Chapter *10.25*

Boys are from Venus?

"I guess that answers that one," Gran observed.

"What's going on?" Mand demanded, "Why did you call her young man?"

"It's a long story," I sighed .

"Come and sit down, luv." Gran suggested.

And so Mand became the first of my team mates to find out about my condition.

"We all thought you were on the girl's squad," Mand noted some time later.

"Nope, it's a fall-back position if the UCI get arsy but BC wants me in the men's squad and so do I."

"It does explain a lo " she mused.


"The single room at the hostel," she ticked a finger, "no makeup..."

"Er well I didn't think it'd go down too well so I left it at my aunt's," I supplied.

"No makeup,” she repeated, “and those awful baggy shorts you wear," she concluded.

"They are not awful," I pouted.

"You see anyone else wearing them?"

"She can be quite a snappy dresser when she wants," Gran stated.


"Well it's true."

"Hang on," Mand started, "you were there weren't you?"


"That awards thing that your mum won."

"Was I?"

"Yes she was, Amanda."

"Woo one hot chicca!"

"We still okay?" I nervously enquired.

"Apart from the fact that the best male rider on the squad is prettier than all the girls, yeah, I can't talk for the others but it kind of rocks."

"What about if I end up on the girl's squad? Not that there's anything wrong with that of course."

"You'll have to fight for a place, we don't give any free rides." she couldn't hold the stern tone. "Seriously, your mum got me started with racing, Dad's an armchair racer so we had to watch the worlds, when your mum won? I thought if she can do it why not me and here I am."

"Yeah, she's the reason I keep racing, I have thought of giving up a time or two." I admitted.

"Now we've got that sorted out," Gran put in, "you still want that shower Amanda?"

"Bugger, I forgot about that, er sure Mrs Peters."

"Right, you go shower and I'll make some cocoa."


“What're we going to do today then?” Mand asked over the remains of breakfast – one of Gran's full English specials.

“Caroline suggested you go for a ride this morning,” Gran reminded us .

“Well I guess that's this morning sorted then,” I sighed.

“Uh huh,” Mand agreed.

“I'm going into town after lunch,” Gran offered.

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Last one on their bike buys the coffee,” Mand proposed.

It was a close run thing; I had to unlock the garage so all my quick change advantage had gone and I lost out by a short whisker.

“So, where are we going?”

Where indeed?

“See you later Gran.”

“Take care girls.”

“We will.”

I led the way out of the gate, turning left away from Nantwich.

We were out for a couple of hours, don't ask me where, I wasn't paying that much attention other than generally taking a big sort of south westerly loop which did eventually bring us back to Nantwich. We talked about this and that, sprinted for name boards and generally did the sort of ride I rarely get to do in company these days.

We'd just been talking about school when Mand introduced the elephant.

“So when do I get to meet Gaby?”

“Meet Gaby?”

“Look we've been talking around it all morning, well since you told me last night.”

“I suppose.”

“So when do I meet her?”

“It's only me in different togs.”

“Not difficult to do then.”

“I've only brought boy stuff to Manchester, I was hoping for Gaby to not make any appearances.”

“I think she already has,” Mand pointed out.

“Yeah I guess,” I sighed in agreement.

“So when then?” she pushed.

I suppose she was just curious, I probably would be in the same situation.

“Sometime.” I prevaricated.

Unlike some people I know she didn't press further, she barely spoke for the rest of the ride which might have been worse.

“Back all ready?”

“We've done like nearly seventy k's,” I supplied.

“How far's that in English?” Gran looked at us both .

“Forty two miles by my comp, Mrs Peters.” Amanda clarified.

“Get yourselves showered and changed, we'll just have a quick sandwich before we go out.”

“I was hoping Gaby could come,” Mand mused.

“Fine by me,” Gran agreed.

“I've not got any Gaby clothes.” I advised, that should get me off the hook.

“There's some of your sister's stuff she left when she came to visit last time,” Gran suggested.

Bum, sugar, flippin' Jules! How do girls always manage this manipulation business?

“No excuse then, I've got some slap you can use,” Mand enthused.

Gran didn't push but I could see by her eyes she'd be happy to see her granddaughter.

“This goes no further,” I warned.

“Cross my heart.”

The fact she made the pass over her right breast didn't fill me with confidence at the promise.


I think I've mentioned that my sister has toned down the excesses of her black haired Goth phase, she still sports the tongue stud much to Dad's annoyance (I'm sure if he stopped going on about it she'd take it out!) but at least the stuff she'd left with Gran wasn't too bad. Not only that, it wasn't excessively girly either.

“I thought you'd changed your mind,” Gran mentioned when I finally returned to the kitchen.

“No, I couldn't get the braces comfortable.” I tugged at the straps of the denim bib again.

“Come here, its twisted at the back,” Gran said sorting the strap .

“Yowza!” Mand stated when she joined us a minute later, “if I didn't know, I'd never guess. You look so cute.”

That four letter C word again .

“Well it's as much as you're getting.” It being a denim skirt with attached bib over a plain pink T. There was a much dressier erm dress as well but that would be like too much for a trip into Nantwich.

“At least I stand a chance, small but a chance.”

“Chance of what?”

“Scoring some totty.”

“You can have it all, I'm not interested, I am a boy after all.”

“Your point being?”

“Come on you two, less chat, your sandwiches'll go dry.” Gran interjected before my sexuality could be discussed.

It being a pleasant afternoon the three of us went out for the bus rather than getting Gran's car out for what is a pretty short trip. Not that there's a castle now but we got off in Castle Street behind Smiths* and walked around into Pillory street. If you've never been Nantwich is a small-ish town, the town centre a mixture of old and new surrounded by several largish housing estates separated from the town by a ring road and a string of super stores.

That doesn't mean it's not a nice place, there's a few black and white buildings**, a bit of a pedestrianized zone and seems to have somehow retained a reasonable number of local businesses. I guess Crewe not being far away has saved it from some of the excesses of big business. It sort of reminds me of Koblenz although the river is much smaller.

Gran had a list of stuff to get.

“You girls want to explore on your own for a bit?”

“Sure,” Mand got in before I could demur.

“Let's see then,” she checked her watch, “three o'clock at the bookshop at the top of the High Street?”

“That's the other end of the pedestrian bit yeah?” I confirmed.

“That's it; we can get a coffee before we head home.”

“See you later then.”

Gran had hardly gone two steps before Mand grabbed my arm.

“Come on Gabs,” oh how that comes so easily from her lips, “I saw a cool looking shop just down here.”

Her idea of cool and mine weren't within a mile of each other. The shop in question was neither a bike shop or model shop, oh no, turns out Mand is into surf chic! The shop in question, going by the name of ‘Surfette' (we are literally hundreds of K's from anything like surf) was therefore stuffed with a mixture of surf/sport brands with a tendency towards shorts, skorts and bikinis. Aargh!

“Ooh I like that.”

The ensuing display of goods, I use the term loosely, consisted of Mand pulling out some strip of Lycra ® and holding up against me to see what it looked like.

“You actually wear this stuff?”


“And you were moaning about my shorts.”

“I was trying to make a point.”


So anyway, Mand did buy a skirt, if you could call the narrow strip of material a skirt, then we headed out to see what else we could find. I didn't really have anything I wanted so I let my companion take the lead which is how we ended up in Claire's™, two new scrunchies and a card of earrings; Bargin Shoes, a pair of those ‘new' Roman sandals and Julia's for a bra of the non compression sports type. So okay that last one is more comfortable than the tight sports bras I generally wear, but still.

“I can't believe they are all yours.”

“Yeah,” I sighed, “me an' the girls go back aways.”

“What time are we meeting your gran?”


“We'd best hustle then it's five to.”

The bookshop looked more like a German street restaurant than a purveyor of fine literature with a bunch of tables outside although despite the British weather there weren't any umbrellas for shelter or shade. I spotted Gran, nose in a book and headed in.

* The stationers cum music cum book store.

** Half-timbered style usually painted black and white

to be continued....

© Maddy Bell 05.09.12

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