book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 94

Skaytze

"Hi, can I speak to Anna please"

"Hang on" Mrs Price, Anna's mum told me. I heard her call Anna, 'Anna! There's one of your girlfriends on the phone'. There was a pause before I heard Anna's voice

"Hello?"

"Oh hi Anna, it's Drew

"Oh hi ya, where's Jules?"

"Italy"

"Italy? What's she doing there?"

"Mum and Dad organised a surprise trip, she flew out at lunchtime"

"She could've rung me, we were going to the pictures."

"Sorry I guess she forgot in all the excitement"

"Yeah I guess. So what do you want?"

"Just wanted to find out what happened with Sonia"

"Oh right. Hang on a minute." The phone went quiet then the unmistakable sound of a door closing. "Good, Mum can't hear now."

"So what happened then?"

"Well she rang me last night when the henna didn't wash off, she was in a right panic."

"I bet" I chuckled

"So anyway I told her that it had come straight off for me and Jules and suggested that she might need a stronger cleanser. She started getting a bit hysterical so I said I'd take my deep cleanser over to see if that'd work. When I got there she looked a right state, all of her face was red from rubbing but the henna was still there"

"What did her mum say?"

"She thought it was quite funny but Son sure wasn't. Anyway I left my 'special cleanser and came home"

"So it worked pretty good, I don't s'pose your cleanser did anything?"

"Well it er did quite a bit"

"Pity"

"What do you mean, it's great! It wasn't really cleanser Drew"

"But I thought you said?"

"That's what I told Sonia. It was really hair remover"

"Oh wow! So what happened?"

"Well her mum rang mine about ten o'clock last night, apparently Sonia had an allergic reaction to my 'cleanser', it didn't shift the henna only her eyebrows and clumps of her hair where the cleanser got on it!"

"Brill! She must look a right sight"

"Well she's not been about today but I reckon revenge is sweet!" Anna chortled


The Walters sisters couldn't believe what Anna had done. Deb pointed out that she could be in deep trouble if anyone found out. Who's telling anyone? Not me!


Beep beeeeep!

"Come on that's Mrs P!" I mentioned to the girls.

Brit and Deb headed outside and I set the alarm and locked up behind them. I remembered my skates today; I am not having a repeat of last time!

"Hi girls" Aunt C called out

We squeezed into the car, it was a bit tight with four in the back but it's not too far I suppose. Mrs P didn't go the way I thought she would and we ended up in a distant suburb of Sheffield.

"What're we doing Mum" Mad asked

"Park 'n' Ride, we'll catch the tram from here"

I don't even know where we are? The sign says 'Halfway', whatever that means. We collected our kit and walked to the tram stop where one of the more colourful trams was waiting, all pink with cartoon people going to Meadowhall! We found seats and settled down. The tram set off alongside the road and we sped along.

"What's that?" Sabrina asked pointing to a strange shaped building

"Crystal Peaks, it's the local shopping centre" Aunt Carol replied, "we can have a look later if you like"

The tram continued on joining the road again as it headed up steeply uphill.

"I recognise this," I mentioned as we crossed the main road, but we soon left the road and into the fields before dropping back into the outskirts of Sheffield. Soon we turned onto the dual carriageway that runs around the edge of Sheffield and we raced the road traffic until we turned towards the city centre. Our American visitors were surprised that we were on the roads then I recognised the road we took to get to Norfolk Park where I won my first race, remember? Then a terrific vista over the city came into view.

"Nearly there kids"

"Great" Mad enthused

The tram left the road and entered what looks like a toboggan run; I could see the skating rink down to our left, then with a flourish of the bell we pulled up at our stop. The six of us walked back towards our destination and five minutes later we joined the crowd of kids waiting to get in.

Mad and I went to claim some seats while the others went to organise some skates, then Mad disappeared to go put her skirt on leaving me guarding our stuff.

"Hi, it's Gaby isn't it?"

Eh? I looked over to the ice.

"It is you! Like your hair"

Of all the luck! It was Jessica, the girl who gave me a skating lesson last time.

"Er hi"

"You on your own today?"

"No I'm with some friends, they're just getting ready"

"Still wearing jeans huh, you'd be much better off in a skirt"

No I wouldn't!

"See you on the ice!" she enthused, leaving with a wave

"Who was that?" Mad enquired

"You remember that girl, Jessica from last time"

"Oh yeah, the skater"

"That's the one"

Just then the others arrived with their hired skates, including a pair for Mrs P.

"I thought you were going shopping Mum" Mad mentioned

"Well I thought I'd join you for a while, I used to be a demon skater"

Parents!

The others were soon booted and we headed onto the ice. Wow! For once I'm not the worst skater! Sab was okay but both of the Walters have two left feet. Aunt C took charge and got her charges to quiet ice in the middle of the rink while I joined Sab and Mad in the circling pack. We did a few laps getting back into the swing and feeling a bit more comfortable I decided to try a one eighty. Big mistake! I clipped a blade as I spun then started wind milling my arms before finally losing control completely and hitting the deck, my momentum carried me on to end up against the side boards

"Drew!"

"Gaby!"

Two voices approached me and I blinked up at Mad and Jess standing over me.

"You okay?" Mad enquired

"You girl, need some more lessons!" Jessica chortled

"Urgh!"

"Come on you" Mad offered a hand

I scrambled to my feet then realised I had a problem.

"What's the matter?" Jessica asked

"I've um split my jeans"

"I told you a skirt is better last time"

Mad giggled, "I'm Maddy, we met when we came a few weeks ago"

"Oh I remember, Gaby's friend. The others girls here?"

"Not the same ones, we're with my Mum, that's her over there" Mad pointed to where the Walters were getting some pointers.

"Er guy's, what am I going to do?"

"You can borrow my jeans to go home," Mad offered

"I've got a skirt you can borrow, come on" Jess enthused grabbing my hand and dragging me towards the gate. Why me?

Mad went off to find Sabrina as Jess and I slid our covers on.

"Look Jess, I'll just sit out, thanks for the offer though"

"Oh don't be daft, come on you don't want to sit watching everyone else having all the fun"

How am I going to explain this one away? Jess practically pushed me into the locker room where she opened one of the big lockers marked staff. She shuffled about inside for a moment.

"Why didn't you ring, I could have got you a free pass"

"Er we only decided yesterday afternoon"

"Well remember next time. Here we are!" she turned holding up an all too short wrap skirt.

"It's a bit erm, short"

"Oh come on Gaby, its not that bad. I'll wait for you outside; you can leave your jeans in my locker. Oh I just thought, I bet your not wearing tights are you?"

Should I be? "Er no, why?"

"Well you don't want to show off your assets do you, hang on." She delved back into the locker. "You can keep these" she handed me a pair of heavy tights a bit like what I wear on the bike although they were tan with feet and no shammy. "See you in a mo"

"Er okay"

Skaytze

How come this stuff always happens to me?

How the hell do I get the Americans to believe me about Gaby now? Jessica is convinced that's my name and here I am contemplating going out onto the ice in a skirt. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth arguing! As I hung my jeans in the locker I spotted the poster on the inside of the door, it was Jess wearing a fancy sequinned outfit, 'Jessica Mathews, Team GB 2002' was printed across one corner. Then it clicked, Jess was the skater we watched on the box the other night!


Five minutes later I joined Mad, Sab and Jess on the ice.

"Nice legs" Sab mentioned

"This wasn't my idea" I started to explain

"Yeah Mad said you split your trousers. I think you're pretty cool wearing a skirt, not many guys would"

Jess looked a little confused.

"Come on, Jess has promised to teach us how to do a toe loop properly" Mad advised

I shivered involuntarily as I moved onto the ice. Just how bad can this get? The four of us found some clear ice and the ever patient Jess started to direct us in the art of the toe loop!

Mrs P and the others were now circling, somewhat unsteadily on the Walters parts, around the rink then the mid session klaxon went off and we all headed off the ice to allow the polisher to freshen the surface. Jess headed towards the shop while we went to join the rest of our party.

"Drew? Why are you wearing a skirt?" Deb asked

"He split his jeans" Mad answered for me

"Jess lent him the skirt," Sab added

"Who's Jess?" Mrs P asked

"Jessica Matthews, she's a skater" Mad put in

"She's on the national squad" I managed to get in.

"You look a proper cutie, ooh and hose too," Brit teased

"It was either this or sit and watch" I spat back, "how about swapping then?"

"No way!"

"Leave the poor lad alone," Mrs P suggested

"Sorry Drew, but it does suit you"

"Sis, will you give over already!" Deb mentioned to her sibling

"'Kay, I was just saying"

"Anyone want a drink?" Aunt C enquired successfully trying to change the subject.


The cleanup crew were finished in about 15 minutes and the klaxon sounded for the second part of the session. We collected our kit and prepared to hit the ice again.

"Sorry about that Gab, had to speak to my coach"

"You must be Jessica" Aunt Carol suggested

"That's me"

"I'm Maddy's Mum"

"So you guys must be Debbie and Britney?" she asked

"That's us" Deb confirmed, "You must be the famous skater"

"Not really famous" Jess coloured up.

"Don't embarrass the girl, you three going with Jess again?" Aunt C asked

"Jess?" Mad asked

"Fine by me, come on Gaby, we'll try a Double Axel"

"See you guys later" Sab waved to the others as the four of us went to claim a patch of ice. Did I mention how different skating in a skirt is? No? Well it is! You can move your legs so much easier, and no chance of splitting it, well not this one anyway. Not that I want to make a habit of it but I can see why the girls always change when we come.

The next forty-five minutes were great. No troublemakers on the ice, just people having a good time. More amazing was that no one made any mention of my skirt wearing, in fact I forgot about the skirt. Jess taught us a few new moves and whilst the Double Axel was a bit beyond us, I felt a lot more confident on the ice.

"And remember Gaby, phone next time"

"I will Jess and good luck with your competition next week"

"Thanks, bye everyone."

"Bye Jess"

"Bye"

"Good luck"

We returned to the world outside, I still had the thick tights on but Mad's jeans replaced Jess' skirt before we left.

"Come on, lets catch the tram back to Crystal Peaks, we'll eat there before we head home" Aunt C suggested as we started to walk towards the tram stop.

"So Drew, why was Jessica calling you Gaby?" the Britney terrier enquired.

"A sort of private joke. Last time we came, the guys were talking about my cousin but Jess thought it was me so she started calling me Gaby" good story huh!

"Sounded more like she thought you were Gaby to me" Deb pointed out.

I really need a very good smoke screen!

We only waited a couple of minutes for a tram that soon whisked us up the hill to the ring road then on to this Crystal Peaks place. It didn't take long to walk across from the tram stop and we entered the centre. We headed straight for the food court downstairs; there was a cinema down there too! We decided on the 'traditional' restaurant, well it was mostly English cuisine, hot pot, roast beef and so on alongside various salads and pasta dishes.

"How come we've never been here before Mum?"

"I've been a couple of times with your Dad but there's not much for you kids, it's hardly Meadowhall.

"Our nearest Mall at home is about this big," Sab piped up

"There're some retail sheds here too, B&Q and so on" Aunt C mentioned

"Can we have a look?" Mad enquired

"Well we don't need to rush back, I wouldn't mind a look myself. That okay with you girls, Drew?"

Everyone was in agreement so after checking out the few stores and the market in the shopping centre we followed the signs up the hill to the retail park. There were all the usual players, carpet shop, DIY, furniture, PC World, a sports store, pet shop and furniture place. Not generally a hot destination for teens!

We skipped Furniture World but Shoe City attracted the female element like a magnet! I found a seat and pulled my phone out and started fiddling with it, finally loading Pac Man®. In the distance I could hear the girls oohing and aahing over the various footwear offerings, soon I was lost in my game.

"Are you okay miss?"

I jumped a mile

"Gaby? What are you doing here?" could this get worse?

"Sarah. I could ask the same"

"I'm covering for one of the girls here for a few days, she broke a leg and they needed cover in a hurry so I volunteered. I'll be back in Mansfield on Monday. So why are you here?"

"We've been skating in Sheffield, the others decided they wanted to check out Crystal Peaks on the way back so here we are."

"Not looking for shoes yourself?"

"No, i've er got enough"

"No girl has enough shoes! Wait here there's some new ones that you'll just die for!"

"No rea...lly" she was already off and I was talking to air.

I wondered if I could do a runner, nah that's rather churlish and despite her being a bit pushy, I like Sarah. Too late anyway she was back.

"I just know you'll love these" she knelt down and opened the box, "get those trainers off," she ordered. Best humour her.

Well the shoes were kind of cute - on a girl, not me! Sarah oohed and aahed; I walked up and down and agreed they were comfortable. Yes they looked good with 'my' jeans, and yes they would look good with a skirt, yes much better than my trainers, 39.99, yes very good value indeed. She's done it again! Talk about a slick operator! I decided to make good my escape and found a perch outside in the sunshine to wait for the others.

I inspected my new footwear, Sarah insisted I wear them out, they were certainly a bit different, pointy toes covered in sequins with an elastic strap around the heel and in Sarah's words, 'a cute little kitten heel'. Like I said, cute on a girl, not on me! What am I thinking, I'd better put my trainers back on, trainers, bum! I've left them inside! And too late anyway here come the girls.

"There you are, did you see your friend Sarah?" Mad started

"Ooh I like those!" Deb mentioned

Mortified? You bet!

Mrs P joined us; she'd fallen foul of the shoe fairies too!

"Snap!" Mad exclaimed

So here I am wearing the same shoes as my girlfriends mum!

"Looks like we have the same taste eh Drew" Aunt C opined

"Er"

Brit and Sab were whispering, I was fast doing a beetroot impersonation wishing that the ground would up and swallow me.

"What happened to your trainers?" Mad asked

"Left them inside, I'll go get them"

"We'll go have a look in Sportsworld next eh" Mrs P suggested

"'Kay" I reluctantly agreed

When I re-emerged Mad was waiting on her own.

"So?"

"Let me get my trainers on"

"Forget that, the others have gone on. So what's with the shoes, they really do suit you"

I was very conscious of the clicking of my heels as we made our way to the next store, explaining how I came to be wearing them.

"Drew Bond! You really need to learn to say no you know."

"I guess so"

"You know the Walters are pretty certain that you're Gaby don't you?"

"I don't suppose anything would convince them otherwise now would it?"

"Don't think so, maybe you'd best come clean, tell them everything"

"I guess so"

I spent the rest of the afternoon on autopilot, Mad pulled me around and I just nodded in reply, by the time we got back on the tram to return to the car I was not the only one carrying stuff! Sab and the Walters were quite animated and Aunt Carol had a bemused look on her face. We drove back home where the Walters and I joined the Peters for tea. When Mr P dropped us home I was decided on a plan.

Maddy Bell 03.05.04 Secret © 2004

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