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Conundrums with Condoms

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Now that there was an extra mouth to feed under his roof, there were a few additions to be made to Rumple’s shopping list. Not that he minded, of course. He considered it nothing less than a privilege that he was the one buying Belle everything she needed and desired. He would take her out into main street later and buy her all the clothes she could lay her eyes upon, let her fill her currently empty bookshelves to her hearts content. That would have to wait, however, as he was currently simply in the supermarket, having left her to a hot and relaxing bath back at his. For the moment, he’d have to be happy with buying the necessities.

Usually he would follow his usual route through the shop, his body on autopilot as he stocked up his trolley on all the items he always bought before he would head over to the checkout and pay near enough the same amount every week. Now, however, every single item was popping out to him, and he felt like he was going shopping for the first time. Hot chocolate? Belle would love that tonight whilst huddled up in an armchair with a good book. And strawberries - Belle probably loved fruit, right? And how could he pick just one toothpaste for her, when he didn’t know if she preferred spearmint or peppermint? He threw it all in the trolley, along with a box of Turkish delights and a bouquet of roses to surprise her.

His trolley found itself becoming more and more full by the moment until eventually he found himself at the end of the shop, by the toiletries. He grabbed toilet roll and half a dozen hair products that Belle might like, and was ready to pay. That was right until his brain processed the condom bay he had taken a half glance at. Rumple remained still as he let his brain ponder this for a few moments.

Should he get condoms? He presumed that Belle wasn’t on any form of birth control, seeing as she wouldn’t have even had the chance for a check-up at the doctors yet. But was their relationship even at that stage yet? Although he was certain that they shared the same deep feelings for each other, they were still catching up on lost time and hadn’t even shared anything more than a few kisses at this point. He also didn’t want Belle to feel like he wanted to rush them into anything; they would move at her pace. Still, it would be a shame for them to have to turn the opportunity down should it, er, arise, simply for the sake of being unprepared… He’d just go over and grab a box, no big deal. It could even sit unused in his bedside drawer until necessary if needs be.

He wheeled his trolley over to the condoms and reached out to grab a box until he realised that it would not be that simple. Not only were there many different brands to choose from but they all seemed to have different names for different purposes. He frowned slightly and retracted his arm, taking a closer look at each of the boxes.

This was not something that he had had to concern himself with before. The past few decades he had spent in Storybrooke, he had not felt the desire to share his bed with anybody. He was not one for meaningless one night stands, and although the curse had caused him to forget about Belle, she was still the only one that occupied his heart. Even when he was married in another world, another lifetime ago, condoms were not an option. Contraception took form as abstinence or herbal spermicides, but in this land, it seemed rather that contraception took form in dozens of different latex products.

One of the first key differences that Rumple noticed between the different boxes was the “size”. These ranged from small to extra large, and Rumple found himself wondering where on earth he was on that spectrum. His mind jumped to a few nasty comments that Milah had made on multiple occasions, but even at the time he had known that she didn’t say words because she meant them, more so because it was a quick and sure way to intimidate him. He’d not really had a basis for comparison either, but he’d recalled reading a few articles here and there and decided his safest bet was, statistically speaking, regular. He focused on the regular condoms but quickly realised that this didn’t narrow the selection down at all.

A few particularly stood out, but if anything these were the ones that seemed the least desirable of all. For instance, Rumple found himself sneering at the neon glow-in-the-dark condoms. He could think of nothing less arousing for Belle than being in a pitch black bedroom with him and a bright green cock. He cringed at the thought and read some of the others, scented and flavoured ones quickly catching his eye. Chocolate scented condoms? Rumple was bewildered at the idea, wondering what on earth that could bring to the moment. Although he could see the purpose of the flavoured ones slightly more, the idea of putting anything mint flavoured on something as sensitive as his cock made him feel slightly uneasy.

That was those ones out of the question then. He found himself looking at ones labelled “pleasure me” next, reading that they were ribbed and dotted for extra stimulation. Rumple thought about this long and hard, wondering if ultimately Belle would appreciate something like this to start with, or something simpler for their first time together. Rumple was still thinking about this when a voice beside him startled him.

“I recommend the ‘intense feel’ ones,” it said, and Rumple turned to face Whale, who was looking at him with a glint in his eyes and a smirk. He even had the audacity to wink at him. “Thin latex, almost as if it’s not there at all. I mean, obviously it’s not quite as good as going completely bareback…”

Rumple scoffed in disgust and turned away, not the slightest bit interested in continuing this discussion, but Whale wasn’t quite finished yet.

“Who are you planning on using it with, anyway? Good body? Or are you planning on window shopping after you’ve got the cash, so to speak?”

“Apologies, Whale. I must have missed the part where that was any of your business,” Rumple snarled. He wasn’t going to continue browsing whilst Whale was around, offering his unwanted opinion, so Rumple turned around to look at other items instead. He found himself looking at tampons and sanitary towels – of course, Belle was going to need these too. He once again extended his arm to simply grab a pack, before realising the full extent to the range of these too. Extendable applicators? Heavy flow? No, Rumple was out of his depth here and would have to consult with Belle before making a decision on this. He waited for Whale to disappear from the aisle whilst wondering to himself, why couldn’t genitals be more simple?

He wandered back over to the condoms, immediately shutting down the extra feel ones purely on the basis that Whale had recommended them, and picked up a box labelled “extra safe”. He turned it over in his hands, looking for a problem with it. Thicker latex to prevent it from breaking. It might not feel as good for him, but it was worth it for the peace of mind and perhaps it would even help him last longer. He saw that they were lubricated and his mind suddenly went blank, wondering if he should buy some extra lube whilst he was at it. This thought did not last long, however, as he saw Archie walk up the aisle and could not think of anything worse than more small talk today.

He threw the condoms into the trolley and finally made his way over to the checkout. He saw Sneezy behind the counter as he started unloading his items, and hoped to god that he’d just scan the condoms without so much as a second glance. Shop assistants were used to people buying condoms after all, right?

It took a long time to get onto the condoms, thanks to the huge number of extra things he had bought for Belle. As Sneezy scanned the items, Rumple let his mind wander back to her. She’d be getting out of the bathtub around about now, probably feeling a lot more relaxed than he was at this moment in time. Sneezy picked up the box of condoms, and promptly dropped it – twice. Rumple refused to let himself feel awkward or embarrassed about buying condoms – he was a grown man, for Christs sake. He’d had sex before, and he’d have it again if he played his cards right – with Belle of all people. Where was the shame in that? And so, he refused to waver his eye contact.

Whilst he was staring Sneezy down, Sneezy had trouble scanning the box. He swiped it over the till three, four times, before muttering a “sorry Mr. Gold, the bar code appears to be a bit damaged. Let me just get somebody to grab another,” all whilst avoiding eye contact.

“Oh, that’s not necessary, I can-” replied Rumple, before being interrupted.

“Linda? Yes, could you just get me another box of these on aisle 19. They’re the regular sized ‘extra safe’ ones,” Sneezy called to a colleague. Rumple felt his face heat up, although out of embarrassment at the predicament or anger at the thoughtless lack of privacy, he wasn’t sure. Sneezy continued scanning the other items whilst Rumple was left clenching his jaw.

“Ah, I see you ignored my advice then.”

Rumple turned and saw Whale queueing behind him, unloading his basket. Oh for f-

“And I see you ignored me when I stated that it was none of your business,” replied Rumple. Linda returned with the new box which Sneezy managed to successfully scan.

“I didn’t realise you were sexually active,” continued Whale, jostling Rumple’s shoulder playfully and wagging his eyebrows. Rumple gave him a warning look to not touch him again. “Been using that old cabin of yours for more than beating people up in the dead of night, I see?”

“Oh, no, I still do that,” muttered Rumple. “Particularly when people go where you’re heading.” Whale laughed but Rumple’s face remained straight.

“And I suppose that rope that you bought the other week wasn’t just for a bit of D.I.Y., was it?” chimed in Sneezy, trying to join in on the banter. Whale laughed, but Rumple shut Sneezy down with no more than a look. He looked down and resumed scanning, aware that he had spoken out of place. Whale didn’t get the same message, however.

“Personally, I don’t really see the use in the extra safe ones anyway. The other ones are safe enough without the cost of taking away the feeling,” he continued, ignoring him.

“To be fair, there’s other benefits,” said Sneezy. He seemed to have lost his cheeky streak and was siding with Rumple now that he was aware of the mood. “They’re extra lubricated.”

“Well, no girl has ever needed any extra lubricant whilst they’ve been in my company, let’s put it that way,” replied Whale with another sickening wink.

“Not only do I not care,” Rumple butted in. “But quite frankly, Whale, the only thing less tolerable than hearing you boast of your sexual prowess are watching your pathetic little attempts at getting women to partake those activities with you in the first place. How much does it come to?” he asked, turning to Sneezy. Sneezy stuttered out the total cost (which was three times higher than his normal weekly shop, thanks to the new additions), and left without so much as a glance at Whale and Sneezy.

*** 

A week had passed since his torturous ordeal at the supermarket, but it soon became evident that it had not been forgotten. Not only did Sneezy seem slightly intimidated since his minor outburst, but Whale seemed to go out of his way to avoid him when he saw him on the street.

Word seemed to have got around about his recent purchase, too. Residents of Storybrooke seemed to be smiling at him knowingly, as if they shared a little secret. Not to mention how Granny had greeted them with, “you two will be wanting a hearty breakfast then” and a smirk when they had gone to the diner one morning.

Rumple decided to play ignorant, acting as if he had no clue what everybody was implying. He knew one thing for certain, though. Next time, he’d get Belle to buy the condoms.