The dining room was surprisingly quiet, not even all the Sunday squad were in attendance, Caro and Steve didn't turn up until I was well into my chicken and wedges. Something has obviously gone down today, something not good, maybe someone's had an accident?
"You eating those chips Drew?" Jamie enquired as I toyed with my food.
"Eh? Oh sure, help yourself."
"Now I know something's wrong," Mand observed.
"Yeah," Laura agreed, "hollow legs never leaves food."
Our little squad had gravitated together much like last night.
"What d'ya reckon it's about?" Geth asked no one in particular.
"Drew, Jamie, meeting room." Steve instructed, we were a bit behind the others as we'd done the table clear up.
He waited for us to join him at the door.
"Well done today you two."
"I didn't even finish with the bunch," I noted.
"No—but you helped to shape the race; you'd have been there but for the punctures."
"Aye, ye were stronger than the rest o' us Drew." Jamie added.
"So um, what's this meeting for?" I ventured.
"You'll find out soon enough," Steve replied ushering us towards our destination.
"Before we start on the main purpose of this gathering I want to congratulate the Northampton squad on an excellent result, well done Jamie, but for some untimely punctures I'm sure things would have been even better."
“Cheapskate British races, with no service ,” I mumbled under my breath.
"Right then, to business. This morning it was brought to my attention that a member of this squad had been involved in some inappropriate behaviour whilst we have been at Lilleshall. That individual is no longer on the team and has returned home with the threat of legal action hanging over their head."
Of course this caused some murmuring and head craning, it didn't take Hercule Poirot to work out that it was Reddy who was missing. Shit, Jess' plan has gone well past taking him down a peg.
"Calm down please everyone," Caro requested.
"What did he do?" Laura asked.
"I'm not at liberty to give you any details but it involves an assault earlier in the week. We will not be discussing this any further after this evening but I feel we need to reiterate a few points concerning your personal conduct whilst you are part of this squad.
Anything you do can and will reflect not just on yourselves but on BC and on the sport in general. We will not tolerate any football style antics, sexual or otherwise, you will be immediately removed from the squad for any inappropriate behaviour. For those of you with career hopes in the sport such a situation could wreck your chances of progressing further.
I don't want to come over as some sort of dictator; this is standard stuff that you all agreed to when you joined the squad. If anyone has any concerns we are here for you to talk to okay, we don't want an atmosphere of fear on the squad. Questions?"
Well of course there was a barrage most of which Steve couldn't answer as they concerned Mr Redding's misdemeanour.
"Right then, this obviously affects things for tomorrow's race at Cosford as we are a rider short. I've been talking to Caro and the organisers and we'd like to offer the vacant slot to Drew Bond."
"The spot's yours if you want it Drew." Caro agreed, "If you don't want to ride you don't have to."
"What about Geth or Jamie?"
"You've the experience they still lack," Steve mentioned.
"I'm still knackered after today." Geth allowed.
"Those already on tomorrow's roster already know we have a guest rider hopefully coming to join us but we'd like you there too Drew."
What the heck, "Okay count me in."
After the meeting finished we dispersed to pursue the various evening entertainment options.
"Wotcha doing Dee?" Mand asked as I searched my pockets.
"Ringing Jess, we weren't supposed to get him dumped off the squad. Aha!"
I hit the speed dial for skater girl and waited for it to pick up.
"Heya Gab, how'd the race go?"
"So so, look we need to talk."
"Where are you?"
"Just outside reception."
"There's a bench by the top of the steps, ten minutes."
"We'll be there." I ended the call.
"So?" Mand enquired.
"She's gonna meet us at the top of the steps."
It was actually closer to fifteen minutes before Jess skipped up the steps to where we were waiting.
"Heya," Mand offered.
"What the heck did you do Jess, it was only supposed to be a bit of a lark, not get the jerk booted."
"Nothing to do with me!"
"Of course it is, you put that picture up and stuff," I accused .
"I never got the chance."
"Wotcha mean? You had them printed and everything."
"Bloody waste of two quid that was," she huffed.
"Am I missing something?" Mand enquired.
"If you are then I most definitely am," I noted, "so if you didn't put the pictures up how come the schmuck got booted and all that?"
"Well, and like this isn't gospel, but what we were told, you remember Tina?"
"The little redhead?" Manda offered.
"One and the same, well apparently on Wednesday night she met slime ball out the other side of the hockey pitch and like they ended up making out."
"I can guess," I allowed.
"He didn't rape her did he?"
"No, god we'd have heard about that straight away, no but let's just say he pushed the limits with where his hands could go."
"So how come it only came out today?" Mand queried.
Turns out that it was actually another incident Friday evening that set events in motion. Seems Mr Redding tried his luck with another girl and when he started getting a bit erm, handy she made good her escape. Being a bit more with it than Tina she reported the incident which then set off an investigation, it was only at Saturday breakfast that the groper was identified by Tina and Laura, the second victim.
“So what are you guys up to tomorrow?” Jess enquired after regaling us with the tale.
“Short ride in the morning then we'll probably go watch this one racing at Cosford,” Mand supplied.
“I thought you raced today Gab?” a puzzled Jess queried.
“I did but with no groper we're a man down.” I told her.
“So you step in and they're a woman up!”
“Kewl, hey did you say it was at Cosford?”
“Yeah, big airfield place towards Wolverhampton,” Mand agreed.
“Hey, I could come to watch.”
“It'll be dull as dishwater,” I opined.
“I can get Laura to drive us, all those lycra clad bums, ooo!”
“And there's us calling Reddy a perv.”
“Look don't touch,” Jess stated.
True to expectations Steve gathered us for the day's programme straight after breakfast.
“All those racing today need to be outside reception at eleven prompt, I know it's only a few miles down the road but that's no excuse for being tardy. The rest of you get to do a couple of hours roadwork with Caroline, if anyone wants to come watch the racing you'll need to be at reception at twelve. Any questions?”
There were none so the meeting broke up.
“Drew?” Caroline called out as I went to follow Laura and Manda out of the canteen.
“You'll be needing these.” She mentioned, offering me a pile of clothing.
“Sugar, I forgot about this stuff,” I admitted.
“Might be awkward racing in a bra and knickers,” she grinned.
“Caro!” I complained.
“Sorry Drew, couldn't resist. Seriously though, are you okay racing today, we won't hold it against you if you scratch.”
“I'll be fine, after yesterday I'm raring to go. So who's this guest rider?”
“Oh no you don't Drew Bond, you're as bad as your mother. You'll find out soon enough.”
“Damn, I thought I'd got you there.”
“You'll need to get up early to pull one on me young lady.”
“Drew remember? Least for now.”
“Sorry Drew, you never make things easy for anyone do you?”
“Got to keep life interesting.”
Caro glanced at her watch, “I need to get ready to take the others out, I'll see you later.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “thanks again for the kit.”
“Have to look after our star rider,” she grinned.
Star rider she said – I suppose I am on this squad, back home there are loads of riders as good as me, I've had some luck this season to win the Jüngere thing but I'm not that good really. Wonder who this mystery rider is, they must be a junior to get on the team, not being in the UK I don't really know the scene that well anymore, I guess we'll find out in a couple of hours.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 15.04.13