"What's up kiddo?"
"We'll be a bit late but you'll never guess what?"
"Go on" Jen prompted.
"Well you'll never guess who's here?"
"You're right I'll never guess, spit it out."
"Woody - I mean Mr. Wood and his wife, they're staying in Remagen."
"How do you know?"
"Well it's a long story but we met them in Köln earlier and we're on their coach right now."
Drew seems to have a habit of throwing curve balls and Jen decided not to pursue the why's at this stage.
"Are you ringing for a lift?"
"Nah, Steff's dad is picking us up."
"So you were just ringing to say you'd be late?"
"Well I thought you might like to see Mr. Wood, you could like drive down to Remagen?"
Drew you little bugger!
"You still there Mum?"
"Yeah I'm still here."
"We'll be the in about thirty minutes, that hotel outside the Bahnhof, see ya."
"Yeah, see you later." her son had already broken the connection.
Oh bugger Drew, sometimes you do the damnest things! I'm sure there's quite a story here somewhere but it would be nice to see Martin again - and Brenda for that matter. Hmm what's the time, right I'll go!
Within ten minutes Jen was on the road, a feeling of trepidation causing a nervous tapping on the Mercedes' steering wheel.
The tone of the coach's engine changed as we approached the turn into Remagen town and we were soon over the railway lines and threading our way towards the Hotel Alt Post opposite the Bahnhof. We pulled up and we joined the ‘proper' passengers in collecting our belongings and queuing to dismount.
“Thanks for the ride” I told the driver.
“Not a problem girls, couldn't have you stranded now could we?”
“Well thanks anyway.”
I joined the others on the pavement.
“Papa will be here in about fifteen minutes.” Steffi advised us.
“Its flippin cold out here!” I noted rubbing my goose pimpled thighs through the skirt.
“We can wait in the Bahnhof.” Connie suggested.
“Okay, I'll just say bye to Mr. Wood.”
“We'll wait here for you.” Anna stated.
I walked over to the reception where Woody was still queuing to get inside.
“Thanks for getting us the ride Sir.”
“No problem Gaby, my pleasure. So what are you and the girls up to now?”
“Well Steffi's dad is coming to pick us up so we're gonna wait in the station ‘till he gets here.”
“You'll freeze to death! Why don't you wait in the coffee shop – I'll even spring for Hot Chocolate.”
Hmm that's tempting.
“Go fetch the others and I'll get it ordered.”
“Thanks Mr. Wood.”
I headed back to the girls.
“Mr. Wood's gonna spring for chocolate so we can wait in the coffee shop.”
“Oh cool!” Pia muttered through chattering teeth.
That didn't take much convincing.
“Good, I feel happier with you not catching pneumonia Gaby. Look I need to go change before dinner otherwise Bren will kill me so I might miss you when your transport arrives. Tell your Mum high from both of us.”
“I will. Erm could you do me another favour sir?”
“A headmasters job is never done eh?” he grinned, “what is it Gaby?”
“Well could you say hi to Miss Cowlishaw for me?”
“No problem lass, I think she misses having you around as much as me.”
I dunno why but I found myself grabbing him and starting to tear up.
“Hey-yay-yay.” He hugged me back. “There there.”
I got myself back together and eased back.
“Sorry Sir” I sniffed.
“Its ok, look your chocolates just coming, go join your friends.”
“Thanks again sir.”
“Take care now.”
We went in opposite directions he to his room and me to rejoin the girls.
“Your headmaster is pretty cool yeah?” Nena suggested.
We had just about finished our cocoa when Herr Olberg arrived in his Taxi bus. We quickly gathered our stuff again and exited the warmth of the coffee shop.
“Come on girls, I've got a nine o'clock booking.”
“We were going to catch the Express Papa.” Steffi complained.
“But your mother wouldn't give me peace eh?”
We scrambled into the Vito and we were soon heading towards home. I had thought Mum might go to see Mr. Wood but perhaps she doesn't want to. There was one thing with getting a lift from Steff's dad – its door-to-door service!
“Oh its you,” Jules noted coming down the stairs, “what are you wearing?”
“It's a long story.”
“It is,“ I protested, “it was an emergency.”
“Only you could have an emergency that left you looking like a Japanese Lolita schoolgirl!”
“Where's Mum?” I swiftly changed the direction of the conversation, “ I thought she'd still be here.”
“She had a call then said she had to see ‘a man about a dog' before taking off in the car.”
So she has gone.
“Okay spill, I know you know something.”
“I'll tell you when Mum gets back.”
“Tell me now.” She moved in for a tickle fest.
“No, get off, I said I'd tell you later.” I persisted.
“Pah! Your no fun, what good is a sister if they don't gossip!”
“I'm your brother.”
“Maybe that's it.”
“I'm gonna go shower, you had dinner?”
“An hour ago, don't worry we saved you some.”
“Not that cardboard pizza again?”
“Nah, pasta bake, home made by yours truly.”
“That means I'm sure to die”
She poked her pierced tongue out at me, I replied with my unholey appendage.
“You girls finished yet?”
“Almost Mama” Connie replied.
We were nearly finished sweeping and wiping down the coffee shop, our usual last chore of the day. I've been helping out on Sunday afternoons in the Thesing's bakery since we started back to school in September, I get a few extra Euros which are always useful and its not like there's much else to do!
“I'm off to your Aunts Connie so make sure you lock up when you're done.”
“G'night Drew, see you in the morning.”
It took another five minutes to finish up downstairs before we headed up to the Thesing's flat where this week Con and me will be fending for ourselves. Usually Con's mum does tea before we sit down to watch Tatort . That really is a cheesy programme but its not like there's a lot of choice! This week however we get the whole Tatort cast to ourselves as Mrs. T has gone visiting her sister and Mr. T is down in Koblenz visiting a friend in the big hospital there.
“Give us a hand Drew.”
“Cut some bread and get the plates please.”
I am thinking of quitting this week though. Not that I really want to but I'm nearly fifteen and I need to make a stand! So okay we normally work in ordinary stuff you know jeans an' stuff with just our aprons on top. No problem but in the run up to Christmas we are supposed to be taking the little van to a couple of smaller markets – that's not a problem but Frau Thesing has it in her head that we'll wear traditional costumes. Now that's all well and good but how many fifteen-year-old boys volunteer to wear all those flounces and things? Okay don't answer that. Anyway that's why I'm quitting tomorrow.
“So are you going back to England for Christmas?”
“Nah, the rents want to spend it here to sort of christen the house so my Gran is coming over for a few days.”
“Kewl! Hey that means you won't miss any of the parties!”
“And remember you have to go to the Neujahr Ball.” She enthused.
I wish everyone else would forget that. I certainly can't, worse luck. I mean that's just something else that I got suckered into over the summer; you'd think I'd learn wouldn't you?
Maddy Bell 28.11.07© 2007
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