "You're not serious, darling! I mean, you just can't be serious!" Alison, however, muses, "I've got a terrible feeling he is." Charlie shrugs, "Oh well, if that's what you really want to do, far be it for me to argue. At least it's a living." She then goes on, "In fact, it's been a good day all round: Alison's sold the boarding house. What say I break out a bottle of champagne?" Alison smiles, "What a good idea." Turning to Greg, she adds grimly, "Then you and I are going to have a little chat about this 'job' of yours..."

Wayne is standing behind the bar at Dural. The man who put in the winning bid for the mansion is standing on the other side of the bar. Wayne tears a cheque out of his chequebook and hands it to him. As he does so, he says, "There - that's the fee we agreed on. Now all you have to do is disappear for a few months." The man assures him, "No problem. I gave them a fake name and address, anyway. They'll never track me down." Wayne smiles, "Good. Maybe we can do business again." The man holds out his hand and says, "Nice working with you, Mr. Hamilton." Wayne shakes his hand and the man then heads out. When he's gone, Wayne removes his file from the drawer behind the bar, opens it and then places a tick against the circle on the hitlist that says 'Boarding House'." He stands there, looking very pleased with himself...

It's evening time. Charlie, Alison, Sarah and Greg are all sitting in the lounge room at Charlie's, sipping champagne. Alison is telling Greg, "I'm not trying to force you to do something you don't want to do, but I think you should start thinking seriously about your future." Sarah just smiles, "Give up - he's a hopeless case!" The 'phone starts ringing suddenly and Alison gets up to answer it. She says, "Hello?... Yes." A look of horror crosses her face as she then gasps, "You're joking!... Are you sure?... When did you find out?" She listens before sighing, "Yes. Thanks for calling. Bye." She then hangs up. Turning to the others, she says coolly, "That was my estate agent. The cheque for the deposit on the house has bounced. There wasn't even an account in the man's name." Greg asks, "What sort of idiot would do that?" Alison mutters, "He's obviously a nutcase." Charlie cries, "There must be something you can do about it." Alison, however, retorts, "Like what? Throwing good money after bad? If he hasn't got it he hasn't got it. Oh, I can't believe it. I'll have to meet the costs of the auction... maybe organise another one... At this rate, it could take forever to sell." Charlie says, "Never mind. Come and have some more champagne." Alison, however, snaps, "Champagne won't help. Oh damn it. Talk about lousy luck. Still, can't last forever, can it...?"


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