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Cupcake Kissin’ 48 – Alex Ankarr
Right now, if Mack’s furious at him (and how can he not be?) and if he’s fired, he doesn’t want to know. He’ll take care of business, he’ll get himself home, and then he’ll deal with the ticking bomb that is his phone, and everything that numerous people are going to have to say to him.
He keeps waiting for a text or a call from Mack – to yell at him, to fire him, whatever it might be – and wonders if he could key himself up to pick up when it comes. It doesn’t come, though.
It doesn’t come until he actually gets home, when he’s working through his texts and missed calls, lounging in his kitchen and eating crappy noodles like he still can’t afford anything else. (He could afford to eat pretty much whatever he liked, now – within reason – but he has scant free time, and is hardly in the mood to go out to eat.) Sara has sent him five strictly business texts, and one which merely reads ‘OMG too funny tell Adam off some more! Wish i’d been there‘. It’s good to know she’s not mad with him, but it’s hardly informative about possible consequences.
Then there’s just the single one from Sam, sent just after their swiftly curtailed call, which reads, ‘okay will do what I can, talking to Mack when I get a chance okay. S x.’ Caspar feels a little bad about his harshness with the guy, but Sam needs to rein it in and think about what he’s doing sometimes, so he doesn’t feel all that bad really.
Still, there’s nothing from Mack, which could be good or bad. But he’s staring at his inbox, right then, and that’s when his phone begins to vibrate with a call. And that’s from Mack.
Caspar doesn’t give himself time to think about it, because he’d only chicken out, let it go to voice-mail, procrastinate on an answer and torture himself about it forever. That is the worst possible thing, he’s not going to do that.
He mans up, because he has to, and presses to take the call. He can’t quite manage to actually speak when he does, though. After one half of a split second, Mack speaks, sounding thrown a little off-kilter by the silence. ‘…Caspar? … Is that you?’
Caspar thinks to himself that panicked heavy breathing isn’t going to get him through this. So he allows himself one more slow inhale, and then says, ‘Yes. Here. Um, what did you want to say to me, Mack?’
Let it not be that I’m fired, he thinks. That I’m an asshole. That I’m a fired asshole.
That is not what Mack says, in any case. His voice, even, doesn’t sound quite as Caspar was expecting. ‘So. You and Sam, I guess that was pretty funny this morning,’ he says, eventually. Although he doesn’t really sound as if he thinks it’s funny. He sounds a little strained if anything. ‘I’m sorry that Adam was rude to you, I hate it when he does that. I’ve had some words with him. I don’t think you should be having any trouble with him again.’
Caspar supposes that that’s nice to hear, if possibly somewhat unlikely. He can’t imagine anything restraining Adam’s malice for long. After the level of dread he’s been experiencing, it feels like a bizarre anti-climax to have Mack with his sense of humour still in operation, Mack apologising. (Really, what is he apologising for, anyway?) ‘It wasn’t your fault,’ he offers, because it’s true, and he doesn’t believe in accepting apologies under false pretexts and on unsound grounds. ‘If your boyfriend wants to go around calling people ‘service staff” he adds, and winces. ‘It’s on him, not on you.’
‘I suppose.’ The line goes quiet for a moment, and Caspar wonders if they’ve lost connection. He lowers the phone a moment to look at the bars, and when he lifts it again Mack is saying, ‘Not any more.’
‘What?’ Caspar says. He feels so dumb missing something that way, like Gertie, who wasn’t so much incapable of navigating around modern tech, as utterly contemptuous of the finer points, and inclined to delegate them to others completely.
‘I broke up with Adam,’ Mack says, clearly repeating himself, saying it louder and slower and a little bit harsher than really necessary, as in the way of someone who was self-conscious about saying it the first time round, even.
Oh. Oh. Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, well. Caspar is taken aback, and that seems reasonable to him. Also a little stuck for a response. ‘Oh, good,’ hardly seems appropriate. ‘Sorry about that,’ is what he comes up with instead, although he isn’t, not really. Adam is an asshole, and Mack – actually Mack is a little bit of an asshole, too, in some ways, Caspar thinks. But not in Adam’s league of assholery, and also kind of nice when he wants to be. And someone who clearly does like Caspar, always a huge point in anyone’s favour, as far as Caspar is concerned.
‘Thank you, I suppose,’ Mack says, quite softly. ‘But I’m not, so I guess you don’t need to be.’
Caspar would really, honestly, like to know a lot more about this. Stuff like how, and why, and when, and… Yeah, he’d like to go into it in a whole lot more depth. But he can’t think of any justification. He’s friendly with Mack, certainly, by this point, but he’s not quite sure that it constitutes being actually friends, yet. Mack’s a client, who likes to flirt and tease him, and has an asshole boyfriend who – Oh, no. Scratch that last part. Well, all to the good, anyhow.
© 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.