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Part 25
News Travels Fast

Tuesday and time for another ten. School was uneventful, Mrs Peters had her meeting with the Head but we wouldn't know the outcome till later on. At least this week I wouldn't go to the race wearing makeup and earrings! Well I suppose they were just props, I mean everyone treated me the same as when I was wearing them. I was slower this week but the weather was cooler and the weekends wind was still making it's presence felt. I didn't hang around but rode home as soon as I got my time.

"Can you ring Maddy, Drew?" Juliette greeted me

"Did she say what about?"

"Some exchange thing"

There was an element of expectation as I dialled the number.

"Hi Mrs Peters"

"Hi Drew, Maddy is just here"

"Hi Drew"

"Hi Mad, is it on then?" I asked

"Mum said Mr Wood wasn't too keen but she talked him round"


"He want's to see us in the morning before assembly" I seemed to end up in his office far too often lately.

"What for?"

"I think he want's to sort of keep it quiet"


"Well I thought I'd let you know as soon as I could, anyway got to go. See you in the morning"

"Yeah bye"

"Night Drew"

Yes!  A trip to the US. 


"What was that all about" Jules asked

"Mr Peters is organising a student exchange to America, Mr Wood wants to see some of us in the morning."

I could see that my potential trip had already sparked a spot of jealousy.

"Nothings settled yet, it might not happen"

Jules didn't say anything so I left it there.

"Okay you lot" Mr Wood was speaking to our small gathering the following morning.

"Madeline's mother has convinced me, against my better judgement, that a cultural exchange visit to America would be good for you lot."

He paused as though waiting for a reply.

"I agreed on the following conditions

1.     You don't go round rubbing it in everyone else's face.

2.     You all pass the year end exams with at least a B and number

3.     You write me an essay on why I should let you go to America.

Any questions?"

What could we say, it all seemed reasonable, even the B grade, a little bit of work on our part and we would spend six weeks in Virginia!

"No Mr Wood" we replied in unison.

"Okay then. I'll contact the school in America and when I've got more details I'll let you and your parents know alright?"

We nodded in reply

"Right then, off to assembly and remember what I said about telling other pupils"

"Yes sir"

We filed out and led by Bernie we had a group hug and general happy couple of minutes.

"Come on guy's we don't want to be late, we'll talk at break" I suggested

"Okay" Mad answered for the others.

It was difficult to not tell Paul in double history but I managed to get to break without letting the cat out of the bag. I met my other co conspirators at break and we found a quiet corner where we could talk without the world listening in.

"Mad tell your mum and dad thanks" I started

"Yeah, we really owe them one on this" Ally added

"Six weeks in America! This is just so cool" Rhod put in

"I know, it's pretty cool" Bernie agreed

"I'm going to Germany at half term too, my passport's gonna be worn out" I continued

"Cool Drew, you going to see your mum?" Maddy asked

"Yeah, I hope the exchange stuff is here by then"

"What do you think it will be like?" Rhod queried

"Dad said it was just a small place a bit like an American Warsop"

"No malls or anything?" Bernie put in

"Don't think so but we can find out on the internet I suppose"

"Yeah great idea"

"What is this place called anyway?"


"You're kidding right?" Ally suggested

"No seriously, that's what dad said it was called"

"And I thought we had some strange place names" Rhod added

"Well I hope they're not a load of pixies or something" Bernie giggled

[I must state here that while Grottoes, Virginia will be the geographical location for the 'American Episode', it is purely a convenient geographical location and any similarity to that town or its burgher's is entirely coincidental.] Maddy Bell

The bell for third period rang and we split up to go to our various classes.

"Hey Drew" Clive started, "are you going to America with the girls?"

Well I hadn't said anything so I decided to play dumb, something I was getting adept at around Clive.

"What? Who's going to America?"

"Your girlfriend Maddy and the others, whoops, perhaps your not supposed to know!"

"I don't know anything about anyone going to America and she's not my girlfriend" I stated.

"Whatever, I think it's some sort of secret, but Karen told us at break. Some sort of exchange thing"

Sheesh, news sure does travel fast round here. Karen must have overheard us I suppose.

"I'll have to ask them at lunch then, they sure kept that quiet"

My ability to act affronted was sorely stretched but I think I pulled it off. Our teacher then attracted our attention and the subject was at least temporarily dropped.

Fate kept the five of us apart for the rest of the day but in last period, metalwork, the school secretary brought an envelope to class for both Rhod and I, addressed to our parents. I walked home with Jules to find dad home before us.

"Hi kids"

"Hi dad"

"I've spoken to mum and she's got some accommodation for us and I've booked tickets for us on the train."

"We're not flying?" Jules whined

"No it's too expensive and anyway the train doesn't take much longer over all"

I remembered the envelope.

"I got this for you dad" I passed him the white manila.

"I'll have a look while you two do tea"

"Aw dad" my sister was about to argue.

"You only have to cook the pasta and heat the sauce through" dad informed us

"Humph ok then, come on Drew you're not getting out of it" I was instructed.

We made the meal and as is usual in the land of the Bond's, we each grabbed our plate and ate from our laps.

"I suppose you guessed that the letter was about this exchange thing Drew"


"Well Mr Wood has spoken to the principal of the school over there and it's definitely on"

"Way to go!"

"Alright for some" Jules mumbled

"Less of that young lady"

"Yes dad" she sulked

"Anyway Drew, the Americans are sending some forms over but it looks like they won't have any trouble finding 'partners' for you all. And Jules Mr Wood has suggested that some fifth formers might like to apply too."

Well my sister's face lit up and I felt a bit less guilty too. I suppose the other affected households spent the evening much like us, talking about Mr Wood's letter and it's implications. Of course our household also had the trip to Germany to occupy us, I'm just glad that I didn't have much homework!

"Dad showed us where it is, on the internet there's maps and all sorts" Maddy enthused.

We all dutifully looked at the printout she was brandishing.
"Wow, it's only about a hundred miles from Washington DC" Ally exclaimed

"Maybe we'll get to go" Rhod enthused

"It's only a small place according to the website," Mad added

"I wonder if they're trying to find out about us too?" Bernie asked no one in particular.

"'Course they are!" I stated, "I mean if they're anything like us they will be"

The bell for registration brought us back to reality.

By the end of school on Friday I think most of the school had found out and although it was still a valid topic, the upcoming weekend had taken over in peoples priorities.

Maddy Bell 15.04.03

Copyright (c) 2003
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The images used above have been selected from various sources. If you hold the copyright to any image and wish it removed contact me. Thanks to everyone involved in Cosplay, particularly Anime Turnpike.