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    Written by: Greg Stevens   Produced by: Posie Jacobs   Directed by: Gaye Arnold

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 thoughtful.

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...


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