Gaby Book 26 ~ On The Edge ~ Chapter *24*

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Book 26
On The Edge

by Maddy Bell
Copyright© 2021 Madeline Bell

Seventeen - it's a birthday overshadowed by its predecessor and successor and Gaby's looks set to follow that pattern. There are however big decisions to be made, should she grab life by the horns and experience everything it has to offer or take the more conservative, safer route through life. This volume, the 26th in the Gaby series has all the elements of classic Gaby, bike riding, teenage angst, developing relationships, grist to the mill for our heroine as life in the Ahrtal ticks on.


*Chapter 24*
Dinner's on me

"Whats up kiddo?” Dad queried when Mike stopped the 'rescue machine'.
"Rear puncture,” I advised struggling to free the wheel, Tal holding the front end as I waggled things.
"Calm down, let me have a look.”

Well of course, my panicky wheel removal attempt was eclipsed by the ten seconds, no literally, that it took Dad to free the round bit from the bike. Mike joined us with a replacement and literally, within a minute I was getting back on. Maybe not race speed but pretty quick nevertheless.

"Take it steady girls, nothing to be gained by chasing today,” Dad told us as I clicked in.
“'kay,” I sighed.

"You're quiet,” Tal observed as we rode along at a much reduced rate – well Dad was right, no point chasing a bolted horse or in this case peloton.
"I was looking forward to shoving it up their sexist bums.”
"The others were still there right?”
"Well I'm sure they won't give in without a fight.”
"I s'pose,” but I wanted to be there, at the sharp end.

We tootled along and despite not chasing, by the time we reached the edge of Puerto de la Cruz, we had picked up more Apollinaris riders and a few other random individuals so that we were quite a big group. A few people peeled off, well thats kind of expected, not everyone wants to or can socialise after a ride afterall. We, that's Team Apollinaris however, picked our way through the afternoon traffic back to the lighthouse car park where we joined our peers at the coffee bar.

"So?” i enquired finding my mother holding court.
"Hey Princess, everything okay?”
I let the 'princess' go, "Well?”
"George won his stupid bet,” she grinned, before returning to her audience, "As I was saying....”

"Here,” Mand presented me with a cup of dark steaming liquid.
"Cheers,” I allowed taking the cup, I prefer at least a drop of cow juice in it but one sip confirmed that there was ample sweetener in it, I train my minions well.
"I don't think the other managers are that happy,” she nodded to where three blokes with expressions like thunder were muttering to each other.
"So who, what?”

I didn't get an answer from Mand as somebody was ruffling my hair.

"Keep ya knickers on hen.”
"Aye, in person like.”
"So are you gonna tell me what happened?”
"No ones said?”
"She knows we won George's wager for him,” Mand put in.
"Aye, it got quite intarestin' after you dropped oot mind.”
"And?” I pressed.
"Well your Mam stoored things oop a bit like, went foor a flier. Talk aboot a hornets nest. so...”

Josh's telling of the tale, once i'd translated from Toon to German, was that after Mater made her bid for freedom, the opposition turned up the screws. Mum was reeled in of course, that was a given but whilst she was left dangling at the back, Josh and Neet were still hanging in there. Then Neet made her own 'move'.

By now they were less than ten K from Puerto de la Cruz, after having seen off the women's 'attacks', talk amongst the opposition was that the job was done. Seems that Josh's presence had been overlooked, maybe it was his blue jersey, as opposed to the seniors cream and my very obvious white stripey thing or just that with his bit of face fungus he clearly wasn't female, anyway he was holding it in the bunch. Come the 'finish' line he was still there, about tenth wheel, at least three of the 'opposition' rolling in behind him.

Okay, it wasn't quite the plan i'd had in mind, but it worked. The bosses and riders alike were celebrating success before George gleefully pointed out Josh's presence. There had been some 'discussion' where they'd claimed that he was a ringer, that they had meant the women, well anything to save face. In the end though they had agreed a compromise which kept everyone, if not happy, at least talking to each other.

"It was you're idea to get us oop there,” Josh concluded.
"I guess.”
"No guessin', it wouldn't 'ave gone down without the first step.”
"He's right Gab,” Tal agreed, "You set it up even if you weren't there at the kill.”
"It was hardly a kill.”
"Whatever, we're eatin' oot on it t'nite like,” the Toon mentioned.

Just over an hour later we arrived back at the hotel.

"Before you all disapear,” Dad called out, "For those flying tomorrow, we need to leave straight after breakfast so it might be an idea to pack as much as possible tonight but more importantly, anything you don't need that can go by sea needs to be down here before we go to eat tonight. Oh and George said you don't need to wear your 'dresses' but nothing too er provocative please.”

We all picked up on that last sentence, well maybe not Daz and Josh but they'd likely wear the same anyhow.

"Well thats a turn up,” Mand opined as we clattered our way into our room a few minutes later.
"Just as well,” I allowed, "Mine needs a visit to the cleaners."

Yeah, the junior team's blue frocks might not show the dirt like the seniors but after a couple of wears, they collect the odd stain and a certain, grubbiness.

"So what're you going to wear instead?” de Vreen asked collapsing back onto her bed.
"Dunno, hadn't given it any thought,” well duh, we only found out like five minutes ago, "I'll have a look after I shower.”

As a bike rider you can't be too shy, changing facilities are often minimal, room sharing is the norm on overnighters and even what we wear, the shorts and jerseys, leave, erm, little to modesty. You remember that photo shoot last year, the bodypaint? It went undetected (as far as I know) because you expect to see cyclists in skin tight clothing. Its not always that flattering, especially if you aren't so trim but thats just the way it is, anyway i've gotten away from the point, my shoes, socks and jersey were soon shucked and I was in the shower.

I rattled through the hangers on my side of the wardrobe, the team frock, a couple of summer dresses or, well nothing really suitable for dinner.

"You could wear your new denim,” Mand suggested stepping from the bathroom drying her hair on a towel.
"As if,” I snorted.
"Why not? Its not like its tatty jeans, it is quite dressy.”
"I guess, they'll need an iron though.”
"Kat's got one.”
"So what do I wear on top?”
"Ta da!” she whipped a slinky looking vest thing from her case, "Dresses up the denim a bit.”

Just when you think you've got the whole girls fashion thing licked some clever clogs always comes along to move the goalposts. Maybe I should stick to haute couture or kostum, at least you only have to worry about your hair and makeup then. My friends call me a fashionista but really, I mostly copy what i've seen on mannequins or other people wearing, I bought the denim without thinking what i'd wear with it.

When I think about it, Mum is the same, its like she has a limited pallette of what goes with what, this top those trousers, that dress with those shoes, rarely does she deviate, I guess she's just not a clothes person. Jules is a bit more adventuresome but even so, her default is still blue jeans and t shirts. I suppose most of us have our 'look' and maybe I just haven't found mine yet.
BH, knickers, Mands top and yep, the new capri's do need a quick iron, Kat is only just down the hall so I grabbed the jacket as well and slipped across.

Knock, knock, "Kat!”
"Who is it?”
"What's up, I'm not dressed.”
"Can I borrow your iron?”
"Sure, hang on.”

It was only as I waited for her to open the door that I realised how I was dressed, oops.

"Nice knickers.”
I barged past her, “er yeah.”

Pinger was herself only wearing pants and a BH, the room was, well, in some disarray, stuff seemingly strewn all over, not that I'm one to talk.

"I was just starting to pack,” she advised.
"Did I say anything?”
"You don't need to, you're mum gets that same look.”
"So the iron?”
She pointed across the room, "Over on the side,”

And there it was, on top of the desk thingy was a towel with the iron stood waiting. I am no domestic goddess, okay, I'm a fair cook, I can do basic sewing stuff, but I do cleaning and laundry out of neccesity and use an iron as little as possible. It may therefore come as no surprise that I wasn't quite sure where to start on my new denim, creases might be the thing with some leg wear but close fitting capri's, I think not.

"Geez Gab, give it here.”
I surrendered my trousers and the makeshift ironing board to my friend.

"You really are clueless sometimes.”
"What can I say,” I allowed with a shrug, "I'm better at wearing stuff than looking after it.”
"I suppose you want the jacket doing as well?”

She was already expertly running her appliance along the first leg.

"Er please.”

"So what shoes are you wearing,” Mand asked when I returned to our accomodation resplendent in the newly decreased denim.
"Dunno, sandals I guess.”

Mand, for her part, was rockin' a sort of beige slip thing with a brown lace overlay, a bit Gothicy but it kinda worked.

"What I was thinking too.”

I had a choice, stilts, sparkly kitten heeled things or walking sandals – yeah well they were never going to work but neither did the others, not really. The stilts match the Apollinaris dress so they weren't happening and the kittens, well they just looked wrong, I needed heels.

"This isn't happening.”
"What about your boots?” Mand suggested.
"The new ones?”
"Do you have others here?”
"But they're black.”
"Trust me.”
"Okay, whatever,” I half heartedly agreed, "I'll give em a go.”

I found the box and sat on the bed to put them on, they really needed some hose but for a try on, dry would do. Because of that they were a bit of a struggle to get into but once they were all done up they felt fine.

"So?” I asked the style guru.
"Turn around.”
I slowly rotated myself, "Well?”
"You can walk in those?”
"Sure,” I went to take my usual stride but found I couldn't.

Okay, the denim is t.i.g.h.t. Like in, very, I can walk but in smaller steps, which is just as well in these heels.

"You'll do,” Manda stated, "There might be a few heart attacks but you is looking one hot chicka.”
"Maybe I should change.”
"Don't you dare Bond, don't you dare.”

When you are as vertically challenged as me, even ten centimetre heels don't raise me into a towering Valkyrie so it was Manda's careful coifing of my barnet that caught the initial attention as we convened for the trip down into Puerto de la Cruz.

"Like your hair,” Erika offered.
"Er thanks, Mand's work.”
"Not sure my hairs long enough for anything that fancy.”

Maybe not, like a lot of racers she kept her hair shorter for its practicality, not boyish or anything but a lot shorter than my below shoulder tresses. As you know, I'm not exactly great when it comes to hair, ponytail, a basic braid or even two is about my level of skill, anything more and I send for the cavalry. This evenings 'do' is actually quite simple, a couple of braids from my temples caught together into a single braid over the rest of my free flowing locks – compared to some of the intricate arrangements i've had it really is simple.

Given that I wasn't the only one in heels it wasn't until the taxibus's dropped us in the old town that my footwear was noticed. I had to slide myself out, at least having trousers on its a little more dignified.

"Interesting footwear,” Mum posed, steadying me as I stood on the pavement.
"Er yeah,” I agreed, "I erm got them yesterday, for the Tour.”

What is it with mothers, you just feel compelled to 'fess up even if you've done nothing wrong.

"You gonna be okay on the cobbles?”
"I have worn heels before you know.”
"I know, I suppose they aren't as high as those skyscrapers you conned out of me at Essen.”

Essen, whats she on about, oh Centro.

"Come on you two,” Tina called from along the street.
"On our way.”

We must have cut a bit of a strange sight, a mixture of fashion styles from down at the disco to casual summer frocks with various points in between. Whatever you might think, we caught some attention as we headed for our dinner venue, a taverna going by the unlikely name of the Torreodor de las Americas. We usually end up in some family friendly restaurant with a hint of muzak and tablecloths, the Torreodor was certainly not that. Think more of a sports bar, you know the places, bright lights, loud music, MTV on the screens.

"This right?” Anja querried pausing at the door.
"Boss?” Mum queried.
"Its the place,” George confirmed, "See our hosts are already here.”

The front of the bar was open but even so we needed to thread our way to the back where a couple of dozen, mostly men were already clutching beer glasses and talking loudly over the music. Having arrived at the back of our party I waited my turn to enter, I looked along the street, the sun glinting off the Atlantic just a couple of hundred metres away. Today Tenerife, tomorrow cold, no doubt damp, Dernau.

"Gab, you coming?” Gret yelled.

I turned back to the taverna, the others were already finding seats around the long table we seemed to be using, my stomach gave a rumble, food. Just then the music changed from Madonna to Queen, not one of the better known anthems though.

'She keeps her Moet et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
"Let them eat cake", she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
A built-in remedy
For Khrushchev and Kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You can't decline'

There are some duffers in the Queen back catalogue but 'Killer Queen' certainly isn't one of them. The chorus started as I was about halfway across the room, there was an open space, maybe from moving the tables about for our party.

'She's a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

It felt like every eye in the place was on me as I strutted across the empty space, the tap of my heels in perfect time with Freddie's lyrics. Some entrance eh?
Maddy Bell © 02.04.2021

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