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    Written by: Boaz Stark   Executive Producer: Don Battye   Directed by: Russell Webb

Sarah, Greg and Charlie are standing with Alison in the lounge room at Charlie's. Charlie gives Alison a hug and smiles, "Welcome home, darling!" Greg asks, "How was the trip?" Alison retorts coolly, "It may well turn out to be the most expensive Melbourne jaunt ever. The insurance company found this--" she takes a screwdriver out of her handbag "--in the 'plane's engine. They say the damage was deliberate and they won't pay out - so guess who's left holding the bill." Charlie gasps, "You?" Greg exclaims, "They can't do that!" Alison, however, tells him, "They can and they have. I went guarantor on the whole deal." Sarah insists, "There must be some way out of it. Take them to court or something." Alison just snaps, "What, and double my losses? No thankyou. The case could go on for months and I'd end up with an even bigger bill in legal fees - with no chance of winning into the bargain." Sarah, sitting down on the couch, insists, "It's worth a try, isn't it?" Alison retorts, "No, it's not." She then sighs, "Reading those trendy magazine articles about the perfect woman: successful, executive, independent types...; that used to be me: Alison Carr: career woman of the '80s. When someone throws a screwdriver in the works, it's all over..."

Craig is talking on the 'phone in the reception area at the gym, saying, "My name is Craig Maxwell. Yeah, he knows the number... OK. Thankyou." Janice walks in from outside and smiles, "Hello, Craig. You manning the helm for a while?" Craig tells her, "I don't have any choice: Andy's taken off with Madonna." Janice frowns, "What do you mean 'taken off'?" Craig explains, "He disappeared about two hours ago. He left this." He picks up a piece of paper and hands it to Janice. She reads, "'Craig, I'm not waiting around for Fiona to take Madonna away from me. No one's telling me what sort of dad I'll be. If it's got anything to do with love, I'm way out in front. No one else. Andy.'" She then demands of Craig, "What happened with Fiona?" Craig explains, "They had a run-in over the baby. Fiona threatened to take Madonna away from him. I'd slipped out for a while and I got back and Andy and the baby were gone. I found his address book and have been trying to track him down." Janice mutters, "Fiona just doesn't trust him, does she? Now look what she's done." Craig suggests, "I suppose she's only thinking of the baby." Janice retorts, "Anyone could see Andy was doing his best. Does Fiona know he's disappeared?" Craig replies, "I tried calling but she's not home." Janice tells him curtly, "Keep trying his friends. We're going to sort this mess out once and for all."

Still sitting at the table at the club, Todd sighs at Fiona, "What's taking her so long?" Fiona just replies, "I don't know - I'm not a mind reader. Tea leaves, yes, minds, no!" At that moment, Mandy starts approaching them. Fiona says to Todd quickly, "Here she comes now. Let me do the talking." Mandy joins them and smiles, "What can I get you?" Fiona just says, "Hello, Mandy." Mandy looks at her and demands, "How did you know who I was?" Fiona replies, "Er... a friend told me. I'm Fiona Thompson. I think you already know Todd..." Mandy looks at Todd but then says, "No... I don't think I do." Fiona insists, "It wasn't that long ago. Somebody paid you to set up Todd to make it seem like you two had something going." Mandy retorts coolly, "You must be getting me mixed up with somebody else. Now, do you want to order something to drink or not?" Fiona just tells her coldly, "We want some information first." Mandy growls, "Can't help you. Sorry." She goes to walk off. Fiona grabs her arm, though, and pulls Mandy towards her. Mandy has a ring on one of her fingers and Fiona exclaims, "Oh, my, that is a very expensive ring. How does a girl like you, working in a place like this, afford something so valuable?" Mandy spits, "Tips." Fiona, however, chuckles, "Oh come on, they're not that good." Mandy then puts on a Texan accent and says, "OK, so my sugar daddy gave it to me! Satisfied?" Todd mutters, "From what I hear, that could be anyone if the price is right." Fiona says quickly to Mandy, "Um... a girl of your obvious talents couldn't stand too much digging by the police, could you?" Mandy rolls her eyes. She then mutters, "What do you want from me?" Todd replies, "Some answers. I need your help." Mandy sighs, "What do you want to know?" Todd asks quickly, "Do you admit to setting me up?" Mandy smiles, "Sure! But no hard feelings, eh? A job's a job." Todd cries, "My fiancée never wants to see me again." Fiona demands of Mandy, "Who paid you?" Mandy pauses before replying "Alison Carr." Fiona and Todd look at each other. Todd then asks Mandy, "Would you be prepared to tell my fiancée what you've just told us?" Mandy smiles teasingly, "If the money was right..." Todd asks quickly, "How much?" Mandy replies, "Five thousand." Fiona gasps, "You're not serious!" Mandy retorts, "Afraid so." With that, she smiles and walks off.

A short time later, Wayne is talking on the 'phone in the hallway at Dural, saying, "I told you they'd drop by. Did you hit them for the money?" From a public 'phone at the club, Mandy replies hesitantly, "Yes... but they haven't given me an answer yet." Wayne assures her, "They'll come round. Just keep stringing them along; I don't want them to suspect anything." He listens and then smiles, "Good!" There's suddenly a knock on the front door at Dural and he adds, "I have to go. Keep me informed." With that, he hangs up. He then calls to the front door, "Who is it?" A voice calls back, "Me - Sarah." Wayne quickly pulls his shirt out of his jeans and ruffles up his hair. He then goes and opens the door. Sarah comes in and smiles, "Hi! I hope you don't mind me dropping in - I wanted to get out of the house for a while." Wayne just asks, "What's up?" Sarah tells him, "Alison's lost a lot of money in some deal. The place is pretty depressing at the moment." Wayne, putting on a downcast voice, says, "If you've come looking for bright company, you've come to the wrong place." Sarah asks gently, "What's the matter with you?" Wayne murmurs, "Just something on my mind." Sarah asks, "Want to talk about it?" Wayne shakes his head. He then adds, "If you want to go, I'll understand." Sarah asks, "Do you want me to go?" Wayne tells her, "It's up to you." Sarah declares, "Then I'll stay. You look like you need a friend." Wayne smiles at her, weakly.

Todd and Fiona are standing by their table at the club. Fiona tells Todd, "Don't pay her. She almost gave in when I threatened her with the police before; she'll do it again; just give me a little bit more time." Todd, however, retorts, "No. I don't want to take any more chances. She's the only way I can get Charlie to believe that I was innocent." Fiona insists, "I won't blow it, I promise. $5,000 is an awful lot of money." Todd asks, "What if you come on too heavy? She'll pack her bags and skip town. I've got the money, and $5,000... it'll be the best money I've ever spent." They head over to the bar as Fiona shrugs, "OK." Mandy looks at them and asks, "What's it to be?" Todd just replies, "Big notes or small ones?" Mandy tells him, "Unmarked." Fiona chuckles, "You've been watching too much television, Mandy." Mandy gives her a look. Todd then says, "Let me know where you live and I'll drop it over." Mandy, however, says quickly, "No way. I like my privacy. Give me your address and I'll drop by around ten o'clock." Fiona says quickly, "All this can be fixed up at my place - I'll 'phone Charlie and get her to come across and Mandy can tell her the truth." Mandy smiles, "Fine by me - I'll tell her anything you want, as long as you've got the money and no tricks." Todd assures her, "No tricks. I promise."

Craig and Janice are waiting in Fiona's room at the mansion. The door to the room opens and Fiona and Todd come in. Janice snaps at her aunt immediately, "About time you showed up." Fiona groans, "Not now, Janice, it's been a long day. Whatever it is you want to say, could we leave it 'til morning?" Janice retorts, "No, we can't." Craig explains, "Andy's taken off with Madonna." Janice adds, "And it's all your fault." Fiona exclaims in surprise, "My fault?" Todd adds, "How long's he been gone?" Craig replies, "About two hours." Janice hands Fiona the note. Fiona looks at it and reads, "'I'm not waiting around for Fiona to take Madonna away from me. No one's telling me what sort of a dad I'll be. If it's got anything to do with love, I'm way out in front. No one else.' Signed Andy." Janice demands, "Proud of yourself?" Fiona closes her eyes, looking worried. She then says, "Er... Todd... would you mind putting the kettle on?" Todd nods, "Sure." He heads out to the kitchen. Fiona then sits down and sighs, "I had no idea he'd run away with the child." Janice snaps, "Well you should have - a blind person could see how much Andy cares about that baby. What did you expect him to do when you threatened to take her away from him?" Fiona just asks, "Does anyone know where he is?" Craig replies, "No idea. Nor do any of his friends." Fiona asks, "Have you tried the refuges?" Craig admits, "Not yet." Fiona suggests, "We'd better not waste any more time." She then asks, "Would you mind passing me the 'phone book, please, Janice?" Janice just demands, "Why? So you can find him and hand Madonna back to Welfare?" Fiona sighs, "So I can find him and help. Alright? I will admit that I was prejudiced, but knowing Andy's track record I didn't think he'd made a responsible father. Obviously he can. Now, will you please pass me the 'phone book? We can't waste any more time." Craig chips in, "I wish I could stay around and help, but I'm booked on the train to Melbourne tomorrow morning." Fiona insists, "That's alright. Janice and I can manage." She then adds sadly, "What is it people say about there being no fool like an old fool? Looks like I win first prize, doesn't it...?"

Wayne is lying on the couch in the lounge room at Dural. Sarah is sitting on the arm of one of the chairs, commenting, "You really are down in the dumps, aren't you?" Wayne doesn't respond. Sarah presses, "Why don't you tell me what's on your mind? They say talking does wonders." Wayne sits up slowly and asks, "Who does?" Sarah smiles, "Stop being difficult; I'm trying to help!" She moves across to sit next to Wayne. He then tells her, "I'm depressed because it's Leon Hyde's birthday tomorrow. He's an old schoolfriend; we've got this thing going where we exchange joke presents on our birthdays. We've been doing it for years. I met Susan on his birthday..." Sarah murmurs, "Your ex-wife." Wayne continues sadly, "So, every year when Leon's big day comes around, I think of her, too. The only trouble is, she won't be here this year, will she?" He then murmurs, "I loved her more than anyone will ever know. Too much." Sarah tells him softly, "Don't be too hard on yourself." Wayne, though, retorts, "Why not? It's my fault she's dead. I knew she wasn't happy... I couldn't let her go." He then says in a 'guilty' tone, "I'm sorry - I shouldn't be talking about my ex-wife while you're here." Sarah, however, insists, "It's good to let it out. I just wish there was something I could do." Wayne looks at her and says, "There is. Sarah... I want you to stay tonight." Sarah hesitates and looks down at the floor. Wayne asks, "Have I said the wrong thing? You were pretty keen on it when we first met. You weren't just flirting, were you?" Sarah assures him quickly, "No. Trying to be older, maybe, but it wasn't just flirting." Wayne looks into her eyes and says, "I need you, Sarah. I've wanted you for a long time, but was scared what Alison might think. I don't care anymore. I don't think you do either. Please?" Sarah stares back at him. She then murmurs, "OK." Wayne gives her a gentle kiss before saying softly, "We'll worry about Alison together." They start kissing more passionately...

In the lounge room at Charlie's, Alison stands up from the couch and a pile of papers and snaps at Charlie, "Oh, it's no use. I don't know why I'm bothering. I don't have that many assets left. I don't know which ones to sell and which ones to hang onto. I'll probably end up losing the whole lot." Charlie suggests, "Maybe I could help?" Alison asks, "How?" Charlie tells her brightly, "You mortgage as much as you can - and if you still can't manage, we'll mortgage this house." Alison laughs, "I don't think we'll have to go that far!" Charlie insists, "I want to help." Alison assures her, "I know - and it means a lot to me - but I don't want to drag you into it." Charlie just says, "Don't be silly! That's what friends were invented for! I want you to promise me you won't be too shy to ask for help if you can't manage on your own." Alison smiles at her, "You really are something, you know that? I'm stomping around like a dinosaur with a sore head all night and you've kept your cool through the whole thing." Charlie just shrugs, "It wouldn't do much good if we both went to pieces, would it?!" Alison, sitting down again, comments, "My regular Rock of Gibraltar, aren't you?" Charlie, however, sighs, "I'm not so tough. Look at the way I went to pieces when Todd and I broke up." Alison tells her, "That was my turn to be strong. We're a good pair." Charlie smiles, "Yeah! But it's not just me - Greg and Sarah are behind you too." Alison nods, "I know - but before they came along it was always you. You're my best friend, Charlie. My only friend, really; certainly the only one who stuck with me through thick and thin." Charlie tells her, "Stop it! You'll make me get all teary!" She then adds, "You still haven't promised that you'll let me help you. Is it a deal?" Alison holds out her hand and smiles warmly, "It's a deal!"

The next morning, Craig is standing in Fiona's room at the mansion with Fiona and Janice. Fiona tells him, "You be careful on that train." She then asks, "Will you and Debbie be coming back here when you both get back from America?" Craig admits, "Probably not - I've got my studies in Melbourne and Deb's got her job." Fiona's face falls. She then murmurs sincerely, "I'm going to miss you." Craig assures her, "I'll miss you too!" Fiona tells him, "You'll just have to make it your business to call by and see us as soon as you can." Craig smiles, "We will - I promise." Janice chips in, "We'd better get going on we'll miss the train." Craig looks at Fiona. He then gives her a hug and says earnestly, "Thanks for everything." Fiona tells him quickly, "Come on... you don't have to say 'thankyou'; you're part of the family!" She then adds, "You give my love to Debbie when you see her, won't you?" Craig nods, "I will. And good luck with Andy." With that, he gives Fiona a final warm smile and heads out. Janice goes to follow him. As she heads out, she says to Fiona, "I shouldn't be too long. Keep trying the refuges while I'm gone." Fiona starts to say, "Oh. Look... I'm very busy at the moment - I mean, I've got this business with Charlie and Todd. Why don't you call the refuges from the crisis centre and then let me know if you come up with something?" Janice says coolly, "I thought you were interested in finding Andy." Fiona insists, "I am, but I've got to do this other bit; really, it's just as important." Janice sighs, "Alright - but if I do find him, I can't guarantee he'll listen. You'll have to call him yourself and let him know how sorry you are." Fiona nods, "I know." At that moment, Todd walks in. Janice heads out. Fiona says to Todd, "Hi. Did you get the money?" Todd nods, "Just came from the bank." Fiona points out, "It's still not too late to hang onto it, you know." Todd, however, retorts, "We've been through that. I just want to get the money to Mandy so we can clear this whole mess up." He then asks, "Have you thought of a way of getting Charlie to listen?" Fiona smiles, "Oh, I've already done that. Yes, I called her and told her that I had a big surprise over here for her, and she's just dying to know what it is!" Todd asks, "When's she coming?" Fiona replies, "As soon as she can. I just hope Mandy turns up." Todd nods grimly, "You and me both..."

Wayne is lying back on the couch in the lounge room at Dural. He's wearing a white robe and reading the newspaper. Sarah emerges from the kitchen, wearing a black robe and carrying a tray. She announces, "Breakfast for two!" She puts it on the coffee table and sits down next to Wayne. He smiles, "Smells good!" As Sarah hands him a croissant, he asks, "Shouldn't you call work?" Sarah, however, insists, "I don't want to think about work - or anything else today - except us." Wayne points out, "You'll have to come back to the real world sooner or later." Sarah, however, smiles, "Not just yet. I want to spend the whole day with you." Wayne tells her, "I feel the same." He then asks, "What about Alison?" Sarah just shrugs, "Alison who?" They start kissing passionately...

Greg is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's when Alison walks in and asks sharply, "Have you any idea where Sarah is?" Greg replies, "Isn't she in her room?" Alison retorts, "No. I went to wake her for work; her bed hasn't even been slept in." A look of concern crosses Greg's face.

Todd is sitting in Fiona's room at the mansion. Fiona is peering out through the window. Todd is sighing, "I'm going to go crazy if she doesn't put in an appearance soon." At that moment, there's a knock on the door and Fiona comments, "Speak of the devil!" She opens the door and Mandy totters in, wearing a short, tight-fitting red dress and white high heels. She taunts, "Think I wasn't coming?" Fiona, however, assures her, "No. You didn't appear to me to be the type to give up on $5,000." She closes the door. Mandy talks over to Todd and says coolly, "You've got my money?" Todd takes a cheque out of his pocket and goes to hand it over. Fiona, however, snatches it and says, "Not so fast." Mandy glares at her. Fiona just says, "You're going to have to wait a little while longer." Mandy growls, "I warned you: no tricks." Fiona just retorts, "This is no trick; this is just a little insurance. You'll get your money when the job is done. Now, you are going to tell Charlie exactly what happened with you and Todd." Todd adds, "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Understand?" Fiona says quickly, "Todd, I really do think maybe it would be best if you weren't here." Todd stares at her and demands, "What are you talking about? I'm staying here until Charlie knows that Alison set me up." Fiona retorts, "What if you're the first person she sees when she comes through that door? She's going to turn round and go straight out again - and you've got to give her the chance to at least hear Mandy's story." Todd nods reluctantly. Fiona continues, "You go and let off some of that steam down at the gym and we'll let you know if anything happens. And will you please go out the back way?" Todd turns to Mandy and warns coldly, "You just earn that money, OK?" With that, he marches out.

Alison has the 'phone to her ear in the lounge room at Charlie's. She says, "Hello. Is Sarah Hudson there, please?... She isn't?... Look, if she 'phones or comes in, could you ask her to ring home straight away?... Yes. Thankyou." With that, she hangs up again. She turns to Greg, who's sitting on the couch, and tells him, "The salon doesn't know where she is either." Greg says, "I'm sure she's OK." Alison asks tersely, "Have you any other idea where she might be?" Greg doesn't respond. Alison then says, "I've got no other choice." She dials a number on the 'phone. Greg asks, "Who are you ringing?" Alison tells him, "The police - maybe they can find her." Greg, however, says quickly, "Wait. I think I might know where she is." Alison looks at him as he adds, "You're not going to like it..."

Sarah and Wayne are kissing passionately on the couch in the lounge room at Dural. Wayne murmurs between kisses, "You should go and get dressed." Sarah, however, ignores him. Wayne smiles, "Maybe later." Sarah murmurs, "A lot later." The front door slams shut suddenly and Alison marches in. Glaring at Sarah and Wayne kissing, she snaps furiously, "What in the hell's going on here?" Sarah and Wayne stand up and Wayne says, "I suppose now's as good a time as any for you to find out." Alison orders, "Go and get dressed, Sarah. You're coming with me." Sarah, however, retorts, "No I'm not." Alison hisses, "Do as you're told." Sarah just snaps, "No. I love Wayne. I'm staying here with him." Alison gasps, "You love him? After everything I've told you about this clown?" Wayne starts to say, "Sarah is old enough to make--" Alison interrupts, though, and snaps, "Shut up. This is between me and Sarah." Sarah just snaps back, "No it's not. I told you: I love Wayne and if I want to stay I will. You're not my mother; you can't tell me what to do." Alison retorts, "I'm still responsible for you. Now, go and get dressed." Sarah snaps, "No." Alison goes to grab her arm. Sarah yells, "Leave go of me." Wayne pushes Alison away and snarls, "Leave her. She's over 18; she doesn't need you to run her life." Alison glares at the two of them. She then snaps at Sarah, "Alright. Alright, I've tried - but don't come crying to me when he dumps you; 'cos he will - I can bet on it." With that, she marches back out. She hesitates in the hallway, a thoughtful expression on her face. She then heads off. In the lounge room, Wayne whispers to Sarah, "I'm sorry." Sarah murmurs, "That's OK." Wayne pulls her towards him, into a hug. She doesn't see the gleeful smile on his face...

Mandy is sitting with Fiona in her room at the mansion, muttering, "If I knew I was going to be here all day, I would've brought my knitting." Fiona assures her, "It won't be much longer." Mandy goes on sourly, "Where's this Charlie coming from anyway: Melbourne?" Fiona tells her, "Dural." Mandy raises her eyebrows and, putting on a posh accent, remarks, "Dural? That's where I'm going to live one day: nice big house, clean country air, not too far away from the city..." Fiona muses, "I'd say you will, too, without a doubt, the way you operate." She then asks, "How much did Alison pay you to set-up Todd?" Mandy, however, retorts, "Classified information. Sorry." Fiona comments, "Honour among thieves, huh?" Mandy glares at her and snaps, "I can still get up and walk out of here, if I want." Fiona indicates the cheque and taunts, "You'd miss out on all this lovely money." Mandy growls, "It might be worth it. I don't have to sit here while you look down your nose." Fiona, however, retorts, "Oh yes you do - because I wasn't joking when I said I'd go to the police. You see, Todd and Charlie mean a heck of a lot to each other. They're really decent, good people, and they deserve a lot better than the garbage you dished out; and now it's time to repair the damage." There's suddenly a knock on the door and Charlie's voice calls, "Fiona." Fiona calls back, "Coming!" As she stands up, she tells Mandy coolly, "You are going to convince Charlie that the whole thing with Todd was a set-up or you're going to regret it." Charlie calls out, "Don't keep me in suspense, darling! I know I'm late, but I couldn't help it!" Fiona opens the door and smiles, "Here I am!" Charlie bursts in, saying excitedly, "I had to go and visit a friend in hospital. She's just had her third facelift--" She stops in her tracks as she finds Mandy waiting for her. She gasps at Fiona in horror, "What's she doing here?" Fiona explains, "This is the surprise. Charlie Bartlett, this is Mandy - and she's got a lot of explaining to do." Charlie growls, "There is nothing she could say that I would be the slightest bit interested in. Goodbye." She turns to walk out. Fiona grabs her arm, however, and says quickly, "Uh-uh, Charlie. I'm sure you're going to be very interested in what she says. I assure you." Charlie stands there and glares at Mandy.

Todd is working behind the reception desk at the gym. He goes to reach for a paperclip from a pot on the desk, but manages to knock it over instead. He walks round to the front of the desk and bends down to start picking up the clips. As he does so, a pair of legs appears in front of him. They're Charlie's. Todd looks up at her. She smiles weakly, "I thought you might like to move back in." Todd stands up and stares at her. Charlie then cries, "I'm sorry I didn't believe you." Todd gives her a loving kiss.

Alison is standing in the lounge room at Charlie's, staring out through the french windows. She hears the front door slam, suddenly, and she calls out, "Greg, is that you?" Charlie storms in and retorts, "No, it isn't." Alison looks at her and starts to say, "You won't believe what's happened: Sarah's taken up with Wayne. Of all the people in the world she has to take a fancy to, it has to be him. She's over there with him now. Greg said it's been going on for weeks." Charlie stares at her. She then interrupts, "Alison--" Alison just goes on, "That's the thanks I get for bringing her up to Sydney. And Greg's no better for keeping quiet about it. I don't know what to do, Charlie." Charlie snaps, "Why don't you give Mandy a call?" Alison looks at her blankly and says, "Mandy who?" Charlie reaches into her handbag and hands over the newspaper clipping of Alison standing next to Mandy. She explains curtly, "This was taken at some trade fair. Recognise her now?" Alison shrugs, "Vaguely. I don't remember talking--" She then breaks off and asks, "Wasn't this the girl Todd was with at the gym?" Charlie snaps, "You should know." Alison stares at her and mouths, "What?" Charlie cries, "Please, Alison, at least have the decency to be honest with me now I know the truth." Alison just says blankly, "I'm sorry, Charlie, I haven't got the faintest idea what--" Charlie interrupts and cries, "Stop it! Mandy's told me everything: how you paid her to drug Todd and make it look as if they were having an affair." Alison insists, "That's not true." Charlie reaches into her handbag again and removes some ampoules of sedative. She hands them to Alison and snaps, "How about these? They went missing from Michael's medical bag the day you were in his room; the day we found Mandy and Todd together. You gave them to her to give to Todd." A smile of disbelief crosses Alison's face as she tells Charlie, "I didn't - I swear I didn't." Charlie just cries, "Stop lying. You said you were going to break Todd and I up. You couldn't bear the idea of anyone taking your precious Charlie away from you. Well I'm not your 'precious Charlie' anymore." Alison pleads, "Charlie, you have to believe me: I had nothing to do with this." Charlie just snaps, "Rubbish. I'll never believe you again as long as I live. I hate you for what you've done." Alison mutters, "This is ridiculous. I care about you; I wouldn't do anything to hurt you." Charlie, however, yells, "Oh, just get out. Get out." She starts pushing Alison towards the front door as she goes on angrily, "Get out of my house and get out of my life. I never want to see you again as long as I live." She leaves Alison standing in the hallway, staring at the newspaper clipping in disbelief.


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