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Cupcake Kissin’ 24 – Alex Ankarr
That isn’t how it works out at all. True, he sorts out a whole lot of paperwork and arrangements for the affair with Sara over the phone, at first. (Oh, hell, it’s a stupendous undertaking. He would never have imagined that it was the kind of thing that Honey Bunny’s would ever take on. The very range of the list of requirements involved is… Well, apparently it’s par for the course, and none of the other Honey Bunny’s staff seem to be the least fazed by it. So he guesses it’s all going to be fine. Eventually. When he’s taken on enough temps and scheduled and time-lined and hired all the wait-staff that a five-star restaurant would ever need.)
But it can’t all be done long-distance, apparently. Within the week Sara is pressing for a time for him to go over and look around the place, and Sophia and Millie are merely puzzled when he tries to delegate the task. Because Aunt Gertie always used to take that responsibility, it seems, and it’s his job.
‘What can I bribe you with?’ he asks Sophia, finally. ‘I’ll take any shifts you like! Schedule me for the middle of the night, schedule me for the holidays, every early morning doing the rye sourdough if you like! Anything!’ (He’s tired and cranky.)
But Sophia only laughs at him. ‘Okay. I will schedule you for all of those things. Because,’ she says, rapping him round the head quite affectionately, ‘I do the scheduling anyhow. I have the power of the spreadsheet, Caspar! But this is still your job, honey. Have fun! Why wouldn’t you want to hang out with a TV star anyhow?’
Well, why wouldn’t he, fair enough. He can’t really say, at this point. Maybe he still isn’t as blasé about the whole thing as he’d quite like to be. (He’s dating Sam, they’re at week two now. It’s going well. It’s fine. He likes Sam a lot. He… can’t get that excited about it. And Sam seems a little distracted himself, sometimes, to be frank. But he’s a good guy, and very excitable about film, and they’ve kissed. Twice. Or is it three times? Caspar is forgetting already. He forgot almost immediately after the first time. Also he doesn’t care for beard burn, but who is he to say anything, it’s not his chin.)
Usually – well, twice – he sees Sam on a Thursday evening, so they can check out that film season, which is pretty cool thus far. But it’s no go for the third Thursday, and that at the last minute, because Sara decides they absolutely have to meet up. And to meet up, more specifically, at Mack Langot’s apartment. (Which totally makes sense. It’s not as if he’s not saying it makes sense. It’s just that… Okay, he can do this. It’ll probably be fun. Yeah, fun.)
Oh, hell. If he’s honest he’s a little bit excited. And when Thursday evening springs itself upon him, he’s not going to lie to himself and claim that he’s anything other than amped, when he rolls up at Langot’s (beautiful, pretty much palatial) apartment block. The concierge sends him up, buzzes him in, and Sara’s already waiting for him.
She’s not the only one, that’s the thing, though. Not that he realises that quite immediately. In the front door, he’s too busy taking a delighted, covert look around the place to quite realise. (Lots of white, lots of light and lights, some modern art. It’s plush and gorgeous and expensive.) Too busy, spotting Sara on the massive white sofa in the middle of the communal seating area, after she calls out to him as he stands in the middle of the reception section, gawping. He’s all the way over, and scooting in to sit beside her, grinning and quite excited, before he gets the least idea through his thick noggin.
He gets an idea, as Sara reaches and pats his knee, yanks at a lock of his hair with an alarming level of familiarity. (They’re getting pally, it’s true. But mostly, Sara’s just out of control, permanently in the most full effect.) The idea he gets is mostly due to the call that rings out from the kitchen, a softly deep masculine voice, matter-of-fact and friendly. ‘Caspar, hey! You’re not driving, right? You want coffee, or a beer?’
Caspar does feel a little electric shock, all the way over his skin, and it’s pretty ridiculous because this is Mack’s apartment. What could be less surprising than actually finding Mack here? So he lets his brain ring and halt and stutter for a moment, and then he reins it in pretty damn ruthlessly. ‘A coffee would be great,’ he calls back, steadfastly giving no more than a glance towards Mack (oh hell! Mack!) in the open-plan kitchen area of the loft space, fixing his attention with a slightly glassy grin upon Sara. She’s fixing her eyebrows in a little mirror, and utterly oblivious.
And all of that, all of it, would be fine fine fine. He could adjust, get his head around it, play it cool and get through his evening with Sara, his intensive business discussions, for however long it lasts. Also for however long Mack decides to hang around with them, before probably heading out for the evening. Because the guy’s got to have better things to do, right?
Except, what is Sara up to? She’s giving Caspar a cheeky little smile, that’s the essence of what she’s up to. And reaching up to pat his knee, as she gets up, grabs her bag and… ‘Sara?’ he asks, and maybe his voice is a little bit quavery. ‘Ah, we’re heading out? Okay,’ he says, rapidly adjusting, and scrambles for the back-pack he brought with him, to follow her out – fast – to whatever fast-food dinery or eaterie she has in mind, for their terrifically important discussions. Why drag him here in the first place, though?
He gets a hard hand pressing down on his shoulder as he attempts to join her in her sudden flight and exit, though. And she grins down at him, and he wonders if he’s giving off the vibe of a prey animal, wondering if it just hasn’t felt the crunch of its foot being caught in the trap quite yet. ‘No, hon,’ she says, and he’d be offended at the attempt at a soothing tone in her voice, if he wasn’t a little too busy quelling the surges of panic, traversing steadily through his churning gut. ‘I’m out of here, but you stick around. It’s Mack who’s going to be going through the arrangements, and he wants to hear all about the Honey Bunny plans for his special night. You two, you’ve got a whole lot to talk to each other about.’
© 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.