book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 50

We drove the few miles back up to Oxford and Dad elected to park at the Park & Ride, with the camper it would be easier than trying to park in the centre of the city. We caught one of the regular buses for the short trip into the famous University City and Dad was soon extolling us with tales of his student days here. We left the bus in the main shopping street, it was only five o'clock so a few of the shops were still open and Dad let us have half an hour in one of the bookshops. When we re-emerged onto the street there was the familiar bustle of people trying to get home amidst the chaos that is Saturday evening.

"Okay kid's, we'll have a walk around for a bit then we'll eat at 'Pedro's'" Dad informed us

"Can't we eat now?" I whined, "I'm starved!"

"The restaurant doesn't open until six thirty, unless you want a burger" he reposted

Well the threat of missing out on a meal at the legendary Pedro's was enough to stop my complaining. Dad was forever going on about the Tex-Mex food they served and this would be a chance to see what all the fuss was about. So both Jules and I tried to show some enthusiasm as Dad showed us the sights Magdelene (Dad insists you say maudlin!) College, the water meadows, the Ashmolean Museum, all the time with a running commentary from Dad of who did what, where and when!

Eventually Dad led us down a side street and there in all it's yellow and red splendour was Pedro's. It was not much past opening time but already there were a good few patrons seated inside the cosy premises. We were quickly seated and the floor manager passed out menu's to us. I was certainly impressed by the range of stuff on offer, I mean it's not like we have this sort of place at home but anywhere that does offer any Mexican food usually get as far as chilli and tortillas! The menu here covered several different chilli's', enchilada's, tortillas, refried beans, various steaks and other stuff that I couldn't even pronounce!

"Hi I'm Mary, I'll be your waitress this evening. Would you like any drinks?"

"A light beer for me, kids?" dad replied

"Diet coke please" Jules stated

"Root beer for me"

"Ok, one light beer, one diet and a root beer" Mary repeated before going to fetch our beverages.

"Root beer Drew? have you ever had any?" Jules asked

"Well no but I thought I'd try it"

"What are you two going to eat?" Dad interrupted

"I think I'll have the chicken enchiladas with salad" Jules decided


I scanned the menu again but I guess I was always going to end up with chilli!

"Chilli?" I offered

"Okay but not the hot, the standard Pedro's is hot enough for you" Dad advised


Our drinks arrived and Mary prepared to take our orders.

"Nine ounce T-bone with skins and a side salad" Mary scribbled Dad's order on her pad

"What'll it be girls?" she asked us

"The chicken enchiladas with salad for me" Jules got in before I could correct Mary

"Drew?" Dad prompted

"Er the Pedro's chilli with rice please" I informed Mary

"Okay everyone, it'll be about fifteen minutes, there's salad at the buffet, if you want more drinks just holler" Mary finished her spiel and took our order off to the kitchen.

"Thanks a lot Jules, now the waitress thinks I'm a girl. I mean do I look the slightest bit like a girl?"

"I have to say Drew," Dad interposed, "in this light you do sort of"

I was definitely cheesed off!

"Oh come on Drew, you know you make a pretty good girl" Jules told me

"I don't and even if that was true, I've had makeup on and stuff" I fumed

"From what I've seen Drew you don't need much makeup, after all they all thought you were a girl on holiday too" Dad reminded me

"I'm getting some salad" I huffed

Thankfully by the time I got back the conversation had turned to what we would be doing tomorrow.

"What do you reckon Drew, we can go to Stratford and perhaps to a castle or two?"

Well I told you about Dad and castles and stuff last week didn't I?

"Ok I guess"

"And Dad said we can go see a film when we finish eating" Jules offered

"You are both still grounded but I don't want to sit in the van with two grumpy teenagers right?" Dad advised us

"Yes Dad" we both chorused.

I won't waste your time with a blow by blow of the rest of the evening but I will make some observations. Dad was right about the chilli - if the standard Pedro's was hot, and it was, the Texan Hot must be mind blowing! Although it sort of tasted like antiseptic I definitely like root beer, Dad started to call me Snoopy, goodness knows why. Avoid eating chilli before going to the cinema, it can be quite embarrassing! We ended up seeing the 'classic of the week' which turned out to be the 'Italian Job'. I've seen it on telly but it was absolutely brilliant on a big screen, I liked the bit where they jump across the roofs. Brilliant! It was late when we eventually found a lay-bye to stop in overnight.

Sunday morning was a bit dew laden but overhead the sky was clear and blue and promised a pleasant summer's day.

"Didn't you bring any other clothes Drew?" Dad exclaimed

"I didn't think I'd need any" I whimpered

"You can't walk round like that, you've got chilli all down your front and goodness knows what that is on your jeans!"

"Tomato ketchup" I replied. I had insisted on having a hot dog at the cinema.

"Well you'll have to sit in the camper while we walk round, I'm not taking you out like that, showing me up" Dad stated

"Daad!" I whined

"I can lend him something" Jules offered

"Well Drew, your sister has offered you some clean clothes - it's up to you, borrow off your sister or sit in here all day" Dad reinforced the alternatives.

"Thanks Jules, I don't suppose you've got jeans and a t shirt?" I asked my sibling

"You're in luck!" she went into the wardrobe and after a couple of minutes returned with an armful of stuff.

"Here you are, jeans, t-shirt and clean undies" she presented the pile to me

"Thanks Jules" I offered

By the look in her eye, I knew I had been set up again. Jules climbed into the front leaving me to get changed. I inspected 'my' clothes as Dad set off for Stratford. They were jeans, that was true but hipsters with a slight flare. The shirt was sleeveless and was a bit like a crop top but with a sort of net bit making it longer. My 'thoughtful' sister had included a pair of her briefs and a lightly padded bra; no way was I wearing that! I suppose it could have been worse like a dress or skirt.

After trying the jeans with my own pants it was clear I would have to wear Jules' as mine were far too high with these hipsters. Jules 1, Drew 0. I got the top on and then realised it was one of those pseudo Goth things, it had a chain hanging between the shoulders and in that sort of gothic writing it espoused 'Bad Girl' to the world! Not only that but it was sort of fitted so it looked kinda weird without breasts inside it, I was doomed again.

"Haven't you got another top Jules?"

"Only this one" she smirked, after all she was wearing a dainty vest top"

"You should have packed for yourself" Dad stated glancing back to me, "and you need a bra on with that top!"

Even Dad was at it now. Reluctantly I slipped the top off and donned the bra before redressing; here I was stuck as a girl. Again! Grrr. Well if I don't want to look like a boy in girls clothing I needed some help from Jules.

"Jules can you sort of give me a hand please?"

"What now?"

"Make up" I mouthed

"Tut" she rolled her eyes as she clambered into the back, "sit" she instructed

We were just pulling into the car park at Stratford on Avon when Jules deemed herself satisfied.

"There you go Gaby"

Why me?

"Thanks sis" I replied unenthusiastically

"Who's Gaby?" Dad asked

"Oh that's what we call her when she's dressed" Jules informed him

"Like on Wednesday?" he queried

"Yes Dad, the others still don't know it was Drew!"

"That's the way I want to keep it too!" I stated with some venom

"Ok, keep your hair on, it won't come from me" she assured

Dad had a thoughtful look on his face.

"Well come on then girls" he addressed us, "lets do the Shakespeare thing!"

So that's what Dad and his two 'daughters' did. We went round Shakespeare's house then the church and round to the huge theatre by the river. It was early for lunch still so we just had toasted teacakes and tea in one of the twee little cafés that seem to fill Stratford these days. That and American and Japanese tourists!

I was feeling reasonably comfortable until the woman in the tea shoppe commented on Dad's lovely daughters. What could I do? Stand up and declare to everyone 'I'm a boy!' That's what I thought too so I just sat through her diatribe in simmering silence.

Next stop Warwick Castle. Dad grudgingly paid the extortionate entrance fee and then spent our whole time inside complaining about 'commercialism' and 'theme parks'. Well I thought it was pretty good, especially when the horse winked and farted! I had to go see that three times. (No it wasn't a real horse, the castle is run by Tussauds, the waxwork people and it was in one of the animated set pieces) We had lunch in one of the town centre pubs, well more precisely the beer garden. We all went for the 'traditional' roast dinner, you know, roast and boiled potatoes, two veg, Yorkshire pud, stuffing and today roast lamb. It wasn't particularly good, the meat was a bit tuff and the veggies boiled to death although the portions were generous enough.

"One more stop kids then we'll head home" Dad informed us

"Where now?" Jules groaned

"Kenilworth, it's not far" he answered

"Another castle?" I asked

"Another castle Drew, but it's not on the tourist trail so no farting horses!" he stated

"Aw, that was ace!" I mentioned

"But it wasn't very ladylike to keep going back Gaby" Jules informed me

"But I'm not.."

She interrupted me, "dressed like that you are, how many people have complimented you on your looks today?"

"Nine" I said without thinking

"See you're even keeping count! No one doubts that you are what you appear" she pointed out.

"She's right Drew, if you are dressed like a girl you need to act like one if you don't want to advertise that you're really a boy" Dad put his twopenn'ath in.

Well it was true enough I guess.

"Okay, but can you drop the Gaby bit?"

"Why? It's a pretty name and it suits you" Jules said

"And its not so weird as calling you Drew when you look like that" Dad added

"Okay, okay Gaby I is" I conceded

"Here we are" Dad informed us pulling up in the car park.

I guess when it comes to it, I am with Dad on this, Warwick was good in it's way but ruins are much more, I don't know, exciting, romantic, oh that's the word, evocative. And Kenilworth Castle fills that niche well. The ruinous great hall sat amongst the banks and ditches of the now silted up defences, no great motte like Pickering last week or high curtain wall like Warwick earlier. Just a brooding presence overlooking the town. Jules decided to give this one a miss but I joined Dad and the other half dozen visitors exploring the dark ruins.

"Gaby, stay within sight please" Dad instructed me

"But Dad"

"No buts young lady, it's for your own safety" Dad went on

"Yes Daddy" I imitated my sister. Dad was really treating me like his daughter, which is kind of scary. We walked the site for a good three-quarters of an hour then, after purchasing ice creams, returned to the camper. We set off for home and arrived back in Warsop a bit after six.

"Right you two, you are still both grounded"

"Yes Dad" I answered

"Yes Dad" Jules was a moment behind me.

Just then the phone rang, Dad picked it up

"Bond household...oh hi honey... just got in, we stopped at Stratford and Warwick on the way... yeah they're both here...okay" he turned to us, "Drew your mother wants to talk to you"

I took the receiver from him and sat on the sofa.

"Hi Mum"

"Hi Drew, how did it go yesterday?"

"Another win!"


I spent the next fifteen minutes telling her all about the Oxford Mafioso and how I got the better of them. Then Mum told me about her recent races, another win, this time in Belgium and more top tens.

"Okay Drew, to serious matters, last Wednesday. How about you tell me your side of this?"

"Yes mum" my elation suddenly dampened, "hang on a mo" I motioned for the others to make themselves scarce. "Okay I'm back"

"It all started weeks ago, before we came to see you. Anna and Charlie, you know, Jules friends, saw me dressed up and Anna thought it would be fun if I went to one of her parties dressed up. I dipped out of that but she asked again when we got back from Germany."

"Go on" Mum prompted

"Well everyone, Jules and even Rhod said I should go and I thought it would be the last of this dressing up thing so I agreed."

"Your Dad said he picked you up from Sylv's?"

"Yeah well Sylv said she'd do my hair and stuff"

"She didn't think it a bit strange a boy wanting her services?" Mum queried

"No, she saw me when I did the brochure thing and Rhod told her who it was so she knew anyway."

"So, Sylv prettied you up, your sister took you to this 'party' and then what?"

"Well we went to the disco at the 'Miners'"

"Were you drinking?"

"The others got me drinks and I drank a couple"


"Yes mum" I admitted

"Go on what then"

"Well we went back to Anna's and played music and stuff, I'm not really sure what we did, I was feeling pretty groggy by then. When I woke up Jules brought me home, I got changed then went to school, I think I must have had a hangover."

"I hope you've learnt your lesson"

"Not to drink?" I ventured

"That too, but it sounds to me like everyone else wanted you to do this but you didn't. I know peer pressure can be pretty intense but in future, think carefully and do what you think is right."

"Yes mum"

"So have we seen the end to all this dressing as a girl then?"

"Erm, not yet, I'm wearing some of Jules stuff now" I could sense Mum rolling her eyes

"Go on, why" she sounded exasperated

"Well I didn't expect to need a change of stuff and I got chilli on my shirt and jeans last night. It was either borrow Jules stuff or sit in the camper all day."

"I see, so you borrowed a t shirt and jeans then?"

"Yeah, but I had to wear Jules knickers coz mine showed over the jeans, and a bra because the top looked silly without." I blurted

"Drew Bond. What are we going to do with you?" she sighed

"Well I'm never wearing girls stuff again" I stated

"Okay Drew, put your Dad back on"

Well that was a conversation I never want to repeat. Mum and Dad talked for a bit then Jules was summoned. I joined Dad in the Kitchen, we could hear Jules sniffling and "sorry" carried to us more than once. When she rejoined us she was well-chastened and simply said goodnight and retired to her room.

I realised I was still dressed en femme, this really has to end now, I'm far too comfortable dressed like this. Tomorrow Gaby will be gone forever! Definitely never again!

Maddy Bell 16.10.03 Secret
© 2003

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