Bernie yawned and stretched as best she could. Outside it was still dark, the clock above the driver was showing 08.05 and it felt like she'd seen every minute pass. It wasn't true but it felt like it.
They had caught a ferry from Dover, Cheryl had insisted they eat so despite the late hour they'd had pie and chips – the best you could say was that it was hot, otherwise it was just plain expensive. That filled thirty minutes, only another hour or so to fill!
Well anyway, once they were back on terra firma pretty much everyone on board seemed intent on catching a few z's, the next thing Bern could recall was as they turned off the motorway into Gent. Twenty minutes later she was dozing again as they headed eastwards towards Brussels.
There was a repeat of the wake up as they negotiated the Belgian capital, then twenty minutes sat at the interchange before heading out to the motorway once again. All the stops seemed just far enough apart to let you fall asleep before you were woken again. Liége came and went, then Aachen.
They had a thirty-minute toilet and breakfast stop shortly afterwards, it was seven o'clock and not yet light. The Rose's grabbed a quick coffee, thirty minutes including toilet was cutting it a bit fine to have more! The next stop was Köln, - barely an hour away.
The coach threaded its way through the traffic alongside the Rhein before diving into an underpass, emerging close to the railway station.
“Mum.” She gently shook her mothers shoulder.
The coach swung into the bus station, Bern recognised the Maccy D's under the railway station from her trip last year.
“Köln, Cologne, Colonia.” The driver called out as he stopped their transport.
“Come on Mum.” Bern encouraged shrugging her coat on.
Nearly everyone was getting off here although it was continuing on to Frankfurt far to the south. Five minutes later they were dragging their cases towards the shelter of the railway station along with the early commuters.
“Dave Bond isn't picking us up till nine, lets see if we can get some proper breakfast.”
“I think there's some sort of food hall in here.” Bern mentioned.
It didn't take much effort to find said facility and a bit of pidgin Germlish and pointing later they managed to secure coffee and plated ‘Frühstuck' for under €10 for both of them. They were hardly sat down before Cheryl's phone started with its embarrassing ‘Thriller' ring tone.
“Cheryl? Dave Bond.”
“Oh hi Dave.”
“Hi yourself, where are you?”
“In Cologne railway station, we were early so we're just getting some breakfast.”
“In the concourse?”
“Stay there, I'll find you, Tschuss!”
“Who was that?” Bern enquired as her Mum closed her phone.
“Drew's Dad, he'll find us here.”
“I'll nip to the loo now then.”
“Remember you'll need some money?”
“I have been before.” Bern sighed.
When she got back Dave Bond was sat in her seat.
“Here she is, welcome to Germany Bernie!”
“Hi Mr Bond.”
“You ready Bern?” Her Mum suggested.
“I guess.” She hastily threw what was left on her platter into the roll to make an impromptu sandwich.
Dave led the way taking two cases, the women following behind with a case apiece. The Bond's Saab was parked with its hazards going only a few metres from the station entrance. By eight thirty they were actually negotiating the rush hour traffic, luckily most of it was heading the opposite direction.
“Remember the Rose's will be here when you get home.” Mum mentioned.
“Just don't be too late, we're going out to eat tonight.”
“Right, oh bum, the girls were gonna come round.”
“They can come tomorrow.”
“I guess. Where're we eating?”
“Schloss Mayschoß, your Dad has booked it.”
“It's supposed to be very traditional, it's on the opposite side of the river to the town.”
“That big place?”
“I think so.”
“Bum, I'm late!”
“See ya later kiddo.”
“So I told her ‘Get a life!', oh hi Drew.”
“Hi Nena, P. no one else here?”
“Not yet.” Pia confirmed.
“Morning Mrs T.”
Its funny really, I really prefer tea but its become a ritual to have coffee at the bakery every school day.
Everyone else turned up over the next couple of minutes.
“There's a bit of a change of plan guys.”
“For what?” Brid enquired.
“This evening, Dad's taking the family out to eat tonight, you know a sort of welcome meal.”
“Bummer.” Steff allowed.
“Mum says you can come over in the morning if you like.”
“Make a change to meeting here.” Con pointed out.
“We still going out after?” Pia asked.
“Are we! I'm sure Bernadette will like to.” Anna suggested.
The old Bernie would but I'm not so sure about this new version.
“Time girls!” Frau Thesing mentioned.
So of course the day dragged big style. I had to partner Martin Preiser, he of the Goth party, in Biology, I let him cut up the rat; I'm just not cut out for it. Worse still it was a reminder of what I'm in for on Monday and seeing the rat's tiny reproduction organs wasn't much comfort either. I spent the rest of the lesson thinking about what I've got inside me, do I really have the same bits as Mad and the girls, could I get pregnant like Bernie? Nah don't be daft, I don't have all the kit and I do not like boys!
Other than that it was just like any other Friday – only longer!
“In here kiddo.”
I dumped my school stuff, kicked off my shoes and went through to the lounge.
“Hiya Drew, we made it.”
I grinned, “Ee oop lass, tha's looking grand!”
“Not in front of the adults Drew!” Bern giggled.
“Hi Mrs Rose.”
“I was just gonna make a brew, you want one Kiddo?” Dad enquired.
It then dawned on me that everyone was a bit dressed up; well okay not big event dressed up but certainly quite tidy.
“We have to wait for Jules but you can get yourself ready.” Mum suggested.
I emerged from the shower feeling somewhat refreshed if a little cool, it was setting in for another cold night. The question of course is what to wear. Well there's one thing for sure – I am not wearing a skirt or dress! No sirree, its trousers tonight, Drew is going out, not Gaby. That said I pulled on my knickers, decided to wear tights for warmth and then searched out a clean bra. Hey it's needed if you have a pair of B cups! Still it was a sports bra so with a flannel shirt and a baggy jumper it's not obvious I have boobs thank heaven. Somewhere during this dressing lark I heard Goth Girl arrive, we'd be leaving in the next hour!
“Your tea's getting cold.” Dad mentioned as I rejoined the waiters in the lounge.
“It'll be okay.”
“So Dave, where are we eating?” Mrs Rose enquired.
Dad had borrowed the team minibus for the night; at least we all got a seat even if it wasn't exactly comfortable or warm. The drive up to Mayschoß only took about ten minutes; we were able to park in the courtyard of the Schloss so it wasn't far to walk to the restaurant.
“Brrrr!” Bern offered.
“You can say that again.”
We all filed inside, it was vaguely warmer and lit with brands set in wall sconces. (Dad explained all this stuff yonks ago.)
“Ah Herr Bond! We're waiting for you.”
There was something familiar about the maitre d, maybe I've just seen him about.
“Come, come.” He encouraged holding the door for us to enter.
We passed through a pretty solid wooden door into what I guessed was the restaurant, not that you could see much, it was lit by a huge fire in the fireplace at one end and smaller fires set on faggot holders around the room.
“God its like some Dracula film.” Bern whispered.
“Not many.” I agreed.
We weren't the only diners, several other tables were occupied in the hall, for now my eyes were adjusted a bit better you could see it was like a castle great hall complete with all the right décor – I guess we are in a castle of sorts!
“Wow this is something else.” Cheryl Rose noted.
“Isn't it?” Dad agreed, “I've been wanting to come since they opened. It's supposed to be a German Mittelalter, middle age menu.”
“Güten Abend ladies, sir. I'll be your Kellner this evening.”
I recognised that voice and now I knew why I thought the Maitre d looked familiar.
Maddy Bell 06.01.09 © 2009
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