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Carmine took a deep breath as he stood in front of the adult shop. He was shopping for a friend’s birthday present, and his girlfriend had suggested it would be funny if said person opened their gift in front of family and friends to find it was of adult content and somehow he’d been the one roped into picking it out.
It was by no means his first time in an adult shop, but buying the particular items she had in mind could look extremely bad on him if he was recognised. He looked down at the list in his hand, and read it silently. Handcuffs, movie, and a dildo… again he took a deep breath. He could see this shopping expedition going bad.
Pulling his cap down over his eyes, he walked inside. It was best to get it over with. But as he walked through the door, his cell phone rang drawing attention to his entrance. Quickly he answered it.
“Are you in?” His girlfriend asked with a chuckle from the other end.
“Yeah.” He whispered a response.
“I bet you stood outside the shop for 10 minutes trying to pluck up the nerve to go in didn’t you?” She asked, finding obvious amusement in his dislike for the task at hand.
“You having fun?”
“Tons.” She laughed.
“People are looking at me.”
“Relax, they’re probably wondering if you’re paying attention to their guilty secret.” She scoffed. “Are there any old greasy men around, looking in the gay section?”
He took a scan of his surroundings. “No.” He responded, still whispering.
“Men of the cloth?”
“OK. I’ll leave you to your shopping. Have fun. I’ll see you later. Love you.” And with that she hung up.
Carmine put his phone back in his pocket and looked around for any item on his list. He could feel himself breaking out into a sweat, like he was betraying his religion just by being there so his plan was to get what he needed – fast – and get out.
Spotting the handcuffs to the back of the shop, he moved steadily toward them. He didn’t want to make any sudden movements in case it startled one of the shoppers and ended up spiralling out of control. He reached out, grabbing the first pair of handcuffs he could lay his hands on, and that’s when it happened.
“You’re a handcuff man.” An observant female voice asked from behind him.
He spun to face her and he realised instantly that she’d seen through his disguise. “Carmine Giovinazzo?” She asked in a loud voice, announcing him to the rest of the shoppers.
He looked around to try and maintain anonymity, “Hey, how you doing?” He asked quiet but politely.
“Oh my God, it’s really you.”
“It’s really me.”
“My God, you’re really hot in real life.” She seemed surprised.
“Jeez, thanks. I guess.” He said standing awkwardly in front of her.
“Oh no, I didn’t mean it like that. I mean, you’re hot on TV but up close and personal, you are so much hotter.”
He forced a smile trying to look for an escape route, but he needed to get what he’d come for and he didn’t fancy traipsing around only to go through the whole thing again, so he decided to face whatever he had coming.
Then it seemed something dawned on her and she frowned, “What are you doing in here?”
“Just grabbing a few things.” He responded instantly trying to shake her off by walking around the shop.
But she was undeterred, and followed him as he searched for his next purchase. “Can I help you find something?” She asked.
It was his turn to frown, “You work here?”
“Yeah, it’s just a bit of extra cash to get me through college. You know how expensive that can be.”
He forced a smile, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable in his own skin and he was wishing he’d picked another shop. But he bit the bullet, the sooner he got what he came for, the sooner he could leave.
She craned her neck and looked over his list, “This for anyone in particular?”
The sweat started to run down the side of his face, “My-“ He coughed to try and dislodge the lump in his throat. “My girlfriend.”
“So, does she want a 6-inch, an 8-inch or 10 inches?” She asked walking away from him toward the counter.
He spun to face her, “Sorry?”
She pointed at the piece of paper in his hand, “The dildo.”
He could feel all eyes in the shop on him and he hastily rushed over to her, “I think it’s best we go for 8.”
“OK… I’ll just go and get a selection of our 8’s for you to look at.” She said, disappearing through a door behind her.
Carmine took the opportunity to look around only to find three customers browsing and he felt somewhat better. It had felt like he’d had 100 pairs trained on him, but when he knew the reality, his sweat’s seemed to subside a little.
He tapped on the counter in front of him while he waited and his eyes shifted to above the door. Placed there was a red negligee with the cup cut out of the bust and a missing crotch. He smiled wickedly, and decided to purchase it for his girlfriend as a means of payback.
“Right, we have a range of colours…” The shop assistant started as she appeared.
But Carmine didn’t allow her to finish, “I’ll take the pink one, and I’d like one of those too.” He said pointing above her head.
The girl looked over her shoulder and smiled. “What size?”
“I’ll take an 8 in that too.” He smiled.
“And will that be all?” She asked grabbing a pre packed outfit from under the counter.
He nodded, “Yeah. That’s everything.” He replied, deciding against buying the movie. He knew the two items would be enough to get a reaction, but it was Clare’s that he was most looking forward to now.
The girl punched the prices into the register and smiled at him again, “That’ll be $107.”
His eyes almost bulged out of their sockets as the price echoed in his head. But he pulled his wallet out and as he reached for his credit card, he thought twice about having a permanent record of his visit and took out the cash instead. Passing it to her, he could sense she was working her way up to saying something she wasn’t sure she had the confidence to say and he leaned over the counter toward her.
“Just say it.” He whispered, encouraging her to come out with whatever it was.
She dipped her head coyly, “Would you mind giving me an autograph?”
“Only if you promise to tell no one where you got it from me.”
She smiled, “Would I be pushing it if I asked for a picture too?”
“Here?” He asked glancing around again.
She raised her eyebrows suggestively; “We can go out the back if you want.”
“Here’s good.” He countered allowing her to take out her phone and capture a shot to her memory.
She looked it over as it stared back at her from the screen and smiled, “My girlfriends won’t believe this.”
He picked up the carrier she’d placed all his things in and rolled his eyes as he turned his back on her, “Thanks.” He called out.
“Cindy. My name’s Cindy.” He heard her call back as he stepped outside and the cool breeze of fresh air hit him. Finally he was out of there, and if he could help it, he was never going back.
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