Bond v Peters
‘And in local news, there was upset in the East Coast cheerleading world overnight as a rookie squad visiting from England took one of the main awards in the East Coast Cheer & Dance Championships held at GMU Fairfax. The five girls of the Sure wood Forestors are currently on an exchange programme based in Grottoes VA and according to Coach Cowleeshore only started cheering this last Fall.‘I'm so proud of them, they were very nervous this morning but they excelled themselves in their routine' Miss C's voice stated.
‘The home grown squads were left in the shade after the British performance, which started with the girls dressed nineteenth century style before executing a high action set. ‘That was just awesome, we never thought of doing anything like that, this could change the face of cheering' another voice stated. ‘Well I guess we'll have to wait to find out if that's the case. That's the news this morning on WKYXZee, join me, Karen Page at nine thirty for the latest VA news and weather.'
I only put the radio on to check the weather and I get that! Well it was some trip; we even got on the local telly network! The AHS guys were a little put out I think, I mean they did their qualifying thing but Mrs W told me that they'd never won a competition, not ever so I guess I can see why they were miffed. We did stop on the way back to eat and that sort of cleared the air, not that we were bragging or anything. I'm just glad I won't be in assembly back in Warsop on Monday. The big downer for me was that it was too late to ring Mum when we got back, I might be a reluctant member of the squad but we did win.
I finished dressing to the tones of Karen Carpenter, Dad's a bit of a fan and I mused on what he would make of his son winning a cheerleading contest, I think he'll be amused. I get to ride the Biggs for the first time proper today, how cool is that? I caught sight of myself in the mirror, which sobered my thoughts a little; anyone seeing me at the moment would think I'm a girl. These last few weeks have been well weird, stuff like make up I can do quite well myself, geez I've even put some on to go out on the bike! There was nothing in my reflection that looked remotely Drew, that is it is me but I have to admit that I hardly look like He-man at the best of times, lippy and eyeliner turn me into my cousin – but you already know that eh?
The GT carried me round to Erin's shop, early as usual, although it was cold it was at least dry and promising to stay fine for our session, no snow this time.
“Oh hi Aidan, I didn't know you were coming”
“Frank thought we should all get a session in together, you know sort out tactics and stuff.”
“But it's not a race is it?”
“Well it's not supposed to be but it can get a bit competitive, there're team awards on offer and you need something to give some edge.”
We were interrupted by the arrival pretty much simultaneously of Frank, Diane, Derek and Erin, Rob joined us before Erin got the shop door unlocked. It was at least a little warmer in the shop so I slipped my hat and gloves off.
“Okay team,” Frank started, “just to remind you, the classic is a team competition. That means we need to ride as a team, remember what happened last year?”
There were nods from a couple of my teammates.
“We need to get five to the finish remember, Richmond thought they had it last time but because they were all spread out they missed out.”
“Um,” I waved my arm for attention.
“Just exactly how does it work? Aidan said it wasn't a race but it sounds like one to me.”
“Erin?” Frank offered.
“Okay Gab, I'll try to explain. Officially its not a race, there are prizes for the most consistent teams and although there are no individual awards the finish is always hotly contested. There's a fairly complicated points system that in theory means any team has a chance if they finish their five riders close enough together. There aren't that many serious teams entering and they often don't ride as a team, it's more important to finish together than get a high placing.”
It sounded complicated, they obviously understood it but it seemed a bit strange to me.
“Okay Gaby?” Frank enquired.
“I guess so”
“Lets talk tactics then.” And as team leader Frank started on the theory.
“Off!” Erin shouted as we sped back towards Grottoes a couple of hours later. We were doing a pretty standard drill that I know even Mum has to do. I still couldn't quite see how this whole thing works but I get to ride this speed machine so who cares? I concentrated on Diane's wheel and took my turn at the front the next time Erin shouted. It's actually quite good fun, I checked the speedo, well kewl, we were easily keeping a twenty five mph average despite a brisk headwind, going down to Waynesboro we got up to forty at one point! As I usually train alone at home I never get to do this sort of stuff. “Off!” I pulled to the side and Aidan eased through as I let myself drift back down the line.
And the bike, well we had to do a bit of cable adjustment and the saddle needs moving back a bit but yep, I've still got a silly grin on my face! It sort of feels like I'm riding on a cushion, except there is no sluggishness when you press harder. And I guess I can live with Gaby etched onto the top tube – I can always claim that's the bikes name. But of course I won't have custard of it long enough to worry about that will I, worst luck.
“So wunderkind, enjoy that?” Erin enquired as I sipped at my tea.
“Er I guess,” I allowed.
In truth, for something that is ‘a bit of fun' today's session was pretty intense. At least I have a better idea of what to expect next weekend.
“You gonna get a chance to get out this week?”
“Hopefully, now we've done our cheer contest I should be able to get a couple of extra rides in.”
“That'd be good, you want company on Wednesday?”
“Okay then, I'll firm up with you later. Now you'd best get back home, I promised you wouldn't be late.”
When I arrived at the Walters ten minutes later the place was in uproar. I stowed my bike and was raiding the biscuits before anyone noticed me.
“Gaby, shower, change, at the front in ten please” Mrs W ordered.
I held my unasked question in check and headed upstairs armed with a handful of choc chip cookies.
“Jeez Gab, Mrs W is going spare, she thought you'd be back hours ago.” Jules advised as I reached our room.
“Where's the fire?” I asked as I started to strip.
“There's a big dinner thing at Miss B's?”
“Since forever dimmo, don't you ever read your schedule?”
“Bum” it was then that I noticed that my sister was dressed to the nines and I had less than ten minutes!
“Drew! Put something on!”
Oops. I made a dart for the bathroom to hide my nakedness, well girl nakedness, I still felt dressed with my gaff and boobs but I guess my sister was only seeing Gaby. I showered in double quick time and emerged to find that my sister had got my clothes out ready.
“Come on, get this lot on, we can do your hair and stuff on the way.”
Whatever. ‘This lot' turned out to be far too thin for mid winter! Posh undies, ten den tights, my heels and a floaty red dress I've never seen before.
“Can't I wear something else?” I moaned as Jules did up the side zip.
“No you can't, everyone else is making an effort, you can wear your cardi if you're cold.”
“Coming” Jules shouted back in reply to Mr W's call. “Come on, you'll have to do.”
“Gee thanks,” I muttered as I followed my sibling downstairs.
The last time I was here I was Mad. That doesn't sound right does it, in fact ‘I've' not been here before but in any case I barely recognised the place.
“You're late” Mad hissed.
“Come on you two” Miss Cowlishaw encouraged.
“So what's this all in aid of?” I asked my cousins back.
Silence was the loud reply as I joined the throng in the marquee on Miss B's lawn.
“That looks like everyone Jessica” a vaguely familiar voice stated.
“Okay, Gaby, there's a spot in here next to Britney and Madeline, next to Sabrina please.” Miss C directed and I found myself squeezed into line.
I think half the town was there and they all wanted to take a photo but eventually it was over and I unglued the smile from my face.
“You were late” Ally stated as our little group congregated.
“I was out with Erin”
“The bike woman?” Bern asked.
“You're thinking of Diane, Bern.” Em suggested.
“So what's this all about?” I asked for about the third time in the last hour.
“Its to thank the exchange sponsors dumdum” Mad advised.
“Okay, you don't have to get all uppity.”
“Well” she didn't go on as we were interrupted by Sandy.
“Mom said to fetch you guys through.”
“Come on you two, stop arguing, there's food!” Em mentioned.
Were Mad and I arguing? I suppose we were but she started it!
Things went from merely hostile to Maddy looking at me daggers – what have I done? She was okay last night.
I spent the afternoon shivering in my thin frock, talking to various people I didn't know from Adam and getting the cold shoulder from Mad. Dinner was really a warm buffet, sort of like Sunday dinner on the hoof which was quite cool as I managed to snag a good plateful to sate my cycling induced hunger. It was a bit of an odd do though and with the way Mad was carrying on, I was glad when we departed the festivities.
“What's up Gab?” Brit asked as we climbed into the Caprice, which, unlike the Subaru, does have a working heater!
“Me? Its not me whose been making bizarre comments all afternoon, you should ask Maddy”
“Everything alright back there?” Mrs W asked.
“Yes Mom” Brit got out hastily.
“Yes Mrs W”
“I‘ve no idea what I'm supposed to have done” I whispered, “she laid into me as soon as we got there.”
“Boys” Britney stated.
“You steal her Bee Eff?”
Brit rolled her eyes, “Boyfriend!” she hissed.
“No way!” I almost shouted.
We were soon home and I pretty much dragged Britney upstairs.
“Okay, spill. What did you mean about Maddy?”
“Oh yes you did, you know something now spill” I don't do nasty girl very well so it came out a bit whiny.
“There's nothing to tell.”
“So why say what you did?”
“I thought so, you do know something.”
“Okay all ready. From what I hear Mad has been seeing Sam Roberts, I thought you knew?”
“What?” my lips said the word but my brain was thinking other thoughts – Sam, I'm not sure that ‘seeing' Sam would be the right description but my concerns lessened somewhat. If we are only talking Sam I know Mad isn't that keen and anyway, I'm her boyfriend. I missed the first bit of Brit's reply.
“…At the diner.”
“Gab! Mums on” Jules voice interrupted any further conversation about Mad.
“Anyone wanting tickets for Thursday should get them today, it's your last chance, avoid disappointment, buy early!”
“What's that about?” I asked Brit in homeroom next morning.
“Well duh! The Valentines dance, like where have you been?”
“Sorree!” I seem to be doing a lot of apologising lately.
“Well its only the main social event round here this side of Easter and we have been talking about it for like weeks!”
“I obviously missed those discussions”
She thought before replying, “erm, maybe you did actually.” she admitted. “You've been so tied up with your bikes and all, I forgot you weren't with us all the time.
“Well not that I'm bothered about going.” I sighed.
“Don't be daft, everyone's going, you guys even got free tickets”
“Oh.” My heart sank; dance, dressing up, boys , this I can do without! “I thought Valentines was the fourteenth, it is at home.”
“It is but that's next Saturday and the dance is usually the nearest Friday.”
“So why's it on Thursday then?”
“Well there's some sort of politico thing on Friday so they moved the dance as we don't have school on Friday.”
I cursed my luck, if it had been on Friday I could've dipped out as we are driving down to Atlanta. But oh no, some hotshot politician is coming to town and everything gets mucked up.
“Earth to Gaby, earth to Gaby, anyone there?”
“Come on or we'll be late for class.”
I still hadn't got to the bottom of the Maddy thing from yesterday so my mind wasn't really engaged as the first period in Miss Jackson's Home Ec. Class passed by.
“Well Gaby, your gown has turned out real purdy. You gonna wear it on Thursday?” Miss J enquired.
“I er, I'm er not sure Miss.”
“Well you should, you'll knock the boys dead, won't she Britney?”
I gave Brit the evil eye but she ignored my look.
“Yes Miss, although it won't be just the boys”
“Sorry Miss Jackson”
Can things get any worse today?
“There you are, Sab said you were reading. I've been looking all over for you.” I mentioned as I slipped down next to Mad at lunchtime.
“Come on Mad, what am I s'posed to've done?”
“You should know.” She hunched into her shoulders a bit more.
“Well I don't.”
“You've been seeing Sam Roberts” she spat.
“I have not! Why would I?”
“Liar! Sandy said you, er met him and his cronies at the diner.”
“That wasn't me, it was you remember. Well I suppose strictly speaking it was me but I was being you and I was trying to do what you would've.”
“Well you had to go that bit further didn't you?”
“I did? How?”
“He's been spreading it that I, you that is, put out for him. How could you Drew?”
I'm glad the dining hall was noisy.
“Why? Everyone thinks I'm a right hussy!”
“What do you mean, ‘put out' anyway?”
“You should know, you did it.” She spat.
“Well I don't because I didn't do anything with him except drink. Think about it Mad, I'm a boy remember?”
She broke then. “Oh Drew, its horrible. He's told everyone that we had sex and that I'm easy and, and…” at that point she burst into tears on my shoulder. Just wait till I get hold of you, you slimy arsehole Samu-elle Roberts! “I thought he liked me” she blubbed. I thought it was mutual.
I spent the rest of lunch with me comforting Mad, my jumper getting soggier by the minute.
“You should tell Miss Cowlishaw or Miss Bell.”
“Mad, it's important, he's spreading nasty rumours about you, and you need to do something about it.”
“I will, thanks Gab”
“If anyone's making out with you it'll be me.” I stated maybe a little too loudly as some older girls must've overheard by their string of impolite comments. Boy did I blush. At least Mad was talking to me again – Brit was right, it was boy trouble but not how she thought it was. That aspect was still preying on my mind, even if it was way in the back.
Jules was watching telly with the Walters downstairs which means I've got at least a few minutes on my own up here. I sighed in a combination of fatigue and relief. Mum seemed pretty chipper earlier; I could hardly get a word in edgeways, at least something good is happening. I dunno what we can do about Sam Roberts, spreading stories like that about Mad. I bet Dan' s involved too, that'd be just like him. I really could've done without Thursday. Are we really going home at the end of next week? It doesn't seem like we've been here that long and it's nearly over. At least I'll get to see Mum, when we left I didn't think I would ever again, but she'll be there when we get home. I hugged my pillow and smiled to myself, yup, we can go for rides and stuff.
Maddy Bell 20.03.06 © 2006
Back to Chapter 4.20 On To Chapter 4.22 Back to The Library