“Come on! Let’s go inside.”
My insanely beautiful friend, with skin the color of pure, amazing chocolate, grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the store. It was an adult store; it was a sex shop. In truth, I had never been in one. I just bought my lingerie online from an actual lingerie store with discreet packaging, and I certainly didn’t own any… toys.
My parents weren’t overly religious, but definitely made it clear to me that sex was something we did not speak of and we definitely didn’t go into sex shops. I couldn’t even remember my parents using a swear word. My mother was uncomfortable giving me ‘the talk’ when I was eleven. I felt the familiar shame of the subject as I looked to the signage above the shop.
“This is what you brought me here for?” I asked, outraged. My eyes were wide, my cheeks hot with a blush.
“Yes,” she replied, as she continued towards the door.
“Naomi,” I protested, slamming my feet into the ground and pulling against her grip, “I don’t want to.”
She let go of my hand. “Oh, come on, Lana. Loosen up!”
I crossed my arms, holding myself. “What do I need to go in there for?”
“Why not?” Naomi asked. She also crossed her arms, though it was because she was not impressed. Her raven black hair was straightened and hanging down her back, glistening in the sunlight, much the same as her amber eyes, which were narrowed on me. “What about Brock?”
“What about him?” I asked, brushing an ashy brunette lock behind my ear.
“You think he doesn’t think about taking you to one of these stores and perverting your sweet mind with it? Or do you think he’ll just pop your cherry and keep it vanilla?”
My eyes widened, glancing around nervously. “Keep it down!”
She frowned. “What’s it gonna hurt? At least prepare yourself a little for the world of sex.”
I shook my head. “I don’t need to.”
“Why is that?” she asked, her perfectly sculpted brows arching.
“Because… he loves me.”
“Yeah, but he also wants to fuck you,” she said, grabbing my hand again. “So, come on. Let’s do a little sex shop 101 and you can be prepared.”
I planted my feet again, pulling my hand away. “No.”
“All right, I’m going in. You can stay out here,” she said as she turned, opening the door and entering the establishment.
I crossed my arms, tensing up uncomfortably. I looked around, wondering if people were watching, staring, wondering what they thought about this young woman standing in front of a sex shop. I worried someone who knew my parents would somehow be around, somehow see and word would get back to them. It was partly that line of thinking and peer pressure that made me quickly run inside the establishment.
It wasn’t one of those seedy underground shops you see in strip malls. It was bright, clean, and had modern rock music playing softly in the background. Of course, it also had lingerie on the wall and to my direct right was a display of… dildos. I felt my cheeks flush a hard scarlet once again.
“Lana!” Naomi called from one section.
I tried to hide behind my brunette locks, running up to her, my eyes cast to the floor.
“What kind of lube do you want?” she asked. “Flavored maybe, for that first time sucking him off?”
I was starting to sweat because I was so embarrassed!
“Please, Naomi, let’s leave!” I whispered.
“Girl, you’re going to need lube for that entry,” she said, examining the shelf. “Water based is probably best. We don’t know if you’re allergic to anything else.”
I bit my lip, looking around. “What if someone sees us?”
“Then we’ll see them too,” she said as she picked up a bottle of the lubricant. “And then we’ll know they were here as much as they know we’re here. Girl, you need to relax.”
“I just don’t want to be here,” I said to her, looking over my shoulder.
“Lana,” she said seriously, turning to me. “You need to relax. I know you and Brock are in love, and you don’t focus on sex, all that crap. But he’s holding out for you and you’re going to have to deliver on your wedding night, which is only two weeks away.”
I bit my lip again. “You don’t know Brock like I do.”
“I know men though,” she said, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “And trust me, he wants your pussy just as much as your mind.”
My brown eyes widened. “Naomi!”
She slouched a little, turning to me again. “That’s your problem, Lana. You can’t even swear or use a dirty word. Why be the good girl all the time?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t want to be like this, it’s just a voice in my head telling me to behave. So, I do.”
She took my hands. “Fuck the voice! Let your freak flag fly. Buy some lube, some lingerie, and maybe even a vibrator and experiment!”
I looked down to my feet. “If I buy those things, can we leave?”
She sighed. “I’m not getting through to you, am I?”
“I understand, it’s just sex isn’t that important to me and Brock,” I said, glancing up to her. “After all, he’s never pressured me. He wants to marry me. What we have is special.”
“Brock Jameson, the hottest lawyer in Toronto, is not going to wait for you, Lana,” she said, putting her hand on her hip. “He’s gonna want you to give up your cherry. You’re going to have to decide whether or not you can do that.”
My cheeks burned again as I kept my eyes to the floor. “I can. I just don’t need lube or lingerie to do it.”
“Huh,” she scoffed. “I bet you’ll be a scared little kitten on your wedding night. Don’t you want it to be special?”
“It will be, because we love each other,” I said, playing with my fingers, repeating myself. Didn’t my friend understand?
“Sorry, Lana, but that’s naïve. Even those who love each other have awkward encounters when losing their virginity. You are the one who makes it special, not the love,” she said with a frown. “Read a Cosmo sometime. You’ll see.”
I nodded a little. “I guess.”
“All right,” she said, grabbing a specific lubricant off the shelf. “We’ll get you this, and maybe a teddy, then hit the mall.”
She pushed the lubricant at me. “Can I put the bag in the car, at least?”
“Fine,” she said with an aggravated roll of her amber eyes.
I felt like I had won a little, following her over to the lingerie section. I let her pick out something that I considered sensible, in that it covered me. It was a silky robe in my favorite color, green. She wasn’t impressed but satisfied when I bought the items.
I used cash, as I didn’t want it on my debit or credit card. I was worried about someone finding out. What would they think? Buying something at a sex shop. God, I couldn’t believe I had done it. I felt a little thrill, then shame, of course. I wasn’t raised this way, to go into a sex shop or to own lingerie. I felt bad, but I liked it… Was that wrong?
I didn’t voice this to Naomi. I put the bag from the sex shop, which was thankfully plain white plastic, on the floor of her car before we walked through the plaza to the mall. We did our regular shopping, then went to the food court, getting some mall food.
I savored the saltiness of the fries, dipping them in the little cup of ketchup. Naomi, who was very curvy in all the right places, bit into her burger daintily, chewing it and swallowing.
She put the burger down as she looked to me. “God, I hate mall food.”
“Then why do you get the same thing every time we come here?” I asked with a little smile.
“I don’t know,” she said, frowning at it. “What are you doing tonight?”
“My parents left yesterday for their Caribbean cruise, won’t be back until three days before the wedding,” I said. “So, I’m house-sitting.”
“Why did they choose now to go?” she asked, picking up her drink. “I mean, they want you to marry Brock, so why not help you with last minute stuff?”
“They go every year at this time, had it booked since before the wedding existed,” I said, trying to reason for my parents. The truth was, I did need them for last minute stuff. Brock’s family was being really amazing and helping where they could, thankfully. It still would have been nice if my mother was there for the little last-minute things.
“Bullshit,” she said. “They could have cancelled.”
“They wouldn’t have gotten their money back,” I said. “It’s a lot of money for those cruises.”
“But it’s precious memories they’re missing out on so they can get tanned and drunk on a big boat,” she said.
I glanced down to my fries sadly. “Yeah, I guess.”
She looked to me for a moment, the chatter of the food court buzzing in my ears.
“So, house-sitting, fun,” she said suddenly with a sigh.
“Yeah, I don’t mind,” I said, brushing a chunk of hair behind my ear. “It’s kind of nice, just because I get to be in my old room. With getting married and all, it’s like a final farewell to my youth.”
“We’re only twenty-three,” she said. “That’s still young, you know.”
“I mean the youth of like, being carefree. I’ll be a wife, maybe even a mother, well, eventually,” I said with a little smile.
“Hmm,” she said, unimpressed by my dreams. They were too simple for her. “You alone tonight or will Brock be there?”
“I’m going by his office after this, I’ll see if he’s available for a couple hours to keep me company, at least before bed,” I said.
“That’s right, you two haven’t even shared a bed yet. And you’ve been dating for two years.”
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
She eyed me. “Because you’re getting married even though you’ve never had sex, never slept in the same bed. You don’t know each other’s routines… you don’t know if he clips his toenails and leaves the clippings on the bedside table.”
I smirked, shaking my head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“It will,” she said.
“Can you drop me at Brock’s office?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said, looking to her Gucci watch. “I should get going anyway, J.T. hates waiting.”
“Okay,” I said, gathering my things.
She drove me through the mild Saturday afternoon traffic in the city. She dropped me in front of the building, which was a two-story renovated house painted green and white with a little balcony in the center, pillars on either side of it, holding up the beautiful roof trimmed with white.
I walked up the two steps to the door, opening it and pushing the button in the little foyer that was closed off. There was a buzz, and an older woman’s voice came over the speaker.
“Coleman and Hayse, do you have an appointment?” she asked.
“It’s Lana Kelly, Barbara,” I said with a smile.
“Oh, hello dear, let me buzz you in,” she replied.
“Thank you,” I said.
A buzzer went off, the door clicked and opened, letting me inside. I walked over to the desk beside the stairs which led up to the second floor and the offices of the partners. Barbara was smiling, her blonde hair streaked with grey up in a ponytail, her blue eyes sparkling.
“Hello dear, here to see Mr. Jameson?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yes, please. If he’s not too busy.”
She looked into a notebook, nodding. “He’s free of clients for another hour, go on in.”
“Thank you,” I said to her.
I walked down the hall to the end office, and knocked on the door.
Brock Jameson, my fiancé, stood with his sculpted back to me, his suit jacket off and his suspenders visible over top of his pristine white shirt. He turned to me, giving me a full view of his beautiful face, which had a little bit of a heavy brow and deep-set blue eyes. His blond hair was feathery and thin, swept neatly to the side. He held papers in his hands, a little earpiece of his Bluetooth headset visible.
“Lana, sweetheart,” he said with a smile. “What are you doing here?”
“I just came to see you,” I said, approaching him. I admit, I looked at him starry eyed, because I was so in love with this man.
He looked down on me, as he was 5’10 and I was only 5’4. He kissed me on the cheek, which made me blush. “I always love to see you, you know that. I just have a lot of work to do.”
“Oh,” I said, still smiling a little. “Well, I was wondering, if you weren’t busy if you would come by my parents’ place. I’m house–”
“Sitting,” he said, nodding with a smile. “I would love to, but I have that dinner tonight with my boss, Mr. Coleman.”
“Oh,” I said again, my smile fading. “All right, well, I knew it was a long-shot. You’re always so busy and everything.”
“Lana, sweetheart,” he said, putting the papers down. “I know I work a lot, and that’s not really going to change after the wedding. We will get our two-week honeymoon though, so I hope you’re prepared for paradise.”
He took my hands, holding them in his. I melted. “I know, I just, I miss you sometimes. And I really don’t want to be alone in my parents’ house, but I guess what’s the worst that could happen?”
“Exactly,” he said. He kissed my cheek again. “I’ll see you tomorrow night for dinner.”
He turned back to his desk, picking up the papers. I thought for a moment, pulling on my fingers nervously. “Brock?”
“Yes, sweetheart?” he asked, barely looking to me.
“Do you worry about our wedding night? That it won’t be special because… because I’m a virgin?” I asked.
He stepped to me, his brow furrowing. “Why would I be worried? And, of course, it will be special, why wouldn’t it be?”
I licked my lips. “I don’t know, I guess because I have no experience with sex. And that’s what we’re expected to do.”
“Sweetheart, don’t worry your pretty little head about it,” he said, stroking my chin with his thumb. “Things will happen naturally. There’s nothing to worry about.”
I smiled, looking down to my feet. “It’s just Naomi getting into my head.”
“I figured as much,” he said with a frown. “Never mind her. She’s just jealous of what we have. As you said, it’s special. Now, you go on, I’ll call you tonight.”
He leaned into me, kissing my cheek again.
“I love you,” I said to him.
“I love you too,” he said softly.
I smiled at him brightly, waving goodbye a little awkwardly, before I turned and made my way out of the office.
I was dropped off by a cab since I didn’t drive. The large house in Etobicoke, a suburb of the city, was one I had lived in all my life, up until I was eighteen and did further schooling.
I unlocked the front door with my key and slipped inside before closing it and locking it again. I made a modest plate of pasta for dinner, then settled in to watch TV for the night. I was watching one of the romantic comedies my mother had when there was suddenly a clanging of dishes coming from the kitchen, making me turn my head towards it.
My brow furrowed, unsure. I had washed my dishes and put them away. There was nothing in the sink, I was sure of it. I got up from the couch, deciding to check it out.
I walked to the kitchen, the light already on. I surveyed the area from the threshold, seeing the oven door opened. I knew I didn’t leave it open. I walked forward quickly, admittedly a little creeped out, closing it. I then looked to the sink, before I stepped forward—it was empty.
I shook my head as I started to turn when someone grabbed me from behind and put a rag over my nose, which smelled sweet, but had a tinge of alcohol to it. It was the last thing I remembered before the whole world went black.