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    Written by: Ian Coughlan   Produced by: Posie Jacobs   Directed by: Russell Webb

Alison is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's, a file of papers on her lap. Charlie is pacing the floor, crying, "It's not fair. It's simply not fair." Pamela is standing staring out of the french windows. Alison snaps at Charlie, "Charlie, I'm trying to concentrate." Charlie just retorts, "You could show a little sympathy. Fifteen years and... she's innocent; I know she is." Alison, however, shrugs, "If she says she's guilty, who are we to argue? If you want to cheer her up, do something constructive: go and visit her." Charlie exclaims suddenly, "I know! I'll send her a little gift! What do you suppose she'd like?" Pamela turns to face her and says sarcastically, "How about a case of champagne? The other girls would be really impressed!" Charlie, however, retorts, "I'm not that stupid: I know they don't allow alcohol in prison." Pamela muses, "And here I was, thinking you weren't a woman of the world!" Charlie mutters coldly, "I'm not the expert you are, darling, but then we all don't have the advantage of a prison education." Pamela nods, "True. However, a couple of weeks here on Earth instead of up there in the clouds wouldn't do you any harm at all!" Charlie opens her mouth wide, in shock. She turns to Alison and demands, "Did you hear that? It's a fine thing when I'm insulted in my own house." Alison insists, "No one is insulting you." Charlie snaps, "It certainly wasn't a compliment." She then announces, "I'm going out. I need a breath of fresh air." She marches out, leaving Alison to demand of Pamela, "Do you have to provoke her?" Pamela retorts, "I don't know how you live with the woman." Alison retorts, "It suits me." Pamela says curtly, "If I had any money, I wouldn't be sitting around here, you know." Alison sighs, "Look, I know how scatty she must seem to you, but she's not as big a fool as you think. Just give her a chance, alright?" Pamela nods wearily.

A short time later, Charlie is knocking on the door of Fiona's room at the mansion. There's no answer, though. Michael emerges from his room next door and tells her, "If you're after Fiona, she's out shopping." Charlie mutters, "Bother." Michael asks, "Anything I can help with?" Charlie sighs, "No. I just wanted someone to talk to." Michael asks, "Why? What's up?" Charlie explains tersely, "It's that Hudson woman: she moves into my place and spends all her time insulting me. I don't understand why Alison can't see through her." Michael comments, "It's your house; I guess you could always throw her out." Charlie, however, comments, "Then I'd have a real fight on my hands. Alison would just say I'm being petty. You see, I'm sure that Pamela sold that bracelet of Nick's - but I can't prove it. But when I do, that'll be the last we see of Miss. Hudson; I can promise you that." She then adds, "Tell Fiona I called. Bye!" and walks off. Michael stands there, shaking his head and looking bemused!

Nick is walking along a footpath when Wayne runs up behinds him and calls, "I want to talk to you." Nick retorts, "Too bad. I'm due at the hospital." Wayne ignores him and asks, "Why did Beryl decide to plead guilty? You're a psychiatrist; you must have some idea." Nick growls, "I'm late, I've got a rotten sore throat and I'm not in the mood for this." Wayne snaps, "You're supposed to be a professional therapist; all I'm asking for is an opinion." Nick stops walking and asks, "A professional opinion?" Wayne nods, "Yes. " Nick declares, Alright. Standard rate ninety bucks an hour." Wayne mutters, "Be serious." Nick just shrugs, "Take it or leave it." With that, he walks off.

A short time later, Wayne is following Nick along a corridor inside the hospital, saying, "I'm not going to give up, you know. If I have to, I'll wait in the consulting room all day." Nick sighs, "Alright. You've got one minute. What is it?" Wayne replies, "Why did Beryl confess? She was so adamant she was innocent, then she changes her mind. It doesn't make sense." Nick nods, "You're right: it doesn't - but don't look at me for an answer." Wayne posits, "How does this sound? What if she's found out who did try and kill me and it's someone she cares about? Maybe she's trying to protect them." Nick remarks, "Can't be too many people she cares that much about." Wayne suggests, "Susie?" Nick concedes, "Possibly." Wayne asks, "How can I prove it?" Nick just retorts, "How would I know?" Wayne points out, "You've treated her; you know how she thinks." Nick, however, tells him, "Sorry - your minute's up." He goes to walk off. Wayne grabs his arm, saying curtly, "Wait a minute, you haven't told me anything yet." Nick, however, warns him curtly, "One more step and I'll call the orderlies - and then I'll call the police. You can explain to them what your problem is, if you want to." With that, he heads off through a set of double doors, leaving Wayne looking annoyed.

There's a knock on the front door at Charlie's. Alison marches out into the hallway to answer it. She finds Nick standing on the step and she mutters, "Oh. It's you." Nick smiles, "You could at least sound a bit happy to see me!" Alison growls, "Shouldn't you be sorting out nutcases somewhere?" Nick explains, "I just finished my hospital rounds, I had half an hour before my next appointment, so I thought I'd call around and say 'hello'." Alison shrugs, "Alright. Hello. Now, you'd better hurry or you'll be late." Nick asks, "Aren't you going to say 'thankyou' for the flowers?" Alison, however, retorts, "Why should I? The only flowers I know about are the ones you sent Pamela. We both know what that was all about, don't we?" Nick, looking puzzled, says, "We do?" Alison retorts, "I imagine sending them was supposed to make me jealous. Well, I hate to break it to you, but I grew out of those games in High School." Looking astonished, Nick protests, "I didn't send them to Pamela, I sent them to you. There was a message with the card, and everything." Alison snaps, "Oh, I read the message: 'I'd like to get to know you better - Pamela'. Nick comments, "I think we're running on different tracks here. My message said 'Flowers for forgiveness. Can we try again?'" Alison, looking taken aback, remarks, "There must have been some sort of mix-up." Nick nods, "Must've." He then coughs suddenly, his throat sounding tight. He asks, "Do you might if I come in and get a glass of water? My throat's really dry." Alison sighs, "Alright." She lets him in. As the two of them head into the lounge room, Alison muses, "Come to think of it, I was out when those flowers arrived. Pamela must've switched the card." Nick snaps, "What the hell was she playing at?" Alison, however, retorts, "Oh, calm down. She's been cut off from any social contact for ten years; she must be dying for someone to send her flowers. Probably just meant to cheer herself up." Nick mutters, "If you're right, the lady needs help." Alison, however, says, "Don't be silly; I'd probably have done the same in her place. You can't be a very good psychiatrist if you don't understand that." Nick declares, "Normal women don't write love notes to themselves on other people's flowers." Ignoring this, Alison remarks, "It never occurred to me before, but she must be incredibly lonely. All those years without a man; without any kind of relationship. What she needs is some romance in her life." Nick gasps, "What she needs is a good kick up the backside! I wanted you to have the flowers." Alison mutters, "Alright, I appreciate it." She then comments, "You must have some good-looking unattached friends that I can introduce her to." Nick, however, warns, "Don't start interfering; that's the worst thing you could do. I mean it, Alison: she has to learn to be independent again." Alison just muses, "Hmm..." She then tells Nick, "I'll just get you that glass of water, then you'd better go or you'll be late for your appointment." With that, she heads out of the room, leaving Nick sighing heavily.

The 'phone rings in the hallway at the mansion. Michael yawns as he answers it and says, "Hello?" Alison comes on and asks, "What's up?" Michael asks, "Who's this?" Alison replies, "Alison. You sound tired." Michael explains, "I was just having a bit of a nap." He then asks, "Who are you after: Fiona?" Alison, however, tells him, "No, you. I bet you're not looking after yourself in that little bedsit." Michael asks warily, "What are you after?" Alison, however, assures him, "Nothing. I was just going to invite you over for dinner tonight; get a decent meal inside you." Michael replies, "Thanks all the same, but I have to work." Alison insists, "We can fit in around you. I do owe you, after all: remember that time when I was feeling down and you insisted on taking me out? I'm just repaying the favour..." She listens before responding, "Michael, I won't take 'no' for an answer... Yes, they're all people you know. It'll do you the world of good." Giving in, Michael sighs, "Alright. I'll call round about seven, before night-shift starts. OK?" Alison smiles, "Perfect. I'll see you then..."

Caroline is standing alone in the lounge room at her house, holding a small cassette recorder. She switches it on and says out loud, "She stood at the window and gazed at the mist-shrouded lawn. As the white fog swirled, she saw within it pictures of her past: painful fragments of the long and bitter struggle which had brought her to the position of power which she now had--" She breaks off suddenly, as she hears the front door open, and sits down on the couch. Doug walks in and smiles, "Hi, what are you doing?" Caroline explains, "Working. I'm finding it easier to dictate the book; rather than putting it straight down on paper, I can make changes as I type it up." Doug gives her a kiss and teases, "Are you sure you don't just like the sound of your own voice?!" He sits down next to her. Caroline asks, "Don't you have anything to do?" Doug, however, muses, "I was kind of wondering what's for lunch." Caroline looks at her watch and, looking shocked, exclaims, "Goodness me! I'm sorry, love, but could you fix yourself something? I've got a meeting with my publisher." Looking put-out, Doug murmurs, "I'll be able to find a can of dog-food or something, somewhere!" He then picks up the cassette player from were Caroline has placed it on the coffee table and says, "Let's hear what you've done." Caroline says quickly, "I'd rather not - really." Doug insists, "Come on--" Fortunately for Caroline, the 'phone starts ringing suddenly. She says to Doug, "Could you get that in the kitchen? I really want to finish this paragraph before I go." Doug sighs, "Yeah, alright." He heads out of the room. When he's gone, Caroline pulls the tape out of the player, puts it in an envelope and then places the envelope behind some books in the bookcase by one of the walls. She then stands there, looking relieved. In the kitchen, Doug is saying on the 'phone, "Another $5,000? Hell, Bob, I can't lay my hands on that kind of cash." Caroline walks in as Doug sighs, "Yeah, I suppose if we have to we have to. Leave it with me; I'll see what I can figure out. Bye." He hangs up. Caroline asks, "Anything wrong?" Doug explains, "Problems with the US end of the T-shirt deal. That was Bob Baxter. We need another five grand launch capital." Caroline exclaims in shock, "We don't have five thousand dollars." Doug replies, "Not at the moment. I guess there are ways..." Caroline asks, "Such as?" Doug, however, shrugs, "I'll just have to give it a lot of thought. Don't you go worrying about it." Caroline warns, "Don't you go having a nervous breakdown over it, either. We'll talk about it when I get back." Doug tells her, "Have a good meeting." With that, Caroline heads out. Doug stands in the kitchen, looking worried.

Pamela is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's as Alison pours herself a drink and says, "I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. It'll give you a chance to relax and you'll get to know a few people." Pamela agrees, "Yeah, it could be fun. Who's invited?" Alison, however suggests, "Let's keep it a surprise. It'll be more interesting that way." Charlie walks in suddenly. She and Pamela glare at each other before she asks, "Any messages for me?" Alison sighs, "No - and will you two stop glowering at each other? I've just been telling Pamela I've organised a small dinner for tonight. You're invited, of course." From the couch, Pamela mutters, "Terrific." She stands up and heads out of the room. When she's gone, Charlie comments sourly to Alison, "I know when I'm not wanted. Just because it's my house, don't feel you have to invite me." Looking annoyed, Alison mutters, "Don't be so silly. You know, I've just figured out why Pamela's been so difficult lately: she needs some romance in her life." Charlie muses, "Who doesn't?!" Alison adds, "That's why I've arranged the dinner." Charlie murmurs, "Dare I ask who you're lining her up with?" Alison replies, "I thought Pamela and Michael might make a good pair." Looking shocked, Charlie gasps, "Michael! With her? You're not serious!" Alison retorts, "Of course I am, and I don't have time to argue about it: I'm due next door at a business meeting." Charlie starts to say, "Darling, I don't--" Alison interrupts her, though, and says, "Charlie, trust me: things are going to be a lot easier when I get those two together." With that, she heads out. Charlie stands in her lounge room, crosses her arms and says coldly, "Over my dead body."

A short time later, Wayne sits down in an armchair in the lounge room at Dural. He's looking at the stubs in a chequebook as Alison tells him, "A substantial injection of capital was all we needed. You can see it reflected in the quarterly figures." Wayne asks suddenly, "Who's Clive Greer?" Alison replies, "Who?" Wayne repeats, "Clive Greer. Susan's made out some fairly substantial cheques to him." Alison replies disinterestedly, "Oh, him. He's just a bookie." Wayne looks at her, sharply, and says, "She's gambling with company funds?" Alison tells him, "I don't like it, either, but it's her money." Wayne remarks, "It's funny: I thought I knew all the big bookies around here; I don't seem to know this one, though." Alison replies, "Maybe he's not big, but he's genuine: I 'phoned and checked." Wayne asks, "What did he say?" Alison shrugs, "Nothing much. Just that he's a bookie and Susan's been placing bets with him. That's about all there is to it." Wayne sits there, looking thoughtful.

It's nighttime. Caroline's house is in semi-darkness. The lounge room has been emptied of furniture. Caroline walks in through the front door and switches on the lights. She heads into the lounge room and then stops in her tracks as she sees the state of it. She gasps in horror, "Oh..." She dashes over to the 'phone, which is lying on the floor, and picks it up. Doug walks into the room and Caroline says quickly, "When did this happen? How long have you been back?" Doug replies, "Just a few minutes. Listen, we've got to talk." He takes the 'phone. Caroline cries, "We have got to call the police. What kind of a person could have done this? Maybe it's not too late to catch them." Doug, however, sighs, "Caroline, please, we don't need the police. Come and sit down." Caroline snaps, "How can I sit down? There's nothing to sit on." Doug suggests, "On the floor, then." The two of them sit down on a rug left in the middle of the floor. Doug then explains, "While you were out, I had to make a decision about the US deal: I could let it all fall through for the sake of a few thousand, or I could save it with a short-term sacrifice, knowing that, before long, we'd be in the money again." Caroline gasps in sudden realisation, "Short-term sacrifice... You've sold our furniture?" Doug murmurs, "Sort of... Yeah." Caroline, looking horrified, cries, "How could you? How can we live like this?" Doug smiles, "I know a bloke who can lend us some camping gear!" Caroline, standing up, yells, "I don't want to live in a tent! I liked our furniture. We'll never get it back. You must have got half its value on the second-hand market. For heaven's sakes, Doug, couldn't you get the money from somewhere else?" Doug shrugs, "I could've sold the house - but then we wouldn't have had anywhere to store the furniture!" Caroline warns, "Doug..." Doug gets up onto his knees. He takes Caroline's hand and tells her, "It won't be for long, I promise. As soon as the profits start coming in, I'll buy you furniture ten times as nice." Caroline repeats, "As soon as the profits start coming in..." She then bursts out laughing!

Wayne is standing with Michael in his room at the mansion, saying, "I just felt like talking to someone. Feel like coming for a meal?" Michael, however, putting on a jacket, explains, "I'm already going out, mate. I was just about to leave." Wayne murmurs, "Oh. OK." Michael then goes on, "I saw Susan a few minutes ago. She looked pretty miserable. If I were you, I'd keep out of the way." Wayne explains quickly, "That's part of the reason why I'm here: from what she said, do you think there's any chance of us getting back together again?" Michael, however, tells him, "I think you have to face facts: after what's gone on lately, it's impossible." Wayne looks away. Michael pleads, "For your own sake, stop thinking about it; get on with your life; believe me, it's all you can do." He then adds, "I have to go. I'm running late." Wayne walks out of the room, looking annoyed. Michael follows him.

A while later, Michael is sitting next to Pamela on one of the couches in the lounge room at Charlie's. Alison sits down on the other couch, a drink in her hand, and says to her sister, "So, have you had any ideas about what you might do?" Pamela nods, "Yeah, I've been considering a few things. Real estate's the one that appeals most." Alison points out, "The market's a bit uncertain at the moment." She then asks, "What do you think, Michael?" Michael shrugs, "I'm no expert, but if you say it's uncertain, maybe it's a good area to stay away from." Pamela, however, says, "Oh no, I think it's the perfect time for somebody with some really good instincts to get in there and make some quick money. That's what I want." Charlie walks into the room suddenly. She's holding a bottle of wine and she trills, "Anyone need topping up?" Michael nods, "Thanks, Charlie." As Charlie refills his glass, Michael says to Pamela, "It's good to have a goal, but don't you think you should work up to it a little? You've been, well, out of touch for a while." Pamela just murmurs, "I've sort of kept in practice." Michael smiles, "I'll certainly watch your career with interest. I have a feeling I could learn a thing or two." Pamela smiles back, "Oh, I don't know. I have a feeling you've got some pretty good instincts yourself!" Charlie looks on, an expression of disapproval on her face.

Some newspaper-wrapped fish and chips and some bottles of sauce are laid out on the rug on the floor in the lounge room at Caroline's. Doug is escorting Caroline into the room, and she's giggling, "I can't wait to see what this big surprise is!" Doug tells her, "Just keep your eyes closed; we're not quite there yet." He guides Caroline across to the middle of the room before saying, "OK - you can look." Caroline opens her eyes, stares down at the rug and murmurs coldly, "Oh. Doug." Doug, looking disappointed at her reaction, retorts, "I went to a lot of trouble to get this stuff together. I thought we could get a bit of nostalgia going. If you don't remember..." Caroline smiles, "How could I forget? I'd just started working for you and you asked me out to dinner." Doug continues, "And you, for some strange reason, decided I was a yobbo! Your exact words, as I recall, were, 'I suppose that means fish and chips on the floor in a sheet of newspaper!'" Caroline muses, "Just as well I had the sense to say I was busy that night!" Doug puts on a strong Australian accent and says, "Sit down, shut up and eat!" Caroline laughs, "You silver-tongued devil! How could a girl resist?!" The two of them sit down and Doug pours some champagne. He then hands Caroline a glass and proposes, "Here's to our first million." Caroline muses, "Right now, I'd just love enough to buy a couple of beanbags!"

At Charlie's, Michael sits down next to Pamela, a plate of nibbles in his hands, and says to her, "I imagine the secret with real estate is convincing the customers you're on their side; their happiness is your first consideration." There's a knock at the front door, suddenly, and Charlie goes to get it. She finds Nick standing on the step, wearing a tuxedo. Charlie smiles at him, "Come in, Nick - the more the merrier!" Nick, however, tells her, "I'm afraid I'm not feeling too merry right now; I was going to call and cancel, but I thought getting out for a while might make me feel a bit better." Alison emerges from the lounge room and joins them. She looks worried as she says, "Hello, Nick." Charlie smiles at Nick, "Come on through." Nick heads into the lounge room, leaving Alison to say to Charlie, "What is going on?" Charlie beams, "Oh, darling, silly me! Got my date mixed up, didn't I? Completely forgot that I'd asked Nick to dinner tonight!" Alison snaps, "You idiot. Have you any idea what's going to happen when Nick and Michael see each other?" Charlie just smiles, "Oh dear!" In the lounge room, Nick stops in his tracks as he spots Michael sitting next to Pamela. The two brothers glare at each other.

Sometime later, everyone is sitting down in the lounge room, post-dinner drinks in their hands. Charlie is beaming, "What a delicious meal. I think Alison surpassed herself; don't you, Michael?" Michael nods, "It was lovely." Pamela remarks to Nick, "You didn't seem to eat very much." Nick, however, assures her, "The food was great; I just wasn't hungry." Pamela then asks Alison, "Are we going to have coffee in here?" Alison nods, "Yes. I'll put some on." She heads out of the room. When she's gone, Charlie looks at Pamela and comments, "It must be a long time since you had such a delicious meal, Pamela." Pamela, however, retorts, "No, actually, you cooked me one last week." She then turns to Nick and says, "We were talking about sales psychology earlier. Now, as a psychiatrist, you'll be able--" She breaks off suddenly as Nick bursts into a fit of coughing. When he's recovered, Pamela comments, "You don't seem too well." Nick, however, insists, "It's just a sore throat. I've been trying to ignore it all day, but I think it's getting worse. Maybe I should go; I don't want you all to get it." Charlie suggests, "Maybe I could get you a tablet or something?" She goes and places the palm of her hand on his forehead. She then exclaims, "My goodness! Michael, do something." Michael tells her sharply, "Doctors can't treat relatives." Charlie retorts, "Nonsense, do something." Nick tells her, "I'm alright, really." Charlie just says, "Shh." Turning back to Michael, she goes on, "You must have your doctor's bag in the car. You'll just have to forget your silly rules; this man is sick and he needs urgent treatment." Nick repeats, "It's just a sore throat." Pamela, however, says, "For once I agree with Charlie: he's got a hell of a temperature and his pulse is running like a train." Nick insists, "Honestly - an aspirin is all I need." Michael stares at him. He then stands up reluctantly and says, "Alright, I'll get him something. Won't be a minute."

Doug and Caroline are sitting back-to-back on the rug on the floor of Caroline's lounge room. They're each holding some sheets of newspaper, and Caroline smiles, "Next time you create a cordon bleu meal, could you try to avoid getting tomato sauce all over the crossword clues, please?!" Doug laughs, "I'm sorry!" He then turns back to the section of newspaper he's holding and says, "Hey, listen." He begins to read, ''This columnist glimpsed a few paragraphs of the sizzling soon-to-be-released new bestseller by Angela Johns today. I can safely say it's even hotter than My Sister My Love.'" He them comments, "I thought you were having writer's block." Caroline says uncomfortably, "Oh, I'm over that now." Doug says, "Let's hear what you've done so far, then." Caroline murmurs, "It's hardly more than just notes." Doug, indicating the newspaper, comments, "She doesn't seem to think so." Caroline, however, tells him, "That's just blurb. She's only seen a couple of pages. Darling, I promise you, you'll be the first one I show it to - when it's ready." Doug muses, "At that rate, I'll be told old to enjoy it!" Caroline sits there, looking worried.

Michael is injecting a needle into Nick's arm. He's telling his brother - who's lying back on the couch at Charlie's, looking weak - "It'll be a while before the shot takes effect. I'll give you a painkiller in the meantime." Charlie hands Michael a glass of water, which he passes to Nick. He then hands over a couple of tablets, adding, "Take this - they should help." Nick swallows them and murmurs, "Thankyou." He then stands up and says, "I think I should be alright, now, to get home." All-of-a-sudden, however, he starts snorting and gasping for air. He collapses back onto the couch. Charlie cries, "Oh my God, what's wrong?" Alison starts undoing his Nick's shirt as Pamela comments, "He can't breathe." Michael stares at his brother in shock.


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