Gaby - Changes taster

As it's Drew/Gaby's birthday on February 25th I thought I'd give you a little something to read.Originally released to attendees of the 2010 Gabycon in Dorset this is a short extract from the new Gaby book I'm currently working on Changes. I hope you all enjoy this little taster and I'm all fired up and I'll be scribbling away with fervour for the next few weeks! For now though I'll leave you to enjoy this short extract.

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”­“”¬You seen this Drew”­?” ”¬Anna waved a bit of paper at him.

”­“”¬Dunno,”­ ”¬what is it,”­ ”¬hold it still I can’t read it flapping about.”­”

“There’s a big RPG and Manga convention at Ká¶ln Messe next month.”­”

She passed the flyer across the table to him.

”­“”¬Looks cool huh”­?”

“Gis a chance.”­”

It certainly looked like somewhere to visit”­; ”¬four huge halls full of gaming,”­ ”¬costuming and a fair bit more besides.

”­“”¬When is it”­?”

“It says on the back.”­”

Flipping the paper over the details were printed in gothic letters.

”­“”¬July”­ ”¬15th and”­ ”¬16th.”­”

“You fancy going”­?”

“I’ve probably got a race.”­” ”¬he sighed.

”­“”¬You ride those bikes too much.”­”

“If you want success”­…”

“Yeah,”­ ”¬you said before.”­”

“Still it would be nice and I am away most of the summer.”­”

He was looking forward to that,”­ ”¬a whole month with the GB development squad culminating in a trip to the World Champs in Canada,”­ ”¬although he was riding the junior events every week he’d be doing the under”­ ”¬16”­’”¬s in Calgary.

”­“”¬I’ll check with Dad later,”­ ”¬I might manage to scrounge a weekend off,”­ ”¬what about the others”­?”

“I’m sure they’ll all want to go.”­”

‘Die Ná¤chste Zug am Gleis drei ist die funfzehn hundert service nach”­ ”¬Bonn,”­ ”¬Remagen,”­ ”¬Koblenz”­…”¬.”­”

“Shitza,”­ ”¬that’s ours”­!”

We grabbed our bags and legged it for our train.

”­“”¬Dad”­?”

“What squib”­?”

“Well you know next month,”­ ”¬am I racing like every week”­?”

“Pretty much,”­ ”¬let me get the diary.”­”

Dave put down his paper and went through to the office,”­ ”¬Drew in tow.

”­“”¬Right,”­ ”¬the first you’ve got the Mittelrhein,”­ ”¬the week after it’s the three countries on Saturday and you’re penciled in for an RTF in Bonn,”­ ”¬that’s all that’s confirmed,”­ ”¬there’s no premier series in July what with the TdF being on,”­ ”¬your next big race will be in Hamburg the first weekend in August before you join the GB team.”­”

“You reckon I might get the”­ ”¬15th and”­ ”¬16th off”­?”

“Don’t see why not,”­ ”¬I was thinking of popping over to see the tour for a couple of days but we could do that some other time.”­”

The Tour.”­ ”¬Bum what a conundrum.

4”­ ”¬weeks later....

”­"”¬Terminal two.”­" ”¬Dave Bond repeated for about the tenth time since they left Dernau.

”­"”¬Yes Dad.”­" ”¬Drew sighed.

”­"”¬We’ll make sure she gets there Herr Bond.”­" ”¬Anna put in from the back seat.

”­"”¬Hmm.”­" ”¬Dave wasn't entirely convinced given the girls past record.

”­"”¬Da-ad”­!"

"Okay okay,”­ ”¬you sure your passport's in the bag”­?"

"Yes,”­ ”¬I showed you remember.”­"

Its not like he hadn't flown before,”­ ”¬on his own even but Dad really could be a pain.

”­"”¬Left,”­ ”¬left”­!" ”¬Nena nearly screamed causing Dave to slam the brakes on.

Their accommodation was indeed across the road,”­ ”¬the Ibis Ká¶ln Messe”­; ”¬Dave managed to manoeuvre the bus across to the drop off zone where his flock of passengers were soon disgorging.

”­"”¬Drew,”­" ”¬Dave started,”­ "”¬be careful eh and don't let me down Sunday.”­"

"I will,”­ ”¬I mean I won't,”­ ”¬I’ll see you at the airport.”­"

"Here,”­" ”¬Dave pressed some notes into Drew’s hand,”­ "”¬enjoy yourself kiddo.”­"

"Thanks Dad.”­" ”¬Drew leant over and gave the older Bond an awkward hug.

”­"”¬Off with you,”­ ”¬I’ve got to go and pick your sister up now.”­"

Drew jumped out and joined the pile of bags and teens waiting for him in the entrance.

”­"”¬Thanks Herr Bond”­!" ”¬Connie called out as Dave prepared to rejoin the evening traffic.

”­"”¬Bye Dad”­!"

Dave tooted and waved as he pulled off.

Dave really did have misgivings over this weekend,”­ ”¬it was however pretty much the only way that satisfied everyone’s needs,”­ ”¬Drew’s relaxation and Dave’s parent”­ ”¬/”­ ”¬child time.”­

'I wonder what the girls will have him doing this time.”­'

Over the years Drew had certainly found himself at the wrong end of far too many of his friends”­ '”¬good ideas”­'”¬.”­ ”¬Not that he seemed to mind too much but there certainly were some hare brained capers.

”­"”¬You ready yet Gab”­?" ”¬Anna enquired through the door.

”­"”¬Er nearly.”­"

"We’ll wait for you downstairs then.”­"

"'Kay.”­"

The main door closed with a solid thud and Drew let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.”­ ”¬He was dressed and ready but he certainly wasn't ready in his head,”­ ”¬no he was far from ready on that score.”­ ”¬With a sigh he opened the bathroom door and walked back into the main room,”­ ”¬plopping himself down onto his bed.

He wasn't even sure why he was in such a”­ ”¬fugue”­;”¬ it had descended as he started changing for the first session and left him feeling well out of sorts.”­ ”¬Thinking about it it started right after Connie finished telling them about an incident with Bernie at the school dance,”­ ”¬shortly before she went back to”­ ”¬England.

His phoned chirped from his hand bag.

”­"”¬Mushi mushi”­!" ”¬he forced a cheerful response.

”­"”¬Ha”­! ”¬So you are awake,”­ ”¬come on or we'll miss the next shuttle.”­" ”¬Anna huffed.

”­"”¬On my way.”­" ”¬he ended the call,”­ ”¬gathered his stuff and headed for the lift.

Whilst the RPG wasn't a pure cosplay event there were a considerable number of players in costumes ranging from”­ ”¬Super Mario to”­ ”¬Lord of the Rings and everything in between.”­ ”¬The girls had decided to avoid specific costuming and so they were wearing a selection of Japanese style school uniforms and gothic Lolita outfits.”­ ”¬Having accumulated and somehow kept various outfits over the last couple of years Drew was doing a more than passable”­ ”¬Lolita which,”­ ”¬in his head at least,”­ ”¬was less girly than say Nena’s short pleated skirt and sailor style top.

”­“”¬Pictures”­?” ”¬a spotty youth asked.

”­“”¬Yeah why not.”­” ”¬Drew agreed,”­ ”¬it was after all part of the whole con thing.

He was temporarily on his own,”­ ”¬the others having gone ahead while he perused a stall full of imported manga.

”­“”¬Momo from Kamikaze Girls right”­?”

“Er I think you mean Momoko”­?”

“Yeah that’s the one.”­”

“Not particularly,”­ ”¬so how do you want this”­?”

“Well um”­…” ”¬he clearly wasn’t used to this.

”­“”¬How about I do some poses and you take some pics”­?”

“Er sure,”­ ”¬Freddy by the way.”­”

“Gaby.”­”

Dave was fast approaching the toe tapping stage when not just Drew but Anna and Connie came careering along the concourse in a cacophony of arms,”­ ”¬legs and squeals,”­ ”¬scattering other travellers as they went.

”­“”¬Made it”­!” ”¬Connie panted.

”­“”¬I was starting to get a bit worried.”­” ”¬Dave admitted.

”­“”¬There was a crash on the autobahn so the bus had to take a diversion.”­” ”¬Anna supplied.

”­“”¬I did try ringing.”­” ”¬Drew added.

Dave pulled his Blackberry”­ © ”¬out,”­ “”¬I didn’t hear it go,”­ ”¬damn”­ ”¬it’s on mute.”­”

“Parents”­! ”¬So much for that plan.”­” ”¬Drew rolled his eyes with a smirk fast creeping across his face.

”­“”¬I didn’t expect to see you two here,”­ ”¬where are the others,”­ ”¬where’s your luggage”­?”

“We promised we’d get Gabs here so coming with seemed the best way.”­” ”¬Con told him.

”­“”¬They’ve got a room at the hotel where you can leave”­ ”¬bags”­;”¬ we’ll collect them when Pia’s dad picks us up.”­”

“Well thanks for bringing trouble.”­”

“No probs,”­ ”¬see you Wednesday Gabs,”­ ”¬early shift.”­” ”¬Con grinned.

Drew groaned,”­ ”¬he’d forgotten about the bakery.

After a quick hug the girls headed back towards the bus station whilst the Bonds made their way to the check in for their flight to the south of”­ ”¬France.”­

“I told you to make sure you had everything.”­” ”¬Dave hissed at”­ ‘”¬Juliette”­’”¬.

”­“”¬I showed it to you.”­” ”¬Drew whimpered.

”­“”¬Well be thankful that they accepted the”­ ‘”¬typo”­’ ”¬excuse.”­” ”¬Dave couldn’t keep up the hard line stance,”­ “”¬come”­ ‘”¬ere.”­”

Drew leant over for a quick hug,”­ ”¬not easy in the cramped confines of a”­ ”¬727.”­ ”¬In truth the check in clerk had barely blinked at the”­ ‘”¬error”­’”¬,”­ ”¬he looked enough like his sisters passport photo to be readily accepted as her.

They’d been perched on a rock near to the summit of the Tourmalet for two hours before the caravan hove into view and all their fellow fans rushed to the roadside to see what freebies they could get.”­ ”¬In truth it was largely a load of tot but just being there,”­ ”¬collecting the pens,”­ ”¬key rings,”­ ”¬paper hats and so on is as much part of the Tour”­ ”¬experience as watching the riders.”­ ”¬The last of the promotional cars passed them followed closely by an official car with loudspeakers blaring.

”­“”¬What was that”­?”

“Something about fifteen minutes,”­ ”¬my French isn’t up to much.”­”

“I’ll see if that guy in the Telekom shirt knows,”­ ”¬I saw him in the hotel”­ ”¬last night.”­” ”¬Drew suggested hopping back down to the road.

”­“”¬Excusé moi,”­ ”¬er parley English bitte”­?” ”¬Drew’s French was appalling too despite his teachers best attempts over the years.

”­“”¬Kleine.”­” ”¬He replied indicating a little gap with thumb and fore finger.

”­“”¬Ah deutsche”­!”

“Ja,”­ ”¬von Frankfurt kommt.”­”

“Great”­! ”¬Any idea what the announcement was”­? ”¬Dad and me are both terrible with French.”­”

“Me too,”­ ”¬Josef by the way,”­ ”¬but I think they were saying the race is coming.”­”

“Kewl,”­ ”¬I can’t believe I’m here”­! ”¬I’ll go tell Dad.”­”

“You are coming down to watch”­?” ”¬Josef asked.

”­“”¬We were going to stay up on the rocks.”­”

“Ach”­! ”¬You’ll never see anything up there,”­ ”¬go fetch your father,”­ ”¬I’m sure we can squeeze a small má¤dchen to the front of the crowd,”­ ”¬you’ll be right with the riders.”­”

“Really”­? ”¬Um Gaby by the way,”­ ”¬I’ll fetch Dad.”­”

The trip to France had been brilliant,”­ ”¬Dave and Josef had hit it off and the pair of them had spent both evenings in the hotel bar,”­ ”¬Drew occupied himself by wheedling his way into the Tour”­ ‘”¬enclosure”­’ ”¬a couple of kilometres along the road,”­ ”¬the second day of their visit was a mountain time trial back up the Tourmalet so it was a rare”­ ”¬2”­ ”¬night stop for the caravan.

The familiar tones of Drew’s phone chirped from his desk.

”­“”¬Abend.”­”

“Drew”­?”

“Mad”­?”

“Don’t you ever check caller I d”­?”

“Not usually,”­ ”¬s’what’s up”­?”

“You.”­”

“What do you mean”­ ‘”¬you”­’?”

“You did go to that thing in”­ ”¬Cologne the other week right”­?”

“You know I did,”­ ”¬what about it”­?”

“There’s a report in this months”­ ‘”¬Cosvention”­’”¬.”­”

“So”­? ”¬You would kind of expect it.”­”

“’Despite the thousands attending everyone I spoke to was agreed,”­ ”¬the best player of the weekend had to be the tiny German girl doing Kamikaze Girls”­’ ”¬Momoko.”­’”

“I never saw her.”­”

“They’re talking about you dumbo”­!”

“Me”­? ”¬I’m not German.”­”

“They don’t know that,”­ ”¬it’s definitely you,”­ ”¬you’re on the front cover too”­ — ”¬nice outfit by the way.”­”

“Don’t believe you.”­”

“Your computer on”­?”

“Yeah.”­”

“I’ll scan the cover and mail it.”­”

Seems that what started off with a few shots for the pimply Freddy had resulted in a thirty minute session which had blocked up half of one hall.”­ ”¬Drew’s thoughts had been elsewhere as he blithely posed for the cameras,”­ ”¬the picture his cousin emailed to him really brought home to him how others now saw him.

Maddy”­ ”¬Bell”­ ”¬25.02.2011



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