I woke up to find a light dusting of white covering everything outside. There was a curious ‘soft' quiet and it felt unusually like December. It's funny I guess, we have all the Christmas cards and stuff with snow on them but it hardly ever snows round here at all, let alone at Christmas!
“I thought porridge would be appropriate this morning” Dad told me when I got to the kitchen.
Well it's not something I crave but it's not that bad, and it is cold this morning.
“The grounds frozen out there” Dad went on, ladling the hot oatmeal into a bowl for me.
“Will they still run it?”
“It'll take more than a dusting of snow to stop them”
“Ahh! That's hot!” I exclaimed dropping my spoon and fanning my mouth.
“It's supposed to be”
After last weeks foul up on the last lap I decided to go for it today. As a result, at the end of lap two I was leading the field over the frozen circuit, able to pick my own route through the roots and frozen ruts. I was more focused today, and I was treating the race more seriously rather than as an interlude to my ‘real' racing. The thirty minutes plus a lap formula suits me well, at least you know how to time your ride!
The extra couple of races, and weeks of training, since I last rode here have certainly paid dividends and to sort of quote from Scooby Doo, ‘I'd have won too if it wasn't for that pesky stick'. I'd just worked out that the bell would sound next time round when I picked a wrong line and ended up in some undergrowth. I had a small lead so I wasn't too concerned as I dragged the Orange clear but as I started off again there was a graunching noise and I was nearly thrown over the bars as the whole bike locked solid. Damn, a quick look found the culprit, a long stick that was now wedged in my chainset.
After a lot of cussing and a fair bit of yanking, I got the offending branch free and I was on my way again. The bad news was that my precious, hard fought lead was gone, lost entirely and at least two riders were now in front of me. My blood was up and I set off in glorious pursuit, there's still time! Well there wasn't actually, I closed the gap right up but at the finish I was still best part of fifty metres behind the third placed rider. Bummer!
We were expected at the Peters for Sunday dinner, so we headed straight home to get changed. Dad started to hose down my bike while I headed for the shower.
“That you Drew?” Jules called out
“Yeah” I hopped into the kitchen, peeling my socks off my cold feet.
“Mum's on the phone”
“He's just coming Mum, bye” she gave me the handset and I perched on the coffee table.
“Jules said you were racing this morning”
“The Cross league in Clumber” I advised
“How'd you get on?”
“Fourth, I got a stick jammed”
“Still well done”
“I crashed last week and had to run to the finish” it all wanted to come tumbling out, everything that I wanted to tell her from the last few weeks.
“Drew love, I'd love to hear all about it, we can have a long chat when I see you eh?”
“Okay” my excitement was knocked back several notches.
“That's what I was ringing about actually. I've got to come to London next weekend; well I fly in on Thursday. I was hoping to maybe come and see you. How does that sound?”
I was jumping on one side and annoyed the other.
“Look I understand that you're probably a bit pissed at me right now. I didn't mean for all this Drew. Really I didn't.”
“Not now Drew, please? Will you see me at the weekend?”
“I'll have to check with Dad”
“Is he there?”
Jules had fetched him in; he was just losing his shoes.
“You okay Drew?” Dad's voice was full of concern.
“Yeah. Mum wants to see us next weekend.”
“You okay with that? Jules?” Dad asked taking the receiver from me.
“I already told her okay,” my sister told him
“Yeah I guess,” I added
“Hi Jen…yeah the kids want to see you…Friday?…where?…that's not fair Jen…the Bristol in Nottingham…okay…yeah, we'll see you about half six…whatever you think… see you Friday then…bye” Dad put the phone down, the call had obviously upset him and he didn't say anything, just went back out to finish my bike.
“You'd best get ready kiddo” Jules advised
“Yeah” I agreed.
After one of Aunt C's famous roast dinners, the adults left the three of us to clear up while they adjourned to the sitting room to talk.
“Something's up guys, come on spill” Mad prompted
“Mum's coming to see us,” I told her
“That's good yeah?”
“I suppose so” Jules allowed, “I'm not really sure I want to see her though”
“But…” Mad started
“She didn't want to talk today,” I mentioned
“It must be hard for her too” Mad went on
“She's not even coming to the house,” Jules stated
“It must be difficult” Mad pointed out
“Mad, stop sticking up for her” I almost spat
“I was only saying”
I concentrated on the washing up for a couple of minutes.
“Guess who got their tongue pierced?” I asked Mad
“You never?” Mad questioned my sib
“Show her Jules”
“God Drew, I hope you're not gonna tell everyone, especially not Mum!”
“Go on Jules” Mad begged
“Oh all right” she agreed and stuck her bejewelled tongue out and waggled it around so we could see the bar going vertically through it.
“Doesn't it get in the way?”
“Not usually” Jules advised, “mind you, I got a fork caught on it the other day”
Jules replied by waggling the offending appendage at us.
“Don't let your Dad see that” Aunt C stated
“It's alright, I won't say anything. How's the washing up going?”
“Er nearly done Auntie” I told her
As you might expect, my mind was on Friday rather than school work most of Monday, Paul saved my bacon at least twice! Tea was at Rhod's.
I was probably the only one who was surprised when Rhod went to change and came back Mfanwy!
“Am I missing something?” I enquired of no one in particular
“About?” Ally asked
“Why my best mate is spending more and more time dressed as a girl?”
“I guess you've had other things on your mind the last few weeks” Bernie suggested
“Well I'm paying attention now” I pointed out
“You gonna tell him Em?”
“Tell me what?”
“We'll help Sylv with the food” Mad hinted to the girls.
Rhod waited until they were gone before starting.
“This is all a bit weird, what with you and Gaby and stuff.”
“Well you know about me Dad and all that?” I nodded, “well it's sort of got more intense since September and I er, sort of like being Mfanwy” he allowed
“So what's the thing with the Foresters?”
“Well it was Ally's idea really. She thought that if I tried to do something really, I dunno, girly, I'd find out if I really wanted to be a girl”
“You want to be a girl?” I gasped
“Look, I know you're not really into the whole Gaby thing but I really like it and I want to be one with all the bits not these things.” He/she poked a breast
Sheesh! My jaw dropped and I just gaped at him for a minute.
“What's your Mum think about all this?”
“She's happy as long as I am, it'll be easier with Dad and Cherys as well”
“So you're really gonna get your bits chopped off?” I winced at the thought.
“Well not soon, I have to be sixteen for that stuff. But I've started on hormones and the doctor reckons I should start growing my own breasts quite soon” he beamed at me.
“Does that mean you're gay?”
“Well I don't fancy you if that's what you're worried about!”
“I wasn't, I mean I don't” I was getting a bit tongue tied here
“I know you weren't Dee. I don't know. All I do know is that I want to be a girl”
“Wh-what about school? Does Woody know?”
“Yeah, me and Mum had a meeting with him a few weeks ago, unless I grow too big up top, I'll stay as Rhod till the summer hols then I'll become Mfanwy fulltime.”
“But everyone knows there's just you and Sylv. You'll have to change schools.”
“Maybe. Mum's thinking of moving but nothing's set yet”
It was all a bit much to take in. it answered a few questions but raised even more!
“You told him Em?” Ally asked bringing the cutlery through
As you might guess I was not sure what to think after that curve ball. I mean I've known Rhod for ages and he wasn't exactly up for the Easter thing, not that I was. Why hasn't he said anything? Why haven't I noticed anything? How long have the others known? We played video games and stuff like usual but somehow it was different without Rhod but with Em. I felt gutted. Betrayed. I'm losing my best mate, oh I know Mfanwy will still be here but it won't be the same will it? I mean, Rhod's not exactly, what did Britney call it? Oh yeah, he's not exactly a ‘jock' but Mfanwy is so entirely girl, they are like two entirely different people. First Mum, now Rhod, who's next?
Tuesday at least, was a return to what answers for normal round here. Miss C put us through our paces at cheer practice; we practised a new cheer for tomorrow, sheesh! Apparently I was going to be officially ‘sick' for the day, as was Rhod. I still can't get my head round last night's revelation.
“So girls, come to school in your uniforms, there's no changing at Retford, well not for us anyway. Go to registration as usual, you can go straight to the changing rooms to put your cheer kit on, then meet Mrs Johnston and myself in the car park at first period okay?”
“Yes Miss” we chorused.
“Off you go then, Gaby and Mfanwy, can I have a word before you go please?”
What now? I collected my stuff and joined Em for whatever Miss C wants. The rest of the gang headed outside to wait for us.
“Right you two, Mrs Johnston is expecting you both at ten to nine at the office. Ring the bell and she'll let you in. you can change here if you want but it might be better to turn up as Gaby and Mfanwy. Okay?”
“We'll see you in the morning then, off you go, I know the others are waiting for you.”
“So what was that about?” Bernie asked
I slipped on my borrowed girls coat.
“We've got to come early in the morning to get ready”
“What's early?” Ally enquired
“‘Bout ten to” I allowed
How the hell did Mad convince me this was a good idea? ‘You'll only have to slip the skirt and blouse off Drew.' Yeah, she didn't mention the walking to school in girl's school uniform did she? So here I am wearing the full cheer kit under the blouse that I wore for that brochure thing and a shortish maroon skirt that looks a bit like ‘my' school uniform and it's not the most comfortable combination. And I've got the full girl kit on and glued, urgh!
We met the others at the gate, Rhod or should I say Mfanwy looked so, I don't know, girly. From his, I mean her painted toenails to her lightly made up face; no one would doubt they were seeing a girl. It's not like she was wearing a dress or something, in fact she'd opted for cargo pants. Made me feel like a right fraud!
“So we'll see you guys in a bit then?” Ally prompted
“Come on Gab, Mrs J'll be waiting”
“Hi Gab” Flo gave a finger wave as she walked past with Karen, I managed a smile back.
It felt like everyone was looking at me as we crossed the car park to get to the main doors. Em pressed the buzzer and I risked a glance back, no one was taking the slightest bit of notice!
“Morning you two, go on into the office” Mrs Johnston shooed us inside, “bit nippy this morning eh?”
“Yes Miss” I agreed. My legs were freezing despite the tights, socks and two skirts I was wearing!
“You can use the staff changing room to get ready when the second bell goes, there'll still be teachers in there for a few minutes yet.” She went on motioning that we should sit while we wait.
We both sat somewhat self-consciously in the office until five past nine and the second bell. Mrs J went and checked that the coast was clear before calling us into the staff room.
“The changing room is over in the corner, now come on, make it snappy girls!”
The teacher's oasis, otherwise known as the staff room, was that most rare place, a couple of rooms that remain student free – well most of the time. I took in the motley collection of seating, the tables full of books, pigeon holes stuffed with student's work, discarded coffee cups and ash trays, it reminded me of the sixth form common room, just with more school books! Not that I get to go into the sixth form common room but I've seen through the windows.
The changing room turned out to be more of a cloakroom, a few teachers obviously use it if they run or cycle in, towels and bags littered the room and there was a set of motorbike leathers hanging up as well.
“I should have thought of that?” Em mentioned as I slipped the school skirt off.
“Mad's idea” I allowed
I was virtually ready and my companion was still arguing with her trousers!
“What do you reckon? She asked a couple of minutes later as she posed in knickers and bra.
“I thought you said you had to wait” she looked all girl to me.
She rolled her eyes, “men!” now she sounded like Mad. “well you hardly look like a boy do you?”
“Oh right” the penny dropped, finally!
“They're really realistic aren't they” he started to pull down his pants
“Er yes, I don't need to see remember?”
“Oh sorry. I really do feel like a girl with this on”
“Well get a move on, it'll be first period soon and there'll be teachers in here again.”
“I was just coming to find you two, we need to be off in a mo” Mrs J told us as she slipped her coat on.
Hmm, good idea. I pulled Mad's pink duffel out of my bag and put it on, Em pulled a denim jacket on, not exactly uniform either of us. We followed Mrs Johnston out to the car park where there was already quite a crowd. Talk about feel small! The various basketball teams tend to attract the taller lads, well you'd expect that I guess, but it's when you are stood there amongst a couple of dozen of them that you realise that five foot four is pretty short. A coach reversed into the car park and I dreaded even the short ride to Retford with the basketball players.
I was glad of the distraction when the other girls joined us a few minutes later. Just to clear things up a bit I'd better explain a couple of things. The other squad members all think I go to Creswell College so how come I'm here on a school day? Well the official line is that Miss C arranged it with ‘my' school so I'm not skipping school or anything. No one on the team is really concerned with the how's and why's, they just want me there!
“Okay girls” Miss C started, “we're going to use the minibus, a lot of the sixth form are filling up the coach.”
“Morning Sir” we replied to Woody's greeting
“A bit Sir” Flo agreed
“Well have a good time, I'm sure that lot will appreciate your efforts.” He motioned to the bus behind him. “If there's no impending disasters I'll try to get across later. Good luck”
The minibus was a happy, chattering cacophony of excited girls, and me, all the way to Retford, well Ordsall where the competition was being held at the sports centre. On the way over Miss Cowlishaw explained how things would run today. This morning the teams all play in mini leagues then this afternoon it goes into sudden death knockouts for the top eight teams from the morning rounds. In short we get to cheer at three games this morning and from zero to three games after lunch depending on how good our team performs.
We were sorting our poms and stuff out when Mr Pilling found us.
“Hi girls, ready for this?”
“Think so Sir” Karen replied
“Well I think we're going to need all the help we can get in there. We're on court 3, which is in the school hall over the road. There's passes for everyone here,” he gave Coach a bag, “you'll need them to use the school canteen at lunch and to get into the sports centre if we get that far. We don't go on court until ten thirty so you've got about fifteen minutes. Okay Miss Cowlishaw?”
“We'll be there Mr Pilling”
“See you later girls”
“Okay team, Gill can you hand these out please?” She handed the bag over and went on, “we'll warm up before we go in”
That of course meant finding a space to use. Which is how we came to be gawked at by several classes of kids as we used the playground next to the school hall to go through our stretching and jumping. Belatedly we found our way into the hall for our teams first game. Luckily things were already running a bit behind so we just got to the by line, to a chorus of hoots and smart arse comments before the jump off.
“Double - you - aye - are - ess – oh - pea
WARSOP we want you!
I landed heavily and shook my poms with slightly more than a ladylike glow!
Despite the catcalls from the opposition, between us and the sixth form supporters we made sure our guys were cheered all the way. It seemed to work as we won the game 17 to 9, the opposition didn't look happy! That set the scene for the rest of the morning; the second game was a lot closer ending 12-11 to us which guaranteed a place in this afternoon's playoffs, so it was a double-edged sword. The final morning game, well it started at just after twelve actually, went all the way to the whistle but two last minute baskets handed our guys the victory by two points on 16-14.
“Okay people!” Miss C called for our attention. “Make sure you've got everything and we'll get some lunch.”
It was very embarrassing to queue up in another schools canteen for lunch wearing our cheerleading clobber and those daft hair ribbons again. Talk about stand out, nearly everyone else was either in sports gear or the Ordsall uniform of maroon blazer with knee length grey skirt or trousers depending on gender. Our little yellow skirts and blue bodies made us stand out more than a little! I was more than happy when we ended up sitting on a table next to our Basketball team, with them between us and the rest of the room.
“I think the other teams are jealous” Mr Pilling mentioned, “and you seem to have inspired this lot” he waved to the lads joking around behind him, “we've never got past the morning session before, let alone going into the playoffs as second seeds”
“That's what we're here for John” Mrs Johnston quipped
“Well even if we don't go any further than this I shall still be happy” Mr P admitted.
What happened next only happens in Disney right? Miss C called for a number eight and all of us cheerleaders grabbed our poms and went through ‘ go, go, Warsop, go!' to the bemusement of most of the hall and the basketball lads even joined in the last cheer with us. There was a smattering of jeers and some light applause around the canteen as we returned to our seats, me for one with a growing flush of embarrassment!
The knockout session started at two for our lads so we got to watch the home team knock Worksop College out before we got to take our positions courtside. Sue's ankle was swollen after she slipped before lunch; I think she twisted it, so Sasha joined us instead. I have to admit that I was quite enjoying this ‘real' cheering rather than the fairly pointless cheer competition. It actually felt like we were helping, if not actually, morale wise.
Lest you sports fans start complaining, the competition called for two ten-minute quarters per game with a five-minute break. So even if there was a draw at full time a throw off or whatever it's called would still keep things under half an hour. It also means that the players aren't completely knackered when they get to the play offs!
Our lads were lucky to get through the second round; the tallest lad on our side lobbed the ball from well in our half in the last minute to give us a 16-15 win. We all, that is all the Warsop supporters went wild and I saw the newly arrived Mr Wood with a broad grin on his face as he watched our celebrations. It was really good to be part of this, exciting even!
There were two more games before ‘our' semi final and Karen thought we should do a new cheer for the occasion. Miss C thought that was a good idea so we donned our coats once more and exited to the car park that luckily was bathed in late afternoon sun, not particularly warm, it is December, but it kept the chill of the shadows at bay.
A couple of girls seem to have a flair for this sort of thing and we were soon embroiled in the new chant. By the time we went back inside it wasn't perfect by any stretch but we were reasonably chuffed with it.
The sports hall was now quite full, supporters and defeated teams swelling the crowd and filling the bleachers.
“Okay girls,” Coach gathered us to her, “slight change to plan. How do you fancy doing some of the competition routine at half time?”
“Really?” Ally asked
“Yep, the organisers just asked if we'd like to” she told us, “they think we've perked up the day a fair bit”
“Ye-ah!” we all enthused
“Okay, I'll let them know”
So that's how the Sherwood Foresters ended up strutting our stuff on the basketball court. We did the last bit of the routine we did down at Peterborough and our final move was once again the highlight! We were cheered and clapped as we skipped (skipped?) off the court before collapsing onto the benches.
The basketball team once again lifted their game turning a six point half time deficit into a brilliant eight point win at 24-16 that put them into the final. Well of course that was cause for celebration and celebrate we did!
We were asked to do half time in the final, it was brilliant being part of this. The atmosphere for the final was quite charged, the game fast, close and physical. We were up against Southwell (pronounced suthall) School and they were out to get our lads. At half time it was sitting at 6 to 6 but we were looking a bit ragged and tired.
After supplying the mid game entertainment with another chunk of our display routine we fell to cheering our team with renewed vigour. There was nearly a punch up when Southwell committed a bad barging foul and although we scored off the penalty throws it was obvious that they had us on the run. The final result made it look closer than it was, at the final hooter we lost by three points, 18-15. Our fairytale run was over but although the team was understandably upset at losing, Mr Pilling and the head were overjoyed with their performance.
It was fairly chaotic afterwards; the organisers even thanked us, that's the Foresters, for keeping everyone entertained all day. The bus was full of very tired cheerleaders on the way home and I noticed that I was still in my kit as we walked up the road to Maddy's because a sudden cold blast blew my skirt up. What a day!
“Urgh” I shut the alarm off and rolled over.
“You getting up in there?” Jules shouted through the door.
“What's the rush?” I mumbled by way of reply
“Its eight fifteen” she mentioned
Sugar! Looks like I'm going to be late! Well it didn't get any better the rest of the day. After ringing Mad to tell her I was running late I just made it before second bell, phew. So of course in assembly Mr Wood made a big thing about the basketball yesterday. It was inevitable therefore that the cheer squad got a mention, I flushed somewhat in embarrassment but I don't think anyone noticed.
I tried to concentrate on my work but outside of class you'd be surprised how many people were suddenly basketball fans. For some reason I managed to get to class late three times but it must be my lucky day, I still beat the teacher to one class and I escaped with a ticking off and a red face the other two times. I really was glad when the bell went and I could escape home, even if I did have a pile of homework to get through.
Friday. At least I got to school on time even if I had other things on my mind. Other things, well mostly one other thing, going to see Mum tonight. I arranged to go to Nottingham with the guys in the morning; I really need to do some Christmas shopping. To be honest, now it's here, this meeting with Mum, I'm not really sure how I feel about it. On one hand I really miss her and can't wait to see her, that's tempered by a feeling of, I don't know, betrayal I suppose. Betrayal of feelings, of duty, of responsibility, of family.
It was certainly weird dressing up, not as Gaby, no, in my best shirt and jeans, to go to see my own Mum. Not that I was alone, Jules had a nice dress on and Dad was wearing his ‘posh do' suit. Flip that reminds me, we've got that cycling dinner tomorrow night. And why was I feeling nervous sat here in the squidgy leather sofas of the Hotel Bristol, it's my Mum for goodness sake!
Dad saw her first and stood to greet her, not the embarrassing hug and kiss of old, but an awkward, somehow remote squeeze. Mum looked bright enough, why shouldn't she? But the old joy in her eyes was absent, now I come to think of it, it wasn't there last time I saw her either.
“Jen” Dad stepped back
“Hi Mum” I allowed
“Yeah” Jules added
“You got a hug for your Mum?”
We both went and took part in mostly one-way hugs.
“So, you guys ready to eat?” she asked brightly
“We eating here?” Dad asked
“They've got a party tonight” Mum replied
I checked out the decorations, a bit opulent, apparently the party was a bit later as I saw some hotel staff taking chairs and stuff into the restaurant.
“I've made reservations in a little place just down the road”
“Can we walk?” Dad asked
“Yes, it's not far.” She checked her watch. “Well shall we go? the reservation's for seven.”
Talk about awkward. The walk to the restaurant, a place called ‘Latino', felt like forever, Mum and Dad trying to keep a neutral conversation going, us kids trailing along behind. In the old days Jules would probably be walking, arms looped, with Mum and we'd be chatting away merrily. This was just so not right.
“We have a table booked, Peters” Mum mentioned when the waiter greeted us.
“Ah yes Mrs Peters, table for four”
“Its Miz” she told him
He sort of half shrugged and led us to a table in the window. After distributing the menus he retired to the bar and Dad looked almost tearful.
“So you're using Peters then?” he mentioned, a hurt look on his face.
“It er well seemed appropriate”
“Seventeen years of marriage means that much to you!” he almost spat. “Were you going to tell me some time?”
I've never, and I mean never, seen Dad like this. Not when Grandma Bond died even. To say he was upset would be to understate things by a factor of ten at least!
“Sorry kids, I'm not staying” he went on, “I'll say or do something I'll regret”
“We're coming too,” Jules stated, moving to get up
“Dave! Kids!” Mum pleaded
“No Jules, you two stay with your Mum, ring me when you're done and I'll come and get you.”
I should have known there was going to be trouble; it is Friday the 13 th after all!
“Dave I didn't mean…” Mums voice trailed off as Dad was already out of the door.
“Is everything okay Miz ?” I thought the waiter over emphasised the Miz bit.
“Er yes, there'll just be the three of us dining”
“Drinks?” he asked
“Can you give us a minute please?”
“Of course” he deftly removed Dad's place setting and withdrew
“You two aren't gonna run out are you?”
“No” I replied
“I suppose not,” my sister agreed.
“Well now that's sorted, what's everyone drinking?”
Now come on, I'm thirteen, what choice do I get?
“Diet coke for me”
“Dry white wine” Jules added
“Jules, you know you're not old enough”
“You don't own me Miz Peters ” Jules sneered and looked set to follow Dad.
“Okay, okay, I guess I sort of asked for that” Mum tried to de-fuse things, “white wine it is”
Jules settled back into her chair.
The waiter came and took our order, Mum ordered a carafe of white and we turned our attention to the menu. I hadn't really noticed but the ‘Latino', although doing some Italian specialises in Spanish dishes. I settled quickly on prawn paella, Jules selected some sort of risotto and Mum went for mushroom Tagliatelle and ordered a tapas selection for starters. Our drinks arrived and with nothing else to do while we waited, it was time to talk.
“So what‘ve you two been up to?”
“Not running off” Jules hissed
“It's okay Drew, she's right. I have run away. From you kids and your Dad. Maria and the rest of the girls are barely talking to me either.”
“That's better than you deserve, how could you?” Jules was still on the offensive.
“If that's what you think Juliette.” Mum allowed. “Please, can we just talk?”
“Hmmph” Jules took a sip of her wine.
“I see you got your tongue pierced”
Jules' expression turned a bit guilty.
“What's it to you?”
“Look I don't want to fight Jules. I take it your Dad doesn't know?”
“No and you're not gonna tell him” Jules instructed
“Okay” Mum allowed, “that's between you.”
“Yeah well” Jules replied
“So Drew, how's the riding going?” Mum deftly changed the subject.
“Okay” I mumbled
Well it went on in this vein all through the meal, Mum trying to drag answers and some sort of conversation out of the pair of us. After my unwarranted Gabification last time I saw her, I didn't mention the con or the cheerleading. Dad must have told her about me and my hormones but when she brought the subject up I dismissed it as soon as I could. Jules mostly glared at Mum and gave one word replies, she was well angry with Mum.
We ordered dessert and there was a temporary lull.
“Oh I nearly forgot,” Mum started, “I've apparently been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year.”
Despite myself I let out a “cool!”
“Congratulations” Jules allowed
“I can take someone to the show, I thought you'd like to go Juliette, see all those footballers and rugby players.”
“Dad should go” Jules mentioned, “or maybe your lover, what is it, Damian?” she added with some venom.
“It's Dieter. I take that as a no then. I don't think it would be a good idea to ask your Dad and Dieter doesn't want to make all this public yet. If your sister doesn't want to go, what about you Drew?”
“Why not? All the big names will be there, Johnny Wilkinson, David Beckham, Jenson Button, you name them, and they'll be there.”
There didn't seem to be a catch. Maybe I can get a few autographs?
“When is it?”
“That's my boy. A week tomorrow, the 21 st , it goes out live apparently. I'll arrange everything and let you and your Dad know what the crack is.”
“Traitor” Jules silently mouthed at me before going on, “are we done?”
“I suppose so” Mum reluctantly replied
“Good. I'll ring Dad and we can end this farce,” Jules stated
“Jules, please?” Mum almost whined
“You had your chance, I never want to see you again” Jules calmly replied
I shrugged; I've got no influence over my sister who was now talking to Dad on my mobile.
“…Okay, five minutes, see ya” she ended the call, “he'll be here in five minutes”
“I could have walked you” Mum mentioned
“No thanks. I'm waiting outside Drew”
Jules grabbed her jacket and without so much as a backwards glance flounced out of the restaurant.
“I'm sorry Drew” Mum sniffed
“It's Dad you need to apologise to, look I'd best go. I'll see you next Saturday I suppose.” I got up and gave her a quick hug before following my sister, leaving Mum alone in the window of the Latino .
“Over here.” She snuffled
“Of course I'm crying stupid. You think I want Mum to go?”
“I guess not, so what was all that about?”
“I dunno bro, I dunno. I want her back Drew.”
I pulled her head into my shoulder.
“We all do Jules” I stroked her hair as she sobbed and clung to me.
Dad arrived in short order.
“You two okay?”
“Yeah, “ I told him as I joined Jules in the backseat, “where've you been?”
“Just walking son, thinking” he put the car in gear and we drove past the restaurant, the silhouette of Mum still sat in the window just polarised things. Jules managed to resume a sort of half hug, still sniffing back tears.
“You were walking all this time, that's like two hours”
“Well I did get a burger” he allowed
“It's the name thing isn't it?”
“We haven't even talked to lawyers yet,” he replied over his shoulder, “it's like she wants rid of me, us as quick as possible.”
The car descended into silence, a state that remained in place all the way home punctuated only by Jules' occasional sobs.
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