Charlie gasps, "I beg your pardon?" Alison retorts,
"You heard." Charlie stares at her and then growls,
"The girl's a thief. She sold designs to a rival
company. She's cost me a great deal of money. Why shouldn't
I tell her to pack her bags?" Alison says calmly, "Because
I believe she's innocent." Charlie mutters, "Then you're
either blind or plain stupid." Alison, however, retorts,
"If Ginny did steal those designs, do you think
she'd be silly enough to hang around and try and prove her innocence?"
Charlie nods, "Yes." Alison, sighs, "Come on, Charlie
- she's no fool; she wouldn't push her luck by pulling the same
stunt a second time. Plus, why would she risk meeting Justin Slade
here, of all places?" Charlie suggests, "Perhaps
she likes living dangerously? Who knows how the criminal
mind works?" Ginny snaps, "I'm not a criminal.
I invited Justin--" Alison interrupts says, "Shut up,
Ginny - I'll do the talking." Ginny glares at her.
Alison then goes on, "Charlie, I agree with you that Ginny
is solely out to look after number one - but she's also clever:
she wouldn't wreck her chances of success in the fashion industry
merely for some sort of short-term financial gain. Plus, she has
talent: she knows it, you and I know
it. So far, she's a bit thin on reputation and she needs that
to succeed. There's no way she's going to sacrifice her shot at
the big time by indulging in petty theft or double-dealing. Do
you get my point?" Charlie stares at her and then shrugs,
"I suppose so - but I'm not giving in that easily: she has
to prove her innocence." Alison nods, "Alright.
But can she stay here until she does?" Charlie mutters, "If
she can't, she's out on her ear." Alison replies, "Agreed."
She then goes on, "I wonder if I might ask you a small favour:
I wonder if Ginny and I could have the house to ourselves this
evening." Charlie gasps, "Pardon?" Alison explains,
"I want to help her prove her innocence - but I'm going to
need a bit of space to get things moving." Charlie demands,
"What am I supposed to do? Stand outside and look
at the stars until you say it's alright to come in?" Alison
tells her, "I was thinking you might like to go and visit
Gordon: he got back this morning. Wayne and Susan are
still up at Woombai so I guess he's all on his own." A smile
appearing on Charlie's face, she comments, "I suppose the
poor man could do with some company..." Alison suggests,
"Why don't you go over now? You might be able to
cook him dinner." Charlie grins, "What a good idea!"
With that, she leaves the room. When she's gone, Ginny says to
Alison curtly, "Well done." Alison muses, "Though
I doubt whether Gordon will forgive me! However, the
main thing is that we've cleared the decks for action - presuming,
that is, that you still want my help." Ginny asks, "What
did you have in mind?" Alison just smiles, "Watch and
take notes. You might learn something..." She goes
and pours herself a drink as she continues, "One of the secrets
of success, Ginny, is timing." Ginny protests, "We should
be doing something." Alison retorts, "We are:
we're waiting." Ginny demands, "What for?"
Alison explains, "For Justin Slade to get back to his office.
He should be there in about half an hour. We'll give him a call
then." Ginny snaps, "He's going to be no good to us."
Alison, however, smiles, "I wouldn't write him off just yet.
In a little while, I'm going to teach you how to extract information
in the most painless way possible - but in the meantime, I want
you to start work on some new designs." Ginny growls, "Charlie's
just called me a straight-out liar and a thief and you
want me to start slaving my guts out for her?" Alison nods,
"That's right - only this time I want them to be dreadful;
really awful. Alright?" Ginny stares at her, a puzzled expression
on her face.
In Sunbury, Debbie emerges from the country house and goes to
tip a bucket of water away. As she does so, she hears a noise
behind her. She turns spots Andy standing staring at her. He cries,
"Debbie, I need to talk to you." Debbie frowns at him,
but then shakes her head and snaps, "Talk to yourself, creep."
Andy, however, grabs her arm and says, "We're going to talk
whether you like it or not - and you're going to listen..."
A short time later, inside, in the kitchen, Andy hands Debbie
an envelope and says, "Can you give that to David? It's my
first pay from the labouring job I've taken. I want to try and
repay him for everything I made him lose." Debbie just stands
there. Andy asks, "Aren't you going to say something?"
Debbie mutters, "What do you want me to say?"
Andy tells her, "I thought you might have said something
like 'Good on you, Andy' or 'You're doing the right thing'."
Debbie retorts, "A pat on the back?" Andy nods, "Yeah.
Was that expecting too much?" Debbie snaps, "You make
it sound like you're doing David a favour - either that
or you're out to impress me, and if that's what you're
doing you're wasting your time because I've got enough
problems." Andy stands there and asks, "What sort
of problems? It might help to talk about them." Debbie snaps,
"With you?" Andy retorts, "Yeah, with
me." Debbie hesitates and then says, "Craig's
not home. We've got a job tonight: he was going to drive the back-up
car." Andy asks, "Is it necessary?" Debbie nods,
"It is with this client - I've had trouble with
him before." Andy tells her, "I can
drive the back-up car for you." Debbie looks at him warily,
so he sighs, "Come on, Debbie, I'm hardly going to mess it
up - and if it's a question of your safety..."
It's nighttime, and in the cabin belonging to Glen's parents,
Caroline tells Glen, "I'm going back to town tomorrow."
Looking concerned, Glen tells her lightheartedly, "It's a
long walk." Caroline retorts, "I can hitch." Glen
sighs curtly, "You're determined to put yourself at risk,
aren't you? You know the dangers of hitching as well
as I do. You'll go back to Sydney when I've fixed the moke and
not before. Now, sit down and eat your dinner." He indicates
the table. Caroline, however, comments sourly, "You must
have been the head bully at school." Glen sighs, "I'm
only thinking of what's best for you." Caroline mutters,
"That's the excuse most men use when they try to
run women's lives." Glen just ignores her and sits down at
the table. Caroline does likewise, reluctantly. She then asks
him, "What were you like at school? You must have
done well; I mean, there are enough trophies here to--" Glen,
looking annoyed, interrupts and snaps, "Trophies don't mean
anything." Caroline tells him, "They mean you're
good at something." Glen retorts, "They mean
you're good at collecting trophies, that's all. Now, eat your
dinner before it gets cold."
Justin Slade is standing in the lounge room at Charlie's, with
Alison. She's making him a drink. As she hands it to him, he comments
that this is the first time he's got her on her own. Alison suggests
flirtatiously, "Maybe you didn't try hard enough." Slade,
however, smiles, "Oh, I tried pretty hard. Finally gave up."
Alison invites him to sit down. He does so and she does likewise.
As she does so, she comments, "I suppose you got quite a
surprise to see me mixed up in that sorry little episode this
afternoon. It can be quite a madhouse round here at times, Ginny
and Charlie constantly at each other's throats." Justin smiles,
"Must make life interesting!" Alison then says, "I'm
glad you accepted my dinner invitation - I would have
understood if you hadn't." Slade assures her smoothly, "I
never refuse an invitation to dinner from a pretty lady."
Alison tells him, "Actually, there's something I wanted to
talk to you about once we've had a chance to relax." She
looks round suddenly and spots Ginny out in the hallway. Looking
annoyed, she asks Justin quickly if he'll excuse her. She dashes
out to the hallway, where Ginny is on her knees, holding a notebook.
Alison demands of her, "What on earth are you doing here?"
Ginny retorts, "Taking notes, remember?" Alison snaps,
"Go and do them somewhere else or go out for a few hours."
She gives Ginny a shove. Ginny storms off, looking annoyed.
Debbie and Andy arrive back at the country house, Andy saying,
"I see what you mean about tonight's client. Bit of an old
letch, wasn't he?" Debbie mutters, "Just a bit."
With that, she puts her key in the back door, opens it, says,
"Bye, Andy," and heads inside. Andy is left standing
out on the step, looking deflated. Inside, in the kitchen, Debbie
calls, "Craig. Are you home?" David walks in from the
hallway and tells her, "No, he's not. He 'phoned not long
after I got in. He's held up at some rundown pub where Ruby's
supposed to drink, and he's going to stay there until she shows
up." Debbie asks, "Did he say where this pub was?"
David retorts, "No, he didn't." Debbie asks, "Do
you think he'll be alright?" David, however, snaps, "I
couldn't give two hoots if he finishes up in trouble or not;
he shouldn't have left you here to run the business by yourself.
I told you not to go out if Craig didn't turn up. You
don't know what tonight's client could have tried on if he'd wanted."
Debbie replies quickly, "Nothing happened." David, though,
growls, "That's not the point; it could've - and
Craig should have been there if it did." Debbie
tells him heatedly, "There was no danger: I had somebody
with--" She breaks off, but it's too late. David
demands, "Who?" Debbie says hesitantly, "It was,
um, a friend; no, not a friend--" David repeats, "Who,
Debbie? Who?" Debbie admits reluctantly, "It
was Andy." David gasps, "You're kidding! You need your
head read, girly." At that moment, the back door
opens and Andy steps inside, snapping, "Lay off her."
David turns to face him and says tersely, "Look who it is.
Who taught you to listen in to keyholes? Wayne?" Andy, however,
tells him, "It wasn't Debbie's idea I drive back-up
tonight; it was mine. I'm trying to make up for the mess
I put you in." David mutters, "You expect me to believe
that?" Debbie chips in, "It's true: Andy gave me some
money for you. I think he does mean it." She picks
up the envelope and hands it to him. Andy snaps at David, "I'll
tell you something else, too: that client Debbie had
tonight: she didn't want to go driving around with him
- he's a nutcase - but she did because she didn't want you losing
out on the job; so I reckon you should be thanking her for sticking
with a job she hates just so you can keep your head above water."
Debbie starts to say, "That's not true--" Andy, however,
snaps, "Of course it is - and it's about time he
knew it." Debbie yells, "Just shut up, Andy.
Just shut up." With that, she runs out to the hallway. David
stands and stares at Andy. After a few seconds, Andy storms out
through the back door.
At Charlie's, Alison and Justin Slade walk into the lounge room,
Slade smiling, "Pleasant wine, a superb dinner, wonderful
coffee... where does it all end?" They sit down
as Alison says, "I mentioned earlier there was something
we had to discuss." Slade nods, "You did." Alison
goes on, "I have some money to invest and I want to get into
the teenage fashion market. I believe there are profits to be
made there. I don't know where the kids get their money, but they
do somehow, and I'd like a slice of the action." Slade muses,
"I take it you want to join forces with me?"
Alison replies, "In a word: yes." Slade asks, "Why
not Charlie? You're her best friend. The woman has her own label."
Alison, however, tells him, "Former best friend.
We've just about reached a parting of the ways. I've had about
as much of Charlie's stupidity as I can take." Slade
comments, "She may be stupid, but Lisa's
not. The company's making money." Alison tells him, "Not
as much as it could be. Charlie lacks that killer instinct
when it comes to taking on the opposition - by whatever means
necessary..." Slade asks, "You saying I don't?"
Alison smiles, "I know you don't. That's why you're
far more successful than Charlie. That's why I'm approaching
you and not her." Slade murmurs, "I'm
flattered." Alison tells him, "I always said
like-souls should join forces." Slade smiles at her and then
says, "Having my finger on the pulse of things - that's
why I'm a success; knowing exactly what the teenage market wants
and then delivering it." Alison asks, "How do you know
what that market wants? Intuition?" Slade, however, chuckles,
"Oh no, nothing as unscientific as that. I have
contacts: they keep me informed with up-to-the-minute research
and the latest designs." Alison prompts, "From other
companies...?" Slade looks at her warily and then asks, "How
much do you want to invest?" Alison, standing up, tells him,
"I'll just check through my finances and see how much cash
I have to spare." Slade asks in surprise, "You want
to go through them now?" Alison tells him, "No
time like the present." Slade pushes, "I was hoping
we might have, er..." Alison says quickly, "We will
- but first things first: I'd like to get all the details finalised
as soon as possible." She then adds, "Still, when you
and I are partners..." Slade smiles, "I'll look forward
to it - being partners..." Alison smiles back knowingly,
"Yes. So will I..."
In the cabin, Glen hands Caroline a glass of port and sits down.
He then asks, "You feeling better now?" Caroline smiles,
"Yes - doctor! It must have been your cooking!" Glen
tells her, "I owe it all to my mother! She taught me everything
she knows - as far as cooking's concerned! I couldn't have listened
too well, though: my repertoire's fairly limited." He hesitates
and then asks, "Do you ever... think that you've disappointed
your parents?" Caroline muses, "I don't know. Maybe.
In some ways. Do you?" Glen shrugs, "Yeah..."
Caroline asks, "Does it worry you?" Glen tells her,
"Yeah - but it worries me more that I've disappointed
myself." Caroline asks, "In what way?"
Glen explains, "In things that I've achieved - or haven't
achieved. I seem to have gone around in circles the last five
years. Everything I try I either seem to louse up or get bored
with." Caroline suggests, "You haven't found exactly
what you want yet. There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, think
of the things you have achieved: I've just got to look
over there!" She indicates the trophies on the mantelpiece.
Glen pauses and then asks, "How's your port?" Caroline,
however, tells him, "Stop changing the subject." She
then comments, "It seems we've both got problems
we have to deal with, doesn't it?" Glen asks, "So you
finally admit you've got a problem?" Caroline, however, replies
quickly, "Did I say that? Must have been a slip of the tongue!
It's time for me to go to bed." She stands up. The 'phone
starts ringing suddenly and Glen goes and answers it. Fiona comes
on and, after they've exchanged pleasantries, tells him, "The
rental man called today. He said they'd be there to pick up the
bike sometime tomorrow morning." She listens and then says,
"Just some time before twelve. That's all they said."
At the cabin, Glen replies, "Thanks for letting me know.
Bye." He hangs up. He then turns to Caroline and tells her,
"If you want to take off, tomorrow's your chance: someone's
coming to collect the bike. If you ask nicely, they might give
you a lift back to Sydney." Caroline stands there, looking
Charlie is sitting with Gordon in the lounge room at Dural. She's
telling him, "I know it's easy for me to say - Wayne's
not my son - but there's no point worrying about: it's
not certain he's going to get this Huntington's chorea;
it's a possibility, that's all, so why not try and forget about
it until it actually strikes - if it ever does?" Gordon,
however, replies, "As you said: it's easy for you
to say. Susan has the same attitude: 'let's cross that bridge
when we come to it'. But what about Wayne? I put myself
in his shoes: ten years or so from now I find I've got
his hideous disease, and what is worse, everyone around me has
known I've had it all that time. I'm the one who's mostly
affected and yet I'm kept in the dark: other people have taken
it upon themselves to make my decisions for me. Do you think that's
fair?" Charlie tells him, "In this case I do,
yes." Gordon sighs, "Well, I don't. Given the
choice, Wayne may choose to plan his life totally differently.
Even if he doesn't, it should be his decision." He then looks
at his watch and says, "Heavens, it's late. I'll see you
home." Charlie smiles, "I think after all this time
I can find my own way." Gordon, however, insists,
"I won't hear of it - it's the least I could do.
It's been good to have someone to talk to." Charlie smiles,
"I'm glad I came then." Gordon tells her sincerely,
"So am I."
The next morning, Debbie is standing outside the country house,
a look of concern on her face. Andy emerges from the shed where
he's sleeping and watches as she heads back inside.
David is having his breakfast in the kitchen and he tells Debbie
to sit down. She does so. David then says, "What Andy said
last night: is that true?" Debbie stares at him blankly,
and he clarifies, "About you hating the job." Debbie
shakes her head and tells him, "I won't let you down."
David, however, insists, "It's not a matter of letting
me down. You'll be doing me a favour." Debbie looks
at him and he goes on, "I didn't want to see you out of a
job - you or Craig - but you don't want to do
it... and the fact that Craig is more interested in looking for
his mother... it's going to make it easier for me to sell
the business." Debbie asks in surprise, "Why do you
want to do that?" David explains, "I need the
cash to take on the insurance company about my truck - and that's
not going to be cheap." Debbie asks, "How will you make
ends meet in the meantime?" David tells her, "I'll get
as much contract driving as I can - which is not going to be easy:
I can see myself on the breadline most of the time. But I've been
there before and I will survive." Debbie murmurs, "It
still seems a lot to give up." David tells her, "There
are a lot of people out there, Deb, that think I'm a crook. Taking
the insurance company to court will prove that I'm not.
I don't care how much it costs: I've got to look after my name
- because if they take that away from me, I've got nothing."
Caroline is sipping a cup of tea at the cabin. Glen joins her
and tells her, "The bike guy's here. Are you going to ask
him for a lift back to Sydney?" Caroline doesn't respond.
Glen suggests, "You'd better hurry and make up your mind."
With that, he heads outside. After a few seconds, Caroline puts
down her tea, picks up a jacket and heads out.
Caroline catches up with Glen as he walks along the track outside.
He tells her, "I really thought we were starting to get
somewhere last night. Another couple of days together would have
done you the world of good; done us both the world of
good." He stops walking. Caroline then asks, "Could
you fix the moke - on your own?" Glen nods, "I think
so - if I had the right tools. I'll ask this guy if he's got a
couple I can borrow. Why?" Caroline replies, "Sometime,
we're going to need it to drive back to Sydney, aren't we?"
Looking relieved, Glen smiles, "I'll go and organise the
bike." He walks off, leaving Caroline with a warm expression
on her face.
Ginny is sitting in the lounge room at Charlie's, a sketch pad
in front of her. Charlie is doing some dusting as Ginny mutters,
"I don't know why I'm being kept in the dark: it's
my name Alison's clearing." Charlie points out curtly,
"Attempting to clear, my dear. You're not out of
the woods yet; not in my books." Ginny
retorts, "You don't trust people, Charlie; that's
your problem. I'd still like to know what she's found
out." At that moment, Alison comes in and says, "You
will - soon enough." She then asks Ginny for her
designs. Ginny sighs, "They're no good." Alison
retorts, "I know that. Just give them to
me, please." Ginny hands over her sketches, reluctantly.
Alison then announces, "I'm going away for a few days."
Charlie asks in surprise, "Where to?" Alison just replies,
"Never mind. All will be revealed eventually. Meanwhile,
I hope you two can get on without throwing things at each other."
With that, she heads out. Charlie and Ginny glare at each other.
In Sunbury, Debbie wanders slowly along the grounds at the country
house. She heads down to the track and looks along it. It's empty.
She sighs to herself, "Craig... when are you coming home?"
She turns to head inside again. Andy suddenly calls out to her,
though, and she turns to face him. He asks, "You still worried
about Craig? I'll help you look for him, if you like." Debbie,
shaking her head, murmurs, "I suppose I could get hold of
his Aunty Jean; see if she has any ideas." She then
asks, "Did you come all the way down here again this morning?"
Andy admits, "No, I didn't go home - not that I've got a
place to call home. I slept in the shed; I couldn't afford
anything else, not after handing over all the money to David."
Debbie looks down at the ground. Andy then goes on, "Last
night... I'm sorry for butting in, but I couldn't just stand outside
and let you cop it." Debbie ignores this and murmurs instead,
"I am worried about Craig." Andy tells her,
"All you've got to do is give me the word, Deb: I'll do anything
I can to help." Debbie, breaking down in tears, sobs, "If
anything's happened to him... I should've stopped him;
I could've. I'm scared... Something has
happened to him; I know it has." With that, she
falls into Andy's arms. Andy stands there, holding her comfortingly...