Cupcake Kissin’ 49 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 49 – Alex Ankarr

He does feel it behooves him at some point to try to be a little businesslike, and this moment is as good as any other. ‘So,’ he says, and clears his throat. ‘We’re still all on for the party, then?’ He figures he’d better get it established one way or another. Still, it seems as if –

‘What? Oh, yeah? Uh, why not?’ Mack only sounds puzzled, bewildered. ‘You’re sorting the furniture moves and the buff and polish for the dance-floor tomorrow, right? Sara said…’ His voice seems to constrict down the line, to go loud then soft. ‘I think Sam is organising that. So you should be meeting him to take a look at the surface and see what needs doing. Tomorrow? I guess you can talk to him sooner than that, though. It’s your call, you’re managing it.’ His voice is getting still quieter.

‘Oh, I’m not in any hurry to talk to him,’ Caspar says, sniffing. ‘I wish he hadn’t been such an asshole this morning. He’s the one who should be apologising.’ And maybe so should Caspar, Caspar thinks uneasily now. He’s the one who went along with Sam’s idiocy, after all. Too late to fret over it now, though.

‘Well,’ Mack says softly. ‘You’re not responsible for what your boyfriend does, any more than me,’ he points out. Which would be fair and valid, if true.

Caspar wonders a moment, whether to point it out. Then he finds he’s doing it anyway, so that’s all too late for that. His mouth’s open and the words just pop out unbidden. ‘Ah, I’m not seeing him any more. Actually. That was just… kidding around, this morning,’ he admits. Kidding around, and Sam playing stupid games, seeing if he could make you jealous, that’s the bit that Caspar is at least too smart to add.

Again he wonders if the call’s cut out, because the line goes entirely quiet. He’s just said, ‘Mack. Mack?’ when Mack talks over the top of him. And he can’t believe what he actually does get in response.

It’s way too fast, and it’s fast enough to be insulting. There’s really no mistaking the tone or the meaning, not here. ‘Okay, how about I come round?’ Mack asks. The words all run together and there’s a soft exhale mixed up amongst them, and hell no is the least that Caspar instinctively comes up with in response, and just as quickly shuts down on.

Because. Because Caspar had in no way meant that simple bit of information as a booty call, because perish the thought. He is not that guy, he is not so easy, so easily had. But he doesn’t think he’s in any way mistaken in thinking that Mack is taking it as one. ‘If I come around to your place?’ Mack presses on. He doesn’t seem to catch any tone in the echoing silence, only to assume that Caspar hasn’t caught either his words or his meaning. ‘We could talk,’ he adds, and to Caspar it’s a clear afterthought. ‘I think we have things to talk about at this point. You know?’

And Caspar swallows, and it feels like swallowing down on bile, because he needs to breathe steady and be pleasant. ‘Maybe not,’ he says, and is glad it comes out calm. ‘But feel free to text me or email me anything you need to, about the party. We’re still on for the party, right?’

‘What? Oh, sure,’ Mack says, with a slight hesitation and sudden speed, like he’s been wrong-footed and is busy trying to work out where they are in the conversation. ‘But about that talk, we should definitely – ‘

‘Okay then,’ Caspar says determinedly, making like he hasn’t heard a word, steam-rollering right over whatever further persuasions Mack might have up his sleeve. (Because you never know. Caspar might just be weak enough, stupid enough to listen to them, even now.) ‘I guess I’ll see you when I’m doing the last-minute arrangements at your place before the big event, then! Or in the bakery some time!’

It’s easy to ring off. It’s less easy to sit and stare at his phone after he’s shut it down, to look at it and feel his heart pounding with, well, with anger. And with regret, maybe. He likes Mack, he really likes Mack, he still likes Mack. More than he should, almost certainly. But he is not that guy, who can be had so easily, who stands and waits in the wings. His life, his body, his company is worth something more than that, now.

***

An hour into the evening and the second bottle is some way emptied, and both Sara and Sam have come around to hang out and discuss matters of importance with him. It may not be the greatest idea – they are the worst sort of friends to have around when you are in the mood to rant and to whine and to engage in a pity-party, the kind who will only encourage you and egg you on – but it’s too late now anyhow. He’s hanging over the back of the sofa – because Sam has some terrible, ridiculous talent show on the screen, and Caspar can’t bear it and is making a grand show of refusing to watch it – and ranting some more.

‘So then,’ he says, flinging a hand out, the hand holding his glass so that he almost spills a few beautiful scarlet drops, ‘he thinks that, hey, he’s got rid of Adam – however long that’s going to last’ – and Caspar isn’t counting on it being more than about ten minutes, given that Adam is apparently the perfect boyfriend with total parental approval – ‘and he wants to know if he can come around. Because, hey, neither of us currently have anything like a significant other, so why not fuck, huh? Because I am clearly the go-to person in his life for that kind of thing! Which has to make me wonder, what the hell kind of a signal am I giving out? Tell me, S1 and S2, do I have a slut vibe or something? Because I have to say, if so then it’s deeply misleading.’ He sighs heavily, and puts a hand to his heart. ‘If I was giving off a nun vibe at the moment, then it would be a lot more accurate.’

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 48 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Download complete ebook for FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8PwO

Cupcake Kissin’ 48 – Alex Ankarr

Right now, if Mack’s furious at him (and how can he not be?) and if he’s fired, he doesn’t want to know. He’ll take care of business, he’ll get himself home, and then he’ll deal with the ticking bomb that is his phone, and everything that numerous people are going to have to say to him.

He keeps waiting for a text or a call from Mack – to yell at him, to fire him, whatever it might be – and wonders if he could key himself up to pick up when it comes. It doesn’t come, though.

It doesn’t come until he actually gets home, when he’s working through his texts and missed calls, lounging in his kitchen and eating crappy noodles like he still can’t afford anything else. (He could afford to eat pretty much whatever he liked, now – within reason – but he has scant free time, and is hardly in the mood to go out to eat.) Sara has sent him five strictly business texts, and one which merely reads ‘OMG too funny tell Adam off some more! Wish i’d been there‘. It’s good to know she’s not mad with him, but it’s hardly informative about possible consequences.

Then there’s just the single one from Sam, sent just after their swiftly curtailed call, which reads, ‘okay will do what I can, talking to Mack when I get a chance okay. S x.’ Caspar feels a little bad about his harshness with the guy, but Sam needs to rein it in and think about what he’s doing sometimes, so he doesn’t feel all that bad really.

Still, there’s nothing from Mack, which could be good or bad. But he’s staring at his inbox, right then, and that’s when his phone begins to vibrate with a call. And that’s from Mack.

Caspar doesn’t give himself time to think about it, because he’d only chicken out, let it go to voice-mail, procrastinate on an answer and torture himself about it forever. That is the worst possible thing, he’s not going to do that.

He mans up, because he has to, and presses to take the call. He can’t quite manage to actually speak when he does, though. After one half of a split second, Mack speaks, sounding thrown a little off-kilter by the silence. ‘…Caspar? … Is that you?’

Caspar thinks to himself that panicked heavy breathing isn’t going to get him through this. So he allows himself one more slow inhale, and then says, ‘Yes. Here. Um, what did you want to say to me, Mack?’

Let it not be that I’m fired, he thinks. That I’m an asshole. That I’m a fired asshole.

That is not what Mack says, in any case. His voice, even, doesn’t sound quite as Caspar was expecting. ‘So. You and Sam, I guess that was pretty funny this morning,’ he says, eventually. Although he doesn’t really sound as if he thinks it’s funny. He sounds a little strained if anything. ‘I’m sorry that Adam was rude to you, I hate it when he does that. I’ve had some words with him. I don’t think you should be having any trouble with him again.’

Caspar supposes that that’s nice to hear, if possibly somewhat unlikely. He can’t imagine anything restraining Adam’s malice for long. After the level of dread he’s been experiencing, it feels like a bizarre anti-climax to have Mack with his sense of humour still in operation, Mack apologising. (Really, what is he apologising for, anyway?) ‘It wasn’t your fault,’ he offers, because it’s true, and he doesn’t believe in accepting apologies under false pretexts and on unsound grounds. ‘If your boyfriend wants to go around calling people ‘service staff” he adds, and winces. ‘It’s on him, not on you.’

‘I suppose.’ The line goes quiet for a moment, and Caspar wonders if they’ve lost connection. He lowers the phone a moment to look at the bars, and when he lifts it again Mack is saying, ‘Not any more.’

‘What?’ Caspar says. He feels so dumb missing something that way, like Gertie, who wasn’t so much incapable of navigating around modern tech, as utterly contemptuous of the finer points, and inclined to delegate them to others completely.

‘I broke up with Adam,’ Mack says, clearly repeating himself, saying it louder and slower and a little bit harsher than really necessary, as in the way of someone who was self-conscious about saying it the first time round, even.

Oh. Oh. Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, well. Caspar is taken aback, and that seems reasonable to him. Also a little stuck for a response. ‘Oh, good,’ hardly seems appropriate. ‘Sorry about that,’ is what he comes up with instead, although he isn’t, not really. Adam is an asshole, and Mack – actually Mack is a little bit of an asshole, too, in some ways, Caspar thinks. But not in Adam’s league of assholery, and also kind of nice when he wants to be. And someone who clearly does like Caspar, always a huge point in anyone’s favour, as far as Caspar is concerned.

‘Thank you, I suppose,’ Mack says, quite softly. ‘But I’m not, so I guess you don’t need to be.’

Caspar would really, honestly, like to know a lot more about this. Stuff like how, and why, and when, and… Yeah, he’d like to go into it in a whole lot more depth. But he can’t think of any justification. He’s friendly with Mack, certainly, by this point, but he’s not quite sure that it constitutes being actually friends, yet. Mack’s a client, who likes to flirt and tease him, and has an asshole boyfriend who – Oh, no. Scratch that last part. Well, all to the good, anyhow.

© 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.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 47 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Download complete ebook for FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8PwO

Cupcake Kissin’ 47 – Alex Ankarr

‘Okay, let’s go.’ Caspar has his dander up, is having to practically tie a knot in his tongue to prevent himself, but he manages it. It’s Mack who’s telling Adam off, except he isn’t. Those words are delivered quite gently. And he pats at Adam’s hand, where it’s leeched on to his arm. ‘We’ll go get a drink, babe. Leave it at that, huh?’

And Adam relaxes against him, plastered up. And he shoots a smug look Caspar’s way, that is clearly only not a grin because he doesn’t reckon or rate Caspar as being deserving of any such effort and labour of expression from him. And Mack shepherds him over and away from the little grouping, over out of sight and through a doorway. And Caspar stands a moment, feels himself sweating and flushed with a quite unreasonable anger and hurt and shame. Mack doesn’t owe him anything, he reminds himself, no matter what they might have got up to in a not entirely sober moment, no matter what things he might half-hint when he likes to toy with Caspar’s feelings. (And he does toy with Caspar’s feelings, Caspar thinks, stung, and resolves to allow it to happen no more.)

‘You okay, man?’ one of Mack’s colleagues says to him, and he pulls himself together, mutters a short but civil, ‘Sure,’ grabs his jacket and gets out of there. He’s hung around quite long enough, he’s got plenty of stuff to do – more than enough to pack forty-eight hours into every twenty-four – and he can have a word with Sam later. (The word is not liable to be anything friendly or civil, not at this point.)

That’s the plan anyhow. Except as he’s getting out of the place, he manages to stumble across Mack and Adam again. It’s Adam who almost mows him down, walking fast across the outer reception area. But it’s Mack he speaks to, although he should know better. He does know better. But he’s kind of pissed off, and he does it anyway. He just can’t resist – not after the crap that Adam’s just been saying to him.

‘Thanks for the flowers, Mack,’ is what he says, and he’s instinctively careful to pitch it just loud enough that Adam can’t help but hear every single word. ‘You didn’t need to, though. I wasn’t that mad.’

Oh, o-ho, yep that’s right. He sets the cat amongst the pigeons – knowing that that’s exactly what he’s doing, too – and holding Mack’s eye while he does it, full eye-contact and a sweet, mild, passive-aggressive smile on his face. Well, Caspar thinks, furious and resentful. Fuck him, fuck him, fuck all of them and everyone and everything. And he marches out – a little fast, okay – with his head high and his back straight like a metre-rule. Yeah, the reception was a long way from unoccupied. Yeah, everyone heard him, not just Adam and Mack.

He perhaps slows down a little bit heading out to his car, because some degree of the euphoria he’s managed to self-induce begins to wear off pretty much immediately. But he bucks up, picks up his feet, keeps going. What the hell, he thinks. The bakery can get along just fine without this studio’s custom.

He hopes.

***

Before he’s even made it to his community college business class, the next thing on his schedule, Sam is calling and calling and calling again on the hands-free in his car. He finally takes the call, because Sam is nothing if not persistent, and will eventually find one way or another to speak to him. Even if it means turning up at his apartment in the middle of the night, or to the bakery at the crack of dawn, when he’s taking rolls out of the industrial oven.

And Sam is gleeful. Much too gleeful, for someone who ought to be busy apologising for costing Caspar’s business, business. ‘Oh man! You are not discreet! And you’re not telling me that wasn’t deliberate! I saw Adam’s face when he came storming back through the set after you were gone, he looked about ready to burn the place down!’ he crows. ‘What an asshole, though. Nothing he didn’t deserve.’

‘Sam?’ is all that Caspar says in response.

‘Ah, yeah, dude?’ Sam asks, innocent and surprised.

‘You know, Mack’s mad at me, and I’ve probably lost a really major customer for my business, and fucked up the party project too, and Sandy and Horace and Sophia and the rest of the guys are probably going to kill my sorry ass. And that’s best case scenario, if the business doesn’t lose enough turnover that someone loses their job over this. I’m pretty mad at you. Don’t call me again until you’ve either fixed this or you’re ready to apologise, and preferably both.’ He’s breathing hard when he knocks the call off, more righteous anger than he normally gets to experience from beginning to end of the average year. He’s growing and changing through this experience, all right. He’s not sure if that’s good or bad, but it feels somehow more honest and real than his old pacifistic people-pleasing self.

And when he’s supposed to meet Sara at Mack’s apartment three hours later, he craps out of it and gets there early enough that he can drop off the individual hand-blocked menus, take the measurements of the trestles they’ve had brought in, and leave her a note regarding the desserts he’d been going to talk over with her. There are three texts from her waiting on his phone, and she tries to call, but he doesn’t read them and he doesn’t pick up, nor from anyone else either. He knows it makes him a bad business-person and a terrible friend and all kinds of things, but right then he doesn’t care. He’ll check them out later.

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 46 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Download complete ebook for FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8PwO

Cupcake Kissin’ 46 – Alex Ankarr

For a moment Caspar thinks that perhaps Mack isn’t aware that Adam is right behind him. And that’s because Mack’s attention is fixed right on Caspar, still. That’s when it isn’t flickering sideways, to take in Sam, lounging back in Mack’s chair like he owns it, pretty much like he’s the star of the show.

‘Hallo, Sam,’ is the first thing out of Mack’s mouth, as he hits that point standing in front of them. (And so does Adam, nearly, just skidding up to clamp on to Adam’s arm, proprietorial as can be).

‘Hey, man,’ Sam drawls back. The rest of the… gang, it feels like a gang, Caspar and Sam and these actors he barely knows, is largely unacquainted with, and he couldn’t say why – they just seem to all close in together, microscopically closer. He can feel the ripple of amusement all the way through them, through him, without hearing a sound. ‘How’s it hanging?’

Mack does look slightly, very slightly, marginally amused at that. At least there’s a twinge to his mouth, a slight tweak in its severe handsome line. ‘Fine. Yeah, good. Although it would be a damn sight better if I actually had the notes I sent you off for ten minutes ago. I see you’ve got other things on your mind, though.’ And he nods to Caspar, still pinned and perched on Sam’s knee, and strangely disinclined to move without being dislodged by Sam. Not even – or especially not – with Adam glaring at him, pushing in to line his body up and press up against Mack’s side, though Mack is disregarding him completely, looks like. Not even with Mack meeting his eyes, finally, though all up until this point – and it feels long, although it’s only been moments, barely that – he’s looked at every one but, every which way except Caspar’s way.

And Sam, he doesn’t seem much abashed by being chastised – not that Mack sounds particularly severe, only dry, very dry. ‘Yeah, sorry about that, man,’ he says, cheerfully – and his hand comes to rest on Caspar’s thigh, and squeezes it, before everyone, under Mack’s eyes. ‘I’ll get right on that.’

But Mack doesn’t appear to take much notice of his assistant’s assistant’s gross cheek and disrespect, or to care about it. He still has his eyes on Caspar, gaze locked, and unsmiling too. ‘How about you, Caspar?’ he asks, and Caspar has never seen his face quite so impassive. Certainly not when he was pouring his heart out a couple of days ago, about his uncomfortably open-minded parents, their grudging tolerance and preference for Adam. That could all have never happened, right now, for all the sign there is. (Not as if the weed didn’t probably help some, but Mack looks tight-assed rigid and sober now, like the very idea of imbibing is an adolescent joke and scandal.) ‘You look happy enough. And pretty comfortable.’

Oh, and yeah, that tone is definitely snide. Maybe even hostile. And Caspar kind of hurriedly recollects that this is, after all, a client – as well as a maybe-friend, as well as a regular flirter and flirtee. (And how that needs to be knocked on the head, and right quick at that.) And that he really doesn’t need, on behalf of the business, to alienate a guy who brings in a fair whack of money for them on a regular basis.

But in the moment right before he heaves and levers and jumps up to his feet, Adam gets in there and has his two cents in, to edify the whole bunch and boiling of them. ‘Probably is. The service class are more comfortable with their own kind, babe. Although it’s extremely rude of the pair of them to be cuddling in your chair.’ And he makes it sound like some extremely arcane and perverted sexual practice. ‘And acting like it’s some kind of joke. You shouldn’t let them get away with it, Mack. And you’re in a position to fire at least one of them,’ he finishes up, in a hard-edged voice. The voice is almost as hard as his eyes, which could probably cut diamonds and frozen carbon dioxide. The knuckles of his hand are white, where he’s gripping onto Mack’s arm, and it can’t be comfortable, although Mack doesn’t seem so much as interested.

It at least galvanizes Caspar, and Sam too, a fire lit under him and his casual insolence quite done with. (And Caspar can’t really a hundred per cent criticise Adam for that. Not that it stops him.) They are, the pair of them, leaping up as Mack turns his head – slowly – to look at Adam. He doesn’t seem in any hurry, and still there isn’t a speck of animation in his face, though the line of his body is very tense. But he does say, ‘I wouldn’t worry about it,’ abstractedly, as if he’s thinking of quite other things.

And Sam has things to say, too, even to the point of speaking over Mack. ‘Sorry, Adam!’ he’s dashing out quick, looking a bit concerned. ‘Just kidding there, no offence! I’ll be off and get your papers!’ And that’s him good as gone, high-tailing it out no doubt, before Mack has a chance to think through it and fire his ass on the advice of his sweetie, Caspar thinks a little resentfully.

But he has better things to do than hang around the studio all day, worrying about things that don’t concern him, and watching Adam hang all over Mack. They have probably behaved rather badly, though, Sam and himself both. Or at least, if it’s not to be taken as a bit of a joke. Which Mack almost certainly would have done, he thinks a little bit resentfully, given the chance, and without his sweetie jumping down his throat to criticise and vilify them.

Still… ‘Sorry about that, Mack,’ he says, placatory and with the sweetest smile he can muster, not looking Adam’s way at all, doing his best not to so much as acknowledge his existence. He hasn’t missed the service staff snipe, and it’s not as if it’s the first time. ‘Just some kidding around, we didn’t mean any harm.’

And Mack opens his mouth to respond, and for the first time he doesn’t look like he’s holding thoughts private and reserving judgement. There’s a little smile on his face, even. Adam gets in there before him, though – still hanging on like an oversized koala bear, with a harsh expression on his admittedly handsome face. ‘You were shockingly rude,’ he snaps. ‘And it can’t be good for business. I guess shiftless minimum wage types like yourself just don’t know any better, owner or not. If you weren’t the boss I’d have a good mind to call your place of employment and make a complaint. It was an unacceptable bit of presumption, and just because Mack is a sight too friendly and relaxed with people who start to think they’re all kinds of important when he’s the least bit civil with them – ‘

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 45 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Download complete ebook for FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8PwO

Cupcake Kissin’ 45 – Alex Ankarr

No, no he doesn’t. It’s not the right word, and Caspar doesn’t really want to use the right word, not even to himself, because the right word is grim. And since he’s not the heroine of a regency romance, he doesn’t pretend to be uncomprehending and puzzled about why, really, Mack would look grim right here and now. He can only think of two reasons, really. One, that they’re in his chair, he and Sam, and he’s territorial and pissed off about it.

And that would be an extremely reasonable response, that’s what Caspar thinks. It is his chair, after all. And Sam is Mack’s assistant’s assistant, and Caspar is… well, currently, if you’re looking strictly at his actual functionality in this scenario, he’s the cupcake delivery guy onset.

Wooh, and considering how he’s getting used to thinking about himself – as a business owner, as a project planner, as someone developing skills and competencies in the food service and production industry… As well as someone who is finally, after a long penurious college career spent acquiring a whole different set of skills, making a very comfortable living that enables him to eat something that isn’t noodles on a daily basis. (On the basis of every meal, for that matter. He certainly got tired of noodles during his doctorate. He also doesn’t need to eat cupcakes, but what the hell, Honey Bunny cupcakes are the best, and everyone knows it.)

But here and now, the program’s baked goods delivery person does not have the kind of status that would make it at all appropriate for him to be planting his ass on Mack’s chair. Not when Mack is the god-damn star of the whole show. And glowering at him, right now, every bit as moodily as he’s ever done in character as a bad-ass bounty hunter who loves ’em, leaves ’em and delivers ’em hog-tied to the forces of the law.

Caspar has watched a lot of the show. Even lately, he hasn’t given up the habit, and habit seems about the right word for it. He wouldn’t admit to being addicted, even now, perhaps. But whether he’s working the appropriate number of steps or not, he’s not going to risk the shakes and the jonesing that missing an episode seems to bring on.

Anyway. So that covers half of the possible reasons why Mack’s glowering at him like he’s a porridge-stealing thief. And the other is that Sam’s dumb-ass scheme has a root of truth and utility to it. And that it’s maybe working, too.

Still, Caspar has his principles, and his deeply held, deeply rooted beliefs. He doesn’t believe in manipulating people. (He doesn’t believe in behaving like some dumb-ass heroine who heaves her bosom in a scanty bodice). On the other hand, here’s Mack. Looking frankly too hot to be legally loose, and making eye contact with Caspar that’s searing enough to cook a steak like a laser at a distance of fifty yards.

He does have his principles. He does, though he struggles to pull them up from the depths of his subconscious right now, to make himself do the moral and the upright and the not idiotically asinine and fatuously ‘romantic’ thing. He’s going to pull himself up off Sam’s knee, the great fat-head, and have a pleasant apologetic little chit-chat with Mack and get the hell out of here…

Right about never. Even though he’s got a grip on the arms of the chair, is right about ready to go with that plan and put it into action, he never does, because the will to get it done dies in him, has his arms going lax and his will to get the hell off Sam’s muscular and relatively comfortable thighs dying in him too.

It’s not just Mack who’s seen them, up close, that’s the thing. Over on the other side of the studio – and looking to be pontificating to a little huddle of admiring acolytes, or as if he has been up until that moment – is Adam. (Adam, of course. Probably driving Sara crazy, wherever she is right now. And plenty of other folks, allegedly.)

But Adam is arrested mid-lecture, as his eyes fix on them. On Sam, and on Caspar, and on Mack. Maybe on Mack most of all. And that’s all it takes. He springs into action, and he’s heading towards them without breaking into a run. Without quite breaking into a run, but it’s a damn close-run thing. (Not everything is wireless in this modern age, turns out. The set is still littered with cables and wires and god-knows-what, Caspar certainly doesn’t despite his less specialised engineering background. Adam might break his neck. Caspar’s heart bleeds.)

Yeah, Adam is worried, he can tell. And Caspar feels a smug, warm little coil of satisfaction burn up in his gut and heat it through.

It’s very wrong, he knows it’s very wrong, and it’s shameful, that he lets it affect his actions. But, on the other hand, fuck it. Adam is awful, and Caspar can’t quite get past his thing for Mack, and…

Maybe he’s a dumb-ass rom-com heroine after all. In any case he stops trying to get out of Sam’s grasp, and settles in quite comfortably. Everyone else can see the collision waiting to happen, too. There’s an indrawn breath from Cara’s direction, and slight snickers from the two other cast guys, DeLontyne and Merrian. And the general vibe about them, and everyone else in the immediate vicinity, is one that suggests a widespread desire for popcorn, and maybe three-dee, the better to enhance their viewing pleasure in the imminent spectacle. Yeah, it’s a show, in itself, and everyone’s settling down to enjoy it.

And it only takes moments, but those moments seem to expand long enough that Caspar feels, open-mouthed and gaping and with a tight expanding feeling in his chest cavity, as if Adam might never actually arrive on this side of the studio. But it’s illusory, and he does, and then suddenly there he is.

© 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.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 44 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Download complete ebook for FREE! at https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8PwO

Cupcake Kissin’ 44 – Alex Ankarr

Sam’s dragging him somewhere, though, not just leaving it at a rib-crushing bear-hug and a little bit of a grope, a quick abrading of Caspar’s chin as he rubs his own furrier version over Caspar’s face. (He does still run through all of that, though, unabashed by his current non-Caspar’s-boyfriend status. For an initially shy guy he has very few inhibitions once he gets to know someone.) ‘Where are we going?’ Caspar asks, and he’s resisting a little bit. But Sam just has the edge of him in musculature and determination, and they go where he wants to go.

‘Come on, be social, don’t be a miserable pain in the ass like – some people we know!’ Sam says cheerfully. He doesn’t name names, but Caspar assumes on past form that he’s talking about Adam. He’s not thinking all that much when he’s dragged into the onset talent area, though. It’s where the cast members needed for the day’s upcoming scenes are lounging and chatting and not quite oblivious. Caspar knows about a third of them, by now, but –

‘Cara, DeLontyne, Merrian,’ Sam says by way of introduction, nodding his head as he makes some pretty damn sketchy introductions. There’s also the factor that he makes them as he’s sinking into the canvas ‘n’ timber chair beside them – yeah, Sam knows how to make himself at home all right – but no-one seems to mind. They don’t appear to mind, either, that he’s actually pulling – or, more accurately, yanking – Caspar onto his knee as he descends himself. (No-one asks Caspar if he minds or not, and certainly not Sam.)

Caspar has a feeling that this chair, which he’s sitting on by proxy – Sam on the chair, and his ass on Sam’s knee – is not the kind of chair that appropriately belongs to a star’s assistant’s assistant. Pretty damn sure, yes. But he doesn’t have a lot of time to think about it. He’s too busy being greeted by Cara (the bad-ass undercover agent tracking down Mack’s bounty hunter for his non-law-abiding ways – he knows her already), DeLontyne (the family patriarch who’s hired Mack – unknown) and Merrian (the sweet debutante who’s turning out to be a feisty handful and too much for even an experienced bounty-hunter to handle – unknown).

His brain should be working a lot better than it actually is, but he figures out who this chair that his ass-by-proxy is occupying belongs to, okay. Just a little late. Figures it out when someone leans over behind him, and says softly – maybe dangerously – in his ear, ‘Who’s been sitting in my chair, honey?’

Yeah, it’s Mack’s chair. And Mack is onset. And, no doubt, out of sight of Caspar’s previous eyeline, there’s a piece of paper with Mack’s name on stuck on the canvas back. God damn, but he should definitely have been on to that one.

Caspar, though, is old enough to be up to all the tricks, and to keep his wits about him, when he’s confronted by a flirty friend when he’s overstepped his mark. He supposes. At least, he manages to come back with a somewhat relevant response. ‘I don’t know, Pappa Bear, but I haven’t been anywhere near your porridge, I’ll swear to God.’

And then he hears the thin tinny echo of that reverberating around his head. And he asks himself whether it was in fact a response of the utmost wisdom? Or if flirting with Mack again (again, his little internal voice tuts at him, flirting with Mack again, oh hell) might be not the smartest thing, a little bit of folly that could lead him down a bad road.

And as Mack circles around them, and the rest of the assembled cast members snigger and catcall responses that taunt at the both of them (and Sam too), Caspar knows at least one thing. He knows that this – sitting on Sam’s knee, with Mack right here, when Sam has already been musing on the notion of making Mack ‘jealous’ as a good idea, as something that might shake up the situation and have something useful fall out… That’s not going to be a good thing.

No matter what the result might be, Caspar doesn’t believe that that kind of behaviour is ever any kind of good idea. He has a deep rooted objection and dislike of Machiavellian machinations and deep plots of convoluted evil, of trying to get people to behave in a particular way by doing dumb things like pretend to feel and act in ways you don’t really feel and don’t want to act.

He doesn’t live in a romantic comedy. He refuses to live in a romantic comedy.

And so he gives a lurch, because he intends to pull himself up off of Sam’s lap, which is a place where he definitely does not belong. (Because he’s no longer dating Sam, whether or not that is a matter of public knowledge, or not. And it will also take him up out of Mack’s chair, where he also definitely has no claim to lever his ass in and make himself so at home. Nor has Sam, for that matter. But Sam doesn’t seem to trouble himself over it, and seems quite at home just the same.)

But the lurch doesn’t take him anywhere, or nowhere substantive, or not immediately in any case. Because, yes, Sam does have slightly the edge on him in burliness and muscle. (Not that either of them are exactly hard-bodied and muscle-bound, not like Mack at all.) And he makes quite plain the fact that he’s not intending to co-operate at all, whatsoever.

So Caspar could get up, if he wanted to. Just as long as he’s prepared to have a public, more than slightly embarrassing tussle about it, that’s all. That’s the price that he would be obliged to pay, the toll that Sam is going to extract for any failure to play along.

And anyway, as he gives a very, very discreet push, against Sam’s arm around his waist, Caspar looks up. It’s just as Mack rounds the chair, and comes to rest right in front of them, and he folds his arms, right there, as he comes to rest and looks at them. Well, more accurately, he looks at Caspar, and he looks sober.

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 42 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 42 – Alex Ankarr

That glint in Sam’s eyes does not bode well, though. Not well at all, for Caspar. ‘Yeah? Knew it. Called it. Well, Sara did, but she’s my reporting supervisor so I come right under her.’ (There’s a little additional gleam in his eyes as he says this, and Caspar takes it under advisement, to think about and consider later. He’s much too busy with his own apprehension right this minute.) He’s right to be apprehensive, because Sam is no way finished, no how. ‘Knew he was into you. Talks about you too much, right? We’ve got the rest of the crew making trips to the bakery all hours, every chance they get. Which is a belly laugh considering you’re hardly there lately, but they keep trying. Not like me and Sara are complaining, because normally we’d be the ones copping the job, having to trek out for god-damn macchiato and caramel choc and every other damn thing everyone else wants. You know how damn sick I am of the sight of cupcakes? No disrespect, man.’ He strokes at his handsomely furry chin, and his agreeable light eyes twinkle at Caspar.

‘Don’t diss the cupcakes,’ Caspar warns him, but it sounds absent and automatic, because it is. He knows that’s not the end of it.

That isn’t the end of it. He has a nasty feeling it’s only the beginning, when Sam leans in to him a little, and hisses out, grinning, ‘He likes you. And you – I can tell – like him. So he needs a little prod to commit, to court you properly? To take you seriously instead of just jonesing for your ass? How about I give you a little help there? Well, me and Sara,’ he adds, in the voice of one wanting to be completely fair and honest about his intentions. ‘Yeah, me and Sara.’ And Caspar groans. He feels pretty much as if everything he’d ever feared is just about to descend upon him.

And it all began by simply inheriting an innocent little cupcake business. Damn Aunt Gertie.

***

It isn’t as if he agrees to Sam’s vague, nebulous, nefarious scheming – quite the reverse. (Sam, his charming, surprising, unscrupulous non-boyfriend. How innocent and pleasant he had seemed, to begin with. Trouble is, he actually is. As well as everything else that he turns out to be, that’s the misfortune.) His admonitions and refusals and warnings are explicitly clear at the time – may even involve a fair bit of chest-poking and hissing and threats of consequences if Sam does anything whatsoever to further his declared and dubious ends.

But it kind of turns out that he doesn’t need to. Or maybe it turns out that way. Caspar finds it hard to decide.

He gets up in the morning and things are kind of normal. A two-hour shift at the bakery prepping the bread and cake-mix is ahead. (He’s working shorter and shorter hours behind the counter or on bakery shift generally, which is covered, it turns out, in the terms of his bequest, when he’s working on a project for a client.) There are text messages on his phone from Sara, but lately there are always text messages on his phone from Sara. There are also text messages – a couple – from Mack. For which much the same goes, but in tone they are altogether different. (Sara’s – friendly, peremptory, and largely business related. When personal, they do mention Mack, but largely in order to complain of him. Mack’s mention business only to refer to queries originating from Caspar. And then they veer off, with darkly vague allusions to regrets and non-specific enquiries about how Caspar is, exactly. Caspar wonders how rough he’s feeling, after the indulgence yesterday. He doesn’t feel too great himself).

There’s also a reference to ‘hoping he likes them.’ Caspar wonders if Mack is always so cryptic – as his texts often are – or if it’s specifically something about his communications with Caspar. Caspar shakes his head, and decides they’ll deal with it when he calls Mack. Once he’s at work. After he’s had breakfast.

So he’s scrambling eggs when he gets beeped by the concierge to see if he wants to let a delivery guy up, with a package. The concierge seems mildly amused.

It’s flowers, when it arrives, and it’s no mean amount of them either. Some sort of lilies, living rather than cut, and dwarfing the guy and making his path unclear, his feet unsteady. Caspar figures he’s having a rough start to the day, and tips him to a reasonable degree.

And when he gets them perched on his kitchen work surface, brushing into everything and knocking a couple of condiment cellars over, he has a feeling. The feeling proves completely correct, because yes, the note is from Mack. ‘I’m sorry and don’t be mad,’ it reads. ‘You still like me, right? Yeah, you totally still like me.’

No signature, but that is but definitely Mack’s handwriting, Caspar knows it by now from notes left in his apartment regarding all of the party arrangements. Caspar grins to himself, and if he had to be honest about it with anyone, he’d admit that he feels a little bit warm about Mack bothering to make the gesture. (Small as it is, for a loaded famous guy who in fact was completely out of line, and sure enough really should apologise to Caspar a little more formally than that. Yeah, yeah, Caspar kissed him back and all of that – under pressure of surprise and, well, lethal attractiveness. But he was still the kissee, not the kisser. And Mack was the one really misbehaving. Mack is the one with an Adam. Caspar doesn’t even really have a Sam, not at this point. Not except as a buddy, and perhaps, he feels uneasily, as an uninvited partner in crime.)

Sam is still that much, at least, though. Which is perhaps why Caspar is on the phone to him, later the same afternoon, trying to calm him down and shut him up. ‘Flowers,’ Sam is mumbling, because he has passed the screeching and laughing stage a few minutes ago. ‘He sent you flowers. Oh our dear deluded boss-man, what is he up to?’

© 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.