“Up and at ‘em!” Mums voice broke through the fug of my mind.
“What time is it?” I mumbled back.
Seven thirty! I'm sure my parents delight in waking me up at such unearthly hours on holiday. I lay staring at the alien ceiling for a minute or two, what was Mum getting me up at this time for? Oh yeah, she was on about going for a training ride this morning, best show some willing.
I stumbled out into the living area, Mum was already dressed in her bike kit and was munching on some toast while reading yesterdays paper.
“Come on Drew, shake a leg. The bikes are on the car so we just need you.”
“Aren't we going from here then?” dur!
“The lanes are a bit narrow and potholey so I thought we'd drive up to the coast road and get some serious riding in.”
I think Mum forgets that she's not exactly 100% fit after the whole cancer thing but even Mum at 50% can be damned hard work! I did what I needed to do and went back to my room to change. Being in the England Youth Squad has its benefits, some smart kit for one; the training top even has my name embroidered on it. Well it's a sore point really, they put Gaby not Drew, don't ask me why but I'm stuck with it until the next lot of kit is done. But its all good kit from Assos who sponsor the programme. By the time I emerged, Mum had done me some toast and I took it with me to the car.
I still can't believe Dad bought this dead pimpy car! It is just so cool, even being an estate it looks fast and Dad told me he's had it well over a ton when he took Mum to Germany last month. Mum set us off in a shower of gravel, she'd obviously checked the route as she started by retracing our arrival route then we picked up signs for Newport and a bare fifteen minutes later we were parked in a lay-by just outside of the village.
Well you don't really need to know every gear change of our ride but we took the main road north up through Cardigan. We turned inland near Aberporth and did a loop that brought us back to Cardigan. Then instead of just taking the main road back to the car we took a bit of a detour to more closely follow the coast. By the time we dropped back into Newport we were both puffing a bit and I had nothing left for the final sprint! We took a different road back to Gellifawr, over the moor and then down a really steep and twisty bit of road, I think we missed a turn or something because we somehow ended up on the road we set out on.
When we got back to our accommodation there was a bit more activity and our door was open emitting the sounds of Radio Two to reach us in the car park.
“Good ride love?” Dad enquired as I followed Mum inside.
“Not bad but that last loop you suggested was hard work” Mum replied.
“I'll say,” I agreed.
“No pain…” Dad started.
“…No gain” Mum and I chorused.
“You two get showered and changed, I'll sort the bikes out.”
“And don't take all day, I've got breakfast on the go” Jules mentioned from the kitchenette.
“No ma'am!” I replied.
Well at least her Gothness is in a reasonable mood this morning if she's cooking brekkie.
I just beat Mum to the shower, she takes forever, I was out within ten minutes, just in time for Jules to serve up the Sunday fry up! I know, its hardly healthy but as Mum says, ‘a little of what you like won't hurt', not that egg, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushrooms, fried bread, fried potato and beans is that little. But on the other hand we miss it more weeks than we get it, maybe we get the full Monty once a month and I'm sure when Mum's in Germany she never gets a proper fry-up.
I was starting to toast the rest of the loaf by the time Mum joined us from her shower.
“So where are you taking us today Dave?” Mum enquired.
“As its looking quite good weather wise I thought we could do a bit of a walk this morning, have a picnic lunch then maybe Castell Henllys this afternoon.
“I bet there's archaeology involved” Jules moaned.
“There might be some.” Dad allowed.
“The shops'll be shut today anyway,” Mum pointed out.
Jules just sighed.
After our ride, and breakfast, it was heading on towards eleven when we set off for the day. It was less than five miles to Dad's ‘short' walk, some place called Brynberian.
“It's nearly all flat” Dad enthused as we put our boots on.
With Dad acting as pathfinder, the rest of us following on behind, we set off for ‘a gentle stroll'. Gentle my foot! The path started off good enough but as it broke onto the open moorland it got boggy and we ended up leaping a stream. Indi consulted his map and we struck out across the scrubby heath.
“It says it can often be quite wet over here” Dad advised.
“Well it's dry enough today” Mum observed.
Jules was oblivious to everything as her Walkman was pumping sounds and I just followed along. We changed direction again and after maybe ten minutes we arrived at the purpose of this little jaunt.
Dad went into lecture mode while we sat ourselves on the handy rocks.
“This is Beddyrafanc chambered cairn, the stones you're sitting on were once the walls of the chamber and the ones behind you marked the edge of the cairn.”
“So like they buried people here?” you have to show some interest.
“Well sort of, first the bodies would be excarnated to deflesh them,”
“Gross!” Jules mentioned, I have to agree.
“Then they would place the bones in the tomb” Dad barely missed a beat.
“You wouldn't get many in here Dave” Mum pointed out.
“Well they didn't put whole skellies inside, from what's been found elsewhere its usually just the skulls and long bones.”
“That really is gross” Jules mentioned, “fancy just putting someone's arms and legs inside with a grinning skull on top?”
“Well actually Jules, they put all the skulls in one bit, legs in another and so on,” Dad explained.
“That is like totally nasty” Goth girl stated, “how could they?”
“They didn't think the same things as us, it was perfectly normal for them.”
“Apple anyone?” Mum offered.
Well Dad took his pictures and we set off to return to the car. It was decidedly boggy this way and there was a bit of stream jumping but nothing too exciting. I spotted a handy clump of gorse and diverted to answer the call of nature. By the time I was done the rest of Clan Bond were a couple of hundred metres away. I heard them before I saw them, a loud snuffling behind me. Turning around I came almost face to face with a horse, well several horses. At this point I should make it clear that I'm terrified of horses, don't ask me why but I just don't like being too close to them and this is way too close!
“Aaargh!” I took off like my bum was on fire pursued at a distance by the curios ponies. Spotting open water ahead of me I diverted, straight into a bog! Still panicked I checked my pursuers; they were looking way too innocent! I extricated myself then promptly lost my footing in leaping the next stream to land with a splash ankle deep in goop. Was I glad Dad insisted we all have decent Gore-Tex ® boots, at least my feet were still dry, nothing worse than wet socks! My trousers hadn't fared so well, I could feel them wet up to my thighs, they'll dry.
“Where have you been?” Mum asked when I finally caught up to the others.
“I stopped for a wee then got attacked by a herd of horses.”
“I doubt that” Jules sneered.
“They came right up to me then chased me straight into the bog.”
“So where are they now, these vicious behemoths?” Dad enquired.
I looked around, “well they're…” there was no sign of my attackers, “they're gone, but I swear there must have been twenty of ‘em, honest Mum.”
“They'd just be curious, Drew” Mum suggested. “Look at the state of you, your trousers are saturated.”
“I told you they chased me into the bog.”
“Come on Tonto” Dad encouraged.
I made the rest of the walk without further incident but I kept checking to make sure those horses didn't come back.
“You are not getting in the car wearing those” Dad intoned.
Jules just snorted which was really helpful.
“It wasn't my fault” I whined.
“I don't care who's fault it is, it could be King Kong for all I care, you are not getting peat and wet all over the seats.”
“Be reasonable Dave” Mum suggested.
“He's got to start taking responsibility for his actions Jen, how many times has he done something like this?”
Well I could think of a couple myself so I decided to stay quiet.
Mum sighed, “Well I have to agree with your Dad Drew, no one else ended up covered in half of Wales.”
Mum went into the boot and returned with what looked like walking shorts.
“It's a good job I brought this, otherwise you'd be walking.”
“Thanks Mum” I mumbled.
This? I shook the bundle open – nooooo! Not a skirt!
Jules could contain herself no longer and burst into laughter.
“Change. Now.” Mum instructed.
I slipped my boots off and using the car door for both support and cover, dropped my trousers.
“What are you doing wearing those?” Mum asked.
“Just why are you wearing girls knickers? On second thoughts I don't want to know.”
Talk about embarrassed. I'd forgotten about my undies, I do my own laundry these days so I never even thought about other family members knowing. Mum's skirt was barely knee length, why couldn't it be longer? Somehow wearing a long skirt is less traumatic.
Not only was I now wearing a skirt but I was demoted to the back seat too. It really wasn't my fault; they should keep those horses under control. It wasn't far to our next stop, more old rocks no doubt but lunch too.
The place was called Pentre Ifan, what Dad called a ‘Portal Dolmen', sounds like something from SG-1 if you ask me. Mind you, perhaps that's what it really is. I scanned the almost clear sky for a mother ship; I was almost disappointed to only see the contrail from an airliner.
You'd think I'd be used to it by now but I was as conscious as ever of being in a skirt, it didn't help that there were a couple of other families with similar picnicking thoughts.
Dad went for a mooch around the stones leaving Mum to organise our picnic ground. It was turning decidedly warm so I pulled my jumper off.
“Drew Bond!” Mum exclaimed.
“What did I do now?”
“What are you doing?”
“Taking my jumper off?”
Huh? Ah! My t-shirt was still up around my pits revealing my bra to all and sundry. Sugar!
“I think you and me need to have a chat, don't you?”
“I guess,” I allowed.
“You knew about this Juliette?”
“Er sort of” she admitted.
Why haven't I said anything to Mum before? I'm in dead lumber now, D.E.A.D., dead!
My day had started so well too. I've become so used to my um bits that I've almost forgotten about them and wearing my, er ‘support'. It's gone steadily downhill since our ride, first losing my trousers and now revealing to everyone that I'm wearing a bra. Can it get any worse? I've no idea whether Dad got any of this latest revelation or if he was too engrossed in his rocks but he didn't say anything when he joined us to eat. I could do with one of them chamber tomb things right now to crawl into and seal up behind me.
Lunch was a little er, polite. I'd pretty much lost my appetite and Mum seemed to be watching me every time I looked her way. Dad was oblivious, lost in his archaeology; Jules reverted to the safety of listening to her Walkman. We finished eating and I tried to relax in the sunshine but without much success.
“Dave, Drew and I need to have a little walk and a chat, can you pack up for me?”
“How long do you want Jen?”
“Okay” Dad agreed.
“Come on kiddo” Mum encouraged in a much calmer tone.
Reluctantly I stood up and she wrapped an arm round me and started walking.
“Why didn't you say anything Drew?”
“About what?” I asked warily.
“You wearing girls underwear” she kept her voice low.
“What's to tell? The pants are more comfortable than y fronts.”
“You can't tell me you are wearing a bra for comfort?”
“Well why do you wear one?” I riposted.
“That's hardly the point, I'm not a fourteen year old boy.”
“But you wear one coz its more comfortable right?”
“Well yes, I guess.”
“Exactly why I do” it's well past time for confessions.
“But you don't have,” it was like watching a light go on, “you do don't you, you've got breasts haven't you?” she looked about to see where the other visitors were.
“Over here, we can have some privacy” she led the way to a remote corner of the plot and we sat so we looked over the site.
“Why didn't you say anything? How long? Who knows?”
“Whoa Mum. One at a time, no I'll tell you everything, it'll be quicker.”
“Okay but I want the truth for once.”
I took a deep breath and gathered my thoughts.
“Well I suppose if I'm honest I first noticed something before Christmas, I had a load of tests and stuff remember?”
“Your Dad told me.”
“Well my chest was a bit sore from time to time, my nipples were super sensitive as well but I thought it was normal for teenagers, I remember Jules complaining a few years ago. Then with you coming home, the big C and going to America, I sort of forgot about it.”
“You never noticed anything else?”
“Well to tell the truth getting press ganged into being Gaby while I was there, I spent the whole trip a bit on edge – and with falsies glued to my chest.”
“Hmm, you know my feelings on that.”
“What's done is done Mum. Well I really only noticed these,” I motioned to my constricted boobs, “when I got home, I thought it was because I'd been wearing the falsies so long, pulling on my chest but the swelling didn't go down, remember when we went to Queens it was like that. Jules found out about then when she walked in on me one morning but I swore her to secrecy, I think I still thought they'd just go away. I made her promise not to say anything so don't have a go at her, please?”
“She's supposed to look out for you”
“I know but please, promise?”
“Hmm, we'll see. So they are still growing?”
“I think so, not so much but my bra's are getting a bit tight.”
“What size are you? I never thought I'd be asking my son that!”
“34A, well that's what Jules got for me.”
“I really do need to have a chat with your Sister!”
“I know. And the doctor hasn't noticed?”
“Well she's just been taking blood the last few times, if I wear a baggy jumper you can't tell.”
“Oh Drew! What are we going to do with you? So you've been hiding them from everyone for months? Of course you have, I never noticed and I've been in the same house all the time. That explains the bra but why the knickers?”
“I know what you said, but remember what I said?”
I sighed again, “well they are more comfortable, and they fit my bum better.”
Mum shook her head.
“Seriously now Drew, how are you with all this?”
“I'd prefer it not to be happening.”
“Well when we get home we'll get you sorted out okay? We'll go see the Doc and really get this bottomed out, I promise.”
“Thanks Mum” I cuddled up to her and the tears started.
“Jen?” Dad's voice came from nearby.
“We'll meet you at the car Dave, five minutes.”
I know it was more than five minutes and Jules was looking decidedly uncomfortable.
“We've had a chat eh Drew?”
“And you can relax Jules you're not in trouble although I think we need to have a little chat, but now's not the time. I'll explain later Dave but for the rest of today, at least until we get back to the apartment, Gaby is going to be with us.”
“Now that's settled, can we get on?” Dad stated as if that was the most natural thing in the world for his wife to say.
“Ooh! Men!” Mum mentioned. “And Jules?”
“Sort your sisters makeup out, her eyes are all puffy from crying.”
“And go easy on the eyeliner, she doesn't want to look like Dracula's Bride.”
So that's how come a slightly bemused Dad led his wife and two daughters into Castell Henllys, reconstructed village thingy. I had at least regained my composure and given what I was wearing, being Gaby for the rest of the day was the best option. Jules make up work got Mum's okay so I guess I look okay – for a fourteen year old girl. Am I becoming my cousin? I suppose I'll have to come clean with Mad when I get home too – or maybe I can text her if I can get a signal that is. What will she think? Knowing Mad she'll think its great.
“You nearly fell in that ditch.”
“Not paying attention,” I allowed.
“Well come on this place is a bit more interesting than his usual piles of rubble.” Jules was almost enthusiastic!
Indeed it was. There are real buildings to see and go in, even people dressed up doing stuff. Dad did his best to tell us about it, how the buildings are built on the original Iron Age footings so the big round house really was that size over two thousand years ago! Pretty cool – it must be as big as our house at least. We watched a spinning demonstration, Jules had a go but I ducked out on the grounds of diminished dexterity! It was all a bit surreal really, there were these Iron Age buildings and stuff and there'd be a plastic bucket for animal feed! It looked really odd to see a woman dolled up to the nines, stilettos the lot, poking around a mud hut. The whole thing made me feel a bit like I was intruding in a bit of a time warp. Maybe that Portal Dole thing really is like SG-1 and this place really does come from two thousand odd years ago.
Jules was cheered by a shopping opportunity, the visitor centre bit supplied the retail therapy and ice cream, local made, none of your mass produced stuff. It was late afternoon when we finally dragged Dad away, almost literally as he'd got talking to one of the archaeologists, I think Dad'll be back before the week's out.
“Well I don't feel like cooking tonight” Mum declared, “so it's either you pair or a pub?”
“Pub!” we gave the expected reply.
“I saw one just up the road this morning so how about we have a bit of a tour round and eat there?”
Having slipped into Gaby mode, a short extension to my skirt wearing wasn't gonna be too traumatic. Dad was well pleased, he managed to see a fort thingy and another burial chamber before we stopped for a pleasant mooch around St Dogmaels or Llandudoch as the Welsh name goes. Mum's pub turned out to be at that E and W place, Eglesomething. It was actually starting to feel like a real holiday now, all of us together, away from home and eating out. I can't say its been a typical holiday day, in fact I'd rather never have a repeat, telling your Mum that you have boobs is not something most boys have to do!
A breeze blew up my skirt; making me shiver and bringing me back to the sunlit beer garden. The rest of the family were doing a fair job of acting like this was the norm, perhaps it will be, maybe I'm turning into a girl. What if they can't stop it happening? I sighed and took a sip of my lemonade, worrying won't help, but it is ironic, here I am growing boobs all on my own and poor Em is having to take bucket loads of pills because she does want her own boobs. It's not the being Gaby bit that bothers me that much; it's the physical equipment.
I went through the meal on some sort of autopilot. I vaguely remember ordering something and eating it, I think it was lamb cutlets but I was more than a bit pre occupied. I do remember the pudding though! Spotted Dick and custard, hmmmm! I even got to finish Mum's. Mum drove back to Gellifawr as Dad had a pint with his meal, Mum's turning into a right Michael Schumacher with the new car, I saw Dad grab the door handle a couple of times on the way back.
I wanted to text Mad when we got back, Dad reckoned we'd get a signal a bit up the lane but Mum put a halt to that idea insisting that the lane wouldn't be the safest place to walk in the gathering gloom. Well maybe she's right; I guess it'll wait. For the first time in weeks I actually checked my bosom when I got ready for bed. Without the restriction of the sports bra my little boobies stood out from my chest like a pair of slightly squashed coconut pyramids and about the same size! Now my secret is out I don't feel compelled to wear the damned bra all the time, so I took the opportunity to go to bed bra less. It was weird having my nipples rub on the sheets and the sensations they caused elsewhere.
The rents were still talking when slumber got the better of me around midnight and from conscious dreaming to unconscious, the subject remained the same, namely Drew or rather Gaby's mammaries. I hope the worry over this won't affect Mum; after all it was only last week that the doctors said that the big C seemed to be in full remission – I think that means she's cured. My last thoughts were of me, that's Drew turning up to a big race, I don't know what, winning it and then on the podium going ta-da and exposing my breasts! Weird or what!
Maddy Bell 18.05.05 revised 23.09.06 © 2006
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