Cupcake Kissin’ 12 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 12 – Alex Ankarr

So he’s not in any hurry to turn and greet the customer, as the doorbell jangles and footsteps enter the store. He’s busy, watching after Sandy, sighing over his own terrible, terrible, burnt-sugar and coffee scented morning. (Damn right the money had better be good, to make this whole endeavour worthwhile.) And at this point – even just a few days in, at the point where he’s really still just a rookie with frosting stains on his overall, who can’t keep the freezee menu straight in his head, for all he’s still technically the boss – it’s a little bit terrifying that the customer-spiel is apparently engraved in his head to the point that he doesn’t even have to think about it, even staring into space and twiddling a candy cane between finger and thumb.

So that’s what he does, because it’s an issue that is distinctly non-negotiable. It has been made abundantly clear to him, in his aunt’s lawyers’ offices, and here in his brand new shiny business opportunity, that if there is any serious infraction of, or disrespect for, his aunt’s loony-tuney bequest stipulations, then that is liable to get him, if not summarily shot out on his ear and denuded of sudden munificence, then certainly pulled in to explain his failures and deficiencies, and possibly put on report for more serious repercussions.

‘…get you, cupcake?’ is the first thing he’s even aware of, after momentarily zoning out, because yes, it’s that automatic, even already. And with the realisation of his inattention, he jumps, stiffens, stands to attention and slaps a big beaming I am the king of customer service shit-eating smile on his face.

Or, at least, he’s fully aware that that is what should have happened. In fact, what snaps him back to a state of full customer-serving attention, is a cough right up close at his ear. And then a low rumble of a voice, that’s musical enough to set something going, alert and interested, in his loins. And it’s clear and sharp of diction enough to signal that the possessor is maybe just a little bit annoyed. (He’s heard that kind of voice before, a time or two, in bars, in places it would be less inappropriate to act on it in ways that directly involve his loins. It’s a rare kind of voice, though. Not the kind you’re going to run up against every day.)

It’s enough to jerk him up out of a waking slumber, anyway. It would be plenty, anywhere, to get him to take a very close and interested look at the owner of a voice like that.

So he does, but he tries to make it a strictly professional, cupcake-selling kind of a look. And he hopes he succeeds, but there still, he owns, might be just the trace of a leer involved in it. Because this guy is hot.

Caspar knew he would be, already, before look one, before lifting and turning his head. No-one with a voice like that is going to be not-hot. He is, however, several degrees more scorching than even Caspar had anticipated. Closely-cropped russetty-blond hair, sharply flashing hazel eyes, and a sensitively-modelled poet’s face that’s topped off with a surprisingly tight, uncompromising mouth, a severely angular chin. He’s tall and built and relaxed, gracefully leaning against the counter, leaning in towards Caspar. But he’s only relaxed in the way that someone considering which one of several potentially lethal moves to employ is relaxed. There’s a faint trace of a smile on his face, but his eyes are harder than hazel eyes can usually manage, definitely annoyed.

This really isn’t the way to treat a customer. (Or a potential lay, but that’s just an aside.) With the sudden shot of adrenalin giving him the old espresso pop-eyes and speedy voice, Caspar is immediately paying a whole lot more attention than he was just half a minute ago. He’s smiling big, and he’s giving it a whole lot of whatever they teach salespeople at salesperson charm school. And all of it on instinct.

Auntie Gertie would be so extremely proud of him. ‘Sorry, you caught me napping there, got to admit! But believe me, here at Honey Gummy Gertrude’s – HGGs, I like to call it! – we are all about the customer! What can I do for you, sir? We go all out to please and I really want to make your day!’

Okay, so maybe he’s going a little far over the top. But considering his outfit, it’s not like he has any actual chance of a score, here. (Sadly.) He might as well sell all the damn cupcakes and baked goods he can, and at least make some money to cushion his bottom line, while he’s working.

It gets him a questionably raised eyebrow, and the guy straightens up a little, to survey him more carefully. Which is a mini-tragedy all by itself. Getting up this close and personal to this fine, fine specimen of manhood is the best news that Caspar has had all day thus far. Not that that’s saying a whole lot, considering his day thus far. But it’s saying a little, at least.

‘You don’t know my order?’ fine, fine guy asks. ‘No,’ he adds, sounding resigned. ‘Of course you don’t know my order. Where’s Sandy?’ he asks hopefully, looking a fraction friendlier, as the thought occurs to him to ask for someone who’s clearly one of his regulars. ‘Or maybe Mrs Honey? Is she around?’

Well. The Hot Guy clearly isn’t all that much of a regular, if he’s not up on the latest developments regarding ownership of Honey Gummy Gertrude’s. And Caspar feels a little bit of a pang, distracting him – over the prospect of having to give someone the same old bad news he’s given so often lately, to customer after customer, and over his Auntie Gertie herself. It’s still fresh. The old broad would be glad to know he’s grieving her so sincerely. (Then she would slap him around the chops for maudlin whining, and take him out for a drink or eight.)

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.



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