“And relax.” Gloria instructed.
“Urgh!” I announced as I let everything go.
“You can be such a drama queen Drew Bond,” Bernie admonished, “and how come you can do the exercises and I can't?”
“I'm not nearly six months pregnant?”
“I knew there was something.”
“You okay there Bernie?”
“Yes thanks Frau Pilsen.”
“Sorry er Gloria.”
“Right people, we'll stop there, it's Marguerite's last session, baby is due this week.”
“Can't be too soon!” a young woman the size of half a house noted.
“Well I know everyone wishes you well.” Gloria told her.
There was a general murmur of agreement before we all started moving mats around and preparing to leave.
Bern was looking wistfully across to where Marguerite was kinda holding court with the other expectant mothers and their partners.
“Don't give me that, I've known you too long.”
“Its like I'm not one of them, not the same.” She admitted. “Look at them, they're all either married or have steady partners, having a child to them is part of their life plan. I guess I'm jealous, here I am, still in school and expecting a child that certainly wasn't in any plans I might have had.”
I gave her a bit of a hug.
“Come on you, I fancy some ice cream, we can stop at the station, my treat.”
“Yeah if you like.”
We gathered our stuff and left, the others not even noticing our departure.
Gloria watched the two teens depart, ‘I'll have to keep a close eye on Bernie, she seems quite bubbly one minute and the next she's obviously suffering some form of depression. I'll have to talk to her guardians, hmm maybe I should talk to the school as well.'
I looked up from ‘Die Ersten König' to find Pia standing over me.
“I have a favour to ask, its alright if you don't want to but you have some experience and I wouldn't ask but we're really desperate, the competition is only two weeks away.” Pia told me.
“Whoa, slow up, step back, experience in what and what competition? I like to know what I'm letting myself in for.”
Well there's a first time for everything!
“You know Margot, she is in the Tanzgruppe with me, you saw her the other week.”
“So what about her?” they all looked the same to me!
“She has broken her ankle.”
“Bad luck, I bet that hurts.”
"Well we, well that is I wondered if you could help out? Like as a stand in at training?"
"My diary is getting a bit full you know."
"I know Gabs, I wouldn't ask if we weren't desperate and its only like a couple of hours on Thursday nights." she fluttered her eyelashes at me.
"Yup, between eight and ten."
Well I don't really do much on Thursdays except circuit training and a bit of dance type stuff would make a change and it'll only be for a few weeks.
"Okay I'll do it, its only a few weeks yeah?"
"Sure, the competition is two weeks Saturday."
"Fine, so where do you want me?"
"We'll pick you up about seven thirty, you've got some dance clothes?"
"I'll find something."
"This is so cool, thanks Gabs, I knew I could rely on you!"
With that she pulled me into a hug, well what's a guy 's'posed to do? I cautiously hugged her back. It wasn't long and it was definitely not like a Mum hug, Pia broke away.
"See you in class."
Hey who knows, it might be fun. I returned to reading about Bismarck, I've got to finish this flippin' assignment today.
Life certainly has a way of turning up some weird stuff doesn't it? I mean, one day I'm at antenatal classes with Bern, the next I've agreed to fill in for Pia's injured teammate in the Gardetanzengruppe. What's next do you suppose?
“It's probably a stupid question but is there a reasonable explanation for what you are wearing?”
“Er, it's a bit embarrassing.”
“Quite possibly.” Mum agreed eyeing my attire.
“I um agreed to help with Pia's Gardetanz for a couple of weeks, one of the girls broke her ankle so I'm er gonna stand in.”
“Yeah you know, like a cross between cheering and baton twirling.”
“And you volunteered to help?”
“I dunno kiddo, you can be a bit too soft at times, what about training?”
“It's only turbo tonight, I'll get a better workout dancing.”
“Hmm.” Jenny allowed.
“Pia's here, I need to go.”
“Okay, don't be too late.”
“Should be back about ten thirty, bye-ee.”
In truth Drew was wondering himself just why he'd put this stuff on. Well Bern was partly to blame, he'd nearly bottled it when Mum stopped him in the kitchen. It wasn't so much the shorts, or even the ankle warmers, the sweatshirt over his sports bra was a good move, no it was the shiny tan tights that Bern insisted he wear that made him self conscious. Okay he had worn them when he was in the Foresters and even once when they went skating but somehow with the rest of the outfit he felt exposed and - well maybe the way he looked was a bit too girly, if that's possible.
“Thanks for coming Gab.” Pia enthused as I got in her Dad's Mercedes.
“S'okay.” I shrugged.
I glanced at my friends somewhat less ‘cute' outfit, not that her running knickers and wrap top were any less appropriate. It was a fifteen minute drive to the hall the group used behind the Altenahr fire station, a drive during which I really was having second thoughts about this.
‘I'll pick you up at ten.”
“Okay Dad.” Pia sang back. “Come on Gab's, I'll introduce you to the girls.”
I spent the first half hour just watching what the others were doing before I was dragged, not literally of course, into the fray. I like to think I'm in fair shape but after running through the routine a couple of times I was struggling for breath. Not just my breathing was in trouble, I could feel my thighs starting to burn and ache as well, is this such a good idea?
“Well done everybody.” Hannah, the group's coach told us as we finished warming down.
“I'm glad that's over.”
“You did really well Gabs, not many people can manage the splits so soon.” Pia mentioned.
“We used to do them when I was on the cheer team, I hope I haven't pulled anything, I'm pretty sore.” I took a swig of the energy drink I brought with me.
“Ah Gaby, thanks for filling in for us.”
“I kinda enjoyed it Hannah.”
“I'll sort you out some kit for next week, I think most of Margot's will be okay.”
“That's Dad, come on Gabs, see you next week Han.”
“What did she mean about sorting kit out P?”
“Its dress rehearsal the week after.”
The drive back to Dernau seemed quicker than the outward journey, it was only just ten past when Herr Sebenschuh dropped me off at Bond Acres.
“See you tomorrow.”
I climbed up to the house and let myself in.
“How'd it go twinkle toes?” Dad enquired.
“Okay I guess.” I allowed.
“Someone needs a shower.” Mum mentioned.
“No kidding.” I agreed.
“So you going again?”
“Only for two more weeks.”
“Yeah the competition is the following Saturday, I only need to be there until then.”
to be continued....
Maddy Bell 27.08.09 © 2009