It was well over a year before Kate and I plucked up the courage to discuss the incident at the party. It was almost like being unfaithful so we buried it deep, although I often wondered if she thought about it as much as I did.
Anyway it was actually at a NYE party with a bunch of friends in the liberal setting of Brighton that the ice finally cracked. In the previous 16 months a lot had happened. Kate had got married after a whirlwind romance with a city banker which needless to say ended in tears. Mostly Kate's. As an antidote a friend had offered to 'show her the ropes' at the soft end of the London fetish scene. This is a club scene which positively bristles with energy and as it turns out Kate took to it like a duck to water. Anyway, the wrong side of a heavy night out kate and I get chatting on our own whilst having a smoke outside in the freezing sea air.
The conversation skirted around the edges for a bit. Small talk about the eccentricities of mutual friends until she went onto the subject of clubbing – asking me if I have been to 'Torture Garden' which is great little fetish night literally on her doorstep in South London. I think this was aimed at letting me know what she had got into as she began to enthuse in great detail about her rubber nurse's outfit. Forgive me If I didn't explain: Kate is one sassy lady. Early thirties, slim and elegant standing about five six. Her family are Portuguese Scots so and she is blessed with a wonderful Mediterranean appearance topped with beautiful dark hair which has been recently cut into a sharp symmetrical bob. Very 1960s. Although she always professes to be Scots she was educated at a boarding School in the South of England so her accent in clipped upper class with a slight rasp from the vast amount of Malborough lights she consumes. All in all a very sexy package and when she described the way the "Hospital Green rubber" caressed every contour of her trim physique and showed off her magnificent legs, she had every scrap of my attention. The only part which was missing it transpires was some medical equipment to finish off the look and knowing full well I already owned the first piece of the jigsaw in the shape of my bright red stethoscope (which had slid all over her chest many months prior) she asked me if I knew anywhere you could buy that kinda stuff?
Obviously I said yes and offered to help her pull together what she needed and maybe some bits she didn't know she needed. Either way her eyes lit up with excited glee and thanked me with a light yet utterly devastating peck on the cheek while she whispered that she couldn't stop thinking about what had happened at the party all those months ago.
January went past in a blur and I hadn't heard anything from Kate. My own girlfriend had decided she needed some 'space' to go traveling so I was home alone. It was after a big glass of red which I plucked up the courage to take the bull by the horns and send Kate a couple of links to her non-work email account. The first was a fancy dress shop which specialised in doctors and nurses, a bit of a soft one to open the conversation. The next two were for an online store which provided medical equipment for the fetish scene – so a lot of plastic speculums and enema bags with a bit of a bondage edge – and another for professional medical equipment like stethoscopes, BP monitors, percussion hammers – you get the picture. So off they went to some obscure hotmail address as I panicked like mad waiting for a response – people tend to only check their non work accounts once in a blue moon so I was prepared for a bit of a wait.
But hey presto the next evening, almost 24 hours later to the minute I got a response. "Oh my god" said Kate, "I can't believe I even asked you, I was so embarrassed the next day I thought you were just being nice to humour me". But it transpired she was extremely grateful and thrilled at the prospect of looking properly through the images of precision medical devices. "If you need any more help just shout" I offered hopefully. She indicated that she definitely would and aroused to the point of exploding left it at that. Must admit I did feel like she was humoring ME now.
Anyway a couple of weeks elapsed and I had heard nothing but not wanting appear like a depraved stalker I just let it roll. Until completely by accident I bumped into her smoking outside a pub in central london. "We have do stop meeting like this" I quipped from a few feet away as she looked up startled. "Oh it's you, for fuck sake your not stalking people in the bloody Army now". Clearly this hadn't gone down too well so I just muttered an apology and went to go back inside. "Stop, I'm sorry, you just caught me at a bad time" she said rubbing her forehead "do you fancy coming around for supper next week some time? I promise I won't poison you" she added with a cheeky smile, "I have some things I need your opinion on".
So a few nervous day's later I rocked-up with a bottle of red and a bottle of white to find out what the fuss was about. It had to be related to our prior discussions but where would this take us?
Kate answered the door mildly flustered muttering something about burning the rice but enthusiastically waved me in kissing me on both cheeks with hurried affection before turning around and darting up the hall to the kitchen: giving me an opportunity to admire her form. Clad in a faded denim skirt and thick black tights with baggy university sweatshirt, even when she was slumming it she looked amazing.
I plonked the wine down in the kitchen amongst the chopped vegetables and the smell of roasting garlic. "In the bedroom" she said, slurping from a large glass of red as I raised an eyebrow. "No your coat, in the the bedroom, go and put your coat in the bedroom but be careful". I dutifully headed in the direction of her bedroom. It was only a one bedroom flat so there was little opportunity for error. I groped around for the light switch and as it flickered on it immediately struck me what she was referring to. On the dressing table at the foot of the bed, arranged neatly in a single line was an amazing array of sparkling new clinical devices. At one end was black cardiac stethoscope, a digital BP cuff, a really big thermometer (anal?) and a selection of percussion devices. At the other were a selection of chrome speculums, spreaders, swobs and syringes. Kate had clearly gone shopping with a vengeance and as I began to pick up the devices for a closer inspection Kate appeared behind me asking what I thought. I was nervous anyway and jumped out of my skin dropping a chrome spreading device onto the carpet with a soft clunk. "I told you to be careful!" Kate exclaimed, genuinely worried about her purchases. "I hope your not that clumsy when you're conducting an examination" she said with a wry smile, bending down to pick up the device, gently placing it back on the side.