Cupcake Kissin’ 60 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 60 – Alex Ankarr

***

And for his next trick, Mack begins a volley of cards, and letters, and missives in general. Not emails, and not e-cards, oh no. No, it is very charmingly old-fashioned, his outpouring of words and jokes and smarmy terrible lines, all the ways he’s wooing Caspar now in a literary fashion. (Caspar is cynical enough to wonder if he’s outsourcing the writing to third parties, because frankly, there are a lot of pages involved, and it’s a lot of writing for a guy with a theoretical full-time profession, an agent, a shooting schedule and a promotion schedule into the bargain. But no. He decides the jokes are too terrible for anyone else to take responsibility for them. If they were bought and paid for, then they would be better. This is, after all, the guy who’s bought him cuddly teddies and panthers, and given them names, and asks Caspar if he sets them on his bed to cuddle. (And is outraged to be informed that they live on the couch, and substitute for cushions if Sam or Sara steal his favourite spot.)

Mack hasn’t been invited to Caspar’s apartment yet. He is hinting, a lot, at this point. But no.

The letters and cards include poetry. The poetry is worse than the jokes, although Caspar wouldn’t have credited it without the evidence of his own eyes. A couple of exceptionally notable lines are, ‘let me clear the cloud of fear / and watch as I protect your rear‘. Caspar breaks a rule to make a non-business call to Mack, simply to pass on his appreciation of their terrible genius, tears bedewing his eyes. Mack audibly preens, and Caspar thinks he’s taken Caspar’s congratulations on his poetic genius a little too much to heart. He cuts the call short, but still gets a series of warmly affectionate texts – in rhyming couplets – before he goes to bed.

***

Maybe he shouldn’t be softening up, but he is. Maybe it’s because of just how endearingly terrible Mack is at courtship, in some ways. The cards he sends are often the mass-market ones with teddy bears and love-hearts on them, huge and satiny and plush and blatant, rather than something subtle and classy. Unfortunately, or not, as Caspar can’t quite decide, it’s getting towards February, and then it is February, and then it’s Valentine’s. And then Mack goes into full hearts and flowers, cards and candy and romance mode. The bakery staff enjoy it thoroughly, and so do Sam and Sara. Caspar thinks he gets enough of a sugar overload from cupcake snacks and break-times, for all he tries to exhibit some restraint. Add in a chocolate overdose, and he’s looking at Type II diabetes before he hits forty.

When Caspar calls him to beg him for mercy, to ask him to call off the chocolate avalanche, Mack is uncharacteristically quiet, subdued. It’s not like him, and it’s difficult even to get a response out of him, for some moments. ‘I don’t know what to do any more,’ he says, and it’s quiet enough that there’s no way Caspar can take it as any kind of a joke. It’s clear enough that he can’t pretend he didn’t hear it, either. ‘I’ll stop if it’s bothering you. It was meant to amuse you. You know, as well as get you to come around. Am I annoying you altogether? I’ll stop if it’s just an annoyance at this point.’

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 59 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 59 – Alex Ankarr

Technically most of Mack’s calls and texts are about the party, still. (Or they begin that way.) The brushing into each other, the casual encounters at the apartment, are strictly business. (That’s the original justification, anyway. Mack seems to be always at the apartment, lately, every day. Isn’t he shooting the show at all? He surely seems to be getting a lot of free time.) And he’s not working either Sara or Sam hard enough, because they barely ever get to be the ones to pick up his coffee and cake for him. Although the bakery is getting an awful lot of custom, from Mack personally and from the cast and crew of the show in general, so Caspar shouldn’t complain. It’s not half the time or most of the time that Honey Bunny’s is patronised by them any more. It’s practically all the time, pretty much.

Suspicious, isn’t it?

Not that his two buddies and contacts are missing from the scene, no, not at all, not so much. He isn’t so lucky as to have got rid of them entirely, Caspar thinks despairingly. Because of course they congratulate themselves on manoeuvring Mack into a place where he’s acting like Caspar is a prize to be won, not a casual hook-up that was always going to be offered on a plate. (They don’t put it like this. But Caspar is kind of thinking like this.) Not that either of them, and certainly Sara, will admit to any machinations at all.

Partially because Caspar would run around after them waving a meat-chopper if they did, if they admitted it. Well, maybe. He would want to, he would talk about doing it, in any case.

They expect continual updates, continual entertainment, a constant updating and reporting of the latest events in the Mack-pursues-Caspar saga. The calls and texts and dragging him out for beers and the latest story, it never ends.

If he’s not careful, Sara will be writing a treatment and getting a screenplay optioned based on these last few weeks and months. A sweet little rom-com, perhaps with the genders of the participants tinkered with a little bit.

And if she does that, he might have to re-think the whole meat-chopper idea.

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 58 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 58 – Alex Ankarr

It’s probably meant to be hurtful. But Caspar almost comes around to Adam, by the time he and Sandy have finished falling around the back room sniggering and reading it out aloud to each other, not quite loud enough to be heard out front. (He hopes.) Then he splodges some coffee icing on doughnuts without any of his usual care and attention. Sandy malevolently points out that a few have come out as mis-shapes, put to one side for staff snack-breaks and lunch. One is definitely – once she points it out – butt-shaped, two doughnuts merged in the hot oil into one. (It could be a heart, if you turned it upside down. But that’s Sandy for you.)

And – with a lot of prodding and giggling from Sandy, and he has to blame her because it’s totally her idea and her egging him on into it – he glazes the misshape, and takes his icing nozzle, fills it with pink royal sugar-paste. And he delivers his own message right back at Adam. ‘Mack seems to like it fine!’ He and Sandy look at the end result critically, and Sandy notes, ‘Should have made the glaze pink too.’

‘I think it gets the message across,’ Caspar decides. They package it up along with the rest of Adam’s order, and Sandy exits, snickering.

***

It’s not as if Mack quits with prodding and texting and slyly turning up to ambush Caspar, in between courtship gambits. (And Caspar is beginning to accept that that is what’s going on. He’s thinking of beginning to treat it as an Olympic event, and maybe marking each tactic and opening volley with a score out of ten. Maybe it would get Mack to up his game. Because Caspar isn’t impressed, yet. Or he isn’t impressed enough, yet.

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 57 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 57 – Alex Ankarr

Caspar is still laughing when he gets in his car to go home.

***

He quite thinks he’s seen the last of Adam, of course, and he isn’t one bit sorry about that. But not quite. There are two more incidents where he stumbles across Adam’s path, and both are a little bit enlightening. In the first – two days after Caspar has avoided having dinner with Mack at the apartment – Adam once again pollutes the lovely and well-ordered environs of Caspar’s business. Fortunately he’s in the back – making the dough for the sweet rolls – when the asshole decides to make his appearance. But Caspar’s staff know him pretty well by now, and they know plenty, plenty more than anyone should have to, about Adam too. They know enough to warn him – discreetly – about Adam’s presence in the store. And enough, too, to disclaim any knowledge of his presence on the premises, when Adam begins to make loud unsubtle hints about their ‘manager’, ‘co-worker’, the ‘guy with the weird eyes’, and finally, ‘Caspar. I suppose his name is Caspar.’

Caspar doesn’t go out to greet or speak to him – not because he’s afraid of the idiot, but because it’s amusing to frustrate him in his attempts to lure Caspar out, presumably to hurl abuse and accusations. He only stands and snickers behind the bake-room door, invisible, as Adam reluctantly buys a minimal quantity of cakes, then stands indecisively at the counter, holding up the queue. ‘Is there anything else I can get you, sir?’ Sandy asks, loud and polite. She detests Adam, by reputation. Caspar has been indiscreet, has told her more than he should.

Mumbling sulkily, Adam orders more doughnuts, and asks for the coffee glaze icing that they’ve run out of on display temporarily. (Deliberately, of course. Never nothing if not knowingly an asshole, Adam.) And while she goes in back to put in the request for more, he slips her a note. ‘And can you pass that on to your… Caspar? When you get the opportunity?’ It’s less dry, and more blatantly sarcastic, but Sandy only gives him a synthetically sweet smile.

‘Certainly, sir!’

Once in back she rolls her eyes at Caspar, and chucks the bit of paper at him. ‘What a loser,’ she murmurs, quiet. ‘What does it say?’

Caspar contemplates just lobbing the note into one of the great ovens, letting it burn up and never bothering his head with the utter rubbish that must surely come out of Adam’s. But who is capable of doing that sort of thing, confronted with a rival’s malice, really? It says, ‘Fine, you win, service staff. For as long as it lasts. He has a thing for slumming, but his family are not going to accept you. But stick with the pink, it does things for your ass. It needs all the help it can get.’

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 56 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 56 – Alex Ankarr

Like Mack dumping the stir-fry, turning the hob off and coming after him. (In an apron, Caspar notices. It’s nice to have the roles reversed for once.) Mack moves fast, and it’s not as if Caspar is going to run away from him. It’d only encourage the bastard to pursue.

No, he only turns around at the entry of the corridor that leads to the outer staircase. (He’s already called out his farewells, done the civil thing. He’s not a ruffian, not a barbarian. He gave adequate warning. Just the minimum of it, that’s all.) And as Mack gets closer, homes in and gets up close, Caspar puts out one finger. It’s his means of warding the big handsome brute off, and it’s also his tool for making mockery of him. A fingertip to the apron, in the middle of Mack’s chest, holds him at bay and seems to transfix him. He takes a hold of Caspar’s arm by the wrist, and squeezes just enough to be warm, to be a caress of a sort. And he smiles. ‘Oh, did you think you’d get away without a proper good-bye?’ he teases, and Caspar sees him coming, before he can land a kiss on Caspar’s lips. Not that he can get away quite far enough to avoid it altogether. (Not that he’s going to yank himself away with sufficient vehemence to do that. Undignified, for one thing, and a little insulting to Mack. He’s not a sex pest, for God’s sake. And also he doesn’t really want to. The kiss on the cheek that he does allow is nice. It’s gentle, and warm, and leaves a tingling flush on his cheek. But when Mack goes in for another, angles himself around for better access, then Caspar does break away.

Then he’s off down the steps, allowing himself a reproving glance up. Mack leans on the metal railing as he goes, and watches him go. ‘Make sure furry!Mack takes good care of furry!Caspar,’ he calls, after Caspar. Amusement is tinged maybe a little with frustration in his voice. Bloody cheek of the man, Caspar thinks. He has certainly not – not officially – called his pink-clad teddy-bear Caspar. And in any case, even if he had…

‘Mack is a panther,’ he calls back up the stairs, thin but loud enough to carry. ‘Caspar is a teddy-bear. I think there’s liable to be more eating and less taking care of, if I let them loose together.’ And he’s down a flight, two, smirking, before Mack’s reply echoes down to him, reproving.

‘Oh, eating, yes, more of that. More on that subject. Mack will take care of Caspar, you’ll see! Caspar can trust him! I will see you tomorrow, Caspar!’

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 55 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 55 – Alex Ankarr

But no, no, turns out shooting is cancelled, and it’s Sara and Mack as a package deal. Along with take-out ordered in, and a slyly casual slide into a purely social evening, or at least Caspar can tell that that’s the plan. He’s not an idiot, he can feel out a vibe like anyone can, especially when every strictly businesslike query about whether Mack would like the chocolate or the coffee nibbles, if he wants the band to start up with the easy listening early or late, is countered with a suggestion that they deal with it tomorrow. And, ‘God, Caspar, just relax, here, have a drink, come look at the new painting Mack just bought, oh see, Mack wants you to come taste the salad leaves, I might just nip into the little girls’ room and powder my nose and I’m getting really tired…’

Oh hell no. Because Sara is clearly, absolutely complicit in intending to foist Caspar off into Mack’s waiting hands. And – whatever end this whole dance comes to, what comfortable fall on a mattress or awkward friendly distance – Caspar isn’t falling dupe to anyone else’s machinations. He has plenty of machinations of his own, thank you.

So he plays just dumb enough to frustrate, but he gets the bare bones of what he came to do, with or without Sara’s assistance – the specifications and the measurements and the choices – done. Even though it means weaving around Mack and his subtle drawings into chats, even with two beers he hadn’t intended to imbibe inside him, even with Sara repeatedly dragging him back to the kitchen, the seating area. Even with Sara finally actually shoving him down amongst the cushions and sitting on him for a minute or two. (But he’s ticked off his tick-sheet by then, so it does her no good.)

And then he makes his excuses and leaves, because no. Maybe not no permanently, maybe not a no that’s unqualified and comprehensive. But a no to anything he has to be tricked and shoe-horned, cozened and flattered into. No, to all of that. He needs to think this through, and he needs… He needs to know that it’s a good idea.

When she accepts that he’s going and there’s no dissuading him, then Sara storms out ahead of him, mightily displeased. ‘If he gets back with Adam I’m holding you personally responsible,’ she manages to breathe out almost inaudibly in his ear, as she passes. It’s a little bit chilling. Sara is a lovely woman. And also a little bit ruthless. But he brushes it off, because he has other concerns, right about then.

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.

 

Cupcake Kissin’ 54 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 54 – Alex Ankarr

Next thing Mack tries, or his attempt at a further advance in Caspar’s affections, is more flowers. ‘No points for originality,’ Caspar whispers to Millie, peering out from the bake-room, into the front of the shop. Mack himself is barely discernible under a mountain, a forest, a jungle of greenery, shrubbery, and violently colourful floral efflorescences all packaged with a surely over-the-top, superfluous quantity of bows and ribbons and boxes and cellophane. ‘But credit for turning up himself, at least.’

Millie punches him in the shoulder. ‘You are heartless,’ she hisses, ‘you cold-blooded reptile. Look, see how sweet he is, all sweaty from carrying them and trying to persuade Sandy to admit that you’re here and to come and get you. And handsome,’ she adds. ‘Famous and handsome and rich and he likes you, and you’re making him stand in a queue to give you flowers. What a bastard you are, Caspar.’

‘Someone should take a picture,’ Caspar says thoughtfully. ‘It might be worth good money. Could fund the bakery’s next expansion or keep the website going.’ Millie punches him some more, but he doesn’t feel bad.

He does see Mack again that day anyway, although he’s not supposed to. It’s the final ten days or couple of weeks’ run-up to the party, the event of the year, also known as Mack’s birthday. (Not that he appears to take that much interest in it as such. Rather more, he appears to regard it as a necessary blow-out that constitutes a civility and a bit of hospitality to everyone who has crossed his path and done him a service in the course of filming his show over the year. Which is very admirable, really. It’s not that Caspar is disputing the fact that Mack is basically sound, a nice guy.)

All the last-minute prep is getting pretty crazy, though, and making Caspar crazy into the bargain. (Which maybe, possibly, accounts for just how vehement – how stubborn – how sly his response to Mack’s courtship is, has been. Yes, he thinks that they can probably describe it as courtship at this point. It’s not the hole-in-corner impulsive advances Mack has thought good enough until now. Maybe Caspar is a little harsh about that. But he’s wary, still. He’s not convinced yet, not quite.)

So he’s supposed to be meeting Sara at the apartment, and to the best of his knowledge Mack is night-shooting a marina scene for the benefit of next season’s crazy-ass bounty-hunter shenanigans on his show. (Which Caspar has almost stopped watching – almost. He still sees the new episodes. He just doesn’t re-watch, or comb the web and fan-sites about it. Much. Any more.)

© 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: duncan johnston under Creative Commons licence modified for book cover use.