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Cupcake Kissin’ 35 – Alex Ankarr
‘I just wanted a word with you,’ Adam drawls, looking away like there’s nothing here worth looking at, for him. ‘Make sure you weren’t hanging around more often than necessary, trying to spend extra time with Mack. I don’t see why you can’t send a member of staff to do everything necessary here, anyway. Since Mack tells me you actually own that little cupcake place.’ And he sniffs, as if a) he doesn’t quite believe it, since Caspar is clearly merely service staff material. And b) even if it’s so, it’s not especially impressive. Not to an important academic like Adam.
Caspar can feel that his mouth is hanging open, because this is pretty difficult to believe. (Adam is outdoing himself here.) He debates in that moment how to respond. He probably shouldn’t even bother to, should simply wait and say to Mack… Well, he doesn’t know exactly what he would say to Mack. Keep it neutral, he thinks. Don’t let him get to you.
‘I don’t think you need to worry,’ he says, after a pause. ‘I’m here to do a job. When the job’s done, I’ll be out of your hair.’ It sounds like a concession, and he regrets it, but too late now.
‘Oh,’ Adam says, with a nasty smile, still not quite looking at him, as if he might be tainted, ‘I wasn’t worried. I just wouldn’t want you to get your little feelings hurt. It’s easy for ordinary people to get excited about spending time with celebrities, exaggerate it in their heads to make it more than it is. When it’s really nothing at all. Mack won’t remember your name in six months.’
And it seems like that’s enough to satisfy him. He turns on his heel, with a satisfied swagger, and heads on out of the apartment, right out of the door, without a goodbye. Not that Caspar expects or indeed wants one, left standing open-mouthed looking after him. He can’t quite believe the rudeness: but then, he considers a bit, and remembers that it’s Adam he’s dealing with. Then it’s not quite as hard to believe.
He’s more annoyed, after a while, when he gets more philosophical about it, by the loss of time and the hindrance to the smooth running of the party project. It seems as if the guy has no consideration of the trouble and inconvenience he causes – to Mack, as well as Caspar – as long as he gets the opportunity to vent some spite and bile. Caspar shrugs to himself, clearing up his preparations and making the best detailed notes he can for the cutlery and food arrangements for himself, without the assistance he should have had. So much the worse for the asshole, to be an asshole like that.
He wonders whether to tell Mack anything about it, and decides against it. Maybe if he was a purely impartial bystander, if he didn’t previously have a bit of a crush on the guy. Previously! Well over now! And maybe if there hadn’t been that unsettling incident between them. But he could hardly claim to be impartial now. He frankly dislikes Adam, and it seems to be mutual. And the less he tries to get involved in Mack’s personal life, the better, probably. He decides to keep his head down, avoid Adam, pretend it never happened.
When he’s lying on a bed in a sunlit bedroom with Mack, the next afternoon, he thinks about that very sensible resolution. In fairness, he thinks, it’s not as if he could have avoided Mack, though. Not with Mack texting and ringing him about the party, as well as dropping in at the bakery. ‘It’s not as if I can really avoid you,’ he points out, apropos of nothing, and he thinks it’s a pretty reasonable observation.
How he gets there? The thing is, on this occasion Caspar completely can’t help it, he isn’t to blame. So he’s scheduled to bring over napkins and display cabinets, and measure up the music room for setting up the electricals and the magicians they’re hiring in? He’s already let both Sara and Mack know via text, and no-one is supposed to be home. Quick in-and-out job, it’s intended to be. He should be out of the place after getting things done, like a chicken with a fox behind it.
Except, after he’s let himself in and completed his tasks for the day, pottering around like an old geezer in flannel and a golf cardigan – (the joy! no pink!) he hears music coming from upstairs. He’s half-minded to leave it be – Mack is loaded as well as famous, after all. He can well afford to shell out for some unnecessarily inflated energy bills.
But, after all, no-one is supposed to be home. And Caspar is ecologically minded. (So he tells himself.) And after all, it could maybe be some nefarious dude breaking and entering (and robbing Mack blind), and also liking a musical soundtrack while he gets up to no good.
Caspar considers this possibility, and thinks it wise to arm himself, just in case. Possibly a club out of the set in the coat-cupboard isn’t the most effective armament, in case of assault. But he feels better with it than he’d feel with nothing at all. And considering the apartment’s habitual immaculate state is undisturbed – Mack has very good daily help – a burglary seems a little unlikely in any case.
But he still walks very carefully up the spiral stairs in the middle-left of the apartment, very quietly, and grasps the club over one shoulder. He gets further evidence as he makes his way along the upper floor, though. Because he sniffs curiously, and gets a familiar whiff that takes him right back as well as any Madeleine Proust ever tasted. Someone is toking up. (And so much the better if it is a burglar. At least they’ll be defenceless and non-aggressive.)
© 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.