Rawlings telling Helen that he's tracked down Douglas Blake.
Helen telling Madge that she's going to make Douglas pay for what he did to her.
Helen telling Jim that Scott will be home today, as the school tour's been cut short – but she thinks there might be something wrong.
The bus pulling into the bus station but Scott not being on it.
Paul is talking on the ‘phone, sitting with his feet up on the desk in the lounge room, trying to arrange a date. He has a little black book in his hand! The person blows him out, though, and Nikki joins him and remarks that he's not having much luck. Paul just retorts that he's been out of circulation for a while. Nikki asks what's so important about tonight. Paul tells her that it's a business dinner: a Chinese banquet with dancing afterwards. Nikki smiles that she *loves* Chinese food. She then exclaims:
NIKKI: Hey, why don't you take *me*? I'm sick of this place. I need a night out.
Paul, however, retorts curtly:
PAUL: Nikki, this is the first time I've been out to dinner with my bosses. I need to make a good impression, and that includes taking out a sophisticated lady who can hold an intelligent conversation.
NIKKI (mutters): No wonder nobody will go out with you: it sounds as if they have to pass an IQ test to be accepted.
PAUL (sighs): Come off it, Nikki: if I took *you*, they'd think I was cradle-snatching.
Nikki snaps at him to forget it. Helen joins them and offers sandwiches. Nikki declines and so Helen declares that she'll leave them for Scott: he's bound to be hungry after his bus trip. At that moment, the front door opens and Jim comes in alone. Looking surprised, Paul asks:
PAUL: Where's Scott?
JIM (shrugs): He wasn't on the bus.
HELEN (looking surprised): There must be some mistake. What time's the next one?
JIM: There *isn't* another one.
HELEN: He might have rung and let us know.
JIM: Yeah. I'll ‘phone the school.
Paul heads off to his room. Helen sighs heavily and asks where Lucy is. Jim replies that she's out the back, playing with Basil. He dials the school number, commenting as he does so that there probably won't be any reply: he'll have to wait until tomorrow.
Paul has turned up at No. 22, and as he heads inside, he tells Zoe that he wants a word with Daphne. Zoe retorts that Daphne's in her room and doesn't want to talk to anyone.
PAUL: I only want to ask her out for dinner.
ZOE (looking astonished): How insensitive can you *get*? She should be on her honeymoon with Des right now. Do you really think she's so shallow she's going to enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner with *you* instead?
Paul insists that it's not like that: it's purely a business function. He then suggests:
PAUL: What about *you*? Why don't *you* come with me?
ZOE (indignantly): Well apart from your attitude that anyone-will-do, which I don't like, I'm *working* tonight.
PAUL: Mike can fill-in at the Coffee Shop.
ZOE (sighs): You're missing the point, Paul: I don't want to go out with you *anywhere*. You've got a lousy reputation and I can see why, now: you're loud, pushy and tactless.
PAUL (mutters): Yeah, well, *your* reputation's not that hot either: I thought you'd *jump* at the chance of a free feed.
ZOE: *That's* a pretty stupid thing to say, seeing I work in a Coffee Shop.
PAUL (mutters): Yeah, you're right: I should've known you'd eat all the profits.
ZOE: You should change your approach: your life's going to get pretty lonely. Why don't you come back and see me when you've woken up to yourself?
With that, Paul walks out. Zoe shakes her head and sighs heavily.
Helen is sitting on the couch, staring into space and commenting that Scott definitely said he was coming home ahead of the others. Jim has just hung up the ‘phone and Helen asks him if Mr. Ross knows why the trip was shortened.
JIM: Nothing official – although there were rumours about the boys playing up.
HELEN (looking surprised): *Scott* wouldn't be involved in that.
JIM: Well it must have been something pretty serious for the teachers to think they wanted to cancel the tour.
Paul comes back in and insists that Scott will turn up: he's a big boy now; he can look after himself. Helen just sighs that *she's* the one who spoke to him: she could tell he was upset. She adds in concern:
HELEN: There's something about it I don't like, Jim. I can feel it...
Shane is dusting when there's a knock on the front door. He opens it to find Mr. Sanderson on the step. Sanderson marches in and says tersely:
SANDERSON: Hello, Ramsay. The General Manager has asked me to talk to you. You have managed to lose an extremely expensive motor car.
SHANE: That's not fair, Mr. Sanderson: it was *stolen* from me.
SANDERSON (curtly): I think it would be more accurate to say you virtually *gave* it away. If you had adhered to company policy, this could never have happened – and company policy does not give you permission to hire yourself and the car out for company weddings.
SHANE: Well, no... but I couldn't see any harm in it: I paid for the petrol I used.
SANDERSON: I should *think* so – but the fact remains that the car was stolen because you didn't obey company rules. However, I hope you'll be pleased to know the police have *found* the vehicle.
SHANE (looking relieved): Oh great! Damaged?
SHANE: So I can come back to work, then?
SANDERSON: Good heavens, no. How could we ever trust you again? I've just come to pick up your uniform. From this date, you can consider yourself dismissed.
Shane glares at him.
Mike is sitting at one of the tables, doing his homework. Zoe peers over his shoulder and suggests he uses his calculator. Mike, however, insists that he can manage. Zoe then comments in surprise:
ZOE: How come you're working so hard, anyway? I thought you'd be on the school excursion.
MIKE: There's no crime against it, is there? They're not compulsory.
ZOE: No, but, you know: most kids love—
MIKE (snaps): Excursions aren't *all* there is to school.
Zoe tells him to keep his shirt on. She adds that his homework has really got him keyed-up.
MIKE: I'm just a bit behind - it's not that easy to work at home.
Zoe smiles that it used to be like a madhouse at home when *she* had exams; she used to think she'd go crazy with all the distractions.
MIKE (hesitantly): That's why I was wondering if it would be OK if I kept on doing my homework *here*.
ZOE (shrugs): I can't see why not. Daphne won't mind.
MIKE: Do you think she'll be back to work this week?
ZOE: I don't know. Mightn't be a bad idea if she did, though: might take her mind off the cancelled wedding.
The door opens suddenly and Paul comes in. He heads to the counter and Zoe joins him. He tells her that he's sorry for being such a jerk before; he's not *really* like that. Zoe just asks him bluntly if he'd like to order. Paul sighs:
PAUL: Oh come on – I'm trying to apologise.
Zoe hesitates only briefly before a smile crosses her face and she says:
ZOE: OK, I'll give you a second chance. Nobody could be *that* big a creep!
PAUL: Great – because I was hoping you'd reconsider about tonight. I'd really like you to come.
ZOE: No, I don't think so.
Zoe adds that she can't just leave Mike there on his own. Paul looks around and remarks that the place isn't exactly *busy*. He then points out:
PAUL: Come on – this is a top restaurant. There's going to be businessmen there; you'll make contacts; maybe get a better job than *this*.
Zoe hesitates and then gives in, saying she'll take a chance! She heads across to where Mike's sitting and asks him how he'd like to work extra hours.
Shane is standing in the kitchen with Helen, who's commenting that Mr. Sanderson sounds a terrible man.
SHANE: Yes he is – although apparently the decision to fire me came from higher up: my sins warranted General Manager involvement!
HELEN (points out): They got their car back.
SHANE (sighs): Yes, but I *was* pretty irresponsible.
HELEN: Maybe, but not enough to be *fired*. I would've thought a good ticking-off would've done.
SHANE: I just wish he hadn't made that crack about me being unemployable. He knows all about the accident and the back injury.
HELEN: Well at least the doctor's given you a clean bill of health, so finding a job shouldn't be too much of a struggle.
SHANE: I wish I had your optimism...
HELEN: Does Max know?
SHANE (laughs): I dare not tell him! He'd be around to Fielding straight away and then we'd have to find money for a damages suit!
HELEN: I'd risk it for the moral support...
SHANE: Nah, I'll wait a while. Be great if I had a job, though, when I told him.
HELEN (warns): You won't fool him for long.
SHANE: I'll give it a couple of days. *You* won't say anything, will you, Helen?
HELEN: No, no, not if you don't want me to.
SHANE: Thank you. Let's just hope I can find something!
HELEN: You will. Just think positive: there's nothing worse than a potential employee with a hangdog expression!
The Coffee Shop is in darkness. The door opens and Zoe calls back to Paul that she just wants to check that Mike's emptied the till. She heads into the shop and goes to the till. She opens it and finds it full. She takes out several notes before then heading out again. She doesn't notice Mike huddled up asleep on a bench at one of the tables...
Paul and Zoe are having coffee and Paul is commenting that Mike is pretty irresponsible, leaving the day's takings like that. Zoe nods that she can't understand it. Paul asks her if she thinks she should tell Daphne.
ZOE: Oh no, I'll have a talk to him first. He needs the job. He gets pretty tired with work and school: you can't be *too* heavy with him.
PAUL (curtly): He shouldn't take things on if he can't handle them properly.
ZOE (sighs): Ut-oh! I thought we'd *buried* the dynamic young executive for tonight! I had a very nice evening; don't spoil it now.
PAUL: I just don't want the guy playing on your sympathies. I mean, you're not used to handling employees.
ZOE (grins): How long have *you* been lauding over the sweatshop, Mr. Super Boss?!
PAUL: I have to keep my typists in line!
Zoe then smiles that she really enjoyed dinner tonight: he works with some nice people. Paul tells her that his boss said he wished *all* the company wives looked like her! Zoe accepts the compliment reluctantly and tells Paul to thank his boss for her. Paul replies that she can do that herself. Zoe looks at him warily. He tells her:
PAUL: There'll be *more* company functions and dinners. I thought you could come again.
ZOE: Tonight was just a favour to help you out.
PAUL: I know, I know, but you enjoyed it – and I enjoyed having you there!
ZOE (shrugs): Yeah, it was fun...
PAUL: Well why not do it again? I mean, purely business.
ZOE (warily): We'll see...
Paul, Helen and Nikki are having breakfast the next morning and Helen asks Paul how dinner was last night. Paul replies that it was really good.
NIKKI: And did Zoe behave herself?
PAUL (mutters): Don't be stupid, Nikki.
NIKKI: And what about *you*, then: were you very rude or just average rude?
HELEN (warns): Nikki!
PAUL (curtly): Is that how that teach you to carry on at that posh school?
NIKKI: Well I bet one night was enough for *Zoe*.
PAUL: As a matter of fact, she's agreed to come out with me to the *next* company function.
NIKKI: I thought she'd have more sense.
Jim joins them and Helen asks him if he managed to get through to the school. Jim replies that he spoke to the secretary, but she wouldn't tell him a damn thing, and the Principal won't be in for another hour. Shane appears suddenly in the back doorway and smiles a cheery ‘Morning!'. He then tells Jim that he's come for a favour:
SHANE: I'm in the market for a new job and I was wondering if it was worth talking to your Personnel manager.
JIM: Oh, it's worth a try, I suppose.
PAUL (to Shane): What's wrong with the one you've got?
SHANE: The one I *had*, you mean. Sanderson *fired* me.
PAUL: Oh come on, you should have been able to talk him out of that: that was a misunderstanding.
SHANE: Not the way *he* saw it.
PAUL (sounding irritated): Shane, you're never going to get *anywhere* if you don't assert yourself.
HELEN (to Paul): And *you're* likely to antagonise people if you don't watch what you say.
Jim tells Shane quickly that he'll certainly keen an eye out. Paul adds that *he'll* check around his office. Shane glares at him and mutters:
SHANE: I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble, Paul.
Shane then asks everyone not to say anything to Max, as he hasn't told him yet. With that, he announces that he's off to the dole office. When he's gone, Jim says to Paul coolly:
JIM: Shane needs your *support*, not your criticism. He hasn't always had things handed to him on a platter.
PAUL: And you're saying *I have*?
HELEN: Paul, settle down. We're all tense at the moment, particularly with this uncertainty about Scott.
PAUL: Gran, I was only doing him a favour. Shane's never going to get anywhere if he doesn't have a little push. I wouldn't have said it if we weren't friends.
NIKKI (under her breath): *Some friend*...
Mike is running his fingers through his hair, to tidy it up, in the kitchen at the Coffee Shop, when Zoe comes in and asks in surprise what he's doing there. He tells her quickly that he's just leaving: he left some of his books there last night. Zoe, however, says:
ZOE: It isn't because you forgot to empty the till last night, is it?
MIKE: The till? Oh, sorry, Zo, yeah, I did forget.
ZOE (sighs): What's going on here, Mike? You're lying; I want to know why.
MIKE: It's nothing, OK? Just leave me alone.
ZOE: You *slept* here last night, *didn't* you.
Mike tries to avoid Zoe's eye, but she goes on:
ZOE: Mike, why won't you trust me? We've always been friends; I just want to *help*.
MIKE: It was just a bit of trouble at home last night, that's all.
ZOE: Is that the *first* time you've slept here?
Mike doesn't respond. Zoe presses:
ZOE: Those bruises: have *they* got something to do with it?
MIKE (snaps): Look, it's nothing, OK? I've got to get to school.
With that, Mike walks out, leaving Zoe looking worried.
Helen is measuring a hem on a dress Nikki is wearing as Nikki tells her:
NIKKI: I really appreciate this, Aunt Helen: normally I have to pay a dressmaker to do it.
HELEN (sighs): Nikki, it's *me*. You can drop the Lady Bountiful routine.
NIKKI: None of my *friends* are treated like this.
HELEN: Yes, they're thoroughly spoiled.
NIKKI (indignantly): I don't know what you mean.
HELEN: Well from what you say, most of the fathers seem to be millionaires.
NIKKI: Oh no – there's only about six really wealthy ones.
HELEN: And how come they're the only ones you're friendly with?
NIKKI: Because they're the ones who can help me *get* somewhere.
Helen then asks Nikki if the dress she's wearing is the one she was talking about yesterday. Nikki, however, replies that she picked it up in a sale: it was only $50.
HELEN: Do you have any idea how hard your mother works to send you to that school?
NIKKI: Of course I have.
HELEN: Well, couldn't you be a little less extravagant?
NIKKI: I only buy what I need for the sorts of places I go to. Anyway, mother gets her room free at the hotel, so what does *she* need any money for?
Helen sighs heavily. She then tells Nikki to take the dress off and she'll sew it up. Nikki thanks her and adds that she'd better get her stuff packed and go back to school. As she heads off to change, Jim comes in through the back door, a grim expression on his face. Helen asks him in concern what's wrong.
JIM: Scott has disappeared. The Headmaster hasn't got a clue where he's gone to.
HELEN (frowns): What's happened? He couldn't disappear for no reason.
JIM: He's got a reason all right: he's been accused of rape.
A while later, Jim and Helen are sitting at the kitchen table, Helen sewing the hem on Nikki's skirt and saying she still can't understand why the school didn't contact them straight away.
JIM: I assume they wanted to be sure of their facts. The Headmaster was wanting to talk to the boys when they got back, and when Scott disappeared they just assumed that he'd come home.
HELEN: Judging by his ‘phone call, that's obviously what he *intended* to do, but he didn't make the bus. [Looking concerned] I think he must have had an accident.
JIM: Not necessarily. He might be just taking some time to think. *We* know he wouldn't do a thing like that; maybe he's trying to prove it to other people.
HELEN: I just wish he'd come home so we could help him. Poor darling: he must be terrified.
Helen then sighs heavily and adds:
HELEN: At least they didn't call in the police.
JIM: No, the whole thing was hushed-up. Still, if he doesn't turn up shortly, we're going to have to ask them to give us a hand to find him, in which case the whole story *will* come out.
Nikki comes in and suggests that they try talking to some of Scott's friends who were on the trip: they might have some ideas. Jim nods that they might – but the trouble is that since Danny left school, Scott's been a bit of a loner. Looking thoughtful, Helen suggests that Mike might know something: he's in Scott's year. Jim nods that it's worth a try.
Mike is doing washing-up in the kitchen when Zoe comes in and sits herself down on one of the counters. She then says gently:
ZOE: Mike, we should talk about this. If you've got a problem, maybe I can help?
MIKE (mutters): I doubt it.
ZOE: People don't just stay in coffee shops overnight for no reason – like they're avoiding something? Something at home? Some*one* at home? I want to help. I promise: it won't go any further.
MIKE: Thanks all the same, but I can handle it.
Zoe sighs heavily and murmurs:
ZOE: Fair enough.
She then hears the shop bell ring as someone comes in and she heads out to serve the customer. She sees that it's Jim and she asks him where he'd like to sit. Jim, however, explains that he'd like to talk to Mike – privately. Zoe replies that he's in the kitchen and Jim heads in there. After they've exchanged greetings, Jim says:
JIM: Mike, I need your help. You will have heard about the problems they had on the school excursion.
MIKE (nods): Sure. All the kids are talking about it.
JIM: Well, I'd like to talk to some of the boys who were there; the ones who knew Scott.
MIKE (warily): I don't know, Mr. Robinson: they mightn't want to get involved.
JIM: Well I just want to find out if they have any idea where he might have gone, because his grandmother and I are frankly very worried.
MIKE: It's not surprising he took off – I heard about the rape charge.
JIM: There *weren't* any charges; that's the *point*: the police were never brought into it – but Scott took off before he knew that. I'd just like to talk to him... make sure he's all right... and give him a chance to explain what really happened.
MIKE: Gee, I didn't know. I'll try and find out who his best mates are and get them to talk to you.
JIM: I would appreciate it. You'll do it as soon as you can?
MIKE: As soon as I get back to school.
Jim thanks Mike and heads out.
As Helen potters around the kitchen, Paul is telling her that he signed up three people this morning for the superannuation plan – and if he keeps selling at this rate, he'll be able to retire by the time he's about 30! Helen chuckles and asks:
HELEN: Isn't there a cooling-off period?
PAUL: Oh yeah, but there's no worries with *these* clients. They're talking about taking up the options on the mortgage trust, as well. You know, even *young* people are planning for their financial future: they seem to be more conscious of their security than I thought – with the right persuasion, of course.
Helen smiles that she's glad he's enjoying it. Paul adds:
PAUL: And the funny thing is, it all seems worthwhile – like I'm *helping* them. I've got to admit: that's pretty satisfying.
HELEN (muses): You know, it wouldn't be a bad idea if you turned your protective feeling towards your *family*.
PAUL (coolly): I presume you're referring to Scott? You and dad are doing enough worry for *all* of us.
HELEN (tersely): This wouldn't have been your attitude six months ago. You used to *care* what happened.
PAUL: Gran, Scott's a big boy; he can look after himself – and if he's stupid enough to get himself in trouble, well he can get himself out of it again. Dad's still trying to wet-nurse him.
HELEN (snaps): Look, you'd get more support from your father if you at least *attempted* to meet him halfway.
At that moment, Jim arrives home and Helen asks him if Mike was any help. Jim replies that he's going to ask around, but he doesn't know if there's much point, as kids tend to clam-up when adults start asking questions. He then says:
JIM: Where's the overnight bag?
HELEN: In my wardrobe; why?
JIM: Well I'm not going to just sit around on the off-chance that one of those kids will decide to talk to me. I'm going to go back up to the last camping site they stayed at and see what I can find.
PAUL (snidely): That's a one in a million chance, isn't it?
Jim glares at his son as he goes on:
PAUL: Look, if he decides to stick around – which I doubt it – and if he wants you to come and get him – which I doubt even more – what makes you think he's going to come home with *you*?
HELEN (looking shocked): Paul!
PAUL: In fact, what makes you think he's going to come home at *all*? You make blueprints and you expect your kids to turn out the same way. *I'm* a disappointment to you; Scott probably feels the same way.
Jim just looks at Paul coldly and says:
JIM: Scott is my son and my responsibility.
With that, he walks away, leaving Paul to mutter:
PAUL: Yeah, and you'll do your best, won't you, dad. Let's just hope it's not too late for *all* our sakes...