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Cupcake Kissin’ 40 – Alex Ankarr
Then Mack’s eyes flicker, between Sam where he’s getting out of the car, and Caspar where he’s propping himself up against a wall. They’re still up close, and Mack leans in and kisses him – just a peck on the cheek. And it’s perfectly timed, so that Sam can’t fail to notice it. Sam, who is Mack’s assistant’s assistant, as well as Caspar’s not-quite-boyfriend.
It’s only a kiss on the cheek, after all. It’s practically nothing, except a kiss on the cheek is always something, between casual friends, between two guys, even gay guys, who both have other commitments (of a sort.) Especially when Caspar didn’t see it coming, and it’s never happened before, and it’s a third kiss (of a sort.)
Caspar doesn’t know exactly what to say or do in response. But it’s not an issue, because after quick greeting, between Mack and an absolutely calm, apparently oblivious Sam, Sam has him folded and boosted into the passenger seat, tutting a bit as he fastens the seatbelt. Then they’re out of there, and Caspar only catches a glimpse of Mack watching them go, still propped against the wall with one foot kicked up, staring at him with a vacant look that might or might not be down to the pot.
Sam sniffs the air as they drive, and it’s less about trying to detect what it is he can smell, than it is about letting Caspar know that he can smell it. When he gets no response, he does it again, a few times, until Caspar gives in. ‘Ye-e-es,’ he drawls, heavily sarcastic. ‘That is a little weed you can smell!’
And Sam grins to himself, checks himself in the driver’s mirror. ‘Thought so. Aren’t you a real grown-up and adult at this point? Business owner and all of that?’
Well, it’s true, he is. But that’s not all that he is. Isn’t he allowed a little play, a little fun? However ill-advised. But Sam hasn’t finished digging at him, in any case. ‘So,’ he says, letting the word roll out long and sonorous, as they home in close to the strip of boutiques where their usual coffee-place is housed. ‘You and Mack, huh?’
Caspar still feels dreamy. But he needs to correct any mistaken impressions here, just the same. ‘What, you think I’m cheating on you?’ he asks, making it sound a little indignant, a little wounded.
Sam only snorts out a laugh at that. ‘We’ve only been dating a little, Caspar. I haven’t put a ring on your finger, remember? If there was anything going on, Mack’d be the only one cheating, here.’ And he flicks a speculative sideways eye at Caspar, here, and pulls up to park in the commercial lot. ‘So… Is there any cheating going on?’
They stare at each other, stuck in the front seats of the vehicle and not going anywhere. Since Caspar seems to have nothing to say, tongue quite paralysed, Sam pursues it further. ‘Sara thinks he likes you,’ he says. ‘And somehow, all the rest of the cast and crew know your name… and your habits… and about your Aunt Gertie… and that you’re not just a store assistant, you’re not just a small business owner, no, you’re a trained engineer thank you very much, with a doctorate and everything!’ His face quirks up with a grin, as he finishes that last part with a bit of a hand-flourish, taking the mickey a little bit.
Caspar is coming down a little bit, now. But he’s still a little too stoned for this. ‘What are you saying, Sam?’ he asks vaguely. ‘Because whatever you’re saying, you’re going to need to say it a lot clearer, right now.’
And Sam taps a finger on his knee, looks meditative as he casts a look at Caspar. ‘Anything going on with you and Mack, Caspar?’ he asks finally, plainly.
Caspar sighs, because the answer is a little murky at this point. ‘You tell me,’ he says. ‘And let me also add, your reaction to this is a little bit odd. I mean a guy could get offended. We are supposed to be dating, at least, after all. Aren’t you a little bit jealous?’
Sam makes an expansive gesture, as if to indicate that he’s willing to be the bigger guy here, that he’s way above such petty notions as jealousy. ‘You’re a great guy, Caspar,’ he says, carelessly. ‘I like you. Sara likes you, too,’ he adds.
And although it’s only the foggiest hint of a thought, a notion manages to scramble its way to the forefront of Caspar’s brain, at this. ‘What,’ he says suspiciously. ‘What? Hey, let me run something past you, Sam,’ he says, and he feels one gear, two gears, three click into place in his brain, like it’s starting to come online again. ‘It’s crazy. You’re going to say it’s crazy. But let’s just hypothesize for a minute. Say you only asked me out in the first place because Sara told you to. Because – in case you didn’t know – Sara can’t tolerate Adam for all the tea in China. And she’s already tried to get me hooked up with Mack. And…’
Sam is laughing, and he puts his hand on Caspar’s knee. ‘Boy, pretty paranoid there, whoah!’ he says. Then he gives Caspar a sly look. ‘Partially, anyway. I like you, Caspar, buddy-boy. It was my idea to ask you out. Since Sara was… Never mind that. But – after her first reaction, which was along the lines of ‘don’t touch Mack’s property’ – because Sara is one weird and magnificent lady – she, uh, approved.’
Caspar gives him a very narrow look indeed here. ‘What of? You keeping an eye on me under the guise of ‘dating’ me? In order to do what, that’s what I’m asking?’ He really is a little bit stung. He’s liked Sam. It hasn’t gone much beyond that, true, but he has liked him. They’ve kissed, a little bit, even made out here and there. Which makes him feel a little dirty now, and he narrows his eyes further.
© 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.