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Cupcake Kissin’ 18 – Alex Ankarr
But then, according to Sandy, Mack had said, ‘Well, tell him I said hi!’ on getting the news that Caspar was absent for the day. Which would be kind of cool. If true. And then had hung around for a bit, longer than he ever usually did after getting his order filled. (Quickly. Always super-quick service for a celebrity! The Honey Bunny staff were only human, after all.) And had mentioned something about wondering how long Caspar would be gone for, and what day his next shift was.
Now, Caspar is pretty resolute in insisting to himself that he simply doesn’t believe that. Because if he does let himself believe that – and it’s certainly a tempting, pretty bit of fabrication and exaggeration on Sandy’s part – then he’ll just reliably send himself around the twist thinking and speculating about it, until the next time he’s maybe lucky enough to bump into the guy. Or maybe just forever. Yes, he thinks, probably forever.
So, as it turns out, it’s lucky that Caspar doesn’t allow himself to get too excited about the whole business of, oh, Mack knowing and remembering his name, and mentioning him in casual conversation. As it happens, Mack’s next personal stop-off at the bakery, rather than just sending Sara off on her usual errand, is on a day when Caspar is on rota. (And he just can’t help getting a little excited, his heart racing a bit, when he’s packing up a customer’s cakes and sees Mack’s smiling face, as he strides confidently up to the door).
It’s pretty ridiculous that he feels a little bit shy. It’s even more ridiculous that his heart sinks, when another man follows close on behind Mack, into the shop. Close enough to come to rest right up behind him, when Mack leans on the counter and smiles right at Caspar, as Caspar bids farewell to his current customer. Close enough that his body is in full contact with Mack’s back, his legs, his ass. (His spectacular ass, Caspar might add. He’s perused pretty much every picture available of Mack that’s posted on the internet, and he feels that he can say that with some authority.) And he rests a hand on Mack’s shoulder, and smiles in close at him, all his attention on the celebrity. The staff of the bakery are clearly not worth so much as a glance from him.
Caspar doesn’t like him for some reason. It’s hard to define why, because he looks inoffensive enough. About the same height as Mack (which makes him about three inches taller than Caspar), with dark hair, nondescript eyes, a rather thin narrow-eyed face. Which is, Caspar is forced to admit if he’s going to be strictly accurate, still rather handsome, and perhaps rather aristocratic looking. If he really has to be unnecessarily accurate, that is. But there’s something about it that he instinctively doesn’t like. He doesn’t like the smirk on that narrow face.
He doesn’t like the way this guy is plastered all over Mack, so familiarly.
And there’s something about Mack’s expression that suggests to Caspar that Mack isn’t entirely comfortable with it either. But he seems chipper enough, friendly and relaxed, as he looks into Caspar’s eyes, smiling brightly. Very beautifully, in fact. ‘Hey, where have you been? I was thinking you’d got lost, man, all the times I’ve been in here and just managed to miss you! You ask Sandy here,’ and here he nods at Sandy. She’s taken up with another customer, picking out a Cherry Cheerful, and it’s clearly torture for her. She has to be longing to spring away and leap to Caspar’s side, to hang around his neck and chatter away at Mack. The regular working day must be just so inconvenient for her, Caspar muses. It gets in the way of her social life so horribly.
‘Not been avoiding me, have you?’ he asks. Which is kind of odd. Because there’s no way in all of this world that the divine Mack Langot, sexiest soap star in all of the land, could be even a little insecure. Not even a little. No way. Caspar is misinterpreting.
And he casts a look up, from where he’s already dived under the counter for Mack’s practically-traditional caramel-dark cupcake. Partly because he knows that, in that particular pose, his eyelashes are very becoming, and look amazingly long over his china-blue eyes. (One thing he’s always been confident of, his eyes, even though he has his uncertainties about the rest of the package. People have commented on them so very, very often, that he can’t very well but know that they’re attractive.) He’s aware, too, of Sandy diving around behind him tinkering with the milk steamer, getting the all-important macchiato ready in a brief lull in their customerage. ‘Why on earth would I do that?’ he asks, very innocent. ‘You must know perfectly well that this whole place looks forward to every time you put your head around the door, hangs on your every word.’
He has also been told on many an occasion, that he has a very cheeky smile, when he chooses. It gets him one back that’s just as bright, from Mack. And it also get him a very close, narrow, unsmiling look from his companion. Who proceeds to mutter in Mack’s ear, ‘Okay, baby. When you’re done flirting with the service staff, can we get the heck out of here? Because I’m hungry, and we’ve got more important things to do. You’re going to be late if we don’t get out of here!’
Caspar carries on just as if he hasn’t heard. Because what else can you do, when you’re working in customer service? Even if you’re the manager (technically). When you’re got a rude customer, if they’re not actually throwing around slurs or drunk or breaking things, then you suck it up and carry on. That’s doing business, and that’s how you stay in the black and make a living.
There is the odd customer, though, that Caspar would just like to leap over the counter at and garotte. Not that he’s saying, even to himself, that this is one of them. Not that he’s saying it. He can feel his cheeks burning, because no-one can listen to that kind of crap and not feel humiliated and angry. If he could refuse service to the asshole, then he would. But he doesn’t really think that being a sneering ass would be considered sufficient grounds, by Sophia or the rest of the guys, to do that. They’re too used to it, just now and again. It would cut into the profit margin.
© 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.