This story was written for the Valentine's Day challenge of the Classic Thunderbirds Showcase C2 group. It follows on from my 'Chance meeting' and is set in February, 2040. (readers of my stories know I use the dates/ages as given in Bentley's 'Complete book of Thunderbirds').
I acknowledge Granada as the copyright holders and would like to thank Purupuss and Tikatu for proofreading, Ms. Imagine for her advice on the capabilities of young children and Gerry Anderson and his team for creating a series that has given us all so much pleasure.
Lucille glanced around the apartment as she heard Jeff's key in the lock. Everything seemed to be ready. The table was laid with their best china and silverware and the candles were lit. The smells emanating from the kitchen indicated that all was going according to plan out there and the chaos caused by sharing the apartment with a small but active toddler had for once been tidied away.
Jeff walked towards her, a big bunch of roses in his hand. "Here you are, sweetheart. Happy Valentine's Day." He gave her a kiss that made her toes tingle.
"Oh, Jeff!" she exclaimed, "They're beautiful! I'll just go and put them in some water." Then her face fell as she saw the bundle of folders under his arm. "Jeff, please don't tell me you have to work tonight. I was hoping we could have some time together this evening, just the two of us. I've even asked Sylvia next door to look after Scott so we wouldn't be interrupted." She gave a small, seductive smile and stroked the back of his neck. "I thought it would be just like in the early days, when we were first married."
Jeff sighed. He had already seen the elaborately laid table and realised that Lucille had made plans for this evening. "I'm sorry, honey, but I need to go over these reports tonight. There's an aviation plant up for sale in Wichita that I'm thinking of buying. I want to go over the background information tonight, then fly out tomorrow and take a look."
Lucille couldn't help but look surprised. "That's a big step."
Jeff nodded. "You know I've been talking about getting out of NASA and setting up in business. I like the idea of moving back to Kansas. It's a good place for children to grow up." He took her hand. "Look, sweetheart, maybe when I get back we can take a weekend away together, just you and me. I know you're finding young Scott a bit of a handful."
She pulled a face. "That's one way of putting it. Honestly, I don't know where he gets his energy from! He's not even a year old yet. I dread to think of what he'll be getting up to in ten years time. Now he's started to crawl he's into everything – I just can't take my eyes off him for a second. This morning I caught him trying to climb into the washing machine!"
Jeff grinned as he followed her into the kitchen. "Maybe he thinks it's a space capsule and he's decided to take after his father."
Lucille shook her head as she extracted dishes from the oven, causing delightful aromas to waft around the room. "No, he's going to be a company director or a general, someone in charge. He can't even talk yet but I swear that when I'm making his meals or changing him that he's trying to tell me what to do!"
Over dinner she regaled Jeff with tales of their son's latest exploits, while he in turn talked of his hopes for the future.
After the meal had been cleared away, Jeff picked up the pile of folders.
Lucille looked at them with resignation. "Darling, would it disturb you if I play the piano while you work?" she asked.
"OK, sweetheart, I'll take these into the bedroom." Jeff knew that Lucille was upset that her evening had been spoilt and was trying not to show it.
Lucille sat down and ran her hands lightly over the keyboard. Though their apartment was only small, one thing she had insisted on bringing with her was her piano. Playing was one of her rare relaxations, and she had also noticed recently that it was one of the few things that seemed to calm the baby down when he was in one of his moods.
She started with some Chopin, which always soothed her, then after a while moved on to Beethoven's 'Fur Elise'. She smiled, recalling how she had played this the day that she and Jeff had met. He had told her afterwards that this was what had made him realise that there was 'more to her than a pretty face and a nice pair of legs'.
Suddenly she heard footsteps behind her and felt hands resting on her shoulders.
"You minx!" Jeff's voice whispered in her ear and his lips nuzzled her neck. "You know what that piece of music does to me."
Lucille looked up at him. "What about your reports?"
"I'll read them on the plane tomorrow." His hands moved around her neck then down.
Lucille gave a small squeal. "Jeff! You made me play a wrong note."
"Did I really?" his voice was soft. "Well, let's see if I can make you play another one." His hands moved again.
Lucille gave up any attempt at playing and turned to put her arms round his neck. Jeff bent and scooped her up in his arms. He moved towards the sofa, but then stopped and turned, heading instead for the bedroom.
Things proceeded quite satisfactorily after that, though Jeff had some trouble finding all his papers in the morning.
Nine months later, Lucille lay in a hospital bed, thinking back to that night as she looked at the bundle in her arms. She was pretty sure this little soul had been conceived then as Jeff had been away for a week after that on his trip to Kansas. She pushed back the blanket from his head. He had the same blue eyes as Scott, but a more delicate bone structure and from the few wisps of hair already visible, she guessed this one was going to be blond. She bent forward and kissed him on the forehead. "Happy birthday, my little Valentine baby."