book 2 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 69

Happy Birthday!

"Do you know what time you'll be home?" Dad asked from the doorway

"No idea" I told him, "I'll have to ring you when I find out"

"Well I'll see you later then"

"Okay Dad"

"And stay out of trouble"

"Yes Dad" I sighed

A few minutes later I heard the car leaving, a glance at the clock announced it was seven thirty, Sleep!

"Are you getting out of bed today?" Jules asked

"Uh, yeah. What time is it?"

"Gone nine"


I am not usually one for expletives but I remembered what I need to do this morning. I exploded from under my duvet and scrambled into some underwear before heading to the bathroom. Ten minutes later I joined my sister in the kitchen.

"What are you doing today?" she asked

"Maddy's party?"

"Oh yeah, I forgot"

"I've got to get a card and wrapping paper this morning, so I'm going up the village"

"I'll come with you, I'm going over to Charlie's"

So after breakfast the two of us walked into Warsop.

"What time do you have to be at Maddy's?"

"About two" I replied

"Did you say it was a barbecue?"

"Yeah, and I think me and Rhod will be the only boys" I advised

"Sounds more like your birthday than Mad's"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you know, all those girls, just you two boys, they'll be all over you"

I groaned.

"That's all I need!"

"I thought that was every schoolboys dream?"

"Dream maybe" I allowed

"You could always go as Gaby" Jules suggested

"No I couldn't!" I almost shouted, "I am not doing that ever again!"

"Keep your hair on"

"Sorry Jules. But I'm never dressing up as a girl again"

"What's brought this on?"

"I'm fed up with people, you, Mad, Mr Wood, Dad, Mr Pilling, even Mum wanting me to be a girl. It's not right and I've had enough."

Jules went quiet for a minute then queried

"What are you doing with all that stuff in your wardrobe?"

"Dunno, you can have it if you want"

"I doubt if it would fit me properly"

"I've worn your stuff" I mentioned

"Yeah but I'm bigger than you in certain areas"

I wasn't sure what she was alluding to.

"I think you should give it all to Maddy, even the shoes are her size aren't they?"

"I'm a half size bigger"

"There you go, I bet half the time she ends up with the same size as you, they don't make many half sizes"

"I dunno"

"Why not take everything with you later, if she doesn't want anything she can give it away to charity or something"

"I could do that"

"Yeah but she's your friend right? And friends always get first dibs when you get rid of stuff"

"I s'pose it won't hurt any"

By now we were in Warsop centre.

"Look there's my bus, see you later" Jules called as she crossed to where the minibus that runs the circular was waiting.

"See ya"

I walked along to the newsagent cum stationers to get what I needed. Half an hour later I emerged with two gift boxes, a pack of tissue paper, a box of Roses chocolates and a ridiculous birthday card. This girlfriend / birthday business is expensive! It was nearly eleven when I got back home, only about two and half hours before I need to leave.

I was quite proud of my wrapping efforts, I know I cheated a bit with the boxes and the lingerie was already part wrapped by the woman in the shop but I did the ribbons and stuff. I decided to sort out Gaby's stuff before getting a shower.

Mum had hung the school uniform and my orange dress up, by the time I had it all collected together there was quite a pile. I must admit that there was perhaps more than a modicum of regret at my decision. As I packed everything into a laundry bag I started daydreaming.

'Bernie took up the reins, "We want to go in costume, there's prizes and stuff"

"Still with you so far" I sarcastically put in

"Well the point is we want to go as Manga girls, you know like Sailor Blue and that"

"What will us guys go as?

"Erm that's just it, you'll be Manga girls too"

"What, no way!"

"Come on guys, your kidding right"

"No we're deadly serious, we've even sort of sorted some costumes"

"You are serious aren't you"

"Of course we are" '

I chuckled to myself as remembered that conversation. We really fell for that, hook, line and sinker! I went to pick up the small collection of Gaby's footwear that I, I mean Gaby acquired. I thought back to that first trip to the shoe shops and Sarah.

'"Are you looking for anything in particular"

I'm sure that they all go on the same course or something. Before I realised what I was saying it was out,

"I need to get some shoes for a dance"

"What colour is your dress"



"What colour dress are you going to wear miss?"

Then it clicked, despite my combats sweatshirt and short haircut she thought I was a girl. Mixed emotions roiled around my head.

"I'm not" she cut me off

"Not sure yet?"

I decided to roll with it.

"No, I mean yes, it's sort of off white"


Not getting her meaning I just nodded.

"I'm Sarah,"

"Gaby" I mumbled

"Just sit over there, I'll bring some over for you to try." '

I shook my head and chuckled to myself. I've certainly done some strange things this year! Yeah nothing as strange as the school brochure! Now that was weird, and yes, it was fun. I stripped off to get a shower but my mind was on that week as I climbed into the tub.

'"Oh right. They're so real" I told Sally

"Great aren't they" she replied proudly. "With those on your chest no one will ever guess you're not a girl. The glue will last until the weekend; I'll give you some solvent to take them off then. Now young lady you'd better get dressed before Mary, Mrs Johnston gets back"

"Oh right. You mean I'm stuck with these until the weekend?"

"Of course silly, John will be taking pictures of you today, tomorrow and Friday so this will save a lot of time. Mrs Johnston will do your make up the rest of the week." '

I remembered that first day wearing the breast forms, weird but nice too, in a weird way. I washed my now collar length hair, enjoying the sensation of the lather washing down my body. Hmm, I suppose I'll have to get it cut this week.

I found myself smiling as I revisited some of the episodes of the last few months. Am I doing the right thing? Do I really want to give up Gaby? What if people still think I'm a girl? And what about my friends, what about Mad? I thought back to that conversation when we went to Ladybower.

'"Well what do you think of her?" I asked, the syntax (big word!) didn't seem right.


"You know..."

"Well I guess I like her"

"More than Drew?"

"No! Well differently. It's like, well, you're my friend, we do stuff, have fun but you're a boy, there's stuff we can't talk about or share."

"Uh huh" I nodded

"Well Gaby is like a girlfriend. You know like Ally and Bernie. We can talk about clothes and stuff and have loads of fun, there's no barriers you know?"

"I think I get it. Even though you know she's me, you can relate to her better" '

I got myself dressed, combed my still damp hair and got ready to leave for the Peters. Checking the clock I realised I was running a bit early despite my daydreaming but I decided to set off anyway. I locked the house up and hefting the laundry bag in one hand and the prezzie bag in the other I set off to Mad's birthday celebration.

During the walk over to the party I kept thinking about Gabysodes. Anna's party, maybe that wasn't one of the high points, the trip to Germany? Hmm, I guess that was quite funny really and Paris! That was some trip, I remember being a bit annoyed at the time, but after all I had got myself into that one, just as Mum said on Saturday. In balance, being Gaby hasn't been bad, in fact just the opposite. What was it she said, oh yeah.

'"Oh Drew!" she hugged me close and kissed my head. "Me and your Dad, well let's just say we thought it was what you wanted to do. You always looked so happy as Gaby" '

I always looked so happy as Gaby; does that mean I look miserable as myself?

I arrived at my destination, the front of the house was decked out with balloons and bunting, there was no doubting this was the place!

"Hi Drew" Maddy greeted me, "come on through"

"Happy birthday Mad" I gave her a peck on the cheek, "here you go" I proffered the bag of gifts.

"Ooh presents! Thanks Drew." I got a kiss on the lips in return.

"Aren't you going to open them?"

"No. Mum says I have to wait till later, what's in the other bag?"

"Jules suggested you might like first refusal on this stuff"

"What is it?"

"Gaby's stuff"

"You were serious then?"

"Yes" I answered flatly, "Mad can I ask you something?"

"I suppose so"

"I don't know how to put this. I said I was serious, now I'm not so sure"

"You know I'll support whatever decision you make"

"Thanks Mad. I just don't know anymore. I've been thinking about it most of the morning and I just don't know. I know it's a bit strange, and I know I protested a lot but it was kinda fun, wasn't it?" I asked

"Yes it was Drew" she seemed to be holding back some.


"No buts, I shall really miss her"

"Me too" now where did that come from?

"Come on you two, less of that" Mrs P mentioned from the back door, "your other guests are about due, Drew can you give Maddy's Dad a hand with the barbecue please"

"...Happy birthday to you!" we all sang

"Three cheers for Maddy, hip hip" Ally suggested


"Hip hip"


"Hip hip"


"Can I open my presents now?" Maddy asked her Mum

"Go on then"

We all found seats on the lawn with Mad holding court from a wrought iron garden chair. Did I mention how Rhod and I were the only boys from fifteen attendees to the soiree? Mad opened the gifts in reverse order of arrival; my boxes were at the bottom of the pile. Seeing what everyone else was giving, I realised that I might have overdone the present bit. I could hardly withdraw a package at this stage though; this was going to be embarrassing!

I watched as various items of perfume, makeup and accessories were revealed and presented to the audience for inspection. I seriously contemplated making a run for it as the pile decreased towards my gifts. Instead I just tried to hide in shrubbery!

"Oh Drew it's lovely!" Mad exclaimed

"What about the other one?" Bernie asked

"Oh yes" it went quiet as Mad unwrapped the parcel of lingerie

"I want one of those!" I heard

"It is gorgeous"

"I bet Gaby bought them" Ally mentioned

"Who's Gaby?" another voice asked

"Drew's cousin" Bernie filled the others in

"Where did you find a boyfriend like that?" one of the others asked

"Just lucky I suppose, where is Drew"

"Behind that yellow bush" Rhod welched on me

"Drew? You alright?" Mad asked when she found me

"Um, yeah, I went a bit overboard didn't I?"

"Maybe, it's all lovely though, thank you"

"Sorry Mad"

"What for?"

"For embarrassing you with the underwear"

"Who's embarrassed? Come on, let's get some cake and I want to try that dress on!"

Maddy in her Birthday Dress
Maddy was delighted by my present.

The dress looked great on Maddy, I must have been having a Gaby moment when I bought it!

"Drew, can we have a chat?" Mrs P asked some time later


"Come inside, it's a bit private"

I followed her into the dining room where we each took a chair.

"Maddy told me what you said on Saturday"

I wasn't sure where this was headed but I didn't like it.

"Did you mean it? never being Gaby again?"

"Yes I did"


"But I'm not so sure anymore. I had an argument with Mum before she left and I thought that's what I wanted"

"And now?"

"I don't know"

Aunt C changed the direction a bit then.

"That dress is very nice, did you pick it out yourself?"

I brightened some.

"Yeah, I got it in Chester on Thursday"

"There's not many boys your age, or any age for that matter, who'd risk trying to buy a dress for a girl, let alone get the right size in a nice style"

I blushed at the compliment.

"I saw that you brought Gaby's clothes over?" she went on

"I thought Mad might want some of them" I explained

"Why would she want them? Surely she could just borrow anything?"

"Yes, no, I don't know"

"Tell you what Drew, we'll store them here for Gaby and if she want's them she can just come over. Mad can borrow stuff and you haven't got someone else's stuff in your closet!"

"I, I guess that's okay"

"That's settled then, lets go and join the others"

I'm not sure what was settled but Mrs P thought something was.

The party broke up about seven and I departed before the rest of the gang, leaving Mad with another kiss.

Some day! I wandered home, thinking more as I walked. I've done a lot of that today. I'm not sure if it's got me anywhere though. What am I saying? I've made my decision haven't I? I should have known that life is never that simple!

Maddy Bell 06.12.03 Secret © 2003

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