Flying Jo Whylie
“Um hi Bern.” Ally offered.
“Sorry we've not been before.” Mad added.
“And?” Aunt C prompted.
“Muum! We shouldn't've listened to the gossip an' that, Drew made me feel like an inch tall yesterday.”
“What she's trying to say Bern,” Ally interrupted, “is that we're here for you, if you want us that is.”
“Hel as well, she had to go home straight from school otherwise she woulda come too.” Mad advised the assembled masses.
“Tea Carol?” Mrs R offered.
“Oh er yes please, I'll come help you.”
“Of course I want you guys.” Bern sniffled, “I've been so stupid.”
“No the stupid ones were us.” Ally stated, “we turned our backs on you when you needed us most, I wouldn't forgive us.”
“I never said I forgave you.” Bern got out between sniffles.
“Well you can just blame miss clever knickers there for getting landed back with us.”
I got another damp hug, “thanks Drewbie.”
“Well I had to leave someone to look after you when I go home.”
“Yeah right!” Mad grinned.
“Um you fancy coming to Hel's tonight, we're having a bit of a do for Drew.” Ally offered.
“Er guys.” I tried to deflect things.
“Yeah please come Bern.” Mad went on oblivious.
Bern, by now sat next to me on the sofa erupted into tears.
“What'd we do?” Mad asked.
“She can't go out without her rents, its part of not being in prison.”
“Oh Bern, I'm sorry, I didn't know.” Ally was now herself nearly in tears.
“Maybe we should cancel?” I suggested.
“No Drew, its not you that mucked up, just tell me what goes on after ok?”
“If you're sure?”
By reply she snuggled into my shoulder, “so what's happening at school?”
Before we knew it, it was just like old times and an hour had passed.
“Come on you lot, let's leave Cheryl in peace for today.”
“You know you can come any time girls.” Mrs R added.
“You want a lift home Ally?” Aunt Carol offered.
“Yes please, otherwise I'll never get to Helen's for six.”
We made our farewells and trooped out to Aunt C's car.
“Just stick those bags on the floor girls.”
I commandeered the front passenger seat.
“Someone's been on the shop!” Ally mentioned.
“Drew.” Aunt Carol supplied.
“Hmm, nice dress, you gonna wear it tonight?” Mad suggested.
“As if!” I nearly exploded.
“Keep your hair on, I was only saying, Hel's really going to town on tonight so I hope you've got something decent to wear.”
“Yeah, tatty jeans are definitely out!” Ally agreed.
I looked down at my leg wear, “they're fashionably distressed.”
“And I'm the Pope.” Mad suggested.
We dropped Ally off and a few minutes later we were back at Chez Peters.
Once in ‘my' room I checked out my kit bag, already knowing what the result would be. Shorts, skinsuit, socks, cycling shoes, trackies, a couple of t-shirts, one clean bra and two pairs of knickers. On top of that was the stuff I was wearing and some dirty underwear, not exactly a great choice of stuff. Sugar! Mad was right; I could hardly go to a party in any of this stuff, especially as I'm like guest of honour.
“Erm Mad.” I gently called across the hall.
“Wassup Drew, why aren't you getting ready?”
“Well I um don't really have anything decent to wear, you got some jeans I can borrow?”
“You have got to be kidding! Drew Bond you really are the limit! Everyone else is dressing up but you wanna wear jeans.”
“I wasn't exactly planning on partying on this trip. Jeans?” I put in in my defence.
“My best ones are in the wash and you could hardly wear my Capri's, looks like that dress is getting an airing Gaby !” she emphasised the name.
“For crying out loud Mad, how do you work that one out?”
“Lets see, party for Drew, no Drew clothes, Gaby clothes available, ergo, Gaby Bond goes to party.”
“But everyone's expecting Drew.”
“Easily sorted.” Mad picked up her phone meaningfully.
“And anyway I've not seen Gaby for a while.”
I wasn't gonna win this one, she knows too much for me to make a convincing counter argument. I inwardly sighed, at least my dress is something I've picked out! Mind you I have got a trump card.
“I might have the dress but I haven't got anything else to go with it.” Ha! Get out of that Madeline Peters!
“No problemo Mademoiselle, Madame Peters has just the things pour you.”
I'm in trouble now.
“Go get showered while I get ready then we'll sort you out.”
“Joy” I mumbled to myself.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” Talk about radar ears.
I tottered along the pavement next to Mad cursing anything and everything! My cousin certainly pulled a number on me; whilst hosiery, shoes and underwear were essential for Gaby her choice was a little, erm, over the top. I mean I haven't ended up looking slutty or anything but the push up bra and three-inch heels made me look a right little Lolita! Lets be straight about this, I don't go out of my way to dress up as Gaby and I try to keep things as gender neutral as I can but I reckon I look quite hot tonight (if a little uncomfortable).
“Come on Gab's, we're late.”
In other words ‘you've made us late'.
“Its these shoes, I don't know how you walk in them, I'm surprised you're mum lets you.”
“What the eye doesn't see.”
As if it wasn't already weird coming to ‘my' party as Gaby but it was also at my old house, the house I lived in nearly all my life.
“Hi guys, come on in, like your hair Gab.” Helen greeted us and once inside took our coats.
I didn't mention my crowning glory did I, the real reason we were late. Mad insisted on putting my hair up in a rather ornate pile of curls and hanging bits – at least it wasn't braids for a change!
“Sorry we're late, someone couldn't decide what to wear.” Mad supplied.
“Ooo nice dress Gabs,” Ally started, “thought you weren't wearing it tonight.”
“Hi Maddy and you must be Gaby right?” Mrs Joyce smiled.
“Um hello Mrs Joyce.”
“You do look like your cousin.”
I blushed a bit.
“Well now you're here we can eat.”
The house looked totally different, well of course it would, different furniture, different positions for things. Sort of like déjà vu with a twist. The five of us had a nice dinner, it was a bit odd being all dressed up like this but the others were gussied up too and I started to get a bit suspicious when Mrs Joyce left soon after we'd eaten.
“So what now, we watching a film or something?”
“Didn't they tell you Gabs? We're having a Valentines party, half the year are coming.” Hel informed me.
“What?” I exclaimed.
The doorbell ringing halted any further discussion as the first partygoers arrived.
“When Helen said an old friend was coming we thought it might be Drew but you're much better.” Paul enthused after cornering Gaby in the kitchen.
“Er thanks, I think Drew was supposed to be coming.”
“I guess it woulda been a long way to come just for a party.” He mused.
You don't know the half of it!
Despite my reservations I actually found myself having a good time. I even managed to have a bit of a boogie after I ditched Mad's towering heels. It was good to see my old school friends again but a bit odd too. After all I could hardly admit to being Drew dressed up like a prom princess but I'd known a lot of these people since infant school. There was a bit of snogging going on, I'm sure Clive was trying to get the courage up to make a move but I managed to avoid him.
Things started to wind down when Mrs J returned just after ten and by eleven there were just a handful of us waiting for our rides home.
“I was a bit surprised when Mad rang and said Gaby was coming.”
“Not as surprised as me, I'll tell you!”
“Sorry I didn't go to Bernie's earlier, I'll go see her tomorrow, I promise.”
“You haven't known her that long but Ally and Mad have known her for like years. She's not really bad, she just got in with a bad crowd.”
“Ally said she was pregnant, is she keeping it?”
“I think so, we didn't really talk about that much.”
Helen looked thoughtful.
“I guess we'll have to share the babysitting!”
I rolled my eyes in disbelief.
“Come on Gabs, mums here.” Mad called from the front hall.
“Have to go I guess,” I struggled to get my shoes back on my stockinged feet, “thanks again for tonight, I'll mail you when I get home.”
We hugged, I was nearly as tall as Hel with the heels, and we were soon making the short trip back to the Peters.
“You all packed Drew?” Aunt C enquired.
“I wish I was coming.” Mad pouted.
“We've discussed this once already.” Her mum pointed out.
I was thankful really that Mad wasn't coming to the airport, when the guys came to Germany last year it was a right cry fest when they left to come back to England.
We gave Mad a ride to school where we met Hel and Ally too. We had a bit of a hug session before they had to go inside. My flight wasn't until four so we drove round to the Rose's to see Bernie for a bit. All too soon it was time to leave and after another tearful farewell we headed out to the A1 to make our way to Leeds Bradford.
It was a good job Aunt C was with me; I would've struggled with all my stuff on my own. The check in was pretty quick and after depositing my bike bag at the oversize check in we went to get something to eat.
“Well kiddo, its time.”
“Thanks for having me.”
“You're welcome, we'll see you again at Easter remember, now chop chop or you'll be late!”
We had a last hug before I joined the queue for security and passports.
I found a seat in departures and watched the coming and going while I waited for my flight to be called. Eventually we were called to the gate and I joined my fellow travellers. It was a bit odd to hear German being spoken around me after five days of almost exclusively English. Where is home? It seemed like Warsop should be but as I waited amongst the mixed collection of Europeans I realised that home is where you make it and that's where my family is, in other words, Dernau not Warsop.
We had to walk out to the plane, it was damn chilly and I felt my nipples crinkle as I shivered. No fancy loading walkway here just a set of steps leading up to our aerial bus. I noted wryly that I would be flying on Jo Whylie, the plane named after a DJ I used to listen to back in Warsop.
Maddy Bell 25.11.08 © 2008
Back to Chapter 6.04 On to Chapter 6.06 Back to The Library