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Cupcake Kissin’ 23 – Alex Ankarr
And Caspar very much doesn’t want that. Well, kind of in the way that he actually sort of does want it, with an excited lurch in his innards and a high-pitched hum in his head, the thrum of giddiness that goes all through him at the simple thought of spending so much time with Mack.
And that’s the trouble, of course, the very thing that makes it so very much not at all a good idea. But that doesn’t mean he can turn it down out of hand. For one thing, it’s liable to be a very good sum of cash money for the business, should they take the job on. And for another, he simply hasn’t the authority – yet – to refuse any kind of business offer out of hand, without consulting with Honey Bunny management and possibly Mr Mayhewlinson and all the pack of lawyers too.
So he has no option, and he waves them off at the door of the bakery after sharing assurances that the matter will be properly discussed and he’ll be getting back to Sara about it with all possible due speed. He waves ’em off, but that’s not the last he sees of them, or at least not of Sam. Who hurries back, like he forgot something. And then just stands there in front of Caspar, where Caspar had been just about to shut the bakery door, and hums and haws and doesn’t appear to have anything in particular to say.
Well, Caspar can go with a little social awkwardness, and smiles and asks, ‘Anything I can help you with, Sam?’ He’s naturally helpful, and Sam just has that kind of face that makes you want to pet him and find him snacks. Over on the other side of the street, Sara is waiting for him, with a puzzled and slightly impatient look, tapping the toe of her funky purple boots.
Sam hesitates, just for that one crucial moment. Then he gives a bright and hopeful smile. ‘There’s a season of thirties’ gangster movies on, at the little art-house place next to my apartment, starting Thursday. Ah, maybe you’d like to go see the first one?’
It’s a simple thing, a simple date. It would be the first one he’s had in this town, the first one since giving up his plans for engineering and moving city and country, from having his life turned around and right upside down. Well, so what. Caspar has no reason to turn a nice guy down for a date. What else is he doing, Thursday nights? He’s pretty sure he can forgo the latest episode of Mack’s soap. What, is he going to miss out on a real-life date with a real, live nice guy, for the sake of staying home, eating corn snacks and obsessing about a celebrity he has about half of a passing acquaintance with? Uh-huh, no way. That way lies extreme weight-gain, sad-sack obsessing and a social life conducted entirely online, Caspar thinks apprehensively.
‘Sounds good,’ he says, and smiles sweetly, which seems to please Sam a lot. ‘Meet you there? What time is it on?’
‘I’ll pick you up,’ Sam promises, hesitates a moment like you do, when a kiss is way too early and a handshake would be overdoing it. And he bounds across the street back to Sara.
Weeeellll, Caspar thinks. Interesting developments, these surely are. He has a new trade, he’s a business owner, a new apartment in a new town. And now he’s dating. Very interesting.
Of course, though, the sun can’t shine continuously upon him. All the bakery senior staff, and the lawyers into the bargain, are unanimous. Catering large parties, however infrequent, constitutes a semi-regular and recognised part of the business, it seems, a minor detail which had escaped him until this point. It is, conclusively, included in a specific clause in his bequest – that anything that is normally included in the course of business of the bakery shall continue in the same manner as during the life of Aunt Gertie, without exception, in order for the terms of the bequest to be met.
It’s not interpretable in any way that’s favourable to Caspar’s comfort and peace of mind. Especially when his aunt was, apparently, invariably the main – the sole – liaison in such matters, spending three-quarters of her time put in at the bakery on the customer’s premises, when they had such a special project under way.
Oh, damn it, Caspar thinks. But at least most of the time, he’ll no doubt be actually liaising with Sara. Mack will obviously be too busy to take on the kind of tasks that people hire an assistant for in the first place. Why hire a dog and bark yourself? Maybe Mack will be underfoot some of the time, now and then, but Caspar will be able to deal with that. It’ll be quite nice, actually. There’ll be a pretty visual to satisfy his aesthetic sense, without any disturbing excitement and anxiety. Mack is spoken for (by the creepy, frankly detestable Adam). And it looks like Caspar himself might actually have dating prospects. He can calm down and get realistic about that whole issue.
He likes Mack, apart from any more heated feelings he might have been cherishing. He can have the odd pleasant chit-chat with him, and not get stupidly over-excited about it.
It’ll work out fine.
© 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.