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The Pleasure Chest Box Set

By:Penny Wylder

1

Mayra


Okay, so it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Even though my body has so much adrenaline rushing through it that I’m jittery. I swear, my brain thinks that I’m about to fight a shark or a really large bear. That’s really the only explanation for the fight-or-flight reaction I’m having right now. But no, it’s just a sex shop.

It’s actually a lot nicer than I expected. In my head I had this image of a seedy hole in the wall with the decor of Dracula’s lair, chains and dildos hanging from the ceiling. Yeah, no. Looking around now, I’m embarrassed about how many times I walked up and down the block before I let myself actually come in. My heart is still pounding, and I feel awkward as hell, but the store is nice. It’s all glass display cases and fun music. It kind of reminds me of a beauty store, the way it’s laid out, except for all the sex toys…

I pull out my phone and check the time, and the time of the class. I’m still early. That’s fine, but it means walking around the store awkwardly looking at things I’ve never even thought of using. I’m standing by a display of kits, each brandishing the Pleasure Chest logo of erotically entangled legs, and a little sign that tells what’s inside. My eyes fall on one called the ‘Better Blow-Job Kit,’ and I snort out loud. If only it were that easy.

I move away from that display quickly, trying to ignore the stab of pain and sadness that accompanies the thought. Bryan would have laughed at the kit, and not because he thought it was funny, but because he would have thought it was a good idea. That I needed help. His derision still hurt.

He walked out of our apartment twenty-three days ago, without any warning. When I asked him why, he laughed—practically a super-villain laugh from the movies. “It’s the sex, Mayra. You suck at…well, at sucking.” He laughed again. “I need a woman who knows what to do with her mouth, not acts like it’s the first time she’s ever sucked a dick. I mean, the rest is terrible too, but a good blowjob can go a long way.”

I tried to say that I could get better. Practice. Learn. Please don’t throw us away over something that can be fixed. He didn’t laugh this time, instead it looked like he was pitying me. “Mayra, don’t kid yourself. The rest of you doesn’t make up for the how terrible you are in bed.” And then he was gone. I honestly didn’t understand—I still don’t. I thought we were happy. Up until then, Bryan had been sweet, and never said anything about not being satisfied.

Still, we’d always been honest with each other. He told me there was a problem, and I believed him. I told him I could learn, and I believe it. So that’s how I ended up drunkenly searching for sex classes late one night, finally stumbling across the ‘Blowjobs and Beyond’ class. It seemed like the perfect solution. Now I’m here, standing in a room full of silicon dicks regretting every choice I’ve ever made and hoping no one sees my face.

I drag myself back to the present, pushing down the hurt from Bryan’s words. I really thought that coming here was a good idea, that I was over it enough to get up and move on. But now I’m not so sure. If a display in a sex store can send my emotions spiraling like that, am I really ready to move on?.

“Can I help you find anything?”

I jump backwards, startled by the voice, and crash directly into a shelf. I watch in horror as sample dildos of every size and color and the boxes behind them fall onto the floor in the world’s most pornographic chain of dominos. Oh. My. God. What did I just do?

I look over to find a gorgeous Asian man in a black apron looking at me and the wreckage of the shelf, a look of startled surprise on his face. His hair is slicked back and I notice he has cheekbones that I would kill for, but that’s all I take in before I look away because I’m trying not to melt from embarrassment. My face is bright red, and I can feel the heat of the blush radiating from me. I lean down to help clean up the mess and blush harder because suddenly I’m holding two dildos in front of a complete stranger.

He bends down and starts to pick up the boxes, straightening the shelf and putting them back.

“I’m so sorry,” I manage to say under my breath, secretly hoping that a hole will open in the floor and swallow me up.

He smiles, and it’s not unkind. “First time here?”

“Yeah.” I put the toys back on the shelf, “Here, at any store like this.”

I look on his apron for a name tag, and there isn’t one. Instead there’s a round button that says ‘Ass-master.’ I feel the blush creep up my neck at all the connotations that could have. “It’s fine,” he says. “It can be weird the first time. Even my boyfriend shut up like a clam the first time he came in here.”

“That’s good to know.” I manage a small laugh.

“Are you looking for anything specific? I can point you in the right direction. Maybe make some suggestions.” He winks, and I blush again, hurrying to stand up and put the last of the boxes back on the shelf.

“I’m actually here for the…um…the class.”

He lights up. “Perfect! I’ll walk you back.”

I glance at the display one more time, making sure it’s back to normal and there isn’t a sea of dicks floating on the floor.

“I think you’ll really like it,” my tour guide says, leading me towards the back of the store and an area curtained off with lush red curtains. “It’s a good class. Unfortunately, our regular teacher—Christa—is out sick.” A pang of disappointment rolls through me. Is the class cancelled then? I realize I was looking forward to it more than I had thought under all my anxiety. I guess I had thought it would be a good step in helping me get over what Bryan had said. “But don’t worry,” he continues, “she got a friend to come in for her. I’m sure it will be great.”

He pats me on the shoulder as he leaves me at the door. “Have fun!”

For a second I think about leaving. I mean, it’s not the real teacher, so it’s not the real experience. So maybe I should come back to their next class and make sure I’m learning properly. But if I leave now, I know I’ll regret it. I’ll spend the rest of the night beating myself up over what a chicken I am. I can always come back to the next class if I feel this one isn’t good enough. I straighten my spine and walk further past the curtain.

There are already some women sitting in the chairs, waiting. Everyone seems relaxed—way more relaxed than I am. This isn’t a big deal. I’m not alone. I can do this. I can learn. Squashing my awkwardness and anxiety, I take a seat in the second row. I don’t want to be too far forward or back. Just blend in—it feels strategic, almost like picking a new seat at the beginning of a school year.

I check the time, and there’s still a few minutes left. At the front of the class there’s a long table, and on it I see a variety of sex toys, including some dildos and vibrators. Since this is supposed to be an oral sex class, I’m not sure what they’ll be used for. I’m really not sure if I want to find out. Oh god this was stupid—they’re not going to make us practice on those are they?

There’s an easel with the title of the class written in a script that’s peppy and bright and cursive: Blowjobs and Beyond! There’s an accompanying heart and lipstick kiss. I’m wondering what ‘Beyond’ means. I didn’t read the class summary that closely and all I remember it saying was that I was sure to love it. Now, eyeing those dildos, I’m thinking I should have read more closely and made sure there wasn’t a practical aspect to the class. And I’m less worried about loving it and more worried about my next partner loving it. If someone else reacted the way Bryan did I don’t think I’d be able to take it. As shitty as his words were, I feel terrible that he had to pretend that he was happy for so long. I’m sorry that I didn’t see the problem earlier, that I didn’t fix it. If I had, maybe we’d still be together.

A few more women have trickled into the room, and the chairs are close to full. It’s time to start the class, but there’s no sign of our substitute teacher. I check my phone out of habit, noting that I still feel a twinge that there aren’t any messages from Bryan. I’m not really expecting any, but there’s a part of me that’s still hoping for it. I click over to email, and I’m deleting some spam messages when I hear a gasp from one of the other women, and a collective hush falls over the little room.

I look up and am met with the sight of one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen. Even in my head it sounds ridiculous, and my sensible brain rails against the hyperbole, but he really is. He’s wearing boots and jeans, an untucked button down with the sleeves rolled up. He looks like he’d be far more comfortable shirtless, ax in his hand, chopping down a tree. I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered someone who embodied the essence of man, the testosterone is practically rolling off him in waves. His face has a wildness about it, like it’s spent more time in nature than the rest of us and wasn’t able to be tamed. He looks fierce and rugged and something deep down inside me shivers.

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