Friday, March 30, 2012

Silver Shorts Week 13: Wedding Cake Blues

The new Silver Shorts anthology is now available at Silver Publishing! Download it now, it's free flash fiction from the authors of Silver Publishing.  This week, I used the prompt "Spring rain reminds me of..." I am proud to present to you my story, Wedding Cake Blues. Enjoy!

Wedding Cake Blues

"What does spring rain remind you of?"
"What?" Drake glanced up from the ivory shell border he was painstakingly piping onto the rim of a wedding cake. Marco had opened the heavy metal back door of the bakery. He leant against the frame, silhouetted against the curtain of the falling rain outside. Darren's heart gave a lurch at the sight.
"The rain. What does it make you think of?" Marco's gaze was fixed somewhere in the distance, far beyond Drake's range of vision, but then it always was. Marco was a dreamer. A schemer and a planner. And he was also hot as fuck.
"I dunno. That it's gonna be wet driving home, and all the idiots'll be out?" Drake squeezed his pastry bag harder, forcing out the decorator frosting. "What about you? What does spring remind you of?"
"The renewal of life. It's a time of rebirth. Everything that winter killed off is coming back, better than ever. And very beautiful."
Like you. Aloud, Drake said, "That's a nice thought. Poetic, even." Focus on the cake, not Marco. But he couldn't help himself, and he glanced at his co-worker again, frowning in dismay, both at the sight and at himself. If he didn't concentrate, he was gonna make the row come out crooked, and then he'd have to redo it. Not to mention Marco seemed determined to get into trouble.
"You should put that out. If you get caught with that, the old man's gonna fire you."
Marco laughed, a deep, rich, throaty sound that enveloped Drake's heart in a surge of fiery heat. Between his slender fingers, Marco held a lit cigarette. "Naw, he won't fire me. Yell at me, sure. But he won't fire me." He negligently flicked the subject of discussion out the door and out of sight. Shrugging, he turned toward Drake. "Do you want to know how I know?"
"Yeah, how do you know?" Drake shivered in spite of himself as his eyes met Marco's. Marco's eyes were so blue that sometimes they seemed to be black. Like a black hole, sucking everything into their rich depths. Drake knew that, given the opportunity, he could get lost in those eyes forever. Not that the opportunity would ever come.
"Because he's doing my old man, that's how I know. No way he's gonna fire me for anything short of burning the place down."
Drake swallowed hard. That was more personal information than Marco had given him in the few months they'd worked together. He didn't tend to talk about himself very much, usually limiting his comments to the world around him. "Your dad? And Mr. Wilson?" Wow, that brought up a rather disturbingly sexy image in his mind. Marco's dad, Dimitri, was damn good looking for his age—it was easy to see where the son had gotten his amazing looks—and so was their boss, the owner of Only Cakes, Jimmy Wilson. Together… Just wow.
But what about the son? Did the acorn fall far from the oak? Drake wished. But his luck didn't run that way. And he didn't have the nerve to ask.
"Yeah, they're dating or something. I'm not sure what they're actually calling it. But whatever it is, it got me a job."
"Don't you like making cakes?"
"I do now." Marco turned away from the rain. He kicked at the box he'd been using to prop the door open and let it fall shut, muffling the sound of the rainfall, reducing it to patters on the flat roof of the bakery. "I didn't before, but hey, it's a job, right?"
"Well, yeah, it's a job. But I'm sure you could do anything you wanted." I'm glad you gave this one a chance.
Marco smiled as he approached the work table. He moved with all of the lithe grace of a dancer. Light on his feet, despite his size, which Drake estimated at close to six feet. A muscular six feet at that, at least from what Drake could see. The closer he got, the louder Drake's heart beat, until he was sure it must be more than audible.
"Pretty cake," Marco commented. "You do good work. What's the theme for this one?"
"Um… uh… Winter. Ice. That kind of thing. Everything's supposed to be done in white and silver and b-blue. No other c-color…"
Marco stepped closer. So close. Irresistibly close… desirably close. Drake forced himself to look away, to focus on the pastry bag in his hand. To breathe. To fight against his nervous stammer, which would pick now to make itself evident.
"What do you think of the topper? Pretty cool, eh?" It had taken him some time to find just the right one, but he'd located the perfect design on the Internet. Two men on skis, dressed in full white tux. The grooms had been ecstatic when he showed them his find. Apparently they'd met one another at some posh winter resort in Europe. Switzerland maybe. And now they were getting married. Lucky them.
"Winter's such a dead season. I hate snow. It's so… cold."
"Yeah, that's why it only comes in winter." Drake tried to joke, but it felt flat. Unlike his dick, which was straining even now against his zipper, fighting for release. Not gonna happen, big boy. Not here, not now.
"The only good thing about winter is getting snowed in and building a huge fire in the fireplace, then getting naked in front of it and making love to a beautiful man."
Drake damn near swallowed his tongue. Both at the image and the words. He tried to keep himself from picturing it, but it was too late. In his mind's eye he saw Marco, stretched out on a bear skin rug. No, scratch that. Something more exotic. Marco laid bare on a tiger skin rug. A white tiger, at that. Beautiful and exotic… like Marco. Such a gorgeous sight with his beautiful skin, the color of a caramel macchiato. His depthless eyes and killer smile. Muscles for days… and a cock to die for.
Of course, Drake didn't know that for sure. The idea was a product of his very vivid imagination. One that was located in his dreams—those of the waking up wet 'cause he blew his load variety.
"Ever make love to a man, Drake?"
Whoa, he hadn't seen that coming. No pun intended. Not trusting his voice, Drake shook his head. Marco had come around the table now, his movements resembling a jungle cat, feral and untamed. Drake watched his undulating hips. Even encased as they were in black work pants, they were a sight to behold. He stifled a moan at the thought of seeing them naked, pressing his hands against them as Marco pumped inside of him, filled him, while they gazed deeply into one another's eyes, fucking the night away…
Wait, what? Had he missed something while lost in his erotic fantasy?
"… in the world. Nothing like it."
Drake's eyes grew wide. He stopped breathing. Marco's face was mere inches from his own, close enough to see how long and thick and luscious his eyelashes really were. Close enough to see the midnight blue eyeliner that rimmed his eyes, accentuating their darkness. Close enough to see the small mole at the corner of his mouth, just at the edge of his upper lip, near the seam. He longed to touch those lips with his, to taste them, to explore them.
Did he just whimper?
His eyes seemed to close of their own volition, because it seemed the thing to do. He'd seen it often enough in movies. The leading man would make his move, claim his love interest's lips, and he or she always closed their eyes. It felt natural, even if it did contribute to a sudden dizziness that passed through him in a wave, unbalancing his center of being. A heartbeat passed in utter silence. When nothing happened, he looked again, confused to find Marco on the other side of the table.
"Marco?" He managed to croak. Then he realized that Marco wasn't looking at him, he gazed past him, at something or someone. He slowly turned his head, suddenly apprehensive. There stood Mr. Wilson.
"That's looking nice, Drake. Almost done?" He slapped Drake lightly on the shoulder. It took him a moment to realize there was a question there.
"Almost." He hoped his boss didn't notice how shaky his voice was, or see the tremor in his legs. Normally he never sat while he decorated his cakes, so that he could achieve the proper angle and use just the right pressure. But at this moment it seemed like a good idea. He grabbed a metal stool from under the table and heavily sat, taking the weight off his legs before they gave out on him.
His cheeks felt hot, yet also cold. He didn't dare look Marco in the eyes again, afraid his own eyes would reveal too much.
"Have you started the order for that birthday party yet?" This question was obviously directed at Marco.
"Getting on that right now."
"Good, good. They'll be by at six to pick it up. Not a problem, is it?"
"Nope. None whatsoever. Plenty of time. We'll get 'er done, Jimmy."
It sounded funny to hear his boss addressed by his first name. Drake wondered again if the son took after the father, or was that just wishful thinking on his part? And why the hell didn't he have the nerve to find out?
* * * *
Drake stood back from the table to admire his handiwork, absentmindedly wiping his frosting encrusted hands on his work apron. The wedding cake had turned out spectacularly. Drake was pleased with the result; he'd created a veritable winter wonderland in decorator frosting and fondant. He'd made slivers of ice using spun sugar that he tinted silver. He glanced up. Marco was staring at the cake too, having helped him move it from the working table to the finishing table, where they were about to box it up. The admiration he saw in Marco's eyes meant a great deal to him.
Everything they needed to do for the day had been done. The birthday cake was decorated and boxed and ready to be picked up. The cakes for the storefront were completed and in the showcase to be sold. Marco had a list of what cakes were to be made the next day, which he'd posted on the wall by his work station. The kitchen was spotless and ready to be shut down for the night. Drake couldn't help but think what a good team they made, grateful all over that Mr. Wilson had started dating Marco's father, since that's what had brought them together.
Well, not actually together. But they were co-workers, anyway—on the job friends. And that was a start.
"Got plans?" Marco's voice—followed immediately by the ringing of the bakery phone—intruded on his thoughts. He reached for the cordless that sat on a nearby shelf, but there was no second ring, so he knew one of the girls out front had gotten it. He slid his empty hand back into his pocket, feeling the weight of his own phone.
"Not really. Maybe watch a little TV. You?"
"I was wondering—"
Whatever Marco had been about to say was cut short. The door to the kitchen swung open, and a bright orange head popped into view. "Mr. Wilson gone home?" she asked.
"Probably, Cindy." Marco shrugged. "Did you check his office?"
"Naw, just looked here first. I bet he's gone, though, don't you?"
"I think so. Just like we're going to be in a couple minutes."
Drake wondered if Mr. Wilson had a date with Marco's dad, but he decided to keep those thoughts to himself.
"Why, what's up?" Marco continued
"I have a very distraught groom on the line. Something's gone wrong, and they can't pick up the cake. He wants to know if we can deliver?"
Drake and Marco exchanged glances.
"We were about to go home," Marco said, jingling his keys for emphasis. Drake nodded his agreement.
"He says he'll be happy to pay whoever does it." The girl looked from one to the other. "Guys, I think he's crying."
Damn. That was hard to ignore. "I'll do it…" he started to offer, but Marco broke in.
"We'll do it. No big deal. Do you have the address?"
"No, but I'll get it, hold on." She disappeared through the door, while the two boys regarded one another.
"I can handle it." Drake didn't want Marco to feel obligated, just because he hadn't ducked out the door yet. Although he hoped he'd agree to do it. More time spent together. In a vehicle even.
"Don't be silly. We can do it together. You ever transport a wedding cake before?"
Drake nodded. "Yeah. It's not too hard. We have a yoga mat we can set it on so it won't skid. I'll disassemble the top layers, and reassemble them there. The only thing is I don't think my trunk will work very well, it's pretty small. What about yours?"
Marco's gaze flickered to the wall. On a peg hung a set of keys. The ones that belonged to Only Cakes' only delivery van. He looked back at Drake. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Drake nodded. "Yeah, that makes sense. I'm guessing Mr. Wilson won't mind. It's for a customer, after all, not like we're joy riding."
"You know it." Marco grinned. "What do you need to bring to finish the job there?"
"Just a few things. It's not hard. We just have to drive carefully, that's all."
"Get your stuff together, I'll get the address and we'll be on our way, yes?"
"Sounds good to me." Drake thought it sounded more than good. It sounded like the perfect end to a good day. Did he have the nerve to make it the beginning of something more?
* * * *
Drake couldn't help but sneak surreptitious glances at Marco. He sat in the passenger seat, while Marco had taken the wheel of the bakery van, looking oh so fine. His profile was damn irresistible, drawing Drake deeper and deeper. He tried to focus on what they were doing, where they were going, but it was difficult when he wanted to touch Marco in the worst possible way.
They'd secured the cake, utilizing a cardboard circle in the bottom of the box that was wider than the widest layer, one that kept the cake from touching the sides of the box. They'd set it on the yoga mat, in the back of the van, and carefully boxed the top tiers; Drake carried his tools in a drawstring bag in his lap.
Just before they'd walked out the door, Marco had stopped him, his hand against Drake's chest. Drake's heart had quit beating for that one moment, his imagination soaring. But Marco only pulled the dirty apron he'd forgotten he was wearing carefully over Drake's head. Then he gave him a critical glance, dusting off a spot on his pants and proclaiming him perfect. Drake could only pray he didn't notice the sudden swell of his pants at Marco's touch.
Their destination was about a half hour's drive, a country club on the other side of town. Marco had Mapquested it and written the directions on a piece of paper, which lay on the dashboard.
"By my calculations, we should be in plenty of time," Marco said. "They gotta get through dinner first. And then all the toasts and shit. Then the dancing."
"Yeah, but they'll want the cake on display for that stuff too," Drake commented.
"True. I think we're making good time, though. Not like we can speed or anything. Better to arrive a few minutes late with a whole cake, than a few minutes earlier with one that's been bounced around."
They fell into a comfortable silence. Drake peeked over at Marco, not for the first time, and found the other's eyes on him. Blushing, he glanced into his lap.
"So, does Mr. Wilson come over to your house? I mean, to see your dad? If I'm being too nosey, just tell me to shut up."
Marco laughed. "You're not being nosey. I'd ask the same thing if it was our boss and your dad. Sometimes he sleeps over, or Dad sleeps over there. It's all good."
They came to a red light. Marco reached over and laid his hand atop Drake's. The temperature in the van suddenly shot up a hundred degrees at least.
"Do you ever think about what your wedding cake will be like?" Marco asked. "I mean, you're so good at designing and shit. I bet you know just what you want, don't you?"
That was the last question Drake had expected to hear from Marco.
"Actually, no," Drake confessed. "Well, not really."
Marco turned his head, dark eyebrows arched.
"I always thought that when the time came, that would be something I'd discuss with my fiancé. It should represent both of us, not just me or what I like."
"That makes sense. I never thought about wedding cakes at all, 'til I started working there. I never really thought about weddings. Your cakes are beautiful. Whoever marries you is gonna be one lucky guy."
Marco's fingers lightly stroked the top of Drake's hand.
If only this moment could last forever…
The light changed and Marco stepped on the gas, making a left turn. He never released Drake's hand.
When Drake finally found his voice, he asked, "What about you? Do you have something special in mind for your wedding cake?"
"No, I'm not really good with visualizing that kind of thing. But I know one thing. Whatever it looks like, I want it to have a filling."
"Filling? What kind?" Drake had never made a wedding cake with a filling, but he'd seen them in culinary magazines.
"Strawberry and custard. I had one once and it was awesome."
"If that's what you want, then that's what you should have."
"Would you make it for me?" Marco's fingers tightened on Drake's hand. Drake's whole body was on fire from the intimate contact.
"Are you thinking about getting married?" He managed to ask, without stammering.
"If you're asking am I seeing someone, then no, just thinking ahead." Marco raised Drake's hand to his lips, turned it over and kissed the palm, just before catering truck stopped moving. Drake glanced through the windshield. Damn, they'd arrived. Too soon, as far as he was concerned.
"Where do we need to take this?" Marco turned in his seat, facing Drake.
"Probably through the kitchen, but we should ask first. Just in case."
He reached for the door handle, but before either had a chance to get out of the van, a knock came at Drake's window. To his surprise, Mr. Wilson stood there, gesturing at them by rolling his hand. Drake lowered the window.
"Mr. Wilson? What are you doing here?" he blurted out.
"I was about to ask you two the same question?" Their employer was dressed in formal clothes. Drake thought he was looking pretty smokin'. A similarly dressed handsome man stood behind him, also looking pretty hot.
"Hey, Dad!" Marco grinned. "Jimmy, we have a delivery for the Reinhardt-Galapagos wedding. Any chance that's why you're here?"
"Yeah, they're friends of ours." Dimitri came abreast of Jimmy; they both peered inside. Drake felt the intensity of their white hot scrutiny. Or maybe he was just self-conscious at being with Marco outside of the bakery. Wishful thinking, much?
"I thought that was being picked up?"
"That was the original plan, but something happened, so they called and asked for a delivery," Drake explained.
At that moment, a flustered man in a white tux burst out of the posh building. At first glance, Drake thought he seemed to be close to losing his mind. His face was red, his bow tie askew, and his hands were waving apoplectically at the air.
"Oops, there's Bruce," Jimmy said. "Metri, go calm him down, while I help the boys get the cake inside and set up."
"Sure thing." The two men exchanged a quick kiss, before Marco's dad turned to head disaster off at the pass. Drake could just hear his soothing voice as he caught the nervous groom and took him in hand. The words were indistinct, but the tone was clearly meant to calm; they quickly disappeared back into the country club.
"Where should we unload?" Marco asked.
"Let's go in the front. That's faster than taking it around the back and through the kitchen. Come on."
Between the three of them, they carefully carried the various boxes inside, into a small back area just off of the reception hall. Drake peeked into the larger room. He saw black-clad waiters bearing plates of food. Apparently the guests were just being served dinner, so they'd arrived in plenty of time. Thanks to Drake's careful packing, the cake was as immaculate as when he'd first assembled it. Mr. Wilson returned to his date, once he saw that they had the situation under control. Marco kept him company while Drake put the wedding cake back together again. He stood so close that Drake could feel the heat from his body.
"Just like Humpty Dumpty. Except better," Marco chuckled. "Can I set the topper on?"
Drake had been about to do that, but without hesitation he handed him the decoration. Marco held it for a moment, closing his eyes, not saying anything. When he opened them again, he set the topper on the cake. "It's beautiful," he commented, turning to Drake. "Just like you."
Before Drake had a chance to respond, Marco had taken him into his arms, and smothered any possible utterance with his lips.
This was it. This was the moment he'd been wishing for. Maybe this wasn't the ideal place for this, but right now, Drake didn't really care.
Unfortunately, that was the moment their boss chose to walk back in, checking up on them. Drake's cheeks burned, but Marco seemed unperturbed. "All done, see?" When Drake tried to step back, Marco slid a casual arm about his waist, anchoring him beside him. Drake didn't move away—he was far too happy to argue. He couldn't think past this moment, and he wanted this moment to last as long as possible. Assuming Mr. Wilson wasn't about to bust their balls.
"Looks wonderful." He looked from one to the other. "Bruce and Carl would like to know if you two would stay for dinner? You can sit with me and Dimitri. Our table had two no shows."
"Are you kidding?" Drake glanced down at his work clothes.
"No, I'm not. They're so happy you brought the cake, they don't care about anything else. Come on."
"But I… we're not dressed."
"You look wonderful," Marco said. "I'd love to, if you would?"
How could Drake say no? He couldn't.
They ended up sitting with Dimitri and Jimmy, having a fabulous dinner. Afterward, Drake could never say just what it was. He only knew that he was with Marco, and that Marco held his hand beneath the table, and the most delicious feelings were coursing through him. When it came time for the toasts, they were given small glasses of champagne. The bubbles went straight up Drake's nose and everyone laughed when he hiccupped.
After dinner, Bruce and Carl—Mr. and Mr. Reinhardt-Galapagos—led the first dance, and then the floor began to fill with other couples. Marco stood and looked at Drake, holding out one hand. "Will you do me the honor of dancing with me?"
Drake's cheeks flushed, and he could barely breathe, flush with happiness. He reached for Marco's outstretched hand, and laid his own trustingly inside it. "I'd love to," he said.
He had eyes for no one but his handsome co-worker as they found a corner of the dance floor, and wrapped their arms about one another, swaying to the soulful beat of the live music.
"I have a confession to make," Marco whispered into Drake's ear. His blood pressure began to skyrocket, his heart to tap dance.
"What's that?" He was almost afraid to hear. Almost.
"You know when I put the topper on the cake?"
Drake nodded.
"I know it's not exactly tradition, but I made a wish."
"You did?"
"I did. And so far, it's all come true."
Drake looked into the depths of those fathomless dark eyes, his breath catching his throat. "It has?"
"I wanted to spend time with you, and I wanted a chance to hold you in my arms. And one more thing…"
Before Drake could ask what that one more thing was, Marco moved his head into position and their lips had come together once more. Skyrockets were leaping in Drake's head and he'd never felt so happy in his life.
When they pulled apart at last, Marco whispered, "I've wanted to kiss you ever since I first saw you, Drake, but I didn't think I was your type."
"You're wrong. You're what I always wanted, too."
They grinned at one another, almost sheepishly. Drake felt a touch on his shoulder. He turned his head to see Jimmy Wilson. "Can I cut in?" he joked.
"Sorry Jimmy, his dance card is filled." Marco pulled Drake even closer, so close he could feel their mutual desire. "Maybe next time."
Their boss only laughed, as Dimitri appeared behind him, encircling his waist. "I see how you are. Well, have fun, just don't forget you have to work tomorrow." He and Dimitri began to dance together, and soon moved in another direction.
Somehow, Drake didn't think he'd be forgetting about work any time soon. Not with Marco there. Boldly, he reached for Marco's lips, fusing them together. "I wanted to be with you, too," he confessed.
In later years, their children never tired of hearing the story, of how their fathers had found one another because of a wedding cake emergency. It would be a staple of their family history for years to come.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

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