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Part 27
Moving Swiftly Along

Well after the weekend Monday almost came as relaxation. In fact most of the week was without notable incident. Monday evening we all met at Ally's and played video games and then on Tuesday I rode the Cuckney ten. I made a good effort and once again recorded a time within seconds of my new best. Even with no makeup, earrings or dolled up hair to confuse them, everyone referred to me as Miss Bond or even Dee Bond! (I guess that was because I usually told people I was D Bond, as in Drew rather than A for Andrew and they assumed I meant Dee!) Life is getting complicated! In fact the timekeeper put me on the sheet this week as Dee Bond, I now had another alias.

Wednesday was the first of May, which in the UK means next Monday is a public holiday. The rest of the week was as normal as a school week goes, get up, go to school, come home, do homework, go to bed. Ecouté et repeteé! (My poor French!).

The real highlight was another letter from Mr Wood about the student exchange, which we were given on Friday. This was not just a letter but all the forms and stuff that we needed to fill out to take part. So of course when we all met Saturday morning that was the main topic of conversation.

"Why do they need so much information?" Rhod asked the group in general

"Who knows? Perhaps they got wind we're from bandit country and think that we might start a crime wave"

"Don't be daft Drew, even the Americans know Robin Hood is just a legend"

"Bet they don't, bet they think it's all real, all that Sheriff stuff"

"Well I prefer 'Maid Marion and her Merry Men' anyway" Ally suggested

"They couldn't even get the locations right in 'Prince of Thieves'" Maddy added

"My favourite's 'Men in Tights', that is just so funny" Rhod stated

"Well there is a real Little Johns grave" I put in

"There's not!" Bernie disagreed

"There is, it's in Hathersage over in the Peak District"

"That's miles away!" Rhod declared

"So, it's still there. And there really is a Loxley, it's in Sheffield" I added for good measure.

"What happened to it all being in Sherwood Forest then?" Maddy queried

"Dunno, guess it was bigger back then and I suppose there weren't counties and stuff the same, even Conisbrough Castle's in Yorkshire!"

This was all getting a little surreal!

"Anyway it still doesn't explain why they want my Gran's name and address does it?"

"'Spose not" Maddy answered.

We decided to go bowling in the afternoon down in Mansfield, we asked Jules and her mates to make up the numbers and arranged to meet at the bus stop at one.

Charlotte was waiting for us, leaning against the wall when we, Jules and I, got to the stop.

"Where's Anna, Charlie?"

"She said she'd see us here, if she doesn't hurry up she'll miss the bus"

"I'll call her house to see if she's left if you like" I offered, brandishing my new phone.

"Hi guys!"

"Huh!" Jules gasped

"Anna what happened to your hair?"
I turned to see what was wrong and I joined the others in my gasp. To say Anna looked different would be an understatement! Her usually mousy brown hair was a sort of pink! I mean like lipstick pink.

Anna looked quite pissed (excuse the French!)

"My little sister!" she stated with vehemence.

Jules and Charlie both rolled their eyes as if this meant something.

"What did she do Anna?" Maddy queried

"Well I thought I'd, you know use one of those tint things, brighten my hair up a bit" she paused

"Go on" Jules urged

"Well I bought it last week and left it in the bathroom cabinet and that little *£$/@! doctored it."

"It's, er, different!" Rhod stated, "can't you wash it out?"

"I found the container and it's a permanent colour, I'm stuck with it at least for a few weeks"

"What did your mum say?" Charlie asked

"She blew her top, first at me, then when I told her what had happened she grounded Joanne for a month. Serves her right!"

"Bus is here!" Bernie mentioned.

We paid our fares and the conversation resumed

"At least you don't need a wig for Cosplay!" Ally joked

"It's not funny Ally, you try walking round with pink hair, everyone keeps staring at me like I'm some sort of freak!"

"What about school? Mr Wood will go ballistic!" Bernie suggested

"Mum said she'll ring on Tuesday morning to sort it out"

"Uh! What about your passport?" Charlie exclaimed

"Oh no, I've got to get a new passport photo this week, I'll have pink hair in my passport for ten years!"

"That will be like just so embarrassing" Maddy stated

"I'll never live it down"

"Of course you will" Jules soothed, "a couple of weeks time and you can get Sylv to dye it back, and everyone at school will think you're pretty cool"

"I doubt it"

"Yeah you can say it's a statement of individuality or something" I suggested

"I suppose that would be less embarrassing than the truth, at least Joanne is still in junior school."

The bus pulled in to the interchange and five minutes later we were waiting for a free lane over the road at the Superbowl. Me, Mad, Anna and Charlie made one team, Jules, Rhod, Bernie and Ally the other. I think I've said before, I'm no great shakes at bowling and neither are any of the others but we always have a good time.

Well for the first time I can remember I was on the winning side! We won convincingly too, a clear twelve points. It was still only three thirty when we finished so we decided on a walk through the precinct. This did not exactly fill me with enthusiasm, the last couple of times I'd been round these shops I was either dressed as a girl or buying girls shoes and stuff. Still, there was no reason to believe I would be mistaken again, after all I was with a bunch of good looking (don't tell 'em I said that) girls and I'm no picture really. Besides I'm hardly dressed like a girl am I?

We queued in Maccy D's for 'flurries', then like many other groups of teens; we drifted along the precinct. Rhod and I managed to stay away from the boutiques and I thought I had cracked it when I realised we were in Sarah's shoe store. I glanced around and couldn't see her; perhaps I could still escape!


Luck was not on my side!

"Hi Sarah"

"Are you guys looking for anything this week, Gaby?"

"Er no, we're just killing time 'till our bus is due, we've been bowling"

"Who's the lad? Your boyfriend?"

She was only kidding about but I flushed pink anyway.

"Rhod, we all go to school together"

The others had left me when I hesitated inside the door and only just realised I was missing.

"Who are the others then?"

I pointed each out

"Maddy, my sister Jules, Bernie, Ally, Charlie and Anna's the one with pink hair"

"Is that for a bet or something?"

"No her little sister's to blame"

Maddy was waving me over so with Sarah in tow I joined the others.

"Hey guys, this is Sarah, I told you about her helping me get my shoes for the dance," I was making frantic eye signals, "remember?" I was laying it on thick.

"Hi girls, Gaby was just saying you've been bowling"

Several eyebrows shot up at that and I continued to make various 'don't drop me in it' signals.

Maddy cottoned on first and came to my 'rescue'.

"Yeah, Gaby, me, Charlie and Anna beat this lot by an end" she indicated the losers.

The others clicked then, it was a close run thing whether someone would actually burst into laughter, but they all just about kept their mirth to themselves.

"Well nice meeting you all, have to go, I've got someone waiting, bye Gaby, see you soon!"

"Bye Sarah"


She left us alone and Jules could contain herself no longer. 

"Well 'sis', I don't know how you manage it"

"Give over Jules"

"Told you didn't I?" Maddy suggested

"This is just so weird Drew, I guess everyone else sees something that we don't"

"Let's just get out of here eh!"


"Give him a break" Rhod put in

"Ok then, come on 'girls'"

We waved to Sarah as we left the store; she returned a quick wave.

"I see what you mean now Mad," Bernie said

"He doesn't even need to try does he?"

"I'm here guys, you know"

"Yes but is it Drew or Gaby that's here?" Anna queried

"Oh give over will you!"

"Come on Gabs, walk with me" Mad suggested grabbing my arm. As a result I found myself walking along, arm linked with Mad's like so many other girls. What am I saying? 'Other girls', I'm 100% man, well boy! I think. The others trailed along behind and my 'friends' played it until it was well past it's best and I was getting pretty annoyed. Maddy at least, managed to stop me blowing up and Rhod was doing his best to help as well but one guy against five girls - well no contest!

Maddy Bell 19.04.03
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.