Gaby Title.jpg
Part 26
Drew Time


Saturday and no race today so I went for my training ride early so I would be ready to meet the rest of the gang at the bus stop at nine thirty. We were making a return trip to Nottingham at Bernie's insistence; she is a certified shopaholic!

I decided to dress in jeans and t-shirt, as the day was warm and bright. At least I naively thought no one would think I was a girl, how wrong can you get!

Of course the main topic of conversation on the hour-long bus ride was the student exchange programme. We knew no more than on Thursday but it was our happening news!

Once in our county seat, we walked through the Victoria Centre, part of Bernie's paradise, before emerging into the city centre proper. The plan was to catch a film later after doing the shops in our usual thorough way. As usual Rhod and I spent a good deal of time waiting for the girls, no way were we going into girls clothes shops, especially not with my record!

It was during one of these interludes that I found myself checking out the phones in the grandly named 'Carphone Warehouse'. A lot of the kids at school had phones but I had never been bothered enough to even look at them. However I'm a sucker for a good deal and the 'pay as you go' deal on the Nokia was too good to pass up. I mean, it was the phone at school and I could own one for just 89.95! With my, or rather Gaby's bulging bank balance I could afford it easily.

"What do you reckon Rhod?"

"Cool phone Drew, that's the next model up to the phone that flash kid in the fourth years got"

Well I wasn't flash but the chance to bring Justin Morris down a peg or two was just too tempting.

"I'm gonna get one, wait here in case the girls come out and I'll get some money out."

So I left Rhod and used the ATM a couple of doors down to recover the necessary readies. The girls were still in Top Shop, so I slipped into the store and emerged ten minutes later the proud owner of a mobile phone. The girls had eventually emerged from their clothes fest and were waiting with Rhod when I exited the shop.

"You got a phone Drew?"

"Yeah"

"Getting a bit flash aren't we?" Ally intoned

"You've got one" I accused

"Just kidding Drew, what have you got?"

I showed the guys my flashy communicator and we ended up in Maccy D's still checking it out.

"The film doesn't start for another hour, we can get a few more shops in" Bernie suggested

"Ok then"

At least I had my phone to amuse me while they shopped.

"Come on lets have a look in here again" Maddy enthused

I just followed the others and only realised where we were when Maddy asked my opinion on a swimsuit.

"Er ok I suppose, I'm gonna wait outside"

Too late.

"Hi girls, back to get your leotards?"

Maddy was quick to reply

"Yes, Gabs has decided to get that one we looked at last time"

The salesgirl was good, I couldn't remember what I had been forced to look at but she could. My chance of escape gone and compromised by my friend I would have to brazen it out.

"Here we are" she held the garment up to me

"That looks really good Gaby"

"Er yeah I suppose so" I was trying to sound enthusiastic really!

"We've got some new designs just in this week, you'd really look cute in one of the 'Danceteam' ones"

Cute! Sheesh how could anyone think I was a girl dressed like this. And cute too.

"Come on Gabs, some of these are really neat"

"I don't want a leotard!" I hissed through clenched teeth "and cut the Gaby out"

"Oh this one matches your eyes"

I gave up in exasperation.

"If I get one can we go?"

"'Course"

"You pick one then"

Maddy, flushed with perverse success grinned back.

We left shortly afterwards, me clutching a bag containing a pale blue leotard and matching tights and Maddy got herself a similar outfit in pale green. I hate shopping!

"What was that all about Mad?" I turned angrily on her once in the street.

"It was just a bit of fun Drew, she didn't catch on at all"

"So why did I have to buy these?" I shook the bag at her

"Guilt?"

I was still pretty unchuffed.

"Well you'd better have them then" I thrust the bag into her arms and stormed off toward the cinema where the others were waiting for us.

"Drew, Drew" I could hear Maddy following me

"Drew, look I'm really sorry"

I ignored her apology

"Come on Drew, I didn't mean anything by it, I was just trying to wind up the shop girl"

"And me too, which you succeeded with" I stormed

"Oh please Drew. I'll take these back and explain to the salesgirl"

I wasn't sure what was worse, being mistaken for a girl or rubbing people's nose in their misapprehension by pointing it out.

"Maddy what's done is done just promise me you won't pull that stunt again?"

"Ok Drew I promise. What about these though?"

"Keep them as a present for helping last week" I couldn't stay angry with her for long. We had now reached the others and we all joined the short queue for the ticket office.

The film was a bit girly, 'Ten Things I Hate About You', but we all enjoyed it at least enough not to talk through it! When I tried, vainly, to shush some girls sat in front of us all I got was abuse,

"Who do you think you are little miss prissy?"

As you might guess I was more than a little affronted by this. I mean the cinema was dark and I was sat between Bernie and Ally who had to hold me down! Well they were tarts anyway!

Anyway after the film we hit a few more shops before trying to rush Bernie back through the Victoria Centre on the way to the bus station. Our attempts were in vain and we nearly missed our bus due to a pair of tangerine hotpants! Say no more.

The others were going back to Rhod's but I elected to go straight home, as I needed to get ready for my race in the morning.

The new day dawned fresh and bright and this week it was circuit racing out in Lincolnshire again. I'm sure Jules fancied someone who was racing, she never missed a mass start but time trials, no go Juliette! We took the Veedub instead of dad's car and we were out at Metheringham with plenty of time to spare.

The day was turning pretty warm which brought out a lot of spectators to watch the various events. My race was the first on the card, forty laps at just over half a mile each with a field of thirty two under sixteen's including five girls.

I might have had pretensions to my ability but lets face it some of the others were three years older than me and included the previous week's ten-mile winner. Realistically I had no chance"!

Well the older kids soon made it difficult for the girls and another couple of guys my age; it's amazing what difference a year makes. Our little group was dropped after a frenetic couple of laps and we settled down into a half-organised bunch. I say half-organised, most of us knew the concept of working together but a couple of the girls hadn't grasped the idea of taking their turn at the front. Although I knew if it came to a sprint finish I had the beating of most of the group, I hate lazy riders, mums influence I suppose.

We had done fifteen laps when I decided that I'd had enough, so on the wind assisted back straight I made my 'Pantaniesque' effort to break the group. It worked a dream, two girls and the three lads were soon in pursuit and a lap later I let them catch me, mission accomplished, lazy riders gone! The six of us worked well together and the main race had still not managed to gain more than three quarters of a lap on us when one of lads had a puncture on lap thirty.

I suppose the writing was on the wall, within two laps the front group caught us and we gratefully slid back through the group until we slotted in at the back. After getting our breath, we joined in the rotation, it seemed like the older kids were content to have a sprint finish. However with a couple of laps to go they raised the pace enough that our little group unanimously decided to let them go.

So it was that we saw the front of the race cross the line from the last corner. I had a quick look at my fellows and decided to make an effort at least. I slipped down a gear then made my move down the outside. The others decided I wasn't going to have my way and joined in a pursuit to the line. Lucky for me I watched mum and followed her advice, I eased slightly with about a hundred metres to go then as the others thought they had me I accelerated again catching all bar one out!

"Well done lass"

"Nice move"

"Must have been watching Jenny Bond"

I might not have been the event winner, but I had won the sprint that gave me the win for my age category. Even if some shortsighted spectators thought I was a girl! My family both thought I had ridden well and sensibly and a couple of seniors commented that they would try my move in their races.

As the weather was fine we stayed to watch the rest of the programme and much to my annoyance I overheard several people talking about 'that girl who won the sprint', it didn't register the first time but when Jules pointed it out to me I was mortified. It seemed that whichever way I went people thought I was a girl. Why? I guess if I could find the answer to that I could do something about it.

Maddy Bell 16.04.03
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.