book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 86

Once More Unto The Mall

"Come on Brit, we'll be late!"

"Alright already!"

Britney emerged from the house pulling a sandal on, the pink pair I ended up wearing last night.

"Come on, there's only one bus an hour"

"Sorree! I didn't realise we were on such a tight schedule!"

She caught up to me and we walked in silence out to the bus stop. We had barely crossed the road when the bus hove into view.

"We've got to go upstairs!" Darla exclaimed

"Too right" Dan agreed

I hate riding upstairs; I nearly always end up feeling ill with all the swaying about. Ah well! We paid our fares and we trooped upstairs, luckily this morning no one else was riding on top as with ten teenagers we made quite a bit of noise. It's a good job it's only a twenty minute ride into Worksop coz I was getting a bit green by the time we got off. The Sheffield bus was waiting, a single decker, yes!

"What's that?" Brit asked as we swung round the roundabout.


"That there" she pointed


"What is it?"

"That's where we're going, that's the shopping centre"

"Well cool!" Amy mentioned from behind us

"Wow" Britney echoed

We tumbled off the bus at the interchange a few minutes later.

"Are you lads going into Sheffield?" Bernie asked

"Dunno" I admitted

"Dan?" Rhod asked

"Nah! I've gotta see this place" Rhod and I just looked at each other and shrugged.

"Looks like we're staying" I answered Bern's query

"Come on then" Ally enthused leading the way up the escalator to the footbridge.

"This place is huge" Brit stated

"I suppose so" I tried to contain a smirk, the Americans were impressed by a shopping centre! I mean I know people come from all over the UK at Christmas and stuff but I always thought everything was 'bigger and better' in America.

We joined the other shoppers, a large percentage of which were our peers, and nearly all were girls. I can't say that visiting this place is my favourite excursion and school holidays are worst. Seems everytime I come over, Gaby makes an appearance, please, not today!

The girls led us through M&S and into the centre proper and the heaving mass of humanity that inhabits Meadowhall. For those poor souls who haven't visited this icon of shoppingdom, the centre has a sort of hierarchy of shops, the posh shops at one end, gradually changing to discount stores and stuff at the other. Over our numerous visits, the gang have developed a strategy whereby we cover pretty much all the stores we want to go to with the least walking. Today we would follow the 'classic' route, no one was really looking to buy anything, and we're just doing the mall thing.

You don't want boring with a blow by blow account of a teenage mall trawl, suffice to say the girls oohed and aahed in the clothes emporiums, Rhod, Dan and I were more taken with the book and music shops. We don't usually do the department stores but our guests wanted to see all so even Debenhams got a visit!

"We stopping to eat?" Rhod asked as we approached the Oasis

By the looks on several faces, that looked like a good idea!

"Let's eat and then see what's on at the pics" I suggested

Ten minutes later we had commandeered seating and everyone had their food of choice.

"This place is so cool" Amy mentioned

"Yeah, our local mall isn't half this size" Sab agreed

"We haven't been round it all yet" Bernie told them

"Not more shops!" Dan complained

"What films are on then Drew?" Mad asked

I checked out the board behind her head.

"Er Starwars three, Harry Potter, Lion King, Notting Hill,"

"Ooh can we see that?" Darla asked

"It's a PG" Ally stated, "we need an adult with us to see it"


"She's got a thing for that English actor guy with the funny name" Amy told us

"I do not and his name's Hugh Grant"

"See!" Amy declared

"What else is on?" Ally queried

"Oh cool, the original Italian Job!" I enthused

"You're only s'posed to blow the bloody doors off!" Rhod did his best or more accurately worst Michael Caine impression. By the blank looks from the Americans, they'd never seen this classic!

"It's a 12" I whined

"Well I suppose it is quite good" Bernie allowed

"What's it about?" Brit asked

"I think it's a bank robbery," Rhod started

"And there's this brill car chase" I went on

"Well I'm in" Dan mentioned

"Okay" Mad allowed

I looked at the other girls

"Sure why not" Amy agreed

We finished eating and rode the escalator up to the cinema, the film was due to start almost straight away so we dived down to screen three where we joined a couple of dozen, mostly older cinema goers.

If you haven't seen the film, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN! There are some real cool old cars, E-type Jags, an Aston Martin; I cringe every time I watch the bit with the Mafia trashing the cars! And that car chase! By the time we left even the girls joined in as the lads started a chorus of 'Self Preservation Society' much to the amusement of the olds.

"What now?" Sab queried

"There's still a bit over an hour before the bus" Bernie supplied

"We haven't been around the 'Lanes'," Mad stated, "I want to have a look in that place we got your dress Drew."

"We missing something Mad?" Amy asked

Brit was giving me a look; I just wanted to die on the spot. Mad finally realised her gaff!

"Er we were doing a play in drama class and er Drew..." she was struggling

"You know, 'Some Like it Hot'? and Drew had to play this guy who has to pretend to be a woman" Bernie sprang to the rescue

"Yeah, I think it was Tony Curtis in the film" Mad supplied

Brit didn't look too convinced but the others seemed to accept the flimsy story.

"Come on Dan, there's some cool shops down there" Rhod chivvied leading our party back downstairs.

"Mad!" I complained holding her back behind the others

"Sorry Drew, I didn't realise what I said. But the play idea was good eh!"

"I hate acting"

"Well we never said you were any good!" well that told me!

We got back to the bus station a few minutes before the bus turned up and without further incident. The journey back home was a lively affair and I felt sure the driver was going to chuck us off we were making so much noise! With the Americans off to York tomorrow, the rest of us agreed on a trip to Mansfield baths.

After dinner Dad called me into the kitchen.

"Drew, I know you were looking forward to it, but I can't get away to take you to the bike show."

I know I had been forewarned but he might as well have slapped me round the head with a wet fish!

"I could go on my own"

"I already thought of that. You have to be over fifteen to travel out of the country on your own, I checked. Sorry Drew, maybe next time eh?"

"Yes Dad" I mumbled with a trembly lip

"Come here son"

Dad took me into his arms and hugged me close while I sniffled a bit.

"Daad!" Jules called out, "where's the...oh, it'll wait" she finished as she spotted what was going on.

"Be there in a minute Jules"

"No hurry"

"Now Drew, come on, pull yourself together, if I could have taken you I would, you know I would."

"Yes Dad"

"There'll be other opportunities, other shows. I promise you that we'll sort a trip out okay?"

"Okay" I half-heartedly agreed.

"Come on, let's go through, the girls'll be wondering what we're up to!"

As you might guess, I wasn't in a great mood for the rest of the evening and I slunk off to bed pretty early. I know it isn't Dad's fault but who else can I blame? Life sucks! I was stirred from my navel contemplation by a soft knocking on the door.

"Who is it?"

"Britney? Can I come in?"


She pushed the door open and joined me in my cupboard.

"You okay? You seemed like, pretty low after you talked with your Dad."

"Yeah, I'll live. He just told me that we can't go to the show in Germany coz he's got to work."


"Yeah" I agreed

We sat in silence for a minute.

"This room is really small" Brit mentioned

"Yeah, it usually just gets used for junk"

"Sorry Drew"

"What for?"

"Well like we sort of evicted you"

"Not much choice really was there?"

"I still feel guilty, I mean you've even moved everything out of your closets"

"Not everything"

"Okay not everything but you shouldn't have to move anything"

"Told you, I don't mind"

"Erm, I've got a confession to make"

"What are you on about?"

"Well you know you left some stuff in the big closet?"

"Yes" I agreed

"Well like Deb and me were like, curious so we had a look"


"There was some stuff. At the back. On a hanger?"

What is she on about? I only left my school uniform in there.

"And? It's only my school uniform"

"Well like there's a girls uniform too, skirt and blouse and stuff. We weren't gonna say anything but..."

Bugger! I thought I gave Mad all that stuff!

"It's er, Gaby's. She left it when she stayed over at the end of term, Jules didn't have anywhere to hang it so it ended up in there." I'm not sure I sounded convincing.

"Oh right. Sorry for prying."

"S'all right" did she really believe me?

"I sure would like to meet with Cousin Gaby some time?" the look she was giving me was a very thinly veiled invitation.

"Yeah, well perhaps if she gets back before you leave."

"Sure. I'd best go to bed I guess, see you in the morning"

"Night Britney"

"Night Drew" she pulled the door shut behind her.

She knows, I'm certain of it! Shite!

"See ya later!" Deb called over

"Bye!" I replied with a wave

"Yeah don't drown!" Brit suggested

We waited until the minibus pulled away before heading off ourselves.

"Mum said she'd pick us up" Bernie mentioned

"I can afford a burger afterwards then" Rhod observed

"I don't know how you eat those veggie things?" Mad stated as we walked towards the bus shelter.

"They're not so bad!"

"Well you won't get me giving up meat," I added

"I'm thinking about it" Ally put in

"You're a bad influence Rhod" Bern joked

"Hey come on the bus is coming!" I informed them after spotting said vehicle trundling towards us.

We just got to the stop in time and bundled on. At least without the Americans we could sit downstairs thus avoiding the nausea-inducing ride up top! We spent the half hour ride 'discussing' the merits of a meat free diet, as the solitary example of the genre, Rhod tried his best to defend his stance but with little conviction. Not only that but we all know that he'd kill for a proper sausage!

"We riding or walking?" I asked once we got off in the bus station

"It's not far, let's walk" Ally suggested

"Yeah it's not like it's raining or anything" Mad agreed.

We headed off and it's one of those 'only a minute in the car but fifteen walking' jobs! Finally we arrived at the municipal baths and joined the queue to go in, We paid for two hours and then congregated before going to change to pool our valuables into a locker. Then we split up to get changed.

I donned my swim shorts, an atrocious pair of long stripy things that Mum got me and headed out to the pool.

 wet wet wet!

I dripped onto the poolside.
I was getting a few odd looks as I waited for the others but didn't pay any attention. Rhod plonked himself down next to me.

"Looks like you've caught the sun"

"That's one thing about riding a bike, you get a good tan" I agreed

"There's the girls, race you across" he said diving into the crowded pool.

I followed a bit more cautiously and set to with an enthusiastic crawl to try to close the gap.

"Do you two have to race?" Mad asked a couple of minutes later as we stood dripping in front of the girls.

"It was Rhod!"

"Well looking at the result you'd better stick to two wheels" Bern pointed out, and I have to agree that Rhod is somewhat more accomplished in the pool.

"Turn round Drew" Mad requested

"What for?"

"I just want to see something"


"Can't you just do it without twenty questions?"

"Okay already" I turned round so that my back was to the girls. "Satisfied?" I told them over my shoulder.

"You can turn back now" Ally allowed

"What's that all about?" Rhod asked

"No idea" I shrugged

"Erm Drew," Mad started, "er you've got some er interesting tan lines"


"Oh wow, I didn't notice before!" Rhod mentioned

"Notice what? Come on spill"

"Er, well you can sort of see where you had your swimming cozzie on" Ally supplied.

"What are you on about, I'm wearing shorts"

"You didn't at Ladybower the other week" Mad reminded me

Then it dawned on me.

"You mean...oh shit!" I tried looking over my shoulder.

"It looks like a vest at the front," Bernie added, "but there's no doubt what it represents on your back!"

"I'm getting changed!"

"Don't be daft Drew, we only just got here" Mad stated

"It's alright for you, no ones laughing at you"

"No ones laughing at you either" Ally pointed out

"I bet hardly anyone notices" Bern soothed


"Come on, you girls aren't even wet yet" Rhod said grabbing Ally's arm and dragging her towards the flume.

"Drew, don't worry so" Bern advised setting off after the others.

"She's right you know, come on" Mad agreed pulling me along in her wake.

Two hours later we were sat in the cafeteria overlooking the pool. In truth after a few minutes I pretty much forgot about the pattern etched onto my back and concentrated on enjoying myself. We did do a bit of swimming but mostly we rode the flume or sat watching the action from the poolside.

"Let's borrow your phone Drew?" Bernie asked

I retrieved it from my pocket and handed it over.

"Who you ringing Bern?" Ally asked

"Well duh! Mum of course, you do want a lift home?"

"Stop teasing Bee" Maddy told her.

"Mum?'s Bernadette...yeah we're just eating...half two?...okay, see you then, bye"

"Its Bernadette" Rhod mimicked

"Come here you!" Bernie made a grab for him.

"Watch the phone!" I mentioned

"Oh sorry Drew" Bernie apologised returning to her seat and passing my phone back.

"So what's the crack?" Mad asked

"She'll pick us up by the bus station at two thirty"

"It's only ten past twelve" I stated

"Ooh shopping!" Ally enthused

"We only went to Meadowhall yesterday" I complained

"Don't be such a wuss Drew" Mad said grabbing a few of my fries, "you can never have too much shopping"

"If you say so"

We walked up into the town and Rhod and me followed the girls up the high street.

"Hey Gaby!"

I continued talking to Rhod about next Tuesday's race.

"Gaby?" the voice was much closer and in a reflex action I turned to see who was calling.

"I thought it was you!" bum! It's Sarah!

"Er hi Sarah"

"Hi yourself"

"You remember Rhod?"

"You came to the shop?" she asked him

"Yeah" he agreed

"So what are you up to?"

"We've been to the baths this morning, we're just killing some time until our lift turns up"

"Talk about blonde! I didn't notice your hair was wet even!"

Although I wanted to get away, I could hardly just say 'bye' and go could I?

"What about you?"

"Dinner hour. Bum! I've got to go to the bank! I'll have to go Gab, see ya later, bye Rob"

"Bye Sarah"

"Yeah bye" Rhod echoed as Sarah darted off up the street.


"Well she is very blonde!" I pointed out

"Come on you two, there's a cute top in 'Teen Queen' I want to try on" Mad jollied us

"Women" Rhod rolled his eyes, which put me in teenage hysterics.

There was one good thing about the trip to the boutique, I remembered that it's Jules Birthday in just over a week and I spotted a book she wants in 'Smith's' as I was dragged past by Mad! Mrs R was waiting for us when we got back to the bus station and we all piled in, Mad clutching her 'cute' top! It was only three o'clock when we got back to Warsop so we ended up camping out at Bernie's for an hour or so before going to meet the returning day-trippers.

Maddy Bell 13.03.04 Secret © 2004

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