Cupcake Kissin’ 86 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 86 – Alex Ankarr

That gets just the hugest cheer, and is obviously a very popular sentiment. (The champagne has been very popular champagne, also, and no doubt does its part to contribute to the success of Mack’s speech.) ‘So many thanks to you all,’ he continues, ‘all of you who make the show possible, and enable it to continue to be a success, actors, directors, writers, support staff, runners, the whole bunch of you. You are all stellar, each and every one. Continue to shine your light!’ He takes a sip of champagne, appears to need it – his voice has gone a little husky. ‘And thank you to everyone who made this party tonight possible, so that we could celebrate together – let’s not forget Sara, and her go-to guy Sam, who have a ton of fun making my life hell and keeping me on my toes, and have hindered this night tonight, just so we all remember how important it is to have these nights where we appreciate each other. And please, a special thank you to the Honey Bunny team who have catered and organised and decorated and generally run themselves ragged, and demonstrated that they’re not just our favourite coffee-shop, but an indispensable part of this whole team too. May they continue to caffeinate us for many years to come!’

Now that’s kind of a surprise, and if Caspar is honest, he possibly tears up a little, at the thoughtfulness of it, the noticing sweetness of it, the unexpectedness. And the response surprises him too, the ‘hear, hear‘s, the slaps on his shoulder (and his ass), the smiles and lifting of glasses to him, and to other Honey Bunny staff assembled too. It is always nice, to be remembered, to be appreciated.

And Caspar thinks that Mack is maybe finished there, is ready to raise his own glass, hastily acquired, and toast the night and the assembled company, and get on with catering the whole damned show. But he’s wrong, and quite reasonably wrong. Because as Mack opens his mouth to continue, Caspar’s gaze runs over his overall, and his hair-net, and it occurs to him that there is still a thing or two left unexplained. Not that it seems as if some things could ever possibly be adequately explained. But he doesn’t let his speculations interfere with his attention to the rest of what Mack has to say. For now, Mack has his eye trained on Caspar, and is smiling at him. His smile, it’s very warm, and his eyes are bright indeed.

© 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.

 

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Cupcake Kissin’ 85 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 85 – Alex Ankarr

And it’s Mack. Which would be quite enough to silence and stupefy anyone. And certainly Caspar.

Is he the only one not in on the joke, then? That’s how it seems, right in that moment. Because everyone else, everyone close enough to see what’s going on, and further back than that, because the plinky noises of the piano are still chiming out and giving people the hint, seems terribly amused.

Caspar doesn’t know quite whether to be amused or not. He looks at Mack, and he’s aware that it’s a very serious look, of one who wants to know if he’s being made a fool of or not. But Mack smiles at him, and touches his hand.

He looks absolutely ridiculous. They look ridiculous together, no doubt. Maybe they always have, but much more so now. They’re a pair of serving staff, now, not a service person and a TV star. How outraged Adam would be, Caspar thinks, and smiles to himself. Thank God Adam isn’t here, that’s all. He wouldn’t get the joke, certainly, never has any sense of humour except at the expense of others.

And now Mack grabs a glass from a passing wait-staff, and hits it with a spoon to get everyone’s attention, calls out for it. ‘Okay, okay, I’d just like to thank everyone here for coming tonight to help me celebrate my birthday. Since I’m a very old man, and who knows if I’ll even live to see another one,’ he begins drily, to cheers and fake cries of sympathy at his aged state. ‘Let’s celebrate another successful season of the show, because it pays all our wages and it’s great to belong to such a happy family, to have known all of you over the course of it. And to hope to know you better, and work with you for many more seasons.’

© 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’ 84 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 84 – Alex Ankarr

And it’s Mack. Which would be quite enough to silence and stupefy anyone. And certainly Caspar.

Is he the only one not in on the joke, then? That’s how it seems, right in that moment. Because everyone else, everyone close enough to see what’s going on, and further back than that, because the plinky noises of the piano are still chiming out and giving people the hint, seems terribly amused.

Caspar doesn’t know quite whether to be amused or not. He looks at Mack, and he’s aware that it’s a very serious look, of one who wants to know if he’s being made a fool of or not. But Mack smiles at him, and touches his hand.

He looks absolutely ridiculous. They look ridiculous together, no doubt. Maybe they always have, but much more so now. They’re a pair of serving staff, now, not a service person and a TV star. How outraged Adam would be, Caspar thinks, and smiles to himself. Thank God Adam isn’t here, that’s all. He wouldn’t get the joke, certainly, never has any sense of humour except at the expense of others.

And now Mack grabs a glass from a passing wait-staff, and hits it with a spoon to get everyone’s attention, calls out for it. ‘Okay, okay, I’d just like to thank everyone here for coming tonight to help me celebrate my birthday. Since I’m a very old man, and who knows if I’ll even live to see another one,’ he begins drily, to cheers and fake cries of sympathy at his aged state. ‘Let’s celebrate another successful season of the show, because it pays all our wages and it’s great to belong to such a happy family, to have known all of you over the course of it. And to hope to know you better, and work with you for many more seasons.’

© 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’ 83 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 83 – Alex Ankarr

But as he swivels around, he relaxes. Because yes, ten or fifteen feet away is a pink-overalled, hair-netted individual, with his back to Caspar, pulling out a trolley that bears the monstrous great cake. (Which is rather ugly in Caspar’s estimation, but Sam and Sara approved it. And where are they, anyhow, because now it occurs to him that not only Mack is missing, though they are only about tenth down on the list of his priorities right now, after shutting up atrocious piano-man and re-hanging the drape that’s fallen down, never mind his own special cakes and Mack.) And he turns, to dash and alert the professional musician they’ve hired, the one who actually should be doing the Happy Birthday honours. Mack must be here, for things to be springing into place, and getting it right, now, is more important than seeing him, right now. Caspar will have his chance later – he hopes.

At least, that’s the theory, upon which he’s operating. But he finds himself frustrated in his plan, because he’s grabbed by one arm, and then the other, and then he’s stuck and held in place. It’s Sam, at his left hand, and Sara, at his right, and he’s confounded, outraged. (Although it does at least solve the mystery of where the hell the pair of them have got to. Caspar does wonder, now, if he was better off wondering it, and without their presence, than he is presently.) ‘Let me go,’ he says irritably, now. ‘I need to sort out the music, because whoever’s butchering Happy Birthday over there is, well, butchering it. So I have to go.’ And he gives a little tug, but they are stupidly uncooperative.

‘Oh, quit wriggling,’ Sam says cheerfully. ‘And blow out a few candles, why don’t you.’

Because for some reason, the dumb-ass he has evidently hired, the one in the pink overall who’s manning the cake-trolley, is heading right towards them, and by that, Caspar means right towards them, to him specifically. And for why? It makes no sense. But it’s unarguable, and unavoidable, and then it’s right there, the trolley.

And Caspar has his mouth open ready, because this employee is evidently a great idiot, and needs a dressing down from someone of natural authority and a stern disposition – or failing that, from Caspar – and Caspar is the fellow to give it to him.

And he would, too, except that moment, that’s the moment that the pink-jacketed one drags the trolley right by him, and turns to face him, and.

© 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’ 82 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 82 – Alex Ankarr

But Sandy comes chasing after him, grimacing. ‘Get on out there! Get out! You’ll find out quick enough when you – just get out there!’

The ways of Sandy are very mysterious, as Caspar has learned full well in the months that are past. It’s not as if he even bothers to argue. He just, as she justly says, gets his ass out there, keeping his anxious eyes open and flicking a stray crumb off the tux he has slung over his pink overall. (Mr Mayhewlinson’s interpretation of his aunt’s strictures, in this case, were inflexible so far as the actual wearing of the overall was concerned, and the shade. But he did relax just far enough to allow for the addition of the tux – just. It improves his ludicrous appearance, a little bit. Of course, there’s nothing to be done regarding the hair-net.

Now Caspar looks about him, in the midst of the apartment, the hubbub, the party. Everywhere people eating, drinking, talking, flirting. And still, nowhere, any sign of Mack, but he sighs at that, because, well, that’s just typical of Mack. And also, nowhere that he can see, any sign of trouble, of a lack, of an issue or a problem that justifies or explains Sandy coming in search of him as if there was an imminent earthquake or a shortage of cheese-cream puffs destroying the smooth running of the whole shebang.

Nothing, there is, anywhere, beyond the producer from the show catching him by the hand with a grin. ‘Great production, Caspar!’ he cries, and he’s gone. Cara, similarly, grabs a hold of him from behind a minute later, makes him dance a step or two and staggers a little into him.

‘Is there any problem?’ he asks her, but she laughs and shakes her head.

‘Great! Everything’s great!’ she assures him. And it is, so maybe Sandy was just sneakily skiving.

‘Where’s Mack?’ he tries, because it’s worth a shot, and, well… He wants Mack here. He wants to force-feed him some of those special cupcakes, if need be. He wants, he wants, he doesn’t exactly know what.

He wants a shot. He wants to try.

And then he hears it, the first bars of Happy Birthday that someone very inexpert, against all instruction and planning, is banging out on the grand piano that occupies a very significant place in the corner of the great huge fancy apartment. Which has to be a good sign, doesn’t it – although it does, then, mean that his guys have failed to keep a proper eye out and keep him abreast of events. He can only hope that at least they are taking note now, are rolling out the special birthday cake in Mack’s honour. (The official one, the fancy specially-iced one with cool beige icing and a sweet little china heart wrapped in a bow, and figurines of the whole show cast playing out a scene from the first episode of the first season, on its white slopes.)

© 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’ 81 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 81 – Alex Ankarr

And that’s where he is, that’s what he’s brooding over, when Sandy comes to find him, standing over a tray of pretty cakes and wondering what the hell he did to manage to get to this point in his life. From an engineer to a baker, from cheerfully – fairly cheerfully – single, to vaguely, imprecisely attached without actual words or deeds to back it up. Semi-owner of a thriving little bakery business, treated with jovial affection and disrespect by the lot of his staff – rogues and darlings as they are, each and every one.

Still a little sad and grieving even now, still missing his aunt. Missing Mack, quite often, without justification, wondering if this half-unloosed, untied knot is enough to hold them together, will ever actually be tied and defined.

‘Oh, do cheer up,’ Sandy says, and it’s not without justification, as she walks in on him. ‘With a face like that you could bring on a downpour.’ That might be true, too. It doesn’t stop him straying over and swiping her across the hair-net with a damp tea-towel, for cheek.

‘Oh, do mind the hair,’ she says, irritably, and heads for the nearest mirror, to check out her immaculate maquillage and trim little figure. True enough, they’re all done up to the nines in pink, because it could not be otherwise, and the terms of his servitude are quite brutally strict. But even bearing that in mind, even with the added aesthetic insult of a hair-net, Sandy has done quite well appearance-wise. Her eyeliner is smooth and even, her skin flawless, her teeny-tiny waist well-defined and delightful in the overall she has specially tailored. (There’s a lot of L.A. big money here tonight, and it’s not as if Sandy is going to miss a chance to acquire a hotshot L.A. producer husband, why should she? No fool, that girl.)

‘Anyway, honey, you’re wanted,’ she observes, pulling a stray hair out of her delicate eyebrows. ‘So get your ass out there.’

And, woken from personal glumness by his professional duty, Caspar is immediately roused. He’s halfway out the doorway before he’s asking, ‘What’s up? What’s happening? Do they need more champagne? Is there a problem with the salmon rolls, I wasn’t sure about those chervil sprigs, if you ask me the suppliers were – ‘

© 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’ 80 – Alex Ankarr free online gay romance serial

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Cupcake Kissin’ 80 – Alex Ankarr

The guests aren’t fashionably late, either, damn ’em. Aren’t they from the entertainment industry, too, or most of them? It’s against nature, and it’s certainly working against type and against reputation. What on earth do they imagine they’re playing at? A good twenty minutes early, the first batch, grips and assistants and runners from the studio, and they swarm in with pleasant greetings and an avid eye for the feast laid out and the free bar, the liquor cabinets and, well, the hordes of pretty women and men who aren’t yet arrived, since these are the first legion to descend.

Of course he and the others should have known. Free food, free drink, and even in L.A. you’ll get the hordes descending early.

But then that carries on for thirty, forty, fifty minutes, until the party’s well started and only the birthday boy is missing. (Thirty, now, and it’s a big deal, and where the heck is he in that case?) The whole cast are in, DeLontyne and Merrian and Cara and the rest. All the support staff, presidents and managers and producers at the studio, suppliers and interns and engineers. In the end, everyone barring Mack, it seems. Which is both a little rude, and a little disturbing. Not that it manages to put off most of the guests, a ravening horde who barely appear to notice the absence of the guest of honour cum host.

The food keeps on having to be replenished, and the serving staff need instruction and rebuke and advice as he keeps sending them out with more trays of glasses of bubbly, more beers and hors d’oeuvres. He’s in and out of the two kitchens, and he gets grabbed in friendly fashion by studio staff who know him, by now, and has a couple of glasses pretty much forced down his gullet. But still, no Mack, no Mack, until it gets noticeable and people are noticing and remarking. Some of them eye him slyly, after that interview, and ask him where Mack is.

As if he knows.

First he’s anxious, then he’s irritable. Then he is, frankly, a bit upset. Finally he retreats to the smaller of the two kitchens (the staff one, that Mack himself doesn’t use for cooking. When he has a guest to dinner, though what would Caspar know about that, hem hem.) That’s where the cupcakes – the special ones, because of course, quite obviously, Honey Bunny’s has plentifully supplied this special event with an assortment, an embarrassment, a positive overkill of cupcakes on every flat surface in the place – are.

© 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.