A pool of light suddenly appeared in front of the pickup.
“Hey its Gaby – Gabeeee!”
“Looks like you're wanted”
“Yeah” I sighed, “thanks Erin.”
“Well you know”
“I think I do, it's my pleasure Drew, my pleasure. Now go have some fun, I'll see you later in the week.”
I climbed down from her truck and found myself engulfed by Sab, Ally and Darla.
“Bye Gaby, girls. Have fun.”
“We thought you weren't coming.” Darla mentioned as she looped her arm in mine.
“Come on, its cold out here” Ally whined.
I was marched up the steps and into Sandy's flat.
“Gabeeeee!” a second round of overdone welcoming ensued.
So started my second sleepover of this trip. And for a second time this trip I wasn't particularly looking forward to it, I mean on the face of it spending a night in the company of nine other girls doesn't sound bad. But that's part of the problem, other girls, and one of them is Rhod and another is Sandy who is nearly four years older than the rest of us so she won't be much fun. The fact that I'm ‘one of the girls', well that's the point really, I don't want to be!
“So what's first girls?” Sandy enquired, “film or food?”
“Film!” several voices chimed.
“Can you look after that Em, I'll get some drinks and nibbles.”
“You okay Gab?” Brit enquired.
“Just a bit cold.” I allowed.
“Come on we can snuggle!” she stated pulling me down onto Sandy's sofa.
“What're we watching Em?” Darla asked.
“Bring It On” she replied.
“Kewl, I've not seen that for ages!” Amy gushed.
“What's it about?” Bern asked.
“Oh you'll like it Bern, its about these cheerleaders and…”
“Don't tell ‘em Sab!” Brit insisted.
By this time the sofa was pretty full of teenage bodies, I was squeezed between Brit and Mad, Amy and Ally to one side and Sab, Bern and Darla were making themselves comfortable on the floor in front of us. Rhod had the film rolling and joined them just as Sandy returned with a tray of hot chocolate.
“Can I help?” Em asked handing out the cups.
“No its okay.”
The titles started to roll and the girls around me settled, now armed with their hot chocolate. It suddenly went dark and the dark shape of Sandy slid down in front of us.
“Here we go, popcorn and,” she passed a bowl up to Amy, “potato chips.”
I prepared to be bored by the chick flick; maybe I can commandeer the crisps to alleviate the boredom? Mad snuggled closer resting her head on my bosom and I didn't have much option but to put my arm around her, it was at least not so uncomfortable.
Well okay, I'll admit it, the film wasn't that bad. It certainly didn't seem like an hour and a half at any rate. The story was about some champion cheerleaders who have been sort of copying another lot from another town. The new head cheerleader has to try and sort things out which they sort of do by the end, well it wouldn't be much of a film if they didn't would it? At sometime Brit had copied Mad, effectively pinning me to the sofa and defeating my attempts to snaffle the crisps!
“You ready to eat now?” Sandy asked prising herself off the floor where she had been snuggled with Em.
“I'm starving” Ally stated.
“I'll help” Em enthused.
“So what're we doing now?” Bern asked no one in particular.
I checked my watch, eight thirty just turned, this is gonna drag!
“How about nails?” Amy suggested, “I've brought my stuff.”
“Food will be about twenty minutes” Sandy called from the kitchen.
“Maybe we should eat before we start stuff like that.” Sab opined.
“We could play cards for a bit,” Darla offered to the floor, “then do nails after.”
“Sounds like a plan, you okay Gab?” Brit enquired.
“I guess so, just a bit tired.”
“That's all that bike riding you do.” Amy suggested.
“Sandy? You got any cards?” Sab asked our host.
“Er yeah, sure, I think so.” She went into what I presume is her bedroom.
“Um, what're the sleeping arrangements?” I found myself asking.
“Don't worry about that Gab, that's hours away.” Brit replied.
Don't I know it!
Sandy returned brandishing a deck of playing cards and we started an impromptu round of pontoon. I was out first so I retired back to the sofa and found myself checking out Sandy's flat, apartment Rhod was calling it. There seems to be five rooms, the main room we are in is the biggest stretching almost the length of the building. Then opposite the way in there are the two bedrooms with the bathroom between them, Em said she was next to the kitchen which occupies one end of the main room with one of those breakfast bar things separating it from the main room. It must be lonely out here for Sandy; I wonder why she doesn't live in the house with her parents and brother?
“PONTOON!” Mad squealed.
“Nuther round?” Mad enthused.
“Okay” Brit agreed gathering the cards up. “Gab, you in?”
“Nah I'll watch.“
“Could you check the pizza's then?” Sandy asked.
“Be careful of the oven door, it sometimes swings a bit.”
I'm no great cook but it was obvious that the pizzas needed a few more minutes, the cheese was barely melted. I swapped them around to give the one on the bottom shelf a chance and found myself watching the card players from the breakfast counter.
“They okay?” Sandy asked.
“Few more minutes.”
“Okay, oh twist!”
Sandy Jones – now there's an enigma! I watched her playing cards; she was like a fourteen year old not the eighteen she is. I mean most of the older girls I know, not that that's very many would not think it was cool to hang out with us lot but she seems to be really into everything like its new for her. I mean, Brit is always on about sleepies so Sandy must have been to like loads but its sort of like Dad and computers, he's read the manual but doesn't know the short cuts and stuff. Maybe its because she's in charge of nine giggling, make that eight, giggling schoolgirls. And lets face it, she's quite pretty but I think my stick on boobs are bigger than her real ones, I bet she gets some stick for that.
Rather than disturb the chaotic card school I decided to play chef and serve the pizza. I found a couple of big plates and a pair of oven gloves and quickly transferred the now ready pizzas. I found a pizza cutter hanging with the serving spoons and soon had each pizza cut into about a dozen pieces. There was already a bowl of salad and plates on the breakfast bar so I moved the pizzas there too.
“Foods up!” I called over.
“Oh kewl” Amy mentioned.
“You didn't need to do that.” Sandy stated.
I just shrugged my shoulders and grabbed a slice of pepperoni.
The others abandoned the cards and descended on the food like a flock of locusts, and stripped the plates just as quickly, I managed to grab the last slice of three cheese before Bern got there, I saw her take two slices earlier so I don't feel guilty at all!
“Cake now or later?” Sandy offered.
“Both” Ally chanced.
“I'm stuffed, later.” Bern told us.
“We can have it with hot choccy later” Em suggested.
“Well I'm on a diet anyway” Darla put in.
“Yeah, see food, she see's it” Amy started.
“And she eats it!” Sabby finished the sentence.
There was a communal groan and a pout from Darla to that.
“So we doing nails now?” Sandy enquired.
“We should leave that till later when we've changed.” Brit suggested.
“Lets do everyone's hair!” Sab enthused.
“Great idea Sab, what shall we do?”
Well I refuse to try and tell you what went on for the next hour or so. I know my hair was restyled about six times and the amateur hairdressing championships finally halted when me, Em and Darla found ourselves sporting a ridiculous amount of styling foam and very sticky and stupid punk hair do's.
“Yuck! I've got to wash my hair!” I stated.
“Me too” Em agreed.
“Anyone else?” Sandy enquired.
“Well I can't leave mine like this.” Darla mentioned.
“If you use my bathroom Darla, Em and Gab can go over to the house, it'll be quicker that way.”
“Good idea Sand!” Em agreed, “come on Gab, grab your coat!”
So it was that I was half dragged out into the cold January night.
“Flippin' ‘eck, its cold out here!”
“Brrrr” agreed Rhod as he led the way to the Jones mansion, and I mean mansion too!
We hurried across to the kitchen door and I followed Rhod inside.
“Who's there? Is that you Sandy?” Mrs. Jones voice came from the hallway.
“It's Em and Gaby.” Rhod replied.
Mrs. J came in to the kitchen.
“Oh hi girls. My they are interesting hairstyles!”
“Um yes” I agreed.
“Everything okay over there? I wasn't expecting to see you until tomorrow.”
“Great thanks Mary, but these barnets are a bit much so Sandy suggested using your downstairs bathroom to wash it out, Darla is using Sandy's.”
Geez Rhod, when did you become motor mouth? And calling Mrs. Jones by her first name too, that is so, so weird.
“Okay, you do look a sight. You know where it is Em, try to keep the noise down, Kevin's room is right above and I only just got him down.”
“Sure” Em agreed.
“I expect I'll see you in the morning then, goodnight.”
I only then realised she was already dressed for bed.
“Goodnight Mrs. Jones.”
Em tugged me out into the hallway and angled across to a door under the stairway.
“Cool huh?” Rhod mentioned as the light came on revealing a room apparently made of mirrors.
“There's a shower over there, you use that and I'll use the sink.”
“Okay” I agreed. I felt more comfortable after Rhod locked the door but still a little strange as I stripped off in this strange house.
“There some shampoo?” I enquired.
“Um,” he opened a hidden cabinet, “yeah here you go.”
He chucked one of those sachet things over, you know like you get in hotels, then a second that had conditioner in.
I only intended washing my hair but at the last minute decided I might as well go the full Monty so I disappeared into the shower and closed the door. I was soon luxuriating in the stream of hot needles that caressed my back and shoulders. My mind tuned everything else out and I let the hot water play over me for a few blissful minutes. I was roused by a rap on the shower door.
“Come on Gab, we're missing the party.”
I quickly washed my hair and got it back to a more natural condition, so okay the shampoo wasn't my usual but at least it shifted all that gunk. I emerged into the steamy bathroom wrapped in a towel.
“Shush!” he pointed to the ceiling.
“What have you done?”
“Your, your hair.”
“What?” he sounded perplexed.
“It's, it's… look in the mirror.”
He wiped the steam from a section of the extensive reflective surfaces.
It was my turn to shush Rhod.
“Where's that sachet?”
“Oh here it is.” He retrieved the plastic tube and read the label. “Oh bugger! Mum'll kill me.”
I took the tube from his hand and read it myself, ‘Henna conditioner with B2'.
“That's the stuff we used on Sonia.”
“I am so dead” he moaned.
“It'll have washed out by the time we go back.”
“I doubt it.”
I know it was still wet but Rhod's hair was now distinctly red and I mean not just a subtle hint either, I bet Mrs. J uses that stuff, she has red hair.
“Well it's done now, we'll sort something out, we can always dye it back.”
“Let me get dressed and we'll go back to the flat.”
“Apartment” he replied automatically.
I got myself dressed, I left my socks off to save time and I joined the new carrot top on the trip back to Sandy's pad. It was starting to frost outside and I immediately regretted not putting my socks back on as my legs immediately lost sensation. We almost ran across to the carriage house and up the stairs, virtually falling into the building.
“Shut that door!”
“Ooh Everard!” Bern added to Sab's statement.
“Eh?” I queried.
“Never mind,” Bern replied, “oh my God Rh... Em!”
Well that did it. Rhod burst into tears and ran to his bedroom slamming the door behind him.
“Gab? What's up?” Sandy asked.
“Um, h..She had a bit of an accident”
“Accident? Is she okay, what did she do, I'll get Mom!” Sandy was reaching for hysteria with both hands.
“She um accidentally dyed her hair.” I told my by now audience of eight.
“Red” Bern stated as the only one to actually have seen it except me.
“Red” I confirmed.
“How can you ‘accidentally' dye your hair?” Darla asked.
“Well…” I tried to explain what had happened, “…I guess it was your mums Sandy, Em thought it was just conditioner.”
We could still hear muffled sobs from the other room.
“I'll sort her out.” Ally stated. If anyone can sort Em it'll be Ally.
“See if you can get her back out here.” Sandy mentioned.
“Okay” and Ally slipped into Rhod's room, shutting the door behind her.
“Bummer” Amy stated.
“Come on guys, she'll be okay in a few, lets do our nails.” Brit tried to lift the dampened mood.
“Good idea.” Mad agreed.
By the time Rhod and Ally re-emerged into the main room I was the ‘proud' owner of a ‘French Polish' on my hands and glittery pink toenails. In fact everyone had a ‘French Polish' as a majority seemed to think it would look good for the cheer competition next week. So okay I got duped with the toes, at least no one is likely to see them.
“You okay now Em?” Sandy enquired.
“No she's not” Ally replied.
I could see why. When it was wet it just looked reddish, now it was dry, well there's no getting away from it, its red, the henna must've been pretty strong to do that on Rhod's nearly black hair. Actually it suits her/him, I never realised Rhod had so many freckles.
“What's done's done” Em pointed out.
“We too late for nails?” Ally asked.
“Never!” Sab stated.
“Cake?” Sandy offered.
Now that's something I can go for!
So while the nail squad turned their attentions to Rhod and Al, I helped Sandy in the kitchenette.
“This is fun huh?”
“Except for R...Em's hair” I agreed, it would be churlish not too. I mean it might not be my first choice but it hasn't been that bad.
“I never thought it would be this good” Sandy mentioned.
Strange thing to say, its not like she's had my prior experience of a girls night in, well out. Well I don't think so anyway.
“Um what are we doing now?”
“Dunno Gab, I've got some games?”
“Hey Gab” Brit called, “we getting that cake?”
“Just making the drinks.”
Fifteen minutes later I was just finishing my drink.
“Lets spin the bottle” Bernie suggested.
“What's that?” Amy asked.
Even I know that.
“You know, we all sit round and like spin a bottle and whoever it points to has to do something or answer a question or something.” Bern explained.
“That spin a bottle!” Amy grinned.
“Count me in” Brit stated.
“Sounds like I need to find a bottle.” Sandy observed.
At least it isn't forfeits.
Spin the bottle is one of those ‘games' that can go on for ever, specially when you've got this many in. the rules are somewhat fluid of course, there wasn't really any option about taking part and to be honest a boy in my place could find out some interesting stuff if he plays his cards right!
Whor, whor, whorr, whorrr, whorrrrrr, shrum.
“Gabeee!” Darla exclaimed.
“Truth or dare Gab?” Mad asked, having the chair after getting called last spin.
I hesitated, weighing my options. Things started pretty straightforward, but things have moved to a new level now. We've had a display of bra removal while keeping your top on, a confession of lurv for Brad Pitt and a leg-kissing episode. But now things have moved to another plane, Mad just took a dare and had to tongue Amy – gross! I would've chanced the dare but for that.
“Go for it Gab” Ally enthused, cheers.
Mad must have been thinking of a question before because she immediately came back.
“Who would you most like to snog?”
Oh geez. Maad! No time to think.
“Ew!” Sab screwed up her face.
“What?” then I realised what I'd said. As Drew, myself that is, my answer would have been fine but as Gaby, well, nuff said.
“Grow up Sab, I'd give her a go,” Darla opined.
“Good call Gab” Bernie added.
Phew. I grabbed the bottle and made ready to spin.
“Spin it already” Amy prompted.
The bottle spinning went on for a while but about eleven Sandy suggested we get changed and sort the sleeping arrangements out. Great. At least the bottle was put away.
“Your stuff is in my room.” Em advised.
“Come on we can change quickly and get a good spot to sleep.”
I hadn't in truth thought much about the actual sleeping arrangements. Brit had brought my Pj's over along with a sleeping bag each, I only realised we'd be camping on Sandy's floor when Rhod dragged his quilt off the bed and guided me back to the main room.
“We just going to bed?” Mad enquired.
“As if!” Darla replied.
I found myself sandwiched between my ‘protectors again as we settled down for what Amy called ‘scary time', otherwise known as ‘ghost story time'. My eyes began to close as Darla headed into a variation of Sleepy Hollow, and at some point I lost my fight with consciousness.
Maddy Bell 28.01.06 © 2006
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