Jess' routine wasn't long, maybe five minutes, forming just one part of a fifteen minute routine involving several other skaters. It was meant to be fun but even so she managed to include some pretty technical and intricate moves including a tricky blade walk that left me in awe of her skills. Despite what she'd said earlier there is just no way I could ever do stuff like that.
I'd already put her onto my phone so the fact that we didn't get a chance to really say goodbye wasn't so bad. Why? Well, Sylv texted Em to say she was outside half an hour before she was due. Ah well.
“You girls eaten?”
“We were going to get ‘dogs before you got here,” Em mentioned.
“Anyone fancy pizza?”
My stomach rumbled loud enough to cause a round of giggles.
“I'll take that as yes then, there's a Pizza Hut® just down the road, I passed it on the way in.”
Of course the conversation over our food was largely centred on : boys, my skating prowess, injury, boys, which ice cream to have and yep, you've got it, boys. My friends all seem to have gone man mad, even Em who is the least female (albeit most feminine) of the lot. The pizza was good – it's difficult to get cheese on bread too wrong and soon we were crammed into Sylv's Multipla for the journey back to Warsop.
“I spoke to Cheryl Rose earlier,” Aunt Carol advised after Mad and I docked at Peters' central.
“Oh?” Mad queried.
“Bern is still getting out tomorrow?” I checked .
“Yes, they're picking her up in the morning; she rang to invite you for tea tomorrow.”
How come they cart people off to prison god knows where but when you are let out you have to make your own way home?
“You don't have to repeat everything I say, Madeline Peters.”
Oops, full name, Mad is on soggy ground.
“Just us?” I enquired.
“The others too; I'll be going as well.”
“It seems like forever since she got banged up,” I noted.
“Only three months” Mad seemed to need to qualify .
“A lot has happened in three months,” I observed.
“So, you girls have a good day?”
It started raining during the night, the cold light of morning revealed a Meden Valley shrouded in low cloud with a persistent drizzle wetting anything that dared venture out of doors. I had been planning on a ride this morning but I don't have to go and get me and the bike all soggy. Nah, getting wet doesn't sound like fun, I turned over and shut my eyes.
“You getting up Gaby?”
“I said, are you getting up?” Mad repeated.
I'm sure she must be part parrot, always repeating herself and everyone else.
“What time is it?”
“Nearly nine, cheer practice this morning? I've brought you some ‘tards and stuff, Mum's doing scrambled egg downstairs.”
So that's what I could smell.
Damn, I'd forgotten about going to the Foresters ' practice again, what with skating yesterday and Bernie coming home today there's been a lot to take on board. After hitting the bathroom – did I really drink that much last night? – I assessed the pile of clothing Mad had dropped on the end of my bed. You are having a laugh Maddy Peters. There is just no way I'm wearing a thong backed leotard – let alone in public.
I could just wear my normal togs I guess but I think Miss Cowlishaw, Fran, is expecting me to take part. Geez, a further examination of the options found me wearing a pink and grey striped leotard over pale yellow tights with a matching ra ra skirt and a grey ballet cardigan thing. Okay, not high fashion but suitably chaste and comfortable for the upcoming exercise session. I grabbed some shorts and a T to change into and headed off to locate the source of the incredible aroma.
“Drew?” Aunt C enquired.
“Well it's practical for cheering,” I offered.
“You don't have to do it,” She said pointedly, offering me an out.
“She so does,” Mad interjected.
“It's okay, really, it's not like I'm not used to it.”
“Just remember, it's your choice, not a word, Madeline.”
My cousin backed off from further comment.
“Great eggs aunty” I observed changing the subject.
“Thank you Drew,” she allowed looking pointedly at her daughter.
Aunt C drove us round to the sports centre as it was lagging it down by now.
“What are you doing afterwards?” Aunt C asked.
“Hanging at Helen's I think,” Mad supplied.
“Remember you need to get ready to go to the Rose's, we're leaving at four.”
“Yes Mum,” Mad sighed.
“We'll be back for three,” I interjected, “I need to find her prezzie before we go.”
“Have fun then.”
There was no flock of cheerleaders outside today, instead we found them twittering away in the room we used on Tuesday.
“Right, who are we missing?” Fran opened the batting.
“Just Terri miss,” Chrissie informed us.
“We need to get on, Drew, can you stand in for her?”
“Thanks,” she winked at me.
“So, warm ups?”
And thus I started a second cheer practice, and there was me thinking I'd just be chilling with my buds this week.
“I swear, you could see it when she was doing the lifts,” Al told us.
“I thought you had to be eighteen to get one,” I mentioned.
“I'm only telling you what I saw.”
“I heard that Chrissie got more than her belly button pierced last week,” Mad added.
“No, you don't mean?”
Mad nodded, “That's what I heard.”
"A tramp stamp's bad enough but that's just gross,” Al stated her opinion .
The rain had at least eased off by the time we departed the session, I had another chat with Fran, brought her up to date with Bernie and promised to write to her when I got a chance.
“So what are you guys wearing this after?” Hel enquired once we'd settled into what until last year was my, the Bond family's living room. Of course the furniture's different, the walls a different colour even but it's still weird.
“We dressing up?” Em asked.
“It's not like the school dance,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, Drew's right, it's not a party as such is it?” Al backed me up.
“Damn, I was thinking of wearing those sequinned shorts I got,” Hel sighed.
I love Helen to bits but the idea of that is just sooo wrong.
“Clean and tidy will do,” Manda suggested as she passed through with an armload of laundry.
“Boring,” Mad sighed.
I let the conversation drift around me as I sank into the armchair. The stuff that happened in this room…
"And renewed British interest. If you've just joined us the good news is that Jenny Bond has just rejoined the leaders after she was involved in a huge crash a few laps ago."
Oh yeah, the Worlds in Mexico, we were all sat here on the edge of our seats.
"It's Gold David, the judges have put it at a tyre"
"Mum won the cup, Mum won the cup, ee I ally o, Mum won the cup!" I sang as all three of us danced around the room.
Yeah that was quite a day, I grinned to myself.
“What's Gab grinning at?” I heard Em ask.
“Let her be, she's in a world of her own,” Al observed.
Maybe I am. Yeah the worlds, that was a high point but there were lows too.
“So what's this all about?” Jules asked, “come to rub Dieter in our faces?”
Mum flinched at Jules barb and I realised that she most certainly wasn't the bubbly Mum of old, not by a long way.
“I guess I deserve that,” she allowed.
Yeah, all the stuff with Mum.
“The team doctor is supposed to tell George if there's anything wrong, I agreed to that in the contract. But anyway he agreed to keep quiet for the time being.”
“Quiet about what?” suddenly everyone else seemed to know more than me.
“I've got cancer, Drew."
At least that's behind us now.
I must have been day dreaming for ages as the next thing I remember is Em poking me in the arm.
“You eating that or what?”
“Kewl,” she leant over and liberated the slice of Battenburg from the plate I was holding, “thank you!”
“You're lucky she asked Drew, you've been sat there mumbling to yourself for over an hour,” Helen told me.
“We should get off anyway if were gonna get ready on time,” Mad proposed .
“Sugar, is that the time?” Al added, seconding the motion.
We gathered our stuff and in short order departed Chez Joyce né Bond for the short walk back to the Peters.
“Ah you're back, I was just making a sandwich, anyone want one?” Aunt C enquired.
“Drew just slept through cake at Hel's,” my cousin cackled.
“I wasn't asleep.”
“You so were, Drew Bond.”
“Stop arguing, sandwich?”
“Nah, I did eat my cake.” Mad mentioned.
“Five minutes if you want to get changed, Drew?”
Do I want to get changed, is the Pope Catholic? Of course I do. I clomped upstairs hard on the heels of my cousin, yeah I want to look good for Bernie. She'll be out now, on her way home I guess, I wonder what she's thinking? Hmm that reminds me, the prezzies for her and the baby. I say prezzies in the plural as the girls clubbed together for a teddy for junior and Marty has sent what looks suspiciously like a necklace for Bern too. Now then, where did I put them?
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 06.06.12