book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 84

Who's a Pretty Girl Then?

"KIDS!" he emphasised

I was trying to melt into the carpet, Jules was trying to contain her sniggers and our guests were stopped mid flow.

"Drew?" Dad gave me a questioning look

After the day I've had I was not ready for this and by the look I was giving Dad he must have realised that too.

"Okay, we'll sort this out tomorrow, Drew's had a long day and I think everyone could do with an early night"

"Daaad!" Jules complained

He shot her a look.

"Okay" she pouted

"Come on Brit, Miss Bell said to be on time in the morning" Debbie mentioned.

"Oh yeah, er good night everyone"

"Good night girls" Dad replied

"Night" I offered

Jules joined the girls as they made their way upstairs, whispering.

"You realise that we have to tell them something tomorrow" Dad addressed me

"Why does everyone think I'm a girl Dad?"

He shook his head; "I don't know son"

"I don't really look like a girl do I?"

Dad looked thoughtful for a minute before answering.

"Not to me or your Mum, but we know you're a boy. From what I've seen, it's a matter of association."


"How do I explain this? Okay, imagine that your friends are all boys, Maddy and the other girls too. Now if I saw you all on the street, I'd think 'there's a bunch of boys'. So if I see a bunch of girls on the street I think the same sort of thing, I'm not explaining very well am I?"

"I think I get it so far"

"Okay, so if you a boy are with boys, everyone just see's you as a boy. But if you're with the girls, say shopping, people see a bunch of girls, you included"

"But no one mistakes Rhod for a girl"

"Are you sure?"

On reflection, several times they have! But with Rhod it's more like they don't notice he's a boy rather than think he's a girl!

"What about at Cuckney and stuff, I'm not with the girls then"

"That's a bit different but it's still an association thing. For whatever reason," he gave me a look, "they think you are a girl. So when they talk about the race, they talk about 'Gaby', sort of like Chinese whispers, this morning at Blythe they were all talking about you as if you are a girl because that's what they think you are. I don't think anything short of stripping naked would convince them otherwise."

"And stuff like just now on the telly doesn't help huh?"

"I'm going to have to talk to your Mum about this, in the meantime I think you should tell the girls the whole story don't you?"

"I guess. I know, I'll cut my hair dead short!"

"That's up to you son, but it might just backfire, girls have short hair too you know"

"Well I still might"

"Anyway Drew, enough for tonight. Go get some sleep."

"Night Dad"

"G'night Drew"

I headed up the stairs, my mind in turmoil, switched off really, I was at my door before it clicked that that was the wrong door. I could hear the Walter's girls and Jules chatting. I didn't mean to earwig but Jules ' who's a pretty girl then?" reached me and made me listen.

"...are you sure she's not a girl?" Debbie asked

"I give up!" I could visualise my sibling throwing her arms up in the air. I smiled to myself. I only just heard their 'goodnights' in time, diving across into my temporary home and 'safety'.

As I lay in bed I went over the day's events, my success on the bike, the walk, and drenching! on the moors, wearing Deb and Brit's stuff afterwards, phew! Then there was Mum's brilliant ride, I could have done without the Duffield moment though! Suddenly I'm famous, but not as me, Drew. Oh no! I have to be famous as my unwanted female alter ego! And on top of that the American's just will not believe that I'm a boy. I fell asleep smiling at the thought of number 70's 'shit' when I passed him!

The visitors were off on their first 'educational' trip today to Oxford and Stratford on Avon, it would be fairly late when they get back.

"Hey Drew, you okay?"

"Oh hi Mad. Just thinking"

"Anything interesting?"

"Tell you later"

"You guys coming?" Britney called back

"Yeah" I replied

The six of us walked along, the Americans and Jules having a lively conversation about boys with Mad and me just following along behind. A car tooted as it went past. The visitors waved at the occupants.

"Who was that?" I asked

"Miss Bell" Brit advised


"Our teacher! Like you only saw her on Saturday!"

"Oh right"

We were soon at the school, the school minibus was already out and people were milling about.

"Hi girls" it was Miss Bell

"Hi Miss Bell"

"Are you gonna introduce us?"

"Sorry Miss Bell, this is Jules and Drew Bond who we are staying with" Deb advised

"And I'm staying with Maddy" Sabrina told her

"Nice to meet you girls, I hope this lot are behaving?"

"Er yeah" Jules replied


"Sounds like I'm wanted" Miss Bell mentioned, "nice meeting you and you three," she addressed her students, "we leave in five minutes"

"Sure Ma'am" Debbie replied

"She seems really nice" Mad commented

"She is," Brit replied, "she comes from somewhere near Chicago, she's a real laugh"

"Not like sour face Frederick's" Sab added

"Hey, he's okay" Deb came to his defence

A few minutes later we waved the mini bus off, it has only been two days but we were in need of the break from our trans-pond visitors!

The five of us started walking vaguely towards the Rec.

"What are we gonna do then?" Ally asked

"Well I want to get a haircut" I mentioned

"I'm sure Mum'll fit you in" Rhod offered

"Why do you want a haircut Drew? I thought you liked it longer?" Bernie put in

"I do"

"Something's up" Mad surmised, "he was looking very thoughtful earlier"

My expression must have given me away.

"There is something!" Ally declared, "come on Drew, spill!"

Knowing the girls of old there's no way to get out of an explanation at this stage.

"Okay but somewhere a bit more er, private?"

"We can go back to mine" Mad suggested

"So what are everyone's American's like" Bernie started

During the walk to Peters Towers, everyone exchanged their thoughts and impressions of the visitors, seems that so far no one has fallen out, taken instant dislike or generally had a negative incident. Except maybe me! Once we reached our destination we were soon camped in the back yard making use of the morning sun.

"So come on then Drew, what's happened?" Ally pressed

"What didn't?" I started, "well you remember..."

"Sheesh Drew, you don't half get in some fixes" Rhod mentioned

"So you gonna tell them everything?" Bernie asked

"S'pose so"

Mad was chuckling to herself.

"What?" I huffed

"Well don't you think its funny them thinking that you're pretending to be a boy?"

"No I don't!"

"Oh come on Drew, you've got to see the funny side?" Bernie added

Which reminds me!

"The other day when we were in town Rhod was muttering about someone called Merfanwee"

"Ooh Rhod's got a girl friend!" Mad exclaimed, my deflection seemed to be working.

"Come on Rhod who is she?" Bernie took up the chase

"Yes, why don't you tell us all about her." a pissed looking Ally added.

Rhod was looking daggers at me.

"I told Drew, she's my cousin"

"You never mentioned her before?" Mad stated

"I didn't mention her now" he mentioned giving Ally a strange look.

"So, what's she like, this Merfanwee?" Bern was digging again

"It's Mfanwy, she thirteen and Welsh okay" Rhod was obviously a bit rattled

"Okay, you don't have to bite my head off"

"So Drew, you're getting a haircut so the Americans believe you're a boy?" Ally changed the direction of the conversation again.

"Er I guess so," I admitted

"Sounds dumb to me, it would just look like you were trying to be more convincing" Mad told me

"Well if you lot are so clever, what should I do? Apart from strip naked and that is not up for negotiation"

"How about dressing up as a girl but do it really bad?" Bernie suggested

"They've already seen him in a skirt remember?" Ally put in.

"Oh yeah"

"Just tell them the truth, if they don't believe you that's their problem" Rhod added

"I guess so, it didn't help with Mum on telly last night"

"Mrs B was on telly again?" Ally enthused

"Yeah, didn't I tell you that bit?"

"No you just said they thought you were Gaby still." Bern advised

So I had to re-live what happened last night.

"Now I see why you are so pissed Drew" Mad stated when I finished.

"Can we change the subject please" I implored

"Yeah, what are we doing for the rest of the day?" Rhod voiced the question

In the end we decided on a game of Trivial Pursuit, well you start running out of things to do after a couple of weeks! However after a particularly heated argument over 'where is the capital of Germany?' we all know its Berlin but the card said Bonn, the game broke up. Mrs P supplied some sandwiches for lunch after which we spent a couple of hours playing a cross between cricket and softball. Another day gone!

"Good day girls?" Dad asked when the Walter's got back to the house, Mrs Rose, Bernie's Mum, dropped them off.

"Not exactly a fun day" Britney told us

"Strat Ford was pretty cool" her sister contradicted

"Well it was s'posed to be educational" Jules put in

"Everyone ready to eat?"

"I could eat a scabby dog!" I supplied in answer to Dad's question. After all we had been waiting for the girls to get back before eating.

"Urgh!" the girls chorused

"Well you'll have to manage on sweet & sour for now" Dad chuckled

It was well after eight when we finally adjourned to the lounge. Dad started the conversation.

"Lets get this Gaby thing straightened out once and for all"

The Walter's attention was ensured and I tried to slide out of the room.

"Dad!" Jules exclaimed pointing at me.

"You, sit!" Dad instructed, "right girls, you deserve an explanation and I'll give you that now, anything more you'll need to get from Drew. What I say in the next few minutes stays in this room. I'm sure you'll have some questions that's fine but this conversation ends it right?"

"Sure Mr B" Deb agreed


"No sweat" she allowed

"Let me start with a fact. Contrary to popular belief, Drew is my son! This whole Gaby thing started last Christmas..." Dad gave a much simplified and shortened version of events as he knew them, the girls hanging on every word, their jaws gradually dropping towards their chests.

"...and that brings us up to date. That cover everything Drew?"

Concise but thorough, he didn't know about a lot of stuff (thankfully) but the way he put it I came out looking like the victim of circumstance that I considered myself. I nodded in agreement.

"You must have some questions girls?"

"So like, the bike race guys, they just thought you were a girl without any reason?" Brit asked

I was more than a bit embarrassed but in for a penny!

"Well, yes, I mean no."

"Stop dithering Drew," Jules told me, "Drew and the gang were mucking around and he ended up going to a race with makeup on."

"I didn't know!" I interjected

"Well ever since, he's been Gaby to most of the bike crowd" she went on

"Weird!" Debbie stated, "and you've put up with it?"

"We've tried to sort it out" Dad mentioned, "but now they think that Drew is Gaby's brother"

"Talk about skitzo" Brit put in

"And these other times? They're like all circumstantial?" Deb asked

"Like yesterday" I agreed

"Jeez Drew, I'm real sorry, I wouldn't have done that but I was convinced you really were a girl. I am so embarrassed" Deb told us

"Me too Drew" her sister agreed.

"Right, I'm glad that's sorted" Dad indicated that that conversation was at an end. As if on cue the phone started to ring. "Get that please Drew"

"Bond residence"

"Is that you Drew?"


"How's everything in England?"

I put my hand over the mouthpiece and pointlessly told the room, "it's Mum"

"Er fine, we saw you on telly last night, that was brill!"

"Well I was fairly happy too, well done Drew, that was a great ride you did as well"

"We saw"

"So how's the visit going?"

"Er okay I guess, we went walking yesterday and they went to Oxford and Stratford today"

"Sounds like there's something else?"

"Well, we just got through explaining about Gaby"

"Oh! And I don't suppose I helped did I?"

"Not really, but it's all sorted now. Are you back in Germany now?"

"Just for a few days, we've got a load of crit's in Holland and Belgium in the next few weeks"

"I miss you Mum"

"I miss you and Jules too. Hmmm, I was going to save it as a surprise but what the heck. Do you fancy coming to the bike show next month?"

"Do I! When? Where?"

"Whoa Trigger! It's the first weekend in September down on Bodensee. I need to sort it out with your Dad, is he there?"

"Yeah, I'll pass you over"

"Bye for now Drew"

"Bye Mum"

I gave Dad the handset and despite myself listened to Dad's call.

"Hi luv...oh we're coping...great finish, all the kids were cheering you on...yes, I think we've got that sorted now...I'm sure he'd enjoy that...when?...I don't think I can...I know, I'll see what I can you too...I'll just get your daughter."

Jules was there in a flash.


Dad turned to me.

"Your Mum's just told me about the show, I've got to work that weekend but I'll see what we can sort out eh?" He took himself off to the kitchen ruffling my hair on the way.

I smiled weakly but my heart sank.

"What weekend?" Britney asked

"Mum's got me a ticket to go the bike show in Germany next month"

"That's cool huh?"

"Yeah but Dad's got to work so it looks like it's off"


"You could say that"

 A suitable t shirt!

I thought my Gardoms rock art t shirt was appropriate!
Tuesday. Mr Wood has arranged an afternoon trip to Creswell Crags so we've got the morning free. Just as well, what with one thing and another there's plenty to do around the house, washing, cleaning and stuff. With four of us at it, we zipped through the house in no time and once again we set out to meet Mad and Sab. The weather was so unlike England in August, just a gentle breeze ruffled our hair as the sun made it's presence felt from a clear blue sky. Shouldn't complain, it'll probably snow tomorrow!

We were all in shorts teamed with summer tops for the girls and what I thought was an appropriate t-shirt for me, the Gardoms rock art that we went to on Sunday.

Although it's only a short way from home, I've never been to The Crags before, all I know is that it's some sort of archaeology thing. It really does seem odd being the only boy with so many girls, I know, I'm usually outnumbered but now it's double the effect! The six of us stopped off at the bakery to get some lunch, it's too early to eat before we go, we leave at 12.30.

Laden with an assortment of sandwiches and buns, we arrived at school all of five minutes before we were due to depart!

Maddy Bell 26.02.04 Secret © 2004

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