It was Mad's turn to host gang night so after a pretty uneventful day at school the five of us made our way to the Peter's mansion. Helen tinkled her bell when she passed us, I'm not sure if she caught my wave as she rode on through the evening gloom.
“So who's playing Romeo then?” I enquired as we walked up to the house.
“Later.” Mad grinned.
Must be me and I bet she's gonna be Juliette.
Aunt C supplied her special spag bol which kept us all quiet as we tried not to spray sauce everywhere. But lets face it, if you eat spaghetti without getting covered in it is to not enjoy it, my front was decorated in several places by red spots by the time I was done and it wasn't all from me!
“…So anyway we decided to do it traditionally.” Ally enthused.
“What do you mean? Like in period costume?”
“Well yeah,” Bernie agreed, “but in Shakespeare's time they didn't have any actresses.”
“Sometimes Andrew Bond you are so thick.” Mad stated.
I still didn't get it.
“Well who do you think played the girl parts in Shakespeare's time?” Bernie prompted.
“Geez!” Rhod groaned.
“Well who then?” I asked in a bit of a huff.
“Boys!” they all chorused.
“You're kidding,” One look said they weren't, “you mean? No way!”
“Way!” Ally confirmed.
“But why er what?” I floundered.
“Rhod's gonna be the nurse and you get to be Juliette Drew.” Mad informed me.
“Why can't I be one of the boys?” I moaned.
“Cos we're doing them.” Bernie informed me.
“Well if you don't want to do it….” Mad started.
“We've already started on the costumes.” Rhod added with a pout.
It's all right for him, he likes dressing as a girl, despite appearances I don't, well maybe a bit but not like Em. So here I am again, between a rock and a hard place, damned if I do, damned if I don't.
I left for home in a state of resignation. By default I let the others decide on the costumes for the dance and I suppose it's my own fault that I didn't tell them where to go when I had the chance. And I suppose it is a good theme. I pulled my coat a bit closer; it might be March but its still cold and its damp with it tonight.
What the? I stopped short as a bike swerved round me before screeching to a halt.
“Meine got! Can't you look where you are going?”
“Oh its you, what are you doing this time of night? You'll get yourself knocked down.”
“On my way home, we've been planning stuff for the Easter dance.”
“Planning?” she hopped off her bike and joined me on the pavement.
“You know, for the fancy dress.”
“No one said it was fancy dress!” she wailed.
“So you're going then?”
“I was but I can't afford to get a costume so I guess not.”
“You don't have to have a costume, we make our own, Mad is pretty good at it.”
“So who are you going as?”
“No, like in Romeo and Juliette?”
“Um I might be a bit thick Drew but like Juliette is a girl.”
“I know, its Mad's idea, apparently in Shakespeare's time boys played the girls parts in the plays so she thought it would be good if me and Rhod play the girls and the rest of them the boys.”
“Right.” She didn't sound 100% convinced.
“So what are you doing a Nicole Cooke for?”
“Geez, you know like the cyclist?”
“Sorry don't know who you mean.”
“Whatever,” I sighed, “been anywhere good?”
“Only Guides, we meet in the church hall.”
“Like dib, dib, dib?”
“That is like so old.”
By this time we were shuffling along the path.
“So what do you do then?”
“All sorts, we've been working on our woodcraft badge tonight, we have to get it before we go on camp.”
“Really Drew,” she shook her head, “you really do live in your own world don't you? We are going to somewhere near Sheffield for a weekend just after Easter.”
“We do all sorts of stuff, hiking, crafts and Mrs. Roberts said she was trying to organize for us to go canoeing.”
“So you like camp in tents?”
“Not likely! There's a camping barn.”
“Right. I'd best walk you home.”
“You don't have to, I'm quite capable you know.”
“Never said you weren't.”
“Hey I've got a great idea for the dance!”
“What? Remember I'm skint.”
“Won't cost a thing,” I enthused.
“Go on then.”
“You could go as my Mum.”
“You what? Go as Mrs. Bond?”
“No, I mean yes. You could borrow some shorts and a jersey, I might even swing one of her yellow jerseys from the Tour, it'd be pretty cool.” I gabbled on.
“Doesn't sound that interesting, who'd know who I was?”
“Well only like half the school! Mr. Wood even showed some bits in assembly so even if they aren't fans they know what Mum does.”
“Hmm, it would've been good at my old school, they even had their own Wielers. Oh here I am.”
We stopped at her Gran's gate.
“Well thanks for walking me, you've got miles to walk home now.”
“S'alright, I can cut through the gennel, it'll only take me about five minutes.”
“Well thanks anyway.” She leant in and gave me a peck on the cheek much to my surprise and bewilderment. “See you tomorrow.”
I just stood there as she wheeled her old bike around the back.
The two weeks to the Easter Hols went very quickly. Dad came home on Friday and we picked him up from the airport after my visit to the hospital. That was a bit traumatic to say the least. Dr Johnston was upset that I hadn't said anything about my ‘growths' before and I ended up bawling my head off. I was measured, prodded and pricked but we left feeling better than before we went in, the Doc was pretty up beat and that seemed to rub off on me and Mum.
I did my first race of the year on Saturday too, the Metheringham series at Lincoln. Things could've gone better and it was really all my fault that it went awry. Well maybe not all my fault, I suppose I'd best explain. Mum's presence apart from taking everyone at the circuit unawares caused quite a furore and I felt a little sidelined, after all I won the series last year! So okay instead of warming up properly I hung around Mum basking in her glory for far too long and only just made the start line on time. Several of last year's adversaries have moved up to the junior ranks but there were enough who remembered last year to make things – difficult.
Its not that I rode badly just that I was more concerned with looking good in front of Mum to concentrate on the job in hand! I'm not saying I would've won but my posing meant I missed it when a coupled of riders clipped off the front and then in the gallop I pretty much boxed myself in! Thirteenth from twenty-one was hardly the stuff of legends. Dad tore me off a right strip on the way home and for the second time in as many days I was reduced to tears.
Helen took me up on the costume for the dance and Mum lent her one of her world champion's jerseys. As for me, well the ‘Juliet' costume wasn't as revealing as last years but disconcertingly it did make it look like I had breasts – well okay I do but you know what I mean.
The big news was that The Liquorice Toffees, that's Goth Girls band, were going to be playing at the dance. Jules was pretty hopped up with it and we were ‘treated' to a run through their set in our garage on Tuesday night. Of course I made the Big mistake of keep calling them Goths so we had the lecture on the differences between Goths and what they insisted they were, EMO's apparently. I'm still not quite sure what it's all about but the girls' sound okay even if their choice in clothes is a bit weird!
Of course come Friday it still hadn't occurred to me that it was me Drew not me Gaby going to the dance in a frock. To be fair to the girls they had got me a wig, a red wig and by the time I was made up I didn't look too much like me and as importantly there wasn't anything Gaby there either. We learnt the lines of the famous balcony scene and I have to say everyone looked the part.
The girls definitely got the better deal mind you I'd ‘ve ended up in tights either way! With their hair pinned up and with thin moustaches drawn on they looked about as male as I usually do!
So I was like as embarrassed as hell arriving with my sister, Helen and Mum, who was acting as a chaperone. It was obvious who I was by association. Helen and I went to find the rest of the gang and we found them in the cloakroom.
“Hey guys, you look really cool.” Helen gushed.
“Not hard to guess who you are.” Bern replied.
“Drew's idea. You really get into this dressing up stuff huh?”
“We try.” Mad or rather Romeo stated.
“We'd best register for the competition.” Ally pointed out.
“We don't want to miss that do we?” I kind of pouted.
“That costume really makes it look like you have boobs Drew.” Rhod advised as we made our way to the room where registration was taking place.
“Great” I mumbled. If Rhod noticed how many other people would? Sugar! I was ready to leg it but by now we were in a press of cowboys, Goths, Supermen, furries and so on. This was no con, there was more enthusiasm than quality and looking around I reckoned we stood a good chance again.
I swung round automatically. Oh bum, just what I need, Paul and Clive.
“It's me, Drew idiot.” I hissed.
“Drew? Wow you make some hot chick!” Paul stated rather too loudly.
“Cheers, just what I needed.”
“I thought you were Gaby.” Clive moaned.
“Do I look anything like her?”
“A bit, well okay no.”
“So why did you think I was her?”
“Well you are with the rest of the girls and wearing a dress.”
“It's a fancy dress party! Talking of which what are you supposed to be?”
“Men in Black.” Paul advised and on queue they both produced dark glasses and put them on.
I think my ability to look like a girl is too good. I found myself being Gaby and perhaps being a bit too good at wearing a dress. I used Helen, I must admit, as cover more than once. Not that she minded dancing with me, Mad gave us some dirty looks but I danced with her too so what was her problem.
Mum kept a suitably low profile but she did take some photo's of us.
So okay I won the main fancy dress prize again! Mr. Wood seemed quite amused and Miss Cowlishaw admitted she hadn't realised it was me when they were voting. How embarrassing! The good thing was that at least this time I won't have to fart around to get my prize! The rest of the gang wasn't so successful though; the group prize was awarded to some first year Hobbits and wizards. Just as good though, Helen got third as Mum!
Then it was time for the ‘Toffee's' to take the stage. They clearly weren't to everyone's taste but the novelty of an all girl band ensured they had a large male audience at least. It might have only been the school hall but they were pretty good, they even had dry ice! Jules was quite good on the bass guitar even if her singing is a bit off key.
Its not the easiest stuff to dance to, the general consensus was to bounce up and down, which despite the tight bodice of my dress had my booblets jiggling.
Being a school event it as usual ended stupidly early so once again we had got our own ‘après party' organized courtesy of my aunt only this time Helen came along too as well as my Mum. It was after midnight when we dropped Hel off at her Gran's and Mum turned the car round for the short drive home.
“Have a good night then?” Mum asked.
“Rockin'!” Jules enthused.
“Okay I guess.” I allowed.
“She gets first prize and its just okay.” Jules stated.
I was too tired to start arguing.
Dad had to fly back to Germany on Sunday so after my race, a ten-mile tt north of Doncaster, we all went out for a farewell dinner at Salvatore's. It'll be a month before we see Dad again, that'll be when I ride my first junior international event! Oh yeah, I was a bit more focused this time out so I came away with best school person and a pretty cool 23.59, not bad for the end of March!
I must admit that I was feeling a bit nervous, on Wednesday Mum is taking me to Manchester where I'll be joining the development squad for a couple of days. I wonder who else is on the youth squad, will I know anyone? Just as important, will I be able to hack it? Mum keeps telling me not to worry but I can't help it.
It seems to be getting more difficult to get all the gang together to do anything these days unless its at school. Rhod, well Em, has gone to hi-er Dads place, Ally has gone to Spain with her rents and even Mad has gone to her grandparents. Which leaves just me and Bernie – oh and Helen, in town. So Monday I actually spent cleaning my bikes ready for Wednesday – we are gonna be staying at Gran's and commute from there – it's a bit closer than Warsop and Jules can do stuff with Gran while I'm at the track.
Tuesday though Helen and me spent over at the Rose's with Bern. We just sort of did stuff, walked into town, played cd's, even did a bit of homework – it was good to just sort of hang out and Helen is really quite funny when she's relaxed.
Maddy Bell 08.11.06 © 2006
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