Cupcake Kissin’ 46 – Alex Ankarr
For a moment Caspar thinks that perhaps Mack isn’t aware that Adam is right behind him. And that’s because Mack’s attention is fixed right on Caspar, still. That’s when it isn’t flickering sideways, to take in Sam, lounging back in Mack’s chair like he owns it, pretty much like he’s the star of the show.
‘Hallo, Sam,’ is the first thing out of Mack’s mouth, as he hits that point standing in front of them. (And so does Adam, nearly, just skidding up to clamp on to Adam’s arm, proprietorial as can be).
‘Hey, man,’ Sam drawls back. The rest of the… gang, it feels like a gang, Caspar and Sam and these actors he barely knows, is largely unacquainted with, and he couldn’t say why – they just seem to all close in together, microscopically closer. He can feel the ripple of amusement all the way through them, through him, without hearing a sound. ‘How’s it hanging?’
Mack does look slightly, very slightly, marginally amused at that. At least there’s a twinge to his mouth, a slight tweak in its severe handsome line. ‘Fine. Yeah, good. Although it would be a damn sight better if I actually had the notes I sent you off for ten minutes ago. I see you’ve got other things on your mind, though.’ And he nods to Caspar, still pinned and perched on Sam’s knee, and strangely disinclined to move without being dislodged by Sam. Not even – or especially not – with Adam glaring at him, pushing in to line his body up and press up against Mack’s side, though Mack is disregarding him completely, looks like. Not even with Mack meeting his eyes, finally, though all up until this point – and it feels long, although it’s only been moments, barely that – he’s looked at every one but, every which way except Caspar’s way.
And Sam, he doesn’t seem much abashed by being chastised – not that Mack sounds particularly severe, only dry, very dry. ‘Yeah, sorry about that, man,’ he says, cheerfully – and his hand comes to rest on Caspar’s thigh, and squeezes it, before everyone, under Mack’s eyes. ‘I’ll get right on that.’
But Mack doesn’t appear to take much notice of his assistant’s assistant’s gross cheek and disrespect, or to care about it. He still has his eyes on Caspar, gaze locked, and unsmiling too. ‘How about you, Caspar?’ he asks, and Caspar has never seen his face quite so impassive. Certainly not when he was pouring his heart out a couple of days ago, about his uncomfortably open-minded parents, their grudging tolerance and preference for Adam. That could all have never happened, right now, for all the sign there is. (Not as if the weed didn’t probably help some, but Mack looks tight-assed rigid and sober now, like the very idea of imbibing is an adolescent joke and scandal.) ‘You look happy enough. And pretty comfortable.’
Oh, and yeah, that tone is definitely snide. Maybe even hostile. And Caspar kind of hurriedly recollects that this is, after all, a client – as well as a maybe-friend, as well as a regular flirter and flirtee. (And how that needs to be knocked on the head, and right quick at that.) And that he really doesn’t need, on behalf of the business, to alienate a guy who brings in a fair whack of money for them on a regular basis.
But in the moment right before he heaves and levers and jumps up to his feet, Adam gets in there and has his two cents in, to edify the whole bunch and boiling of them. ‘Probably is. The service class are more comfortable with their own kind, babe. Although it’s extremely rude of the pair of them to be cuddling in your chair.’ And he makes it sound like some extremely arcane and perverted sexual practice. ‘And acting like it’s some kind of joke. You shouldn’t let them get away with it, Mack. And you’re in a position to fire at least one of them,’ he finishes up, in a hard-edged voice. The voice is almost as hard as his eyes, which could probably cut diamonds and frozen carbon dioxide. The knuckles of his hand are white, where he’s gripping onto Mack’s arm, and it can’t be comfortable, although Mack doesn’t seem so much as interested.
It at least galvanizes Caspar, and Sam too, a fire lit under him and his casual insolence quite done with. (And Caspar can’t really a hundred per cent criticise Adam for that. Not that it stops him.) They are, the pair of them, leaping up as Mack turns his head – slowly – to look at Adam. He doesn’t seem in any hurry, and still there isn’t a speck of animation in his face, though the line of his body is very tense. But he does say, ‘I wouldn’t worry about it,’ abstractedly, as if he’s thinking of quite other things.
And Sam has things to say, too, even to the point of speaking over Mack. ‘Sorry, Adam!’ he’s dashing out quick, looking a bit concerned. ‘Just kidding there, no offence! I’ll be off and get your papers!’ And that’s him good as gone, high-tailing it out no doubt, before Mack has a chance to think through it and fire his ass on the advice of his sweetie, Caspar thinks a little resentfully.
But he has better things to do than hang around the studio all day, worrying about things that don’t concern him, and watching Adam hang all over Mack. They have probably behaved rather badly, though, Sam and himself both. Or at least, if it’s not to be taken as a bit of a joke. Which Mack almost certainly would have done, he thinks a little bit resentfully, given the chance, and without his sweetie jumping down his throat to criticise and vilify them.
Still… ‘Sorry about that, Mack,’ he says, placatory and with the sweetest smile he can muster, not looking Adam’s way at all, doing his best not to so much as acknowledge his existence. He hasn’t missed the service staff snipe, and it’s not as if it’s the first time. ‘Just some kidding around, we didn’t mean any harm.’
And Mack opens his mouth to respond, and for the first time he doesn’t look like he’s holding thoughts private and reserving judgement. There’s a little smile on his face, even. Adam gets in there before him, though – still hanging on like an oversized koala bear, with a harsh expression on his admittedly handsome face. ‘You were shockingly rude,’ he snaps. ‘And it can’t be good for business. I guess shiftless minimum wage types like yourself just don’t know any better, owner or not. If you weren’t the boss I’d have a good mind to call your place of employment and make a complaint. It was an unacceptable bit of presumption, and just because Mack is a sight too friendly and relaxed with people who start to think they’re all kinds of important when he’s the least bit civil with them – ‘
© 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.