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    Written by: Bevan Lee   Executive Producer: Don Battye   Directed by: Peter Andrikidis

Beryl cries in shock, "Caroline! You're talking about taking a child's life." Caroline retorts, "I know. But it's my life too." Beryl starts to protest, "I can understand if there was a good reason, but--" Caroline interrupts and growls, "It's Doug's child; that is a good enough reason." Beryl gasps, "You're terminating a child's life because you've had a falling-out with Doug? Think about it. You're having a gut reaction to a bad situation and now your child's going to suffer for it." Caroline retorts, "It's hardly even a living thing." Beryl points out curtly, "It will be." Caroline stares at her and snaps, "I don't want it." Beryl pauses before saying, "Tell me that in a week's time and I'll believe it." Caroline cries, "I need your support." Beryl, however, retorts, "Being someone's friend doesn't mean supporting them all the time. Sometimes it means having the strength to go against them; to show them how wrong they are." Caroline looks down at the floor. She then declares tersely, "I am having this abortion with or without your support. In fact, I made an appointment for tomorrow morning at eleven o'clock." She goes to head for the front door. As she does so, Beryl pleads, "Caroline, don't do anything--" Caroline just interrupts, however, and snaps, "Beryl, I have made up my mind. Let yourself out." With that, she storms out of the room.

Charlie arrives back at her house and heads into the lounge room. It's empty. She puts down her suitcase and places Isabella on the couch. Greg appears in the doorway suddenly and says, "I thought you were staying in the mountains for a while." Charlie jumps in shock and cries, "Darling! There's only so much a heart can take!" Greg says gently, "Sorry to hear about Todd." Charlie sighs, "You're sorry. How Do you think I feel?" Greg replies, "He reckons he was drugged; says it's all a set-up." Charlie looks at him and cries, "If Todd wasn't interested in me personally, like he said he was, what was he interested in, huh? I'll tell you: my money. Oh yes he was. Given time, he'd have got his hands on it. He was out to con me." Greg asks carefully, "So why'd you come back?" Charlie sighs, "Would you believe, in the next room to me, there was a honeymoon couple? Every time I left the room, there they were, billing and cooing... So I said to myself, 'Charlie, darling, why pay $200 a day to watch Romeo and Juliet? It's cheaper to be miserable at home.' So here I am and there you go. I suppose you're off out." Greg tells her, "I've got a date." Charlie sighs heavily, "It seems the whole world is coupled-off except moi." Greg offers, "I could stay..." Charlie, however, smiles weakly, "No, no, you rush along. Far be it for me to stand in the way of young love." Greg explains, "I hardly know her." Charlie shrugs, "Young lust, then!" The two of them head out to the hallway as Charlie goes on pointedly, "I'm sure you've got expectations of a cosy evening. I'll just stay here... alone..." She goes to open the door. Greg, however, looks at her sympathetically and says, "What does it matter if I'm a few minutes late? You heard of a Harvey Wallbanger?" Charlie nods, "Mother's milk, darling!" Greg carries on, "Well my dad has a variation: Harvey Demolition Ball, he calls it! Guaranteed paralysis after two of them! You want one?" Charlie closes the door again and smiles, "My sweet, you have a friend for life!"

Sometime later, there are two empty glasses on the coffee table in the lounge room. Greg is sitting on the couch and Charlie is lying back against him, holding Isabella and trilling drunkenly, "We don't care about those naughty men, do we, darling? No we don't! Mummy's got Isabella and Isabella's got mummy and the silly creeps can go suck eggs! Yes they can!" Greg edges his way off the couch and says, "I reckon I'll head off now, then." Charlie says quickly, "Before you go, can you mix me one of those scrummy drinks?!" She stands up and flings her arms around his neck! Greg warns, "I think you've had enough." Charlie, however, insists drunkenly, "No, no, no, I've only had two!" Greg tells her, "They're lethal!" Charlie, however, slurs, "But they're fabulous! I feel warm and love and I couldn't give a damn about Mr. Todd 'super-hunk' Buckley!" Greg warns her, "There's a fine line between happy drunk and miserable drunk." He steers Charlie back to the couch and sits her down. Charlie slurs, "Another one won't set me across that line! Pretty please?" Greg looks at her and sighs, "Alright." Before he can get it, though, there's a knock at the front door and he heads out to answer it. He finds Todd standing on the step. He demands, "What do you want?" Todd explains, "I thought Charlie might be back." Greg retorts, "She's not." In the lounge room, a look of concern crosses Charlie's face. Todd points out to Greg, "Her car's out there." Greg just mutters, "Her car might be; she's not." Todd persists, "Where is she?" Greg retorts, "She doesn't want you to know." Todd sighs, "Give us a break, mate." Greg growls, "The same sort of break you gave her?" Charlie listens in the lounge room as Todd says, "You don't know the full story and neither does she. Now, if she's in there, can I see her?" Greg says quickly, "She's overseas; she's in London. She needed to get away for a while." Todd asks, "You got her address?" Greg retorts, "I'm not giving it out." Todd pleads, "Oh come--" Greg interrupts and retorts, "She'll be calling. I'll ask if she wants you to have it. If she says 'yes', no worries. Is that all?" Todd mutters, "I guess it has to be. When she calls, tell her I love her." With that, he turns and goes. Charlie sits in the lounge room, looking upset. Greg comes back in and says, "I hope I did the right thing." Charlie nods at him. Greg goes on, "I thought I'd play it that way, and if you wanted to let him know you're really here, you could." Charlie bursts out crying, suddenly. She sobs, "I feel such a fool." Greg insists gently, "Anyone who's your friend will understand." Charlie hesitates before saying weakly, "When he first started paying me attention, I was flattered. I thought he was just being flirtatious and... then he started getting serious. It was so warm and it was so wonderful and... this little voice in the back of my head kept saying, 'He's younger than you are, Charlie; he'll hurt you,' but I ignored the voice. I fooled myself he was for real. Even now - just then - I wanted to fool myself again. I wanted to rush to the door and hug him and forgive him and..." With that, she breaks down into Greg's arms.

It's the next morning. Fiona and Janice are having breakfast at the table in Fiona's room at the mansion. Janice is saying, "It's going to be a tough day." Fiona queries, "Why - what are you doing?" Janice explains, "Another session with Jodie." Fiona asks, "Do you think you'll be able to talk her into taking responsibility for Madonna?" Janice sighs, "Sometimes I do. Other times..." She then adds sadly, "If it doesn't go alright today, I'll have to start thinking about placing Madonna in a home." Fiona frowns, "I feel awful about the poor little kid being abandoned." Janice insists, "They'll find her a good home. I just wish I could make Jodie see that Madonna would be better off with her." Fiona muses, "Oh yes - if she got her act together..." Janice replies, "We can help her with that. All I have to do is get her to accept the help." Fiona muses, "So today's the day." Janice nods, "The big decision." Fiona comments, "I know one person who'll be glad: Andy." Janice sighs, "Don't start again, Aunt Fiona." Fiona, however, retorts, "No, he will be. He begrudges every moment he has to spend with her. Quite a change from the kid who was all 'Ooos' and 'Ahhs' when she first turned up." Janice insists, "He's trying." Fiona just retorts, "Maybe the novelty's wearing off."

Andy is holding Madonna, a smile on his face as he walks along a footpath outside. Madonna is shaking a rattle and Andy is smiling, "You like it, huh?!"

Charlie walks slowly into her lounge room, holding her head as she does so. She yawns - and then notices a large piece of cardboard propped up on the coffee table. It has a sketch on it, showing Isabella standing in front of a larger dog, which is covered in bruises. A speech bubble coming out of Isabella's mouth contains the words 'I'm taking a leaf out of my mum's book... No one messes with the Bartlett girls and gets away with it!' Charlie stares at it and a warm smiles crosses her face. A few seconds later, Greg comes in, holding a tray of coffee things, and says, "I heard you moving around; thought you might appreciate some of the black stuff." Charlie sits down and, indicating the sketch, comments, "That's cute." Greg explains, "I tossed it together when I got home last night." Charlie then groans, "Oh, I'm sorry about last night." Greg asks, "Why?" Charlie tells him, "You don't need that sort of thing laid on you." Greg, however, insists, "I'm glad to help. You don't have to be embarrassed about showing how you feel." Charlie cries, "I am, though." Greg hands her a cup of coffee. As she takes a sip, she adds, "One good thing you did last night: you told Todd I was in London. I think I will go there." Greg comments, "Run away?" Charlie retorts, "I'm not running away; I'm--" She breaks off before sighing, "Maybe it's easier to run away?" Greg just demands, "Are you the lady this cartoon is all about?" Charlie murmurs, "I don't think I'm that gutsy." Greg insists, "You could be. All you've got to do is face him." Charlie gasps, "I couldn't!" Greg, however, tells her, "The first time will be the hardest. It's going to hurt whenever you do it. Running away to London's not going to help anything." Charlie looks at him and muses, "You're just a kid. How come you know so much?" Greg shrugs, "I guess I've been through a bit. Kind of makes you understand other people's problems." Charlie comments, "And you think I'd be doing the wrong thing running away?" Greg asks, "Why do you reckon I did the drawing?!" Charlie murmurs, "You expected me to be like this..." Greg nods, "The way you went off to bed last night, yeah!" Charlie then declares, "I'm no coward. After breakfast, I'm off to the gym." Greg smiles at her!

Craig and Todd head from the main room at the gym into the reception area. Craig is saying, "A mate of mine calls it Disco Gym." Before he can get any further, though, Charlie walks in from outside, accompanied by Greg. Todd stares at her. Charlie says coolly, "I'm not in London, as you can see." Todd asks, "Were you home last night?" Charlie retorts, "Yes." Todd tells her, "Then you heard what I said." Charlie retorts, "Words are cheap." Todd pleads, "Can we talk?" Charlie just growls, "I'm here to do a workout." Todd insists, "Charlie, you can't just ignore--" Charlie interrupts him, however, and snaps, "I can do whatever I like - and at the moment I'm going to do a class." With that, she marches off into the main room." Todd goes to follow her. Greg blocks his way, though, and warns, "Don't make it any harder for her." Todd cries, "How do you think it is for me?" Greg shrugs, "I don't care." Todd adds, "I just want to get her to understand." Greg retorts, "She understands alright. Don't hassle her." With that, he follows Charlie into the main room." Todd looks back at Craig, who tells him, "She'll calm down." Todd just mutters, "You reckon?"

Beryl walks into her lounge room, holding a pad of paper. Gordon is talking on the 'phone, saying, "Thankyou. If you do hear from him, get him to call me. Gordon Hamilton - in Australia. Thanks again. Bye." With that, he hangs up. Beryl looks at him and, indicating the pad she's holding, says, "That's Kevin and Lynn's letter finished. Who was that?" Gordon tells her, "I've been trying to track down Doug." Beryl points out wearily, "Gordon, we agreed not to say anything." Gordon retorts, "That was before this abortion nonsense came up." Beryl says, "I'm going over there now. Will you hold off until I call, please?" Gordon tells her, "It doesn't matter anyway - nobody knows where he is." He then goes on, "Suppose she digs her heels in and decides to go along with this termination of pregnancy, and suppose that she wants you to go along with her. Would you?" Beryl sighs, "Well, if there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop her, yes I would. No woman should be alone then." Gordon murmurs, "I know that - but I have been thinking that maybe you're not the right person to see her in the morning." Beryl exclaims, "Gordon, right now I'm her closest friend." Gordon insists, "I'm sure you'll be firm with her, but underneath she knows that she has your support, and if it comes to the crunch you'll see her through it. I thought maybe if she had someone who'll lay down a few home-truths... someone who won't be a soft touch if she sticks to her guns..." Beryl nods, "That's very fine, but who?" Gordon suggests, "Maybe if she saw it from a male point of view; from Doug's point of view?" Beryl exclaims in surprise, "You?" Gordon asks, "Why not?" Beryl replies, "A woman would be more... sympathetic." Gordon just asks, "How do you feel about at least giving me a go?" Beryl shrugs, "I don't suppose it can do any harm." Gordon muses, "Thankyou for your vote of confidence!" Beryl sighs, "You know what I mean - I'm sure you'd be wonderful; it's just..." She then declares, "OK - but you have to promise me one thing: if it does come to the crunch - if you can't talk her out of it - you'll let her know that I'll go with her." Gordon smiles, "Righto." Beryl then gives him a hug and says, "I wish everyone could be as happy as we are." Gordon smiles, "I guess we're the lucky ones!" Beryl then says, "You know, maybe I could be with you?" Gordon replies warily, "I don't know... the two of us... might get her back up." Beryl, however, explains, "No, no, I just mean in spirit." Gordon looks at her.

Caroline is standing in the lounge room at her house. She picks up a photo of her and Doug on their wedding day and looks at it sadly. She then puts it back down again. She walks over to the telephone, looks up a number in the index and then dials. When the call is answered, she says, "Hello, it's Mrs. Fletcher here. I had an appointment for 11:00 this morning. I'd like to cancel it... I've changed my mind..." She listens before asking wearily, "Can't you handle it?... Alright, I'll hold." As she then starts waiting for the right person to speak to, she thinks back to an argument in which she told Doug curtly, "You're certainly not sleeping with me - I'm going to the movies. I know you, Doug: you think sex is the answer to any argument. Well, not this one." She then thinks back to snapping, "You can go to kingdom come, for all I care... You wouldn't know what the 'right thing' was if you fell over it - which, in your present state, you probably would." Another person comes on the 'phone and Caroline says quickly, "Yes, it's Mrs. Fletcher here. I'm... I'm checking on my time of my morning appointment. Eleven, is it?" She listens before then saying coolly, "Yes, I'll be there."

Beryl is doing some ironing in the lounge room at her house. She pauses and stands there, looking thoughtful.

Caroline is sitting in the lounge room at her house, looking at her watch. It's 10:36am. She stands up and picks up her handbag. She then heads for the front door - just as Gordon knocks on it from outside. He calls, "Come on, Caroline, open up." Caroline demands, "Are you here to talk me out of it?" Gordon tells her, "I'm here to drive you. Now come on, open up." Caroline hesitates and then opens the door. She says to Gordon curtly, "Don't waste my time with lectures, Gordon." Gordon assures her, "I'm not going to - though I still think you're making a big mistake." Caroline growls, "You never give up, do you?" Gordon retorts, "No. Not until you stop thinking only of yourself. There are others involved." Caroline warns coolly, "Don't say 'Doug', because he had no involvement other than having been present at the conception." Gordon retorts, "I was going to say the baby. Don't do something you'll regret later. Don't you see what a baby could mean?" Caroline gasps, "That's rich coming from you. All you ever got from your child was misery! The world would be a far better place if you'd got rid of Wayne before he was ever born." Gordon just comments, "You really are desperate, aren't you, dragging Wayne up as an excuse. You're desperate to convince yourself that you're right, when you know you're not." Caroline looks at him. She then pulls the door shut behind her. Gordon puts a hand on her arm. Caroline growls, "Let me go, Gordon." Gordon tells her gently, "There's just one thing I want you to do for me first." Caroline mutters, "We have nothing more to say to each other." Gordon retorts, "Maybe we haven't - but read that." He takes some sheets of paper out of his jacket pocket and hands them over. He then adds, "If you still want to go, then I won't stop you; in fact, Beryl will go with you. But read that first." Caroline asks uncertainly, "What is it?" Gordon explains, "It's a letter that she wrote to Kevin. It says everything a lot better than I possibly can." Caroline just stands there. Gordon asks, "Would you rather I leave?" Caroline nods curtly, "I would." Gordon replies, "Alright - but read that; promise me." Caroline murmurs, "I'll read it." With that, Gordon walks off. Caroline unfolds the letter and starts reading:

"Kevin, Something that happened today brought home to me just how lucky I am to have a son as happy and as healthy as you are. Sometimes you take family for granted, but as you grow older they mean more and more. I remember how, at your age, growing old seemed so far off! We jump around in the jungles of youth and we can't see the future for the trees, but, as those trees begin to thin, we begin to see what's ahead of us more clearly, and we realise that, one day, there won't be any trees left; it'll be one big desert called old-age."

Caroline stands there, looking upset and thoughtful.

A short time later, Caroline is walking through a nearby park, watching children playing on a see-saw and throwing a ball around. The ball rolls up to Caroline. A young girl nearby looks at her. Caroline picks up the ball and the girl runs over. She smiles a gap-toothed smile, takes the ball and runs off. Caroline thinks back to Beryl's letter, which continued:

"Knowing I'll be walking into that surrounded by the love and caring of my children is a huge blessing. It will make me feel warm and wanted - and there will be a point to my life. Without those things, I would feel so scared. I thank God that I've been blessed and I wish every other woman the same blessing."

Caroline stands there.

Beryl is still ironing in her lounge room. Gordon is pacing the floor, commenting, "We did all we could, I suppose." Beryl, however, retorts, "Yes. Wasn't enough, though, was it?" Gordon points out, "The final decision has to be hers, Beryl; we haven't got the right to make it for her. We may not approve of what she's doing - and, indeed, we don't - but she has the right to choose. We can only advise." There's suddenly a knock on the front door. Gordon says, "I'll get it." He heads out to the hallway. A few seconds later, he comes back in and announces, "We have a visitor." Caroline follows him in and tells Beryl, "I'm having the baby." A broad smile crosses Beryl's face and she says sincerely, "I'm so glad." She goes and gives Caroline a warm hug.

Andy is walking downstairs in the hallway at the mansion. He's holding Madonna and saying to her, "Lunchtime, eh? Guess what we've got: mixed vegetables, eh? Yum yum!" The mansion's front door bangs suddenly and Janice marches in, snapping, "I hate it, I hate it." Andy looks at her and asks in surprise, "What are you doing home from work?" Janice snaps, "I had to get away from work." Andy asks, "What is it?" Janice just kisses Madonna and says gently, "I tried, sweetheart; I tried so hard." She then looks at Andy and explains, "The decision's been made: the poor little thing has to go into a home." Andy stands there, looking shocked.

Todd is sitting on the couch in Fiona's room. Fiona is talking on the 'phone, saying sympathetically, "Oh yes, men can be such monsters at times, can't they? Charlie, I really am very sorry." In her lounge room, Charlie says, "Thankyou, darling." She listens before commenting in surprise, "What was the girl like? What girl?" Fiona replies, "The one you caught Todd with." Charlie spits, "Oh her. Well all I really remember is her hair: masses of beautiful long, dark hair. But I didn't hang around to have a good look." Fiona comments, "Of course not. It must've been dreadful for you." She adds, "Is that all you remember?" Charlie retorts, "Just that. Oh, and that she was attractive enough for me to hate her instantly." She then asks, "Why all the questions, darling?" Fiona says quickly, "Oh, you know me! Old nosey from way back! Anyway, remember that I'm always here when you need a shoulder." Charlie nods, "I will, darling - and thankyou for caring. Bye." At the mansion, Fiona hangs up. Todd stands up as Fiona turns to him and says, "So, let's start looking, shall we?" Todd asks blankly, "For what?" Fiona, however, replies, "For whom. Out there is a young lady who knows the truth, and the only way we are going to clear you is to find her." Todd muses, "And how the hell are you going to do that?" Fiona tells him, "I thought I'd start by going around all the escort agencies." Looking surprised, Todd asks, "Why should they talk to you?" Fiona smiles knowingly, "Let's just say... for Auld Lang Syne..."


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