Sharon being woken up from where she's hiding out at No. 30 by someone whose shadow approaches slowly in the dark.
Sharon lunges for the person - but the person starts fighting back, and the two of them end up struggling with each other. They fall to the floor, where the guy says:
GUY: Hey, I know you!
SHARON (retorts): You let go of me or I'll kick you where it hurts.
Sharon lashes out and pushes the guy off her. The guy is Nick! Sharon stands up and tells him to get out of there or she'll yell until everyone comes. Nick retorts:
NICK: All right. Go ahead and yell.
Sharon doesn't respond. Nick taunts.
NICK: On the run, are we?
SHARON (snaps): What's it to *you*?
NICK: Oh, nothing. Just looks like we've got something in common, that's all.
Sharon looks away in annoyance.
Harold and Madge are sitting at the kitchen table, having a late- night warm drink, and Madge groans because they can hear Bouncer barking outside. Harold sighs that Bouncer had better settle down: *he* wants a good night's sleep. Madge mutters that there's no such luck for *her*: she has to go out looking like a tart in that dreadful dress, thanks to Paul. Harold just murmurs:
Madge frowns at him and asks him curtly if he doesn't even care. Harold muses:
HAROLD: Well... I suppose it's all right for the young ones... showing their charms...!
MADGE (sharply): What do you mean 'the young ones'?
HAROLD: Yeah, but *you*...
MADGE (demands): What's wrong with *me*?
HAROLD (putting his arm around Madge): When it comes to the charms of my wife, I prefer a *private* viewing, thank you!
Harold then offers to *speak* to Paul, but Madge sighs that the state Paul's in at the moment, she doubts it would do any good. With that, the two of them get up to head off to bed. Harold walks through to the lounge room to turn the lights out - but he doesn't notice Henry and Jane sitting on the floor in front of the couch, and Henry lets out a yell as the room is plunged into darkness! Harold turns the lights on again and tells Henry that he didn't hear a peep out of him and Jane for the last hour and completely forgot they were there! He then asks suspiciously what they've been up to. Henry quickly hides a sheet of paper behind his back and says:
JANE: No, we've just been talking.
Madge says to Henry that she hope he's not hatching up one of his stupid schemes again - and she warns Jane that, whatever it is, she shouldn't get involved. With that, she and Harold head off to bed. When they've gone, Jane comments to Henry:
JANE: That was close.
HENRY: Yes... it's dangerous, this detective stuff!
JANE: *And* depressing. Newspaper clippings... government files... All this work and we haven't really *found* anything.
Henry tells Jane that if there's one thing he knows, it's research - that's what you get for having a brother who's a journalist; and he found *Sally's* father for her. He then adds that that reminds him: he'll have to try the electoral rolls tomorrow. Jane sighs:
JANE: Sometimes I think this is going to take forever.
HENRY: Look, positive thinking - we'll find him!
JANE (hesitantly): Positive thinking... right!
Helen arrives home to find Jim still up. He asks how the art class was, and she replies that it wasn't bad. She then asks him if he went to the hospital, and he replies that as a matter of fact he *did* - but Nick wasn't there. Sitting down, Helen sighs that she called in at the caravan park on the way home, and he wasn't there either. Todd emerges from his bedroom suddenly, and Helen asks him if he shouldn't be asleep. Todd replies that he kept waking up. Helen muses:
HELEN: Guilty consciences all around, hm?
Todd heads through to the kitchen, leaving Jim to say to Helen:
JIM: Come on, Helen, it's bad enough as it is.
HELEN: Are you admitting that you were *wrong* about Nick?
JIM (sighs): All right, I'm sorry. Satisfied?
HELEN: What brought about this change of heart?
JIM: Well, I saw Nick's grandmother at the hospital - Mrs. Page. I had to tell her about Nick taking off like that. It wasn't easy - she's a very sick woman - and he *is* all she's got. The social worker there, she had a go at me too, you'll be pleased to know; she said that if it weren't for Nick, the old lady would've been dragged off to the hospital a long time ago. Nick's kept her going - looking after her in the caravan park.
HELEN (warmly): He's a good kid.
JIM: Only tough on the outside, so she says. I guess you'd *need* to be, wouldn't you, if you're up against it all the time?
Todd comes back in with a glass of milk as Helen tells Jim:
HELEN: He's been up against it most of his *life*.
JIM: And *I* haven't made it any easier for him. I guess I owe him an apology.
TODD: Yeah, I suppose *I* do, too.
Helen sits there looking relieved, but she tells Jim and Todd that she hopes they both get the opportunity...
Mrs. Mangel is in the lounge room, trying to work out what to do with the pieces of her organ. She hears the front door bang suddenly and she heads out to the hallway and asks Bronwyn sharply where she's been, as she's been trying to ring the Clarke house for an hour. Bronwyn explains that they were taking Jamie for a drive, as he was a bit grizzly and they thought it might help. She then asks what's wrong. She follows Mrs. Mangel into the lounge room and Mrs. Mangel indicates the organ and snaps:
MRS. MANGEL: Look at this. Look - see what she did?
BRONWYN (queries): Sharon?
MRS. MANGEL (retorts): Of *course* Sharon; who else? Ruins my organ, then when I remonstrate - justifiably, in my opinion - what does she do, but flounce out of the house without a word—
Bronwyn dashes out of the room, leaving Mrs. Mangel looking flabbergasted at her rudeness! She returns a few seconds later, though, and exclaims:
BRONWYN: She's *gone*!
MRS. MANGEL (mutters): Leaving *me* to clear up the mess, mind.
BRONWYN (clarifies): She's taken all her things. She's *gone*. Run away again... Oh no, what am I gonna do now?
MRS. MANGEL (uncertainly): I beg your pardon?
BRONWYN: I'm sorry, Mrs. Mangel, I should've told you. When Sharon first came, well, she hadn't told dad she was leaving home.
MRS. MANGEL (exclaims): She ran away?
BRONWYN: I thought a couple of days here and I might be able to talk her into going—
MRS. MANGEL (snaps): The wretched girl!
BRONWYN: She was unhappy.
MRS. MANGEL (tersely): You take them in, do what you can for them and this is the result.
BRONWYN: She could get into trouble! *Real* trouble, this time.
MRS. MANGEL: Well, I'm sorry, my dear, but don't try and blame *me*. She's *your* sister.
Bronwyn stands there looking worried.
Sharon is sitting with Nick in the darkened lounge room, telling him that she had boyfriends and all that, but she'd had it up to 'here' with Narrabri, so she shot through; she's on her way to visit her rich friends in Surfers, but thought she'd visit Bronny, her sister, first. She then says:
SHARON: So how about you? Did you split from *your* folks?
NICK: No, they're dead. They died when I was a kid.
NICK: Yeah. I've still got my grandma, though.
SHARON: Is that all? Just your grandma?
Sharon sits there looking surprised. She then asks bitterly who needs families anyway: they drive you crazy. She asks Nick if he's still at school and he replies that he is - although it's the pits when you're always in trouble like *he* is. Sharon asks what he's in trouble for, and Nick mimes graffiti- ing with a spray can. Sharon smiles that graffiti writing is really cool! Nick replies that *he* used to think it was cool, but you do it, and then what?: nothing's changed; you get a bit of a buzz at the time, but that's about it: finished. He murmurs:
NICK: I don't care anymore - about *anything* really.
SHARON: Yeah, me too.
NICK: I just hope my grandma gets better...
There's silence. Sharon then tells Nick that she was fibbing about her rich friends. She goes on:
SHARON: I *like* making things up... stories... It makes me feel good. Better than *real* life. Boring.
NICK: Yeah, I know what you mean.
Jane puts some papers in an envelope and tells Henry to let her know if he finds anything by lunchtime tomorrow. Henry smiles:
HENRY: Cheer up - finding someone isn't that hard!
JANE (glumly): Yeah - unless they don't *want* to be found. What if he's changed his name or something?
HENRY: Nah! He's just sitting there somewhere, waiting for us to find him!
There's suddenly an urgent hammering on the front door. Henry goes to answer it and he finds Bronwyn standing on the step, in tears. She tells Henry that she knows it's late, but she had to see him; Sharon's run away and she doesn't know where she's gone. Jane asks her *how* she knows. Bronwyn sobs:
BRONWYN: She's taken all her clothes... *everything*. There's not even a *note*.
Henry asks when she left. Bronwyn replies that it couldn't have been all that long ago. Madge and Harold emerge from their room, asking what's going on. Jane tells them that Bronwyn thinks Sharon must have run away. Madge asks Bronwyn if she's sure, but that just causes Bronwyn to become more tearful. Harold asks if the police have been called and Bronwyn sobs that Mrs. Mangel's ringing them now. Henry tells Bronwyn that they'll have her back in no time, and he, Bronwyn and Jane head out to search for her. Left alone with Madge, Harold remarks in concern:
HAROLD: So young... Do you know, I can see so much of *my* daughter, Kerry, in Sharon. I just hope... I just hope she doesn't go the same way...
Paul is sitting at the desk, working, but Gail is standing behind him, wearing her pyjamas, and she pulls out the chair and tells him sternly:
GAIL: Paul, you can't work all night!
PAUL: I just might have to.
GAIL: Why? What's in finding a few old factory sites for Mr. Udagawa?
PAUL: A lot of business from it, Gail.
GAIL: Oh - so you think a business deal for the Daniels Corporation is more important than *me*, do you?
PAUL (a glint in his eye): Well... when you put it *that* way...
GAIL: All right, go on, work all night, see if *I* care! I'll just go to bed all by myself...!
PAUL (teases): Oh, poor little Gail!
With that, Paul leaps up and starts chasing Gail around the lounge room! They go to run upstairs, but are interrupted by an urgent knocking on the front door. Paul goes and opens it to find Henry standing on the step. He tells Paul and Gail that it's an emergency, and he asks them if they've seen anything of Sharon - Bronwyn's sister - as she's gone AWOL. Paul comments that she's probably just gone out for a rave, but Henry retorts that it doesn't look that way. Gail says she saw her talking to Todd before. Henry says Bronwyn's over at the Robinsons' now. Paul says that if he finishes his work, he'll come out and help. Gail wishes Henry luck and Henry sighs that they're going to need it - it's going to be a long night.
It's the next morning, and Nick, who's lying on the floor of the lounge room, next to Sharon, stirs. He shakes Sharon awake, and she sits up wondering where she is! She then realises and she turns to Nick and says:
SHARON: You look different in the daylight!
NICK: So do *you* - even *more* of a kid!
He then says he wants to get out of there without anyone noticing. Sharon asks where they're going, but Nick retorts:
NICK: What do you mean 'we'?
SHARON: You and me! The two of us: we hit the road together, right? It'll be great! It's always easier hitching with a girl. Everyone says!
NICK: No way - I'm going by myself.
SHARON: What's wrong with *me*? Why can't *I* come?
NICK: You'll be eaten alive out there by yourself, Sharon - you're just a kid; and a girl. *Anything* could happen to you - don't you understand?
SHARON: Then why won't you let me come with you?
NICK: Apart from anything else, because I'm not *going* anywhere - only out of *here*. Then I'm looking for a job and a proper place to live.
SHARON: A job? What for?!
NICK: I've got to look after my grandma. *She* looked after *me* ever since my parents died - and now she's sick, I figured it's *my* turn.
SHARON: My sister, Bronny, she looked after *me* when my mum died.
NICK: Well, there you go. No need to run off by yourself - you've still got *her*.
SHARON (coolly): She'll just send me back to dad; to the farm. She doesn't care about *me*. Never listens when I tell her things; always laughs at me and says I make them up.
NICK: Well, *don't* you? You told me last night you do. So try talking to her straight like you talked to me, otherwise how's she supposed to know? I bet she's not as bad as you reckon, anyway. Just give her a fair go, all right?
Helen serves up tea and coffee for Mrs. Mangel, Jane, Bronwyn and herself in the lounge room. Mrs. Mangel mutters that she's hardly had a wink of sleep. Helen tells Bronwyn to try and get some rest, but Bronwyn says she couldn't. There's suddenly a knock on the front door and Madge comes in. She asks if there's any news, but Helen tells her that it's early yet. She sits down and Bronwyn asks her where Henry is. Madge tells her that he's 'phoning the police. Mrs. Mangel says sharply:
MRS. MANGEL: *I* don't know what got *into* the girl. It wasn't *my* fault.
JANE (gently): No one's blaming *you*, nan.
MRS. MANGEL: Temperamental. That's what she is.
Helen comments that *everything's* a drama to teenagers. There's another knock on the door and Henry comes in. Bronwyn asks him what the police said, but Henry tells her that a person has to be missing for 24 hours before the police can really do anything about it. He then puts his arm around her and insists that she can't be far away. At that moment, the front door opens again and Sharon comes in with Nick. Bronwyn goes and throws her arms round her sister and asks her anxiously where she's been, as everyone's spent all night looking for her. Sharon tells everyone that she's sorry. Mrs. Mangel snaps:
MRS. MANGEL: None of us has slept a *wink*.
HELEN (sharply): Never mind. She's home - that's all that matters.
Madge heads off as Henry asks Nick where he *found* Sharon, as they looked all over the place. Nick smiles:
NICK: Not next door, though!
Sharon explains that Nick talked her into coming back. With that, Henry says he'd better get ready for work. Nick goes to head out too, but Helen tells him to come and have breakfast. Nick starts to protest:
NICK: But Mr. Robinson—
HELEN: He wants to have a word with you - but don't worry: he's a pussycat!
The two of them head out, leaving Mrs. Mangel to exclaim:
MRS. MANGEL: Thank heavens *that's* all over.
Bronwyn, however, snaps.
BRONWYN: Not quite.
Sharon stares at her as she goes on angrily:
BRONWYN: Look, whatever it was that made you run away again, I'm sorry - but twice in a row is too much. You've given everyone a *terrible* time, dad included. As soon as I can arrange it, I'm sending you home.
SHARON: But Bronny, I—
BRONWYN: No, I *mean* it, Shaz: you're going straight back home to the farm.
A short time later, Sharon and Bronwyn are alone in the lounge room and Sharon is crying at Bronwyn that she *can't* send her back to the farm; it's *awful* there. She goes on that it's nothing but wheat taxes and prices, and it's so boring and she never has any friends. Bronwyn mutters:
BRONWYN: Don't be silly.
SHARON (cries): You see, you *never* listen to me. You're just sending me back because you don't want me *here*. I'm in the way.
BRONWYN: I never *said* that.
SHARON: No one ever *says* anything; they don't *have* to - you just know... like dad: I try and do the best I can for him - I cook the meals and I look after him and all that; but no matter what I do, it's never good enough. "Bronwyn always did it better."
BRONWYN: He wouldn't *say* that.
SHARON (bitterly): He *thinks* it. He doesn't really want me there.
Bronwyn tells Sharon gently that their father *adores* her; he was nearly frantic when she first ran away. She then goes on that she can't take responsibility for Sharon if she's going to keep on doing things like this. Sharon says:
SHARON: I won't, I promise. Look, I'll go to school, I'll work hard, I promise. Just let me stay.
BRONWYN: And what about dad?
SHARON: I'll see him on the holidays.
BRONWYN: You'd be better off on the farm - *really*, Shaz. City life isn't everything.
SHARON: It's more fun!
Bronwyn sighs and exclaims that Sharon is impossible! Sharon pleads with her to let her stay. Bronwyn says she supposes she could talk to their dad - but no promises...
Todd, Jim, Helen and Nick are eating breakfast at the kitchen table. Todd finishes his and goes to get ready for school. Nick says he'd better push off too, but Helen tells him that there's no hurry - and they haven't told him how grateful they all are that he talked Sharon into coming back; she needs her family. Nick muses:
NICK: At least she's *got* one...
He then thanks Helen for the food and gets up to leave. Jim tells him that they need to talk, but Nick retorts that he didn't ask to come in there, so he doesn't have to listen to Jim's lectures. He then quickly apologises for his outburst and Jim tells him that it's OK. The two of them head through to the lounge room, where Jim tells Nick to get whatever it is he wants to say off his chest; he's listening. Nick sighs and says:
NICK: OK. Well, first off, I don't like being pushed around; people telling me what to do.
JIM: Well, they wouldn't if—
NICK (snaps): Look, you said you were listening.
JIM: All right, all right!
NICK: I've been on my own a long time now, apart from my grandma. I'm used to looking after myself; doing things my own way.
JIM: You're just a *kid*.
NICK (snaps): And I don't like hanging around places where I'm not wanted - like *here*, OK? I don't need it.
Helen comes in and Nick tells her that he's sorry. Jim, however, says *he's* the one who's supposed to be saying sorry; as usual, he jumped the gun, got the wrong idea and acted accordingly. He then indicates Helen and tells Nick that he does have a fan there, and another one in the hospital, and he guesses they can't *both* be wrong. Helen muses:
HELEN: Do you call that an apology...?
Jim says to Nick:
JIM: Look, if you need a place to get back on your feet, well, here it is. All right? I'm not that easy to live with, but I promise you I'll keep my mouth shut and keep my opinions to myself, all right?
Nick smiles and shakes Jim's hand gratefully.
Paul, Gail and Jane are having a pre- work cup of coffee. Gail comments to Paul sarcastically that he *really* looks fit for a full day's work! She adds:
GAIL: After a sleepless night, you're going to handle a full schedule all on your own, are you?
Paul smiles and asks her if she's got any offers from the Good Fairy! Gail says she supposes *she* could manage Lassiter's for the day! Paul smiles that he owes her one! With that, Gail heads off. Jane tells Paul that she could work back tonight, and Paul exclaims that this is his lucky day! Henry comes in suddenly and sits down at the table, where he says to Jane:
HENRY: Guess what!
JANE (groans): Oh Henry, I'm too tired...
PAUL: Yeah, we're *all* tired, mate. Come on.
HENRY (to Jane): I've done it!
PAUL: This obviously calls for applause. Done *what*, mate?!
Henry tells Jane that the obvious place is the last place you look: he put two and two together, and if he's Ricky's labourer, he belongs to the union - and guess who's got a mate who works there?
Paul frowns and asks if there a punchline to this joke. Jane and Henry ignore him, however, Jane saying instead to Henry:
JANE: Do you mean you've found him, Henry?
HENRY: We're *that* close. I've got an address. And you know what it was that had us fooled, Jane? He's not a 'J', he's a 'W'.
PAUL (sarcastically): Well I'll be!
HENRY: Walter Joseph Mangel! We didn't even know!
JANE (smiles): So he's Uncle Walter!
HENRY: Or Uncle Joe - whichever you like!
JANE: Well, I don't care! I just want to see him again. I can't wait!