A Perfect Bloom 39 – Alex Ankarr

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A Perfect Bloom 39 – Alex Ankarr

And, through the slanting cool sunshine, he squints back at Sam. In his free hand he has the rose, and he knows damn well that Sam must have spotted it by this point. But neither of them bring it up, not a word, not a flicker either. It’s not the moment.

Sam certainly doesn’t refer to it. “Was it good?” he asks. God almighty, no-one has ever looked quite that innocent so far this century, either.

And Cory allows a finger to stray across his lips, as he considers the question, as he remembers the really exquisite texture and smoothness of that rich dark icing, the richly spicy scent of the muffin itself, the moist sugary sweetness of the fruit on his lips and tongue…

He hears a swift breath taken in behind him, and recalls himself to the conversation. “More than good,” he says, smiling down into the water, as the koi gives him a disgusted look at the lack of snacks provided, and dives back down into the depths. “Do you know anything about baking, Sam?” he asks. And if Sam can do innocent, then by God, so can Cory, when called upon for it.

“Me?” Sam asks, after a pause. And that’s all he has to say about that, which is telling. “And after the cake?” he asks, which is a transparent distraction. As well as a giveaway. As Cory straightens up from the pond wall, and turns back to face Sam, he can see on Sam’s face, like it’s written there clear in a fancy serif font, the sudden realisation of what he’s given away. And also, there’s the moment where he decides to front it out, to admit nothing. The wisest course of action, if in doubt, and Cory has to salute him on it. He would be excellent in business…

“After?” Cory says. He doesn’t feel a lot like torturing Sam with this any further, now. Well, not much, anyway. “Oh… let me see,” he stalls, and lists them off on his fingers. “Wednesday – since you ask – I did get another mysterious gift. A hand-calligraphed Shakespearean sonnet, actually. Very pretty… very romantic. And on the Thursday – yesterday,” he adds, “someone made me a mix-tape and left it in my office.” Now, the mix-tape. There’s Sam’s actual voice on the mix-tape, however briefly. It would be harder for him to deny knowledge and… culpability, regarding that one. Not that there’s any question of denying it, not with the both of them dancing around the entire question like it’s contagious, and they’re very carefully not touching upon it.







© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.


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