The sequel to
Second Kiss: The Cheese Soufflé. Gordon
Tracy's POV of a very precarious situation. Calling
International Rescue in more ways than one!
Thank you to quiller for checking this for me. Second
Helpings is only my "take" on an established episode of the
Thunderbirds series. It is not intended to imply this is how
The "Other Side"
of the Eddie Houseman Story
A Thunderbirds Fanfiction Story in
Chapter One: Second Helpings-Part 1
Chapter Two: Second
SECOND HELPINGS - PART 1
begin this story by saying; if nothing else, life around here
at times can be pretty darned interesting.
life isn't interesting all the time of course; we here in
International Rescue are never bored with the exciting life we
lead. We jet all over the world. We save lives. It's "what we
do" and we love it.
But what I
also term "interesting" is the special little romance which
has been blossoming within our ranks over the past couple of
months; one my brothers and I have been watching evolve with a
good deal of mirth and speculation.
with the glances across the table at mealtimes, progressed to
little walks along the beach holding hands; escalated with the
cheese soufflé they made together in the kitchen, spiralled to
include late night suppers overlooking the ocean ... and last
night, from what we've been able to ascertain; reached the
"taste" of his "favourite dish" discreetly behind closed
right you guessed it. My little brother Alan and Miss Tin-Tin
Kyrano are more than "just friends" these days. I think it's
pretty fair to say these two are now a couple.
Alan hasn't said anything about what happened between the two
of them last night. More than likely he knows what he'd be
subjected to if he did. But being his closest brother and the
one he always confides in with the important stuff, I'm pretty
sure he'll at least tell me. He trusts me more than the others
when it comes to talking about things like that. I guess it's
because we're as close as two brothers can be; always have
been. There's nothing we don't know about each other.
hardest part of course will be trying to act surprised when he
calls me to one side and tells me. You see, Alan doesn't know
what I saw this morning as I was preparing myself for an early
morning swim, and despite the fact he won't be too impressed,
it's a little difficult for me to somehow forget that I saw
it. I mean, how often does a guy happen to see a woman leaving
his little brother's bedroom at five o'clock the morning?
Especially one who's wearing nothing but a robe!
from me; it doesn't happen very often.
As for the
clothes she was carrying underneath her arm at the time ...gee
... even in the half light of the dawn, it was pretty hard not
to notice they were the ones she was wearing last night during
aside, I have to admit I'm really kind of happy for Alan. I
think I'm even jealous. He's got something the rest of us
don't have these days and after a lot of soul-searching on
what he wanted from a relationship with Miss Kyrano, it's only
right for him that he's got it. They've been in love with each
other for ages and it was about time they told each other how
romance wasn't always this rosy I might say. In fact, I think
you'd probably call the chain of events leading up to last
night's big event any other word but rosy.
me, pear-shaped is a pretty good description because
everything around here went pear-shaped, including
International Rescue, the day a certain Mr Eddie Houseman
jetted in from the mainland to look up "an old friend."
threatened to destroy Alan's perfect little world...
time this travesty began, my little brother Alan was
absolutely smitten with Miss Tin-Tin Kyrano, our very
beautiful, very worldly Assistant Engineer.
love is pathetic.
how he felt about Tin-Tin but he had no end of trouble trying
to find the words to tell her.
did he do?
Alan, he sat back and didn't do anything.
saying what she wanted to hear, he remained silently
infatuated, his eyes following her wherever she went; making
every excuse he could to be with her; and hanging off her
in mind, I'm sure you can imagine the reaction when the sleek
red jet came in to land on Tracy Island and the secret love of
his life opened her big brown eyes, swooned twice on the couch
and breathed the words no man in love with a woman would ever
want to hear.
kind of oozed out of Tin-Tin's mouth like this Eddie guy was
some kind of male divinity. I suppose as far as things go in
the looks department, I had to admit she was right. Houseman
had to be thirty at least; tall, dark and handsome, with deep
expressive eyes and the most devilishly attractive dimple
right in the centre of his chin. Boy oh boy, you only had to
see the way she looked at him and the way he looked at her to
guess that these two had been more than "just friends" in the
got to say you had to be in the middle of all this to truly
there he was in his designer best, head over heels in love
with Tin-Tin, and trying to pretend he wasn't threatened by
the arrival of the suave, sexy and sophisticated Mr. Eddie
started to pout.
of course that all eyes Tracy were focussed on him and not one
of us was about to miss a solitary thing when it came to the
developing relationship between himself and Miss Kyrano. Even
Dad had a bit of a smirk on his face at Alan's petulant
reaction and had to resort to burying himself in his paperwork
before he started to laugh.
course there was Tin-Tin.
Alan was besotted with her, she knew he had a terrible jealous
streak, and being a woman of the world who was sick to death
of waiting for his proclamation of love, she decided nothing
would be better than to enjoy a good flirt.
The bat of
an eyelash ... the hint of a seductive smile...hair arranged
to highlight two sensuous lips ...oh yes ... our Assistant
Engineer certainly didn't need any instructions on how to
inflame a man. What we all wanted to know was which man she
was intending to inflame. I hedged my bets with my brothers
and said it wasn't Eddie.
point, into the equation came Grandma.
know my Grandma has been on a mission of mercy since
International Rescue began. As far as Grandma is concerned,
Tin-Tin was handmade for Alan and that's all there is to it.
breath she tells Tin-Tin that Alan has his eye on her and in
the next one she tells Alan the exact same thing in reverse. I
swear she won't be happy until she's got the two of them
tucked up nice and tight together in a great big marital bed.
I might also make the statement that once she's managed to get
them in there; she won't be letting them out in too much of a
hurry either. Not until she knows her long awaited Great
Grandchild is on the way. That's her sole intention.
so funny to watch when she wants something and with true
International Rescue spirit she isn't about to "give up at any
this admirable character trait which started the whole thing
off with Eddie Houseman.
time of Eddie's arrival, Grandma was in the middle of her
latest campaign to get Alan and Tin-Tin together.
after watching the two of them "watch each other", yet again,
over Dinner, Grandma decided that Tin-Tin needed to have a
brand new evening dress. She then proceeded to sit up until
the small hours of the morning making this low cut number she
knew our Tin-Tin would love. Of course Tin-Tin thought the
dress was fabulous and Grandma immediately suggested in both
directions that she needed to find somewhere special to wear
someone special to wear it for...
smiled to herself at Grandma's interference and waited
patiently for Alan to extend the long awaited invitation.
course, failed to take the hint.
to say, when Houseman's jet dipped and wove in the air before
coming into land on Tracy Island, Grandma wasn't very happy.
She knew the arrival of any "old friend" of Tin-Tin's could
only mean trouble for this fledgling little romance, and let
me tell you right now, Grandma was having absolutely none of
outside Grandma seems like a sweet little old lady.
inside she's a brilliant military strategist who's frankly
capable of anything if her plans for the future look like they
could be in jeopardy.
As I said
before, life around here at times can be pretty darned
the arrival of Eddie Houseman it was about to get a whole lot
more interesting still.
pretended to be occupied when Kyrano showed our "visitor" in;
Virgil faking sleep on the couch, Brains studying the chess
board and Dad, Alan and I reading the nearest thing we could
grab from underneath the coffee table.
hates faking anything, elected to stand out on the balcony.
the ice when Houseman was introduced; shaking Eddie's hand and
saying with his usual politeness how happy he was to meet an
old acquaintance of Tin-Tin's. He asked him all about his
flight and had a pleasant conversation about his jet. However
I knew by the look on Dad's face that Houseman's jet was the
last thing he had on his mind. All he was focussed on was how
long Tin-Tin's "guest" was intending to stay and interrupt the
proper functioning of International Rescue.
being Dad, he decided point blank to ask him.
so Kyrano knows what to do with the Guest room you see." he
explained, uncomfortable at the sound of his own directness.
got in on the act and came in from the balcony to ask the
exact same question again.
... for the Guest room." he stumbled glancing at Dad.
Scott are such a pigeon pair when it comes to the security of
our operation. They simply can't help themselves when it comes
to "operation cover-up." So while the rest of us were enjoying
watching Alan sulk, mope and feel sorry for himself, they were
bolted together worrying themselves sick about how they were
going to deal with the situation if or when International
Rescue was required.
on the other hand, just wanted Eddie Houseman out of her
mathematical equation. One plus one had been perfect. One plus
two was a crowd. Unlike Dad, Grandma wasn't the least bit
worried about operation "cover-up". She was more worried about
"operation Tin-Tin," especially when it took Eddie less than a
couple of hours to woo our pretty Assistant Engineer out on
the water for a private little interlude under the stars.
young man definitely didn't come here to play chess." she
frowned, folding her arms in discontent as the boat sped out
into the bay. "More like a swift game of something else if you
want my opinion."
say anything in reply but Grandma's observation of Houseman's
intentions really cut him to the bone. He hadn't even gotten
to second base with Tin-Tin yet; at least we didn't think he
had, and listening to Grandma speculating Houseman was here
for "nothing more than second helpings" of what he was yet to
experience himself was almost more than he could take.
I looked at each other as he wallowed in his own misery; half
heartedly pressing down the keys on the piano and wearing a
face of stone.
followed his to where their boat floated about in the
moonlight under the fullness of the summer moon.
grinned. There was nothing like a good old fashioned Tracy
ribbing to lighten up a crisis and what a better time to do it
than when your baby brother was at his worst?
to say Virgil started it but as usual I was happy to play
where's Tin-Tin got to, Gordon?" he teased, knowing full well
he was about to light what we both knew was Alan's very short
was over to me to fan the fire.
tell me you haven't heard, Virgil?" I said, trying not laugh.
"This Prince Charming flew in and is really sweeping her off
feigned a shocked surprise as we watched the steam rising.
exclaimed, pretending to be shocked too.
beamed from ear to ear with hilarity as our award winning
"Is he as
handsome as me, Gordon?"
lost it with that one. I had to swallow a couple of times to
try and contain myself.
Virgil," I finally managed to say. "Nearly."
the end for both of us. Just as he was about to explode we
both burst into laughter and ragged him for all he was worth.
brow furrowed when he realised our aggravation was nothing
more than a little brotherly joke. He told us in a low and
sulky tone to cut it out. He didn't know what had gotten in to
everyone. Wasn't there anything else to talk about except
Tin-Tin and Eddie Houseman? They were just friends.
see his mind ticking over the enormity of that one. If
Houseman's definition of being friends with Tin-Tin Kyrano was
anything like Alan wanted his definition to be, things would
have been getting more than just a little heated out there in
seemed to be forever the boat headed back to shore and as if
to add insult to injury, Houseman made a point of anchoring it
in a tiny inlet just out of eyeshot from the villa. The two of
them stayed out there for hours and I'm sure after witnessing
the chemistry that had existed between them earlier that day
in the lounge, it was pretty fair to say they wouldn't have
been talking about the weather.
whatever was or wasn't going on in the back of that boat,
Eddie Houseman was completely oblivious to the havoc his visit
was causing in the ranks of International Rescue.
Scott spent the evening conversing with John on the procedure
that would need to be followed from the space station if the
Thunderbird craft were required. Virgil joined them to give
some input once the strategy was devised.
watched the boat from her bedroom window trying to work out
what to do next.
on the balcony, craning his neck to see the boat, green with
As for me
... I sat in the lounge pretending to read the paper. I
couldn't have cared less about what was happening in the boat.
Watching everyone's reaction to Houseman was all the
entertainment I needed.
two of Eddie Houseman's visit turned out to be every bit as
entertaining as Day number one.
started over breakfast and this time it wasn't Alan who was
the centre of attention. Day Two belonged to Grandma and when
she started with Eddie Houseman, Dad nearly died.
o'clock in the morning came, and as was his customary
practice, Dad sat himself down at the Breakfast table and
buried his head in the financial pages. He accepted the offer
of orange juice and coffee from Kyrano, but declined to take
any food until the rest of us arrived back from our varying
I came in
soon after, invigorated from a two mile swim in the sea. Dad
lifted his head and acknowledged me, and then gave me a
reminder to go put on a decent shirt before I sat down with
him at the table.
"Inconvenient as it is, don't forget we have Company at the
moment son." he said.
Hmpph. That's not what the heck I'd call it." Grandma mumbled
unhappily without looking up from her coffee.
over at Grandma who was situated at the other end of the
that you said Mother?"
nothing Jeff." she replied in a tone which told him it
wouldn't be wise to pursue the matter with her any further.
shrugged. He figured something trivial had gotten Grandma
going and whatever it was or as was usually the case with
Grandma, whoever it was, he didn't want to
returned minutes later, wearing the requested shirt, Virgil,
Scott and Alan had all joined Dad at the table too. Virgil and
Scott had seated themselves in their customary positions near
Dad and Alan had decided to sit next to Grandma, no doubt to
receive a bit of moral support for his more than flagging ego.
as always, didn't let the precious apple of her eye down. She
reached out her hand to squeeze his after he flopped
dejectedly into the chair beside her.
you feeling this morning, sweetheart?" she asked gently. "Did
you manage to get any sleep?"
Grandma." he sulked. "No I didn't."
either." she admitted with a frown.
give up all those secret afternoon naps, Grandma." I grinned,
slipping into the vacant chair to her left. "They're the real
reason you can't sleep."
across the table at Alan and winked. "You on the other hand
don't even have that excuse ..."
little comment quickly earned me a slap on the wrist from my
very edgy, very unhappy Grandmother.
wasn't why your brother couldn't sleep young man so you just
mind yourself. He's got some very important things on his mind
at the moment and they're not to be taken lightly."
do you mean, ma'am?" I smirked glancing at the miserable Alan.
few minutes Kyrano hurried in with the remaining glasses of
orange juice and then followed up with a huge pot of strong
black coffee. His whole expression changed when he noticed
there were still two vacant chairs to be filled, one on each
side of the table.
Now it was
Kyrano's turn to frown.
have to be a genius to work out what he was thinking and it
came as no surprise when he said he thought he might take a
tray up to the guest room to "start off Mr Houseman's day".
with avid interest as he headed back to the kitchen at the
speed of lightening to make up the required tray.
was pure gold in the entertainment stakes and I didn't know
which part of the entertainment I was silently enjoying the
which person's reaction.
face didn't move but a very discreet wink with his right eye
indicated his thoughts to Virgil.
simply smiled at Scott in return, trying not to make his
amusement too obvious.
even get it.
looked like he was going to be sick and swallowed his orange
juice in one huge gulp.
eyes narrowed with displeasure as the Maths began again in her
head. Had one plus one equalled one in the back of that boat
last night? All I could think was God help Houseman if it had.
By the look Grandma had on her face, I fully expected her to
jump up at any minute, grab Kyrano's tray and burst into his
room to see if they were together.
goodness a freshly showered and shaven Eddie Houseman appeared
not twenty five seconds later enquiring if anyone had seen
down the tray and shook his head with relief.
had to exhale three days worth of oxygen.
practiced smoothness and not realising the panic his lack of
punctuality had caused, Eddie sat himself down and apologised
for being so late for Breakfast. The sea air must make a man
sleep more soundly, he said. That, and the wonderful evening
he had experienced with Miss Kyrano.
had the nerve to say he hoped he hadn't missed anything.
of you ever missing anything." Grandma mumbled again under her
me, Mrs Tracy?" he asked with true politeness.
the only thing you've missed is the coffee, dear." she replied
in her sweetest voice, indicating the now empty pot in front
at Grandma and said it didn't matter. He didn't care too much
for coffee in the mornings anyway.
he'd have left it there.
no sign of Tin-Tin, he stupidly went on to make the
observation that their "big night out" under the stars must
have been all too much for her. It didn't help when he
starting prattling on again what a great time they'd had
together in the boat, what a terrific girl she was and how
happy he was to "be able to enjoy renewing their
then Alan rose to his feet and excused himself, saying he
didn't feel very well. Dad, of course, set the newspaper aside
and frowned after him as he left the room in a huff.
all right a few moments ago." he commented looking at Scott
and Virgil, obviously expecting some sort of explanation.
Scott said trying to keep a straight face. "As I recall Alan
wasn't feeling too good last night either."
really off last night Dad." Virgil chimed
in with a more than a little emphasis on the "off". "Don't you
didn't get it.
I do remember, boys but I thought he was only like that
because of ..."
stopped mid-sentence as the realisation dawned.
errr ... ummm ...yes ... well he's probably just tired ..." he
flustered, looking everywhere but at Eddie Houseman. "I'll
make a point of looking in on him after breakfast to make sure
he's feeling better."
the awkward subject by turning to Kyrano. "Speaking of which;
I'm starved old friend. How about some breakfast?"
then the trouble began.
excelled himself for our "guest" and had produced a dazzling
array of food which covered every square inch of the table.
Even though I got the distinct impression he had reservations
about Houseman, Kyrano was professional to the core when it
came to attending to the needs of the guests who visited Tracy
feel free to help yourself to everything, Mr. Houseman." he
said in his quietly efficient voice.
Kyrano didn't mean "everything" in quite the context it was
taken but Houseman didn't have to be asked twice. He dug into
the food like the world was going to end.
Tracy Island gives a man a healthy appetite, but this guy even
made an amateur out of me.
second helpings of everything; the fruit, the cereals, the
pancakes, the eggs, and finally, when he must have been
bordering on explosion, second helpings of Kyrano's delicious
watched the whole time without comment but when Houseman
reached forward for his second helping of the toast she was
unable to control herself any longer.
certainly enjoy your second helpings don't you son?" she
observed with a sarcasm even I didn't think she was capable
course, thought Grandma was only making pleasant conversation,
so he nodded his head, smiled and agreed.
Mrs Tracy." he acknowledged. "A man doesn't know what he's
missing with something unless he's tried it at least twice."
think he should have said that.
smile didn't alter but the fire in her eyes sure did.
that's more than true, Mr. Houseman." she ground out. "But I
find it very interesting that this time you've flown half way
around the world to do it."
recognised the inference immediately and spluttered his coffee
in disbelief. He dropped the newspaper to the floor, lifted
his eyes to Grandma's in dismay and in true International
Rescue style did the only thing he could do to save the
I'm sure all of us would fly half way around the world if we
had the opportunity to enjoy a meal like this." he stressed,
calmly trying to indicate what was left of the food. "Isn't
that right boys?"
at the three of us with expectation. Scott's hurried "Yes Dad"
couldn't have been more sincere; Virgil's urgent "Yes Sir" was
almost genuine; and my wide-eyed "That's right Father" was
said with exactly the required enthusiasm.
a tight smile of thanks in our direction and then an even
tighter one in the direction of Grandma.
can see Mother, Kyrano's culinary skills are
appreciated by all of us...not just Mr. Houseman."
Dad just told you in his own tactful way you'd better settle
continued after that, with the creases in Grandma's temple
deepening, Alan emerging from his room after a long talk with
Dad about women, and Eddie and Tin-Tin disappearing for a
couple of hours to "swim" in the bay on the other side of the
late over the shores of Tracy Island and as was customary on a
hot summer night, we all gathered on the balcony to enjoy an
aperitif before we went in to have Dinner.
All of us,
that is, except our beautiful Assistant Engineer, Miss Kyrano.
another day in Eddie Houseman's arms she was busy upstairs
preparing to go with him to the mainland. He'd planned for
them to have dinner, enjoy a spot of dancing and then to
"further reminisce old times gone by."
wearing that lovely new dress I made for her too." Grandma
pined looking directly at Alan.
swallowed in the silence, lowered his head and began to count
the ice cubes in his drink. He didn't know what to do about
the situation with Houseman anymore and had all but given up.
By now Dad
was starting to feel as sorry for Alan as the rest of us. He
didn't want him to start feeling "unwell" again, so he tried
to take his mind off things by clearing his throat and making
the broad statement that Tin-Tin was only going to the
mainland with Houseman to do International Rescue a favour.
She was aware of all the pressure Eddie's visit was causing,
he said, and she was only trying to help.
I know Dad
meant well, but if he thought a comment like that would make
Alan feel any better, he was sorely mistaken.
didn't say anything, but the long walk he decided to take in
lieu of Dinner sure said it all for him.
him disappear onto the darkened beach, head down, hands in
pockets, totally dejected. He was past the sullen stage now.
inside me suddenly said "enough". What had been a joke the
previous evening was fast becoming the opposite. I loved my
little brother, despite his many failings, and he sure as hell
didn't deserve this.
I made a
pact with myself to stop the teasing and the jokes.
somehow come to expect that fate works in mysterious ways on
this island and what was soon to follow was definitely no
exception to the rule.
minutes before Houseman was due to leave the island with
Tin-Tin, he received an urgent call from his Construction
Company who were building some kind of new road on the
mainland. He looked a bit rattled when the call came in and
asked Dad if it was all right for him to take it in the study.
When it ended, we all lifted our eyebrows in surprise when he
headed for the guest room in a panic and began to pack his
tell Dad too much before he left, only that he'd been recalled
to the construction site to take care of some sort of dire
bother to tell Tin-Tin anything.
he didn't even bother to say goodbye.
think it takes too much guessing to figure out what happened
when Tin-Tin found out the news.
had heard the engines of the jet on her way downstairs to the
lounge. Realising they were Eddie's, she hurried out onto the
balcony where all of us, except for Alan and Grandma, still
stunning in the beautiful low-cut dress and it was obvious
from the trouble she had taken with her hair and exotic
make-up, she had been expecting more than just a night to
remember with the handsome Eddie Houseman.
couldn't look when her face started to crumble ... neither
could Virgil. I can't take it when a girl starts to cry
either, so I did the only noble thing I could do.
they did and made a beeline for the lounge.
Dad to pick up the pieces and believe me when I tell you he
wasn't very good at it. He'd never had to raise a daughter and
I don't think he realised he couldn't just pat her on the back
like a boy and offer a few words of Fatherly advice. Yep I
think it's fair to say Dad's lack of skills in that Department
were never more obvious than when he stood on the balcony with
Tin-Tin that night, trying to think of something to say to
explain Eddie's behaviour.
his Company means a lot to him." he stumbled as the plane
disappeared into the starlit sky.
didn't answer and continued to look into the horizon with
devastated, tear-filled eyes. I'm no expert on women but
somehow I don't think you're supposed say that sort of thing
to someone who's just been left hanging by a man.
write to you."
needed to save Dad from himself... and fast. He was terrible.
Now he was making it sound like Eddie had run off to join the
was clearly heartbroken at the position she had now found
herself in. What had started as a simple flirt to torture Alan
into telling her how he felt had backfired to involve not only
Alan's innermost emotions but her own fragile ones as well.
Intentional or not, she had started to fall for the womanising
Eddie Houseman and it was a big shock for her to find out that
she had been nothing more to him than "just another girl."
away from Dad and left the balcony before she started to cry.
...nice going everyone... especially you Dad. That comment
about Eddie writing was an absolute winner.
For a few
moments nobody moved. We weren't used to Tin-Tin crying.
Teasing and arguing the point with Alan maybe but never
silence was unbearable.
eventually cleared his throat and came out with what everyone
finishes Eddie as far as Tin-Tin is concerned."
Virgil and I looked across at him with one eyebrow higher than
the other. Hardly the greatest revelation big brother!
still a bit shaken but put the emotional crisis in the back of
his mind when Virgil went on say we'd all been very lucky not
to receive any emergency calls during the period of Eddie's
and refrained from saying how glad he was that he'd gone.
of us looked at each other when we saw Alan walking back
towards the villa. At least this kid would have a smile back
on his face when he heard the happy news. But there was one
thing we all forgot. Alan was still under the impression
Tin-Tin had gone to the mainland with Houseman and he didn't
want to talk to anyone.
be Mother." Dad warned when Grandma tore out of the kitchen
and went to follow Alan up the stairs.
stopped in mid-flight and turned around prepared to argue.
This time Dad didn't flinch.
needs to think about things a little longer." he emphasised in
a powerful voice which said he meant business.
I had to
admit, like Grandma, I was surprised at Dad's position. After
his own dreadful attempt to comfort Tin-Tin, I thought he
would be all for Alan trying to do something to make her feel
better. Lord knows he sure didn't.
Alan better than we thought.
is very upset at the moment, Mother." he stressed. "And the
last thing she needs right now is my youngest son knocking on
her door and trying to make himself feel better."
SECOND HELPINGS - PART 2
think that after nearly losing Tin-Tin to the arms of Eddie
Houseman, Alan might have been a bit more gracious when he
found out what had happened.
Not so my
I know Dad
had made it very clear that night he wanted Alan to be left
alone to think things over, boy you only had to ask my
Grandmother, but I couldn't sit back let him keep believing
Tin-Tin was on the mainland doing goodness knows what with
way he felt about her.
As I have
said before, Alan and I are close and by close I don't just
mean in age. We've shared everything over the years, from the
socks on our feet to the pain of Dad's lectures. We've looked
out for each other ever since we could walk and we still look
out for each other now. So, it was easy for me to risk of
copping a bit of flack from Dad rather than let Alan
experience yet another sleepless night.
however, my clumsy attempt to make my brother feel better only
left me worrying, well at least wondering, what the heck was
going to happen around here next.
him almost forever to open his door when I knocked, and as
soon as he saw me in the doorway, his reaction was exactly
what I'd expected ...irritable, hot-headed and suspicious. I
tried to shrug it all off when he asked me what I wanted. I
said I didn't want much; all I needed was five so the two of
us could talk. I was soon warned in no uncertain terms that
I'd be getting more than only five for my trouble if the
subject was going to be Eddie Houseman.
and chose to ignore his threats. He was nothing but big,
blonde bluff anyway. How could he possibly think his favourite
brother would bring up a subject quite as unsavoury as that?
Then, before he had the chance to answer me, I pushed past him
with a grin and forced my way into his room.
Alan as I do, I was surprised he didn't protest but when I
took a deep breath and turned around to face him, I could see
the volcanic explosion coming. The tightly folded arms were
bad enough but the testy expression on his face made it pretty
damned obvious he wasn't in the mood for talking.
"OK so you
have five." he snapped. "Start talking."
began, hoping he'd at least listen to me before he went to
throw me out. "I want to talk to you about Tin ..."
even give me the opportunity to finish saying her name.
start on me Gordon." he scowled. "I've already told you I
don't want to talk about her."
didn't." I pointed out, trying to keep the conversation
light-hearted. "You only said you didn't want to talk about
response to that was anything but light -hearted. His face
reddened, his fists clenched and his jaw set just like it used
to do when we were younger and he didn't get his own way in an
argument. The words "Houseman's a jerk." left his lips like
faded. It was late; every noise carried and the last thing I
wanted to do was to alert my Father to my whereabouts.
know." I said in a low and serious voice. "I feel the same way
you do, especially after the way he's treated Tin-Tin."
frowned, glanced towards the door and demanded to know what
I grabbed the opportunity. He wouldn't like what I had to say,
I told him, and I could understand perfectly if it made him
feel upset. We were all upset about it too, even Dad. Alan's
frown deepened and he told me to go on. He listened to the
story in silence before shrugging his shoulders and making the
observation that nothing Houseman did to anyone came as any
great surprise to him.
you he was a jerk." he griped, before unsystematically
unbuttoning his shirt and reefing back his bedcovers. "Now if
you'll excuse me, I'd like to go to bed. Thanks to that
Houseman creep I didn't manage to get any sleep at all last
proceeded to get into bed, turn his back on me, and demand I
turn off the light when I left.
For a few
moments I stood there flabbergasted. Maybe I was being naïve
or something, but I fully expected him to carry on like some
sort of a knight in shining armour the moment he found out his
precious little Tin-Tin had been hurt. He adored her and I
knew he did.
time he didn't budge.
my eyes as the minutes ticked by. Alan could be so brainless
sometimes, especially when it came to Tin-Tin. One little bit
of effort on his part and the two of them would have been back
together for sure. Couldn't he see that and at least
try to knock on her door?
I shook my
head at him. Dad had been right. Alan needed a lot more time
to think about things at the moment and those things included
how he really felt about the beautiful Miss Kyrano.
goodnight Alan," I sighed, "Maybe you'll see things
differently in the morning."
it," came the sullen grumble from underneath the covers.
I sure wished Dad had been the one to see things differently
when he caught me sneaking down the hallway to my room. The
stern voice echoed in the darkness.
in my tracks and swallowed at the imposing shadow in front of
I think I
had some explaining to do.
of the Eddie Houseman saga began early with International
Rescue back to normal and functioning at its optimal best.
Unfortunately, whilst Houseman's departure was a good thing
for the outfit, there was a down side to it too as far as my
stomach was concerned. Breakfast took on a whole new meaning
when we didn't have a guest to impress in the house and it was
rather disappointing not to be faced with the challenge of one
of Kyrano's banquets.
guessed it. Day Three of this drama started at the breakfast
table again, but unlike the morning before, the whole of the
International Rescue team was present and accounted for.
Brains chatted happily to Dad, Virgil and Scott were sharing a
corny joke with Grandma, and I sat more than merrily in the
middle of it all watching the predicament of our two
star-crossed lovers. It was pretty apparent these two still
weren't talking and couldn't have been at more opposite ends
of the universe if they tried.
ignoring her. She was ignoring him. She kept fiddling with the
cereal in her plate. He kept shovelling sugar into his coffee.
the conversation soon centred on Brains' latest high-speed
aircraft and his desire to take it out that morning to trial
its capabilities. Scott, who loves to fly more than he loves
anything, immediately volunteered to be the pilot. Virgil also
indicated he'd like to take it for a spin.
course, smiled congenially and encouraged both of them to head
out together. He'd already spoken to John earlier and had been
given his assurance nothing much was happening in the world at
the moment... well nothing that would require the services of
International Rescue over the next few hours anyway.
continued on with enthusiasm. Besides, he said, he was pretty
keen himself to see what the new aircraft could do.
Brains, Scott and Virgil excused themselves from the table,
Dad was pretty happy. He loved the rush of new technology and
could hardly wait to get out on the balcony to watch the
aircraft fly. He was even so happy he forgot that he wasn't
too impressed with me. What was I going to be doing with
myself today, he asked with his usual interest. Then he
frowned, obviously remembering our "chat" together the night
before. Whatever it was, he hoped this time it was going to be
still pretty sheepish after the dressing down he'd given to me
for defying him and I wasn't sure if the question he posed was
a hint to point out that I needed something to do.
Nevertheless I took a sip of my coffee with bravado and went
on to inform him that I did have some constructive plans for
the day. There was maintenance to be done on Thunderbird Four,
I said, but I was going to need Brains in order to help me do
it. I guessed I'd have to wait until he'd finished trialling
the aircraft. Dad nodded and enquired what I was planning to
do in the meantime. I grinned at him and went on. There was
only one other thing left that I really wanted to do.
course you want to give me a couple of days off to cut loose
on the mainland Dad." I winked.
chuckled a bit and asked me how he knew I was going to say
something like that. Then he realised what I'd meant about the
mainland and grew immediately gruff. Swimming would be a much
better choice of activity in his opinion and it would get me
in a lot less trouble.
goodness Tin-Tin seemed to find her tongue and joined in our
conversation. Today was such beautiful day to be by the pool,
she said; in fact it was so beautiful, she thought she'd head
down there now if "anyone" wanted to know where she was.
as she rose to her feet and flashed a furtive glance at Alan.
at her, clueless as ever, and told her to enjoy herself.
and stopped short of saying she most certainly would if my
little brother Alan was involved.
didn't know we knew of course, but that innocent line of
Tin-Tin's had been their secret code for months; the
"discreet" little signal she wanted to be alone with him. I
looked over at Alan with expectation and wondered how many
seconds it would take him to swallow his breakfast and excuse
himself from the table this time. If it was his usual sixty,
things would soon be back to normal.
the second time in less than twelve hours my little brother
astounded me. Alan made it very clear to her he had no
intention of following. He didn't look up, he didn't flinch
and he certainly didn't move.
Tin-Tin wasn't impressed.
dear, I was wondering if you could help me in the kitchen
I bet you
can guess who that was.
was now in the business of masterminding the reconciliation.
She almost dragged Alan into the kitchen by his ear, kept him
at the sink for an hour, and from what I could figure out by
eavesdropping, tried to make him understand that being
"nothing but mule-headed and stubborn" was no way to win the
love of a beautiful woman.
time you two stopped your nonsense and made up." were the last
words I heard her say to him. "You see to it, young man, and
before this hour is done."
If he only
had an hour, anyone who didn't want to miss this one was going
to have to get down to the pool ... and fast.
still too soon after breakfast to plough through the water
like a maniac but I knew I had to be inconspicuous if I didn't
want Alan to crack. If nothing else Alan had his pride. That
left me with only one option ... to tread water in the corner
of the swimming pool and wait expectantly for what would be
Tracy Island's greatest performance.
arrived on the scene first, carrying her embroidery. She often
did embroidery by the pool in the mornings, counting laps for
me as I trained. But this morning counting laps was the last
thing on her mind. She sat down next to Tin-Tin, patted her
hand, and gave her an angelic smile.
dear." she said sweetly. "I thought I'd be like you this
morning and get myself some sun."
was still sulking over the way Alan had ignored her over
breakfast, but it didn't take much for Grandma to distract
her. She only had to mention fashion and Tin-Tin was instant
putty in her hands. Before long they were chatting away about
the brand new French collections and Tin-Tin's upcoming visit
to Paris to view the latest designs.
such a romantic city." Grandma swooned. "What a wonderful
place it would be for a wedding."
paused, smiled coyly and added. "Or that very special
sank to the bottom of the pool when she brazenly came out with
that one. Wedding? Honeymoon? Oh Grandma, I wanted to
laugh, how much more obvious can you be?
speaking of the obvious, then it was Alan's turn to
miraculously drop by. Dressed to kill, blonde hair neatly
combed and wearing his most expensive aftershave; he came to
stand near Grandma, trying to remember his lines.
He was so nervous about what he had to say that he didn't even
Tin-Tin." he said, as smoothly as he could. "Mind if I join
stubbornness at the table earlier I knew she wasn't going to
answer him. Tin-Tin can be one ice-cool individual when she
wants to be and there was no way she was going to surrender
easily from behind those huge high fashion sunglasses.
his lip and tried to think of something to say next.
... I thought I'd do a little water ski-ing later," he
stammered on. "Would you like to join me?"
point the focus of my attention was Grandma. She had already
pricked her finger twice with the needle and was so tense and
panic-stricken; you'd swear she was in the middle of a major
quite honest with you, when Tin-Tin sullenly replied she
didn't feel like it, Grandma probably would have been better
off. Nothing I've ever experienced in a danger zone could ever
compare with the threat to human life when my little brother
lost his cool and uttered the first stupid thing that came
into his head.
mean of that Eddie guy walking out like that."
I swear I
nearly drowned. What the hell was he thinking? By the frozen
silence that followed, it was pretty clear to me exactly what
our Assistant Engineer was thinking. I thought she was out of
sorts when she stormed away from him after breakfast ... whoa
...that was nothing compared to what she was doing to him now.
She jerked herself upright, ripped her towel from the chair
and barrelled her way back to the villa in a complete and
utter huff. Personally, I think he got off pretty light. If
he'd said something that thoughtless to me when I was hurting,
I'd have dumped him head first into the pool to try and wash
out his brain.
reddened with confusion.
I say?" he queried in disbelief. "Grandma did you see that?
What did I say?"
over at Grandma. Like me, she had a completely stunned look on
her face at how he could be so stupid.
her head at him.
the wrong things Alan." she sighed. "As usual."
next comment pretty well summed up his frustration.
no good at fancy speeches," he moped, fixing two mournful blue
eyes on Grandma. "What am I gonna do? Things were swell till
that Eddie guy came along."
he pleaded again. "What am I gonna do?"
I told you
Alan in love is pathetic and you couldn't get any more
pathetic than having to ask your Grandmother's advice on how
to handle a woman. Grandma steeled herself, looked to heavens,
and straightened her upper back. Only she could save this
situation now and she was about to rise to the challenge like
the true International Rescue veteran that she was.
things to me Alan." she told him. "Just leave things to me."
sure didn't know about Alan, but I was certainly very
interested to see what Grandma was going to concoct. She
didn't have much to work with at the moment. After Alan's faux
pas by the swimming pool the rift between the two of them was
wider than ever. Tin-Tin was sulking in her room with the door
shut and Alan had taken refuge in the lounge right next to
Dad. She really had her work cut out for her this time. I
braced myself. Believe me, experience had taught all of us the
hard way that Grandma was a force to be reckoned with when it
came to matters involving the family. Anything could happen
around here in the next few hours.
enough what did happen, and it had nothing to do with Grandma,
was the receipt of an unexpected communication from John in
We had a
rescue call; he said with his customary brisk precision; a
vehicle about to career over the edge of a road in a remote
mountain location. According to the guys on the ground, there
were added complications. The vehicle concerned contained a
box of explosives and if the vehicle fell, the explosives
would detonate and blow the guy sky high. Inclement weather
was making things worse. There was a large amount of land fall
raining down near the vehicle. Things were pretty bad.
sauntered into the lounge with Virgil as John continued on. "I
said we'd assist Father." he faltered, "I hope I did right."
you did right son ..." Dad began before muttering what a
statement like that was supposed to mean anyway.
Virgil in the ribs. Why was John so apprehensive?
soon to know the reason why.
squirmed as he broke the "happy"news. He had deliberately left
the name of the guy to be rescued until last. Scott frowned
and demanded to know who it was.
Houseman." John offered before throwing a really apologetic
glance towards Alan. John might have been a long way from home
at the moment but he was still well and truly informed about
what had happened between Tin-Tin and Eddie Houseman. Let me
tell you right now, nothing is a secret in this house when
you're surrounded by your brothers.
boy, Alan didn't say those words with any strong feeling of
dilemma in the ranks began.
Houseman knew us. If we went though with the rescue we'd blow
our cover. We all knew how essential it was for our identity
to remain a secret. My brothers looked helpless. Did it mean
we couldn't help? Ha, bit of wishful thinking there Alan!
the question straight at Dad. What did we do? Turn this call
always the voice of reason, was quick to put things in
perspective. Yes Eddie knew us. Yes it did mean we could blow
our cover. Yes we had kept our identity a secret up till now.
But no matter what, he stressed firmly, looking each of us in
the eye, International Rescue didn't turn any call down. Not
at the expense of a life.
command "carry on Scott" said everything.
shrugged, trying to hide the fact I was disgruntled.
International Rescue was used to saving people from the
consequences of their own stupidity of course, but it stuck in
my gut big time that we had to save Eddie Houseman. I could
only imagine how Alan must be feeling behind his currently
blank expression. Then Dad dropped the bombshell on both of
us. He turned to Alan. He wanted him, not me, to help Virgil
with this one. He continued on with his final instructions
like there wasn't any problem.
to take the magnetic grabs.
have any questions?
certainly didn't have a problem with Alan asking him any
questions. Alan just went with Virgil in a kind of stunned
silence. I, on the other hand, looked over at my Father with
widened, disbelieving eyes, not knowing which question I
wanted to ask him first.
he possibly put Alan in charge of a set of magnetic grabs the
way he felt about Eddie Houseman? The guy didn't stand a
chance if Alan let his jealousy get the better of him.Was he
Dad must have read my mind. Once Thunderbird Two had gone, he
invited me to join him for a cup of the coffee Kyrano had left
for him on his desk. As I sat down, he reached forward to pick
up the pot. Alan had been sent out there today for a reason,
he told me, one he supposed was hard for me to understand.
and handed me the cup. We all had to do things we didn't want
to do in life, he said, and that included learning to deal
with how we felt about people we didn't particularly like.
Alan needed a bit of reinforcement at the moment that we were
in the business of saving lives.
I mean all lives son." he stressed. "Even Eddie
..." I interrupted.
Alan can't allow his personal feelings for ... "
paused, unwilling to state the obvious.
others." he finally continued; "to sway his better judgement."
He knew how close I was to Alan.
brother will be a better man for having to help save Eddie
Houseman," he assured me. "Trust me son. I know."
Dad knew enough to pass the fatherly judgement but he hadn't
witnessed Alan crack up when I'd tried to talk to him about
Eddie Houseman. With that in mind I thought he was being a bit
optimistic in believing Alan was welcoming the opportunity.
that I'd been left behind, and with nothing much to do other
than wonder if Alan really had it in him to miss Houseman's
truck with those grabs, I decided to assume the role of
caterer and take my Grandmother some tea. Grandma had been
fairly quiet since the altercation by the swimming pool. She
had only come down briefly to investigate when the call came
in from Five. That was enough to make anybody nervous. If
Grandma was being quiet, she was up to something big.
wasn't the word for it.
It was the
sound of a pleasant conversation which led me in the direction
of Tin-Tin's room. I paused at the door with the steaming
china cup in my hand and lifted my free hand to knock. I don't
know what stopped me, but something inside me sure did. There
was Grandma with her back to me, busily pinning the hem of the
"dress" Tin-Tin wanted to wear to the Fashion launch in Paris
and there was Tin-Tin standing on the chair happy to fit the
them realised I was there.
completely still. What I was about to hear was without a doubt
one of Grandma's absolute classics.
started out cautiously, something she'd learned from years of
experience in the art of turning things around. Oh dear, she
pined unhappily, Alan would insist on going on the rescue,
even though he was very sick.
see the worried look steal across those pretty oriental
features but the change of tone in Tin-Tin's voice certainly
told me it was there.
ill?" she questioned Grandma in alarm.
sighed piteously. Oh yes she was afraid so. She just hoped
he'd be able to bear the pain that was all. I had to bite my
bottom lip to stop myself from laughing. Pain? I'll bet he was
feeling pain. Pain at having to rescue Eddie Houseman!
was growing more and more worried by the minute.
Tracy let him go?" she asked in disbelief.
performance continued. She was afraid to say this but yes
...his Father had let him go. His Father couldn't stop him.
rolled. Somehow I don't think so, Grandma. .
wouldn't mention this to anyone of course," Grandma warned
making out Dad didn't need any more pressure. "Everyone is
worried enough as it is."
nodded. She knew how much Dad worried about us at the best of
times, let alone when we were risking our lives in a rescue
course... I understand Mrs Tracy." she said.
Alan." she whispered a few moments later. She was so tragic
you'd swear my brother was dying.
Grandma heard Tin-Tin say that, she discreetly retired from
her rescue effort, confident nature would take its course. She
knew Alan and Tin-Tin better than Alan and Tin-Tin knew
themselves and the bottom line was that they were in love with
each other even if Alan couldn't find the stupid courage to
tell her how he felt.
at Tin-Tin with fondness and said she'd better be getting
along. We all had to eat, emergency or not.
warned me if I ever breathed a word to anyone about what she'd
just said to Tin-Tin in that bedroom, it would be me, not
Houseman who'd be in the centre of the next emergency.
known I was there the whole time, she scolded me in private,
and I needn't try to think she was the least bit impressed.
Bedrooms had mirrors in case I'd forgotten and I should know
better than to listen to her confidential conversations.
of Eddie Houseman was an International Rescue success and from
what Scott had to say to Dad on the flight home, involved some
pretty nifty manoeuvres. He and Virgil had taken the decision
that International Rescue wouldn't land this time, thus
reducing the possibility of Houseman wising up.
hindsight, Scott said he seriously doubted he'd have had the
time to land anyway. At one stage he'd needed to support
Houseman's truck with the nose of Thunderbird One. The grabs
hadn't been all that successful either. Houseman ended up
having to make a jump for it, but luckily Alan had held the
truck steady long enough to allow him to make his escape.
I'll talk to Brains about the necessity to make some
modifications." Dad said.
a bit of a grin on his face when he went on to say he wondered
if Alan even realised he had held Eddie Houseman's life in the
palm of his hands for over two minutes. I laughed to myself
when Dad pretended to be shocked. Of course Alan wouldn't
think anything like that, Dad said. He knew he went out there
with a job to do.
dunno, Dad," Scott chortled in return. "Virg said he looked
pretty darned pleased with himself when Houseman ended up flat
on his face in the mud."
Scott signed off and Dad came to sit beside me on the couch. I
couldn't contain myself any longer.
about that!" I enthused. "They pulled off a rescue without
proudly. Yes they did, he said, and with Eddie not getting a
sight of them, our secret was safe.
There were a couple of other secrets around here that also
needed to be kept safe and I was looking right at the cause of
the best of them. Tin-Tin had heard Scott talking to Dad on
the link and had hurried into the lounge as fast as she could.
absolutely stunning, hair exactly the way Alan liked it and
wearing an exotic scent that filled the whole room, she almost
begged Dad for permission to speak to him.
I don't think Dad was quite as clueless in all this as
everybody thought. Even I recognised the smirk on his face as
he indicated she was welcome to take complete control of his
desk. That smirk only grew bigger too when she started to
speak on the link to Alan in Thunderbird Two.
Was he all
right? She'd been so worried. He shouldn't have taken a chance
would have loved to have been in Thunderbird Two when that
call came through to Alan. Virgil said to me later, Alan's
expression was priceless. The moment he heard her voice his
bottom lip went, all the air left his lungs and his eyes
started to get that stupid glassy look again. But this time,
Virgil mused, there was something different about the way Alan
handled things with Tin-Tin. For once he actually sounded sure
of himself. They'd be having a long talk about everything when
he got back to the base. I guessed that was the reason why
she'd said to him she'd be waiting.
my eyebrows at Virgil as we stood together on the same balcony
we'd ragged our baby brother from only two short nights
been "talking" down on the beach for almost two hours now and
my stomach was telling me it was nearly time for supper.
successful rescue always meant a celebration of some sort and
I got the distinct impression from Grandma that the banquet
Kyrano had prepared was intended to celebrate much much more
than saving the life of Eddie Houseman. Grandma insisted Dad
open several bottles of his finest champagne, the best
silverware was polished and placed on the table and she
wouldn't let up on anyone who didn't have second helpings.
said to me recently, you don't know what you're missing until
you've tried it at least twice," she said looking down the
table to where Alan gazed into the eyes of our pretty
Assistant Engineer. He hadn't eaten a thing.
I've heard that," I piped up winking across the table at
happen to think that person might be about to be ratherright."
she observed with satisfaction.
there's a timely observation!
Kyrano had just excused herself from the table. She had a bit
of work left to do in the laboratory, she said, if "anyone"
wanted to know where she was.
seconds starts now.
let us down of course. Err ...with all the drama surrounding
the rescue he'd failed to do the required checks in
Thunderbird Three. Err...they really couldn't wait until the
morning. They'd probably take him a while too so if we didn't
mind if he'd say his good nights to us now.
Dad was so
unsporting by offering to wait up for him until he'd finished.
"Oh ... no
Sir ... please don't do that Sir..."
... no Sir ... there's no real need for you to do that Sir."
Dad simply smiled and excused him from the table. What a pity
he started to head in the direction of the lab instead of
voice of Fatherhood echoed out once more.
turned around to face him.
sure everything's covered before you come upstairs to bed."
don't know how we held ourselves together when Alan nodded his
head obediently at Dad and promised to do a thorough job.
wondered why all Dad said to him was "Mmmmmm."
admit it folks, life around here can be pretty darned
interesting and while there's this secret little romance, that
isn't really such a secret, life is going to get a lot more