After-effects

Chapter 2

Gordon appeared less than two minutes later and looked around in confusion. "Where's Al?" he asked. "You shouldn't have let him go off alone. He's not exactly stable at the moment."

Scott frowned. "That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think? I mean, I know he's upset but the island's not all that big and it's pretty much guaranteed that we know where he's headed."

Gordon shrugged, "I suppose so and I guess if anyone can calm him down after the day he's had then it'll be Tin-Tin."

~#~

Alan left the control room and ran across the sitting room, out through the door and down the steps towards the pool. When no-one tried to stop him he carried on running until he eventually fell to his knees on the soft sand of the beach. He knelt there for a moment, not quite sure what to do with himself until he realised that Tin-Tin was approaching slowly from the pool area. In his haste to get out of the house Alan had run straight past her without even noticing.

Tin-Tin had seen that Alan was upset when he fled past her and she approached him slowly with her hands held out in front of her. "Alan," she said softly. "Don't run. Whatever it is, I'm sure we can work it out."

Alan let out a strangled sob and threw himself into her arms. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and buried his face in her neck. "I was too late," he mumbled. "I was too slow and too late and…and I thought I'd lost you."

Tin-Tin wrapped her arms around Alan as best she could with him clinging to her neck. "Oh Alan," she murmured. "You couldn't lose me, I simply wouldn't let you. Whatever happened out there today that got you so badly shaken?"

Alan shook his head against her neck and his sobs increased as Tin-Tin's words made him think back to what had happened during the rescue. Tin-Tin soon realised that she was going to get no sense out of the young man and gently coaxed him into a sitting position. This wasn't made easy by the fact that Alan wouldn't ease his grip on her shoulders but eventually both Tin-Tin and Alan were sitting side by side on the soft, warm sand.

Tin-Tin stroked Alan's hair and murmured nonsense to him as he clung to her. Once he'd been quiet for a few minutes she tried again to gently coax him into speak to her about what had happened on the rescue. He lifted his head to answer and then shook his head when he found that he didn't have the words to explain how he was feeling.

Seeing the tears in his eyes and hearing the renewed hitch in his breath, Tin-Tin pulled him back down against her neck and within minutes she realised that the young man had fallen asleep.

~#~

Tin-Tin sat with Alan on the beach for a long while, trying to fathom what could have possibly happened to upset the youngest Tracy boy so badly. Eventually she remembered her communicator and carefully pressed the button that would connect her to Scott.

"Tin-Tin? What can I do for you, Honey?" Scott's voice came loudly out of Tin-Tin's watch and she hissed quietly and slapped her hand over the device before it could disturb Alan.

"Scott," she hissed against her hand, knowing that the microphone in the watch was delicate enough that Scott would hear her. "Speak quietly or you'll disturb Alan. I'm going to uncover you now. Please be quiet."

Tin-Tin slowly removed her hand and was met with Scott's face wearing a bemused expression.

"Hello again," he said, quieter this time. "Would you mind telling me what…Is that Alan?" Scott suddenly worked out that the scraggy blue and blonde mess hanging around Tin-Tin's neck was his youngest brother. "What happened there?"

Tin-Tin tried to shrug and then realised it was impossible. "I don't really know," she admitted. "Scott, what happened today? Something obviously put Alan all out of sorts...he came flying down here like…like, I don't know what…and then, when I tried to talk to him, he sort of fell apart before falling asleep."

Scott grimaced. "I'm sorry, Honey," he said apologetically. "You're right. Something did happen but it's something I'd rather discuss face to face. Where are you? You're obviously not going anywhere so I guess I'll come to you."

Tin-Tin nodded. "That's sort of why I called. We're on the beach, not far from the bottom of the steps but the tide's on its way in and there's no way I can move Alan without waking him."

Scott nodded this time. "Sleep may be the best thing for him at the moment. If he's sleeping then he's not mulling over what happened. I'm on my way and I'll explain everything when I get there."

~#~

Scott walked silently down the steps and soon spotted Tin-Tin and Alan sitting just a few feet from the edge of the ocean.

"Hey," he said quietly as he approached. "Is he still sleeping?"

"Scott." Tin-Tin's relief was evident in that one, quietly breathed word. "I don't know what's wrong with him but this just isn't like Alan at all."

Scott crouched down in front of the pair and gently rested his hand on Alan's back. "I know what's wrong," he whispered. "He did a stupid thing and I lambasted him without finding out why he'd done it in the first place. I…we…Virgil and I thought that he'd be alright once he got back here and saw that you were okay. I guess we were wrong."

Tin-Tin shook her head and then looked at the ever-approaching ocean. "You're making about as much sense as Alan was, Scott…and we're all going to get wet if we stay here much longer. I need you to take Alan inside. You can explain everything else once we get into the house."

Scott nodded and gently released Alan's stranglehold on Tin-Tin. Alan grumbled slightly but soon fell quiet again and Scott was able to lift him into his arms and carry him into the house without any further disturbance.

~#~

Gordon, who had been watching from the window, ran out and pulled the door open as Scott climbed the last few steps up to the house.

"Is he alright?" he whispered as Scott approached. "What happened?"

With his arms full of Alan, Scott motioned his head in the direction of the bedrooms. "I'll explain in a minute," he hissed. "Get in front and do the other doors. This isn't as easy as it used to be."

Gordon hesitated and then hurried to overtake when he realised that Scott had continued his journey across the room. He opened all the doors and then ran across Alan's room and threw back the bedcovers so Scott would be able to deposit the baby of the family directly into his bed.

Scott entered the room sideways and then turned around and gently lay Alan down. Alan frowned in his sleep, mewed quietly and then held out a hand with a plaintive squeak of 'Tin'.

Tin-Tin slipped around to the other side of the bed and reached over to grasp the outstretched hand. She held it against her cheek and then kissed it gently. "Shhh," she whispered softly. "I'm here, Alan. Go back to sleep."

Alan hadn't truly woken up but Tin-Tin's soft words filtered through into his subconscious and he sank back into a deeper slumber. Tin-Tin smiled sadly and leaned across to gently smooth the frown lines off his forehead with her free hand.

Gordon watched from the doorway as Tin-Tin carefully climbed to her feet and gingerly sat on the bed beside Alan. "I'll go and tell Dad that he won't be able to debrief Alan until the morning," he said quietly. "He was hoping to catch him tonight but that's obviously not going to happen now."

Without waiting for a reply, Gordon slipped into the corridor and pulled the door closed as he left.

Tin-Tin watched as the door clicked shut. "Now, Scott, will you please tell me what happened?"

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.