"Are you listening Gaby?"
"Well I decided to have 'I love Robbie Williams' tattooed on my back."
"What?" Drew suddenly snapped to attention.
"I said that I'm getting ' I love Robbie...'"
"Tattooed on your back, but you hate him," the penny suddenly dropped, "and I wasn't listening was I?"
"Gotcha!" Jules crowed.
"So what do ya want?"
"Mum said to remind you to put the washing on."
"Yeah I know."
"So what's got your attention so much?"
"Homework, European history."
"What're you doing?"
"The Habsburg succession in the sixteenth century."
"Yeah and everything I can find on the web is in German."
"Looks like I'll have to skank the info from one of the girls, my Germish isn't up to translating that stuff. So like are you getting a tattoo?"
"Well duh! You know what the olds were like with my tongue."
"So that's no then."
"For now at least, maybe when I go to uni. Well I'm off, I've got a date tonight."
"Not that Jürgen kid?"
Drew rolled his eyes; Jules seemed to change her boyfriends like others change knickers!
"See ya laters!" Jules concluded as she disappeared down stairs.
No rest for some though, Drew re read the question, 'In what circumstances did the succession change in 1546?' 'It'll be some prince or other with a great string of odd names, Josef Maria von Clodstein or some such. I wonder if Connie knows? '
"So Drew, you fancy earning a few Euros?" Frau Thesing enquired.
"Its only a bit of work in the café on Sundays."
"What would I have to do?" my interest was piqued.
"Help Connie serve tables, clean up, you know, general stuff."
"Sounds okay but I'll need to ask my parents."
"Of course, let me know soon though as I'll need to advertise if you can't do it. Oh its €50 a week."
€50's! Wow, that's over two weeks allowance!
"I'll let you know tomorrow."
Fr. Thesing left to be replaced by Connie.
"Here we go, Habsburg's."
"You're mum just offered me a job."
"Kewl, for Sundays?"
"Please say you'll do it, its great fun and easy money."
"Sure, we just take the orders and serve them, Mama and Papa do the rest."
"I need to check with my 'rents but I could do with some extra money - specially with Chrimbo coming up."
"I guess we'd best do our homework now though."
“So Connie's mum has offered you a job?”
“Doing what pray?”
“You know, waitress - I mean waiter stuff, serving an cleaning an all that.”
“What about your training and school work?”
“It's only in the afternoons so I can still go training first and I can do my homework with Connie. Please Dad can I do it?”
Dave was a little taken aback – Drew actually wanting to work – its not that he's lazy, no one who's achieved what he has on a bike can be lazy but volunteering for work?
“If I say yes you have to be properly committed to going every week, no skiving ‘cause you don't feel like it, Frau Thesing wants a worker not just a body.”
“Does that mean I can do it?”
“Yes you can do it.”
“So he said I can do it Con.”
“I'd best speak to your Mum.”
“Sure, (Mama, Drew's on the phone, you want to speak to her? ……. Ok, right, sure. ) She's tied up right now Drew, she said to sort it out in the morning before we go to school.”
“Ok, in that case I'd best not chat, Mum'll be ringing from Italy soon and I wanna tell her.”
“See you in the morning then, tschuss!”
“So that okay Drew?”
“Yeah great Frau Thesing, Sunday at eleven.”
“You'd best join the others, you don't want to be later for school!”
I returned to where Steff and Connie and crew were just starting to gather their stuff.
“So you are to be a waitress Drew?” Anna asked.
“We'll have to come for free coffee.” Pia mentioned.
“I er dunno about that.” I started to panic, would everyone come in wanting discounts and free stuff?
“Just kidding Drew, you went very pale.”
“Um just the excitement I guess. We'd best go if we're not gonna be late.”
The summer was certainly different in Germany to back home in Warsop. Firstly there was the weather - it's not like it was always hot and sunny it's just that you noticed the rain less! So okay there have been a few heavy downpours but there was definitely a tendency towards blue skies and high temperatures.
Then there's the whole social thing. I guess there is stuff happening in Warsop but mostly it's a bit focused - old fogey stuff or kids events, the only things that really include everyone are the carnival and bonfire night. There just seems to be so much happening if not in the village then in the local area. And not only that but most people take part too - not like back home. One thing was for sure and that's that everyone likes to party!
The girls in particular had been on about this latest bun fight for weeks, you remember I told you they grow grapes round here? Like for making wine? Well apparently they have this ‘Queen of the Vineyards' thing, a bit like a carnival queen but they have one of them too. So the girls, well most of them, all aspire to this post - Steffi was telling me that there's a Euro 1000 prize plus you get to do some cool stuff. There's only one catch really and that's that you can't enter for the competition, you get nominated / sponsored and then its a free vote of everyone in town. The winner is announced at a big do the night before the Weinfest proper and that's only a fortnight away.
Obviously my main interest is in the party! But I know Connie is keen to take part but out of the others only Pia and Anna are eligible and Anna's not really bothered. Steff and Nena are nominees in their respective village events – each of the villages then competes for a sort of ‘Queen of the Valley' title.
Drew tugged his stocking into place and slumped back on his bed. He didn't really feel like going tonight but he'd promised Connie - it didn't mean he had to like it. He stared at his ceiling, at the pictures stuck there. The pictures were of all sorts of stuff - bikes, his friends, articles from various bike mags - well the usual stuff any teen accumulates.
He scanned the colorful array there was that picture of the Forester's taken just before they moved, that double page spread from the comic when they went for that ride, a signed picture of Lance Armstrong ‘to Gaby Bond, keep on wheeling, Lance', the podium at the TdF Feminin, with Mad at that first Anime Con. It struck him then that there was one thing in common with all the pictures with him on - he wasn't on them. He scanned the gallery again to confirm his findings, nope not one picture of Drew but lots of Gaby.
He pulled his knees up and without thinking started rubbing his nylon clad legs. Gaby seems to be the one who does all the exciting stuff and gets all the attention. When I'm me I never seem to attract much attention, its like I don't exist but Gaby... With a start he realised what he had been doing and immediately stopped and sat up.
Tonight was going to be no better, a trip to Pia's place for some dance thing. So here he was in bra and knickers debating what to wear and jeans and a T were not on the list! No Connie had been insistent that it should be a frock and to his chagrin he realised he wasn't exactly short of feminine togs. Really how did all this get started?
With a sigh he went over to his wardrobe and surveyed his choices. Despite himself he had some favourite girls clothes, mostly skirts and jumpers but somehow they didn't seem appropriate for this evening. That left a small selection of dresses and one in particular was screaming for him to choose it. He pulled it down and posed in front of the mirror. Yep, he'd get Jules to do his hair up and he could wear the black shrug. That decided he set about finishing dressing, as seemed all too regular his earlier consternation changed to a warm comfortable feeling as he slipped into the silky frock.
"You won the vote Drew." Pia enthused.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! This really can't be happening. I mean I didn't even know I was nominated until last week and now I've won. Hmm, so what are my options, come clean and tell the organisers that I'm a boy - that'd be favourite. Yep that's what I should do.
"Drew? You okay?"
"Uh yeah, just a bit shocked."
"It's just so cool, you get treated like royalty, I can't believe I know the Königin !"
This nightmare cannot be happening to me.
"Drew? You've gone awfully pale, Drew!"
With that I passed out.
"It must have been the excitement." I heard through the fug.
"She's coming round, Drew, wake up Drew."
"You fainted young lady,” a voice I recognised vaguely as Pia's mother informed me. "You gave us quite a fright."
"Erm sorry." why is she calling me Jungfrau? My befuddled brain enquired.
"Do you want a drink?" Pia asked from somewhere above me.
"Lay there for a few minutes dear then you'd best make an appearance!"
Appearance? Then it hit me, the reason for my fainting, the Wein Queen thing - oh bugger! Can I make a run for it now? I eased myself up to a sitting position, to find myself in a corner of the restaurant that Pia's family own. Outside there was a crowd, lots of cheering and no chance of escape!
"Here you go your majesty." Pia did a little curtsey thing as she passed me a glass of water.
"Pia, I er."
"I bet you're nervous, I know I would be,” she rambled on.
Maddy Bell 26.12.07 © 2007
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