book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 95

Oh Boy! It's Mfanwy

It was a bit of an odd evening, mind you, nowhere near as strange as the rest of the day! The skating, well that wasn't too bad but the shoes! And I had to wear them all the way back to the Peters before I could rescue my trainers. Oh my plan! Well I'm not telling you yet! I know you lot, it'd get back to Deb and Brit tout suite!

I awoke to the sound of rain splashing on the window, much more typical summer weather! And I've got a race today, not a pleasant thought in this weather! Mind you it's a bit unusual for me, a 'road' race, well okay it's still a circuit but it is real roads, at least partly! Today is Newark carnival and my race is one of several events taking place during the afternoon.

Revelations about me and Gaby will have to wait!

Dad decided to take the camper, as the changing facilities looked likely to be 'not ideal' Town Halls are not renowned for their sporting facilities! We left mid morning, that is me, Dad and the Walters girls, no extra's today, it's not far as you know but parking is bound to be a chore and we can catch some of the other entertainment too.

It was still 'silling it' down, as Dad put it, as we approached Newark passing the aromatic sugar plant. At least they were organised, we had a pass so that we could park by the bus station, normal parking was suspended for the day! The girls attitude towards me was a bit on the strange side, neither hostile or particularly friendly, there was 'a bit of an atmosphere' to put it mildly! Still I had a plan but that's for later.

They were doing the bike checks over here and as we were pretty early I didn't have to wait for my bike to get the once over. The girls were a bit unenthusiastic generally, luckily the rain backed off and by the time we had made our way to the Town Hall even Dad had picked up on the atmosphere.

"Right you three, I don't know what's gone off and frankly I don't want to know. What I do know is that Drew needs to concentrate on his race so I've got a suggestion. I'll look after Drew and you girls can go and enjoy yourselves with the carnival, how's that sound?"

"We don't mind staying" Deb started

"De-eb!" Brit whined

"But seeing as you offered, yes please"

"Right, that's settled then. I expect you to behave responsibly and not get into trouble? There's food in the camper, we'll be about until around one but otherwise I'd like you back here at four, okay?"

"Ah huh! Four o'clock here" Deb agreed

"See ya later Drew, and good luck!" that was the most I'd gotten out of Britney since yesterday afternoon!

"So, you going to tell me what all that was about?" Dad obviously did want to know!

We followed the signs through to the race control as I started to explain.

"Its really embarrassing Dad"

"More than usual?"

"Sort of"

"Hi John" Dad called across the room

"Ready champ?"

"Yes thanks, well I think so anyway"

"Have to go, I need to check that the safety barriers are in the right places"

"No rest eh?" Dad mentioned

"Don't know what I did" John chuckled, "see you both later"


I signed on and got my number and programme.

"So come on then you were saying," Dad prompted.

Was I?

"Well you know we went skating with Auntie Carol yesterday?"


"Well it all started when I split my jeans..." I told him the whole sorry tale as we made our way back to the camper.

"...And although they didn't say anything, I'm sure they know who Gaby is."

"So why the silent treatment? Why not just come out with it"

"I suppose they think I've been intentionally leading them on, and you and Mad too"

"So what are you going to do about it son?"

"I don't know Dad," I collapsed onto a seat while Dad put the kettle on to boil, "I'm not sure whether they think I'm a girl pretending to be a boy or the other way round even."

"Do you want me to try and sort it out?"

"They didn't believe you the other week" I accused

"Well in hindsight I suppose we were a bit light on the truth"

"Thanks anyway Dad, I've got an idea, so I guess I'll try that first"

"Well I'm here if you need me. Flipping heck Drew, John works quick, they've got you in the programme as North East Champion."

"Lets see"

Dad passed the programme over, not just a mention either, a picture from Harrogate and a paragraph extolling my pedigree! Somehow John had managed to avoid saying I was a girl outright, but there were several hints! Anyone watching this afternoon could be forgiven for assuming I was my mother's daughter! Grrr!

I got myself ready and as the rain was holding off I went for a quick ride to check my bike out. I found a quiet lane and spent half an hour practising sprinting and stuff before heading back to Dad and the camper.

"Everything okay Drew?"

"The tyres both seem a bit soft," I noted

"Well they've forecast more rain this afternoon, you might need the extra grip"

"I guess so" Mind you extra grip on these tyres doesn't amount to much! I mean I don't suppose there's a whole square inch on the road even now!

"We too late to eat?" Deb poked her head through the door.

"No, come on in girls, we were just about to have ours"

I was surprised that they'd come to eat but their attitude towards me seemed to have improved. Seemingly too soon it was time to head to the circuit and the girls helped by carrying some of the kit for Dad. As I mentioned before, the cycling events were just part of the afternoons entertainment. Before we could get on the circuit we joined the crowds watching a series of short running races then a dog obedience thing with the hounds leaping through hoops, tunnels, over walls and so on. We were on next! Well after the air display, which was to entertain the crowds while the circuit was made safe!

The first race was a fun event for the local paperboys, three laps of the circuit complete with paper bag! The serious brigade pedalled up and down the short bit of road between the two sides of the circuit while we waited. I looked up at the grey sky with some trepidation; I didn't relish riding round here in the wet! John called my race onto the circuit for a couple of warm up laps, boy this circuit is tight! Every corner was ninety degrees and the surface went from bumpy tarmac to corrugated concrete to pseudo cobbles! This all on a circuit of about half a mile.

John called us all to the line where he did the PR bit, introducing us to the crowd, I was well embarrassed when I was introduced as 'the Newly crowned under 13 champion from Warsop". Now everyone expected me to do something, I was feeling decidedly nervous. I got some strange looks from my fellow competitors but I tried to concentrate on the job in hand.

The Mayor waved the Union Jack and the event started. The other riders were the usual group that ride the local events plus a couple that I didn't know from Nottingham. No one was particularly keen to do anything for the first couple of laps as we got used to the circuit, it really was a case of sprint, brake, sprint, brake as the longest straight was maybe all of a hundred metres long!

The more experienced amongst us edged to the front and on lap three started to make a race of it, no hurry, there's still twenty seven more laps! As usual the younger and less able were quickly tailed out as the pace picked up due to the continual out of corner sprinting. The laps started to blur into each other as about a dozen of us chased around Newark market square.

I wasn't sure at first but when a steady staccato started to hit my helmet and umbrellas appeared in the crowd, I knew it was raining! The pace started to slack a bit as the wet started to slick the roadways, now what did Mum say last year? Oh yeah ride confidently but don't take risks. Sounds like a plan. I looked about at the increasingly nervous bunch and assessed what I knew, yep, why not, nothing ventured!

Next time through the little chicane I didn't ease off and carefully picking my line, went for it. I put my head down and with a clear road in front I could pick the best line and keep the pace up. The rain started to descend heavier and a few puddles started to form on the uneven surfaces. I sensed someone coming up behind me, well in fact a couple of someone's, the lads from Nottingham. They were obviously pretty good riders and the three of us slotted together into a working group.

The crowd, spirits dampened by the rain, still managed to cheer us as we steadily caught and lapped the slower riders. At this rate I'd get a podium finish at least! A couple of times I felt the bike start to slide on a corner, the tell tale rainbow of oil giving a clue as to the cause. I half expected a premature end but the rain started to ease back to a steady drizzle and even a few umbrellas disappeared.

My companions seemed happy enough for me to be there and the laps steadily ticked away, fifteen, halfway, twenty, twenty-five. The circuit was becoming hypnotic but with four laps to go the main bunch hove into view ahead of us. Seemingly with one mind the three of us lifted the pace again. Half a lap later the heavens dumped on us big style but the three of us kept at it barely easing. I noticed the bigger of my two breakaway colleagues start to fishtail on the corners then I guess he decided to give it best as his back tyre finally gave up the last of it's air.

Two to go, hell I could win this! We slowed a bit, the main bunch were holding us off and there was nothing to be gained by catching them anyway.

"Ding! ding!, ding!, ding!"

Word of my sprinting skills had obviously reached Nottingham as despite the wet, my remaining breakaway partner hit the gas. I closed the gap by the chicane but he kept the pace going, perhaps sensing defeat looming. Four corners to go, whoa! That was twitchy! Three, sprint, two, nearly time to go, one corner before the finish, go for it Drew. I pulled alongside my companion and went into the corner on his outside ready to sprint for the line. Then wham!

I was more surprised than anything else! The other bike slid into me taking me out big style! We both variously slid across the tarmac in one of those slow motion sequences. My bike disengaged from my cleats and I watched as it hit the straw bale ahead of me, bouncing up as I slid in behind. I must have been on autopilot. I whammed into the straw, my bike crashing down next to me. I didn't stay still for long, with the sound of the crowd in my head, I got myself up, pulled my abused steed back to vertical and pushed off. I could see John barely fifty metres away with the chequered flag and set off. There was something wrong with my bike, the bars were twisted and the gears were making a horrible noise.

I glanced over my shoulder, Nottingham was just remounting. Yes! I can do it! I seemed to crawl towards the line but finally there it was. I careered across the line and somehow Dad was there catching me as I collapsed off the bike.

What happened? I blinked and realised that I was looking up at what? Not a ceiling, ah right, a camper roof? No ambulance.

"Ah good" a voice mentioned, "had us worried there for a minute passing out like that"


"Delayed shock" the voice grew a face, a paramedic in green overalls. "She's alright" he called outside.

"Thank heaven for that" it was Dad.

"I've dressed her scrapes, nothing too serious but I reckon trousers will be out for a while, that hip will be quite sore."


"No problem, I'll leave you to it, you can take her home when you're ready" he clumped out making way for Dad.

"Will you stop doing that please"

"Sorry Dad, did I win?"

"Yes you won but your bikes a right mess"


"Mind you I think you got the worst of it"

"Is he okay?" Deb enquired

"A few scrapes, nothing too serious" Dad replied

"I am here!" I complained

"Unlike your skinsuit" Dad went on


"Deborah, here's the camper keys, can you go get one of the big blankets?"

"Sure, won't be long"

"Where's Britney?"

"Collecting your licence"

"Oh right" I gingerly sat up and winced as realised that my tarmac slide had removed chunks of my left hip, knee, arm and shoulder!

"Steady kiddo"

"At least nothings broken" I temporised

"You're mother is going to go bananas! What were you up to?"

"Well I was getting ready for the sprint"

"And you let your race head get the better of your common sense!"

"Hey he slid into me!" I said indignantly

"You okay Drew?" Brit asked from the doorway

"Er sort of"

"We're just waiting for your sister then we can get off. Can you take his bike, we'll be over shortly"

"Okay, oh here's Deb now"

Wrapped in a blanket and scraps of skinsuit, I was helped back to the camper where I gratefully once again collapsed, this time just onto one of the seats.

"Are you going to get some clothes on?" Dad asked

"I think I'd better, this is a bit drafty and wet," I agreed

"Come on Brit, let's give Dee some privacy"

"Urm Deb, Brit. You wouldn't have brought any spare clothes would you, a skirt maybe?"

"Drew?" Dad started.

"It's okay Dad"

The girls were goldfishing.


"Erm, no just undies. What's up with your jeans?"

In reply I revealed my bandaged and bruised leg.

"I don't think I could get them on let alone wear them. I guess I'll have to stay wearing the blanket."

"You can't do that" Deb stated, "I'll go get you something, if that's okay Mr B?"

"Er yeah. Okay"

"Coming Brit? Oh what size are you?"

"Twenty four waist" I supplied. The Walters duo left leaving Dad and me alone again.

"What are you up to Drew Bond? Volunteering to wear a skirt indeed!"

"They want Gaby, let 'em have Gaby! And besides, it's true, I can't wear trousers with all these bandages."

"I can't say that I approve, but I'll go with it for now. You want to go to the prize presentation, I guess not if you're wearing a skirt."

"Oh what the hell, John thinks I'm a girl anyway, so he claims. There's no one here that I know that well and if anyone makes the connection - I've got an excuse!" I again indicated my throbbing, aching, stiff leg.

Dad washed the grime off me after I peeled my wrecked race kit off. I felt a bit more human as I sat naked wrapped in the blanket while Dad assessed the remains of my bike.

"How bad is it?"

"Not as bad as I thought, the back wheel's shot, there are a few scrapes and scratches but nothing major.

"What about the handlebars and stuff?"

"Hmm, the tapes had it but I think the rest'll straighten up okay"

"That's a relief"

"You're telling me, I seem to spend all my time repairing your bikes"

"Not fair! I hardly ever break anything"


"We're back!" Brit announced

I know it was my idea but I was really dreading this. I do not enjoy wearing girl's stuff; yesterday was awful to the power of ten! I inwardly cringed as I envisioned having to wear some frilly, girly thing, a skirt is bad, a really girly one - really bad!

"Ta da!" Deb pulled a pile of pale green material out of the bag and shook it out to reveal a long skirt; similar to the one I 'borrowed' up on the moors.

"Brit wanted to get you something a bit more fashionable but I think this is more practical"

"Er yeah" I agreed. I could live with this. Well I don't have much choice now do I?

"I got you some panties too, those boxers you insist on wearing will show through the skirt" Brit mentioned


"So come on Drew or is it really Gaby? What's with all the boy thing?" Deb asked

"Okay, yes, I'm Gaby" I started

"I knew it!" Brit exclaimed

"Go on then Gaby" Deb prompted

"Well, Drew is really more me, Gaby is my, erm, more feminine side"

"Sheesh! Why didn't you just say before girl? All that codswallop about being a boy. I don't think you fool anyone, we knew right off that you're a girl" Deb stated

"Yeah, you like ooze girl!" Brit concluded

My god, what sort of monster have I unleashed? This was going a bit different to how I imagined! Better if anything.

"Now you know girls, can we not go spreading it about?" Dad asked, "if my 'daughter' wants to dress like a boy, that's okay by me."

"At least let us tell Sab and Dan and Darla and Amy" Brit pleaded

"Sab yes, but not the others. I'm not that obvious am I?"

"Well no I guess not really" Deb allowed

"Are you going to sit there in that blanket all afternoon?" Dad queried

"I guess I should put some clothes on, now I've got some"

"Can I have a word girls?" Dad prompted pointing out through the door.

"Sure, shout if you need a hand Gaby"

"Er okay, thanks"

green skirt

I've only got myself to blame this time!
Several pain filled minutes later I eased my way outside to join the others.

"Why you want to dress like a boy is beyond me, you are just too cute!" Deb stated

"That's sort of why, I hate being cute! Why can't I be just... I don't know ordinary!"

"I know loads of girls who'd just die to be as cu...pretty as you" Brit told me

"Yeah well" I allowed

"You up for the presentation D...Gaby?" Dad queried

"I guess so, I need to move about so I don't seize up, I'm getting a bit stiff already"

Three quarters of an hour later I didn't have to feign my blushes as I was announced as winner of the under sixteen's. The other victim of the last corner had a look you couldn't describe, jaw hanging, eyes on stalks as he took in my appearance. I don't think he was sure what to think. I know that I'd be pretty pissed being beaten by a girl; I know he hadn't but he thinks he has. This is all getting a bit weird.

"You okay young lady?" John asked as he helped me back off the podium

"A bit scraped and bruised"

"You had us worried for a minute, collapsing like that"

"Me too, must have been the blood loss," I told him

He seemed to read something different to what I meant by the look on his face.

"Ah, er yes, that's probably it" he agreed.

A small figure in the crowd nodded to herself. 'I thought there was something going on there. So Drew is really a girl and that guy called her Gaby too. She could be her cousin's twin! I'll have to talk to Mr Wood about her; he must know the whole story. So pretty and determined if this afternoon was anything to go by.' Jessica Bell smiled to herself, as the pretty teenager was lost in the crowd, her curiosity piqued.

Although my side hurt, we ended up staying until late evening, there were all sorts of sideshows and entertainment going on then as the light started to go a sort of Mardi Gras procession started. I've no idea what it was all about but we enjoyed watching the performers anyway! I was to say the least, shattered when we eventually got back to Bond Acres and the 'new' girl went straight to bed.

"So you prefer Gaby or Drew?" Brit asked next morning

"Drew, but I suppose you can call me Gaby when we're here"

"How's the side?" Dad enquired joining us in the kitchen

"I've felt worse I suppose"

"So what are you kids up to today?"

"Nothing much, go over and see Maddy I guess"

"You'd best ring first"

I think Dad was hinting that they needed to know what was happening, good idea!

"Don't you wear any makeup?" Brit queried as we walked over to the Peters. Deb had elected to stay and help Dad in the garden. Strange girl!

"Not usually"

I felt more than a tad uncomfortable walking along dressed once again in the long skirt but today wearing sandals and a t-shirt purloined from Jules room.

"Drew?" Mad queried

"It's alright Maddy, Gabs told us all about Drew yesterday"

Mad gave me a questioning look. 'Later' I mimed back

"So Brit was right huh? You really are Gaby"

"Erm yes, but please don't spread it around"

"Keep it to ourselves? I guess I can do that

"You alright cuz? You're limping"

"I crashed yesterday"

"You should have seen her! Bang then she just got up and rode the finish, she still beat the guy who she was racing!" Brit has overnight become a dyno gob!

"Let's see then," Mad urged

Reluctantly I lifted my skirt up.

"Ooh that has to sting!" Sab winced

"Bruises again Gab?" Mad enquired

"Yep, all up my side"

"She's done this before?" Brit asked

"Twice" Mad replied

"Can we, er talk about something else please?" I entreated

We decided to go for a walk; the weather was more settled today, so we headed off with a picnic lunch into the fields towards Langwith. I looked about as Gaby as I get by now, Mad insisted I wear the gold hoops in my ears and combined with braids yet again and a minimum of makeup, I was Gaby.

You know how these things go, we wandered along aimlessly, chatting, playing tag, and discussing boyfriends. Now that's well weird and Mad was more than a little uneasy, more than me I think. I mean it's one thing to have a boyfriend but quite another to have a girlfriend, especially when that girlfriend is actually your boyfriend pretending to be a girl pretending to be a boy but failing miserably! Confused yet?

Well anyway, we had our picnic and Brit, I discovered, was a dab hand at weaving daises into hair. We made our way in a roundabout way back towards Warsop, finally reaching town just after four.

"Looks like Sylv's got visitors" Mad mentioned as we turned into Rhod's street

I looked up the street, there was a new Renault Scenic parked at the salon.

"Not local" I observed

"Howd'ya know that?" Sab asked

"Registration, all the new cars round here start with an F or Y, that's got W"

"Okay clever clogs" Mad started, "where's that then?"

"Not sure but Y is Yorkshire and over in Manchester they've got M so I guess somewhere starting with W"

"I never noticed that before" Brit mentioned, "so what about that one" she pointed to a beat up old Ford, "that's got GWE"


"You said that was Y" Sab pointed out

"Only for new cars, the old system was more complicated"

"Geek!" Mad stated

We were now only a few houses away.

"Didn't you guys say Rhod's father lives someplace like a fish, Whales or something? That starts with W" Brit observed. Well it fit! But Rhod never said his Dad was coming to Warsop.

"It's Wales, no H," I corrected, "but it could be"

"Hey someone's coming out" Mad put her arm out to stop us.

A big bloke came out, and I mean big! He went to the Scenic and unlocked it while Sylv and another woman came out onto the pavement. We couldn't hear everything but the breeze brought us snippets.

"well have a good trip Rhod, and you take care Keris" that was Sylv.

"Where's that girl got to?" the man asked looking into the salon, "Merfanwee!"

Mfanwy arrives

Is that Rhod's cousin?

"That's Rhod's Welsh cousin," I told the others

"Cool we'll get to see her" Mad whispered

"Come on Em, your Dad and Keris are ready to go" Sylv called inside

"Coming" a pretty dark haired girl came out and joined the others

"She looks a lot like Rhod" Brit observed

"Well they are related" Mad pointed out, "Me and Gab look a bit alike"

"No you two look a lot alike!" Sab stated

"Now behave for your mother, we'll pop in on the way back" the thick Welsh accent rolled over to us.

"Yes Da" the girl replied

"Take care now Vanoo, see you in a fortnight" the woman said

"Have a good time Keris, and you Da" the girl gave the woman a quick hug.

"Looks like she's staying with Sylv" Mad whispered excitedly

We watched as the two strangers got in the car and departed with the girl and Sylv waving them off. The pair quickly went inside.

"Come on" Mad encouraged

"Where?" I asked

"Dur! Sylv's of course!"


"Oh come on girl, if Rhod's cousin is staying over we should introduce ourselves" Mad temporised

"Er I guess"

So I trailed along to the gennel that leads around back, Mad was firmly in control! We reached the gate and Mad let us in.

"Yoo hoo! Sylv! Rhod!" Mad called out

Sylv appeared at the door, maybe a little flustered.

"Oh hi girls, Rhod's not here"

"We saw your visitors leaving, we thought it might have been Rhod's Dad dropping him off" Mad was going for the jugular!

"Who" the girl joined Sylv but she sounded familiar. "Shit!"

"Just some of Rhod's friends." Sylv emphasised Rhod, "this is Maddy, erm that's Britney, Sabrina and..." she craned to look past the others, her eyebrows rising when she recognised me, "Gaby?"

"Hi" Mad did a little wave.

"Girls, this is Mfanwy, Rhod's cousin, she's er staying for a few days" Sylv went on. The girl looked panic stricken!

My brain was running overtime. I replayed the earlier conversation 'now behave for your mother', Mfanwy's Dad had said, so that means... and Rhod kept muttering something about Mfanwy the other week... that voice and, oh boy!

"That's Mfanwy!" I exclaimed

"Like we just established that you daft cow" Brit mentioned

"That is you? isn't it?" I addressed the now fast departing girl.

"You'd best come in" Sylv sighed.

The others weren't sure what was going on, to be honest neither was I but by Sylv's reaction there was definitely something! We followed her inside.

"What's up with Merfanwee Sylv?" Mad asked

"Best ask your cousin she seems to know!" Sylv suggested

"Erm" I explained

"Okay" Sylv sighed deeply, "I suppose someone had to find out sooner or later. Mfanwy is sort of like Gaby here."

"You mean a girl pretending to be a boy?" Sabrina asked, "She's wearing a dress"

Sylv looked a bit confused, "no, no. It's not Mfanwy, it's Rhod"

"Rhod's pretending to be his cousin?" Mad still didn't get it

"Not quite"

"You mean?" Brit did that mobile head, raised eyebrow thing. Sylv nodded. "You English are just so weird!"

"Technically Rhod's Welsh" I pointed out

"Walesish, English, it's still weird."

Sylv called my mate down.

"Rhod, come on down son"

A despondent Rhod/Mfanwy joined us and slumped into a chair.He'd changed into combats and although the makeup was gone his hair was still up and he still had boobs!

"I'm dead!" he pronounced shooting a look at me stood there in a skirt.

"Why didn't you say?" I started

"Well it's not something that slips into conversation easily is it? Nice ride Gaby and oh by the way I pretend to be a girl when I go see my Dad in Wales!"

He had a point. It all fits now though. The secrecy and the strange look that Ally gives when Mfanwy is mentioned. She knows! She must do!

"What about Ally?"

"Okay, I told Ally but she swore she wouldn't tell!" he looked hurt

"She didn't, we saw you outside with that big bloke,"

"Dad" he confirmed

"Your Dad and Keris"

"Cherys" Sylv corrected

"Well it all fitted together when your Dad made it clear that Sylv was your Mum" I concluded

Mfanwy in drab
Rhod still looked like Mfanwy

"You were eavesdropping" Sylv accused

We didn't mean to" Mad pleaded

"Sorry" I agreed

"Well it's done now." Sylv stated, "you staying for tea? We'll explain for you, won't we Em?"

"Yes Mam!" Rhod visibly deflated.

Maddy Bell 12.05.04 Secret © 2004

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