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Cupcake Kissin’ 22 – Alex Ankarr
With a wide and welcoming smile on his face, of course, and a glad-handing eager manner, as befits the young owner/manager of Honey Bunny’s. (However theoretical and unrespected, at this point. Little do they know the range and scope of his eventual dominion, his dark plans, his chattels and serfs, heh heh.)
‘Sara, always lovely to see you!’ he says, beaming, quite sincerely. As long as she doesn’t begin chatting on and on about Mack, he thinks privately, but that’s quite by the by. He’s up close, reaches out to shake her hand – since he’s got his owner-manager hat on, however metaphorically – and his eyes stray over to her companion. He’s mid-twenties, about, slightly bearded, slightly – very slightly – chubby, and pleasant-faced. No more than that, not greatly handsome, but there’s something immediately nice, likeable, about that face. Everyone would take to that face, anyone. It’s a face that grandmothers and toddlers and charming labradors would love. Caspar likes him straightaway, because it seems to be an involuntary thing. ‘And, er – ?’ he continues, raising an eyebrow, smiling at this agreeable kind of a guy, too.
‘This is Sam, Caspar,’ Sara says. ‘Sam, it’s Caspar, Honey Bunny’s owner. You know, Mack told you about him?’
Did he, Caspar thinks. Odd, that. He would rather have thought that if anyone was going to be giving this Sam the skinny on Caspar, it would more likely be Sara. Surely she has more time on her hands for that type of thing, and would be paying more attention?
But no matter, because he’s kind of busy with the meeting and the greeting. Sam’s handshake is pleasantly vigorous and brisk, and his eye contact is excellent, and the smile is definitely pleasing, if possibly a little bit beaverish. ‘Sam’s my assistant,’ Sara explains, which fuddles Caspar’s mind a little bit momentarily. An assistant to the show lead’s assistant? Well, that’s L.A. for you, he guesses.
‘As well as a really outstanding film student,’ Sara is going on to add, clapping Sam on the back, at which he gives her a slightly shy smile that is really pretty cute. ‘Caspar,’ she continues, turning to face Caspar again, ‘have you got a minute for us?’
And, of course, yeah. He has a minute. He’s not rushed off his feet for once, and he likes Sara anyway, and he thinks he’s going to like this Sam guy. But isn’t he already giving them a minute? Then the incomprehension is chased away off his face, because he realises that she means somewhere more private. Somewhere, where there’s no Sandy and Horace (and even Millie, surreptitiously leaning in from the back bakery) earwigging at them, while pretending to busy themselves with customers and set-piece cupcake displays. What can this be? What private business does Sara (and her pal) have with him?
Well, only one way to find out. He invites them, has them up to his office, and quietly asks Sandy to bring them all coffees. Interesting.
Well, perhaps more disconcerting, as it turns out. Five minutes later, they’re all sipping coffee – nice china cups, now, not to-go – in his slightly scruffy, haphazardly furnished office that is another bequest from Aunt Gertie – and Sara is outlining her proposal.
‘So,’ she continues, ‘your auntie did similar things a few times, I know, although not for us. It will have been before our time. The production company has only been patronising your fine establishment,’ and here she winks, ‘for a couple of years. Our loss! Well, what do you think, Caspar? Do you want me to have our guys draw up a contract?’
Caspar is a little bit at a loss, and he doesn’t mind admitting it – to himself. ‘Ah. I don’t honestly know, not just out of nowhere like that, Sara. What I mean to say is, well, I didn’t even know the business was up for catering events, and I’ll have to discuss it with Sophia, and Millie, and Laurence, and maybe even the lawyers. You see, in case there are any clauses or stipulations in my aunt’s will, about what we can take on business-wise for the next two years, while I serve out my probationary period.’ He blinks at her a little, feeling that he probably looks a little bit like a sleepy owl suddenly exposed to daylight. He’s a little bit aware that the Sam guy is watching him thoughtfully, from his seat in the second-best visitor chair.
His hesitant response doesn’t appear to faze Sara one bit, though. Not, in his limited experience, that she ever is fazed by much of anything, it would appear. So there’s that. She leans forward, every bit of her gleaming and beautiful and kempt and stylish. ‘But you’re not opposed to the idea in principle? You might be up for catering Mack’s next birthday bash? There’s plenty of time to prepare, a good six weeks. And I know some of the other staff have previous experience. Do you want to take some time to think about it? You have my number. Talk it over with your guys here, and give me a call this evening, yeah? I could have just called you about it, but I was passing by and it felt like a good time to pop in and run it past you,’ she says, perky, hair gleaming, eyes beaming. ‘And introduce you to Sam here, of course,’ she adds, indicating the bearded one with a jerk of her thumb-ringed thumb. ‘He’s heard a lot about you, so it seemed like the sooner the better!’
Yeah, that’s weird. Is he famous on that soap opera set, or something, Caspar wonders? Although the whole cast, and crew, not just Mack, do seem to get through an awful lot of cake and caffeine, judging by Sara’s orders sometimes. So maybe it makes a kind of sense.
He hesitates before he comes to an answer for her, deliberating about what exactly to say. Truth is, if Honey Bunny’s agree to cater a huge-ass party for Mack Langot, then he’s going to be seeing an awful lot more of the guy. (It’s not a surprise party, not as Sara has just been outlining it for him. More of a formal kind of affair, with Mack as much gifting his guests with a great evening, and perhaps some fancy gift-wrapped goody-bags, something pretty much expected of the star of the show.) Yeah, he’s liable to be seeing an awful lot of the guy, because hell, even if he isn’t quite up to the task of actually running Honey Bunny’s yet, he is at least in training for the position, he is at least nominally the business owner and the final signatory on any contractual agreements. He wouldn’t be able to avoid effectively hanging out with Mack, on a regular basis.
© 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.