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Cupcake Kissin’ 68 – Alex Ankarr
And upon careful consideration, it seems that what he actually thinks is that he has maybe been a little bit harsh with Mack. Not that he’s committing himself to definitely believing and supporting Mack’s version of events, his account of how he feels about… things. But he’s not… not doing that, either.
Caspar is starting to think that he maybe, sort of, needs to make amends, for some pretty casual treatment of Mack, up until now. (That is, if Mack meant everything that he had to say, in that interview. And, for that matter, if he has meant everything he has done and said, in his strange quasi-courtship, since breaking up with Adam. Caspar isn’t one hundred per cent sure about that. He’s about eighty-eight per cent sure, which is still pretty sure, for most non-sure things in life. He thinks maybe that Mack is capable of being an asshole, here and there. But not that he’s an asshole as a matter of course, a matter of free choice, not with people he knows and likes.)
Caspar also, after pondering the issue at a reasonable amount of length, arrived at the sound deduction that his amends need to be of some concrete nature. Hasn’t Mack himself made solid, real, tangible manifestation of his pursuit, his affection, his unspoken avowal that, hey, he likes Caspar? (He likes Caspar. It seems pretty much unarguable at this point, even to Caspar, who isn’t really the kind of guy to take someone else’s affections on trust, and never has been.) He has given Caspar flowers, has given him soft toys (however ridiculous that might be as a gesture.) Has written real actual poems, with fountain pen ink on nice expensive paper. (Ridiculous also. But everyone deserves a few ridiculous romantic gestures in life, Caspar feels. Including him. Especially him. He hasn’t had an over-abundance of them up until this point.)
He likes Mack. Mack likes him. It’s so simple, really, although they have perhaps enjoyed complicating it more than strictly necessary. Caspar figures that he’ll figure it out in the morning. He’ll figure out what kind of a gesture is necessary, and what to do about Mack. He sleeps pretty well, though. And he goes off to sleep with pleasant thoughts of Mack’s eyes in that interview, looking out at the camera, out from under thick soft lashes, his green eyes light and lucent and soft with mischief of a gentle kind.
What he thinks in the morning, is that it’s not much more than forty-eight hours until the party, and maybe that’s the time to make a gesture. (He also thinks about how he’ll feel if he’s totally misread the situation, and Mack has a plus-one at the party, turns up with someone who is, well, not Caspar. And, thinking of it, he figures that he’ll deal with that if it comes up. He’s been spending most of his life doing the right thing and making sensible decisions. It’s not so bad, he thinks, if perhaps he makes this single unwise choice, in the name of trying to get what he wants.)
It’s a startling thought, maybe the first full admission he’s made to himself. He wants Mack. Is willing, even, perhaps, to risk looking a fool, trying to get him. It’s worth a shot, at least.
There’s only the issue, then, of deciding what his own grand gesture ought to be. Mack’s made enough of them, has seemed quite willing to look a fool. Caspar certainly owes him one back. He’s perhaps silly enough to let himself discuss the matter with Sandy. (Silly, he feels instinctively. Isn’t it crazy to discuss pretty much anything with Sandy? She’s a small blond attack dog with no discretion and no inhibitions, after all.)
In this particular case it seems as if it isn’t such a terrible decision to talk to her, though. What she comes out with, as she’s kneading the dough for the bagels in the electric industrial blender, is a little too obvious to be surprising. And yet Caspar is surprised anyhow, maybe just because it’s so obvious and yet he hasn’t thought of it at all. ‘Cake,’ is what she says, short and succinct, as she’s loading up the trays and greasing the pans. She doesn’t even have her eye on him, as she bustles, adjusts her apron, tuts as she cleans out the refrigerator shelf. Perhaps it does indeed seem just that obvious to her.
‘Cake?’ Caspar says quite stupidly in reply. He does get a look at least for that, as well as a roll of her big brown eyes.
‘You may be a total noob as far as the baked goods in general are concerned,’ she says, ‘or at least compared to the rest of us.’ And she gives a sniff, because it’s true, basically. Caspar has picked up an awful lot, over the months it’s been now (months!) since he inherited and, technically, ‘took over’ the bakery. But even so, he’s not yet up to the same standard as even the newest other member of staff, and he knows it. But Sandy, it seems, is willing to make a concession. ‘But you’re not that bad, at this point,’ she concedes. ‘As long as they don’t let you loose with the fine icing or the double-bakers or sourdoughs. You could put together quite a nice cake – something original, give it a nice romantic name. Or if your version was crappy, the rest of us could help you out.’ And she perks a smooth pencilled eyebrow at him, knowing exactly how cheeky she’s being with the guy who pays her wages, or pays an accountant to pay her wages.
‘Thank you so much, Sands,’ Caspar responds with the most utter dry wryness, too, but he doesn’t resent her rather brutal assessment. ‘But I’d sooner do it myself. You can audition the end result yourself, before I get into gear and court and seduce my man via calories and simple sugars.’
‘Not as if you don’t already know he’s a sucker for that approach,’ Sandy notes thoughtfully. ‘Maybe make it coffee flavoured, too?’
Yeah, he decides, this could work. He’s going for this. Mack is definitely getting a cake shaped, and flavoured, simultaneous apology.
© 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.