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Cupcake Kissin’ 41 – Alex Ankarr
Sam is still blithe, though. ‘Well, you know. It seems like Mack kind of likes you. And it kept you out of trouble, stopped you having enough time to date anyone else. And you know,’ he says, leaning back and seeming to size Caspar up thoughtfully, ‘Adam is a real prick. Everyone detests him. The thought of Mack maybe hooking up with someone actually pleasant and tolerable, no-one wants to miss the opportunity to facilitate that.’
And Caspar rubs his face with his hands, disbelievingly. ‘Just how many people are in on your boss’s procuress match-making schemes, anyway? Has she got a book going on the subject?’ he demands, almost not bleary at all now, almost clear. ‘I wouldn’t put it past her. Anyway,’ he says slowly, thoughts ravelling out, as he tries to get them straight. ‘She’s wasting her time. Nothing happening there.’
‘Oh really?’ Sam asks, tweaking one eyebrow. It pulls on his fuzzy little hamster-man beard, and is actually very cute. Which he definitely knows. ‘So, tell me about you and Mack, man. So, you and Mack,’ he repeats, insistent. ‘Come on. I saw the two of you together when I picked you up. We were practically talking kisses and cuddles, there.’ Caspar snorts, because given the circumstances, he hardly feels it counts. ‘Come on. He talks about you, you’re kind of buddies… Give me the skinny. Who knows, maybe I could help!’
Caspar is reluctant, because what good will that do? Mack is who he is, he’s with who he wants to be with, and Caspar doesn’t believe in trying to make people’s decisions for them, trying to influence them unduly. ‘Give me one good reason,’ he says.
Sam flutters his eyelashes at Caspar. ‘How about that Sara will bust my ass if I don’t get some progress going that’ll winkle asshole-Adam out of our lives? Seriously, man, he’s a pain in the rear-end. If he turns up on set with his nose in the air and referencing the Method, slamming the show with his little put-downs he thinks are so subtle, I’m just going to be forced to ream his ass with a boom. I mean, there’ll be no element of choice involved, it’ll just be a matter of public service.’
It’s not so much that Caspar feels any actual sympathy for Sam, perhaps. More that he just needs to say this stuff to someone, not to have it roiling and revolving around in his own head. ‘You can sign me up to the ‘Adam’s an Asshole’ Club,’ he says, a trifle reluctantly, but it spills out of him anyway. ‘And yeah, I like Mack fine. And I think he likes me.’ Sam curls in closer at that, a sly grin that invites further confidence on his face, but Caspar sighs, sways a little and holds his hand up like he’s stopping traffic, stopping the avalanche of inquiry and curiosity that is Sam. ‘And, based on the evidence so far, he’d like to express that liking in some very directly physical ways,’ he says, with a little laugh that isn’t really so very amused.
Sam’s face lights up at that, and he claps Caspar much harder on the knee, looking frankly exuberant. ‘Knew it! Knew it, man! He always has little things to say about you, Sara knew it, and Adam just hates your guts, man! And you’ve hardly met, right? Must be instinct, sniffing out a competitor.’
‘And that’s all,’ Caspar says firmly. He’s starting to feel hungry enough to puke, and a little restless with irritation at the inutility of their conversation. Where is it going to go, after all? ‘Call it two and a half kisses, one under the influence, a bit of a grope one time when we’d both had a glass or two of wine, and a lot of awkwardness and deciding that this wasn’t a good idea after all. A lot of hinting, but what good does that do me? I don’t think he’s happy with Adam, but it doesn’t seem like he has any intention of breaking up with Adam either. If he wanted to then he would. All the evidence I’ve seen so far points to him being willing to take me on as a random hook-up and discreet bit of extra, that’s all. Flattering, huh?’ Then he vaguely considers all the pertinent and impertinent and extraneous info that’s come out in their little substance-assisted buddy-talk Maybe there’s some evidence at this point, that Mack has been re-thinking Caspar’s significant-other-status-worthiness, if he parses and classifies it carefully. And where has that got him? Snogged, flirted with and discarded again, seems like. Close but no tobacco product, you might put it.
And Mack can hint all he likes, he can get this close – real close – to telling Caspar he’s in the running for replacement boyfriend, when he finally comes to his senses and gives Adam the boot. (The way every single person around him seems to be rooting for. They all root, for Adam to get the boot.) He can kiss and flirt and rub up against Caspar all that he likes – or rather, he’d better stop doing that, because Caspar is actually getting very tired of what begins to amount to constructive harassment, however little fight he’s put up against it until now. (Because he’s a weak-willed idiot who’s much too susceptible.) But Caspar is a practical man, as well as a proud man. He’s smart enough to judge people by what they do, not what they talk about, not all the hints and allusions they might spout off.
So if Mack isn’t going to actually make good on all his hints and actually do something, then Caspar washes his hands and counts himself well out of it. (That’s the theory anyway. Nice theory too.) It’s a matter of principle.
He’s a little vague, anyway – for understandable reasons – on what exactly Mack said to him to clarify his current estimation of Caspar’s value and attractions, earlier. Oh, he has a vague grasp of the gist, but the details are eluding him. And it’s probably better so. What he needs to do is to stop obsessing over Mack, and to start obsessing over his work, and his future prospects, and available guys.
Which apparently no longer include Sam, who is gazing at him with eyes that glint entirely too brightly, here. And Caspar thinks it probably will work out better if he makes no mention of any hints and discussions between himself and Mack that might have gone on earlier, however interesting and leading they might have been. Sam – amongst others – also seems a sight too much given to obsessing over Caspar’s potential romantic prospects, and especially in relation to Mack. Why is everyone so god-damn invested in a completely hypothetical relationship between himself and Mack?
© 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.