A short time later, Fiona is sitting on her couch as Alison paces
the room, saying, "I have to find the extra cash from somewhere;
we didn't count on a bad exchange rate when we did our sums."
She sits down as Fiona murmurs, "Buying a jet? Surely the
money you get from selling this place won't cover that."
Alison tells her, "It'll go far enough to cover the shortfall."
Fiona mutters, "I see. So you're going to sell a good investment
to chase after what could be a bad one." Alison
sighs, "I took that risk the day I bought in with Doug and
Bill - and Gordon. You can't have it both ways: either
I back Gordon to the hilt - which means selling this place - or
I give up on him; and you do want me to back him, don't
you?" Fiona just shakes her head and cries, "The mansion...
it's my life, now; it's my security." Alison
snaps, "For heaven's sake, Fiona, it's just a house.
You can move." Fiona stares at her and says stiffly,
"You can't move memories. When my house in Manly
burned down, I never thought I'd find another one that would mean
as much, and this place does." Alison mutters, "In
other words, you're prepared to put your future ahead
of Gordon's." Fiona retorts, "Of course not,
no, but there has to be some sort of compromise." Alison,
however, shrugs, "The mansion's the only major asset I have
to sell." Fiona nods bluntly, "So it's my future or
Gordon's." Alison, though, tells her, "That would be
the choice if I was offering one - which I'm not: I've already
made the decision."
Gordon is standing with Caroline in the lounge room at her house.
She's stacking up the boxes of T-shirts neatly as Gordon comments
to her, "It's Alison to the rescue again. We really would've
been in strife if she hadn't come up with the money." Caroline
just says sourly, "It's a shame you have to rely on her for
anything." Gordon tells her, "I know you two
have had your differences, but you have to admit she's been a
Godsend." Caroline picks up a sheet of paper and then heads
through into the kitchen. Gordon follows her as she says, "It's
not now I'm worried about; it's later."
Gordon shrugs, "If she starts playing up, we'll come down
on her like a ton of bricks." Caroline retorts, "And
she'll fight back and you'll end up with one heck of a mess on
your hands. You and Doug are sitting on a powder keg." Gordon
tells her, "That's the risk we have to take. It was either
her money or Wayne's; it's the lesser of two evils." Caroline
muses, "'Evils' is right." She then snaps,
"Damn." Gordon asks, "What?" Caroline tells
him, "Doug's breezed out to do some airline work and left
me with all this." She indicates further boxes that
are piled up in the kitchen. She then carries on, "I've had
an enquiry about an unpaid bill, and what with Doug's filing system
it could be anywhere!" Gordon asks, "What's
it for?" Caroline replies, "The screen-printing for
the T-shirts. The company who did it for us is called Colour
View; it's not under 'C'." Gordon asks, "You tried
'S'?" Caroline sighs, "I've tried 'S' for 'Screen-printing',
'P' for 'Printing', even 'T' for 'T-shirts'. So far I've come
up with 'Z' for 'Zilch'!"
Craig is sitting at the dinner table at Beryl's, doing some homework.
Beryl walks over to him, suddenly, and says tersely, "Would
you shift, please? I want to set the table." Craig tells
her, "I've nearly finished." Beryl just retorts, "Well
you can finish over there" -- she indicates the couch --
"or at the kitchen table." Craig asks, "Why do
we have to eat at the dining table?" Beryl retorts, "Because
it's a dining table and you dine at the dining table." Craig
asks, "Why can't we eat at the kitchen table?"
Beryl, raising her voice, snaps, "Because I want to eat at
the dining table." Craig, shuffling his papers together,
mutters, "It's just further to carry the food." He picks
up his books and heads over to the couch. Beryl puts a cloth on
the table, growling as she does so, "There is more to mealtimes,
Craig, than just throwing food down your gullet - not that you'd
have known, the way some of them behaved in prison: they
were like pigs around a feeding trough. I like to make
an effort." Craig murmurs, "Sorry." Beryl
looks at him and asks in surprise, "What for?" Craig
explains, "I guess there weren't too many trimmings in there.
I suppose it helps you forget." Beryl demands, "What
are you talking about?" Craig replies, "You know: making
an effort at mealtimes and that; it helps you forget what it was
like in jail." Beryl mutters, "I'd hardly say wanting
to dine at the dining table indicates I'm madly trying to forget
what happened inside." Craig insists quickly, "I only
meant that there's--" Beryl interrupts, though, and snaps,
"I know what you meant, Craig, and you're wrong.
I didn't enjoy being inside, but I haven't come out scarred
as everyone seems to think I have." Craig mutters
under his breath, "Yeah, right." As Beryl then starts
to head back into the kitchen, she glances down at his homework
and comments, "That writing looks like a spider got loose
on the page after doing backstroke in the inkwell! You would've
never have got away with it when I was at school."
Craig looks at her and retorts, "It seems to me
that it's more important what you write than how you
write it." Beryl points out, "People still have to read
it." With that, she marches into the kitchen. Craig sits
there, looking annoyed.
Andy and Sarah head into the lounge room at Charlie's. Greg follows
them, carrying a tray of soft drinks. Andy is telling Sarah, "I
didn't have the heart to say anything while the kid was there;
he's obviously got a crush on you." Greg murmurs, "And
he's not the only one..." Andy looks at him and
says, "Sorry mate?" Greg replies quickly, "Nothing!"
Andy and Sarah sit down next to one another one of the couches
and Andy goes on, "So I kept quiet. I wouldn't've even mentioned
anything if it hadn't just slipped out." Sarah comments,
"So they were your flowers all along?" Andy nods, "Yeah."
Sarah smiles, "Aren't you sweet! Thankyou!" The front
door bangs suddenly, and Alison walks in, followed by Michael.
Looking at the twins, Alison says, "Hello, you two. Enjoy
your day?" Greg nods, "Sure did. How about you?"
Alison replies stiffly, "Fine." She then looks at Andy
and remarks, "Still here..." Andy stands up and replies,
"Every time I tried to leave, Sarah stopped me." Sarah
tells Alison, "We've been getting to know each other."
She then looks at Michael and smiles, "I'm Sarah. Hi."
Alison says quickly, "I'm being rude. Michael Benson... Greg
and Sarah Hudson." Greg tells Michael, "Nice to meet
you." Michael nods, "Likewise." He then stares
at Sarah and says distantly, "Very nice to meet
you..." Alison looks at Andy, who has an annoyed
expression on his face!
It's evening-time. Andy, Michael and Greg are sitting in the
lounge room at Charlie's, Michael and Greg talking about Sydney.
Andy stands up and joins Alison at the drinks cabinet. He says
to her curtly, "We had a deal: I say nothing to Sarah about
Pamela, as long as I get to take her out." Alison, however,
retorts, "That's not the way I remember it. I said
that you could come to the house any time you want to see her
- but if Sarah wants to go out with you is totally up
to her." Andy mutters, "And Michael just happens
to turn up for dinner tonight. Coincidence, that." Alison
just shrugs, "Can I help it if he's cuter than you are?!
Let's face it: he's got a hell of a lot more going for
him." With that, she heads over to the couch and hands Michael
a drink. As she does so, Sarah walks in from the hallway. She
says, "Well?" She's wearing a very short blue dress.
As she does a twirl, she asks Alison, "Was it worth your
money?" Alison smiles, "It certainly was! You look wonderful."
Andy adds, "You look great!" Sarah looks at Greg and
mutters, "I won't bother asking you." Greg
just shrugs, "You know you always look good to me,
little sister." Michael comments in surprise, "'Little
sister'? I thought you two were twins." Greg chuckles, "She
was born second. That makes her little sister in my book."
Sarah adds curtly, "And gives him the excuse to bignote himself
over me." She then asks, "Michael?" Michael
smiles, "You look... you're a knockout!" Sarah goes
and sits down next to him, beaming, "Thankyou!" Alison
steps to one side and says quietly to Andy, "There's no accounting
for taste, is there?!" Andy stands there, looking annoyed.
Fiona is sitting in darkness in her room at the mansion, staring
into space, looking glum. The door to the room opens suddenly
and Janice comes in. She switches on the lights and smiles, "There
you are! What are you sitting in the dark for?" Fiona just
murmurs, "I was thinking." Janice goes and sits down
next to her, saying eagerly, "I've had such a wonderful day!
Some days you really wonder if there's any hope left in the world;
whether it's not just one bad thing after another - and today
proved it's not. There was this poor young girl, she just didn't
have anywhere to go; her parents had thrown her out, she'd been
sleeping in alleys, scrounging food for weeks, she looked terrible.
I must say, I have to admire her; I mean, there's one easy way
a girl can earn money if she's down on her luck, but she didn't
even consider that - not that she didn't have the chance.
Some men are animals: they can sense when a young girl's in trouble
and they just move in for the kill; but not Sally - that's her
name - Sally - she stayed decent and she struggled through. Today
she collapsed in the street and so they brought her to us. We
spent all day with her. We found her a place to live and a job,
and just seeing the look of hope on her face that someone cared;
it was wonderful. People like us just don't have to worry
about things like that." Throughout all of this, Fiona is
still sitting, staring into space. Janice carries on, "We've
got our comfort and security and people who care; we never have
to face being alone or homeless or anything like that. And it's
not only the kids, either; some of the old people... it's terrible
to see, it really is: living in a little room somewhere, stuck
away in an old people's home - and they're the lucky
ones; some others don't even have homes--" Fiona
interrupts suddenly and cries, "For God's sake, Janice, will
you stop bringing your work home with you?" Janice murmurs,
"Sorry. I thought you'd be interested." Fiona,
tears in her eyes, sobs, "I'm just not in the mood for all
your..." She then breaks down. Janice stares at her in shock.
She asks in concern, "What is it? What's wrong? Oh, Aunty..."
Sarah, Michael, Alison, Greg and Andy head into the lounge room
at Charlie's, following dinner. Greg serves up coffee as Sarah
continues telling Michael, "Phyllis kept saying, 'It's the
best school, darling. Don't worry. You'll get used to it.' She
said that for five years; I never did!" Greg chips
in, "It was our college's sister school. The girls
were so up themselves. Mind you, Phyllis was so up herself, so
no wonder she thought they were great!" Sarah adds, "She
could never understand why I didn't have many friends. There was
one girl, though: Alice Morgan. She was from the country;
really down-to-earth. We got on well - but she was expelled."
Michael asks, "How come?" Sarah explains, "She
loved horse-riding, so she used to sneak out of school to do it.
She'd even climb out of the dorm at night to do it. Riding in
the moonlight... isn't that romantic?" A look of annoyance
crosses Andy's face as Sarah smiles at Michael. She then carries
on, "It turned out it was too romantic: she was
being picked up by her boyfriend, who had a few horses stabled
outside the city! The headmistress - Miss. Delaney - caught them
and wouldn't believe it was all totally innocent - which it was,
because Alice would've told me if it wasn't. She was expelled.
Bang went my one and only friend." Michael smiles, "All
the best ones come from the country!" Sarah asks, "How
do you know?" Michael explains, "I'm a country
boy myself. Orange." Sarah smiles, "Yeah?!"
She then comments, "Isn't it terrible: Greg and I have been
so busy talking about ourselves, I hardly know anything
about you. Sorry if we've monopolised the conversation.
Tell us about yourself." Michael shrugs, "Not much to
tell, really. I was born and raised in Orange, came down here
to study." Sarah asks, "Study what?" Michael replies,
"Medicine. I'm a doctor." A look of disdain crosses
Sarah's face, suddenly, and she turns away. Not noticing this,
Michael goes on, "My folks are pretty ordinary. We get along
really well, but I don't get to see them much. I've got a brother,
but he's a jerk; I'd rather not talk about him. What else...?
I really enjoy being a doctor: it's hard work, but well worth
it." He suddenly realises that Sarah has turned away from
him and he comments, "I think I might be making myself sound
boring." Sarah just stands up and says, "I feel like
raging. You were talking about a club this afternoon, Andy. What
was it again? The, er..." Andy, looking surprised, tells
her, "The Red Parrot." Sarah nods, "Right. It sounded
fantastic. Do you want to go?" Andy replies eagerly, "Yeah!
Sure!" Sarah adds, "Now?" Andy replies in surprise,
"Now?" Sarah nods pointedly, "Now."
Andy murmurs, "Yeah." Sarah then turns to the others
and says, "Thanks for coffee. Nice meeting you, Michael.
Seeing you in the morning, big brother. Night all." With
that, she heads out. Andy follows her. When they've gone, Michael
remarks, "I've got to change my deodorant!" Alison asks
Greg in surprise, "What was that all about?"
Greg explains, "Phyllis always told her that if she married
anyone it had to be a doctor." Michael muses, "And whatever
Phyllis says..." Greg completes, "Sarah ignored."
Michael shrugs, "Oh well. Nice while it lasted."
It's the next morning. Fiona is sitting on the edge of the window
sill in her room, looking tired and upset. There are still tears
in her eyes.
Janice is pacing the floor in Michael's room, snapping, "She's
a witch, that's what she is: a malicious, unfeeling witch."
Michael, who's just sitting down to breakfast, remarks, "She
didn't even mention it last night." Janice retorts
curtly, "She probably knew you'd up and walk out of her dinner
party if you did. She knows what she's done; she knows it's wrong.
Alison has hated Aunt Fiona for years; she knows
how much the mansion means to her." She sits down on the
bed as Michael comments, "I thought they got all that sorted
out." Janice explains, "That was before Pamela
came along: Aunt Fiona was kind to Pamela, and you know how Alison
feels about her." Michael remarks, "Even so,
I can't see Alison selling the mansion just to get back at Fiona
just for being kind to her sister." Janice mutters,
"I wouldn't put anything past her." Michael
says, "I think you're letting your emotions cloud your judgement."
Janice points out, "You didn't see Aunt Fiona last night."
Michael insists, "She'll bounce back; she always does."
Janice, however, standing up again, retorts, "I'm not so
sure. I've never seen her like this." Michael suggests,
"Maybe it's time you started putting some of your training
to work at home?" Janice asks, "What do you
mean?" Michael tells her, "Take a day off work. Instead
of solving everyone else's problems, solve hers."
Janice smiles, "That's a good idea." She sits down at
the table as she adds, "Forget she's my aunty and just deal
with it like I would with anyone - and if I don't get anywhere,
I'll let Alison have it with both barrels." She goes on angrily,
"Someone has to stand up for Aunt Fiona if she's past standing
up for herself, and it looks like it's going to have to be me."
Alison is standing staring out through the french windows in
the lounge room at Charlie's. She's wearing her dressing gown.
She sighs heavily. She then hears a car pull up outside and she
dashes out to the hallway. Placing her ear against the front door,
she hears Sarah saying goodbye to Andy outside, and a look of
relief crosses her face. As the door opens, she dashes back into
the lounge room and sits down on the couch, picking up a magazine
as she does so - so that when Sarah comes in, it looks like Alison
has been sitting there, casually, all the time. Sarah comments
to her, "I hope you didn't wait up for me." Alison smiles,
"Hardly! You're a grown woman! Besides, I often
get up this early." Sarah muses, "Funny. Charlie mentioned
this afternoon how late you always sleep." Alison
mutters in an annoyed tone, "Charlie's got a big mouth."
Sarah says to her, "Thanks for the concern, but I really
can look after myself." She goes to head off to her room.
Alison calls after her, "You didn't do too well last
night." Sarah turns back to her and says, "Meaning?"
Alison replies, "Choosing Andy over Michael. I mean, anyone
could see he's got as much going for him as a one-armed man in
a knot-tying competition!" Sarah just growls, "I'll
decide about that. Goodnight. Or good morning, I should say."
With that, she heads off to her room, leaving Alison sighing heavily
Craig heads into the kitchen at Beryl's and picks up a folder.
He opens it and looks inside, just as Beryl comes in, carrying
a basket of washing. Craig stares at the sheet of paper inside
the folder. It's his homework - and Beryl has circled all his
mistakes in red pen! Craig looks at her and demands, "Who
did this?" Beryl retorts, "I did." Craig
asks, "Why?" Beryl tells him stiffly, "I
read it after you went to bed last night and it was full of spelling
mistakes." Craig gasps, "You've ruined it."
Beryl, however, retorts, "Of course I haven't ruined
it." Craig snaps, "What would you know?"
Beryl snaps back, "I stopped you from handing in a very sloppy
piece of work; that's what I know. Receive 'r-e-c-i-e-v-e'?
It's 'I before E except after C'. I learned that in primary
school, and there about ten others." Craig mutters, "I
don't give a damn about what you learned in primary school;
I have to hand this in first thing this morning." Beryl suggests
curtly, "Then you'd better start writing it out again, hadn't
you?" Craig growls, "You had no right to--" Beryl
interrupts and snaps, "It was a sloppy piece of work--"
Craig interrupts and snaps back, "Whatever it is, it is none
of your business. You shouldn't've touched it." Gordon walks
in, suddenly, from the lounge room and demands, "What the
hell is going on?" Beryl retorts, "I tried to help Craig
and he's abusing me for it." Craig shows Gordon
the sheet of paper and snaps, "Look what she did." Beryl
snaps at him, "You should be grateful I read it
for you." Craig retorts, "I don't want you
to read it for me. She's ruined it." Gordon asks,
"You got time to re-write it?" Craig mutters, "If
I skip my first class I do." Gordon tells him, "I'm
sure Beryl meant well." Beryl insists, "Of
course I did." Craig, however, snaps, "It doesn't matter
what she meant; if she wanted to scribble over my work,
she should've checked with me first." Beryl tells him tersely,
"When I was at school--" Craig interrupts and
retorts, "'When I was at school'... 'when I was at school'...
It sounds like a cracked record! When you were at school,
they were using the quill pen! Doesn't mean we have to use it
now." Gordon says quickly, "There's no need
for rudeness. You better go and re-write it and we'll talk about
it later, when you've calmed down." Craig, however, snaps,
"I'm not going to be calming down. She's been riding
me ever since she came out of jail and I've had it up to here."
He indicates his head. He then tells Beryl, "You have got
problems, Mrs. Hamilton. Big problems." With that,
he storms out to the lounge room. When he's gone, Gordon says,
"Beryl, I'm sure you meant well, but you shouldn't have marked
his work; just simply pointed out the mistakes." Beryl snaps,
"Whatever I did, there was no excuse for him to behave like
that." Gordon tells her, "You have
been riding him." Beryl gasps, "Are you agreeing
with the way he behaved?" Gordon replies, "I am simply
saying there is wrong on both sides." Beryl snaps, "I
see. Thankyou very much for your support. I suppose you agree
that I have problems, do you?" Gordon says, "Darling,
I am simply--" Beryl interrupts, though, and yells, "You
try living in that rathole I was in and see how you come
out. I expected more understanding from you, Gordon." With
that, she marches out to the lounge room. Gordon calls after her,
"Beryl, if you--" It's too late, though. Gordon breaks
off and stands there, looking worried.
Caroline is talking on the 'phone in her lounge room, saying,
"You'll get your money today, Mr. Harvey. Sorry
for the delay... Yes. Goodbye." She hangs up as someone knocks
on the front door. She goes and answers it to find Beryl standing
there. Beryl says stiffly, "Hello, Caroline, sorry to bother
you." Caroline, however, beams, "Oh, it's no bother.
It's lovely to see you. Come in." The two of them head into
the lounge room. Beryl glances at all the boxes and remarks, "You
look busy!" Caroline, however, chuckles, "Believe
me: anything to forget all this is happening! Sit down."
Beryl does so. Caroline then asks, "Are you alright?"
Beryl just replies, "Yes." Caroline then says, "Can
I get you anything? A drink?" Beryl replies, "No. Thankyou."
Caroline sits down opposite her and asks in concern, "What
can I do?" Beryl hesitates before replying, "I
swore to myself, when I got out of prison, that I wouldn't do
this - come to you, that is. I didn't want to rake up old memories
for you. But with Pamela gone, you're the only one who can understand
what it's like." Caroline asks, "Being in prison?"
Beryl nods, "That - and getting out. Everything's changed.
I've changed. I don't like it, but I can't help
it. I need to talk to someone who's been there."
Caroline starts to say uncertainly, "I'm not sure if I'd
be of--" Beryl interrupts and tells her, "I know it
was a very painful experience for you, Caroline; if you'd rather
not talk about it..." Caroline, however, assures her, "No,
no, if it'll help..." Beryl then pauses before saying, "I've
raised three children. I've always prided myself that I knew how
to deal with young people; I've always prided myself
that I was a good mother. The way I've been acting with Craig
and Debbie since I got out of prison, I..." She breaks off.
Caroline points out, "They're not your children." Beryl,
however, replies, "They could just as well be: Craig's
very similar to John and Debbie's just like Susan... was. I'm
handling it all wrong. I'm frightened time in prison
has killed my ability to be a good mother. I've still
got to raise Robert; I want to raise him properly. I
want to be a good mother. I want to be a good--"
She breaks off. Caroline asks gently, "A good what?"
Beryl murmurs, "A good wife to Gordon. I'm frightened that
I've forgotten how to love, too. You have to switch off
all your finer feelings in there, just to stay sane, and I'm scared
that I've switched them off so completely that I won't be able
to turn them back on again." Caroline hesitates
before saying slowly, "When I left prison, I hated; oh, how
I hated. I hated so much I thought I was going to go insane."
She stands up and crosses over the room to sit next to Beryl.
She then goes on, "You do switch off your finer
feelings - but you do it to protect them from what's happening.
You don't kill them; you hide them. They're safe - and they're
there to be found again. You'll find them." She continues,
"I've got Doug. I love him. I found them again.
So will you. You'll make a wonderful wife - and mother. Give it
Fiona is laying out a set of tarot cards on the table in her
room at the mansion. Janice is standing by the desk, saying curtly,
"You won't find any answers in there. We could better
use the time looking for another place to live."
Fiona, however, just says weakly, "You go out and find a
place for yourself." Janice retorts, "Wherever
we go, we're going together." Fiona, however, sighs,
"Janice, you're a young woman. You've been with me far too
long; it's high time you went out and got on with your own
life." Janice mutters, "Now you're being silly."
Fiona just shrugs, "No. Uh-uh. It's there in the cards, see?"
She indicates a particular card and says, "There I am - and
I'm all alone. In fact, it's a very bleak reading the whole way
round." Janice lashes out at the cards, suddenly, and messes
them up. She snaps at Fiona, "Would you stop that? You're
just making it worse." Fiona doesn't respond. She
just stands up and turns to head towards her room. Janice asks
in concern, "Where are you going?" Fiona sighs, "I'm
going to lie down." Janice sits there, looking worried. That
look is then replaced by an expression of grim determination.
There's a furious hammering on the front door at Charlie's. Alison
emerges from the lounge room and answers it. Janice marches inside
and snaps at her, "The good book says to turn the other cheek.
Well I'm not going to. You keep hurting Aunt Fiona and you'll
have trouble on your hands." A smiles crosses Alison's
face. She heads into the lounge room. Janice follows her, snapping
as she does so, "Do you know what you're doing to her? You've
knocked the stuffing out her. She's built her whole life around
that boarding house." Alison shrugs, "I can't help that."
Janice growls, "Just the sort of thing I'd expect
you to say." Alison retorts, "I am a businesswoman,
Janice, doing a business deal. There is nothing personal involved
in any of this." Janice mutters, "That's your
story." Alison says curtly, "I have given you all fair
notice to find other accommodation - and the assumption that I
should revolve my business dealings around the weaknesses of an
old woman--" Janice interrupts and snaps, "It's not
weakness. It's not weak to care about somewhere so much that losing
it makes you scared about the future." Alison retorts, "It
is weak not to fight that fear, and you know
it. Now, what you can't cope with is the fact that for the first
time since you've know her, Fiona's giving up; the fact that she
hasn't got any energy anymore to fight her own battles."
Janice snaps, "That's right - she hasn't; so someone
has to fight them for her." Alison retorts, "You're
not up to it. You're not up to fighting me - assuming,
of course, that there has to be a fight in the first
place." Janice growls, "As long as you're doing this
to aunty there has to be." Alison retorts, "As long
as you're assuming I'm doing it to hurt her, you mean. I'm not.
I am doing the only thing I can as a businesswoman and it's unfair
of you to attack me for it. But I'll tell you something: if you
do start a fight, I'll give as good as I get - because
I'm selling that boarding house and there is nothing
you, or anybody else, can do about it." Janice glares
Fiona emerges from the kitchen in her room at the mansion and
heads slowly into the main living area. She sighs heavily as she
looks around. She sits down in front of her tarot cards and picks
up a pile that she hasn't yet dealt. She turns over the top card
and stares at it. It's the Hanged Man. A look of horror crosses
her face as she contemplates her future...