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Cupcake Kissin’ 13 – Alex Ankarr
Caspar doesn’t get to be the one giving the sad tidings, though, because Sandy springs out of the back-room bakery section, and is all over the both of them at the most impressive top speed. And her charm offensive is in full effect, too. And it isn’t as if Sandy doesn’t give good customer service on a normal day, with a normal customer. But she’s certainly going all out with this guy. (And Caspar can scarcely blame her.)
‘Mr Langot! It’s been so long since the last time you came in to see us!’ she flutters at him happily. Boy, subtle she isn’t. Doesn’t seem like she’s even going for subtle. ‘I’m so happy to see you here at Honey Gummy’s again!’
Caspar has to give a discreet cough at that, which is his own form of revenge for the past few days, for induction and training and utterly ridiculous and inflexible bakery procedures, to which he now thoroughly understands he must stick rigidly, or risk forfeiting his nice little inheritance. Sandy is probably caught off guard, what with the sudden arrival of what is clearly her favourite customer, but it’s not like she’s been cutting him any slack for difficult circumstances. He’s been thrown into the cupcake-hurling business, inducted about as quickly as a doughnut getting dipped in and out of the deep-fat fryer, and done up in white linen and hairnet as pretty much the most effective prophylactic ever, since there’s no-one on the planet who is going to be interested in getting busy with him, not once they’ve clocked him in this horrendous get-up.
And yet, Sandy still picks him up on every single infraction, every failure to have the prescribed customer greeting down pat. And he her boss, technically, even so! How’s that goose sauce tasting, Sandy, he thinks a little vindictively, grinning at her, before saying, ‘Or even, welcome to the Honey Gummy Gertrude Bakery, what can I get you, cupcake?’ with a very meaningful cough.
Sandy spares him a quick glare, and gives him a slight kick under cover of the counter. ‘You covered that, didn’t you, sir,’ she points out, and the tone of her voice is mean, even if her eyes say she’s slightly amused by his jabbing. And she turns back to hot guy, clearly not really having a lot of attention to spare for Caspar. ‘This is my new boss, Mack, can you believe it?’ she says, with a lot more eye-rolling and eyebrow-raising than Caspar feels is entirely fair or reasonable. ‘The one in the hairnet.’
‘I’m rocking it a lot harder than you are, Sandy,’ Caspar points out, although that is of dubious factual accuracy. Sandy is a bubble-headed blond with big blue eyes, and actually can kind of pull off a white and hot pink bakery staff uniform combo without looking entirely un-doable. Even the hairnet.
‘He’s right,’ a very smooth voice confirms, and Caspar feels his head spin on his neck like he’s actively trying to rupture something. ‘It’s a very good look on him.’
And Caspar eyeballs this joker carefully, because there’s no way in hell the guy isn’t making fun of him. And, yeah, certainly – there’s a little smirk pulling at that narrow, pleasingly modelled mouth. But in fact it doesn’t look malicious. In fact it might even be interpreted as an invitation to a shared joke. To making a little fun of the other third party here, in fact.
Caspar’s day is looking up. ‘Sure it is,’ he agrees solemnly, looking down at himself. He’s got white slacks on – regulation – under his white overall. And a pink checked gingham shirt, under his pink floral pinny. God damn, but it’s not helped by the perky little pink cap over the hairnet either.
Caspar has been assessed, by many an objective observer, as an attractive young man. (Some of them not so very objective, either. Some of them slightly inebriated at the time, and some of them quite definitely trying to get into his pants. But then, that just amounts to further evidence in his favour, to Caspar’s mind.) It would take a helluva pretty face, though, he thinks, to get past the hurdle of his current outfit, to overwhelm it.
He does have quite a pretty face, though. Blue eyes, quite like Sandy’s. Chestnut curly hair, what you can see of it, under the god damn hairnet. ‘You look familiar,’ hot guy – Mack, apparently – says to him, forehead creasing up like he’s trying to place Caspar, now. ‘Do I know you from…’
Caspar laughs at that, but it’s not really so funny. It gives him an odd sharp pang in the middle of his chest, in fact. This guy was evidently one of Aunt Gertie’s favourite customers. Had to be, if he asks for her particularly, knows that she’ll know his order. It’s not the first time it’s happened in the last week, but it’s a special, peculiar, sharp little grief each time. ‘No, sir,’ he says, voice softening a little, enough so he can hear it himself. ‘You don’t know me from anywhere. But if I look familiar it’s because Mrs Honey was my aunt.’
This Mack is evidently pretty damned sharp, sharp enough to pick up immediately on the past tense in use. His face sobers up, a lot, and the look he levels at Caspar is softer, dialling down from just a touch flirtatious, to sympathetic, and a little emotional himself. ‘Gertie’s dead?’ he checks.
Caspar gives a brief perfunctory smile, and begins to move the cakes around in the display with the tongs, arranging them in a more orderly fashion where they’ve been disarranged by service. And Sandy – who is not so bad, who is a good girl – rushes in to break the awkwardness. ‘Oh, Mr Langot. I didn’t think to realise, that you haven’t been in since before – well, since before Mrs H passed on.’
© 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: Lyn Whitfield on Flickr, public domain.