"Office, now!" Mr Malcolm our form tutor sounded well annoyed
"Yes sir" Clive collected his stuff together and with a convicted mans look, left for his meeting with destiny.
"What do you reckon that's about?" I whispered to Paul
"He started getting a bit erm hands on with your cousin last night" Paul confided, "She gave him a right slap and ran off"
"Heavy" I allowed, "so I take it the romance is over?"
"You've got to be kidding! He was worse than ever on the way here this morning. Thinks it's a sign of true love"
"She looked a right babe last night, real classy! Didn't you see her?"
This just gets worse!
"Er no I didn't go"
"You missed a good night Drew"
We didn't see Clive for the rest of the day, which was a bit ominous; I hope I, rather Gaby, haven't got him in too much trouble.
"Morning Drew, Mad's in the dining room," Aunt C told me as I preceded her into the house.
"I've got our costumes sorted out"
"Any chance of not being in a dress this time?" I sighed
"You had trousers on Thursday"
"You know what I mean"
She ignored that and went on, "I found a boy character for you, Kazuki, he's the pilot of one of those big robot things in a series called Dual"
"Sounds cool, I could fancy doing that, stomping around, firing missiles and stuff"
"I thought we could do that on Saturday"
"What are you going to wear then?"
"I'm going to be Ken, the commander guy"
That sounds good, both of us as males!
"What about Sunday then?" there had to be a catch
"You get to be a teacher, this guy Hibiki Amawa, it's a series called I My Me"
"Never heard of it. So what are you wearing?"
"I get to be a sweet Japanese schoolgirl. I forgot, Mum booked us a room so we can stay Saturday night"
"I trust you Drew" Aunt C mentioned as she brought a couple of mugs of chocolate in. "it's two single beds and I've already spoken to your Dad"
"Great" there has to be a catch, two male costumes and sharing a room with Mad.
"That means we can go to the party on Saturday night" Mad enthused
"I'll take you over on Saturday morning and pick you up Sunday afternoon okay?"
"Thanks Mrs P, Dad's taking Jules over to Gran's for the weekend"
"I'll leave you two to it"
I sipped at my drink, flip! That's hot!
"I thought we could wear the Chii costumes again for the party"
"Do we have to?"
"I found you some boys for during the day" she pouted
Yeah, it could have been worse.
"Okay" I sighed
"I knew you would. I thought we could swap this time, I'll be Light you can be Dark."
As we are both pretty much the same size there didn't seem to be much point in trying my costumes on, Mad had sorted them out okay before and to be honest I wasn't in the mood for it.
"So are we going swimming or what?" Mad asked
We spent the afternoon with the guys at the swimming pool up in Worksop. Tomorrow is my last road event of the year, Dad's all enthusiastic, so was Mum when I spoke to her in the week, me, I'm getting nervy again.
"Everyone ready?" Dad asked
"Yep" Mad cheerfully replied
Mad and Bernie were making up this weeks cheer squad, the others doing whatever it is they do on Sundays. (I think there might be a bit of erm, canoodling going on!) We had a fair drive this morning, all the way over to Lancashire, near Burnley; the event is on a hill called Merecliffe or something like that. Dad reckons it's not too steep but fairly long.
We were soon on the M1 and heading north under bright skies. Onto the M62 for a bit then we turned off at Halifax to cover the remaining distance to our destination. Along the Calder valley through Hebden Bridge to Todmorden and into Lancashire, the weather started to cloud up a bit. A few minutes later we spotted a sign 'ESCA HILLLCLIMB' pointing off to the right. The road wound steeply up and headed towards a wind farm sat atop the open moor.
"It's windy up here," Dad mentioned
Those generator blades were certainly going at a rare old click! There were already quite a few cars in the car park; I think we got the last spot before the road was pressed into service. It was a bit odd, all these kids and hardly any adults, basically none with bikes anyway. I thought I recognised one or two people then there two that I did.
He looked round to see who was calling
"Ooh what a dish" Bernie stated
"Josh, over here" I waved
"Oh hi Drew, it's windy up here man"
"Yeah" I agreed
"Drew?" Bernie whispered anxiously
"Oh yeah, this is Bernie and you met my cousin Mad before"
"Yeah, hi Bernie,"
I think she started to blush.
"You had some American lasses with you in London"
"They've gone home now"
"That Kirsty lass is here too"
"Aye that's the one. Anyway I hear you've been doing a few of these hill climb things"
"Just a few local ones"
"He won last week," Mad mentioned
"Er no. The whole thing" I admitted
"I think I'll go home now, I'm really crap at this lark" he joked
"I bet you're not," Bernie told him
"Aye I am at that. I'm too big, not like Drew here. It's a wonder he doesn't get blown away with this wind!"
"Give over Josh!"
"Come on Drew, oh hi Josh, your Uncle here?"
"Aye Mr Bond, we're parked over the other side"
"I'll pop over for a chat in a while"
"I'd best got on Drew man"
"See you later Josh"
"Bye Josh" Bernie called
"Bernie?" Mad declared
"Well, he's cute"
I took myself down to the start and joined the constant stream of school kids of pretty much all ages having a practice run. Dad was right, it wasn't exactly steep but it had enough gradient to keep you out of the saddle all the way up. The best thing really was that the strong wind was sort of behind you, but I'm sure I felt a few spots of rain on the way up.
"Okay son?" Dad greeted me back at the car
"Yeah I guess"
"Sound a bit more enthusiastic"
"Where are the girls?" I asked noting their absence
"Putting off the opposition" Dad chuckled as he rechecked my tyres
I looked where he nodded. I cannot believe that pair! They were over by what I now recognised as Joe Waugh's car. And they were in their Foresters uniforms! Whatever!
"Go Drew go!"
"Up, up, up!"
I could see the chequered flag ahead and I dug a bit deeper, the cheering of the enthusiastic crowd of mostly parents and siblings helping to lift my effort. That red tunnel started to descend as I struggled to take in enough oxygen then yessss! It was over! Dad wasn't quick enough today and I toppled onto the verge still attached to my bike.
I must have passed out or something because the next thing I remember was staring up at the insides of an ambulance.
The paramedic checked my vitals while Dad explained that I'd been unconscious when he got to me after the finish. Being a Schools event there was a St Johns ambulance there, which is where I was now.
"Keep her quiet for a bit, she seems okay now" the medic told Dad, "probably just over exertion, might be worth getting her doctor to give her the once over though"
"You're welcome" the guy headed over to where his two colleagues were sharing a flask of soup, I could smell it from here.
Dad helped me get my tracksuit on and we left the blood wagon to make the short walk to our car.
"Drew you're okay!" Mad gushed giving me a big hug.
Bernie joined in and I realised there were others there too.
"Had us worried there man" Josh told me
"Glad you're okay" Kristen gave me a hug under Mad's careful gaze
"Thanks" I told her as she released me
We were disturbed by the arrival of another bloke
"Okay now?" he enquired obviously concerned
"Yes thanks Ken" Dad replied
"Don't want to lose our new champ" Ken tried to lighten his worried tone
"Yeah, you done me again man" Josh advised me
"Er sorry mate" I grinned
"You pretty much flew up that hill lad" Joe put in
"No one else had a chance Drew" Mad added
"Your friend here, won the girls prize" Ken supplied
"Oh wow, that's great. Why didn't you say Kristen?"
"We were worried about you?"
"Oh right, sorry"
"What for? Trying to get a ride in an ambulance?"
"For worrying everyone"
After the presentation we had a sort of repeat of the Eastway meal at one of those big family restaurant places just outside Burnley. Kristen's parents were well made up at their daughter's success, which, she claimed, was inspired by Mum. Joe and Josh joked about his endless run of second and third places, apparently that number one spot has been elusive to my mate. It was horrible to watch Bernie as she mooned over my pal, Mad just found it hilarious!
No sightseeing today, we dropped down to the M66, Dad taking us into Manchester before picking up the A6 to cross the Peak District. The cross-country route was a lot more pleasant than the motorways even if it did take longer. It still hadn't really sunk in that I've picked up a second national title today - even if it is only for the hill climb.
Of course, Mr Woods spy network made sure I got embarrassed in assembly but other than that the week was pretty uneventful. Tuesdays cheer session was cancelled as Miss C had a staff meeting and on Wednesday I had to go to the Doc's. You want to know about that? Well if you must.
Dr Sanwari gave me a thorough check up and declared me fully fit. His best bet was that I'd over exerted myself, nothing to worry about. Dad seemed pretty relieved but not as much as me, after all it's not the first time I've passed out. Just to be safe though the Doc Drew some blood, we'd get the results next week. Waste of time if you ask me.
Oh I forgot to tell you what happened to Clive. Well relief for me but not good news for Clive. Apparently the trouble was over under age drinking at the party, nothing to do with me at all. The rumours were that some of the fourth years had set up a makeshift bar in one of Pongo's equipment cupboards. Clive had found out about it and, so Paul says although he's keeping quiet, had a skin full. The bar was discovered and the ringleaders rounded up, Clive got snitched on and now he's been suspended till next week.
"We'll get changed here before we go Drew" Mad advised me over breakfast. Didn't I say? I stayed at Peters Towers last night as Dad and Jules went off to Gran's last night.
"Whatever" I replied between mouthfuls of Weetabix.
"We'll leave about half nine okay" Aunt C informed us
"Sure Mum," Mad replied, "come on Drew we'll need to get a move on"
"I thought you were some commander guy," I mentioned eyeing the outfit on her bed.
"I am and you're Kazuki, the pilot"
"So what's the skirt and stuff for?"
"What? You said this Kazuki is a guy right?"
"So why the skirt"
"Well all the pilot's are girls, no boys allowed, so he has to pretend to be a girl"
"Maad!" I complained
"You said," she pouted.
I've been done again haven't I? At least tomorrow, this teacher I'm being is a bloke.
"All right" I sighed
"You kids ready?" Aunt Carol called upstairs
The house phone started to ring and my Aunt picked it up.
"Oh hi love.........two o'clock?.........I'm taking the kids to the con remember?.........hmmm.........I suppose so.........okay, I'll see you later"
"That was you Dad Maddy, he wants me to pick him up from Gatwick," she said looking at me.
"Erm that's Mad" I pointed to my cousin who started to giggle.
"Sorry Dr er Gaby. Well"
"That's not a problem is it?" Mad asked
"No, well yes. I need to set off straight away, I haven't got time to take you to the Con this morning"
"But you said!" Mad spat
"I know, I'll take you tomorrow"
"But we'll miss all the good stuff today"
"I'm sorry luv"
"We could go on the bus or something?" I suggested
"Well I suppose you could" Aunt C allowed, "You'd have to get across Sheffield you know?"
"It'll take ages" Mad slumped again
"There's a bus from Mansfield" I suggested, "If we can get a lift to there it would be quicker" I looked at my Aunt.
"The 747, in fact I think that goes past where the con is being held. You okay doing that?"
"Definitely" Mad affirmed
"Okay, put your bags in the car, I'll drop you off, I have to go that way anyway"
Barely twenty minutes later we were waving Aunt C off from Mansfield bus station. Things had happened so quick that I forgot that I was dressed as a girl until we got to the stand.
"Fifteen minutes" Mad stated
"Good I need the loo"
"I'll watch the bags," Mad agreed
I trotted down to the not exactly sparkling toilets.
"Wrong door" the guy told me
"This is the gents, the ladies is round the corner miss"
"Oh right" sugar!
Luckily there wasn't the usual queue that ladies toilets usually acquire so I dived in quickly and did my business. I nearly panicked when I saw the 747 was already in when I turned back onto the concourse.
"Mad!" I gasped as I reached her, "I thought I was gonna make us miss it"
"No he's a bit early"
Mrs P told us to ask for somewhere called 'Meadowhead' which is where the hotel is apparently. The driver returned to the bus and we joined the short queue waiting to get on.
"Where to lass?" he asked me after I heaved my bag up the steps, it was more coach than bus.
"Two halves to Meadowhead please"
"Meadowhead" he pondered
"There's a big hotel there," I offered mistaking his hesitation for ignorance of the destination.
"Please, can you tell us when we get there?"
"Two £1.70's then"
I passed the fiver over.
"You going to the Moat House?"
"I'll shout you when we get there ladies"
We got our bags into the small luggage pen and found a double seat a few rows back.
"So far so good" I sighed
Mad cuddled up to me, "yeah".
It's not really that far, maybe twenty miles or so and as it's an express service the stops were few and far between. Over the motorway and into Chesterfield, I pointed the twisted spire out to Mad but I didn't tell her the story of why it's like that. After a brief stop we joined a dual carriageway signposted 'A61 Sheffield'.
We climbed up a long straight hill then started to drop down.
"Two minutes girlss!" the driver called back
"That was quick" Mad untangled herself and we got up to rescue our bags.
"I'll drop you opposite, save you walking so far" he told us as we negotiated a big roundabout.
The two sides of the dual carriageway were separated by a wide break with huge trees and a sign proudly proclaimed 'Welcome to Sheffield'. The driver eased up and pulled up at the first bus shelter.
"Here you go lass"
"Thanks, erm where's the hotel?" I eyed what looked like flats behind a small copse.
"Other side of the dual carriageway"
"Oh right, thanks again"
"Yeah thanks" Mad agreed plonking her case down on the pavement.
The bus pulled away and I peered through the trees to where I could see what was apparently the hotel.
"Which way?" Mad asked
"Straight over I guess"
"Not with that traffic!"
Well she did have a point, the road was busy.
"Underpass" I pointed over her shoulder.
Five minutes later we were finally there. The place was already buzzing with activity and we weren't that late either. Mad got us booked in with the hotel reception and while we were downstairs we decided to register for the Con too.
"Peters and Bond" Mad advised the girl at registration
"Hmmm" she ran her finger down the list, "oh here we are, Maddy Peters" she found a nametag and gave it to Mad. "and Bond" she searched again finally retrieving another tag. "There we go Gaby, have a nice time girls"
"Thanks" Mad answered dragging me away before I could say anything.
"Mad?" I moaned as we waited for the lift
She gave me one of those innocent looks.
I give up!
Once in our room I pulled off my wig, it was getting hot and uncomfortable.
"What? It's hot and these shoes kill too," I complained
"Mind your skirt, you'll crease it"
"So what now?"
"Help me get this lot hung up then we can go catch up downstairs"
I didn't take much notice of what came out of the case, I just did the hanging bit and the job was quickly done.
"Come on, let's get Kazuki back together"
In truth, compared to what she's landed me with today this getup isn't too bad, I could easily pass on the street. Well all right the blouse is a bit scratchy but there was no cleavage showing, the skirt is nearly knee length and I've just got ordinary tights on, no stockings!
I let Mad put the wig back on me and after slipping my id round my neck I was ready once more.
"So what first?"
"Lets check the time table" Mad suggested
"Okay" I relaxed as we joined the crowds of other Con attendees, I wasn't the only boy in skirts but I was probably the only one who was pretending to be a girl dressed as a guy dressed as a girl! Confused? I am!
"There's a Ranma board later"
"Resident Evil, now that's more like it"
"How about watching 'Heavy Metal'" Mad suggested
"Okay, we got time to eat first?"
"Not really, it starts in twenty minutes"
"I'm starving" I whined
"Hang on" Mad dived off but she was back quickly.
"There's a Spar just up the road, the girl on reception says it's not far"
"Please? I really am hungry"
"Come on then, you got your wallet?"
"Yep" I patted the shoulder bag I was wearing.
We hurried out and followed the directions that Mad had which soon had us at the small arcade of shops where the Spar was.
"That's good, we can get something to eat over here later" Mad mused spotting a pizza place and a Chinese.
"I want food now" I mentioned as I dragged her into the shop.
We made it back to the Con just in time for the film, I'd never seen it before and thought it was a bit weird at first but by the time we came out I was well into it! Thinking about it, I'm glad Mad didn't choose it for our costumes though! It was still quite early when we came out and I had some money burning holes in my erm, handbag. I recognised some of the stalls from Dunstable but there were enough different ones to make it interesting.
I held my hand on buying anything but I had a few things earmarked and so had Mad. We took in the Ranma board and that wrapped up the afternoon session. I spotted a few people from last time but everyone was in different costumes so it wasn't easy recognising people. One thing I did notice, where last time everyone wanted to take our photo's, this time, in my more drab costume, there were far fewer David Baileys!
We had two hours before the evening sessions were due to kick off so it was time to eat (again) and get changed. Mad was set on getting pizza which was okay with me, so rather than change first, I just lost the wig again as it was bothering me somewhat. Time to eat!
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