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Cupcake Kissin’ 38 – Alex Ankarr
Caspar imagines that it does. He’s just absently considering his own theoretical resemblance to some aspects of Adam – not, of course, the really awful ones – when Mack continues. ‘That’s why I liked you,’ he says morosely. ‘No,’ he goes on to correct himself, ‘I liked you anyway. First. But first I liked you, and then Sandy said most of your family were rich. I though you were – you know – just behind the counter. Working in the bakery. But then, turns out you own it.’
Caspar’s own chemically-degraded mind is having trouble processing the information and hints and stages of a process that he’s being given. But eventually he gets there, and he isn’t quite sure that he likes what he gets. So. Mack thought he was service staff. Or, Mack had thought he was service staff – not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was probably just the echo of Adam’s sarcasm that first time in the bakery that grates on him at that. But then Sandy had put Mack right, and told him that Caspar is part of a wealthy family. And that makes all the difference?
That sits oddly with Caspar, too, even in his current state, where clear thinking is not the easiest thing in the world. Although, it’s not as if Mack is conceivably on any planet a, what? A gold-digger? (As if.) He’s loaded. Loaded with a boyfriend, to boot. He just doesn’t like to think of money making a crucial difference in anyone’s opinion of him. But that’s Caspar.
But Mack hasn’t at all finished, is still turning thoughts over in his brain, slowly passing the burned-out roach over his face as he passes his hand over it, twisting at his chin. ‘And then,’ he says, carefully as if he’s having some difficulty teasing out the patterns of his own thoughts himself, ‘you came here. To see about the party, you know. And I just thought you worked in your family businesses, but then you said you were. You know. An engineer, you’d given it up, to do this for your aunt. And that was different to what I’d thought, and –. I don’t know. I liked you anyway, you know? It wasn’t that. But my family love Adam – well, they approve him, anyway. And it’s because of his family’s money. Which sounds pretty bad, but my parents, well. And also because he’s, he has a doctorate, and tenure, and. Well, they’ve never taken acting seriously really. Although frankly, being an acting coach, because–’ And here Mack leans in confidentially, mouth up close to Caspar’s ear. He’s intensely aware of that closeness, the warmth of Mack’s breath on the shell of that ear. It all seems to happen in slow motion, and he doesn’t think it’s only the weed. ‘Because that’s basically what he does. He’s on the teaching side, hasn’t published much,’ he hisses.
Caspar giggles. Not that it’s so funny, but that they’re what, conspiring together? Against Adam, which he likes more than he ought. ‘Well,’ Mack goes on, drawing back a little, which seems a shame. ‘It’s not engineering, is it? Or rocket science.’ His grin is really naughty, and his head sways a little on his neck. ‘They’d be so much more impressed with you.’
If only he wasn’t a little bit high, Caspar thinks. Because there’s something about what Mack is saying that seems immensely significant, and he feels like it would benefit him if only he could concentrate on it better. But he’s startled out of trying to work out exactly what it is that he needs to work out, by a violent bell and vibration, along with a cartoon character telling him he’s wanted.
It leaves him bamboozled for a moment, until he realises it’s his phone, and he changed the ringtone the day before. ‘Oh. It’s your phone. Somebody wants you,’ Mack observes, and they both stare down at Caspar’s hip-pocket solemnly, until Caspar thinks to take the damned thing out and answer it.
‘Cas! Where are you? And why aren’t you here?’ It’s Sam. (And Caspar wishes, with the greatest vehemence, that Sam wouldn’t think it was smart to pick up and ape every single one of Sara’s mannerisms and habits, including her verbal tics. Including referring to Caspar as ‘Cas’, which is a diminutive he’s never ever cared for. Sam hero-worships Sara – or thinks she’s pretty terrific, whatever – so not much chance of that happening, though.)
‘Um, what?’ is Caspar’s brilliant response, and he can feel his mouth hanging open, probably not becomingly, as he says it.
There’s a sigh down the other end of the connection, and he can hear the careful patience in Sam’s tone of voice. ‘At the coffee-house? We were meeting at the coffee-house?’ It still takes a moment or two, but the cogs in Caspar’s brain buzz and grind a bit, and eventually one of them manages to turn itself and squeeze an answer out. Oh, the coffee-house. He had been supposed to meet up with Sam there. Around five? For a semi-date? He looks incredulously at his phone, checks the time, brings it back to his ear. ‘It’s that time already?’ he asks, although he shouldn’t need the confirmation.
‘Cas,’ Sam says, and he sounds a little bit suspicious now. ‘You’re never unpunctual. And you sound… Caspar. Are you drunk?’
Caspar giggles, and close behind him it makes Mack giggle too. Was Mack that close behind him a moment ago? He’s pretty sure not. But then, he’s not really in a fit state to be quite sure of anything. ‘Not exactly,’ he whispers down the connection, and this time Mack leans all over him, clinging on to his shoulders. Caspar only hopes that his stifled giggles are not audible on Sam’s side of the connection.
Sam doesn’t answer immediately, but when he does he sounds a little disturbed. ‘Okay. This is so not like you, Cas. You’re always… Anyway. Are we still meeting up? Do you feel okay? Where are you? Are you… No, man. You are clearly not fit to drive. I’ll come and get you. Where are you?’
© 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.