Author's Note: I am basing this story on the original premise that Thunderbirds was set in 2026. Therefore the story starts in the early 1990's.
Ties That Bind
"What is it?"
Lucy Evans jumped reluctantly off her bed. She had been reading an interesting book, and when she got into interesting books, she didn't like to be interrupted. Lucy was twenty-one, and had just finished doing an English Literature degree. She was currently looking for a job, but she wasn't really sure what she wanted to do. Her father, a famous author, suggested that she should take up a temporary job in some offices, but Lucy didn't like the idea of a desk job. Lucy knew her own mind, and wouldn't be pushed into anything. She made her way into the dining room and sat down. Her younger brother was already there, tucking into the meal.
"Where's dad?" Lucy asked her mother.
"He'll be along in a minute. And don't disappear after you've finished. Your father wants to speak to you," her mother replied.
"Oh. What about? He's not found another job for me, has he?" Lucy said, flippantly. Her mother looked at her sharply.
"At least he's looking, which is more than you seem to be doing," she said.
"I'm not going to go into something just for the sake of it," Lucy replied, defiantly. Her mother simply let out a little sigh. Lucy could be so very trying at times. Still, perhaps the suggestion that her father was about to put to her would change things. At that point, Lucy's father, John, joined his family. The conversation over the meal was typical family talk – Peter's grades, John's job, and what Lucy was going to do with herself. After dinner, John spoke to his daughter.
"Lucy, come into my study, will you?" Lucy did as she was asked, and sat down on the comfiest chair. Her father sat down next to her.
"Well Lucy, I have a suggestion for you. No, don't pull that face. It's not about a job," he said.
"So, what is it about?" asked Lucy.
"I've been invited to a big social event and I'd like you to come with me," her father said.
"A social event? For what?" Lucy asked, not keen. She liked people, but "social event" suggested a load of posh types, whom she had no time for.
"Some charity," her father replied. "There's going to be a lot of famous people there."
"I don't know…" Lucy began, but her father cut her off.
"What if I told you that it's in New York?" he said, knowing full well that his daughter had an ambition to visit that city.
"When is it?" she asked, her face brightening.
"Next month. We'll make a holiday out of it. You can bring one of your friends with you, if you like," her father said.
"What about Peter?" Lucy said.
"It clashes with his exams. But I'll make it up to him," John said. Lucy grinned and hugged her father, suddenly feeling excited.
"I take that as a yes?" her father said.
"Yes!" Lucy replied.
Impatiently, Lucy waited for the month to pass by. She was taking her best friend Karen with her. They would be spending a fortnight in America in total, touring up and down the East Coast. For the umpteenth time, she checked she had her passport with her. Lucy was a very meticulous person, but she still worried about whether or not she had got everything with her. At the airport, she kissed her mother goodbye, and boarded the plane with her father and Karen. Her father and Karen both dozed on the flight, but Lucy was too excited to sleep. She had always dreamt of visiting America, especially the big cities. She had been to Florida on a family holiday before, but this was something different. At least when she went back home, she could say she'd met someone famous other than Mickey Mouse. She peered out of the window, looking down hundreds of feet at the ocean, then she looked back at the map on the screen some rows in front of her. Not much further!
A day later, after getting over some jet lag, the three of them arrived at the party. As it was a posh do, they were all dressed up. John wore a suit, whilst Karen wore a burgundy gown. Lucy had brought her favourite dress, a long black item, with a halter neck, and no sleeves. She had debated over whether she should wear her hair up or down, but in the end she decided to wear it down, and simply put a couple of pretty hair clips in it. Normally, Lucy didn't wear make-up, but Karen had insisted that she should for the occasion, and had done it for her. Both of the girls looked and felt quite grown-up. They entered the room, and were immediately swept up in the atmosphere.
"Oh, look! There's that man from…"
"Doesn't she look old in real life?"
"Where's dad?" Lucy looked around for her father, but he had disappeared into the crowd after an old friend. The two girls took a glass of champagne each from a passing waiter, and stood a little out of the way, so that they could observe their surroundings better. Two men came up to them.
"What are you two pretty young ladies doing here?" one of them asked, pleasantly.
"I'm here with my father," Lucy replied.
"And who's that?" the other one asked.
"John Evans. He's an author," Lucy said.
"Yes, I think I've read some of his stuff. Very good," the first man said. At that moment, John himself came up to them.
"Mr Evans! What an honour to meet you!" the first man said, shaking his hand.
"Thank you," he replied. With the attention of the two men on Lucy's father, the two girls slipped away.
"That's the thing with these events, you never know whether they actually have followed your work or not," Lucy said.
"Well, they seemed nice enough," Karen replied, jovially.
"Let's go and see if there's some food," Lucy said, feeling hungry, even though they had had a meal beforehand. They found some nibbles and helped themselves.
"There's a lot of good looking men here," Karen said, a gleam in her eyes.
"Karen!" Lucy exclaimed.
"There's no harm in looking, is there?" Karen grinned. "I mean, it's not like we're going to get the attention of any of them. Anyway, I need the loo. That champagne's gone right through me." Karen went off in search of a toilet, leaving Lucy alone. She felt a little apprehensive about being alone in the middle of the room, but swallowed her nerves enough to look around her. As she looked behind her, her eyes met with those of a young man. He smiled at her, and she gave him a fleeting smile in return, before looking away, wishing that Karen would hurry up and return.
"Would you like another drink?" Lucy was startled by the voice beside her. She looked round, and saw the young man standing there, holding two more flutes of champagne. Lucy's current glass was practically empty, so she smiled at the man and took one of the flutes from him.
"Thank you," she said.
"Are you here alone?" he asked.
"No. I'm here with my father and a friend. My father was invited to this event and brought me along."
"Who's your father?"
"John Evans," Lucy replied.
"I've heard of him, but I'm afraid I've never read any of his books," the man said. He had an honesty about him that Lucy liked. It stood him out from the other people she had so far met.
"I'm Jeff, by the way," he said, extending a hand.
"Lucy," she replied, taking his hand and shaking it. "Well, actually, it's Lucille, but I can't stand it. I was named after my grandmother – no disrespect to her." She grinned at Jeff, and he returned the smile, his deep blue eyes crinkling at the corners.
"Do you want to go somewhere a bit quieter? It's a bit hard to talk when there's fifty other people talking at the same time," Jeff said. Lucy looked around her, searching for Karen.
"Well, I was…actually, yes, why not?" she said, changing her mind. She followed Jeff out of the room, into a sort of lounge area. It was much quieter, and at least there was somewhere comfy to sit down. Karen came back just in time to see Lucy disappearing and grinned to herself. She snuck after her, to see who it was whom her friend had gone off with. She took one look at Jeff, gasped, and was going to find John, when a lady saw Karen by herself and invited her over to have a chat with her party. Karen soon forgot about Lucy, and was swept up in her own conversations.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Lucy were having a pleasant conversation.
"So, whereabouts in England do you come from?" he asked.
"I was born in Portsmouth, but I currently live in Canterbury," Lucy said.
"As in the Canterbury Tales?" asked Jeff.
"Yes," said Lucy. "Have you been to England?"
"No, but I'd like to one day," he replied. "My great-grandfather was English."
"Do you live around here?" Lucy asked.
"I was born in Kansas – my dad was a wheat farmer," Jeff told her.
"You've not followed into the family business then?" Lucy asked.
"No, farming isn't my thing. I'm in the air force at the moment," Jeff replied.
"I wish I knew what I was going to do with my life," Lucy said, wistfully. "Nothing seems to appeal to me."
"I'm sure you'll find something," Jeff smiled at her.
"Well, I know what I don't want to do, so I suppose that's a start," grinned Lucy. Jeff returned the grin.
"How long are you here for?" he asked.
"Two weeks. We're going to be travelling up and down the coast, to fit in as much as possible. After all, it's not every day that we can afford to come here, even if dad does make a good income," Lucy said.
"I think you'd make a good writer too," Jeff said, suddenly.
"Why do you think that?" Lucy asked.
"I think it would suit you. Maybe even a journalist," he replied.
"Well I do have an English degree," Lucy said, thoughtfully. "I tried to avoid becoming a journalist because that's what nearly everyone who takes a degree in English wants to be."
"Hmm…guess that's out of the window then," said Jeff.
"Oh, I didn't mean that I wouldn't consider it," Lucy said, hastily. There was a short silence.
"Would you like something to eat?" Jeff asked.
"Yeah, I am a bit hungry," replied Lucy. She couldn't believe how much she seemed to be eating that day.
"Come on, let's go and fill a plate each before all the best bits go," Jeff said. Lucy jumped up, and together they made their way back into the main area. Nobody seemed to have missed them. They piled their plates with food, got some more to drink, then made their way back to the lounge area to continue their conversation.
Lucy found herself drawn to Jeff. He was very intelligent, and had a wonderfully dry sense of humour. They seemed to share similar interests too. She left his side temporarily to go and find some water. She bumped into her father.
"There you are! I've been trying to find you for ages. I want to leave in a few minutes," he told her.
"Already?" Lucy exclaimed.
"It's gone midnight!" her father said.
"Has it?" Lucy asked. She had completely lost track of time. "I have to go and say goodbye to someone."
"Well be quick about it," her father replied. Lucy sped off back to Jeff.
"Jeff, I've got to go. My father wants to leave," she said. He looked disappointed for a moment, but a second later the look had gone.
"Do you have a mobile?" he asked.
"Yes," Lucy said.
"Can I have your number?"
"Okay. I'll give you my email address too. That'll be cheaper than sending a text abroad!" Lucy replied.
"I'd like to see you again," Jeff told her as they exchanged numbers and emails. Lucy was taken aback.
"Umm…thanks," was all she could manage. Jeff looked at her, his deep blue eyes holding her hazel ones.
"I'm serious. How much longer are you going to be in New York for?"
"Two days. But my father and…"
"Your dad won't mind you meeting me for dinner or something, will he? I'm sure we could find somewhere near your hotel?"
"Yes…I suppose so," Lucy said, not really able to think straight.
"I'll phone you tomorrow," Jeff smiling at her.
"Okay. Bye, then," Lucy smiled back.
"Goodbye," Jeff replied. Lucy grinned at him again, then went back to where her father was waiting with Karen, looking impatient.
"What took you so long?" he asked as they began to make their way out.
"I was getting Jeff's phone number," Lucy said. Karen squealed.
"You were talking to him all evening?" she asked.
"Yes, I was. What about it?" Lucy said.
"Don't you know who you were talking to?" Karen asked. Lucy looked blank. "Lucy, you idiot. Don't you keep up with current affairs? That was Jeff Tracy, one of the people chosen to make the return trip to the moon!"
"He said he was in the air force," Lucy said, unable to comprehend.
"Yes, that's his current job. But he's been hand-picked to train as an astronaut," Karen said.
"He didn't say anything about that to me," Lucy said. "Anyway, he wants me to have a meal with him tomorrow or the day after."
"Where?" her father asked, sharply.
"He said he'd take me somewhere near our hotel," Lucy said, not really noticing her father's tone of voice. Karen squealed again.
"You lucky cow!" she exclaimed. Lucy poked her in the ribs.
"Hmm. I don't know if I want you going off round New York with a stranger, whatever his occupation," her father said.
"Dad, please! Jeff's really nice. You'd like him – I should have introduced you," begged Lucy.
"Well, we'll see," her father replied, not keen on the idea at all. He privately hoped that this Jeff was just flattering his daughter, and wouldn't call her back. Never mind, he'd deal with the matter in the morning after a good nights sleep.