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Cupcake Kissin’ 50 – Alex Ankarr
Sam is half-lying on as much of the couch as is available to him, finishing a pack of corn chips and stroking his (growing) beard. Sara is actually, seemingly, watching one identical vocal ‘talent’ after another slaughter a beautiful classic rock standard, so she deserves whatever it is that she has coming to her. But Sam at least is paying attention. He’s watching Caspar, a little warily, out of the corner of his eye. He’s still munching as he replies, but at least he does reply. ‘I don’t think he thinks you’re a slut, man,’ he offers. His gingery-fair brows are crunched together as if he’s actually thinking about it, and the opinion proffered has been carefully considered.
‘Oh, what do you know about it,’ Caspar retorts sullenly. And he slumps back down to a more conventional sitting position on the couch, face forward, and grabs what remains of the corn chips out of Sam’s hands. ‘All you know how to do is fake-date people, flirt till you almost get ’em fired and eat their chips. That’s what you know. And,’ he continues meanly, giving Sam a viciously cold eyeing, ‘you haven’t apologised nearly enough for any of it. Not enough to get any more chips, at least,’ he says. And he puts his glass down on the coffee-table, and lifts the packet up, tips his head back, funnels the chips into his own little-birdie waiting mouth.
‘I never fake-dated you!’ Sam protests, even though his attention is slipping back to the show, somewhat. (It’s a very tense moment, a real sing-off. Caspar hates that he knows what’s going on with it, knows contestants’ names.) ‘I dated you!’
‘To begin with,’ Sara mumbles. ‘Then we figured out that Mack liked him, and you kept on dating him as our in, so we might one day have a chance to rid ourselves of the great and fearsome Asshole Adam.’
Caspar punches her shoulder, just sharp enough so she knows he means it, and then the same for Sam. They make weak yowling wails of protest, but even now he doesn’t have even fifty per cent of their attention. ‘Nice to be useful,’ he says, ironically, bitterly.
‘He likes you, Caspar,’ Sara says, as if this was more than just pointlessly, finickingly reasonable, as if it was a pertinent fact and something he should take into account in his calculation on the matter. ‘What exactly are you complaining about? More to the point, what are you doing here with us – or, maybe, what are we doing here with you, when you could have Mack here instead? I bet you’d have more fun with Mack,’ she says, and her voice is the slyest dig. She reaches for the chocolate on the table, takes half of it for herself, and throws the rest at the two guys to fight over like junior lions in the pride, getting the leavings of the lioness.
‘Oh, sure, he likes me,’ Caspar mutters, at that. ‘He likes me, he’d like to fuck me, he’d like me on a string when he hasn’t got a proper boyfriend on the go, he hasn’t at any point indicated he wants to take a guy whose professional uniform includes pink and a hairnet on a date, to a restaurant, to a god-damn première – ‘
It doesn’t finish there, but his voice gets quieter and whinier, and also more garbled as he scarfs down the chocolate. (Sam gets bupkes. Sam only deserves bupkes.)
And Sara nods, and actually turns her head to regard him thoughtfully. He has, however momentarily, one hundred percent of her attention. ‘Ohhhhhh,’ she says, as if she’s a rocket scientist who’s just discovered the secret of the universe. ‘You want him to court you.’
‘Damn right I want him to court me,’ Caspar mutters, chewing faster. ‘Or rather, more to the point, he’s not going to court me, and I’m damned if I’m going to put up with any less than being courted. I might have put up with being a casual lay two years back, five. But I’m not that guy any more. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. And I want more wine.’
But he doesn’t get to have more wine, or at least not immediately. Because Sara is holding it out of his reach, and Sam has sprung up and caught a hold of his shoulders, and they seek to frustrate him in his very moderate and simple desires. Because they are not good friends, and they have a habit of getting him into trouble, and how did he ever come to have awful friends like these, and why did he even let them over the threshold this evening anyway?
‘You know,’ Sara says, and her tone sounds philosophical, like she’s thinking hard. ‘That’s not really unreasonable. I mean, I don’t really think it’s necessary. I mean, I think he likes you. But why shouldn’t you be courted? Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t Mack have to work for it a little for once?’
And Sam abruptly lets go of Caspar’s shoulders, and as Caspar collapses forward a little, he leans to pour a glass of wine, and stick it in Caspar’s hand. ‘Why shouldn’t he, you’re so right,’ he agrees. And both of them sound, frankly, a little bit malevolent. Even if not in Caspar’s direction.
And Caspar wonders if he maybe, just now, made some kind of a huge mistake.
© 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.