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SECRET DAUGHTER

(working title)

4&3*&4#*#-&
25 September 2015

Screentime Pty Ltd


70-76 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2015
02 9439 4911

Secret Daughter Characters


(25th September 2015)
COUNTRY CHARACTERS:
Jess West - 26 (lead singer in the band; works part time in
the bakery ;)
Gus - 50s (Jess non-biological father)
Dan - late 20s (Jess boyfriend; guitarist in the band)
Boris Gover - 50s (local crim, determined to go legit)
Shorty - 35+ (drummer in the band; electrician; volunteer
firefighter)
Layla Gilbert 26 (Jess best friend; sings and plays in the
band).
Ruby Johnson deceased (Jess mother)

CITY CHARACTERS
Jack Warner 59 (self-made millionaire, dies in episode 1).
Susan Warner 36 years (Jacks second wife).
Christopher Warner 30 (Jacks eldest son, hotel manager)
Matthew Warner 27 (Jacks youngest son; black sheep of the
family)
Harriet Warner - 14 (Jack and Susans daughter)
Sally Donald Mid 20s (Matthews girlfriend)
George Smith 59 (chartered accountant, Jacks business
manager).

JESS WEST (26)


Jess West is a walking paradox - on one level she is
confident, sassy and strong. On the other - she doubts herself
and has misgivings about her future.
She longs to be part of
a family.
Not a family of two but a bigger family, a mob,
where she can feel safe, comfortable and happy.
Jess was bought up by her father, Gus, in a mid-sized country
town. She never knew her mother, Ruby, who died soon after
she was born. Gus rarely speaks of Ruby but Jess knows how
much he loved her. Jess was never encouraged or discouraged
to seek out her extended family, who live interstate. Gus
figured she would find them in her own time but she never has.
Jess grew up happily with Gus in their close-knit family of
two.
At school, Jess was an average student whose charm and
enthusiasm made her stand out.
She was the kid with bright
ideas and boundless energy. She sang in the local choir and
won a few singing competitions. In her teens she travelled to



the city to audition for Australias Got Talent but was


dismissed in the first round when a contestant winded her just
before she walked onstage.
When school finished, Jess got a job at the local bakery where
she was known for her generosity - one for the customer and
one for the local kids out at the back door.
Her plan was to
work part-time while she chased her dream of singing. But a
decade later, Jess dreams have faded along with her
competition pendants.
Jess loves performing in the band. In her trademark rockchick look, Jess onstage persona exudes confidence and
brashness mixed with cool and sexy.
The band plays regularly
at pubs and community events. As a cover band, they no longer
think about fame and fortune. It is more of a habit and
something to do on the weekend. The upside is free beer and
catching up with friends.
Jess met her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Dan, when they were
seventeen.
Dan needed someone to front the band and Jess was
looking for a way to express herself creatively. Their love
of music bought them together and romance blossomed in the
beer-filled pubs they played. Dans mates are convinced he is
punching well above his weight, but Dan thinks Jess is lucky
to have him as her boyfriend.
Jess loves Dan but isnt sure if she is in-love with him.
They have been together for years and Jess has nothing to
compare their relationship to.
She has read about flying
sparks in novels but knows that doesnt happen in real life.
Instead she channels her passion into her music, which forms
the soundtrack of her life. She is constantly singing either something she has heard on the radio; a tune she is
composing in her head; or a song she is learning for next
weeks gig.
Jess has never been in serious trouble. But being Gus
daughter she knows a thing or two about money and opportunity.
She keeps herself on the straight and narrow and isnt afraid
to stand up for what she believes in.
She worries about Gus
business dealings with local crime figure, Boris. However Gus
assures her that everything is fine.
Still, Jess keeps a
close eye on him, after all, Gus is the only family she has.
GUS WEST (50s)
Smart, funny and edgy, Gus West has spent his life chasing
easy money. He survives on a Veterans pension while
supplementing his income working for Boris. Guss money


making endeavours involve a range of dodgy deals but nothing


that Gus gift of the gab cant usually take care of.
Gus met Jess Mum on a county train while he was looking for
work. A friendship developed and one night Ruby asked if she
could stay for a few days. She moved in and never left. When
she announced her pregnancy, Gus didnt mind. He loved her,
no questions asked. They soon became lovers and Ruby could
see herself with Gus for the rest of her life she had
finally found her family.
Gus knew Jess wasnt his but he loved her as his own. When
Ruby died, Gus continued bringing Jess up.
He always
expected Jess extended family to come looking for her but no
one ever did.
Gus figured that when Jess was old enough, he
would explain that he wasnt her biological father. But the
right time never came. Jess knew he loved her, and vice
versa. Nothing else seemed important.
Gus supplements his income doing odd jobs for Boris.
Unfortunately luck never seems to be on Gus side. Something
always manages to go wrong: the car breaks down; the meeting
place gets switched; the instructions arent clear. Sometimes
Boris thinks he would be better doing the job himself, but he
keeps Gus on the books for reasons known only to himself.

DAN (late 20s)


Dan is a muso whose early ambition has faded, but still
defines him. He sees himself as a rock-star and has the
secondhand leather pants to prove it.
Bright, Dan has an
engaging smile and Peter Pan quality that attracts people to
his upbeat and positive personality.
Dan grew up in the city and moved to
family.
He and Jess started dating
Jess and is confident that they will
kids.
He hasnt told her that, but
not really into romantic gestures or
hes a rock-star after all.

the country with his


soon after. He loves
eventually marry and have
is sure she knows. He is
declarations of love,

Dan often talks about moving to the city but rarely follows
through on anything. He always has a scheme on-the-go to get
the band on track and believes that real musos dont sell out.
As a consequence he is always skint.
Recently he has taken a
job working as a night-filler at the local supermarket and has
started doing the odd job for Boris against his better
judgement.




Dans musical ambition exceeds his talent. He considers the


bands success a part of his own making but deep down he
recognizes Jess extraordinary voice soaring above the songs
they play. But to acknowledge Jess talent would be to admit
his own limitations, and thats something he is not quite
ready to do.
Dans band, GSL, is named after Iva Davies Great Southern
Land.
A truly iconic song that Dan wishes he had composed.
The band was initially pretty raw but Dan convinced a mate to
book them for a 21st party. When their lead singer feel ill,
he asked Jess to help out. Jess special magic captivated the
audience and gelled the band. Bookings soon rolled in. Dan
was convinced the band would take over the world but that
didnt quite happen. Today it is just what they do every
other week for $100 free cash and beer.
Over time, the band has morphed into a semi house band,
available for weddings, parties, anything. The band does not
travel or tour because the drummer, Shorty, who is tall and
grumpy, owns the PA. He is a volunteer firefighter and is on
call sometimes, although in his mind, its 24/7.

LAYLA GILBERT (26)


Layla is Jess best friend. They finish each others
sentences and have known each other forever.
In fact, they
were born a week apart in the same hospital.
Their mothers
were best friends and Jess and Layla have been inseparable
since the time they could walk.
The girls share a love of music, of having fun, and of hanging
out together. Layla sings vocals and plays in the band with
Jess. For Layla music is something fun to do on the weekend.
She has never had any ambition to make more out of it. She is
just there to hang out with her bestie.
Layla works at the local council and is always embarking on
new romances. She loves the excitement of the beginning of a
relationship, just not the long-term bit.
Jess laughs at
Laylas endless parade of boyfriends, but Layla insist it is
better to be sure than to be sorry.
She used to work at the Electrical Store in town which is
owned by Shortys father. However things became awkward when
Layla realized that Shorty had a secret crush on her.
She
left and took a temporary job at the council till she figured
out what she wanted to do. That was 8 years ago.




SHORTY (35+)
Kevin Shorty Brown is the son of the local sparky.
Shorty
has always been tall and hates his name, although he is proud
of his nickname. Shorty jumped at the chance to be in the
band when Dan approached him. He knew Dan only offered
because Shortys Dad owned a PA system, but Shorty didnt
care. He practiced daily and became a pretty good drummer
in fact hes now extremely talented and can even read music.
When he is not in the band, Shorty works with for his Dad as
an electrician. He and his Dad are also volunteer
firefighters. They take their roles seriously and travel
interstate to help during the bushfire season.
They train
most weekends and Shorty refuses to travel anywhere in case of
fire, except that he is petrified of open flames including
cigarette lighters.
He is also secretly in love with Layla, who used to work for
his dad.

BORIS GOVER (Mid-50s)


Boris is a city guy who moved to the country. He bought a
large plot of land and set up his business working from home.
He is friendly, approachable and likes to chat with his
neighbours. He keeps a close eye on whats happening in town
and monitors any new arrivals closely.
Life for Boris could not be better. He owns the bakery in
town, has a share in the local pub and plans on buying more
businesses soon. He prides himself on being a family man and
hopes to run in the next local elections.
But Boris is also a hardened crim, who does not suffer fools
and will act decisively and violently when needed. His
legitimate businesses are a front for his illegal activities
which include car rebirthing and moving goods. At any one
time the warehouses on his property conceal a variety of goods
ranging from spirits to cigarettes, car parts and anything
else that is easily movable.
He controls the local brothel, keeps an eye on local drug
market (which he hates) and employs a few locals including
Gus. Jess is aware of Boris extensive business dealings and
goes out of her way to avoid him. She does not like Gus doing
jobs for Boris, but Gus insist he can handle things. After
all, Boris pays cash and pays well.
All Gus has to do is
follow instructions and keep his mouth shut.



Boris dream is to leave his criminal past behind and become


legit to become someone his children can be proud of.
When
Jess becomes involved with the Warner Family, Boris sees his
chance to move into the hotel industry.
His younger brother runs the local pub he supplies the grog
etc. While his two sons (30s) are in the family business
the muscle. Boris left the city as a young man forced out
after turf warfare, that saw his dad murdered. Boris has
always wanted revenge, its why he keeps connections to the
city he hopes that one day, something, or someone will lead
him to his dads killer.

RUBY JOHNSON (DECEASED)


Ruby Johnston grew up with her Mum. Her Dad cleared out when
Ruby was young and money was always short. Ruby swore she
would not end up like her mum welfare dependent and alone.
Ruby never gave her Aboriginality much thought as her big
personality, looks and voice got her through most things in
life.
Ruby met Gus West on the city/country train in June 1985. She
had had bad experiences with some guys, but Gus seemed
different. Although he was older, Ruby loved his sparkling
eyes and deadpan humour. They bumped into each other from
time to time but things changed when Ruby turned up one night
and asked if she could stay. She told Gus she just needed a
couple of days to sort things out and revealed she was
pregnant.
Gus was chuffed Ruby had turned to him and didnt ask any
further details. He was happy just to have her with him.
Ruby never left.
She and Gus became lovers and Ruby finally
found happiness. Gus never asked about Jess father. He was
just like that, nothing fazed him. Ruby could happily see
herself with Gus for the rest of her life.
Ruby gave birth to a baby girl in 1989 but developed serious
complications after the birth. Gus and Ruby married a week
before she died.
Ruby contemplated telling Gus about Jess
father but there didnt seem much point. Gus loved Jess and
would always be there for her. Ruby took the secret of Jess
father to her grave.

JACK WARNER (59)


Jack Warner is a self-made millionaire.
He grew up in an
orphanage after his parents fell on hard times.
There he met



his best friend George and his first wife, Kate.


The three
of them did everything together.
Jack was a hard worker and
his charm eventually won Kate over. Kate had an eye for
fashion and together they launched JAK. The labels success
enabled Jack to buy back the family hotel that his parent lost
during their financial troubles. The hotel quickly became a
symbol of success and prestige for the Warner family.
Jack loved Kate but fidelity was not his strong point. He met
an aboriginal woman on a business trip and they embarked on an
eight week affair, which was sweet and romantic. But the
affair came to an abrupt end when Kate gave birth to their
second son.
With little choice, Jack hot-footed it back to
town to leave the woman behind.
The woman later sent a letter and a photo of the baby, a girl.
No demands, no request for money just acknowledgement that
their wonderful two months together produced a beautiful
daughter.
She was now with a man who loved her and Jack, not
wanting to disrupt her happiness, let things lie. He told no
one of the affair, not even George. Yet Jack always felt bad
about not being there for Jess. Each year he put a few
thousand dollars into a private bank account for her.
He is
not sure how he will give it to her, or what he will say when
the time comes, but he feels a deep responsibility to provide
for her in some way.
After 15 years of marriage, Kate died unexpectedly in a car
accident. Three years later, Jack married Susan. Susan was
captivated by Jacks charisma, by his grandiose ideas and
determination to do things his way. Having been both rich and
poor, Jack showered Susan with expensive gifts and jewelry.
The birth of their daughter, Harriet, bought joy and
happiness, while at the same time reminded Jack of the
daughter he had never seen.
When Jack is diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer he puts
his affairs in order. At 59, he has lived a life without
regrets except for one the daughter born from his affair
with Ruby 26 years ago. Jack is determined to find his
daughter and right this wrong before he dies.

SUSAN WARNER (36)


Susan is intelligent, beautiful and at the prime of her life.
She has a reputation for getting what she wants and is
motivated by her need to secure her and Harriets future.
She feels responsible for the loss of her own familys fortune
after she advised her Dad to invest heavily in Rodney Adlers
HIH just before its crash. Her father never recovered and



Susan swore she would do everything in her power to prevent


such a thing happening again.
Susan enjoys her privileged lifestyle at the hotel and is
constantly entertaining.
Susan and Jack live in the penthouse on top of the hotel.
They married when Susan was 22 and Jack, 44.
At the time,
their age difference wasnt so noticeable, Jack a young 44 at
the time, but in the last few years the gulf between them has
widened, particularly in consideration of his illness.
Jack and Susan married in Bali after a whirlwind romance.
Susan bought a spring back to Jacks life, which his sons
considered an antidote to his mid-life crisis.
The boys were
happy for Jack, but also suspicious of Susan.
George said
little, which of course, said a lot.
Susan was never a mother to Christopher and Matthew. The 5
to 8 year age gap between them created an awkward and
uncomfortable atmosphere. The boys didnt dislike Susan but
neither did they trust her. Christopher moved out of the
family hotel as soon as he could, while Matthew took off
traveling.
The birth of Jack and Susans daughter, Harriet,
helped thaw family relationships although tensions still
simmer.
Recently George has grown concerned by her extravagant
soirees. But Susan knows that money and prestige are
important in maintaining the illusion of success. After all,
success breeds success and with Harriet now in high-school,
Susan wants to expand the Warner business.

MATTHEW WARNER (26)


Matthew was 14 when his mother, Kate, was tragically killed in
a car accident. He and his mother both shared a creative
flare. Kate excelled in design, and Matthew exhibited a gift
for music and composition.
He planned to study at the
Conservatorium when he finished school and pursue a career in
music. Kate encouraged his creativity and together they
played songs on the hotel piano, entertaining guests with
their silly banter and light-hearted tunes.
But with Kates death, the music inside Matthew died too. He
found it too painful to play and gave up altogether.
As soon
he could, Matthew took off travelling overseas, trying to fill
the void left by the absence of this mother and music.




Matthew returned to Australia three months ago after his


father cancer diagnoses.
Matthew has immersed himself in the
family business trying to help his brother and learn all he
can. But their different approaches soon have them at odds.
Christopher resents Matthew returning after so long, while
Matthew is annoyed by Christophers dismissive attitude
towards his new ideas.
Matthews girlfriend, Sally, returned with him to the hotel.
They met overseas and have been dating for eight months.
A
lighthearted, fun loving girl, Sally has a carefree, upbeat
spirit. She loves the beach, sunshine and intends to travel
for as long as she can.
Their relationship thrived while
traveling. But with Matthews life filled with routine and
responsibility, Sally isnt too sure about their future. .
But with his fathers death, Jess arrival, and their
financial woes, Matthew needs Sally more than ever and is
determined to make their relationship work.
But Matthew is instantly attracted to Jess from the moment
they meet. Her offbeat humour, exuberant laugh and doleful
eyes spark something inside him. He figures it must be the
brother/sister connection, just like he had with his Mum. But
when he hears Jess sing, something inside him shifts. Matthew
isnt sure what it is, but he figures it must be the music what else could it be?

CHRISTOPHER WARNER (30)


Christopher has always known he was destined to take over his
fathers business. He is diligent and driven, much like Jack
but without some of the old mans flare and imagination.
He completed a Masters of Business at Sydney University while
working part-time in the hotel.
Jack insisted Christopher
learn all aspects of the business including housekeeping,
reception, food and beverage; marketing and social media;
building maintenance and repairs; PR and sponsorship.
Since his fathers diagnosis, Christopher has slowly taken
over more responsibilities. Except for the business accounts,
which George maintains a tight control over.
Jack was an absent father during Christophers childhood.
He
was too absorbed building his fortune and had little time for
family. Christopher always sought his fathers approval was
disappointed when Jack and Susan were overseas for his
graduation.




Christopher is furious when Jack leaves an equal share of the


hotel to all his children, including Jess. Christopher
refuses to let all his hard work go to waste. He believes he
should be the major shareholder, as no one else has worked as
hard as him to keep the business going.
But while
Christopher has education and experience, Jess and Matthew
have the creative ideas to turn around the hotels finances
around. This only infuriates Christopher further.
While Christopher maintains a sense of control in business
deals, his personal life is a different story.
He has been
in love with the hotels Sous Chef since he spent time working
in the kitchen. He has no problem discussing budgets and
menus with her, but when the conversation turns personal, he
clams up. His Masters of Business did not have a chapter on
how to successfully ask out a member of staff, even if you
fancy her rotten.

GEORGE SMITH (59)


George and Jack are lifelong brothers. Their years at the
orphanage forged a unique bond and they have stood by each
other through thick and thin. George is a charted accountant
who looks after Jacks business and family affairs.
However the last few years have not been kind to George. His
investments have failed and a messy divorce cleaned him out.
He secretly borrowed money from Jacks company to get through
the lean times and is slowly paying it back.
The family expenditure and ongoing hotel renovations have
stretched Jacks finances and his bank accounts have dwindled.
George recently made a few investments he hoped would come
good but with the Australian dollar falling, things are not
looking positive.
Fast forward to 2016 and The Warner Hotel is turning into a big
black hole. The anticipated turnaround is taking longer than
expected. Costs have blown out and the world economic meltdown
didnt help. Jack continues to juggle money bank loans, George
loans, personal loans. He jealously guards the financial state
of the business.
Jack even tries to access the secret account he had George set
up for his secret daughter 26 years ago. It now contains hundreds
of thousands but he cant get hold of it because when set it up
with George all those years ago, he made sure that George was
the only person authorized to withdraw monies from it. On the
one hand, Jack wished he hadnt done that, but on the other, he



was happy that one day he would be able to give his eldest
daughter life changing money, which makes him feel good.

HARRIET WARNER (14)


Fourteen year old Harriet has lived her whole life at the
Warner Hotel. She loves its colorful characters and constant
activity. Her mother, Susan, tries to protect her from the
stream of guests but Harriet likes observing them without
being seen.
Harriet rarely sees her half-brother Christopher. He has
little time for her and is always busy with the
hotel.
Harriet watches him too. She watches how the Sous
Chef blushes when they talk and how Christopher clashes with
George over the hotels finances.
She knows little about Matthew, who has been overseas for a
large part of her life. But she likes having him and his
girlfriend around. It gives her mother someone else to focus
on besides Harriet.
Harriets life revolves around her friends, music and the
latest pop star. She has a voice that would cut but only
sings when she is alone.
She initially dislikes Jess and is
convinced she is a fraud. But as the series develops, Jess
becomes her best friend and confidante.




Warner Family Backstory


(August 2015)

Jack Warner
Jack has achieved a lot in his 57 years.
Hes a self-made
millionaire who grew up in a city orphanage in the 60s. He
never knew his birth a mum or dad, but since he can remember
hes always had his brother, George Smith and Kate Paul, his
first (and only real love).
All three grew up at the Infants Home. Lucky for them it was
hard but fair. Inseparable most of the time, Jack could talk
under water, Kate had great style and a talent for design and
George was good with his fists.
You had to be tough growing up in and around inner city back
then. George was big for his age and protected his family
when needed. He got into his fair share of trouble and began
to build a reputation as a tough boy. Jack and Kate were really
ambitious.
They wanted to get ahead and planned to start a
small business as soon as they could.
George, mostly
underestimated by everyone, was happy to just tag along.
All three left school as soon as they could.
They worked 24/7 in a variety of jobs and by 1976, Kate and
Jack (just 17) had saved enough to begin their own business.
They had long planned to start their own fashion label and
with their savings, took a lease on a shop in an inner city
suburb. Without much fanfare, the JAK label and shop opened
for business, on 17th July, 1976 the same day as the Montreal
Olympics opening ceremony.
Within a couple of months, JAK was flying. They couldnt keep
up with demand. The Xmas rush was particularly mad. They
needed more staff, a bigger space. So they leased a 2nd shop
By the following year, JAK was subject to a number of approaches
by the mainstream retailers looking to buy the business. Kate
was hesitant, Jack keen he knew any price offered wouldnt be
great, but better than nothing because that was all they were
making right now the rent, materials, wages the outgoings,
always seemed to be close or pip the incomings.
1979 came quickly. It was a big year for Jack and Kate. They
sold the business for a modest profit, got married in March at
the Moore Park registry office (George was best man and
bridesmaid) and Jack jumped at the opportunity to oversee and
manage the citys historic York Hotel. From fashion to hotels,



Jack change of career would pay off big time, as he backed


himself by taking less salary for a % of the profits uplift post
year 1.
He and Kate set about making over The York immediately - from
the rooms to the bars, the restaurants etc.
They threw
everything at making The York the new it place in town. It was
a big job, but their hard work started to pay off. The bars
started to fill up and occupancy rates went through.
In November of that year, the Warners had their first child
Christopher.
Life was good. Two became three Jack, Kate and Chris a real
family, the significance of which, is not lost on either Jack
or Kate.
The Yorks turnaround is the business story of the year. The
Warners, the talk of the town and with a % backend, begin to
make serious money for the first time. And with willing
investors, they reinvigorate a number of city hotels over the
next decade years. Their second son, Matthew, is born in 1984.
The Warners are happy and successful, everything is going to
plan, but four years on and Jack does something he will regret
for the rest of his life.
Jack has a one-night stand after Melbourne Cup day 1988.
Full of remorse the day after, he cant quite explain what
happened, but knows he has done something unforgivable.
He
knows that should Kate find out his marriage would be over.
He
waits for Kate to walk through the door and confront him, but
nothing happensnot that day or the next a week passes, a month
nothing.
His affair is safe for now, or so he thinks. He promises himself
never to be so silly again. And what of the woman he slept with?
He knows so little about her she was in one of the bars with a
friend. Kate was at one of the other properties. It really was
a case of one thing lead to another he knew he was heading for
trouble but it was exciting, she was beautiful, funny sexy. He
could lose himself for a while.
Things remain on track, although Kate picks up on Jacks
unsettled behavior. And then one day towards Xmas 1989, Nov 17,
Kate storms into Jacks office with a letter (and photo) in her
hand. Jack doesnt have to read it, Kates face tells him whats
in the letter.
The letter is short and tells Jack he has
fathered a daughter called Jess. No demands, more FYI.




Jack and Kates relationship shatters.


Kate is devastated.
Jack alone and adrift. Guilty that he has fathered an orphan,
something he swore he would never do, guilty he has cheated on
his wife. Nothing is never the same again.
Kate remains with Jack for the boys but the marriage is
over. She never tells anyone, not even George about what Jack
has done. She isnt trying to protect Jack, its more the pain
is too great and she cant see away through. Everything they
built together, washed away. They become business partners, not
much more. George tries to make things better, but Kate wont
forgive Jack. Jack retreats into himself.
Within two years, Kate Warner is dead. Its 1991. Jack Jnr is
12, Matthew 5. Memories of Kate playing Piano with Matthew in
the foyer of the hotel become just that. Matthew reacts to his
mums death by swearing never to play again.
Jack knows its all down to him. He doesnt know what to do
his wife is dead and he caused it. He throws himself into his
work. Kate, his the boys, George - any relationship of note is
pushed aside.
Of course he knows he has to do something for his Secret
Daughter, Jess.
Knows that one day hell have to meet her,
explain everything. He cant deal with now, but gets George to
set up a bank account for her (Jess Warner) and begins deposits
licks of cash into it, whenever he remembers. It makes him feel
good about himself (for a minute or two).
As Jack works non stop, he fails to notice his boys are growing
up, fast.
Over time, nannies have been replaced by boarding
school. Before Kates death, Jack always thought his sons would
join the business, but as they grew up, he wasnt sure.
He
hardy knew them, they spent more time with George than with him.
But of course, growing up in and around hotels meant that both
boys ended up with working with Jack. Chris came and worked in
the various hotels straight from school. Matthew, the smarter
of the two, went to University and did a Bachelor of Arts. More
like Jack, Matthew had a dark side. Unpredictable, dangerous,
smart and looking for something a meaning connection
something he hasnt had since him Kate died.
Jack needs a new challenge and sets his sights on The Peninsula
Hotel. Its the citys most prestigious hotel. It is past its
glory days, but under the right management and with a new look
and feel, could become the top hotel again.
Jack stitches
together a finance package that includes several banks and all
the assets the family company owns. He appoints high profile
property lawyer, Susan Hindmarsh, to help him secure the Hotel.



Susan is mid forties, smart, energetic and beautiful. She has


a reputation for is getting what she wants. Money is important
to her (power) and she is very motivated by it, as she feels
responsible for the loss of her own familys fortune she
advised her Dad to invest heavily in Rodney Adlers HIH just
before it crashed, in March 2001 with debts totally 5.3B. Rodney
went to jail. The Hindmarshs to the wall, and Susan knows that
the loss of money, power, influence was down to her. Her Dad
was never the same after that. Susan swore to get some of all
three back some day.
Jack gets The Peninsula. Hes full stretched but there is a
spring in his step. Maybe Susan has had something to do with
that. Jack begins to date Susan and after a whirlwind romance,
marries her on a beach in Bali. The boys, reckon Jacks midlife
crisis came a decade late, are happy for their Dad, but
suspicious of Susan. George says little which of course, says
a lot.
Jacks second daughter, Harriett is born in 2003.
Jack and
Susan marriage drifts. She is driven by work, and rebuilding the
Hindmarsh name and influence in the city. Everything she does
is for a reason. Jack begins to see the true Susan clever,
manipulative, dangerous. Jack withdraws. His finds comfort in
Chris and Matthew, but every time he looks at Harriett, he thinks
about Jess and the other daughter he has never seen the
daughter he has abandoned. He begins to think about more and
more about her - who she has grown up to be. He re-reads the
letter sent by Jesss mum all those years ago. He pens a reply,
but never sends the letter. Says he will one day.
Fast forward to 2016 and The Peninsula is turning into a big
black hole. The anticipated turnaround is taking longer than
expected. Costs have blown out and the world economic meltdown
didnt help. But maybe things just get harder, the older you
get. Jack continues to juggle money bank loans, George loans,
personal loans. He jealously guards the financial state of the
business.
He even tries to access the secret account he had George set up
for Jess 26 years ago. It now contained millions but he cant
get hold of it because when set it up with George all those
years ago, he made sure that George was the only person
authorized to withdrawl monies from it. On the one hand, Jack
wished he hadnt done that, but on the other, he was happy that
one day he would be able to give his eldest daughter life
changing money. Made him feel good.
As financial pressures built on Jack, his annual medical check
(for insurance purposes) delivers him more bad news.



However, Jacks annual doctors checkup delivers bad news. Hes


got advanced prostate cancer one of 32 Australian men told
that day he has the most common cancer for Australian men. He
doesnt have a lot of time and will become a statistic (one of
3300 men who die from prostate cancer every year) within six
months. The clock is ticking.
One of the first things Jack decides to do with his time is to
find Jess try and right his wrong. At least try and explain
to her, why he has never been a part of her life. Hes not sure
how she will react to him, when he finally meets her, but
motivated by selfishness (wants to feel good about himself),
curiosity, and charity he reckons the possible fall out will
be worth it. At least he can hand over the millions hes saved
for her. She will know he thought about her and provided for
her at a bare minimum. Thats got to count for something.
The letter he was sent all those years ago, has a name and
address so it wont be that hard to find Jess and her mum.
Three days away from the Peninsula should be enough time. He
writes a letter to Matthew (his closet son), and details
everything to do with Jess. He does this because he wants to
share the burden and besides he knows Matthew will be more
understanding than the others.
A couple of days away from the office what can go wrong?




West Family Backstory


(August 2015)
Ruby Johnston grew up with her mum. Her Dad had cleared out a
long time ago and with money always short, Ruby learned quickly
the value of a dollar. Swore she would not end up like her mum
welfare dependent and lonely.
Ruby never gave her aboriginality much thought, her big
personality and looks and voice got her through most things.
She and her best mate Jodie grew up fast, had big plans - Ruby
thought she might be the next Aretha Franklin, Jodie next Iman.
Ruby and Jodie moved to the city as soon as they had enough
money, but their dreams didnt pan out and after four years,
both moved back to the country.
Ruby met Gus West on the city/country train just in June 1985.
He was seated behind her and offered her a fantale just as the
trip got going. She reacted with suspicion, she had had bad
experiences with some city white guys, but she liked Gus, he
seemed different.
They chatted on and off throughout the
journey. He was heading to the country, looking for farm.
Although he was older, short and wizened, Ruby loved his
brilliant, blue shining eyes.
He was deadpan and funny and
seemed concerned with things that only concerned him - she really
liked that.
Back in town, they bumped into each other from time to time and
after a while, the meetings became more regular. Things changed
in August 89, when Ruby turned up one night and asked if she
could stay at Guss place. Rubys mother had died earlier in
the year and she couldnt flat with Jodie anymore because of
the she and Jodie had had a massive falling out over Aaron,
Jodies boyfriend.
And Ruby was pregnant! She told Gus it
wouldnt be for long - just needed a couple of days to sort
things out.
He was chuffed she had turned to him, didnt want to know the
details of the business fallout or the other. He was just happy.
He loved her, no questions asked.
Ruby never left. She and Gus became lovers. She finally found
happiness. Gus never asked about the coming babys, father. He
was just like that, nothing seemed to faze him.
Ruby could see herself with Gus for the rest of her life she
had found her family, Ruby gave birth to a baby girl in December
1989.
It was Gus who suggested she call her Jess, a strong
name. Ruby wasnt sure, but the name stuck.



8 days after having Jess doctors broke the news to Gus and Ruby,
that Ruby had stage four cancer - it was everywhere brain,
liver, lungs, and spine. They only picked it up because they
were doing routine checks post birth. Everyone was shocked
cancer was supposed to seek out mid aged to old people. Not
someone just about to turn 30.
Gus nursed her to the end and promised to look after Jess.
Gus married Ruby a week before she died. They got married in
the hospital. Gus helped Jodie and Ruby reconcile, and it was
touching that Jodie (Laylas mum) was the only other person at
the wedding. Aaron, Jodies live-in boyfriend didnt come.
Gus brought Jess home from hospital, buried Ruby and lived on.
Gus never really liked speaking off the past. He loved Jess,
figured hed tell her the truth one day that he wasnt her birth
father. Even though Jess and Layla were born a week apart, they
didnt see much of each other in those early years.
Thats
because Gus kept away from Jodie and Aaron.




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