Waltzing Matilda - 2011 Gabycon short story

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Waltzing Matilda.
By
Angharad.

(This story was written for the 2011 Gabycon based on the characters created by Maddy Bell.)

The train chugged interminably and Drew felt more and more bored. He’d read his magazine, and even skimmed the copy of Cosmo the woman opposite had left when she’d had to run for her connection.

He nibbled on the pack of peanuts he’d opened; was going back to Warsop such a good idea? Sure, seeing those of the gang who were still there would be good–it was months since he’d seen any of them.

He wondered what they’d be doing–getting on with their lives that’s what. Carol had been exactly the same as she always was when he’d phoned while he was training with British Cycling at the Manchester HQ. She was excited to hear from him and insisted he stay with them–she’d do a nice dinner for him. That was the clincher–one of Aunt Carol’s dinners–worth a crappy train journey.

Life was complicated these days–the little lumps he’d had in what would normally be described as a scrotum, had turned out to be immature testes–no wonder he had virtually no testosterone in his body–they’d started swelling, or at least he thought they had so he went to their GP, Dr Klein. The good doctor, and she was good, familiar with his unusual anatomy sent him for a scan and two days later he’d been separated from them–they were turning nasty.

It had taken him a few weeks to deal with that–he’d got used to having a female phenotype–a curvy body with hips and breasts–because deep inside he knew he was still Drew, he still had dangly bits–which, although small–okay very small–he assumed still worked. It was one of his core items–he had a meat and two veg–he was a boy. Now, even generously, it might only be described as a small rasher of streaky bacon–or a cocktail sausage.

Long periods as Gaby had meant he naturally sat when he went to the loo, and occasionally, even when dressed as Drew, he’d been told to leave Gents toilets because he was in the wrong one. That was fresh in his mind because it had happened that morning at Kings Cross station. He’d wandered into the gents only to be told he was in the wrong one–the ladies was next door.

He had on jeans and a sweatshirt declaring his affiliation to British Cycling and a Union flag on them. He found it amusing that he’d been asked if he’d like to ride for Germany–he was tempted for at least two minutes. However, he still got told to use the ladies toilets–they were usually cleaner, which was a small consolation–not as clean as Germany: but nowhere was.

He felt disgusted when he saw how littered the streets were in Manchester–why can’t people use the bins–but no, they walk past them and drop their rubbish in the street.

He’d challenged one lad, who was opening a packet of fags and dropped the cellophane as he walked on, then the silver paper from inside the pack. The boy turned, looked at the girl who was shouting at him, gave her the finger and walked on lighting up as he went. His friends thought it was hilarious.

“I hope you get lung cancer, you dirty sod,” he’d called after the boy, who just put his hand behind his back and gave him the finger again. Drew wished he’d had the sense to take photos of him littering then he could have sent it to a newspaper or something.

Mind you, with all that was going on these days, the press would hardly be interested in a poor quality photo taken on a camera-phone of some idiot dropping litter.

Things were no better at Worksop. Were they this bad when he was living there? He remembered the lectures they’d had from Jenny and Dave about not dropping litter, but bringing it home–however smelly it was. When they’d stopped for chips on the way back from Cuckney, even though they’d stunk the car out, they had to take them home and bin them. Now it seemed everywhere was knee deep in detritus and it was all avoidable–fag packets, chewing gum, fast food wrappers–why couldn’t they pick ‘em up, or better still not drop them in the first place. Perhaps he should have signed up for Germany–at least they had tidier streets.

He'd stepped in some chewing gum and his foot stuck to the ground–he was still scraping it off his shoe when Aunt Carol appeared, pulling up in her new Toyota. She jumped out and hugged him. “You look well, um Drew?”

“Yeah, it’s still Drew, if only just.”

“What d’you mean?” she asked looking concerned. They got in the car.

“I had a bilateral orchidectomy a couple of months ago.”

“What’s that?” she looked at him waiting for him to finish before she started the car.

“They took my balls away...”

“Oh, Drew...” she almost groaned.

“Yeah–they were going manky or something–they had to go–not as if they ever bloody worked anyway.”

“I am sorry, kiddo.”

“Yeah, so am I, but can we keep this between us.”

“Of course, but I am sorry.”

“Thanks, Aunt Carol.” He thought he’d dealt with it, but the tears rolling down his cheek suggested otherwise. “Why me?” he sniffed.

“It happens, kiddo, just one of those things.”

“The bloody universe seems intent on turning me into a girl, doesn’t it?”

She looked at him, it had pretty well achieved its goal if that was the case. He looked as pretty as any girl she knew, even as pretty as Maddy and with a figure to die for–and yet all he wanted was to be a normal boy and race his bike.

“Is this going to affect your cycling?”

“Only while it was sore, a couple of weeks. They did offer to put in some plastic implant things but I decided against it, what’s the point?”

“Only you could decide that, sweetheart.”

“They’d only be cosmetic and with tits and an arse the size of Picadilly Circus, it would hardly make me feel any more masculine would it?”

Carol decided discretion was the better part of valour and treated his question as rhetorical. To have said anything would have been unhelpful.

“I mean, I went to the gents toilets at King’s Cross and some bloke told me the ladies was next door. I mean, look at me? I’m in Drew mode–okay–I’m a castrato now, but hey, I’m still a bloke.” The tears continued.

Carol looked at him and shook her head.

“You don’t think I look like a bloke, do you?”

“Drew, I’m the wrong person to ask–I’ve known you ever since you were born–to me Drew and Gaby are the same person–you, and we all love you whichever one you present to us.”

“Yeah–I know,” he wiped the tears away in a very feminine way almost as if he was trying not to smudge his makeup, which of course he wasn’t wearing, but long periods of being Gaby had caused him to adopt a lot of feminine gestures–and some were inherent. “Thanks, Aunt Carol.”

“What for?” she asked.

“For always being there.”

“You’re welcome, Drew.”

They arrived back at Castle Peters and getting out of the car Drew observed, “New porch?”

“Yes, it keeps the cold out a bit better.”

“Nice,” he said appraising it.

Carol let him in and he dumped his bag pulling up his jeans to his slender waist. They were always slipping down, even girl’s ones were a bit big there–his careful diet and constant exercise meant he put on very little fat, and that was all round the hips or bum–oh and his breasts were a very firm B cup, which he found difficult to disguise on his narrow chest and shoulders.

“Cuppa?” asked Carol watching this creature take off his bulky jacket–who was he trying to fool? His actions, his expression, his gestures and especially his body screamed girl, yet he still identified as a boy. She wondered how Maddy would react, it was several months since she’d seen him, and he looked more womanly each time. Now with his body having given up its last vestiges of masculinity, Carol couldn’t see how he’d ever make it as a man; mind you, even with such a clear cut course set by physical appearance would she make it as a woman?

While she busied herself with teapot and mugs, she asked him, “How’s Jenny and Dave?”

“Yeah, alright, she won a classic in Belgium last week, and Dad, well, he’s Dad, he’s still got the rest of the squad to manage–funding could be a problem next year, but the German national squad have been talking with him.”

“Bit of a conflict of interests isn’t it, you and Jenny riding for British squads and him running a German one?”

“Yeah, but he’s quite objective about it–if I ride against his team, he’ll want them to win–because that’s who pays him–but he wouldn’t be too upset if I beat ’em.”

“So he wins full stop?”

“Yeah, I s’pose so. The problem is which squad will I be riding for.”

“I thought you said you were with BC?”

“Yeah, but my latest blood-work tends to suggest it might be the female team.”

“Oh–I’m sorry, Drew.”

“I’m finding it harder and harder to compete against men, they just have bigger muscles than me.”

“Here,” she handed him the tea. “What do Jenny and Dave say?”

“They always cop out, do what you like Drew, we’ll support you either way.”

“Oh, but isn’t it your decision–I mean, they can’t make it for you can they?”

“No, I s’pose not. Jules is the only one who’s made any decision, she calls me Sis or Gaby and treats me like a girl whatever I’m doing or wearing.”

“How d’you feel about that?”

“Okay, I s’pose.”

“What about your friends in Germany?”

“They treat me like a girl, half of them think I am one, especially the boys. Max is alright
I suppose–at least he acts like a gentleman some of the time–and Martin’s okay, too. Hans is appropriately named–they’re all over you, Kurt is very good looking–but knows it, and Boris, well–he’s just Boris–he’s lovely but so shy–we all kiss him at every opportunity and he blushes for about two hours–if they plugged him into the national grid–they could probably light a town the size of Aachen for a couple of minutes.”

“You haven’t got a special friend then?” Carol probed gently.

“Well all the gang are pretty close. Oh, I see what you mean–a girlfriend...”

“Or boyfriend,” Carol tried to sound non-judgemental.

“I suppose Max or Martin are the closest. Max would probably fall off his silver spoon if he knew what I was really, Martin might cope–yeah, Martin might just cope.” He looked wistfully out of the window–“Oh, I like the new cooker, Auntie Carol,” he added changing the subject.
The front door opened and in marched Maddy, who shrieked when she saw Drew was there and flung her arms around him, “Gaby,” she shouted nearly deafening him; “Oh, come on in Paul, you know–um–Gaby, don’t you?”

Drew nearly died, he saw the figure of Paul advance into the kitchen. “Hi, Gaby, Mrs Peters.”

“Go on in the front room, I‘ll bring some drinks in,” Maddy realising her mistake, ushered Paul into the lounge.

“It’s Drew, remember?” hissed the boy.

“Yeah, sorry–but you look so girly.”

“Well I’m not.”

“Sorry, look can you be Gaby until Paul goes? I’ll get rid of him as soon as he’s had a drink.”

“I s’pose I’ll have to be–won’t I?” he looked daggers as he responded.

“You come up for the dance tonight, Gabs?” called Paul from the lounge.

“Dance? What dance?”

“Worksop College–me an’ Paul are goin’, so is Helen and Ali.”

“Unless I can wear my track skins, I don’t think so.”

“I can lend you something,” she snatched the two mugs of tea from her mother and flounced off into the lounge.

“You didn’t mention anything about a dance, Auntie Carol.”

“Sorry, forgot all about it–go if you want to.”

“I don’t think so, Auntie C.” They continued talking and there were noises from the lounge, Paul called goodbye to Gaby and Carol and left, Maddy taking several minutes to see him off at the door, much to Drew’s discomfort.

Maddy came back to the kitchen, “Right, Missy, let’s see what I’ve got that will fit you.”

“Don’t bother,” said Drew.

“You’ve gotta come now, Paul’s told Clive you’re here.”

“Tough.”

“Oh that’s your funeral then, girl.” She turned to leave.

“I’m not a girl.”

“Yeah, tell it to the marines, ’cos you don’t fool me.” She left before Carol could vault over the table and strangle her.

“I’m sorry, Drew, I don’t know what’s got into her these days.”

“Don’t worry, Auntie Carol, it was you I came to see, and to road test one of your dinners.” He sat and chatted with her while Carol finished the preparations for the meal.

A few minutes later, John Peters arrived. “You’re early,” noted Carol.

“Gee what welcome, oh hi, Gaby.” He pecked his wife on the cheek and hugged Drew like he would a girl. “Good trip to Manchester?”

“’S okay I s’pose, gotta go back there for my return flight.”

“When?”

“Monday–they didn’t have a seat for the weekend.”

“Fine, what time?”

“Midday.”

“Great, I’ll run you over to Manchester, got to be there for an afternoon meeting.”

“I’ve got a train ticket, it’s no biggie.”

“Nonsense, I’ll take you there, Carol might like to have a squint round the Trafford Centre.”

“We’ll see,” said Carol, not committing to anything.

“Anyway, how’s my favourite niece?” John asked and Drew cringed.

“Yeah, I’m okay, Uncle John, yourself?”

“Daddy, can you run us into Warsop?” Maddy called from upstairs.

“Who’s us?” John called back to his daughter while walking down the hallway.

“Me an’ Paul an’ Justin.”

“Who’s Justin?”

“The new kid, you know, the Aussie one.”

Drew took all this on board and looked questioningly at Carol. “He’s a nice boy, quite good looking, his father works for some mining company based near Sheffield, they’re renting a house up near your old place.”

“Oh.” Drew shrugged.

“Is Gaby going as well?” John called up the stairs to Maddy.

“She said no, you ask her–she might say yes for you.” Maddy yelled back to her father.

“You’d be better off with Justin than Clive,” Carol hinted.

“Yeah you said he was a nice boy, problem is I am too.”

“Yeah but he won’t know that will he?” said Carol.

John had obviously gone upstairs to see Maddy or gone to the bedroom because it went quieter.

“I’m not a girl, Auntie Carol.”

“But you said yourself they all treat you like one in Germany–you’ve been out with boys there, Max and Martin and some others.”

Footsteps trotted down the stairs and Maddy rushed into the kitchen, here, try these.” She held up two dresses and a skirt and top. “I’m too big for them now, but they might fit you.”

Drew was about to tell her no, when Carol gave him the nod to try them on. He sighed, took the dresses and went up the stairs with his bag.

He began to strip and looked at Maddy, “D’you mind?”

“C’mon Gabs, it’s not as if you’ve got anything to hide–geez, they’ve grown,” her eyes got larger as Drew stood in his jeans and bra, “like the bra.”

“Marks and Spencer in Berlin.”

“Lovely colour.”

“It’s called oyster.”

“Oh and matching knickers, c’mon get them jeans off.”

Drew sighed and sat on the bed slipped his trainers off and his painted toenails showed. Maddy noticed them and raised an eyebrow. Then she noticed the lack of bulge in his panties.
Drew saw her and realised he’d just as well tell her. “They took my balls away two months ago.”

“So you are a girl?” gasped Maddy then realised what she’d said, “Look, I’m sorry–I didn’t mean it the way it came out. What’re you gonna do?”

“I dunno, but keep it quiet, okay?”

“Sure,” she replied nodding.

He tried all three outfits and all three looked better on him than they did on Maddy because of his tiny waistline.

“I haven’t brought any shoes.”

“You can borrow some of Mum’s, she’s got some black ones that would go with that dress–hang on, I’ll go an’ ask her.” She ran off and came back a moment later with the shoes and their owner.

“Goodness, Gab–Drew, you look really special in that dress.” Carol handed him her shoes and he slipped them on, they fitted quite well and looked good with the dress. “I don’t know, you girls are growing up so quickly,” then realised her mistake. “Sorry, Drew, I just forgot.”

“It’s okay, Auntie Carol, maybe it’s me that’s wrong.”

“Dinner’ll be ready in twenty minutes, so if you’re showering best hurry.”

Both the teens did shower and Maddy helped Drew with his hair, or should that be her hair, because it was definitely Gaby who stared back from the mirror. “Need some makeup?”

“I’ve got mine,” Drew admitted.

“Hang on a minute, you bollock me for calling you Gaby, you’re wearing like sexy lingerie and have your makeup bag with you–anything else you’re not telling me?”

“I carry it with me in Germany most of the time, I threw it in my bag before I thought about it.”

“Sure you haven’t got a dress and shoes in there too?”

“No.” He did however have earrings and bracelet and his watch–he always wore a girl’s one, his wrists were too small for a man’s one.

After a very tasty dinner, he went up to dress and do his makeup. Maddy loaned him some tights and he borrowed a little of her perfume but used his own nail polish, which matched his lip-gloss and toenails.

Downstairs he was greeted by nods of approval from the older Peters. “You might as well keep those shoes, Gaby, I never wear them–they rub my little toes–but they look good on you.”

“Yeah, keep the dress too,” added Maddy, “it looks better on you than it ever did on me–bitch.” Everyone chuckled, including Gaby. Then the doorbell rang.

“Look what I found,” announced Paul dragging another boy through the door.

“Oh hi, Justin,” called Maddy–“you haven’t met my cousin Gaby, have you?”

“No,” called the boy who then noticed the young woman stood in a doorway. “No–I think, I’d have remembered if I had–hi, I’m Justin.”

“Yeah, but you should be all the way in,” joked Paul.

“No shit,” muttered the young Australian under his breath.

“Okay, you lot, let’s get going, I want to get back in time to see the start of the film on Sky,” John ushered them towards the car.

“See told you she was a bit of alright,” joked Paul, unaware that he’d just paired up his previous best friend with another boy.

“Too right,” agreed Justin.

Justin who was slightly taller than Paul, sat with the two girls in the back of John’s BMW, however, Maddy decided to insert herself between Justin and Gaby to give Gabs a chance to deal with the new situation.

“So where d’you usually hang out?” asked the Aussie.

“Germany.”

“Germany? You’re not German though are you?”

“She’s as English as Yorkshire Puddin’,” offered Maddy.

“We went over to be with my mum, she races bikes for a German sponsored team.”

“Hey, kewl or what?”

“Tell him Gabs–she races bikes too.”

“Oh what? My cousin rides for an Australian team.”

“What’s his name?” asked Gaby who now became interested.

“Her name–it’s Sheila Bushman.”

“She did well in the Commonwealth games.”

“Yeah, she got bronze behind Jenny Bond and Nicole Cooke.”

“That’s her mum.”

“Nicole Cooke?”

“No–you nit, Jenny Bond.”

“The world champion?”

“She’s a champion too, tell her Gabs,” urged Maddy.

“So’s her cousin, Drew,” called Paul from the front seat.

“I’d like t’meet him,” said Justin.

“Wouldn’t we all, he owes me a tenner,” said Paul.

“You’ve had that,” smirked Maddy, half enjoying Drew’s discomfort. He didn’t owe Paul any money at all but couldn’t say anything for obvious reasons.

“So, this cousin of yours, what’s he won?”

“Why don’t you ask Gaby what she’s won?”

“Oh yeah, sorry, Gaby–tend to forget girls win things too.”

“Like my mother you mean?” Gaby added, a little edge to her tone.

“Yeah–okay, point taken–What have you won?”

“Recently–not much.”

“Only the regional championships in Germany, and she’s still a national champion here and a hill climb champion.” Gaby nudged Maddy and she became quiet.

“Quite impressive, so d’you ride for the national squad?”

“She’s been in Manchester with British Cycling, that’s why she’s here.”

“Well if they’re all as good looking as you, maybe I should take up cycling.”

“Maddy rides too,” Gaby actually added to the conversation.

“Um–I do the odd time trial, but I’m not very good.”

“Good enough for me,” said Paul, who had turned to face the back of the car. Gaby smiled and said nothing–Drew seethed inside but stayed hidden.

“So you just here for the weekend?” Justin asked Gaby.

“Yeah, back to Germany on Monday.”

“Maybe we could meet up again tomorrow or Sunday?”

“I don’t know–have to see what Auntie Carol has organised for me.”

“She won’t have...”Maddy started until Gaby’s knee knocked against hers, “...organised too much, I think–of course we’ll have to check.”

Drew began to wonder if he’d ever come back to Warsop again, or avoid it as long as Maddy was living there. How could she drop him in it so regularly and so frequently? Why couldn’t she learn from the experience? She knew how difficult his position was and although both Appolinaris and BC knew his situation, it wasn’t common knowledge–and even there things were changing, especially if he got switched to the women’s team–he could be riding with his mother yet.

Caroline had noticed his increasing femaleness in appearance and also his decreased output of power–they put them on machines and work them to death–his came out like a good female athlete, not a male one. He was devastated but she consoled him. He trained with the girls this week–his dreams of the Tour de France all but gone–and the men’s coach was very disappointed.

“What are you going to do–pump him full of testosterone?” asked Caroline angrily knowing they couldn’t as it’s a banned substance. “It may be better if Gaby tries out with the girls, then at least we don’t lose her altogether–and let’s face it–women’s racing is coming on in leaps and bounds.” Drew felt very uptight about it, but he fitted in in terms of strength and ability, very well. The girls were suspicious about a stranger being invited into the squad, but eventually it was okay when they learned she was the daughter of Jenny Bond, and also when she showed her ability to work as part of a team.

“Haven’t you got a brother who’s useful with a bike?” asked Abi, one of his new team mates.

“He had to stop for medical reasons,” Drew blushed as he tried to change the subject.

“Like turning into a girl?” asked Karen.

“What d’you mean?” blushed Drew.

“It’s okay, there were rumours about you last year–so you finally decided racing the boys was too tough, eh?”

Drew blushed scarlet but fortunately Caroline had heard the conversation and decided to intervene. “Right, girls, let’s get one thing straight shall we–Gaby hasn’t just decided to become a girl because it’s easier–her body decided that was how she was meant to be. She’s as female as the rest of you–or she wouldn’t be here, believe me–it’s just that it wasn’t apparent at birth, that mistake is now being corrected and I’m really pleased to have someone of her talent in the female squad. Now, this information stays in this room–if I hear anything and discover one of you was responsible for the leak–you’ll be off the squad in seconds–and I don’t care if you’re the next Olympic hopeful–you’ll have demonstrated to me that you aren’t worthy of the chance. Has everyone got that?”

The girls all nodded, some weren’t sure what they thought but they were a place down after, Zoe Parker had been killed while out training on the road, so they accepted Gaby with hesitation: Caroline realising they’d eventually accept her goddaughter once they got used to her.

After this denouement there were tears in the office as Drew had wanted to resign and leave Manchester that evening, he felt so embarrassed. Caroline had shown him some hard love–“Do you want to ride for your country?”

“I did–not so sure now.”

“Why, what’s changed?”

“I came expecting to ride with the boys.”

“Gaby, unless you’re extremely stupid, and I know damn well you’re not, you must have known this day was coming?”

Drew looked down at the floor, “I just hoped it would be after I finished racing.”

“Look, sweetheart, you can’t cope against the boys–your body doesn’t do testosterone, and I suspect even if we got permission to give you some, it wouldn’t make much difference.”

“What d’you mean?”

“I think your bloods tend to indicate you don’t respond to androgens, so apart from the other complications, you could have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.”

“Oh great–now what do I do?”

“Become the best woman racing cyclist in the world?”

“But won’t the press make all sorts of accusations?”

“They might.”

“Dunno if I can take it?”

“It’s not going to be easy–but then it never was, not with your biology and talent.”

“Have you spoken to Mum?”

“Yes, we spoke after you were here last time, it was she who suggested we test you on the machines.”

He tried to phone his mum but her mobile wasn’t accepting messages, so when he had a chance to go to Warsop to lick his wounds he took it, now sitting in the back of John’s car with Maddy, Paul and this tall Aussie, he wasn’t so convinced it was such a brilliant idea. In fact he wished he’d gone home.

“You looked pensive back in the car,” observed Justin.

“Just that time of the month,” Drew shrugged–boys knew after that there was no argument or discussion available, only demonstrations of PMS–Period Madness Syndrome–a homicidal condition feared by all sane men. Justin got the point and nodded, offering to buy his ‘dancing partner’ a drink.

The evening was pleasant enough, once Drew resigned himself to playing girl for the night and Maddy relaxed once she recognised that that was what he was doing, she also noted he was very good at it and wondered which was the act–boy or girl?

Maddy called up her dad for the ride home and Justin sneaked a quick snog while they waited for John to arrive. The only person in the end who didn’t enjoy themselves was Clive, whose unrequited lust caused him to mope about the place while the object of his affection ignored him for the tall Aussie kid.

Back at the house, Carol asked how they’d both got on–the boys being dropped off en route. Gaby shrugged and said it was okay, but Maddy was much more enthused by the whole affair.

“She danced all night with him, and he wouldn’t let anyone else near her–quite the love birds,” she smirked as Gaby blushed.

“I don’t know how you could see that much, you were too busy trying to suck Paul’s face off,” retaliated her cousin.

“Huh, you can talk–they were like wild animals when we were waiting for Daddy,” Maddy exaggerated to her mother.

“What? That is a gross exaggeration, Auntie Carol–I was doing no such thing.”

“I was young once too, girls, so it doesn’t really matter so long as you kept your knickers on and they did the same with their trousers. I don’t want either of you making the same mistake young Bernie did.”

“Yeah–poor old Bernie,” they both agreed.

“I think I might be a little difficult for me, Auntie Carol,” sighed Gaby, “You know, to get pregnant.”

“Well with your rather unusual anatomy, who knows young lady.”

“Then they’d have to stop you doin’ the Tour de France,” chuckled Maddy.

“Oh I don’t know–I could be the first pregnant winner.”

“That would be a first,” gasped Carol, while thinking, dream on, kiddo.



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