Family Matters

By GrumpyMagrat & Magratconvert

Disclaimer: We do not own the Thunderbirds neither are we making any money off this endeavor. This is strictly for our own enjoyment, and hopefully, the enjoyment of our readers. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 9 – Visitors

Thanksgiving came around. Even though they lived on their own island, they still celebrated the American holidays. Grandma and Kyrano put out a huge spread: turkey, ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion and sage dressing, green bean casserole, sautéed brussel sprouts, an assortment of raw vegetables, a relish tray, a fruit salad, a jello salad, six different kinds of pies, and two kinds of cakes. The island residents enjoyed a fun filled day of eating, swimming, tennis and other games. The boys relished in the time of camaraderie and competition. At the end of the day, grateful that no calls had come in, the Tracys all fell into an exhausted yet contented sleep.

A week after the holiday, around the morning breakfast table, Jeff announced that starting the next day, they would be engaging in Operation: Cover-Up. The brothers took it in stride until Virgil asked "Who's coming out?"

Jeff shrugged. "Scott's bringing a girl out."

The conversation around the table fell silent in shock. The brothers exchanged glances. They had all noticed that Scott was missing from the breakfast table, but they just assumed he was elsewhere on the island.

"A girl?" Christina excitedly exclaimed. "I play wif her."

Christina's innocence brought a smile to Jeff's face. "Well, I would say that Scott's girl friend is a little old for you to play with, but I believe that she is bringing both a little girl and boy that you can play with."

Christina gave her grandfather a confused look, but she didn't let it bother her for long. She went back to her breakfast, happy with the knowledge that she would have some more playmates for a few days.

Neil, however, had his own questions. "How old are they? How long will they stay? What are their names? Are they nice? Will I like them?"

Jeff shook his head. "Their names are Nick and Linda, and they'll be staying for ten days. I'm not sure of their exact ages. We'll have to ask Scott about that when he gets back. As far as liking them, we will just have to try our best."

"So, what about this girl friend of Scott's?" Alan asked. "Is she really his girlfriend? What can you tell us about her?"

Before Jeff could answer, Virgil broke in. "He can't be seeing someone. He would've told me. She must be just a friend."

"I'm not sure how much I should say. If Scott hasn't said anything, he must have a reason."

"You can't leave us in the dark," Gordon argued. "There has to be something you can tell us, at least her name."

"Well, her name is Sharon Nettles. She is the widow of an air force colleague."

"See," Virgil interrupted. "She's the widow of a friend. He just feels sorry for her."

"I wouldn't be too sure of that, he's been going to see her for quite a while." Jeff admitted.

"Let me guess. She lives in California?" John asked.

"Yeah, how did you know?"

John shrugged. "That just explains all those trips that he's been taking."

Virgil shook his head. "That still doesn't mean anything. Scott may just be helping her out with things since she lost her husband. You know, to honor his memory."

Alan winked. "I wouldn't count on that."

"So much for your close relationship with Scott," Gordon quipped.

"Oh, shut up."

"Do you think it's serious?" Tin-Tin questioned.

"I really couldn't say," Jeff answered.

John shook his head. "It must be. He's never brought a girl to the island before."

"I still wouldn't be too sure," Virgil countered. "I always thought he had an eye for Lady Penelope."

Jeff shrugged. "Speculating isn't going to get us anywhere. You'll just have to ask Scott when he gets back tomorrow."

"And don't think we won't nail him," Gordon jokingly threatened. "Keeping such a secret from us."

Alan laughed. "And I'm sure you'll have him quaking in his boots while you question him."

Gordon feigned an innocent look. "It won't be just me. I know at least three others that will be right alongside me."

"All right, boys," Jeff said. "I have a list of things to be done before our guests arrive." A chorus of "Yes, sir" answered him as they went back to their breakfast.

TBTBTBTBTB

A little after three the next afternoon, the brothers were waiting in the hanger as Scott brought the plane in for a landing.

"What do you think she's like?" Alan asked.

Gordon laughed. "Knowing Scott, she'll be thin and blonde with high heels and a short skirt."

Virgil shook his head. "I wouldn't count on it."

"Oh, I forgot. You're the only one who really knows Scott. So, why don't you tell us what she's like since Scott confided in you about this?"

Virgil rolled his eyes. "Picking up a blonde in a bar for a good time is one thing, but when Scott would get serious, he would look for a mature responsible person. She may be a blonde, but she'll be more reserved, not flashy."

"You're pretty sure of yourself."

Virgil shrugged. "Don't forget. First, she was a military wife, then a military widow. She's been raising two children on her own. That all sounds pretty down to earth to me."

John joined the conversation. "We're about to find out. He's taxing in."

Virgil and Gordon looked out and saw the plane making its way towards them. They all moved toward the side of the hanger to give him plenty of clearance. The brothers were antsy as they waited for their guests to deplane. It seemed like a long time, but they knew that it was the sense of anticipation that was dragging the time. But then again, maybe Scott was playing it out to teach them a lesson.

Finally, the plane door opened, and Scott lowered the steps. Scott disembarked first, followed by a boy that looked around the age of nine. A small girl stood nervously in the doorway. She relaxed and giggled when Scott reached up and spun her around before setting her on the floor. He then reached his hand up a helped a classy looking lady from the plane.

Scott eyed his brothers, and then asked her. "Are you ready for this?"

She gave him a nervous smile. "As ready as I can be."

Scott picked up the little girl in one arm and placed the other around Sharon. "Relax; they're going to love you."

"I just don't understand why you didn't tell them about me before."

"I guess I just wanted to keep you all to myself." They crossed the hanger and Scott began the introductions. "Hey, guys, I would like you to meet my girlfriend, Sharon Nettles, and these are her children, Nick and Linda. Sharon, kids, these are my brothers," He pointed to them as he named them off. "Virgil, John, Alan, and Gordon. This little dude is John's son, Neil, and the older gentleman that just came in the door is my father."

Jeff quickly made his way to the group and shook Sharon's hand. "You must be Sharon. It's a pleasure to meet you. Welcome to Tracy Island."

"Thank you, Mr. Tracy. It's our pleasure to be here."

"Jeff, please call me Jeff. Mr. Tracy makes me sound old."

"You are old. You are a grandfather, after all," Gordon teased.

Jeff gave his son a pointed look. "Our guests just got here. Let's not expose all our faults in the first five minutes."

"That's okay, Mr…I mean, Jeff. Scott has told me enough about the family that I understand." Sharon remarked as she smiled at the family members.

"Too bad we can't say the same thing about you," Virgil remarked. "Since Scott has kept you a secret, you will have to tell us all about yourself."

Scott rolled his eyes. "Can't that wait? Like Dad said, they just got here. Give 'em a break." Glancing around, he asked. "Where is everybody else?"

"Christina is still taking a nap," Alan supplied. "She was so excited about your friends coming that she went down late. Tin-Tin was worn out so I told her to stay and rest while Christina slept."

"Brains is in his lab and probably lost track of time, and Kyrano and your grandmother are in the kitchen," Jeff added. "They are putting together a lavish dinner to rival the finest five star restaurant."

Sharon reddened. "I wish they wouldn't do that. I don't want them to go through all that trouble for us."

"Believe us, it's no trouble," John replied. "They both love to cook, and will use any reason to indulge in that passion."

"Yeah, if we weren't as active as we are, we'd all weigh 300 pounds," Gordon added.

"Well, the least I can do is to help them."

The brothers couldn't help the laughter that slipped out. Scott smiled. "I'll tell you what. I'll take you to the kitchen and introduce you. If you can convince either one to let you help, you will have accomplished what we rarely, and I do mean rarely, can."

Alan backed up Scott's assessment. "I can never remember them letting a guest lift a finger in the kitchen."

"Yeah," Virgil added. "Look at the ruckus that was raised when Parker insisted on handling the tea for Lady Penelope."

Gordon shook his head and laughed lightly at the memory. "Two bull-headed people butting against each other, with neither one wanting to give in."

"So, what happened?" Sharon asked.

"Lady Penelope brokered a compromise between the two," Scott answered. "When she is here, she eats lunch and dinner, handled by Kyrano, with the family, but breakfast and tea is served by Parker."

"Sounds like she's a pretty shrewd diplomat," Sharon commented.

Jeff nodded. "She is, but that comes with dealing with the British hierarchy, getting her own way without stepping on too many toes."

"And she is very good at it," John added.

Sharon looped her arm through Scott's. "Well, let's see how good I am at diplomacy."

"Okay, but don't hold your breath. Come on, kids. Let's go meet my grandmother, and then I'll show you to the guests room, and maybe, just maybe, we'll have time to go for a swim."

"In the ocean?" Nick asked.

"Sure if that's what you want."

"We'll grab their bags and put them in their rooms," John volunteered.

"Thanks," Scott gave a small wave, and he led the group out of the hanger.

The others watched them leave. "Now, there goes a good looking family," John commented.

"Do you think it's going to go that far?" Alan questioned.

"I think it'll depend on how this week goes," Virgil surmised.

Gordon nodded. "Judging by the looks between them, I would say we'd better prepare to get a new sister-in-law and a niece and nephew in the process."

"I would say you're right," Virgil agreed.

Jeff shook his head. "But there's one major issue that could cause a problem."

John sighed. "International Rescue?"

His father nodded. "International Rescue."

Gordon frowned. "I don't get it. International Rescue is a highly respected organization. Why would Sharon object?"

"Because it's also a very dangerous job," John explained. "Just like police work or firefighting, people are glad that they're out there, but they're not too thrilled if it is their spouses or children doing the work. It takes a special person to let a loved one risk their lives for a job."

"I never thought about it like that. It's so second nature to us." Gordon replied.

"Plus, she's already been widowed once," Virgil added. "That's going to weigh heavily on her."

"You don't think that Scott will quit to be with her, do you?" Alan asked.

"I don't know," Jeff answered somberly. "But we need to respect whatever decision he makes."

Gordon tried to lighten the mood. "Maybe, we're just borrowing trouble. Maybe, they're not at that point yet, and we're jumping the gun, or maybe, she'll be thrilled to be a part on the International Rescue family."

John nodded. "Well, we're not going to solve the maybes by talking here. Let's get those bags moved for them." He was answered with an "All right" and some head nods. With so many, the bags were moved quickly, and the group broke up to do their own things until dinner.

TBTBTBTBTB

They had hoped that International Rescue would remain quiet during the Nettle's visit, but early on the third morning, a call came in. A fishing trawler was floundering in rough seas, with seven crewmen aboard. It was still dark on Tracy Island and Scott, Virgil and Gordon slipped away while their guests slept.

"We're missing a few people," Sharon commented at the breakfast table.

Jeff followed the cover story. "A problem came up at work and I sent Scott to take care of it. Gordon went along to do some shopping, and Virgil went along to keep the peace while they are traveling.

Sharon smiled at the thought of Scott fighting with his brother. "So, they're in New York?"

"Oh, no, they only had to go as far as the west coast, Washington State to be exact. He shouldn't have to be gone too long. He'll probably be home later today."

"I hope Gordon and Virgil will spell Scott through the trip. Otherwise, he'll be awfully tired. That's a lot of flying to do all in one day."

Jeff smiled. "That's one of the nice things about owning your own aeronautics company. We have a couple of high tech planes that are faster than anything that is commercially available. He'll be fine."

"That's good to hear. He promised the kids a hike around the island. I hope he can still do it. They were so looking forward to it."

Alan nodded. "They should be back this afternoon. You guys could take a hike up to the western bluff to watch the sunset. It really is a beautiful sight. You should ask Scott about it."

"Maybe, he's keeping that for a romantic walk for the two of them." John added.

Sharon shrugged. "We'll see. He does have a romantic side."

Alan laughed. "That's more information than I wanted to know. So, Scott's kept you a pretty big secret. Even when we ask questions, he changes the subject, but since he's not here, how about you filling us in on yourself?"

"I'm sure that he thought he was protecting me from your curiosity. What would you like to know?"

"Oh, like where did you grow up? What did your parents do? Do you have other siblings? Your favorite music? How about hobbies?" John supplied.

Alan nodded and added his own questions. "Yeah, basically everything, but most importantly, how'd you meet Scott? How long have you been dating? How serious is your relationship?"

"Really, Alan, that's a bit personal," Jeff admonished.

"No, that's okay," Sharon said. "I can't blame him for being curious. I mean, Scott did just spring me on you guys."

Jeff shook his head. "Well, don't feel compelled to answer any questions that make you feel uncomfortable."

Sharon smiled. "Thank you for your concern. I'll keep that in mind. Anyways, I was born and raised just outside of Detroit. My father worked in the auto industry and my mother was a secretary. I had one brother, a twin brother to be exact. We had your typical, mid-American childhood. We were in the scouts. Jason played football and baseball in high school. I played basketball and ran track. My poor mom spent most of her free time chauffeuring us around town. I guess you'd say my hobbies were the sports I played, shopping and playing the piano. I never got into stamps or coin collecting or anything like that. We both graduated in the top ten of our class, and we each were offered scholarships at the local state college. I took it, Jason didn't. He had been in the ROTC program. He joined the military right after graduation, and he was accepted into the Air Force Academy to study communications. I visited him quite a few times. Then, once while I was there, I met this visiting pilot. He was so handsome, tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, well-defined muscle tone. I know it's cliché to say, but it was love at first sight. Mike and I were married within six months."

"Is that when you met Scott?" Alan asked the obvious question.

"Yes, Scott was Mike's best friend. So, it was just natural that we got to know each other. I finished my nurse's training, Nick came along. We moved to California shortly after that. Life seemed perfect. Mike was moving up in rank. I had a good job at the base hospital. Linda came along. We couldn't ask for anything more. Then came that awful day." She paused and shuddered at the memory.

"You don't have to go on, if it's too much," Jeff told her.

She shook her head. "No, it's been almost four years. I'm okay. I was on duty at the hospital when the injured were brought in. I was prepping the surgical suite when my supervisor informed me that Mike was among the wounded. She relived me of duty immediately. Scott came at Mike's request. I don't know what I would've done without him. Mike's death wasn't a surprise given how badly he was hurt, but it still…well, anyways, my life changed instantly. I was now a widow, trying to raise two children on my own. I went from being a military wife, living on base, to a civilian who needed to find a place to live on my salary. The Air Force helped as much as possible, but it was Scott that I leaned on the most. I can't even tell you why. He was Mike's friend. I wouldn't say that the two of us were close. He must have sensed something too. After he came back home, he called me on a regular basis just to see if we needed anything. He even came sometimes to help me with repairs around the house."

"When did you decide to start dating?" John questioned.

"Well, I didn't date at all for the first eighteen months. I just couldn't. The pain of losing Mike was still too great. Then, when I did start dating, I found myself comparing the men to Mike. I knew it wasn't fair to them, but I couldn't help it."

Jeff nodded. "It's perfectly understandable. I know that I felt that way too after losing Lucy. It's part of being human."

Sharon returned the nod. "Well, anyways, after about a year of that, something strange happened. I was out on a date, and instead of comparing him to Mike, I found myself comparing him to Scott. It shocked me at first. I chalked it up to the fact that Scott had just been there to repair the roof, but it seemed to continue. I decided to invite him over to just visit. We had been getting closer over the years. So, I figured that I could feel him out. If there wasn't any interest on his part, I would just play it off as just two friends getting together."

"And obviously, you saw some interest," John added.

Sharon nodded. "Yes, I did. So, we began dating. Scott would come to California every month and sometimes twice a month. Our relationship has grown into something that I would say was serious. It concerned me that he hadn't introduced me to his family, but I guess he finally rectified that. So, that's basically my story. How about you?" Addressing Alan, she continued. "I hear that you and your wife are going to be moving soon."

Alan nodded. "Her obstetrician wants her closer to the hospital during the last trimester. So, we'll be moving just after the new year."

"Has she been having problems?" When she saw Alan's confused look, she hurriedly said "I'm sorry. I don't mean to pry, but as a surgical nurse, it's kind of a professional curiosity."

"I see. To answer your question, no, she's not having problems at the moment with the exception of being tired most of the time. The move is just precautionary. You know, just in case. We have no reason to think there will be a problem, but…"

"Better safe than sorry," Sharon supplied.

"Right, well, I'd better get going. Christina is probably up by now, and I promised Tin-Tin that I'd bring her some tea and toast."

"I should be going too. Your grandmother has my children in the game room. They were in the middle of a rousing game of Go Fish. I think UNO was next on the agenda."

"Your children had better watch it," John broke in. "Neil is a killer at UNO. I guess I'd better go collect him too. Give Grandma a break."

"How about we gather the kids and head down to the beach for a while?" Alan suggested. "We can get in a couple of hours before the sun gets too hot."

"That sounds nice," Sharon replied. "How about you John?"

"Sure, I'll see about getting some drinks. Alan, can you get the sun block and towels from poolside?"

Alan nodded, and they went their separate ways.

TBTBTBTBTB

The rescue took a bit longer than expected. Grandma insisted on holding dinner for an extra half hour for them to return. Tin-Tin invited Sharon and her children, along with John and Neil to their quarters for an impromptu dance party. The guests never suspected that it was a ruse to cover the return of the Thunderbirds. John and Tin-Tin knew they were safe when Scott showed up and declared. "What is this? Nobody missed me?"

Nick and Linda threw themselves at Scott.

"Scott, you're back. I missed you!"

"I missed you, Scotty!"

"Can we go for our hike now?"

"Yeah, you promised."

Scott shook his head. "Grandma has dinner waiting for us. But I'll tell you what, after dinner, we'll take a nice walk. It won't be the hike I had planned, but maybe we can do that later in the week."

"Tomorrow?"

"Maybe, we'll have to see."

Sharon looped her arm through Scott's. "Come on, kids. Let's get you washed up." The kids ran off towards the main house. The two moved at a slower pace, and even John and Tin-Tin passed them. She smiled at Scott. "I'm glad you're back. I missed you too."

Scott pulled her a little closer. "I'm glad to hear that. I missed you too."

Sharon heard a sense of apprehension in Scott's voice. It confused her. "Scott, is something wrong? Did something happen while you were away? Can I help?"

"Huh? What?" Scott was surprised that Sharon picked up on his emotions. "No, I'm fine. It's just…well…we need to talk."

"Oooh, this sounds serious. Should I be worried?"

Scott shrugged and tried to lighten the mood. "I guess it depends on how worrisome you are."

Sharon stopped walking, and with their arms still interlinked, she pulled Scott up short. "I'm serious, Scott. Something is bothering you, and it concerns me. I've never seen you act like this. It's like your hiding something."

Scott placed his hands on her shoulders. "Look, we do need to talk, and it is of a serious nature, but as far as worrying, it just depends on your point of view."

"But you seem worried."

"It's just me. Let's talk after the kids go to bed. Until then, don't worry."

"If you say so." The two continued to the house and joined the rest of the family for dinner.

Author's Note: "Scott and Sharon sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G"...Oh wait, did we just revert back to elementary school? (Clears throat) Ahem, back to being adults, we hope that you enjoyed this chapter. We just gotta let some of these other boys get some loving.

To those who left reviews for the last two chapters, we really do appreciate them. We like to try to reply to individuals, but unfortunately life has really jumped up and bit us in the butt. We've been lucky just to get the few minutes to post, but we wanted to quickly acknowledge them and express our gratitude.

Thanks again for reading. We hope that you enjoyed it.