book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 93

Jules Birthday Surprise

So here we are, August the 24th, Jules Birthday. I was really surprised to find Dad still at home when I got back from my early morning training ride.

"Morning Kiddo"

"Hi Dad, you not going to work?"

"Not till later, it is your sisters birthday"

"You never stay home on mine," I pointed out

"Well there is a bit more to it," he poked his head into the hall, satisfied he went on in lowered tones, "I've got a huge surprise for your sister, she's going to Milan for a couple of days with your Mum. I'm taking her to the airport this morning"

"Kewl!" I tried to hide to hide my jealousy but I was obviously failing by Dad's next words.

"Don't go all moody on me, you're going to Germany in a couple of weeks."

What could I say? He was right after all.

"So what have you got her? You did get her something?"

Bum! Present!

"Of course I have, I just forgot to wrap it"

"You'd best do that before she comes down. And get a shower!"

"Yes Dad!"

When I returned twenty minutes later, Dad had laid the table and was busy making Jules favourite pancakes. I added my card to the pile by my sister's place and helped myself to some juice. There was a clatter of feet on the stairs and all three girls fell into the kitchen.

"Happy Birthday Jules, morning girls!" Dad greeted them all.

"Happy Birthday" I echoed

"Sit down, breakfast is nearly ready. Pancakes okay for you girls?" Dad asked the Walters.

"Sure Mr Bond" Debs replied

Juliette was already busy opening cards; presents come after breakfast in our house! The usual cards from Gran and various relations joined offerings from the Walters, Dad, Me and at the bottom of the pile, Mum. Jules picked the envelope with the German stamps up and toyed with it for a few seconds before opening it.

It was clear that there was more than just a card inside.

"What's your Mum sent?" Dad asked innocently

"There's some sort of ticket, hang on" she opened the card and read as Dad put a plate of pancakes on the table and joined us.

"Well?" he asked her

Jules expression went from slightly pouty sad to a huge grin in nanoseconds!

"I'm going to see Mum!" she shouted, jigging like a little kid

"Calm down, what does your Mum say?"

Jules picked up the card again, "der, der, der... oh here we are, 'get your Dad to drive you to the airport, the flight's at 11.30, I'll meet you off the plane in Milan'"

"In that case you'd best eat up"

As you can imagine after this revelation there was animated conversation between the girls, Jules was about as excited as you'd expect. I think I know what Jules felt like when my trip to Germany was first announced. After breakfast there was a quick present unwrapping session, the Americans gave her a sweatshirt with their school logo on, Gran had sent a skirt over and I presented her with a set of Buffy videos. Then Dad reminded her she'd need to pack at least clean underwear and the girls all scampered to accomplish the task in hand.

"You okay Drew?"

"Yeah I guess"

"Your sister gets back on Sunday so you're in charge of our visitors till then okay?"


Dad was putting Jules case in the boot when she ran back up to the watching stay behinds.

"Ring Anna later, her Mum is friends with Sonia's so she's bound to find out what happened"

"Okay, I'll text you later"

"I'll be in Italy dopey!"

"So? Oh I suppose your phone might not work"

"I'll try to ring from wherever we're staying"

"Come on lass, the plane won't wait you know"

The girls embraced then Jules skipped to the car and got in. we waved until Dad turned out of site.

"We better get ready" Debs pointed out to her sister.

"Oh yeah, we're going to Man Chester today"

"So what are we gonna do?" Bern asked an hour later

"Worksop?" Ally suggested

"Not shopping," I complained

"Well what do you suggest then?" Mad queried

"I dunno, we could go up the river"

"How about tennis, we could hire a court for the afternoon" Bern mentioned

"I can't play to save my self" Maddy told us

"Rhod, any ideas?" Ally enquired

"I need to go and get ready for the weekend"

"Your Dad huh?" I suggested


"What about badminton, we've got a net at home," Mad advised us

"Okay" Ally shrugged, "suits me"

"You sure you don't want to come Rhod?" Bernie asked, " You could get ready later"

"Oh come on Rhod, I'll help you pack" Ally offered

I could see he was torn.

"Well okay, but just until lunch" he finally agreed

We made our way to Mad's pad where Rhod and I got the job of putting up the badminton net while the girls were doing something inside.

"So what's the big deal about this weekend, you seem a bit edgy" hark at me!

"Pass me the mallet," he reached out for the tool in question then went on as I passed it to him, "nothing really, it's just a drag having to go with Dan staying"

"Couldn't he go with you?"

"There's not room at Dad's, it's only a pokey little two up two down miners cottage. And anyway I don't think he'd want to hang around in Dreary Ville South Wales."

"I suppose not. You finished with that?" he looped the mallet back to me. "Why have you got to pack today? I chuck everything in and I'm ready in five minutes, anyone would think you're a girl taking half a wardrobe!"

I'm sure I saw Rhod wince a bit at that.

"Mum insists that everything is folded and ironed, doesn't want me showing her up I guess."

"You two finished yet?" Mad asked leading the others back out.

"Er just about" I replied

"Hey not fair!" Rhod declared

I turned to see the girls now all wearing various sports kit, Bernie had swapped jeans for shorts, Mad had her tennis whites on and Ally had borrowed a blue tennis dress.

"You can borrow some if you want" Mad offered with a smirk.

"I think I'll pass it up thanks" I replied. I swear that Rhod thought about it

"Best not"

"We playing doubles?" Ally asked

"Singles first" Bernie declared, "we can all play each other until Rhod goes then we can play some doubles"

"Okay" I agreed

So we started to play our mini league, I sat and waited my turn in the warm morning sun, the strong scent from the honeysuckle helping to relax me. Jules will be waiting to board the plane now, she must be really excited, I know I would be. I wonder how long Mum and Dad have been planning it? Must be ages for Dad to have the day off.

"Drew? You playing or what?" Bern called over

"Eh? Oh right" I snapped back to the here and now and squared up to Ally across the net. Remember the school badminton competition? I must have been possessed that day, well I was playing crap today anyway. Al beat me in straight sets and I returned to my spot in the sun.

"What's up Drew?" Mad queried

"Nothing, just thinking about Jules trip"

"You're jealous!" she accused

"Maybe a bit" I admitted

"I wish my olds would do something like that"

"Your Mum doesn't live in Germany" I pointed out

"No thank god! Oh sorry Drew, I didn't mean it like it sounded"

"I know"

"It's just I can't imagine what it must be like. It's cool what your Mum does but it must be really hard for you all, your Mum especially"

To be truthful I'd never given much thought to how Mum felt. I mean I know she's doing what she wanted but I know she misses us, it can't be a barrel of laughs over there on her own though. Well I suppose there's the rest of the team but they've all got their families and boyfriends and well Mum's got us five hundred miles away at the end of a phone line. Trust Mad to see the bigger picture.

So far Mad and Bernie were leading our impromptu league, my expected challenge was not materialising! I was up against Rhod next and even 'can't hit a thing' Morgan beat me! I really was playing atrociously!

"Come on Drew, you wuss. I thought you were an ace player" Bernie goaded as I missed another clear shot.

"Nah! You're thinking of Gaby" Ally stated

"Maybe you should borrow a skirt Drew" Bern suggested

"Leave him alone" Mad instructed, "He's a bit preoccupied, missing his Mum"

"Sorry Drew, we just joshing" Al noted

"Yeah well" I allowed

With five of us playing we each got to play four times, I only won one match, against Mad which made her the 'winner' of the league.

"Is that the right time?" Rhod asked

"Half two" Ally confirmed

"Shoot! I'd best get home, Mum'll kill me"

"You want me to come?" Ally reiterating her earlier offer.

"No I best go alone, Mum wants me to take more responsibility" Didn't sound like the Sylv I know!

Ally was clearly a bit upset at this dismissal, I'm not sure that Rhod noticed though.

Mrs P brought us out some sandwiches

"Rhod gone?"

"Yeah, he's got to pack to go to his Dad's tomorrow" Mad told her

"Ah yes" she relied in that mysterious 'I understand because I know something you don't' way that adults and parents in particular use.

After we'd eaten no one felt up to playing again straight away so we sprawled on the lawn with the ribald humour of Mark and Lard reaching us from the kitchen radio. The girls sat chatting and once again I drifted off, Maddy cradling my head in her lap as I relaxed in the afternoon warmth.

I suppose Rhod knows what it's like, his Dad living in Wales. I wonder what Mr Morgan's like? And his step mum. It must be really weird that having two mum's. I wonder why he never tells us about Wales, he goes every month after all, we only just found out he's got cousins and stuff. Strange really, Sylv hardly mentions it either which is just so not her! I settled back a bit more comfortably and smiled as I felt Mad stroking my head. This is what summer's about!

"Come on let's play a bit more" Bernie broke the moment

"Uh?" I mentioned as I opened my eyes and stretched looking around from my perch.

"Drew? You playing?" Al asked

"Yeah I guess" I sat up and realised something was up. "What've you done?" I accused the now giggling girls.

"Nothing" Bernie replied

I felt my head, not again! Braids!

"Oh come on it's not funny, take them out, please?"

"Oh! They make you look cute Gab" Mad pointed out

"Maa-aad!" I complained

"Gaa-aab!" Al and Bernie chorused

"Oh come on Drew, loosen up!" Mad suggested


"Are we playing then?" Bernie asked

"I s'pose so" I allowed

"I hope you play better than you did this morning" Mad sighed

It felt weird having braids again, they kept slapping my neck as I moved around our makeshift court but my playing remained pants!

"I know what it is, I think you were right earlier Al, it was Gaby who was the ace at the school, Drew can't play to save himself" Mad stated

"Hey, I'm here remember"

"I know," Bernie started, "lets see if Gaby really can play"

"What are you on about?" I queried

"Yeah I know, come on Drew, I've got your kit here"

Kit? What is she on about? Mad grabbed my hand and dragged me into the house

"Hi Gaby?" Mrs P mentioned, as I was pulled upstairs

"Er hi Auntie"

It was only when Mad started going through her wardrobe that it dawned on me what was afoot. I started to slide towards the door.

"Gaby Peters! You come back here!"

So okay I'm a wuss!

When I followed Mad back outside it was as Gaby not Drew.

"Hey Gabs, you took your time" Al stated

"She didn't want to wear the skirt"

I looked meaningfully at her.

"Well let's play then," Bernie suggested

Grrrr! Braids and Gaby's badminton outfit!

Yep, you've guessed it. As Gaby my badminton skills improved 200%! Explain that? It felt a bit odd having the boobs again, but at least they weren't attached to me this time! We swapped partners several times so that we each played with the others, whoever I played with won.

"Well Gaby, it looks like Drew's a cycling ace and you're a badminton champ!" Aunt Carol mentioned as we collapsed into the garden furniture a while later.

"Yeah, Drew's crap at badminton" Al agreed

"Must be the skirt" Mad suggested, "what do you think Gab?"

"Dunno," I allowed. In truth I have no idea, does it work the other way round? They all think I'm a girl when a race so I don't think so. Mind you I'm still riding as Drew, perhaps I should try riding as Gaby to find out? What am I thinking? I don't want to find out, I am not a girl!

"Woo, woo. Anybody there?" Bernie was waving her hand in front of my face.

"You coming?" Al asked

"Eh?" articulate, not!

"Paper shop" Bernie stated

"Like this? No way!"

"Don't be a wuss Gaby, you wore it at school and I'm wearing mine" Mad pointed out.

"You can fetch me a Chad "Aunt C called from the kitchen

Reluctantly I followed the girls out into the street dressed in this ridiculous outfit.

"You know Gab" Ally started, "you'd look good as a cheerleader"

"No way!"

"I was only saying" Ally pouted

"I think you're right" Bern put in

"It's a pity," Mad mentioned

"What is?" dumb huh?

"Well it's a pity because your legs deserve to be seen" she went on

As if on cue a couple of lads whistled as they drove past, the passenger leant out of the van window.

"Nice legs Heidi!"

"See" Ally agreed

"I don't know how you managed to con me into this" I fumed

"Moi?" Mad feigned innocence

I was most definitely back to Drew when I walked home with the Walters.

"Looks like you caught the sun Drew" Deb commented

"A bit I suppose, we've been playing badminton most of the day"

"So. You guys decide what we're doing tomorrow?" Brit asked

"Mrs P said she'd take us skating"

"Hey cool!" Brit enthused

"Who's going?" Deb asked

"Mad, Sabrina and us"

"Wonder what Jules is doing?" Brit mused

And Mum. Probably having some slap up meal in a fancy restaurant. Damn! I'm supposed to touch base with Anna, see what happened with Sonia. Ah well, I'll give her a call later.

Maddy Bell 29.04.04 Secret © 2004

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