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    Written by: Greg Stevens   Executive Producer: Don Battye   Directed by: Peter Andrikidis

Todd climbs out of the pool at Charlie's as Alison walks over to the sunlounger nearby, holding a cup of coffee. Todd smiles at her, "I thought you might've joined me for a swim." Alison retorts sharply, "Why?" Todd beams, "It's a great way to start the day." Alison just mutters, "I prefer to start my day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper." Todd chuckles, "Fair enough!" He goes to head inside. Alison, however, calls, "Todd..." Todd turns to look at her. Alison goes on, "Charlie and I have been friends for a very long time." Todd nods, "I know that; she told me." Alison continues, "I don't intend to stand by and watch her getting hurt." Todd comments, "I reckon she's doubly lucky then." Alison asks in surprise, "How do you work that out?" Todd tells her, "I wouldn't let anyone hurt her, either - so that's two of us she's got looking after her." He then adds, "Better shake a leg: I want to surprise Charlie before I go to work - breakfast in bed!" With that, he heads off inside, leaving Alison looking thoughtful.

Inside, Charlie heads into the lounge room, holding a glass of tomato juice. She's wearing her dressing-gown and has only just got up. Todd walks into the room behind her, carrying a tray, and smiles, "Morning!" Looking horrified, Charlie pulls her dressing gown round her face quickly and hisses, "Todd! What are you doing here? You're supposed to be at work!" Todd smiles, "Not yet; wanted to make you breakfast first." Charlie says quickly, "You shouldn't have." Todd asks, "Why not?" Charlie retorts, "B-b-b-because I never see anyone first thing in the morning; I look an absolute wreck. I never even look at myself before I've had a shower, and I'm not wearing any make-up and I haven't done my hair... I look awful!" Todd, however, puts his hands on her shoulders and says gently, "You look fine. You're just being silly." Charlie snaps, "No I'm not." Todd asks, "What if it had been Alison who walked in?" Charlie replies, "She's a friend; she's not here to judge me." Todd asks, "And you think I am?" He then says sincerely, "I am in love with you Charlie, not your clothes; not your make-up." Charlie cries, "I still look a mess." Todd, however, insists, "No you don't; you look fine. You're as beautiful now as you were last night." Charlie asks in surprise, "Do you mean that?" Todd nods, "No pretence, Charlie; just you and me as we are; nothing else." With that, he kisses her and gives her a hug. Charlie stands there, looking relieved.

Craig heads into Beryl's through the front door. Looking around him warily, he walks into the lounge room and picks up his wallet from on top of the TV. He's just heading out into the hallway again when Beryl emerges from one of the bedrooms, holding a vacuum cleaner. Craig says quickly, "I forgot my wallet; thought I'd slip back on my break and pick it up." He starts backing towards the front door again. Beryl, however, says, "Craig, I think you and I should have a talk." Craig stands there, looking worried.

A short time later, Beryl puts the vacuum cleaner down in the lounge room. Craig joins her, an expression of uncertainty on his face. She tells him, "Er... I owe you an apology - not just for messing up your essay, but for the way I've been treating you lately." Craig shrugs, "It's OK; forget it." Beryl, however, insists, "No, no, it has to be said." She then continues, "I came out of prison with a chip on my shoulder; I needed to strike out at someone. Unfortunately it was you. I'm sorry." Craig points out, "It's over. We're best off pretending it never happened." Beryl, though, tells him, "No. I had no right to do what I did - and if you catch me at it again, you have my full permission to pull me into line." A smile crosses Craig's face. He laughs, "Deal - on one condition: if you see any more spelling mistakes, you pull me into line!" Beryl shrugs in surprise, "If you think it'll help." Craig says, "Your last effort did: we were marked in class this morning and I scored an A!" Beryl beams, "Good on you!" Craig tells her, "Would've been a B because of my bad spelling, but, well, you're as good as having a computer spelling program pick up my errors!" Beryl exclaims, "Computer spelling program? What will they think of next?! When I went to school, we had the basic Three Rs - and only three choices of jobs: you could be a nurse, a teacher or a secretary; that's if you didn't drop out at Intermediate and become a waitress like I did." Craig comments, "It's a pity; if you'd got your HSC, you could've had your choice of any profession." Beryl shrugs, "I didn't, so that's that." Craig suggests, "You should go back." Beryl asks blankly, "To where?" Craig replies, "School. An adult student." Beryl, however, chuckles, "It's too late for that! Anyway, you'd better get going; you'll be late for your next lecture, if you're not careful." Craig turns and heads out. He then calls back, "You want to write me a note?!"

At the offices of Sanders Air Charter, Doug hands Gordon a mug of coffee as he says, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I can never understand why you fell in love with Alison in the first place; she just doesn't seem the right person for you, you know?" Gordon replies, "No. People change." He then laughs, "That's profound, isn't it!" Becoming serious, he goes on, "They do. I know I did. When I was young, I had a very romanticised idea of love, and when I first saw Patricia she fitted the bill perfectly. We weren't soul mates; so what?" Doug comments, "You were prepared to accept the rest: the kind of woman she was, and all that?" Gordon replies, "What's that: good and bad? Loving and vindictive? She's a very complex woman: for everything that's wrong about her, there's something else that's right. When she wants to be, she can be the most loving, caring person in the world." Doug listens but then smiles, "Credit where credit's due, mate, but don't go overboard about it! Still, I reckon I know what you're on about: Caroline can be a bit of a handful at times, too. I think that's what appeals to me: I enjoy the fights; it keeps life from being dull and boring." Gordon just muses, "Rather you than me: I'm all for the quiet life these days." Doug suggests, "I suppose that's why you married Beryl." Gordon nods, "Partly." Doug asks, "What else?" Gordon tells him, "We share the same sense of the ridiculous; we used to laugh at the same things." Doug remarks, "And you don't anymore?" Gordon shrugs, "There's not much to laugh at anymore. However, things are bound to get better..."

Fiona is walking slowly down the hallway at the mansion, wearing her dressing gown. Alison comes in through the front door and Fiona says glumly, "Hello, Alison." Alison comments, "Getting out of bed a bit late, aren't you? Half the day's gone." Fiona mutters, "I just didn't feel like getting up this morning, that's all." A man joins them. He's holding a clipboard and Alison tells Fiona, "This is Peter Bird, estate agent. He's come over to give me a valuation on the property." Fiona murmurs, "I'll leave you to it; I don't want to hold you up." With that, she heads off to her room. Bird looks at Alison and asks, "One of your tenants?" Alison nods, "Yes." Bird then tells her, "You're doing the right thing, Alison. You're not running a boarding house for pensioners. It might sound cruel, but it's the truth. Anyway, it's the government's job to look after them, not ours." Alison, ignoring this, just says, "I want this sale to go through as quickly as possible. If that means dropping the price a couple of thousand, do it. Also, if there's a buyer who wants to keep the boarding house as a going concern, give them first option." Bird shrugs, "Whatever you say."

A while later, Alison marches in through the front door at Charlie's. Todd is walking down the hallway and he remarks, "You're home!" Alison retorts, "Nothing wrong with your eyesight!" Todd then asks, "Good day so far?" Alison mutters, "Not particularly." She then comments, "You still haven't gone to work." Todd, opening the door, replies, "Off now." Alison remarks, "Fat farm calls?" Todd, however, tells her, "Not anymore. I'm running the gym for Charlie; she's made me manager." Alison mutters, "Congratulations." With that, Todd heads out. Alison heads into the lounge room, where Charlie is talking on the 'phone, saying curtly, "She's the last person who should point the finger." She then listens before saying more calmly, "Alright, darling, thanks for calling - it's nice to know who one's friends are. Bye!" She hangs up before snapping at Alison, "Honestly! Some of the people I mix with!" Alison asks, "What's up?" Charlie, going and sitting down, retorts, "That was Margo - she was at the party I took Todd to last night. Apparently, half the people there were laughing at me behind my back." Alison muses, "Can't imagine why..." Charlie explains, "They think I'm silly to get involved with someone younger. They're taking bets on how long it'll be before he dumps me." Alison remarks, "Pretty short odds too, I should imagine." Charlie stares at her and gasps, "I beg your pardon?" Alison tells her, "Charlie, they're right: you're so silly to get yourself so seriously involved with Todd; the boy's a gold-digger." Charlie retorts angrily, "He is not a boy!" Alison tells her curtly, "He is from where you and I stand." She then goes on, "If you must have a fling with someone as young and attractive as Todd, do so; half your luck, in fact - but see it for what it is - and for heaven's sake, don't be stupid enough to marry him." Charlie stands up and demands furiously, "Are you saying Todd is a gigolo?" Alison retorts, "Yes, in a word." Charlie snaps, "Then you don't know the first thing about him. He is a wonderful human being who is in love with me - and if you don't believe that, tough - because I do." With that, she storms out of the room.

Fiona emerges wearily from the kitchen in her room at the mansion, holding a plate of biscuits. As she sits down, Charlie follows her out of the kitchen, saying, "I can handle the slings and arrows of so-called friends, but when I hear the same things from Alison..." Fiona remarks, "That hurts." Charlie sits down as she nods, "Very much. I just don't need it. Do you think I'm being silly?" Fiona says in reply, "A question for a question: does Todd make you happy? Do you really care about him?" Charlie replies, "Very much - and he cares for me." Fiona tells her, "Well that's all that matters; not what 'he' thinks or what 'she' thinks. If you feel it's right, go for it!" Charlie smiles as she remarks, "That's how you've always thought, isn't it?" Fiona replies distantly, "Yeah, I've always lived my life for the moment... ignored the good advice of friends and thrown myself into whatever relationship seemed worthwhile. Some of them turned out really very good - and others turned out absolute disasters! But while they lasted, they were what life was all about." Charlie murmurs, "I don't know... maybe I should just slow down for a while..." Fiona shrugs, "Of course, it's entirely up to you, but I've always operated on the assumption that unless you commit yourself to something, you're just going to miss out on a big chance; you know: the one big love of your love." Charlie tells her, "That's how I think; that's just what I want to do." Fiona smiles at her, "Do it!"

A while later, Fiona is showing Charlie out. Charlie is beaming, "A bit of positive reinforcement does wonders for the soul, doesn't it!" Fiona murmurs, "So they say." Charlie goes on, "I think I'll go and buy a new dress to top it off; that's good for the soul, too - at least, it is for mine!" Fiona doesn't laugh." As the two of them stand by the main front door, Charlie then comments, "Darling, I've just noticed - I was too taken up with my own worries - but you're not your usual self this afternoon. What's wrong?" Fiona murmurs, "It's nothing you can do anything about." Charlie smiles, "Surely not!" Fiona sighs, "You can't do anything about growing old, Charlie." Charlie stares at her and insists, "You're not old, Fiona; you'll never be old!" At that moment, the estate agent, Peter Bird, appears in the doorway, accompanied by a woman in her thirties. Bird says to Fiona, "I wonder if you'd mind if I showed Mrs. Brennan over the building. She's interested in buying." Brennan clarifies quickly, "Could be interested." Fiona shrugs, "Be my guest." With that, Bird leads Mrs. Brennan inside. When they've gone, Charlie gasps at Fiona, "Is Alison selling?" Fiona nods her head, sadly. Charlie exclaims, "It's the first I knew about it. No wonder you're so down - you'll have to find somewhere else to live." Fiona murmurs, "Wherever that might be. Still, it's no good grouching: I'll just have to accept it." Charlie, however, tells her, "Strings can be pulled - and in my book, one good turn deserves another..." With that, she heads out.

Sometime later, Alison is sitting on the couch in the lounge room at Charlie's as Charlie stands and rants at her, "Have you any idea what you've done to Fiona? She's gone into an absolute depressive spiral. She's lost all her spark." Alison retorts, "That's hardly my fault." Charlie demands, "Then whose is it?" Alison growls, "For heaven's sake: I own a boarding house; I've decided to sell it; the fact that Fiona lives there shouldn't even come into it." Charlie snaps, "Well it does, and if you had one decent bone in your body you'd forget the whole thing." Alison stands up and says tersely, "Charlie, in case you've forgotten, let me remind you of a few important facts: 1) I over-extended myself financially in order to fund the expansion of Gordon's air charter service; 2) The mansion is the only asset I have left to sell; and 3) Fiona should be mature enough to understand that this is a business deal and nothing to do with her personally - and if she isn't, too bad. I have no intention of being made the whipping boy for everyone who feels sorry for the old warhorse." Charlie says suddenly, "I know: I'll buy it myself and keep it on as a boarding house and Fiona can stay on as manager." Alison, however, mutters, "Don't be ridiculous; where are you going to get hundreds of thousands of dollars from? All your money's tied-up in assets; apart from which, you now have a rather expensive dependent; you won't have any money left to spare." Charlie glares at her and snarls, "Thankyou very much." With that, she storms out of the room. The 'phone starts ringing suddenly and Alison answers it. She listens and then says tersely, "Yes, Doug, what do you want?" Doug replies, "I don't know whether I should say if it's going to get my head bitten off!" He then continues anyway, "Now that we're going to buy the jet, Gordon and I were wondering when we could expect the rest of your investment money." Alison growls, "You'll get the money when I have it, alright?" Doug tells her, "We're going to need it pretty soon. We can't keep these finance guys hanging on too long; the interest charges are going to kill us." Alison says curtly, "Doug, in case you don't understand the Queen's English, I told you: you'll get the money when I have it. And if you keep hassling me, I might be inclined to cancel the whole deal... Yes. Goodbye." With that, she hangs up, looking annoyed.

A short time later, Doug is standing in the lounge room at Caroline's, looking at some sheets of paper. The boxes of T-shirts are still piled up everywhere. Caroline walks into the room and remarks to Doug, "I thought I heard you come in." Doug nods, "I dropped in to make a 'phone call." Caroline then announces, "I'm just on my way out. I won't be back before dinnertime. I won't be making dinner tonight, either." Doug assures her, "That's OK; it's time I took my turn in the kitchen anyway." Caroline, however, just goes on sternly, "If these boxes aren't out of this house by the time I get home, there will be hell to pay." Doug sighs, "Fair go. Where am I going to put them?" Caroline gives him a look and he adds quickly, "Don't answer that!" Caroline snaps, "Just make sure they go. I am sick of living in a warehouse." Doug cries, "Caroline, be reasonable, will you?" Caroline, however, snaps, "Reasonable? You don't have to live with them. I do. I have to spend 24 hours a day with them. I can hardly get in the room - and when I do, they either fall on me or start talking to me or both, and I've just about had it." Doug laughs, "Do you answer them back?!" Caroline glares at him and snaps, "What?" Doug smiles, "When they talk to you!" Caroline stares at him before hitting him with her handbag and snapping, "It is not funny, Doug. I felt a fool and I could've been hurt." She then whacks him with her bag again! Doug cries, "Watch it!" Caroline, however, retorts furiously, "You watch it. Either these stupid boxes of T-shirts of yours go or I do. I mean it, Doug: I want every last one of them cleared out of here and I never want to see them again. Is that understood?" Doug runs to the front door and heads out without answering! Caroline follows him to the door and yells outside, "Is that understood?!"

A while later, Doug is standing with Gordon in the office at Sanders Air Charter, saying, "I tell you, mate: Caroline can be a dangerous woman to be on the wrong side of." Gordon remarks, "That's a change of tune from this morning: I thought you liked the fights! 'Keeps life from being dull and boring!'" Doug mutters, "Yeah, but it gets a bit hairy when she starts beating you over the head with things!" Gordon, going and sitting down at the desk, comments, "I take it you're not too popular at the moment." Doug admits, "Not exactly." He then goes on, "I just wonder, mate, whether you and Beryl would like to come to dinner tonight. Craig too. I'll cook up something really snazzy." Gordon remarks, "You want us to be some sort of peace initiative with Caroline, hmm?" Doug nods, "That's right - it's called 'staying in one piece!'. You see, I reckon if she can come home to a decent meal, no T-shirts in the lounge room and spend an enjoyable evening with friends, I might just have a chance of staying out of the doghouse!" Gordon smiles, "We can't have that, can we! I'll call Beryl and set it up." Doug smiles back, "Thanks, Gordon, you're a real mate."

It's evening-time. Doug opens a bottle of red wine in the lounge room at Caroline's, commenting as he does so, "Craig couldn't make it?" Beryl, who's sitting on the couch with Gordon, replies, "He'd made some arrangements to go out with some friends from Tec." Gordon then comments, "I see you got rid of the T-shirt cartons." Doug nods, "Yep. All taken care of." Gordon asks, "Where are they?" Doug points to the ceiling and smiles, "They're stacked-up, up in the roof." Gordon remarks, "That's hardly what I'd call 'off the premises'." He looks at Beryl. Doug, however, tells him, "Once Caroline finds out, I should've sweetened her up enough to give me enough time to find somewhere more permanent." Beryl muses, "You hope!" Doug insists, "She'll be right. No worries." At that moment, there's a noise at the front door. Doug heads out to the hallway, where Caroline is just coming in, and smiles, "Hi, darling, how are you?" Caroline just says tersely in reply, "Have they gone or do I have to pack my bags?" Doug tells her, "They've gone - and we have guests." Caroline asks, "Who?" Doug replies, "Gordon and Beryl - and I've cooked dinner, like I promised, so you can relax and go back to your sweet little old self!" Caroline asks suspiciously, "Have you actually got rid of all the boxes?" Doug tells her, "Have a look around; you won't find a trace." Caroline peers into the kitchen before musing, "Good." Doug then says, "How about a big smile for our guests?" A smile begins to cross Caroline's face and she gives Doug a kiss. Doug beams, "That a girl!" The two of them then head into the lounge room, where Doug announces, "The guest of honour has finally arrived." Caroline starts looking around. She then asks Doug suspiciously, "Where have you hid--; in the bedroom?" Doug, however, tells her, "Not even warm!" With that, he heads off to the kitchen. When he's gone, Caroline remarks to Beryl and Gordon, "I love him, but I still don't trust him!" Gordon hands her a glass of wine and Caroline remarks, "Claret! Doug must have cooked a red-meat dish." Beryl comments, "I wonder if it's steak or spare ribs?" Caroline comments, "That sounds dangerously like a craving, Beryl!" Beryl admits, "It is. Everything I missed out on when I was in jail." Gordon, putting his arm around Beryl, smiles, "Mashed potatoes have been barred from our house for life!" Beryl adds, "Mashed potatoes and meatloaf; if ever I see those two things on a plate together again, I will scream!" At that moment, Doug walks back in and asks, "Hungry?" Gordon nods, "Starving." Caroline asks him, "What are we having?" Doug, who's holding a platter in his hands, removes a teatowel covering it and reveals, "Speciality of the house: meatloaf and mashed potatoes!" There's silence. Doug asks indignantly, "What's wrong?" Beryl bursts out laughing, "Nothing!"

Later that evening, Beryl and Gordon arrive back at Beryl's. Beryl looks around and comments, "Craig must be still out or he's gone to bed." She switches on the lights as Gordon remarks, "Doug's meatloaf wasn't that bad after all, was it?" Beryl nods, "It was lovely. I just hope he didn't think I was rude laughing like that." Gordon assures her, "I don't think so. I didn't. In fact, it was good to hear - it's the first time you've laughed since you've been out of jail." He then offers, "Port?" Beryl nods, "Yes please." The two of them sit down and Gordon goes on, "That's something we still share: a sense of humour - not that you and I have been doing much smiling over the last few weeks, have we?" He then continues sincerely, "My feelings for you haven't changed, Beryl. I still love you as much as the day that we were married." Beryl nods gently, "I know that." Gordon adds, "If I've been criticising you, it was only to jolt you back into being your old self again. When you got out of prison you were angry - even destructive; not just to me, but to others as well." Beryl asks warily, "Anyone specific in mind?" Gordon nods, "Uh huh." Beryl asks, "Alison?" She answers her own question, going on, "I think I'll always be jealous of that woman." Gordon insists, "There's no need to be." Beryl, however, murmurs, "She took one husband away from me once; I suppose at the back of my mind I have a fear she might do it again." Gordon asks, "No matter what I say?" Beryl insists, "I know it's crazy, but I can't help it." Gordon tells her, "There's nothing going on between Alison and me and there never will be." Beryl murmurs, "I accept that - and I believe that nothing happened between you and her that night. But what I find hard to accept is that you turned to her when you were at rock bottom when you should've turned to me. The truth was, I suppose, that I was too caught up in my own problems to see that you were falling apart." Gordon says, "I knew it wasn't because you didn't love me." Beryl murmurs, "I thought I'd forgotten how to love." Gordon asks, "Do you still feel that way?" Beryl shakes her head, the hint of a smile on her face. Gordon then declares, "I love you, Beryl Aileen Hamilton!" He gives her a kiss. Beryl replies, "And I love you, Gordon Alexander Hamilton!" She then places her head on Gordon's shoulder, warmly.

The next morning, Beryl is cooking breakfast in the kitchen when Gordon walks in and smiles, "Smells good!" Beryl replies, "Fried bacon always smells good!" She then asks, "Is Craig up yet?" Gordon tells her, "He should be - I knocked on the door three times." At that moment, Craig walks in and asks, "Are my ears burning?!" He then goes on, "Has anyone seen my Maths book?" Beryl tells him, "On top of the 'fridge." Craig retrieves his book and also picks up some other papers that are lying there. He looks at Beryl and asks, "Are these yours? Adult Education stuff." Beryl admits stiffly, "Er, yes. I picked them up yesterday afternoon. It was going to be a surprise, but now the cat's out the bag I'll have to tell you." Looking at Gordon, she reveals, "I've decided to take Craig's advice and go back to school."

Charlie is sitting on the couch in her lounge room, wearing just a negligée and no make-up. Todd sits down next to her, wearing just a dressing gown, as she cries, "Are you sure you like to see me like this, darling?" Todd smiles, "Of course I do." Charlie cries, "I feel so tacky." Todd insists, "You don't look it." Charlie smiles, "Just don't expect me to open the door to anyone; I'd scare them half to death!" She then tells him, "You go and have your swim." Todd gives her a kiss and says, "See you soon." With that, he heads out. Alison comes in, passing him on the way. She comments, "Off to do fifty laps?" Todd smiles, "Fifteen, anyway!" He goes. Charlie looks at Alison and mutters, "I suppose you're hoping he'll drown." Alison, however, insists, "Of course not. I'm sorry I poked my nose in where it wasn't wanted; what you have with Todd is none of my business." She sits down as Charlie mutters, "Remember that." Alison then changes the subject and says, "I had a call from the real estate agent earlier: he's found a buyer for the boarding house - a woman who looked over it yesterday; a Mrs. Brennan." Charlie retorts, "I've met her - she was there when I went to see Fiona yesterday - who is now earmarked for a life on the park bench, I suppose." Alison, however, replies, "No, no, I've decided to help her settle somewhere else; even line up a new job for her. So I'm not as heartless as you think, am I? In fact, I might go over and tell the the good news now. " She stands up. As she heads to the door, Charlie says, "Alison... friends again?" Alison smiles, "I always thought we were!"

A short time later, Fiona is sitting in her room at the mansion, looking glum as Alison tells her, "We'll be exchanging contracts at the end of the week, but then we have to settle, so that'll give us a couple of months to find you somewhere else." Fiona mutters, "You're all heart, aren't you." Alison sighs, "If you don't want my help--" Fiona interrupts and retorts, "I don't." Alison asks, "Then what are you going to do? It's not going to be easy to find a job at your age, or a half-decent flat you can afford." Fiona just retorts, "I won't be needing a job - and I won't be needing a flat. I've decided to go into an old-people's home." Alison stares at her in shock.


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