It's early evening, and Irene arrives at the Fisher house. As
Todd lets her in, she says she hopes she's not late. Todd assures
her that she's right on time. Irene explains that she had an unexpected
visitor... Todd offers her a drink. Amanda holds up the glass
in her hand and chips in that Irene should try that.
Irene asks what it is, and Amanda explains that it's one of Todd's
concoctions. Todd asks his mother if she's game. Irene smiles
and replies that there was never a drink she couldn't handle!
She takes in the lounge room and remarks that it's all mod cons
round there - she's surprised Nat went in for the 2001 look! Todd
explains that it's not his father's doing. Amanda tells
Irene that Karen organised the redecorating. Irene queries,
"Karen?" Todd explains that she's the lady his dad is
living with. Irene comments, "At the moment..." Todd
assures her that it's stood the test of time so far -
maybe because it's a fairly open relationship. Irene
mutters, "How convenient..." Todd tells her not to judge
her before she's met her. Irene asks if Karen will be joining
them. Todd replies that, so she says, but she went out a while
ago and, knowing her, if she gets a better offer, she might not
be back! Amanda, changing the subject, comments to Irene that
it must be strange walking into somewhere that used to be home.
Irene replies that she admits she wasn't looking forward to it,
but it turns out she hardly recognises the place. Karen
suddenly comes in, hands Todd a bottle and tells him to put it
on ice. Todd takes it and then tells her that he'd like her to
meet his mother. Irene, pausing momentarily, as if deciding what
to do, introduces herself. Karen tells her that it's lovely to
meet her at long last - she's heard so much about her. Irene replies
that it's all good, she hopes. Karen tells her, "Hear no
evil - that's my motto!" Todd offers her a drink
and she tells him that she'll have her usual. He goes to get it.
When he's gone, Karen comments to Irene that she's got him well
trained, hasn't she! Irene grimly retorts, "Very..."
A while later, Todd starts to clear the starters away from the
living room table and he asks Irene if she enjoyed it. Irene replies
that it was lovely. Amanda smiles and comments that it's amazing:
nobody's keeled over yet! Irene offers to give him a hand, but
he assures her that everything is under control, so they should
just enjoy themselves. He goes. Karen is sitting smoking a cigarette,
and she tells Amanda that she'll have to put Todd to work in the
kitchen more often! Amanda asks what could be better: great food,
being waited on hand-and-foot and lovely surroundings. Karen asks
Amanda if she likes the way she's decorated the place.
Amanda replies that it's great. Karen tells her that
the ultramodern look isn't everyone's cup of tea. Amanda
says she thinks it's better than having a whole load of antiques
round the place - half the time, you're too frightened to breathe!
Karen smiles and replies that that's exactly what she said to
Kenneth Dawson - he did the designs. Looking incredulous, Amanda
asks her if she means the guy whose stuff's in the magazines.
Karen explains that they're old mates. She then adds that she'll
take Amanda up to this studios one day, if she'd like. Amanda
replies that she'd love to meet him. She goes on that,
if she ever has a place of her own and has a small fortune to
spend on it, she'd use him to decorate it floor-to-ceiling! Karen
tells her that, of course, she knew him before he was
such a big name - they were quite a pair for a while. She then
suddenly realises that she's being awful, holding the floor. She
turns to Irene and tells her that they've hardly heard a peep
out of her. Irene curtly retorts that it's alright. Karen goes
on that she didn't mean to be rude, but Irene has been so quiet
that she almost forget she was there. Irene assures her
that she's more than happy to sit back and let her do
the entertaining; she does it so well... Amanda looks
at them, suspiciously.
At the O'Briens', Heather kisses Jeff, who's sitting on the couch,
and says, "Thank goodness you're alright." Jeff, looking
glum, replies that he should have 'phoned. Mike asks him why he
didn't. He then adds that he knows it would have been
hard to 'phone after he hit him, and he wishes he'd never done
that; they've both been pretty dumb - but with a bit of luck,
if they both sit down and talk about it, maybe they'll be able
to sort something out, eh? Jeff, though, retorts that he doesn't
think there's anything to talk about: he ran away from
home; he's just lucky he had someone like Tony to help him get
back. Tony, who's sitting in an armchair, announces that he'd
better get going, as he's supposed to have tea with the Palmers.
Mike thanks him again, and he makes to go. Jeff, though, asks
him to come into his room. He goes on that he won't be needing
his runners anymore, so if they fit Tony, he can have them. They
get up. Mike tells Jeff that there's one other thing.
Jeff looks at him. Heather explains that they know about Titus.
Jeff just mutters, "Yeah... poor old mutt. No sense going
on about it, though." Heather looks at Mike, in shock.
David arrives back at the Palmer house, holding a newspaper.
Beryl is just spreading the table cloth over the table in the
living room, and she tells him that she's sorry she's late starting
dinner, but she was a bit longer at the children's home than she
expected. She adds that Kevin and Lynn have gone out
to eat. David comments that they may be able to sort themselves
out. Beryl says she wishes she could feel a bit more sympathy
for Kevin's side of it, but frankly, she thinks he wants to have
it both ways. David asks, "How's that?" Beryl
explains that Kevin admits he was in love with that girl - Sharon
- but he also expects Lynn to believe his feelings for her
are as strong as ever. David replies that that sounds fair enough
to him. Beryl looks at him in surprise, and he tells
her to put it down to experience: even after he got involved with
Margaret, he never stopped caring for her. Beryl points
out that it didn't stop him moving out of there, though.
David tells her that she forced his hand - he doesn't think he'd
have been able to make the decision on his own.
He adds that it was a pretty rotten choice to have to make anyway;
he thinks Lynn would understand Kevin a bit more if he took the
time to explain it to her. Beryl says she hopes
so. She suddenly picks up the tablecloth and starts folding it
up. David asks her what she's doing. She replies that she's changed
her mind: they're going to eat in the kitchen - like they always
did. She smiles and then walks off purposefully.
A short time later, there's a knock on the back door at the Palmers'
and Tony comes in. He says he hopes he didn't hold up the production
line! Beryl tells him that he's just in time. He goes and sits
down at the table, and as Beryl serves up, he tells her that it's
a great meal, as usual. Beryl comments that at least she's good
for something! Tony goes on that he's always liked
coming there - and it's even better now that she and David are
back together. Beryl suddenly looks awkward, and David explains
that it's not quite that simple. Tony holds up his glass, smiles
and says, "Cheers anyway!"
At the O'Briens', Mike asks Heather if she thinks Jeff will sleep.
Heather replies that she should think so, as he's worn out. Katie
suddenly joins them, and Heather comments that she didn't realise
she was home. Mike tells her that she's just missed seeing Jeff
and Tony. Katie retorts that she saw them - she's been
hanging around 'til she could talk to them privately.
Mike asks what's wrong. Katie replies that she probably shouldn't
be telling them this, but when Jeff got back, she could smell
alcohol on his breath. Heather, looking worried, asks her if she
said anything. Katie replies that she didn't. She adds
that she hated telling them, but she thought they should know.
She then announces that she's going to meet Luke, and she leaves.
Mike and Heather sit down, and Mike exclaims, "Oh boy..."
Heather asks what they do. Mike tells her that the last thing
he wants is another argument. Heather asks how they get through
to Jeff, then. Mike says he doesn't know - it's hard
when the boy keeps things to himself. Heather comments that it's
like when he mentioned Titus. Mike agrees that he couldn't believe
Jeff was so offhand about that. He then goes on that he won't
mention anything about the drinking yet, but if he keeps on
drinking to solve his problems, he'll have to - they
can't let it become a habit with him.
Next door, David asks Tony if his mum's happy down in
Lorne. Tony replies that she's a different person now that his
dad isn't around to hassle her. Beryl comments that it's shocking
to think that nothing short of his death gave her the chance for
a normal life. Tony retorts that, yeah, well, his dad brought
it on himself. Beryl remarks that it still makes her
shudder when she thinks of that shooting. Tony turns to David
and tells him that everyone was worried sick about him.
David smiles and says he must have been lucky, as he doesn't remember
a thing! Beryl snaps that it's not a laughing matter
- she has awful memories of sitting outside
his hospital room, worrying how she'd carry on if he wasn't there--
She breaks off as she realises what she's saying and then adds,
"If you died..." David looks at Tony awkwardly
and changes the subject, telling him that he could always stop
the night. Tony replies that he's like to, but he's got school
tomorrow, so he'd better get back; in fact, he'd actually better
start making tracks now. He stands up. Beryl tells him
to give her love to his mum. Tony, though, asks her and David
why they don't drive down one weekend - they've got a spare room
and he can clean out his room if it's any help. Beryl
just says they'll see. David goes to the door to see him out.
Beryl half smiles, looking thoughtful.
At the Fisher house, the meal is over, and Irene asks Amanda
if she can give her a lift home. Amanda replies that she'll just
give Todd the glasses she's holding, so that he can put them in
the dishwasher, and she'll be right with her. She leaves the room,
and Irene finds herself alone with Karen. Karen curtly tells her
that she'd like to congratulate her. Irene asks, "For what?"
Karen tells her that she means for having the good sense not to
say anything in front of Todd about their little meeting earlier.
Irene retorts that she still might. Karen, though, says
she doubts it: she and Todd are very close and he's not likely
to pay any attention to anyone trying to run her down. Irene threatens
that she's a patient woman - she can wait. Karen retorts that
that may be - but Irene's not to forget that she's she
got Todd's father on her side. Irene points out that
Nat is stuck in America. Karen tells her that he'd be home tomorrow
if she let him know that Irene was around - he'd do anything
to keep Todd away from her. Irene coolly replies that she has
enough faith in her son to know that, despite Karen's bad influence,
he chooses for himself who he will or won't see. Todd comes in
at that moment, and Karen tells him to say 'goodbye' to their
guest. Todd thanks Irene for coming. Irene tells him that the
meal was lovely. Karen lightly comments that it was a
breath of fresh air having her there. She goes on that, if they
put her beside all of Fisher's medical friends, she'd never have
guessed in a million years that Irene was a doctor. She adds,
"Isn't it lovely to meet someone so down-to-earth for a change..."
Irene looks annoyed.
A while later, Amanda and Irene get back to the Morrell apartment,
and Irene tells Amanda that she'll leave her to it, then. Amanda
tells her to at least stay for a night-cap. Irene admits that
she could do with a soda water. Amanda remarks that, if she's
got indigestion, she'll get Todd onto her! Irene assures her that
it's not the meal that upset her stomach... They walk
over to the bar and Irene sits down on one of the stools. Amanda
asks what it was, then: Karen? Irene asks if it was that obvious.
Amanda says she thought it was, but she doesn't know
whether Todd picked up on it or not. She asks Irene if she's not
jumping to conclusions too quickly. Irene replies that, no, she
isn't: Karen is the sort of walking, talking, cutie doll that
Nat tried to turn her into. Amanda asks whether, just
because she didn't want to be part of the social world,
it means it's the same for everyone else. Irene explains that
it just gets her goat when she thinks of Todd being sucked
into it. Amanda suddenly realises that that's the real
reason: Irene is jealous because Karen is more of a mother to
Todd than she is. Irene snaps that Karen couldn't be
a mother to a-- She breaks off and then goes on that, alright,
she admits that jealousy is part of it - but she still
doesn't like the woman. She adds, "'Karen Fox'.
What an apt name." She then says she'll give it a bit of
time, but she only hopes Todd wakes up to what she's really like.
David wanders from his bedroom into the lounge room at the Palmers',
wearing his pyjamas. He heads into the kitchen and finds Beryl
standing there, at the sink. He asks her if she couldn't sleep
either, and she replies that she couldn't, adding that she guesses
she was worried about Kevin and Lynn. David comments that they're
a bit late getting back. Beryl points out that they've got a lot
to talk about. She then goes on that there was something else
keeping her awake: she was lying there, turning things over and
over in her mind. David asks her if she means the things Tony
brought up. Beryl replies, "And more." She continues
that, the other night, when they had dinner, they were struggling
to find things to say to each other; once, they'd talk and talk:
what happened during the day... the kids... what needed doing
round the house... words came easily; why is it so different
now? David walks over to her and puts his hands on her
shoulders. She stares at him and they then share a kiss, which
turns into a hug. Beryl smiles happily.
The next morning, Beryl is cooking breakfast when David comes
in and comments that that's the way to start the day - the bacon
smells good! Beryl smiles and says she knew he'd say
that! He kisses her on the cheek, but she suddenly looks awkward.
David asks her if she's OK. Beryl replies that of course she is,
but he must have the same worries as she does. David
asks whether she means about last night being a mistake. Beryl
points out that it was almost too easy - reliving old
times - but it's no use pretending they're any further down the
track than they were. David says he thought getting it
together for Kev's sake might have changed things again.
Beryl tells him that it has - she's been going out of
her way to make Kevin feel comfortable: cutting back on her work...
playing mum... but it's not going to last forever. David
asks her if she's saying last night was an exception.
Beryl agrees, "In a way - unless you can accept the change
in me." She goes on that the kids will be gone again soon,
but she doesn't want to go back to being just a housewife; she
enjoys being a businesswoman and she loves her charity
work, and she doesn't want to give them up. David comments that
he guessed as much. He goes and sits down at the table. Beryl
says, "And?" David replies that it means he's got to
do some thinking, doesn't it. He adds, "No more mistakes,
eh?" Beryl tells him that if they rush into anything now,
it could be the worst mistake of all. David nods and
takes a sip of his orange juice.
Jeff sits down on the couch at the O'Briens'. Heather take her
jacket off the coat rack and asks him how he's feeling. He replies
that he's a lot better. Heather tells him that she doesn't think
there's any rush to get back to school. Looking surprised, Jeff
asks her if she's going to work. Heather replies that she's sorry,
but she couldn't get out of it. She adds that Katie's out too,
but he'll be alright for a couple of hours, won't he? Jeff assures
her that he will. He adds that he's got to do some work out the
back. Heather points out that he should be resting. Jeff, though,
explains that he's got to clear up some stuff: Titus's kennel
and his bowl - they've got to be put away... He suddenly stops
what he's saying and breaks down. As Heather hugs him, he sobs
that it's all his fault...
Barbara is at the boarding house, in Irene's apartment, Irene
tells her that she's glad she called in. Barbara replies
that she had some business of Gordon's to fix and she thought
Irene would like to know how he's managing. Irene comments that
he seems to be taking the bad news without suffering too many
ill effects. Barbara explains that the hardest thing she has to
do is stop him overexerting himself. Irene tells her that it makes
her boil when she thinks of Todd, compared to Gordon:
Gordon is busting his boiler in spite of everything, and Todd
has been loafing around for six months. She goes on that the trouble
is, she's sure that, left to his own devices, he'd be fine - but
she's found out that there's a fly in the ointment: Karen Fox.
Barbara exclaims, "Who?!" Irene explains that she's
her ex-husband's lady-friend; she's the one who talked Nat into
subsidising Todd while he sits around on his backside. Barbara
asks if Todd hasn't got any ambition. Irene replies that
he's interested in boat design. Barbara comments that she doesn't
think there are too many openings in that area, but Irene
says she doesn't know - there was chap who used to live at the
boarding house who was in the boat-building game; it was a long
time ago, but they kept in touch. Barbara asks her if he'll give
Todd a start. Irene replies that she hopes so - anything to keep
him off the streets. Barbara agrees, "Yes, and out from Karen
Whatsername's thumb!" She adds that it's worth a try and
she asks Irene if she's spoken to her friend yet. Irene
explains that he's difficult to get hold of, but she'll keep trying.
Todd comes into the Fisher house looking glum, and Karen asks
him what the matter is: was he dumped by a wave? Todd complains
that the water was a flat as a pancake. He then goes on that he
can't hang round for long, as he's got to pick Amanda up for lunch
- not that he feels like lunch, though. Karen assures
him that he'll be alright when he gets there. She adds that Amanda
is good company - certainly a lot more lively than Irene.
Todd retorts that Irene can be fun when she wants. Karen 'innocently'
asks what made him look her up. Todd replies that she's his mother;
he supposes it was curiosity to start with, but the more he sees
her, the more he likes her. Karen just comments, "Oh?"
Todd goes on that she's had plenty of opportunity to sink the
boot into his dad, but she hasn't tried to turn him against him
at all. Karen replies that that's all very well, she's
sure, but what happens when his father gets back and finds they're
the best of pals? Todd tells her that he'll cross that bridge
when he comes to it. Karen, looking at his expression, remarks
that he is down in the dumps, and she asks if this happens
every time the waves are bad. Todd replies that it doesn't
- he's just a bit run down, to tell the truth. Karen says she
heard there was a virus going round - maybe he's caught that?
Todd agrees that, yeah - maybe he'll have a lie down; it probably
is a virus.
Barbara is at the Morrell apartment, sitting on the couch with
Amanda, who exclaims that she can't believe it: Wayne was actually
telling the truth about the business crashing. Barbara
says she's sorry she didn't tell Amanda personally, but things
have been a little hectic. Amanda asks how things are money-wise.
Barbara explains that she's had to get herself a little part-time
job at the golf club to make ends meet. Amanda asks if Wayne
has found a job, too. Barbara, looking annoyed, retorts that he
has - of sorts: he's a male escort! Amanda bursts out laughing
and cries, "You're kidding!" She then asks what the
name of his agency is, and Barbara tells her that this will kill
her: "Personality Escorts!" Amanda laughs again and
says Wayne will have to rent a personality along with his tuxedo!
She then goes on that she knows what she's going to do: she'll
ring them up and make a booking for Wayne, and then when he sees
it's her, he'll try and wriggle his way out of it and she'll have
him sacked. Barbara, though, snaps, "Don't you dare."
Amanda retorts that it'll be fun - and he deserves
it. Barbara, though, angrily asks her if she hasn't learnt anything.
She goes on that she knows Wayne gave Amanda a rough time, but
her childish behaviour got them all into trouble before; if she
can't work out for herself how being petty and silly drives her
down to his level, then she's wasting her breath talking to her.
A while later, Barbara tells Amanda that she's sorry if she sounded
harsh earlier on, but she meant it. Amanda tells Barbara that
she was right. Barbara announces that she'd better get the papers
back to Gordon. There's suddenly a knock at the door, and Amanda
says it's probably Todd - they're having lunch. She opens the
door but it isn't Todd standing there - it's Karen. Amanda asks
her what she's doing there, and Karen explains that Todd seems
to have caught some virus - so if it's alright with Amanda, she
thought she'd step into his shoes and come to lunch in
his place - it'll give her a chance to really get to know Amanda.
Amanda introduces Karen to Barbara. Karen holds out her hand,
but Barbara ignores it. Instead, she curtly says she's afraid
she's just leaving. Karen tells her, "Some other time, then."
Barbara just mutters, "Yeah, perhaps." She then turns
to Amanda and tells her to keep in touch, and she leaves. When
she's gone, Karen remarks to Amanda that her friend gave her very
short shrift. Amanda explains that Barbara isn't herself at the
moment - her family's company has just gone on the rocks. Karen
remarks that losing doesn't become some people, obviously. Amanda
assures her that Barbara is normally very nice, but her husband's
been ill and she's been forced to work - and her stepson - her
former creep of a husband...; she shouldn't really be telling
her this, but Wayne has had to take a job as a male escort! Karen
smiles and comments, "What a come down!" Amanda replies
that it is when you think how important their company used to
be. Karen asks if it was a big business, then. Amanda
explains that it was more like a group of companies;
they've still got some valuable holdings, but they used to have
their fingers in all sorts of pies. Karen, looking thoughtful,
remarks that, until recently, then, the Hamiltons were a big deal.
Amanda tells her that she can say that again. Karen,
looking intrigued, says, "Fascinating..."
The 'phone rings at the Fisher house, and Todd gets out of bed
and answers it wearing his dressing gown. Irene comes on and says
it's her: she just wanted to thank him for last night's dinner.
Todd replies that it was no trouble. Irene goes on that she'd
like to repay him, if he'll let her. Todd tells her that it's
alright, and so Irene asks him if doesn't want to hear
it. Todd just murmurs, "Sure." Irene tells him that
she remembered his interest in boat design. Todd asks, "What
about it?" Irene explains that she got on to a friend of
hers in the business: he wants to see Todd - it may be an opening.
Todd says he thinks she should just forget it. Looking surprised,
Irene tells him not to be so slack, adding that he could be turning
down a wonderful future. Todd mutters, "Future?" Irene
replies that she means a career: doing something he really likes.
Todd tells her that he doesn't mean any offence, but he thinks
he should be the one to make plans for his 'future'.
He adds that it was nice of her to try, and she hopes it doesn't
inconvenience her friend, but can she tell him that he's lost
interest? Irene agrees that she will if he really wants
her to. Todd insists that he does. Irene mutters, "Fine."
Todd tells her that he'll probably call her in a few days and
he hangs up. Irene looks bemused.
At the Morrell apartment, Karen asks Amanda if the Hamiltons'
company was a public company; was it listed on the Stock
Exchange? Amanda replies that she doesn't know - she was never
interested in all that business talk. She asks Karen why she's
interested. Karen tells her that she isn't, particularly
- she was just thinking how easily people's fortunes can turn
around: big business to an escort agency is quite a drop! Amanda
grimly comments that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person!
Karen goes on that they have such absurd names, these agencies.
Amanda suddenly realises that she's got a ladder in her stockings,
and she asks if she has time to change. Karen assures her that
of course she has. As Amanda gets up to head for her
bedroom, Karen asks her what her husband's agency is
called. Amanda smiles and replies that it's 'Personality Escorts'.
She adds that, if the customers had any idea of his real
personality, they wouldn't have a bar of him...
A few moments later, with Amanda still out of the room, Karen
is standing by the bar, dialling a number on the 'phone. It rings
and is then answered by a woman saying, "Personality Escorts."
Karen tells her that she'd like to book an escort for this evening,
please; her name is Karen Fox and she'd liked to be picked up
at 8:15pm sharp form 8 Brenton Drive, Calarra. The woman asks
Karen if she had a particular type of gentleman in mind. Karen
replies that she has, actually - someone who's been highly-recommended:
his name's Wayne Morrell. The woman pauses and then tells her
that she's in luck: Mr. Morrell is available this evening. Karen
says that's good - she'll expect him at 8:15pm, then. She hangs
up, a sly smile on her face...