“Just you two?” Mrs R enquired.
“Yes mum, the others had stuff to do.” Bern stated with a sigh.
“Not exactly my choice.” Bern noted.
“Well I enjoyed it.”
“So what did you see?”
“Tokyo Drift.” I supplied.
“Which is about?”
“Car racing in Japan.” Bern moaned. “Where's Drea?”
“Asleep next door, been as good as gold for her granny.”
“Thanks for looking after her mum.”
“Just don't make too much of a habit of it eh.”
“I won't, anyone want a cuppa?”
“I'll get it,” Mrs R suggested, “go on through.”
It's less than two days since Drea made her appearance but already the Rose's usually pristine living room clearly was part of a house with a baby. It wasn't any single thing but even a quick glance revealed a rattle on the sideboard, a basket of laundry of mostly baby clothes and a smell, not nasty but a mixture of baby powder, sick and milk! Yup, even without the visual clues the smell would be a give away. Clearly sensing our arrival Drea started to fidget.
“She knows her mummy's here.” I observed peeking into the basket.
“Probably wind.” Bern offered.
“She recognises your voice, she turned when you spoke.”
“Its just the noise.”
“Here we go,” Mrs R mentioned, “she'll be wanting her feed in a few minutes.”
Now just because I've come to see the baby, was there at the birth and so on doesn't mean I want to get involved in the day to day running of said infant. So whilst I spent the next hour sat with three generations of the Rose family I didn't take much part in the conversation and only held the babe once. She did fall asleep snuggled into my chest so the once was like nearly half an hour!
“I guess I should get off, leave you in peace.”
“You don't have to.” Bern told me.
“I need to pack for tomorrow Bern, otherwise I'd stay.”
“I guess.” She sighed.
“I'll ring okay.”
“You'd better Drew Bond.”
Although our farewells were tinged with sadness, at least this time there was no court appearance hanging over things. I left Bern and her daughter – that sounds so weird; anyway I left them in the lounge, Mrs R coming to the door with me.
“Thanks again Drew, it really has meant a lot to Bern you being here, and to her dad and me.”
“It was lucky timing.” I suggested not for the first time.
“Luck or not it's made a big difference, when we picked her up on Thursday she was quite depressed, I was quite worried.”
“I thought she was ok.”
“A mother knows, anyway this is for you.” She handed me an envelope.
“It's not much but we wanted you to have something to say thank you for giving us our daughter back.”
You remember that blush button? Well I think its got stuck again.
“You didn't have to.”
“No we didn't, we wanted to, now go and do us proud this summer.”
She pulled me into a hug before releasing me with a kiss on the head.
“You're a good kid Drew Bond.”
It was still quite early really but I really do need to pack for tomorrow but that doesn't mean I have to rush back to the Peters. I still hadn't opened the envelope Bern's mum gave me so when I reached the park I found a bench and sat to take a look. I pulled out the card inside and opened it to find a couple of twenty-pound notes, geez they didn't have to. I read the message;
Please accept this in the way it's meant, as a thank you for all of you've done for this family this year. It's not much but I'm sure you'll spend it wisely on something for yourself, thanks again,
Cheryl and Jack
Bugger, excuse my French.
I hadn't even realised I was crying until an elderly dog walker stopped.
“You alright missy?”
“Um, yeah, bit emotional that's all.”
“Well I'm sure their not worth it, making a young lass cry.”
As they walked off I had to smile to myself, why does everyone assume a crying girl – or boy must've had bad news. Mine wasn't bad news, I'm not even sure you could call it good but it got my emotional juices flowing. I pulled myself together, wiped my eyes and resumed my journey.
I realised that I hadn't said goodbye to Ally or Hel earlier, bum. Maybe I can catch Hel if she's home and maybe Al's still with Mad, yeah. I hurried over the Meden bridge and into the estate.
The former Bond Acres, technically it still is as the Joyce's are renting from my parents, had no sign of life, Mrs J's car was missing so I guess they are at Helen's Gran's still. I headed on up the street taking note of the changes since we left, a new extension at number 14, the Thompson's have changed their caravan and someone's finally moved into number two on the corner.
I crossed the main road and turned up towards Mad's place, I'll be gone tomorrow, I've had some good and bad times in this house. It was here that the gang always used to do our plotting, remember that Easter dance and those first costumes. It was here too that we watched Mum win the Giro and got the news she was moving out, yep, good times and bad.
There was no reply when I knocked on the door, strange. I don't have a key, why would I, but there's one hidden in the back yard if they haven't moved it. I pushed the gate open and headed around the house, hmm someone's having a barbecue.
It certainly was, there before me were a sizeable chunk of the people I know in Warsop. The Joyce's, Sylv, Al, the Peters of course, even Fran Cowlishaw.
“What's all this for?”
“We couldn't let you go off into the wide blue yonder without a decent send off.” Aunt C advised.
“How did you know I was coming?”
“Because I rang to tell them.” Mrs R's voice advised from behind me.
I span round to find all four members of the Rose family.
The weather managed to stay dry for the duration of the impromptu party; barbecues usually act as rain magnets! It was great to be able to say the goodbyes that I thought I'd be missing making. Turns out that Bern didn't know about it but obviously Cheryl did which is why she didn't push me to stay earlier. Drea of course, grabbed a lot of attention – at least it wasn't all about me.
Eventually though it got down to just me and my hosts, the light was going, the temperature dropping and it was time to call it a night.
“Wassup Gab?” Mad asked.
“My stuff, I was supposed to be packing tonight.”
“What do you mean, ‘done'?”
“What I said, me and Al did it earlier.” She informed me.
“I did your washing while you were out Drew.” Aunt Carol added.
“In the box, in the car.” Uncle John supplied.
“Don't worry Drew, I made sure that they didn't slip anything extra in your case.” Aunt C soothed.
Well that's something.
I awoke Sunday morning with a whole forest of butterflies in my stomach. Today's the day; I leave my friends and family behind and start a new experience with a bunch of people I barely know. It's been a two-part journey, first leaving home and now its time to depart my halfway house here in Warsop.
“Breakfast Drew?” Aunt C suggested.
“Just some toast, I feel a bit queasy.”
“Yeah.” I agreed.
“So you all ready, looking forward to it?”
“Kinda, I've never been away on my own like this before.”
“You'll be fine Drew.”
I hope so.
Was it just last week that I made the journey from Manchester to Warsop? So much has happened in such a short time, the arrival of Drea of course but thinking back Mad has managed to get me in at least a skirt every day, there was that stonking ten of course on Tuesday, the Con on Sunday, skating and meeting Jess again on Wednesday and the do last night. Yeah, quite busy.
I had to be at the Velodrome for twelve, we departed Warsop close on ten heading first for Sheffield before heading across the Peak District to Glossop and then almost straight through Manchester's east end to the familiar shape of the home of British Cycling. Uncle John came with me to reception while Mad and her mum waited.
“Good morning.” The girl behind the desk beamed.
“Drew Bond for the Junior Squad.” Uncle John advised her.
“Drew Bond, ah yes here we are,” she mentioned scanning a list, “welcome to Manchester Drew, have you been here before?”
“At the beginning of the year.”
“So you know your way around then, fetch your stuff in and take it along to Room three. You'll need to be in the track centre at twelve in cycling togs, your parents can stay for the session, you'll need to go up to the stands Mr Bond, there'll be refreshments available afterwards.”
“Actually its Peters, Drew's uncle.”
“Sorry, I just assumed, if you are staying I'll have id for you, oops, nearly forgot yours Drew.”
She handed me a pass on a lanyard, access all areas complete with my picture.
“No problem young lady.”
“Come on, let's get your stuff.” Uncle J prompted.
“All sorted?” Aunt Carol enquired.
“Uh huh.” I offered.
“You guys want to stay for the afternoon?”
“Can we Mum, please?”
“I'm sure the Trafford Centre will keep.”
We unloaded my stuff, the big bike box, my case and my rucky, all of my possessions for the next six weeks, and headed back to the giant Pringle®.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 18.06.12