book 3 Gaby Title.jpg
Part 96


"So you've been doing this for what, three years?" I gasped

"Yeah" Rhod or should it be Mfanwy sighed

"Boy, I thought my life was tough" Sab put in

Over the last hour we had got the whole, I think, story from Sylv and Rhod. No wonder he never talked about his trips to Wales! And why he didn't complain too much about the Easter dance episode. Seems that since he was ten, he's become Mfanwy once a month and his Dad and step mum, Cherys, both think he's a girl! Now that is way weird!

"What time is it?" Sylv asked

"Half five Mum"

"Oh bugger, Dan'll be back soon"

Oh yeah, forgot to tell you, Dan had gone to stay with one of the other exchangees for the weekend as Rhod had to go away.

"Mrs Morgan? Ma'am?" talk of the devil!

Quite obviously, Dan doesn't know about Mfanwy and Rhod's only escape route is past Dan!

"Oh hi everyone, Rhod back yet?"

"Anytime now" Sylv replied

"So what are you guys doing?" he must have finally spotted the extra female bodies, "Drew here?"

"No, this is his cousin Gaby" Brit pointed me out, "you know the one in the pictures?"

"Oh right, hi Gaby, I'm Dan"

"Er hi Dan, the shy thing over there is Pippa" I fell back to the girls name Rhod picked out back in March.

"Hi Pippa" Rhod smiled back weakly

"We were just going weren't we girls?" Mad suggested

"Yeah, cheer practice" Brit offered

"I've got something for Drew upstairs, hang on" Dan mentioned heading upstairs.

"What am I going to do?" Rhod asked in panic

"Come back to mine, I'll lend you some boy stuff to come back in" I told him


We collected our stuff; Rhod grabbed his girl essentials and slipped his trainers on.

Dan came back down a lot slower than he went up. He obviously had something on his mind.

"Okay, if Rhod's not back why is his case upstairs and why is there a dress on his bed"

"You went in my room!" Rhod accused realising too late what he'd done.

"Now Dan, we can explain" Sylv started

Dan's face was like thunder

"You're a queer! I thought there was something funny about you"

"I think you girls best go" Sylv suggested

"Why don't you take your pansy girlfriend with you!" Dan spat

"Hey ease up Danno" Sab suggested

"And you can shut up black trash!"

"Dan!" Sylv shouted

This was getting out of hand. Sab was now in tears, Rhod had run upstairs and slammed his door, oh boy this was developing into a real situation!

"Come on, let's go back to mine" Mad suggested

"Dan, I suggest you listen to Sylv" Brit mentioned over her shoulder

"It's alright for you, Drew's a mans man, I'm stuck here with a faggot!" the irony of that statement was hard to miss.

"Dan?" Sylv was not in control here.

The four of us beat a hasty retreat leaving the occupants of the Morgan household to battle it out amongst themselves.

"You okay Sab?" Mad enquired

"Uh huh. I've been called worse"

"I didn't think Dan was like that," Brit mentioned

"He's angry," I pointed out, "I don't suppose he meant it"

"Drew's right, he was just lashing out," Mad agreed

"What about Rhod? What's gonna happen?" Sab sniffed

"Dunno," I admitted

"Come on Brit, Jules'll be home soon!"

"Anyone would think you wanted to see your sister!"

"Come on!" I urged again

We didn't stop at Mad's when I realised the time, Dad and Deb were meeting Jules plane at six so they should be back from East Midlands not too much after seven. It was actually nearer eight when they touched down.

"Hi guys, Drew why are you wearing a skirt?"

"Nice to see you too"

"It's okay Jules, Gaby's told us everything!" Brit told her


"Later sis. How was Mum?"

"Missing everyone, we had a brill time though, we stayed at this really swanky hotel...."

My interest faded swiftly when she started going on about the shops and the Italian men! We finally headed off to bed at nearly eleven on Dad's prompting.

"Drew!" Jules hissed as I passed her door



"What?" I whispered

"In here" she instructed. I joined her inside and she carefully closed the door. "Okay bro, what's gone off while I've been away?"

"What hasn't" I sighed sinking onto her dressing table stool.

So I spent the next age bringing Jules up to speed.

"So like Rhod pretends to be this Mfanwy because his Dad thinks he's a girl" she confirmed

"That's about it," I agreed

"And Dan found out and threw his dummy?"

"Big style! He was going mental"

"Good job he doesn't know about you as well" Jules pointed out. "I'm still not sure what you're up to"

"Well after Friday I was going to tell them that Gaby was really me, Drew but when I started to tell them they grabbed the wrong end of the stick."

"So they think you're really Gaby pretending to be a boy?"

"That about gets it" I agreed, "Sab knows but they've promised not to say anything to anyone else"

Jules shook her head, "Drew Bond!"

Monday dawned dry but overcast, I was worried about the situation over at Rhod's but when we all met at school for today's outing, both Dan and Rhod were there. However once on the bus they occupied seats as far apart as they could get, relations were obviously still pretty cool. We were off to Alton Towers today for a 'fun' day. With my scrapes and bruises there is no way I can go on much, oh yeah, no skirt today! My baggy shorts are just about bearable and a bit of 'sun' never goes amiss!"

I don't want to bore you with today's trip but I guess you want to know something of it. Alton Towers is a theme park, without a theme! Okay so amusement park would be more accurate I suppose. It's about an hour and a half from Warsop near a place called Uttoxeter. There are some pretty cool rides if you like that sort of thing, personally I can take it or leave it.

So I spent the day queuing for rides I wasn't riding and waiting while everyone else did! At least I got to keep my lunch! It could have been worse, the rain that was forecast didn't materialise. It was after lunch that the strangest thing happened.

"Mind if I sit?" it was Miss Bell, the Americans teacher.

"Sure" it's not like anyone was sat there.

"You enjoy the carnival Saturday?"


"At Newark" she prompted

"Oh yeah, Newark"

"I saw you race, that was pretty impressive"

"Er thanks, crashing wasn't"

"On the contrary, the way you got up and rode the finish, that impressed a lot of people, you were a hero, or should I say heroine"

"What do you mean?"

"At the presentation, the guy called you Gaby and you were wearing a skirt. Makes a girl to me, a very plucky girl"

"Shit! Oh sorry Miss, look it's not what you think"

"And what do I think Gaby?"

"Please?" I begged

"Lets have a walk round the Gardens, young lady, you can explain on the way"

"Okay Miss, I just need to tell the others where I'm going"

"I'll wait for you by the toilets"

Things are starting to get out of hand! So what do I tell her? Well I decided on the least complicated explanation, Gaby is a nickname; my injuries meant a skirt was the most practical thing to wear. I'm not sure if she bought it though. Scratch that she didn't buy it! That was confirmed on the ride home.

"Erm Gab, sorry Drew" Brit whispered

"Yeah. Damn my hip itches!"

"Well I hope you don't mind, but she is a teacher and all"

"Who is?"

"Miss Bell?"

"Oh right."

"Well she asked me about Gaby? So I like told her."


"Sorry but she asked and she saw you on Saturday"

"I know. Ah well, I don't suppose she'll announce it to the world"

"'Course not"

Sugar! Now there's four people convinced that I'm a girl, worse than that, a girl pretending to be a boy and doing it badly enough to notice!

"So what're we doing today?" Brit asked for seemingly the hundredth time since they arrived.

"We really ought to find out what's happening with Rhod and Dan, I feel sort of guilty"

"Dan's a jerk"

"Rhod's my mate, whatever he wears"

"And Mfanwy's pretty cute too!"

"I'm not sure Rhod would want to hear you saying that"

"Sheesh, you guys are one mixed up bunch. Girls being boys, boys being girls, it's not exactly normal is it?"

"Define normal," I challenged

"A... you sneak Gaby Bond!"

"Hey you two coming to Anna's, she somehow got some pictures of Sonia!" Jules asked

"Oh yeah!" Brit agreed

"Sure" well I can talk to Rhod later.


Talk about sweet revenge! I wonder how long the henna will last?
Oh boy, the revenge on Sonia has repaid buckets! Apparently Sonia had a really bad allergy to the Henna and Anna's cleanser, oh I told you that didn't I. What Anna didn't tell me last week was just how much hair was gone! Lets put it this way; her hairline is now somewhat higher and patchy!

Son's mum went beyond ballistic, it was a big family dinner on Sunday and as Anna pointed out, she looked like a freakazoid! One unhappy momma! Oh and she's grounded until Christmas! Sweet revenge eh? Sweet revenge!

Of course being Tuesday, it's the Cuckney 10. How many times have I told you about Tuesday nights? At least a dozen I'm sure. Out of all those times I never once 'tried' to be Gaby or Dee, yeah I know I wore makeup one night and I've never really made too big a thing of John referring to me as a girl. Tonight it's sort of new territory; I'm going to 'be' Gaby!

Dad fixed my bike last night, all except my wheels, he dropped then in at Sherwood's to be sorted out, tonight on my old, well spare, race wheels. Deb and Jules were staying at home so the three of us set off in the car to meet Mad and co up at the course. Mad seems to have got hooked, hey I'm not complaining, not unless she stops the leg rubs!

What can I tell you? Being August there were not quite as many riders, what with holidays and stuff but there were still over twenty of us. Tonight was calm and airless, you might think that's good but it makes it really hard with no 'help' at all. Mad and I set off for the start just under a mile back towards home.

"How's the side Drew?"

"Better now I'm riding, I've got pretty stiff today"

"It'll give us mere mortals a chance then" she giggled

"In your dreams!"

"Well you're not going to catch me tonight"

I took that as a challenge and turned my battered bod to the task in hand.

I already said it would be hard tonight, it was. Mad started number twelve and I was fifteen so given recent form I should have caught her about halfway back, near the garden centre. Maddy was riding like a girl possessed though and I only just caught her as we made the last corner before the finish!

We both got back to the cars together, Mad was pretty well shot and I was fair done in too.

"Good rides both of you" Dad greeted us

"You nearly beat him Mad" Sabrina enthused, I did tell you that I was still 'Drew' outside of our little clique, Gaby is on a need to know basis!

"Not exactly beat" Aunt Carol pointed out, "Drew caught Maddy up"

"Oh right" I'm sure Sab didn't quite get how time trials work.

"Hi kids" John came over a couple of minutes later.

"How'd they go this week?" Dad asked

"No personals tonight I'm afraid, 24.38 for Gaby and 27.41 for Maddy here"

"Well done Mad" Dad advised, "you're catching the wunderkind!"

"So are you ready for Saturday young un?" John went on

"Bit sore still but I should be okay"

"You know that Paul Butler, the lad you beat on Saturday is the Midlands champ?"

"I've seen his name in the comic, I didn't realise that was him though"

"He'll be wanting revenge on Saturday"

"I guess so"

"See you on Saturday then, okay Dave?"

"Saturday John" Dad agreed

"Night kids" John waved as he walked back to his car.

"I'll take Britney and Sabrina and get a table," Aunt C mentioned

"Okay, we won't be far behind you" Dad agreed

"Table?" Mad enquired as her Mum pulled onto the main road

"We thought we'd have a drink at 'The Chequers' before we go home." Dad advised

"I could drink gallons tonight, it's so close!" I complained

"Well get yourselves sorted and we'll catch the others up eh?"

Five minutes later Dad pulled into the pub car park, 'The Chequers' is in the middle of Cuckney village near the church. The beer garden was pretty busy but Mrs P had secured a table and was just returning from the bar when we joined the others sat under a tree.

"Here we are, dry cider for you Dave and coke for you guys" Aunt Carol announced as she handed out our drinks.

"Thanks" Dad raised his glass

"I could get used to this," I agreed

"You okay girls?" Dad asked our guests

"This is pretty cool" Brit replied

"So Saturday's the big one eh Drew?" Aunt C asked

"Uh huh, National Championship"

"You'll walk it Drew" Mad encouraged

"I'll be lucky to make top ten"

"Don't be so defeatist Drew" Mad's Mum chimed in

"That's what I keep telling him," Dad pointed out

"Daa-aad" I complained

Sabrina changed the tack of the conversation.

"What's 'fletchings'?"

"Fletchings?" Mad queried

"On that gate, the name plate says 'The Fletchings', I just wondered what it meant"

"Arrows" Dad answered, "Wasn't that the Archery place Carol?"

"Do you know, I think you're right, they used to have targets and stuff in the shop at the front didn't they"

The four of us looked at the olds, what were they talking about?

"Oh sorry, Sabrina" Dad went on seeing our mystified expressions, "they used to make and sell archery equipment from the shop at the front. Fletchings are the feather flights on the arrows, that's where the name Fletcher comes from"

"Sounds better than arrow maker" I quipped

"You mean like people still do that stuff?" Britney asked

"Sure, it's still quite popular round here in Robin Hood country, there are quite a few clubs and societies" Dad confirmed

"Cool!" Sab added

We decided to forego the chips tonight, so Brit had to forego firemen too! Okay, okay, it made me laugh!

After all the excitement so far this week, the rest of the week was boring! The Americans had a day trip to Chatsworth and Haddon Hall Wednesday so the old gang got together, all that is except for Rhod. So I've still got no idea what went off after we left on Sunday! On Thursday we all, that is the entire exchange group, went swimming over in Sheffield's Ponds Forge complex. In short, although we were having fun, there was nothing particularly outstanding except the looks on the Walters faces when I arrived poolside bare-chested!

Friday turned into one of those 'just hanging' days at the Peters pad, like I said, uneventful. Tonight the five of us, that's the three girls, Dad and me, are leaving for points south. Dad thought it would be best if we didn't have too far to go in the morning so we're staying in a motel place just north of London.

Maddy Bell 15.05.04 Secret © 2004

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