Chapter 1. On the beach

Saturday 10th May 2003

Part 2

It didn’t take long to slip on my skirt and top and apply some powder and lipstick. I’d let my hair grow and it was just about passable when pulled back into a short ponytail. As Roger’s elderly, but beautifully maintained, green MGB convertible was parked on the edge of the dunes, next to the path I’d taken, we were soon over the ferry and parked in the town centre.

Our first stop was Debenhams where I had a good look through their rails of dresses. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. I tried on four outfits. The first, an oriental style dress with a blue and white pattern. Then a short sleeved, mid-thigh length, dress with boat neckline with horizontal sections – white at the top down to the top of my bust, light brown from there to just under the bust line and dark brown for the rest. The third was a red skirt and white blouse. Finally a purple mid-thigh, sleeveless skater swing dress with a round neck. Roger said he thought the purple dress was perfect and I agreed, so that was the one I chose. When I came out of the cubicle after changing back out of the dress, I noticed Roger had made a separate purchase which he didn’t show me.

We then went to the lingerie department and found a bra and pantie combination in almost the same colour as the dress. They joined the dress in the shopping basket together with a pair of ‘barely black’ tights. Back on the street, we found a Saxones. I tried on half of their stock before settling on a pair of black court shoes with two inch heels and a matching hand bag. Roger didn’t seem to mind the time I was taking. Our final port of call was Boots where I picked up eye shadow and liner, mascara and blusher to supplement the foundation and lipstick I already had with me.

Back at Roger’s house, I took advantage of his shower then dressed myself and completed my make-up before going back downstairs.

“Wow, you look fabulous,” he said – taking my arms in his hands and kissing me.

“Mind my make-up, darling. I don’t want to have to re-do it.” ‘Darling’ had slipped out – but it felt so appropriate.

Locking his front door behind us, Roger opened the car door for me to slip into the passenger seat and then put my sports bag in the tiny boot. When he came to start the car, it wouldn’t go, so we had to call for a cab instead.

Our dinner reservation was for seven and we were a few minutes late arriving. The maître d’ showed us to our table and asked if we wanted something to drink. I was a complete novice in such surroundings but Roger suggested a ‘Harvey Wallbanger’ cocktail. I went along with his recommendation, it was delicious. The menu had a bewildering array of dishes – most of which I’d never heard of but, once more, Roger came to my rescue. He suggested garlic bread to start followed by pasta with a chicken Carbonara sauce. I simply handed the waiter the menu and said that sounded fine. I had no idea what it was but really didn’t care.

The Bella Rosa restaurant had a small dance floor. Roger stood up held out his hand and led me to it. I put my left hand on his shoulder as he held my right, his other hand slipping around my waist. It felt marvellous as the hem of my skirt swished against my legs. When the music stopped, Roger pulled me to him and we kissed.

As our starters had arrived, we returned, hand in hand, to our table.

The cocktails were followed by white wine with the food. Not being used to so much alcohol and dizzy with what was going on, I was very light-headed.

With the first course finished, Roger led me back to the dance floor in time for a slow number I recognised from my parent’s collection as ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ by Simon and Garfunkel. Roger held me tight and I felt something pressing against my thigh. I completely lost track of the time as we danced and didn’t want the evening to end.

We saw the waiter bringing our main courses so I reluctantly unwrapped myself from Roger’s embrace. I then realised I’d left my sports bag in Roger’s car. Most of the items didn’t matter – but my flat keys and my train ticket were in it.

“What’s the time Roger?” I asked urgently as we got to our table.

“Nine fifteen. Time enough to finish our meal, the station is across the road.”

“The station may be but I’ve realised my keys and my railway ticket are in my bag in the back of your car.”

“That’s awkward. We don’t have time to get there and back in time for your train. There is only one thing for it you’ll have to stop at mine tonight. I DO have a spare bed.” There was a smile on his face and a twinkle in his blue eyes as he emphasised the last comment.

I didn’t have to return to London so I relaxed.

The meal had been everything Roger had promised. As we smoked and drank coffees, he said as I no longer had a train to catch, we could have another drink at the restaurant, go back to his place or go on to a small club he knew.

“I think you’ll find the company at the Blue Peach interesting,” he remarked, with a smile I was beginning to recognise hinted at some deeper meaning. The club sounded intriguing and I said I’d love to go to it; so he asked for the bill and for a taxi.

The Blue Peach was on a corner with the entrance at an angle between the two roads. The bouncer standing by the door stepped to one side and smiled as we approached. He resembled Frank Bruno and I wouldn’t have wanted to get on his wrong side.

“Good evening sir, good evening madam,” he said as we reached him.

“Good evening Graham,” answered Roger, “this is Vicky a good friend of mine.”

“Welcome to the Blue Peach, Vicky I hope you enjoy your evening.”

“Thank you Graham,” I replied.

I was surprised to see we didn’t have to pay to go into the club – but Roger told me trans people were admitted free. I wasn’t sure how that worked for him.

Inside, the décor was predominantly dark red with blue peach motifs. There was a bar over to the left, sofas with coffee tables between them around the other three walls. Higher tables and stools surrounded two pillars in the centre of the room. The ground floor gave an impression of an old gentleman’s club with subdued lighting.

Stairs led up to another floor from which the sounds of music emanated. Another staircase led down to the basement containing, according to signs, toilets and a cocktail bar.

As I looked around, I realised the clientele was mainly same sex couples. It was a gay venue – I’d known such places existed but I’d never been to one before.

Roger suggested we go upstairs to the dance floor. There was another bar there and a tiny dance floor full of TVs looking at their reflections in the mirrors that surrounded it.

“What would you like to drink,” asked Roger.

“I’ll stick with the white wine please,” I told him.

We sat on some high stools along the edge of the upstairs lounge and I watched the other girls on the dance floor.

Some of them came over to chat to us; Roger was clearly no stranger to the venue. It was the first time I’d actually met other transvestites — I’d been too scared to risk exposure and losing my job. Roger introduced me to some of the others. I immediately made several friends and found I fitted in here much more than I ever had in South London.

Roger led me to the dance floor. He held me tight regardless of whether the music called for a slow dance or something more energetic. I wasn’t complaining though, I was in heaven.

The club closed at one in the morning. As we were leaving, I promised everyone I’d return as soon as I could.

Back at Roger’s he led me upstairs and offered me the spare bedroom.

I could have used it, but I didn’t.

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