"Straight up Drew. Al was rolling round the floor in hysterics when I told her."
"So Cherys thinks you were having a period?" I chuckled
"It's not a laughing matter Drew"
"Oh come on Rhod, lighten up. You'll have to keep a diary now"
"So you know when it's due"
"What do you mean?"
"Girls always know when they're due"
"How come you're so expert?"
"This is just so gross!"
"And putting someone else's knickers on isn't?" I shot back
"It was an accident! And why would I want to know something that's not happening?"
"Well Mfanwy, Cherys will think it funny if you never have any more and she'll remember"
"How do you know?"
"Mum always knows when it's Jules time"
"Has he told you about the time of the month yet?" Ally chuckled as she joined us.
Looks like Rhod is in another hole now!
We made our own toasties for tea and of course Mfanwy's 'time of the month' was repeated for Mad and Bernie's benefit. Rhod set the video for the news and Sylv joined us for a slice of the cake Rhod's Gran had sent back with Mfanwy.
The local news started and I shushed everyone to watch. Surprisingly they actually devoted almost five minutes to the event. There was a good mix of interviews and racing shot's, Mum and Eric got most of the attention but I got the last word, which was an embarrassing 'brill'. That was about all I got in my excitement at being on telly, at least we had it on tape.
"Can I have your autograph Drew, you're so famous" Bernie mocked
"At least I got on the box"
"Oo-ooh, little miss wonderful" Bernie replied
"Girls!" Sylv cautioned
"Sorry Drew" Bernie mumbled
I managed to get Rhod on his own before I left.
"Can we talk?"
"Sure, what about?"
"Not now, tomorrow yeah?"
"Okay, I guess"
"You staying all night Drew?" Mad called back
"So what was all the whispering about?"
"Oh I forgot to ask you before what with your Mum and all that"
"Ask me what?"
"Well if you fancy going to another con in a few weeks"
"I don't have to go as Her-me-o-ne again do I, coz I'm not!"
"When is it then?"
"Just after Halloween, it's only at Sheffield so we don't need to stay over"
"Sounds okay I guess"
We were soon at the Peters and Mad took me by surprise when she planted a kiss on my forehead.
"Oh don't forget your kit tomorrow"
"What kit, PE's on Wednesday"
"Blondes! Cheer practice?"
"Mad I said I wasn't doing it"
"Oh come on Drew, Miss Bell has sent us a video and all sorts, it'll be fun. Drewww?"
"Okay but I'm not wearing that outfit"
"Of course not silly, just bring your badminton kit"
"See you in the morning"
"Don't be so melodramatic Drew" Dad intoned
"Why not? It's just been on national telly!"
"It's only the local news and no one at school watches it" Jules smirked
"Your sisters right"
"Yeah and I'm Madonna"
"No, she said you were Gaby quite clearly" Jules snorted
"Look Drew no ones going to say anything, they probably won't notice anyway"
Yeah like that's gonna happen.
The house seemed strangely subdued with Mum gone, I sloped off to my room and got my stuff ready for school. She's done it to me again hasn't she? Badminton kit, she means the skirt and stuff, well I'm not falling for it this time. I pulled out my athletics kit, ha ha. Bum! It stinks! Damn, damn, damn! I rooted round for some alternative sports kit but the best I could manage was my equally smelly rugby kit. I'll just say I can't do it. I picked up the mucky kit and shoved it in the washing basket making a mental note to do the wash tonight.
I got up early and made the most of the dry weather by putting in a forty-five minute training session up to Carburton and back through and back through Norton and Cuckney. There's one thing with riding, it gives you a chance to think things through in peace, I felt pretty relaxed by the time I got home. I showered and while I waited for the kettle I collected the washing and put the machine on, at least I'll have clean kit for PE tomorrow.
"Here, don't forget this" Jules chucked my games bag to me as I made a dash for the door. I caught it by reflex and juggled toast, bags and blazer as I headed out the door followed by Jules who locked the house up. It's not cool to go to school with your siblings is it? So I trudged along behind Jules and her Discman as far as Maddy's road.
"Hi Mad" Jules barely looked up from her magazine as she hummed along to some boy band and disappeared up the road.
"Mum's booking Ayacon for us today"
"Well don't sound so enthusiastic then"
"Sorry I was thinking about the weekend"
"Your Mum huh?"
We walked along in silence the rest of the way to school.
I managed to get Rhod on his own for our chat during morning break. I ran my idea past him but he said he needed to think about it. Well I guess that's reasonable.
"So where are you lot doing your practice then?" Rhod asked after lunch
"Mr Wood says we can use the drama studio until six" Bernie advised
"Yeah, no loud music and we have to tell Pongo when we leave" Ally added
"Isn't there supposed to be a teacher present or something?"
"Mr W is gonna check on us himself this week but he said he's lining up Miss Cowlishaw to look after us in future"
"Cool" Rhod noted
Bum! Miss Cowlishaw is 100% babe! She takes us for double art and all the boys in the class fancy her something rotten.
"Yeah, he's quite enthusiastic about it" Ally went on, "he was hoping to let us do cheering instead of regular games but he's got to talk to the governors first."
Just what I need. Not. The call to registration sounded and I still hadn't told them I wasn't doing it.
"There you are Drew, come on we'll be late" Al enthused as I slipped out of History.
"Al, I can't"
"Course you can, come on"
I followed in her wake to Room G23, otherwise known as the Drama Studio where we joined Mad, Bernie as well as Miss Cowlishaw and Mr Wood.
"There you are, shut the door and grab a chair," Mr W instructed
We joined the others and Mr Wood waited for us to settle.
"Okay ladies, I've spoken with Miss Cowlishaw here and she has agreed to act as tutor for the group. That means that this is now an official school activity, which we will be opening up and running like any other school team. Yes Madeline?"
"You mean like the netball team?"
"Just like the netball, football and rugby teams. There will be school colours and I gather competitions as well. In addition you will represent the school at other inter school competitions but we'll discuss that at a later date. Miss Cowlishaw, do you want to have a word?"
"Thanks Mr Wood. I thought it was an all girl group"
"Mr Bond will convince you it is"
"Okay. Well as Mr Wood has said, this is now an official group, we have agreed to restrict it to twelve members initially, there will be recruiting posters going up and try outs, I think that's the term, in a fortnight. You four are the lucky ones, you are already in and I'll be relying on you to help out, after all you know far more than I do about this stuff although I will be doing some research. Ally?"
"So will it just be girls then Miss?"
"We can't stipulate that these days but we don't expect too many boys wanting to join"
There were sniggers from Bernie and Mad.
"The other thing is that for now only second and third years will be allowed to try out. We'll be reviewing that position later; we hope that this will encourage more girls to be more active. Any more questions?"
I've been backed into a corner again!
"Okay, I'll leave you with Miss Cowlishaw who I am sure has some questions"
Mr W made his exit leaving the newly formed school cheer squad alone.
"Okay, Mr Wood say's you are quite good already"
"We were taught by the exchange students Miss"
"So I've been told. I think we'd best start with seeing what you can do. I take it you need to change?"
"We've got our warm up stuff" Mad indicated her bag
"Okay then, pop off and get changed, I'll just pop to the staff room, five minutes?"
"We'll be ready" Ally enthused
"Er guys, I er haven't got any kit"
"So you've been toting your sports bag around empty all day? You don't bail on us that easy Gabrielle"
"So what's in your bag Drew?"
I opened my kit bag and pulled out the contents. What the? Jules! You've guessed it 'my' badminton kit was folded neatly on top of my trainers and poms. What's this? Urgh! A pink towel!
"No kit huh?" Bernie smirked
"I rang to remind you this morning but you were out training. Jules said she'd make sure you didn't forget"
"Come on lets get changed, Miss Cowlishaw will be back soon" Ally mentioned.
"Is that you Drew?" Miss Cowlishaw enquired checking me out. The girls had done a job on me that's for sure. Jules had included a bra and my falsies in with the kit, Al and Mad insisted on putting my hair into a pony tail and Mad 'just happened' to have some 'spare' earrings. Yep, Gaby's back.
"I'd never believe it!" Miss C shook her head and I just blushed.
"It's Gaby Miss" Mad advised
"Mr Wood did say but I didn't believe him. How many people know about this?"
"Only a couple in school Miss" I admitted
"But loads of people know Gaby, she's even got a boyfriend" Bernie told her
"I have not!"
"Clive fancies the pants off you" Ally agreed
"Hold it girls! Well I suppose I'll get used to Gaby. In future though you turn up as you are now, I think the fewer who know about this the better don't you?"
"Yes Miss" I agreed. Oh yes.
"Right lets see this routine then"
"There were eight of us before so there'll be some gaps Miss" Mad pointed out
Ally started the tape and we took our places and started.
"That wasn't so bad was it?" Mad enthused as we left the others
"On a scale of what?"
"Oh come on Gab, you enjoyed it really"
Like a hole in the head!
"I'll have to mail Sabbie later"
"Mum'll be dead chuffed. Imagine getting school colours too"
"Yeah, I can really go round wearing that" I mentioned to no one in particular
"So have you finished racing now?" Mad asked
"Not quite, I've got a couple of hill climbs the next few weeks and Mum reckons I should have a bash at some 'cross"
"Hill climbs I get but what's cross?"
"You know, riding across fields and stuff"
"Sort of but you do it on different bikes, more like road bikes"
"I think I'll give that a miss"
Well at least the rest of the week was uneventful. Mum rang on Thursday and we had a good chat, better than we got at the weekend actually! She's doubling up for the individual time trial and the road race next week; Maria and Tina go for Germany, as does Eric.
I took a deep breath and stood on the pedals
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go"
The climb loomed in front of me, just over 600m of uphill averaging 20% but with a steep of 25% near the top. I punched the pedals and soon I was into oxygen debt, the red fog descending. A few watchers cheered as I climbed and then I was onto the false flat to the summit and the finish.
"Easy Drew, don't try to get off, take some deep breaths"
I stood on jelly legs, heaving lung fulls of air while Dad supported me and the bike. That hurt! I finally recovered enough to get off my bike; by the time I was changed it was all over. That's one thing with hill climbs, they're over quickly!
"That's not bad Drew, 2.16"
"Yeah I guess but the winners taken nearly half a minute out of me"
"He's a specialist, he was fourth in the national champs last year"
"Yeah but 1.48!"
"You'd best do some training for next week, you've got four climbs"
"Four?" I gasped
"Two up near Hull on Saturday then two near Matlock on Sunday"
After a pretty boring day, we were at Bernie's on Monday night.
"Do you reckon there'll be many at the tryouts next week?" Al asked
"Dunno, I've heard a few people talking about it" Mad supplied
"Me too" Rhod joined in, "everyone in metalwork thinks girls turn into super babes when they put one of them uniforms on"
"In their dreams" Bernie snorted
"Well Clive's already convinced Drewbie is" he went on
"Is that the bad news?" I queried
"Nah, the bad news is he's been telling everyone that Gaby's a cheerleader and his girlfriend"
"He what? I'll knock his head off" I exploded
"Calm down Drew" Mad suggested
"I thought he was my friend" I went on
"Drew he doesn't know it's you remember" Bernie put in
"Yeah, so don't act odd or anything with him, only Gaby can sort it out" Ally added
"Gaby needs to sort him out in public" Mad mused
"How comes you know and I don't Rhod?" I asked
"Well he knows you're related I guess"
"Just don't do anything rash Drew, we'll sort him out the girl way"
I simmered for the rest of the evening; even the girls talk about cheerleading washed over me. Rhod seemed quite attentive but I guess Al is his girlfriend. I mean if Gaby wanted a boyfriend it would not be Clive, he might think he's gods gift, now Michael Grady in the fourth year. Sugar! What the hell am I thinking about?
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