Well it was never going to be ignored was it? Stunned already by the team captain announcement we both remained mute.
“I'll not beat around the bush, I understand Laura that you are now au fait with Drew's position?”
“Kind of, Mand told me about the gym thing making him grow boo I mean breasts and that like he often gets taken for a girl because of it. Look , Drew, I'm really sorry about what I said, I saw your bra when you were mucking about on the beach and jumped to conclusions. Can you forgive me, please?”
“I guess I kind of over reacted a bit too,” I admitted, “and running off wasn't exactly helpful either.”
“You had us worried sick , ” Laura put in.
“Sorry, can we call it quits?”
“Fine by me.”
I can live with her knowing a half-truth for now.
“That's alright as far as it goes, what I don't want is any kind of a repeat with anyone else on the team.” Chris stated firmly .
“I guess.” I agreed.
“So, Drew , what I'm proposing, but it's your call, is that we scotch any further rumours by telling the rest of the team ; at least we can deal with things more openly then. Have a think about it, talk with your dad but I'd like to sort this ASAP.”
It seems pretty logical, not that logic has much to do with things and some explanation now might well smooth things a bit in the future. It's my call, I realised last night, sat by the lake with Toni's arm around my shoulders, watching the activity on the lake that I need to face up to things. Nature has dealt me a difficult hand but it's not impossible to win out with it ; I just need to grasp my opportunities.
“Okay, let's do it ; it's causing a distraction for everyone.”
“You sure?” Chris confirmed.
“Yep, we've got some races to win and I don't want my bra to get in the way.” I stated.
“Don't you mean your boobs?” Laura put forward.
“What I said, I've used it a time or two in races back home as a team tactic.”
“You mean you…?”
“Hey, if they want to believe I'm something I'm not that's their call.”
“Drew Bond, you minx!”
I tried to look innocent.
“I need to talk to your coaches and your dad , Drew , but I think we should do this before today's session, okay?” Chris suggested.
Before I change my mind.
“Alrighty, you two go get ready to ride, I'll speak to those I need to and we'll get this cleared up.”
In the seclusion of my room I had a chance to reflect on my decision, maybe I should've run last night!
We all assembled in the by now empty dining room, Dad gave me a wink; I caught Caro smiling at me.
“People!” Chris vied for the room's attention.
We quieted down, me a little anxiously I have to admit.
“Now I have everyone's attention, we've a couple of announcements to make before we hit the roads. Firstly would Drew and Laura come up here please ? ”
Given we were only a couple of metres away we were soon next to Chris facing our teammates.
“These two will be the respective team captains for our World Championship junior road campaign starting from this morning.”
Of course that got some reaction, Chris waited until the congratulations and cat calling died down before continuing.
“We'll be explaining how that works during the day but essentially they will be the ones calling the shots out on the road after discussing each day's tactics with the coaching team. I hope you will all respect their requests out on the road and act accordingly.”
Mark didn't look too happy, nor for that matter did Manda, worth knowing that not everyone would necessarily toe the party line.
“The second item isn't mine to tell but I hope you'll listen and not over react. If you have issues with what you hear you come to me, Steve or Caroline understand?”
There was a round of murmured agreement.
“Okay, Drew, the floor is yours.”
Laura returned to where the rest were sat and Chris withdrew leaving me nervously facing everyone on my own. I can still make a break for it, the door's open.
“Hey!” I filled, “This isn't easy for me and some of you might have issues with what I'm gonna say too, all I ask is that you hear me out. Some of you already know about what I'm gonna say, sorry for boring you guys.”
I looked at Josh who cocked an eyebrow. I gave a nod that received a similar response.
“Spit it out,” Mark prompted.
“Here goes then, I've got a medical condition which means I've now got er breasts. It's nothing catching and I'm getting treated but I do need to wear a bra, well a sports bra to stop them er jiggling.” I rushed out barely drawing breath.
“Breasts?” Jamie queried.
“Yeah, kind of like a girl's .” I confirmed. Well exactly like a girl's, actually.
“There's a kid at school got tits, some hormone thingy,” Darren mentioned.
“Yeah, hormones.” I agreed.
“So you wear bra's?” Sal queried.
“Like I said, I need to wear something to stop them er bouncing about.”
“What size are they?” Geth asked straight out.
“Geth!” Laura sanctioned.
“Was only asking.”
“Too big.” I allowed.
There were clearly, by the looks on some faces, other questions but Geth had pre empted some.
“Look guys, I've told you this not so we can discuss the size of my chest but so it doesn't get in the way of our riding. It's not exactly a secret but I'd prefer if you didn't spread it about. It doesn't change how I ride,” much! “And I don't want it to change how we are together.”
“You done Drew?” Chris asked.
“So people, you all know Drew's situation, I hope you will all be discreet with this information, I don't expect to hear about it from anyone outside of this room, am I understood?”
A collection of yays, nods and other forms of confirmation came from my teamies.
“In that case, out front with your bikes in ten minutes.”
With that we were dismissed.
Dad found me out as I put my road shoes on.
“Well done kiddo.”
“Smoke and mirrors,” Dad agreed.
“It was the right thing, wasn't it?”
“It was a brave thing to do, at least with some degree of truth out there it's easier to control. I did talk to Chris about this on the way down; I have to admit that I was against letting more people know about this stuff. Congrats on the captaincy by the way, just remember what happened with Roni eh?”
How could I forget, I lost it big style because she didn't let me win. It'll be different this time; I won't play the prima donna.
“Today should suit you kiddo, bit of climbing.”
Goody – despite what some think my prowess at gaining altitude doesn't mean that I have to like it all the time.
Once again we made our way to Bellagio to catch a ferry, today across to Menaggio as today we are headed for Dongo (yeah, what I thought too) so we can practice some climbing and descending. The day was promising to be another scorcher, a light breeze across the waters of Lago di Como keeping things on the right side of comfortable.
This morning's meetings certainly delayed our departure from Lezzeno a good chunk but by the time we crossed the water and disembarked it was still only quarter to eleven. The northbound road was fairly busy, the Merc and the team bus ran interference with the other traffic, to be honest I was glad to reach Dongo and turn off towards our training circuit. We climbed up out of the town not stopping until we were above the town, even that kilometre causing issues for some of our number.
Steve called for our attention.
“Alrighty, today we are going to concentrate on getting you all safely up and down the mountains. This isn't about racing up as quick as you can but rather it's trying to keep you in contention without killing yourselves. What goes up generally comes down so we'll be looking at how we can descend quicker but safely – fast doesn't always mean you have the advantage.”
And so we started a couple of hours of climbing the hairpins through Stazzona and thence up to Garzeno before descending back to Dongo down the other side of the valley. Each circuit was about seven kilometres and after the first when we all rode together, we were split into smaller groups. It was heading towards two before our tormentors called a halt to the merry go round for lunch.
Unlike yesterday's restaurant stop, today we had a buffet served from the back of the bus, assorted pasta, salad, cold meats and fruit supplied by the hotel. Simple, easy to eat and just as importantly, digest. I loaded my plate and found a spot to sit on the wall overlooking Dongo and beyond, Lake Como.
A body sat beside me and made itself comfortable.
“It was you wasn't it?” Claire suggested.
“Eh?” no one had mentioned my announcement all morning but it looked like Claire was keen to talk.
“The dance last week, I thought it was odd you didn't go, you were pretty enthusiastic before hand. And then that girl Jess turns up with this other girl no one knew.”
“I might have tits, it doesn't mean I have to dress up in girl's clothes.”
I checked to see who else was within earshot, no one apparently.
“I guess it's not compulsory,” she allowed, “it was you though, wasn't it?”
How do I get out of this? She's convinced it was me at the dance, if I deny it she'll no doubt get the others involved – think Drew!
“If I say yes will you let it go?” I asked with more hope than expectation.
“I knew it!” she loudly announced.
“Everything okay over there?” Caro queried.
“Um yeah, just talking about the climb,” I fudged.
Caro didn't look convinced.
“I said to Sal that she looked like you, maybe your evil big boobed twin.”
“If this goes further, I'll be the evil twin,” I promised.
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 06.07.13