So what first? Explore or food, my decision was pretty much made for me by Mand.
“Come on , Drew, we can have some fun with this.”
“I don't want fun, I want food.”
“We'll get food but I reckon we can have some fun too.”
By now we were headed towards our accommodation.
“Where are we going and what sort of fun?”
I could smell a rat but I wasn't sure quite how big of one yet.
“My room, you'll see.”
It wasn't far to her room and she quickly dragged me inside.
“So what's so hush hush?” I enquired peering around the room.
“Well they've been using this place as a training camp for the Olympics right?”
“'Kay.” I hadn't given it any thought but I guess given the name it makes sense.
“Guess which teams?”
“No idea, running?”
“Ut uh, try again.”
I tried to think of Olympic type sports.
“Er weightlifting, wrestling?”
“You're hopeless, try gymnastics.”
“Okay and this important because?”
“Because this room was used by one of the gymnasts.”
“Hardly unique if it was their training camp,” I observed.
“True but this was used by one of the girls.”
“I won't ask how you know but your point is?”
“I know because she left a bunch of stuff in the wardrobe.”
“Shouldn't the cleaners have found it? We ought to tell that Derek bloke.”
“I'm guessing they don't clean inside the wardrobes.” She pulled the door open to reveal the contents.
“Geez, how do you forget that lot?”
“I know, she must be a right ditz but I reckon we can have some fun.”
“Some poor sod forgets her kit and we have fun, how pray?”
“We borrow some of this stuff and voila we can play some pranks on the others.”
“When you say we, how exactly do I fit in?”
The rat was getting a bit whiffy, I might be blonde but I'm not stupid.
“We dress up like we're gymnasts, no one'll recognise us, we could pretend to chat up Paul then take him down a peg.”
“You have got to be kidding, there is just no way I'm appearing as a girl here.”
Taking Paul down a bit did appeal of course but I'm here as Drew.
“And what makes you think no one would recognise us?“
“Well no one apart from me has seen you girlied up, do your hair different, a bit of slap and I doubt your own mother'd recognise you.”
“I can assure you she would, I've er been doing the girl bit at home you know.”
“So it should be a cinch.”
“Your hair is too short for one of those cutesy gymnasts.”
“Not if I use this.” She waggled what appeared to be a wig at me.
“No just a hairpiece, it's a pretty good match too.”
“Apart from me not doing it there's another flaw to your plan, the gymnasts have gone.” I pointed out.
“Not all of them, I saw some when we were checking in.”
“It's a mad plan, I'm gonna find the canteen.” I stated turning for the door.
“Spoilsport,” she accused pouting.
“Look, I like a joke as much as anyone but this is just,” I turned back towards her, “wro-nng.” My voice trailed off as my eyes tried to come to terms with the bare chest bobbing in front of me. “Geez , Mand, put some clothes on.”
“Only if you will.”
“I'm already dressed.” I pointed out.
“You know what I mean, I could take more off.”
“I'll say you were trying it on.”
“Want to find out?”
“Sit still a minute,” Mand instructed, tugging my hair.
“I look ridiculous,” I huffed.
“You look cute with a capital C,” my blackmailer stated.
I look more like a six year old, I've been conned into some stuff over the years but this is just ridiculous. I mean, what self-respecting girl even owns stuff like this, let alone wears it in public?
“There, no one's likely to question your gender let alone recognise you.”
“I hope you're right.” I grumbled.
“I just need a wee and we'll go okay.”
I bet the others have all eaten and are relaxing by now. Whilst Mand attended to matters in the littlest room I took a look in the mirror. I look flippin' stupid, she's put my hair up in bunches tied with pink ribbon, there's a bunch of hair clips and stuff and I'm wearing so much makeup I need a crane to keep my eyes open! The worst bit though is the outfit, a bright yellow crop top with a stupid pink shrug cardigan on top, down below I've got the shortest, tightest shorts you've ever seen in bright pink although I did manage to get a pair of dance tights on underneath. At least the shoes are pretty normal, Mand's pink and white check plimmys.
Mind you Mand has gone all out on herself too, a glittery purple leotard with a clashing acid green ra ra skirt. With the hairpiece I had to admit she did look quite different, the heavy makeup helped but I reckon she still looked like herself.
“Come on Drew, time's a wastin'.”
“Do we have to?” I whined.
“You're not getting out of it that easy Drew Bond.”
“Okay but like don't call me Drew out there.”
“Good point, how about Lucy?”
“You've got to be kidding, how about er Samantha?”
“Okay Sammi, I'll be Lily.”
“Why not? It's the sort of prissy name gymnast's have.”
“If you say so.” My stomach gave a rumble, it was now after six and I need food regularly.
I felt a right narna walking through the complex to the cafeteria, we passed a couple of other people on the way but they just smiled at us. There were actually quite a few people in the canteen when we got there including to my dismay some of our lot.
“Hmm, that pie smells good,” Mand noted.
“Well you can forget that, no gymnast'd be seen eating meat pie, think salad.” I suggested. I have to admit to fancying the pie myself.
“Bleh, I guess you're right Dr…mantha, maybe we can get a pud.”
“I hope so Lily.”
The salad was self-service so at least I was able to get a decent portion; there was onion soup too so despite not being pie I had a reasonable meal to tackle.
“Interesting look girls.” The girl scanning id's observed.
“Er thanks,” I squeaked.
“Enjoy your meal,”
“Samantha,” I quickly supplied, hoping she hadn't read the cards.
She had, I knew it, we're busted already.
I'm gonna have to work at this conversation lark.
We grabbed a couple of beakers of Sprite® and found a table by the big picture windows that looked out over the archery butts*.
“So far so good,” Mand or should I say Lily, stated between mouthfuls of soup.
“'S'alright for you, you don't have two pineapples on your head, I look such a stupid airhead.”
“You look fine.”
“We stand out like a sore thumb.”
“Stop complaining, your salad's going cold.”
I was halfway through my pile of grated carrot and lettuce when I nearly had a heart attack.
“Gaby? It is you, what are you doing here?”
“Eh?” I managed dropping the contents of my fork into my lap, “oh sugar!” I nearly tipped the table up in my haste to brush the food from my crotch!
“Sammi!” Mand admonished.
When I finally recovered I looked up at the newcomer who was stood with a big grin on her face.
“It's a long story Jess.” I sighed for it was none other than Jess Simmonds my skater friend from Sheffield.
“You two know each other?” Lily pointlessly queried.
“We first met about two years ago right Gab?” Jess replied pulling a chair out to join us at our table.
“About that, how come you're here? You never said the other week.”
“UK Skating boot camp, I got a last minute invite, what about you, I thought you were going to Manchester and what's with the outfits?”
“We've been in Manchester but we're down here for a week, as for this getup, it's Lily here's idea.”
“That's an unusual name.”
“Er yeah, Dr..am who is this?”
“Oh sorry, Jess Simmonds meet Manda de Vreen.”
“Shush, you'll blow our cover!” Mand whispered.
“Stupid idea anyhow, so there a rink here Jess?”
“Rink?” Mand queried.
“Ice rink, Jess does figure skating,” I filled in.
“No not ice, we use roller blades in one of the halls but mostly we're doing more gymnastic type stuff for flexibility and stuff, so what's with this Sammi stuff , Gab?”
“Well Lily here thought we could pretend to be gymnasts and pretend to chat up this lad on our squad who thinks he's gods gift.”
“Won't he recognise you? I did after all.”
“That's what I said.”
“Bum,” Mand sighed.
“Hey, I know, why don't I do it? As long as I don't have to dress like a wardrobe accident,” grinned Jess.
* We did some stuff about Agincourt back when I was at Warsop College; we had to find out all about archery, the butts are where you practice.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 03.10.12