Cupcake Kissin’ 7 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 7 – Alex Ankarr

‘Your aunt, my boy, has left you a bakery business,’ Mayhewlinson says, plunging in with refreshingly little fooling or futzing around. And it’s news to Caspar, but certainly it sounds like good news, little as he can remember of the fine details from half an hour ago. Even if it’s not a good going concern, Caspar thinks hopefully, a skip of something approaching elation in his chest, then surely he’ll be able to sell it off and make some coin with it. Even at auction, if the place is a wreck with no established clientèle, even –

But Mayhewlinson cuts off his speculations pretty quick, and has some relevant information for him. ‘I take it that you don’t remember the terms and conditions of the bequest, then, if you were, ahem, tired during the reading?’ And here he bends a benevolent look upon Caspar, such a look that if it were any more avuncular Caspar would be living in hopes of a bequest even from him, at some sad and gloomy occasion far in the future. ‘I won’t bother you with the technical terminology, and every single clause and side-note that we’re forced to go through on more formal occasions, then. Suffice it to say that due to your dear aunt’s feelings about this particular business – one of many she owned, but one of very few that the dear lady took a personal interest in, and even worked in on occasion, to help cover for staff shortages now and then – she was not desirous that you be able to immediately make, ah, pecuniary use of the business.’

Caspar translates this in his head as best he is able. Gertie had her lawyers draw up his nice little windfall so that he can’t sell it. God damn the old bat, fond of her as he might have been. He can feel his face sour up with a little scowl, but then a thought causes it to lighten up considerably. ‘But I still get the income from the business, right?’ Which, Caspar thinks, is almost better. God bless Gertie, in fact! With the temptation to sell off a valuable asset for the quick bucks involved removed, he’s forced to make the smart move. And pull in a – yearly? Monthly? He isn’t sure how these things work – income from Gertie’s bakery. Which should go towards easing his current financial embarrassments a fair bit.

Hopefully, he thinks cautiously. As long as the business isn’t a dying duck. ‘So,’ he tries, ‘I have to put a manager in, then I can take, like, drawings out of the profits? There are profits, right? Where is this bakery, anyhow, beyond here in good old L.A.? How’s it doing? I’m not too sure how these things work, maybe you could enlighten me…?’

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 6 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 6 – Alex Ankarr

He finds out quick enough. Though genial and expansive, bearing excellent aged Scotch and cigars, it seems that Mayhewlinson hasn’t the temperament to beat about the bush, to draw out the enjoyment of keeping a beneficiary in the dark. ‘Well,’ he’s saying, in quite a short while, leaning back in his fancy-pants hand-tooled leather… what the fuck, Caspar doesn’t even know. It’s nothing so vulgar as a swivel chair, not even a fancy recliner, not a regular armchair. Definitely fancy leather and hand-tooled, though. And swishing his Scotch around in the thick designer glass, nosing at it with a pleased grin.

‘So, your bequest, my boy,’ he begins, leaning forward a little, more businesslike. ‘You heard the bare details of it, of course, during the reading-‘

And at that, Caspar is of course really forced to interrupt with an admission. ‘Er, I think you’ll find that that’s stretching the truth, sir. I had a very long flight thirty-six hours ago, and I haven’t really caught up on my sleep yet, and, er, frankly…’

‘Oh, my dear boy, don’t worry about it,’ Mayhewlinson promptly jumps to reassure him, although Caspar is feeling rather young and foolish and extremely rude over it, for whatever silly reason. ‘You’re far from the first, and I doubt that you’ll be the last if it comes to that. Never the most scintillating occasions, will-readings, except for those who expect to be significant legatees, of course. Which perhaps was not the case with you – and you must have been very much taken aback if so, hey hey, my boy?’ he rumbles, clearly amused. Then he appears to collect himself. ‘Ah, if you’d been awake to hear anything about it, of course,’ he corrects himself.

‘Yes, hm, let’s run through it,’ he says decisively, and shuffles a couple of papers together on his desk, brings something up on the fancy-pants built-in screen on his massive desk. ‘Yeeees. Caspar Oxwalter Rockalde,’ he begins, and Caspar can’t at all restrain the wince, not one bit. His parents were good people. They would never have saddled him with a middle name quite as ghastly as that one, without feeling that they had damn good reason. And of course, with his family, the reason was a family one – an obscenely wealthy old uncle, who just might or might not have taken it into his head to leave Caspar something handsome, given some incentive.

Although when it came to the crunch – of metal on metal, it happened, since a car crash was how poor old Unka Ox met his end – he hadn’t. But it had been a nice try, for the most impecunious branch of this distinguished old family.

 

© 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’ 5 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 5 – Alex Ankarr

At the front of the room he’s caught up again, this time by the lawyers. And he holds out a hand dutifully, expecting a handshake, and a notification of when and where he can come by and pick up the excruciatingly awful vase or whatever it might be, that Aunt Gert has sicced on him.

He gets the shake, all right. And for a grey old suave lawyer dude, Mayhewlinson’s grip is something impressive. But then it all goes haywire. Because Mayhewlinson doesn’t let go of Caspar’s hand. No, he just holds on, and then – uh-oh – he turns it into the old two-handed shake, that’s what he does. Caspar has learned to beware the two-handed shake. In his clan, it tends to mean that some jolly old uncle has marked you down as the target for his unending store of hunting stories for the evening, and is absolutely delighted to have a new victim. However, he tries to calm himself, and reminds himself that in this case, these circumstances, it probably just means that…

‘My very dear Mr Rockalde,’ Mayhewlinson goes on to say, with the most urbane Scottish smoothness Caspar has ever been undelighted to give ear to. ‘Let me invite you into my own personal office. I’ll pour you a drink, and we can have both the official, and an unofficial, discussion of your dear aunt’s charming bequest.’

Yeah. Yeah, Caspar thought that it would most probably be that. It’s still a little odd, though. Because no-one else in the family is getting, has gotten, the invite, the nod, as far as Caspar has noticed. No, they’re all filing and trickling out, singly and in little knots, waving at Caspar as they go, touching him on the arm, even now the odd, ‘Lovely to see you again, dear!’ and ‘Give me a call if you’re staying in town a while, Caspar!’ And to that, add several versions of, ‘Oh my God, the old tinker! Gertie, eh? Poor Caspar! Still, bit of a windfall!’ Yes, several variations on that, and a whole lot of teasing winks, including from people too far away to give him this congratulatory adieu.

Oh, hell, Caspar wonders, with just a shade of foreboding. Gertie, you very very sly old girl. What have you gone and left me? Not a vase, he thinks. Probably not a vase.

***

© 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.

Cupcake Kissin’ 4 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 4 – Alex Ankarr

‘…and, in continuance and pursuit of the terms of that bequest,’ the senior lawyer guy – Mayhewlinson? – continues, looking at Caspar a little bit severely, over the top of his half-moon spectacles, ‘said legatee shall bind and oblige himself via signatory and notarized assumption of all duties of continuance of business, such that over a period of a minimum of twenty-four months all normal functions of the business shall continue unabated in all respects. Said legatee shall serve within all business roles including service, managerial, janitorial, administrative and accounting, for a minimum of forty-five hours per working week. Upon completion of all required conditions of the bequest, legatee shall be free to…’

Christ. Lawyer talk is something that works better than the most effective prescription sleep medication for Caspar, and most probably everyone else ever too. Why do the docs bother with pills, when they could just prescribe a video clip of some greybeard guy in a legal office, blathering on about stuff like this? No muss and no fuss, no side-effects.

Again he’s too busy drifting off, letting his tired mind take him down highways and byways, to focus on what’s actually going on. But he’s still somewhat aware that Cousin Peter keeps giving him sideways looks. Sideways grins, actually. Other members of the family, too, somehow manage to sneak the odd casual glance, which is pretty impressive considering where he’s located, up against the far wall behind them all.

Then it’s all being wound up. People are getting up from their seats, stopping and pausing here and there for a bit of chit-chat, gathering in little knots to express further sorrow and exchange reminiscences. Caspar gets caught up a time or two, and hugged once by Aunt Margaret, all lilac and rose voile and heavy French scent. Four people shake his hands, and laugh, and make incomprehensible jokes. Caspar thinks they’re jokes. They laugh a lot.

He assumes he has some comedy bequest that he slept through. Oh well, he thinks. It’s not so bad, to have provided some of his not-very-nearest, but still quite often dearest, with some amusement along the way. It almost justifies the whole trip, and the truly appalling expense of it.

 

© 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’ 3 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 3 – Alex Ankarr

He knows, in any case, that old Gertie will almost certainly have left him something, probably something ‘nice’. (Probably something of ‘sentimental value’, gosh darn it. A mass-produced vase she liked especially, or one of her wacky garden ornaments. Not that he doesn’t value those kinds of things. It’s just that a little cold hard cash, in the place of sentiment, would come in handy about now. His family has always valued work, and meritorious achievement, and honest puritanical effort, as well as money. A sight too much, if you ask Caspar. Never mind, though. His extended family admires him. Caspar, working his way through college, all through his first degree and his doctorate! Caspar, such grit, such dedication! Wonderful boy! Too busy admiring him to bung a little cash his way to ease his journey, most of the time. He sighs.)

Will readings are not scintillating, especially when you’re not expecting to be a significant beneficiary. It goes on for a long long time, and in fact he does begin, eventually, to be rather on the verge of dozing off. He’s had a very long journey, a lot of little jobs and responsibilities and almost continuous upheavals to deal with, in the past few days. When Cousin Peter jabs him, sharp and vehement, in the ribs, he’s not altogether certain he was fully conscious at the time.

He gives a great emphatic jerk, in any case, and stretches as unobtrusively as he can possibly manage it. Then, he’s aware that people are turning around to take a look at him. Aunt Margaret is grinning at him, her gums showing around her expensive but badly fitted teeth. Miss Emily of the Canadian branch, and her teenage delinquent adopted daughter, are edging out of their chairs in the second row, to get a gawp. He feels more than a bit self-conscious. ‘Was I snoring?’ he hisses at Cousin Peter. ‘Or anything worse?’

But Peter, fifty-something, shiny-skinned, thin dark hair and a solicitor’s practice of his own that flourishes back home in London, just gives a pointed jerk of his head towards the two lawyers seated and droning at the front of the room. Both of whom appear to be completely focused, themselves, on Caspar, right at this minute. Oh hell, has he been twitching and jerking, like a dog after a rabbit in his sleep? A couple of boyfriends have told him he sometimes does that, when he’s having nightmares…

© 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.

Famous, Foolish, Full-on Love – Gay Celebrity Crush Romance!

So Mark has gone from a hopeless long-standing crush on his old college friend – who’s now international film-star Danny Lang – to being his secret boyfriend. All via a very eventful interview that had both of them quaking in their boots (in a knee-trembling kind of a way.) But now they’re on different continents, trying to cope with the demands of their careers and the pressures of secrecy, what will happen when Danny gets mad in another interview and impulsively outs himself? Approximately 4300 words. Sequel to ‘Not So Famous In Your Heart’.

Cupcake Kissin’ 2 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 2 – Alex Ankarr

Funerals are distressing, that’s a given, and Auntie Gertie’s is pretty much a slaughterhouse, emotionally, tears and embraces and howling and big speeches everywhere. The after-show wake is a lurid drunken nightmare for most. Caspar stays sober – for once he’s too upset to want a drink – and spends most of it ferrying over-emotional old sot relatives back to their hotels, one after another all afternoon and evening.

He survives okay, though, gets through it in one piece and shows up for the will reading a couple of days later in Auntie Gertie’s swish L.A. lawyers’ offices. He’s been to a few of these, too. Enough not to get his hopes up and expect much. (He’s a little embarrassed to admit to having hopes of a monetary nature. It seems pretty cold, with Auntie Gertie barely cold and in the ground. But still, it’s human nature just the same, especially when you’re a poor relation to a rich family, and you’re real hardcore stony broke. Not that any of his family, this family, would judge him for it. The rich are matter-of-fact about money. As far as they’re concerned, it’s jolly nice stuff, it’s entirely natural to want some of it, and when you’ve given a relative a jolly good send-off into the great beyond, then the next thing you start to think about is whether you might get some greenbacks out of it. Still, they are all British, even if somewhat transatlantic in some branches of the clan. Old Gertie herself had no use for the rain and greenness of her childhood stamping ground in southern England. She had made her home on the west coast, and refused to shift for the past three decades.)

In any case, he’s a bit subdued at the reading, gives out low-level handshakes and greetings as about a third of the clan assemble, and misses his own ma and dad’s presence, long-gone. As they file into the meeting room for the reading, he chooses a seat well at the back and prepares to zone out. If he does get anything, then someone will elbow him, in the greatest excitement, to make sure that he doesn’t miss it. In any case, his suit is his second-best, after he got mayonnaise on the best one at the wake. (Aunt Flo and her crab and lettuce roll, in trembling liver-spotted hands. Thanks, Aunt Flo!) He doesn’t much want to put it on show. It’s not as if his very best show-piece suit was anything to write home about. And this one is distinctly ratty.

© 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.