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Cupcake Kissin’ 26 – Alex Ankarr
Caspar isn’t really shy, much, at all. Not that much of a social animal, no, but he’s never been shy or socially awkward. There’s something about this that he doesn’t quite know how to take, though. It’s more the look that goes along with the words, perhaps, than the words themselves. It’s sideways, sidelong. He can’t absolutely swear that… that it doesn’t contain a hint of reproach.
Is he being flirted with?
It’s very uncomfortable, the thought, and he immediately tries to put it aside. One, because it’s probably nothing more than a very embarrassingly conceited fancy, the kind of thing that would make you flush up enough to sweat if you told anyone about it while drunk, and they mocked you for it when you were sober. He doesn’t want to be that moderately attractive, fiercely vain person who thinks phenomenally hot people have crushes on them, or are attracted to them, or are flirting with them. At all. He doesn’t want to be that, at all, because he’s already acquainted with a few folks like that, of his acquaintance. And they are the most crushingly ridiculous, boring, cringeingly dislikeable people he knows.
And also, two. He puts it aside more firmly, because imagine if it was true. If it was true, then he would have Mack – who has a significant other – hitting on him. And if he’s not exactly on exclusive terms with Sam yet, or even dating intensively, particularly, he is, still, at least dating. It would be a very bad thing, if Mack was flirting with him. Especially if he was flirting with him under the impression that hey, Mack’s a big deal, right? He’s a big star. Who has maybe noticed that Caspar is just, slightly, a little bit gone on him. And is Mack maybe under the impression that that means Caspar would be willing to give it up at a moment’s notice, if Mack should choose to crook his little finger? (Oh dear. Caspar is pretty much aware that sudden alarm has possibly sent his mental narrator off into a fit of semi-hysteria and purple prose. But he thinks it’s at least part-way justified.)
But he does wonder if Mack has noticed, and hopes a lot that he hasn’t. And that if, worst case, he has, then he’s not the sort of guy who’s going to try to take advantage of that. Because Caspar isn’t that sort of guy. (And he doesn’t mean the sort of guy who hooks up casually with ferociously attractive TV stars, on the basis of the most minimal acquaintance. Because he thinks he might very well be that kind of guy, and would have rather liked the opportunity to find out. Although he thinks he would find it hard to be as casual as all that, when he really likes someone.
But he does mean he’s not the sort of guy who hooks up with someone who’s already fixed up with a partner, because that, that he doesn’t do. And it wouldn’t even matter if Mack had some arrangement with a complaisant Adam, and was totally that kind of guy. Because Caspar isn’t, and that’s that. At least, he hopes he isn’t. He doesn’t really want to be.)
But anyway. He’s doing so much thinking, way too much thinking, and he’s possibly drooling and staring vacantly at Mack while doing so, while Mack waits patiently for an answer. As discreetly as he can manage, he brushes the back of his hand against his mouth. And he flicks his eyes over Mack to see if there’s an expression of vacant horror there at the zoned-out halfwit lookalike Caspar has sent in place of himself.
But no, Mack doesn’t look horrified, and Caspar isn’t drooling. He is watching the flick of Caspar’s hand over his mouth, though, and Caspar tries to pass it off quickly with a cough, as if that’s what it’s all about. ‘I have been quite busy,’ he manages, once he’s struggled to remember what exactly Mack has been saying. ‘There’s a lot to do with the… bakery, and I’m at college, and… Are you sure you don’t want to get right down to business?’ He makes another, questioning, abortive move as if to pick up his briefcase again, and Mack smiles slightly.
‘If only,’ he says. And Caspar doesn’t know exactly how to take that. Because he knows at least one way he could take it, and that’s going to lead to no good thing here. A walk of shame, or waking up in bed with a whole lot of regrets and a headache like no other, he thinks. He wonders just how careful he’s going to need to be. This guy belongs to awful Adam, after all. And though Caspar might still have the odd daydream about poaching Mack away from that creepy asshole, a daydream is what he firmly intends it to remain. He’s no-one’s bit on the side. (However happy it might make him to put one over on Adam, if the guy was all unknowing. But no, he’s the bigger person, he convinces himself. He’s better than that.)
It’s a relief, though, that Mack’s phone rings right that minute. ‘Sorry about this,’ he says, grimacing at Caspar. ‘Give me a minute, huh?’ And he strolls out towards the balcony, goes out into the air and light. But not before Caspar hears him greet his caller, and the, ‘Hey, babe,’ he starts off with tells Caspar everything that he feels he needs to know.
Caspar takes up his briefcase and gets tablet and paperwork out anyway, while Mack is out by the open balcony doors, having what looks to be a slightly heated conversation. Better to be prepared. And it takes his mind off what is probably a completely unfounded set of speculations, that he’d be better off never having entertained. Ridiculous, they are. Absolutely ridiculous.
That’s the plan, at least. But it’s foiled when the apartment inner door clicks at the lock, and Caspar’s head whips around to check for intruders. It’s Sara, though.
She grins at him, and scans around, clocks Mack out on the balcony, talking animatedly into his phone with a displeased expression, and gesturing at nothing, at the L.A. traffic down below for all that Adam is going to know about it. ‘I won’t disturb him,’ she says, pattering over to Caspar’s side and cosying up beside him, slipping in quick to give him a kiss on the cheek, then leaping up again. That’s Sara. She’s pretty much irrepressible, and he’s quickly getting used to it. ‘Left my lipstick and four-hour day-cream behind in the bathroom,’ she explains. ‘My girlfriend uses the most appalling cheap crappy drug-store stuff, I can’t possibly do without it overnight.’ And she disappears for a couple of minutes, then reappears clutching some very high-end looking cosmetics and jars. ‘Thank God,’ she continues, as if there’s been no gap at all in their conversation, and comes over again to sit by him, leaning up with familiar pleasantness, as if she were an old buddy, not a recent acquaintance. Caspar doesn’t mind at all. He likes Sara.
© 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.