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Connor gets an unexpected birthday surprise from Lori…
Erinsborough’s Connor O’Neill and Lori Lee have been spending a lot of time together lately, which is hardly surprising when you consider how much they have in common. Connor recently waved goodbye to his long-time girlfriend, Michelle Scully, when she embarked on a year of study in New York. Meanwhile, Lori has been slowly coming to terms with her split from Michelle’s brother, Jack, who dumped her for Nina Tucker. And this fortnight, it looks as though poor Connor and Lori are set to rebound right into each other’s arms!
“Connor and Lori have both had a pretty rough time of it of late, although Lori’s situation has been much worse than Connor’s,” says Patrick Harvey, who plays the Irishman. “With Connor and Michelle, it wasn’t really a surprise when things came to an end. But Lori’s situation was 10 times worse because Jack actually cheated on her, and she still has to see him – and Nina – on Ramsay Street every day.”
When their respective romances fizzled out, both Connor and Lori decided to move out of the Scully house, but it’s only now they’re apart that sparks are beginning to fly.
“They start to spend a bit more time together, but it’s very innocent – they’re both really in need of a friend at the moment,” reveals Patrick. “Connor’s in a strange position with Lori, because he’s meant to be friends with Jack, but at the end of the day his sympathies are with her.”
Not that Lori is spending every waking moment moping around. Having recovered from her recent paralysis, she and Connor team up to sell t-shirts to students at Erinsborough High. Their partnership extends to helping Harold Bishop with a promotion at the coffee shop – and results in them spending more and more time together.
“They work very well as a team, and Lori’s energy really rubs off on Connor,” says Patrick. “Without realising it, their friendship develops.”
When Lori learns that Toadie Rebecchi and Stuart Parker have not planned anything to celebrate Connor’s birthday, she steps in and organises a party. In other words, she does everything a girlfriend would do!
“Connor is really down because he’s expecting a call from Michelle, but she doesn’t ring,” reveals Patrick. “Lori’s the one who cheers him up. It ends up a really good party and he manages to forget about Michelle for a while.”
But the biggest surprise is reserved for the next morning. When Connor and Lori awake with hangovers, they opt for a dip in the backyard swimming pool – but instead end up dipping a toe in the waters of romance.
“It’s just one of those things that happens – one minute they’re jumping in the pool, the next minute they’re kissing,” says Patrick. “It happens fast, and afterwards they don’t discuss it.”
But is this a rebound reaction or the start of a new romance? Patrick thinks we will soon find out. “You can’t just kiss someone and pretend it never happened,” he says. “Things will be a little strange.”
Luckily, there are no such problems in Patrick’s off-screen love life, as the 18-year-old actor is happily attached to his beloved girlfriend, Carissa Van Kessel.
“I’m going to sound really soppy here, but she’s my best friend,” says Patrick, who recently won the coveted Most Popular New Talent Award at the Logie Awards – the Oscars of Aussie TV. “I have the most fun with her when we go out – she’s cool!”
This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine, dated 2nd August 2003, and was written by Jason Herbison