Gaby Book 14 ~ The Girl ~ Chapter *23* Exhibit A

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*Chapter 23*

Exhibit A

Willie can be guaranteed to put on a good spread and this is a family do so he was out to impress. The spread was quite impressive by any standards, buffet of course but this was not your crisps and stuff on sticks that often passes as a buffet. No we are talking sliced meats, Bratkartoffeln, pasta, dumplings and all manner of other tid bits both traditional and unusual.

“Do you always eat so much?” Sophia enquired eyeing my heaped platter.

“We called her hollow legs in Switzerland,” Mand supplied catching the drift of Sophia’s question.

“If I ate like that I’d put on kilos.”

“I’ve got a fast metabolism,” I put forth in my defence.

“Hollow legs,” Mand repeated.

“Here you go,” Max appeared carrying several punch glasses.

“Er danker,” Mand offered.

“You are going to need lots of money, Max.”

“What are you on about, Soph?” Max queried.

“To keep Gabrielle fed!” she chortled.

“She has to be fed?”

“By the bucket.”

“I am here, guys,” I pointed out.

“This punch is pretty good,” Mand stated.

I took a sip of my own cup, hmm, not bad.

“Are you going to this wedding, Sophia?”

“Of course, try missing a family gathering at your peril.”

“You aren’t a bridesmaid?”

“Hell no!”

“I don’t get how I landed the job?”

“That’s easy, Max is an usher so his squeeze gets to wear the silly meringue.”

Oh great, I get the job because everyone thinks we’re a couple.

“Erm, where is this wedding, pray.”

“Oh it’s only a little do, Gab,” Max put in, “at Bonn Cathedral.”

“We are talking Bonn over the hill?”

“Uh huh.”

“The cathedral is the big church in the main square?”

“Of course,” he agreed.

“A small do he says.”

“It won’t be like Munich,” Sophia added.

“It’s hardly St Johannes in Dernau is it?”

Max shrugged.

I guess you could hardly expect even minor gentry to get married in the village church.

“More punch?” von Strechau offered.

“Definitely!” Mand agreed.

“You could twist my arm.” I added.

It wouldn’t be a party without music and dancing, there was an hour of ‘formal’ dance music, you know, waltz’s, polka’s and so on, somehow Max got me on the floor for a waltz – well I was hardly dressed for a polka! The evening was rounded out with a euro disco – let’s face it, the Germans just don’t seem to get proper music.

“Gabs, you ready?” Mum called across from the doorway.

“Looks like it’s time to go home,” I allowed.

“It’s been good to catch up,” Sophia mentioned.

“Yeah, guess I’ll see you at this wedding.”

“Indeed,” she pulled me close for the air kiss business.

“I’ll get your coats,” Max stated joining Mand and myself as we headed for the entrance hall where both lots of rents were talking.

“Here they are,” Dad offered uselessly, of course we’re here.

Our taxi was outside waiting so we wasted no time departing.

“You been drinking, Gab?” Jules asked.

“Course not!” I shot back, “Why’d you think that?”

“The way you walked out.”

“It’s these shoes,” I suggested hopefully.

“That punch was good,” Mand opined.


“Didn’t you have any?” Mand went on obliviously despite me thumping her leg.

“The stuff in the big tureen thing?”

“Yeah, had a right kick, really fruity.”

Even my feeble brain cell could work out the ‘kick’ was from some sort of alcohol. Sugar.

Mum had already gone, Mand with her by the time I hit the kitchen Sunday morning.

“Urgh, my head,” I allowed, “Where is everyone?”

“Your mother and Amanda have gone to the Siegen Rundfahrt, your sister has gone to see Boris.”

“Mand’s not riding is she?”

“And if she is?”

“I thought we didn’t have any more road events.”

“Well you, young lady, clearly were not fit to go.”

“Sorry,” I groaned as I disconsolately slopped coffee into a mug.

“Mand has just gone to watch but I’m disappointed that despite your promise last night you still found your way to the alcohol.”

“I didn’t, well not on purpose.”

“Well you didn’t get like that drinking lemonade.”

“No,” I agreed, “I think it was the punch.”

Dad rolled his eyes, “Punch.”

“Yeah well Max got us some, it was like really fruity, very morish.”

“And you had how much?”

“Er, dunno,” I managed through my throbbing head, “four, maybe five cups?”

“One day, kiddo,” Dad sighed, “one day.”

“I didn’t mean to get like this, honest.”

“I’m sure you didn’t but you need to be more careful, or you’ll be the cheapest date in town.”

“I’m not dating anyone, or even going out.”

“You looked very er, comfortable with Max last night.”

“He’s just a friend, it wouldn’t have been exactly politic to blank him at his gran’s party would it?”

“So you aren’t going as his ‘date’ to this wedding in Bonn next month?”


“Your mother.”

“Sort of I guess,” I allowed with a sigh.

“So what are you doing today?”

“You mean after I’ve sobered up?”

He nodded.

“Training?” I offered.

“Might clear your head a bit, how about a cross session?”

“Uh yeah, okay, don’t think I can get my head around three hours on the road anyway.”

“We’ll go for some lunch afterwards.” He offered.

The vineyards make a great playground with a cross bike, I really enjoyed the ride up here with Anita and Erika the other week. From what Anita said the German events are similar to those I rode a couple of years ago back in Blighty, fast and technical, the Dutch and Belgians seem to go for gloopy sand or mud circuits – a real slugfest. I guess if I’m gonna do some races I need to practice my skills.

In the end I spent over two hours playing about on the hillside above Dernau, I was tired, grubby – well you do fall over a bit, but certainly with a clearer head. I tripped over my own feet twice doing a running dismount and landed heavily on the girls when the bike stopped and I didn’t going up some steps. Yeah too much fun, lots of road makes Drew a boring girl.

Showered and with my kit in the washer I found Dad in the lounge working at something on his laptop.


“Good session?”

“Yeah, I forgot how much fun it can be.”

“You still fancy doing some with the girls?”

“If I can.”

“Good, first race is in two weeks,” he announced.

“Two weeks,” I squealed, “I’ll never be ready.”

“You’ve got plenty of fitness.”


“But nothing, Anita says the Aachen circuit is more like an off tarmac crit, speed rather than skill will be your friend.”

“Er, what about, you know what next weekend?”

His face fell, “I’d forgotten kiddo, sorry we’ll scratch Aachen.”

“I might be able to ride,” I suggested.

“If there’s any chance of you damaging yourself you aren’t going near a bike.”

“Can we play it by ear, please?”

Quite why I wanted to now ride so desperately I wasn’t sure.

“Okay, but if the Docs say no, no it is, understood?”

“Yes, Dad.”

If you are not reading this on Big Closet it has been stolen and illegally posted. This work is Copyright Madeline Bell and no permission has been giving for posting elsewhere in any form.

Dad drove us down to Bad Breisig for lunch, the Rheinterrasen as its name suggests overlooks the river, it gets super busy with tourists in season but it’s much quieter and favoured by locals once the visitors have departed. My morning session had given me a pretty good appetite; just as well, the plate of Putensteak Hawaii was quite generous to say the least! Of course even a Radler was out after last night so I had to make do with Sprite® to wash it down.

We were waiting for dessert to arrive when my Handy trilled from my bag.


“Hey, Gab, you and Mand want to come round for dinner tonight?” Con enquired.

“Let me just check with Dad.”


“Er Dad?”

“You’ve had your allowance.”

“Can me and Mand go to Con’s to eat tonight?”

“I don’t know when your mother is planning to get back, might be best to go on your own.”

I returned to my handset, “Con?”

“Still here.”

“Mand’s out at some race with Mum, Dad’s not sure what time they get back.”

“What about you? You gonna come round?”


“Where are you? Sounded like a ship horn just now.”

“Bad Breisig getting lunch.”

“You won’t want much for dinner then?”

“Try me!”

“Come round when you’re ready then, you can tell me all about Japon.”

“If you insist.”

“See you later.”

“Yeah tschussie!”


Brilliant timing, dessert arrived as I stowed my phone away, Rote Grütze with a nice dollop of cream and coffee. I know I’m always complaining about German desserts but it’s not what it is rather it’s the amount, two mouthfuls simply is not enough!

“Er Dad?”

“Yes I’ll drop you off on the way,” he sighed.

“How did you know?”

“When you have kids of your own you’ll know.”

Maddy Bell © 30.11.15

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