The X-men and their world belong to Marvel, no profit or copy right infringement intended.


The Toy Box

By Tarchannon


The drive into North Salem was easy, in fact, it was almost the exact same trip they had made yesterday when they went to the mall. The Toy Box was an adult store, but it was one that tended to cater to the wealthy suburbanites of the area. And though it did indeed carry lingerie, sex toys, condoms and such, it was hardly a seedy dive. Sitting proudly in a little strip of shops in the blossom of stores surrounding the Westchester mall, an elegant sign marked the store, a simply majority of which held clothing and undergarments and was open to all ages.

A little nervous about entering, Julio sat for a few minutes in the car. Drawing and releasing slow breaths, he tried to calm himself and the flipping in his stomach. Was he doing the right thing with Gaveedra? Could he actually go in there and get what they needed?

While it was true that there were condoms available at the Mansion, he really didn’t want to go explain this to anyone - not now and maybe not ever. And even if he could manage to get to the supply stash in the staff kitchen without being noticed, there wasn't any lubricant. Or he didn’t guess that there would be any for the things men did to men. Of course, he didn’t even know if he wanted to do that, or exactly what he wanted to do. Julio let his forehead drop onto the steering wheel.

What he did know is that when he and Gaveedra touched, when they kissed, his sense of reason seemed to flee. And while one of the last things in the world he wanted to do was change that, he couldn’t deny it was a little unsettling. He came here to be prepared for whatever came along later tonight, so he didn’t have to think or 'make do' with what was around. If he was going to do this, he wanted it to be smooth and easy. Not like the first time - with Lupe.

He knew the mechanics with women, but with men he was much more sketchy. He knew what his gay friends talked about when he happened to be around at rehearsals and during the long days and nights of competitions. He'd groaned and covered his ears at the graphic details sometimes. Now he wished he had listened. But even if he had, Julio knew from experience that what people told you about sex could not substitute for actually doing it.

Breathe in, breathe out.

And it wasn't a simple thing to just walk in and get what he wanted. He would have to ask questions, and he wasn't sure of he wanted to practically announce to some stranger that he was going to have sex with a man for the first time. Not only would be be embarrassed, he would look stupid and gay. Richter bounced his head off the steering wheel — hard.

But as the pain faded from his head, he remembered that if they went all the way, it could be painful if they were not prepared, especially the first time. And whether it was his pain or Gaveedra's, he did not want that to ever happen. The little spark of anger that idea made deep in his gut made him smile. Gaveedra wasn't the only one that was protective.

He wanted Gaveedra in whatever way he could have him, and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that Gav wanted him. He would just have to do this.

Sitting back in his seat, he glared at the sign for a moment, and exhaled explosively. Then with a grimace, he fished his wallet out of his book bag and got out of the car.

He could already feel the stirring of heat in his face as he stepped into the perfumed interior, and he stopped just inside. Most of the front of the store was filled with racks of lacy, frilly things that once would have drawn his attention, but today, they were just things in the way. In fact, the only items he could see that interested him at all were along the far wall: the men's section, marked by row after row of skimpy underwear climbing up the wall. With a faint smile and a deepening blush, he realized he just be happy to get Gaveedra *out* of his underwear rather than into something like that.

The sales counter ran along the back wall, starting at the far point of the room and extending toward him. The counter ended at a wide doorway screened by long silver Mylar fringe suspended from above. The surprisingly tasteful neon sign above told him that doorway was where he needed to go.

Fortunately, it was still early in the afternoon but close enough to the end of the school day that the place was rather empty. He'd attracted the glance of two of the sales people, both women. Both were blonde, one pretty and young, the other older, perhaps his mother's age. The occasional brush of their eyes as they went about their business was hot on him as he followed the open aisle to the disco curtain. Twenty-five feet was a very long way.

Brushing the Mylar from his face, Julio stepped though into the dimmer back area and again stopped to look before he leapt. His heart was beating much too loudly, pounding clearly in his ears, but he clenched his jaw, determined to do this.

Unlike the pretty pastels and Victorian touches of the front area, the back was a garish purple, and the neon that looked so tasteful outside looked rather tacky here. Fortunately, the place was still clean and new, and the air was still perfumed. He looked, a little amazed, turning to take in the sights. Again, garments were a fair portion of the merchandise, but this time there were primarily blacks and reds and silver. Leather, vinyl, and PVC scraps were everywhere, tied together with strings and metal and buckles. Julio had no interest in those things — so far. To the left was a section of adult videos for purchase only, and along the back, magazines, books, and artificial and realistic phalluses in various lengths and skin tones were propped proudly on racks. Again, he had no deep interest in those things, though his eyes lingered longer than he would have thought. His face was hot and a little stiff.

"May I help you?"

Julio jumped at the unexpected voice that appeared directly behind him. "¿Qué?" he stuttered, his voice sounding odd in his own ears. The older woman from up front had come to assist him, and she reminded him of a pale, bottle blond version of his mother. With a flip. Swallowing hard, he wasn't sure which would have been worse — the older woman that reminded him of his mother, or the younger one that eyed him with interest.

He forced his eyes up to meet hers as she stood in the doorway, desperately trying to suppress the urge to run. But when he looked, he saw the older woman's smile was warm and touched with humor, and she prompted him again, "What can I help you find?"

Julio closed his eyes. Much, *much*, too much like my mother. He knew he was bright red, and he could visualize the heat coming off his face in waves. But he was here, he was going to do this, and now all he had to do was ask. "Senora, I… I need to get some condoms a… and some lubricant." He felt a little better when the woman's expression softened, suddenly becoming rather maternal. She touched his arm reassuringly with slightly pudgy, beringed fingers and led him over to the long counter that stretched off to his left.

"It's all right, honey. We have everything you might need," she said patiently with a slight Southern accent that remind him more of Rogue than Sam. She slipped behind the counter and moved down, waving his along and starting to indicate the choices in the case.

Richter's eyes widened. There are a hundred different kinds! he thought, panicking a little and looking up - startled - to the woman. They only had regular and large back home.

She clucked at him like a mother hen, and, surprisingly, it helped. "Latex condoms in regular size are the most popular," she informed him in such a matter of fact way, it took a little heat out of his face. All he could do was nod as she reached for the three pack before veering off to grab a box of a dozen. She put the fancy box down in front of him and he reached over to tilt it toward him so he could try to read the front. "We have them in plain, colors, neon colors, flavored, and glow-in-the-dark. Larger and smaller, too."

Julio looked up at her, a little blank. Glow-in-the-dark? SMALL? He had to think!

Gav didn't seem to be impressed with material things, so the odd ones were out, and he sure didn't feel small at all in the woods. But flavored? Latex *did* stink, and Gav was always sniffing. Maybe mint? Or did they have some that didn’t smell?

"Um. Do you have anything that doesn’t smell bad? I mean, not latex?"

Clicking off the information like this was the most natural thing in the world to talk about in public, she simply chattered at him in calm tones. "Yes, we do. Latex and vinyl condoms will provide a reasonable level of pregnancy and STD protection — and they are all we sell here. The vinyl condoms do not smell, but they break a little more often, so you have to be more careful when using them. Do you know how to apply a condom?"

Before Julio could reply she had grabbed a colored condom from a bowl next to the register

marked 'Free'. The foil wrapper was quickly discarded, and she held the little rolled rubber in her hand.

"OK, honey. Flat side up, reservoir tip down. Apply a little lubricant inside the tip — which

you need to always do with vinyl," the woman intoned like she was lecturing, actually using a lube sample from the counter. Extending two manicured fingers, she upended the condom on her fingers rolling a bit down on them. "Pinch the tip to leave some room for the climax, and roll it down."

Julio wished the ceiling would come down on his head. If it didn’t soon, he'd do it himself. Either that or his face would ignite like Rusty's head. He mentally shrugged - either way would work.

"Oh, and hold the base of the condom when you withdraw. That's the most common mistake."

Swallowing hard didn’t help, but he managed to stammer something. "A… box of vinyl… too… por favor."

Moving quickly down the counter and waving him along, the woman proceeded to his second request, pointing to a number of lubricant samples. "When using condoms, you must use only water or silicone based lubricants. Most of the water based ones dry out quickly, but they are preferred for vaginal intercourse. The silicone lubricants are newer and don’t ever dry out. They can irritate the vagina and are expensive, but are best for masturbation or anal intercourse. If you aren't using condoms, like for mutual masturbation, oil-based lubricants are a good choice and are inexpensive. Finally, there are massage oils — flavored and not — they aren't sufficient for lubricating the genitals for intercourse, but are quite nice everywhere else."

Julio looked back and forth, having trouble remembering what she just said. It's very hot in here. He wasn't quite sure what to pick, and the woman eventually took pity on him.

"Here," she said, catching his hand and dabbing a little lubricant on one of his fingers. Motioning for the other hand, she did the same to it, but with a different kind of lubricant.

Julio rubbed the samples between two fingers — both were slick and cool. The first one seemed wet, and the second oily. He wasn't sure if the liked the second one, but as he rubbed, the first got tackier and dried. On the other hand, the second remained just like it was originally — slippery. Slick. Slick is good.

"That one," he chose, pointing to the rather masculine black bottle. He read the name aloud, his accent emerging. "Eros."

Happily, his embarrassment faded a little as he went along in the selection, even when she eyed him a little oddly at his selection. No, I am not humping a girl, he thought, frowning and trying not to meet her gaze. Of course, he was a chicken - nothing could have been as bad as the condom demonstration. That was like being cleansed by fire, and now he was slowly cooling.

The rest of his choices were easy — a jar of Elbow Grease, some unscented massage oil, and - on impulse — a three pack of glow-in-the-dark condoms.

"Anything else I can get for you?" the woman asked, the amusement returning to her eyes.

Julio knew by the look that she knew exactly what he was going to be doing, and with which gender. He was amazed that she was not offended, so he relaxed — a little. Julio even managed to half-smile back at the woman. "No, senora. Thank you."

It only took a few moments to ring up his purchases, and as she handed him the discrete black bag, she smiled and said softly, "Be careful, honey."

With a slightly shaky but very real smile, he replied. "I will. Thank you."

Practically floating in relief, the trip back to the car took a fraction of the time it took to come in, and he sank gratefully into the leather drivers seat. After causally tossing the black bag on the seat beside him, Julio leaned back, flipped the hair out of his eyes, and whooped in relief.

Continued in Wednesday Lessons