THE CHEESE SOUFFLE
Written as a challenge. The story of a somewhat
rocky love between two best friends.
Thank you, Gerry Anderson for
creating the vision of International Rescue and giving all of
the writers on this site the opportunity to embrace it.
night I kissed her on the beach, things between us have been
funny. I know you're going to ask me what I mean by funny but
please don't waste your breath. I'm telling you right now I
don't know what the heck I mean about anything anymore so
let's not even go there.
what gives with her? A kiss is a kiss right? A sign of
affection between two friends. That was all it was ever meant
to be and I can't understand all the fuss. I know she wasn't
expecting me to do it but it didn't seem to bother her at the
time. It sure didn't bother me. But ever since I did it, boy
you'd think I'd planted some incurable tropical disease on her
lips or worse still, given her the plague. She won't put
herself in a position where there's the slightest chance she
might be alone with me and let me say right now as someone
who's thought long and hard about whether to take things
further with her, it's just about driving me crazy.
other day for example. She sat with Scott for nearly four
hours, almost on his lap I might add, entering data into the
computer of Thunderbird One. You've never heard so much
laughing and joking in your whole entire life. She was clearly
enjoying every minute of it and it didn't please me at all
that Scott seemed to be rather enjoying it too. Then she
turned around and did exactly the same thing with Virgil. But
when it finally came to my turn, after patiently waiting all
day to be with her I might say, she simply hands me all the
data sheets and says she has to go upstairs and help her
Father with the supper. You try to figure that one out. I for
one sure can't.
So here I
am mustering up the courage to go into the kitchen to try and
sort things out. Prior investigation has indicated she is
alone, so maybe if I wave the white flag and offer her a cup
of coffee in neutral territory she might loosen up a little
about things and we can go back to the way we were. Gee I hope
so. I sure do miss holding her hand.
whatcha up to gorgeous?" is greeted with a cursory raising of
her eyes and a very blunt reply.
it look like she's up to? Do I think she's shaving her head?
I grin and
say I doubt it; by the looks of things I'm pretty sure she's
only reading. Her eyes return to the recipe book and I hear
the caustic comment. She didn't realise I was such a genius
and she's glad I came her way.
That's blown the opening line. Now what? I stand there
stupidly for a while trying to decide what to say next.
to offer her that cup of coffee and even though she
immediately declines the invitation, thankfully the tension
eases between us and the awkward gap in conversation is
filled. She casually comments that she's trialling a cheese
soufflé for Supper and asks me if I'd like to try the sample
when it's done. The gap opens up again when I wrap my hands
around my throat, cough loudly and say a cheese soufflé sounds
like something deadly.
As you can
gather she doesn't appreciate the comment.
me up and down again and informs me in that tone she gets that
at twenty-one years of age it's about time I made an effort to
appreciate good cuisine and appreciation includes learning how
to cook. I frown and say indignantly that I already know how
to cook. How does she think I survive for a whole month at a
time up in loneliness of Thunderbird Five?
food courtesy of my Father and a very big microwave." is her
extremely sarcastic response.
I fold my
arms and become defensive. "Really", I retort. For her
information the only meals her Father provides for me up there
are the evening ones and the rest of the time I can and I do,
fend very capably for myself.
of cereal and twenty five cartons of milk every month doesn't
constitute fending for yourself Alan." she tells me. "You
wouldn't even know where to start if you actually had to make
an effort and cook."
I retort again looking her up and down with defiance.
really." she retorts just as defiantly in reply.
Both of us
fold our arms and glare at each other in silence and it seems
like miles which separate us across the bench. Tin-Tin Kyrano
let me say right now I might be hopelessly in love with you
but I can honestly say I don't like you very much.
usual is eavesdropping and immediately scurries in to warn us
she doesn't want to hear any more quarrelling. I try not to
look incredulous as she looks directly at me and says whatever
it is we're arguing about is more than likely my fault.
here Grandma. No disrespect intended but you only walked in on
the end of this conversation and I'm not the one who's
standing here arguing. She's the one with all the sarcasm and
for once in my life I'm not going to stand here and take it.
blurt that if anyone wants my opinion I don't need to know how
to cook anything anyway. That's why God gave us women.
woman mad at you is bad enough but when there are two of them
going along for the ride; you may as well admit you're beaten.
then Tin-Tin so I didn't really mean a single word I said. Yes
Grandma I know the reason God gave us women was so we had
someone to love and cherish in our lives and I acknowledge
they were never intended to be our slaves. Yes ma'am I know it
will be a cold day in hell before you'll ever stand back and
let me ever treat a woman like that. Look Tin-Tin I'm sorry
OK? I honestly didn't mean it and I probably shouldn't have
said it. Now can we just let the matter drop please? I only
came in here in the first place to make a cup of coffee.
gives me another warning about my manners and turns towards
Dad's Office before she hurriedly scurries away.
really hard not to pout but around her I somehow can't seem to
help myself. I really hope you're happy now Tin-Tin. You've
just managed to get me in trouble with my Grandmother again
and you know just as well as I do that's a fate far worse than
death. Next thing you know I'll have Dad in here demanding to
know if it's true what I just said about women and that'll
mean another Jeff Tracy lecture about the importance of acting
like a Gentleman. Thanks for that Tin-Tin. Thanks a lot.
then don't answer me. Turn away and pretend to do something
else like you always do when you're mad. If you think being
ignored by you bothers me in the slightest let me assure you
that you're wrong. Like I said before all I came in here for
was a cup of lousy coffee.
doesn't answer me so I shrug my shoulders with indifference
and begin to look for my coffee cup. She still doesn't move.
Boy sweetheart you sure know how to lay the ice on thick when
you want to make your point.
You win. I'll admit I don't know how to cook all right and
I'll let you teach me how to do it. Just as long as I don't
have to cook whatever it is you said you were going to cook
before. I've never even heard of a cheese soufflé. Why can't
you just teach me to bake a cake or something? When I'm all
alone up in Thunderbird Five, that little skill could come in
laughs, a little too smugly for my liking I might add, and
points out that a cheese soufflé isn't something one should
eat alone anyway, especially when one is canvassing the
universe waiting to receive a distress call.
soufflé is something special Alan. For one thing it's
something French." she finishes and then looks at me like I'm
a moron because I don't know what the significance of being
French means. I try to excuse my ignorance by reminding her I
didn't do too well at French in High School and maybe I was
asleep when we did the part about soufflés. But I do take the
time to comment the French Teacher was pretty sexy if my
memory serves me right and she was the best part about going
along to the French class.
frustration hits boiling point and with my continued ribbing
about her being jealous of the French Teacher,it finally
overflows. Her arms are folded again as she exclaims the
reason I don't know what a soufflé is because I don't
appreciate the finer things in life and I haven't got a
romantic bone in my body
"I do so
too Tin-Tin." I protest in my defence. "I just finished
telling you how sexy the French Teacher was. You can't get any
more romantic than that."
Now's she's turned away from me again and somehow I think the
words "you insensitive great big oaf" aren't exactly implying
the two of us are hitting it off. I guess I should have left
off the part about the French Teacher huh?
"I'm sorry" automatically leave my lips again and I walk
around to the other side of the bench to try and make things
up. I ramble on that when I was in the back of the class
admiring the French Teacher I was only fifteen years old and
at fifteen I knew absolutely nothing about romance.
stubbornly refuses to look at me and grumbles that it's
obvious that six years later I still don't know anything about
apologising until she forgives me and eventually she relents
and directs me to put on an apron. As I try to figure out how
a man actually ties one of those things, she explains to me
about cheese soufflés. A soufflé is something light, fluffy
and delicious and best eaten over a chilled bottle of
something whilst being romantically overlooked by the stars.
beautiful brown eyes light up at the picture of the two of us
she's managed to conjure up, not only in my head but in also
in the forefront of her own.
delicately suggest she might like to help me select a bottle
of champagne from the cellar and maybe the two of us can have
dinner under the stars together when everyone's gone to bed.
learning." she smiles and even though my whole heart just
melts, I freeze up and try to pretend I don't know what she's
talking about. After all what's a soufflé and a bottle of
champagne between two friends? Doesn't everybody do stuff like
to change the subject by tugging at her ponytail and asking
her when I'm going to start receiving my "culinary
everything you know." I wink with terrible innuendo. "When it
comes to you, I'm a real fast learner."
me so hard it hurts and tells me to stop acting like a child.
If I want to learn to cook well she'll teach me how to do it
but she isn't going to tolerate anything further. Then she
starts bossing me around and demanding I open the overhead
storage cupboards for her so I can locate her favourite
stainless steel mixing bowl. Of course I immediately oblige
only to be told my choice of selection is hopeless. I don't
know why you have to make such a fuss about a stupid damned
mixing bowl Tin-Tin. At no point did you say how big it had to
be. No you're wrong. All you said was I had to get you down a
bowl and anyway while I'm on the subject what's the big deal
about it being made of stainless steel?
me not to argue with you and give me the job of finding the
next item on the list. What the hell is that? Oh come on
Tin-Tin. I'm sure you're making that up. There's no such thing
as a pre-oiled soufflé dish. There's a saucepan, a pizza tray
and a frying pan up here and all those other funny shaped tins
where Grandma makes her cakes. There's no such thing as a
soufflé dish. Not in this house anyway.
You open a
few more cupboards and shove some pottery thing at me that
your Father brought himself last year in the foothills of
Tibet. No Tin-Tin I don't agree with you. It does NOT look
like a soufflé dish. It looks like a pottery thing I could
fill with potato chips. Anyway I thought you said soufflés
were supposed to be French. They can't be too French
sweetheart if they're selling the dishes in Tibet.
you mean do I at least know what a spoon looks like? Don't
push your luck. Of course I do and I know exactly where to
joking now aren't you? What do you mean no? You honestly can't
stand there and tell me you believe it makes one shred of
difference to anyone if this soufflé thing is made with a
wooden spoon or not.
No I'm not
going to quit whining and listen to the reason why. A spoon is
a spoon where I come from Tin-Tin and anyone who tries to tell
me otherwise has something very large missing from inside
their head. No lady. This time it's you that's definitely
wrong. A Thunderbird isn't a Thunderbird. Our Thunderbirds are
nothing alike. Don't say that's exactly your point. Spoons and
Thunderbirds having nothing in common and the only reason you
want me to use a wooden spoon is because I got the metal one
out of the drawer.
Yes I do
want to learn and no I'm not going to keep arguing with you. I
just don't agree with you about the spoon all right? I'm using
the metal one Tin-Tin no matter what you say. OK fine so I
won't cry like a baby when I inevitably burn my hand.
least we're up to the part I know all about now. I'm an expert
at getting things out of the refrigerator and on that point
I'm willing to stand up and be counted. The refrigerator is my
the hell is wrong with only using this kind of cheese? What in
God's name is Parmesan Cheese anyway? Tin-Tin don't start that
again. Cheese is cheese and we don't have something called
parmesan cheese in this refrigerator. Trust me I know. I've
back as you shake your head and ask to be let into the
refrigerator. Sure thing Tin-Tin. You feel free. I'm telling
you right now there's no way in hell you're ever going to find
here watching you rummage is actually a nice diversion. You
may not give it much thought Tin-Tin but you are really easy
on the eye. That bikini top you're wearing is a very nice fit
and the cut of it really highlights your ...err skin. Maybe
when you have to admit to me you can't find parmesan cheese in
the refrigerator, the two of us could talk about that.
that just figure.
triumphantly emerged with the cheese.
Tin-Tin what is that? It smells totally
disgusting. I'm not eating anything containing that stuff.
Hear me loud right now.
goodness her coconut and musk scent is so deliciously rich and
delightful. It definitely smells better than the cheese. I
don't know why she gets all huffy when I look into her eyes
and take the time to tell her so. It was meant to be a
thing on the list is the mustard and I happily pull the bottle
from the shelf. I figure the mustard must be included to kill
the stench of the cheese. Let's face it I've been around long
enough to know a little mustard on something is enough to kill
the taste of anything. I remember it was the only thing that
saved the household the night Grandma went overboard with the
chilli flakes and since then Dad's always insisted there's at
least two bottles on the table when we eat.
like the spoon and the cheese I soon find out there's more
than one type of mustard. Tin-Tin doesn't even try to explain
that one. She pulls open the pantry and silently gets out the
mustard powder. When all I get from her is "the look" again I
think know I've muffed it.
I surrender to your superior knowledge in these mundane little
things. We don't have to waste our time with a cheese soufflé
if you really would prefer we did something I was better at.
I'm more than happy to do whatever you suggest and if you want
to know the real truth I'd much rather have been doing
something else anyway.
get the look again and before I can say anything else I'm
pointed in the direction of the stove. We are making a cheese
soufflé, she tells me, and that is the end of the discussion.
So now I'm
stuck and the first thing we need do is prepare some alien
concoction she's trying to tell me is called a roux. I look at
her with amusement and ask if that means she's managed to
shoot herself one of those furry looking things that hop
around in the outback of Australia.
she exclaims, failing to see the joke. "Stop being such an
I honestly can't help it. Being near you just does it to me
and let's face it I've got to hide how you make me feel behind
some sort of idiocy.
obediently stop kidding around and carefully stir the butter
and the flour. Gee all of a sudden I'm feeling like an expert.
joins me at the stove and leans forward to carefully add the
milk. I look down at her and begin to move about
uncomfortably. Like I said before just being near her does do
it to me and if she gets any closer in that bikini top I'm not
going to be able to hide how she's really making me feel.
at my preoccupation and sternly reminds me to concentrate. If
I don't I'll burn the panada and the whole thing will be
ruined. Now wait just one damned minute Tin-Tin. At what point
did we make ourselves a Panada? You just told me I was the
proud creator of a roux.
becomes a panada when you add the required flour," she
explains to me with patience and then lifts her eyes matter-of
factly to mine. "Unless of course you burn it ..." she adds.
"So can you please pay more attention Alan?"
to look into her eyes.
baby when it comes to you I am paying attention.
to say she blushes and I have to admit I'm feeling more than a
trifle flushed about how things are progressing too. I shrug
my shoulders and tell myself it's probably only the heat of
the stove. Let's face it, it couldn't be anything else. Two
people so close together is kind of a little invasive
especially when ... well especially when the space they're
squeezing their bodies in is only meant for one.
me she recovers her composure quickly and comments that my
Panada is starting to look a little stiff. I guess I wasn't
listening to her properly because the comment instantly sets
me in a panic. I quickly move as close as I can to the stove
and freeze, determined not to move. When she frowns and asks
me what the heck I'm doing, I do more than simply freeze. I
tell her I'm doing nothing and I just want to get on with the
and says whatever I want to do to myself is fine but being
that close to a heated stove can't be too good for my
masculinity. I ignore the comment completely and focus on job
at hand. Adding the cheese and the mustard. She says since I
can't possibly mess that up she can take her time with the egg
whites. They need to be really stiff. For goodness sake
Tin-Tin do you have to keep saying that word to me all the
time? You're starting to give me a complex.
her only comment and if you want the honest truth about
things, I'm glad she can't think of anything else to say.
the egg whites luckily seems to take forever and after a while
I start feeling comfortable again about moving in front of the
stove. She calls to me to bring the saucepan over to the bench
and now that I know I'm not going to disgrace myself, I
happily concede to the request.
patience is endless as she shows me how to blend the two
mixtures together, her long slender hand guiding mine as I
carefully place it in the soufflé dish.
I think you're finally getting the hang of it Alan." she
beams, that smile of hers once again swelling my heart to the
point where it feels like it could burst.
"I guess I
have a very good Teacher." I smile sincerely in return.
thoughts run away with me as we continue to smile at each
other, both of us too self conscious to speak. Oh God Tin-Tin
if only you knew just how much I was in love with you. You
make me mad. You make me happy. You make me feel every
possible emotion at once. I only wish I had the courage to
tell you how I feel and stop this stupid charade of pretending
I only want to be your friend.
Alan I guess there's only one thing left for us to do." she
breathes her eyes still not leaving mine.
what's that Tin-Tin?" I breathe back my eyes still not leaving
gets a one great big dose of deflation as she looks down at
the bench and totally bursts my bubble.
to put our cheese soufflé in the oven Alan and wait for it to
did you have to go and say something like that Tin-Tin? Why
couldn't you say you would like us to agree the two of us are
more than friends?
disappointment is obvious and all I can do is sulk.
mumble. "I guess that's all there's left to do for either of
I watch as
she carries our masterpiece to the oven and eases it onto the
minutes." she smiles. "Then the two of us can taste it."
I nod my
head awkwardly and shove my hands in my pockets.
I'll come back in forty minutes then." I mutter not knowing
what else to say.
her arms defensively and offers an awkward reply.
Tin-Tin. Why do things between us have to be so hard? I feel
like a complete jerk standing here in front of you like this.
I'm not making the first move this time. I mean it. You didn't
talk to me for weeks the last time I kissed you and I'm not
risking you being mad at me again.
minutes tick slowly by.
Oh well if
you aren't about to say anything I'm not going to stand around
here looking stupid for one more solitary minute.
lesson was fun Tin-Tin." I say as I make my way towards the
door. "Thanks for everything hey."
she queries as I walk right past her without so much as a nod
I stop and
turn to look at her again.
all you have to say to me?"
and look confused. I mean she's obviously not going to lower
herself to say she enjoyed our closeness. She won't even
acknowledge we were close to each other anyway. All she can
say is "is that all you have to say to me?"
I reply as
only I know how.
do you want me to say Tin-Tin ? I've already said my thanks."
her lip and falters for a minute before stumbling blindly on.
that you mentioned something about us looking for a bottle of
champagne earlier on and I wanted to know if you meant it."
myself shrugging my shoulders, still trying to deal with my
guess I suppose I meant it Tin-Tin but let's face it,
champagne doesn't chill for anyone in under thirty five
her eyes cloud and feel guilty for callousness of my words.
I'm sorry Tin-Tin. I don't mean to sound like I don't care
about you. That's the trouble you see. I do care. I care about
you more than you'll ever hope to know.
I shake my
head at my own stupidity as I watch those beautiful brown eyes
sparkle, not with the happiness I so desperately want to bring
to them but with the tears I have caused with my very uncaring
words. Tin-Tin...please hear in your heart what I can't seem
say to you with my head. I love you and I want us to be a
and hold out my hand with reservation. I guess I have to risk
you being mad at me again if we're ever going to make things
Kyrano if you don't care too much about your champagne being
chilled I'm more than happy for mine to be the same."
looking at my outstretched hand and I hold my breath to see if
I've managed to mess things up again. Gee I hope not Tin-Tin.
I so desperately wish you'd give me a chance.
know how relieved I am when you smile, nod and move towards
me, your hand slipping securely into mine.
down to the cellar with you on one condition." you say and
your look is very determined.
what's that then?" I frown, delighted, but pretending to be
miffed at the challenge.
your pretty face to mine.
condition, Alan, that you kiss me well and truly before you
get me down there, just in case our cheese soufflé's
firmness continues as I try to look surprised.
you too well Alan Tracy and the moment I let my guard down,
the two of us will lose all track of the time."
I whisper lowering my head to gently brush her lips with mine.
"You don't ever have to ask this guy to kiss you twice."
was where it all ended and Tin-Tin Kyrano and I never got the
chance to select champagne from the cellar or share the magic
of our special Cheese soufflé. Moments after that fleeting
kiss; my brothers and I were called out to rescue twelve
office workers who somehow managed to get themselves trapped
in a lift.
returned home to the base I was kind of hoping she'd saved me
some of that soufflé, even though I'd teased her and said I
wouldn't like it. But as the four of us sifted through the
refrigerator at two o'clock in the morning, there was no sign
of something special for me on the shelves from the hands of
Tin-Tin Kyrano. There were only neatly stacked containers,
tomorrow's carefully prepared pancake mixture and a
handwritten note from Grandma that we shouldn't be eating
chocolate cake at midnight or before we went to bed.
that night my mind wasn't on Grandma or the decadence of her
chocolate cake. My brothers were welcome to it all as far as I
was concerned. My thoughts were only with something light,
fluffy and delicious and a beautiful dark-haired girl who
somehow had managed to burrow herself into my heart just that
little bit more.
can do it to you huh?