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Cupcake Kissin’ 32 – Alex Ankarr
‘There’s going to be a lot of arrangements and deliveries and… stuff, to do about this,’ Mack says, and lets that hang in the air. Pretty much as if he’s expecting Caspar to pick it up, but Caspar doesn’t know exactly where Mack is going with it.
‘Yeah,’ he agrees, because what else is he going to say? ‘There will.’ And he opens his mouth for further comment, but? What?
It prods Mack into further speech, and he plays with a fork with his long, flexible fingers, before he says, ‘It’ll mean being around here a lot of the time.’ And from looking down at his cleaned plate, he looks up at Caspar, through lashes that shouldn’t even belong to a guy. Not without a make-up artist on hand. ‘But if you don’t feel like you really want to do that, it would be okay if you had someone else from Honey Bunny’s do it instead.’ He pauses. ‘I know your aunt would normally do it, but it’s okay. If you prefer.’
And Caspar has been schooled, at some length, about how liaising on a special project is the owner/manager of Honey Bunny’s responsibility, and part of his dues in his two-year apprenticeship. He knows that he can’t accept the offer – the attempt to relieve any awkwardness between them – not even if he wants to.
But in any case, he doesn’t want to. Mack has apologised, and they’ve brushed it under the carpet, and they’ll be fine. ‘It’s no big deal,’ he says, and smiles, even though he feels a little twist. ‘You don’t mind having me around and underfoot for a while, right?’ he asks.
And Mack dives for the bowl, quicker than his own hands can manage it, and steals the last macaroon out of there, grins as he breaks it in half and offers a half to Caspar. ‘No. I’m good with that. I like you.’
Well, Caspar knows that already. All the flirting, and whatnot. It’s always still nice to hear, though. His phone is lying on the table – it was uncomfortable with the shape of his pants pockets, so that he was almost sitting on it through the noodles and pork and hot soup, so he took it out. Now Mack grabs that, too, macaroon in one hand and phone in the other.
It’s not as if Caspar wants to stop him. He just looks, quizzical. ‘Who are you calling, man?’ he asks, amiable. They’ve had a couple of glasses of wine each, and it’s taken some of the edge off now.
And he gets a sly smile for that, as Mack begins keying in. ‘You’re going to need my number,’ he explains. ‘With all the arrangements, and last-minute changes, and questions, and everything. You know.’
Caspar does know, it’s true. It’s a little bit disturbing. He has Mack’s number, now – and Mack has his, sending a text off to his own phone, the one he was arguing with the detested Adam on earlier. At least, he has his number in one way.
It’s terrible, the project is terrible, and everything about his apprenticeship in being a tycoon is a relief in comparison. It’s a relief when half of his relatives decide to have a communal family visit to L.A., and of course their favourite daily destination is Honey Bunny’s. (And of course that is also great for business – because nepotism and family may be all very well, but business is business, and none of them get more than one free cookie.) It’s still pretty terrible, and yet better than the project, still a relief, when Mayhewlinson takes it into his head to start visiting every Saturday morning, and often brings his wife or a couple of the law firm partners too. All Caspar had wanted when giving him a call was to check up about the bequest specifications! Not to tout for bakery business!
It’s not much of a relief immediately after his very strange dinner and business discussion with Mack, when Sara falls upon him like a ravening wolf. Well, to say immediately – she leaves it until the next afternoon. But when she makes her appearance, she launches herself into the bakery like a guided missile on a revenge mission. What Caspar means to say is, she’s not subtle about not being pleased. ‘Come on,’ she announces, not bothering with such subtleties as ‘hello’ or ‘nice day’ or ‘lovely to see you’. No, she only glowers around at all present – that’s Horace, and Sandy, and Marvin, besides Caspar. It’s a packed day at the bakery today, but Marvin is off for his day at college soon, and Sandy is supposed to be back working on the brioches anyway. But when there’s any hint of glamour, even at second-hand, you can’t keep Sandy out of the front of the shop. ‘We need to talk. Take off that ridiculous hair – thing, and all the pink. Come out and walk with me.’
Caspar is not at all inclined to accede to this request, and especially given just how uncivilly it’s made. But of course, Sara has tricks up her sleeve, and even at this point in their acquaintance, he’s learning that it’s best never to cross her. Her trick regarding this matter is to just shrug, and announce in a loud voice – loud enough for Horace, and Sandy, and Marvin, and the four customers who walked into the shop behind her to hear – ‘Well, okay. It’s about Mack! You see, where I think you went wrong is–’
And that’s quite enough. It works extremely well as a tactic, in that Caspar simply can’t get out from behind the bakery counter fast enough to suit him, and is hustling Sara out before he or she well know what’s going on. He rips his hairnet off as they go, and at least beneath his pink overall – also swiftly removed – he has a plain white shirt. It may be chilly out, but that’s some way better than appearing in public in the gaudiest pink, even if he’s freezing his nipples off.
© 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.