Derek frowned as Oscar wheeled his Honda Civic into the parking lot of a lonely little store on the outskirts of town. "What're you stopping here for?"
"We're getting your Christmas present." Oscar grinned and unhooked his seat belt. "C'mon."
"From this place?" Derek hadn't even know the place existed, let alone what it sold. With a shrug, he got out and followed Oscar up the sidewalk. An array of crystals, candles, and pewter dragon figurines became visible in the window as they neared. "Some kind of metaphysical store?"
"Something like that." Oscar pulled the door open and gestured him inside.
Derek walked three steps into the store…and stopped dead in his tracks. Not a metaphysical store at all, but a sex store! Dozens of rows stretched out before him, each one crammed with sex toys.
"Ah! Oscar! Come in, come in!" A portly little man hurried up to them, shook Oscar's outstretched hand with vigor. "This must be Derek."
Derek managed a small smile as the stranger looked him up and down. He didn't like people knowing him before he knew them, and he shot a look of contempt at Oscar.
Oscar slid his arm around Derek's waist. "Baby, this is Henry. He runs the place, and he helped me get your present together."
"Hi, Henry." Derek shook Henry's hand for the sake of politeness. If Henry had helped Oscar pick something out, then Henry knew way too much about their sex life for Derek's comfort!
"Let's go take a look! It's in my office." Henry led them to the back of the shop.
Derek perused the aisles quickly as they walked, impressed by the wide variety of offerings. They entered a tiny room and Henry flipped on a light. Henry's office appeared to be little more than a dumping ground for clutter--leaning towers of those white cardboard banker boxes everyone used for dead filing filled the corners while a large desk dominated the room, piled high with books and stacks of papers hanging haphazardly off the edges, threatening to plunge over the side at any given moment. Crudely scrawled crayon drawings hung on the wall, which must've been rather old if the photo of two beaming parents--neither of them Henry--with a graduate between them was any indication.
"This is it." Henry went to the desk and retrieved a medium-sized wooden box from the middle of it, which he handed to Oscar.
Oscar took the box with a grin and in turn handed it to Derek. "Open it."
"What, here?" The back office of a seedy sex store didn't seem a very appropriate place for opening Christmas presents.
"Yes, here." Oscar raised an eyebrow and pointed at the box. "I need to be sure you don't want anything else to go along with what's inside."
Derek frowned and looked around for a place to sit.
"Oh! Here!" Henry scrambled aside and gestured to the barely visible chair behind his desk.
Derek lowered himself into the rickety, worn old chair and sat the box on his lap. He gently opened the little golden latch and lifted the lid. "Oh…wow."
Inside the box was everything he and Oscar would need to begin exploring wax play: one of those large, cylindrical religious-type candles, a selection of smaller votive candles, several drip candles--the kind people liked to put in wine bottles--a slab of paraffin wax, a knife, a loofah scrubby, a paintbrush, a small paraffin bath, a bottle of scented massage oil, a drop cloth, and a copy of The Toybag Guide to Hot Wax and Temperature Play.
"I know you've been interested for a while, and I've been saying no," Oscar began. "But I thought maybe we could give it a try. Henry here knows more about it than I do, and he helped me compile all this stuff."
Henry nodded. "Not stuff I usually stock, I'm sad to say."
Derek couldn't believe his eyes. For months he'd been asking Oscar if they could try this, and for months Oscar had staunchly refused, saying he didn't think it was safe. "What changed your mind?"
Oscar nodded in Henry's direction. "The guy at the place we usually buy our stuff from didn't have a clue about wax play, but he gave me Henry's name. I spent some time talking to him, got some good information, he showed me some of the stuff, and I gotta admit, I'm curious." He knelt down in front of Derek. "Do you like it?"
Derek nodded, blinking back tears. "I love it," he whispered. What he loved more, though, was that Oscar had changed his mind--had taken Derek's desires into his heart and considered them. Derek grabbed Oscar by the collar and pulled him close for a hard, rough kiss, then pushed him back. "There's only one other thing I need you to do now."
Oscar licked his lips, a red blush cascading over his cheeks and down his neck. "What's that?"
Derek winked at Henry, then gave Oscar a dazzling smile. "Take me home."