Picture Perfect 68
“Dan,” Sandy said. “For someone who claims to lead a sheltered life you certainly attract men wherever you go. Peter. Silver. Larry. Jeremy.”
“Me! Cliff Silver?”
“Boss, even I have seen how he looks at you.” Ushio said. “I may be straight but I recognize that look.”
“Really?” he asked Sandy.
“I thought you knew?” She shook her head.
“Not me. I have businesses to run, remember. I better get out of here though. Think about some cross promotion for the Carafe. I’ll be expecting to hear about it tomorrow.”
He stepped into the Carafe.
“Is Peter around?” He asked.
Jill looked from the customer she was serving at the counter. “He’s around somewhere. Thank you.” she finished with the customer in front of her. “Where is that buzz?”
“Like the ones at Shopper’s. When you get prescription and have to wait, they give you a buzzer to carry that alerts you when your order is ready. I’m sure they wait long enough for you to spend at least fifty dollars before buzzing.”
“You buzz people when their coffee is ready?”
“No! Whomever is on duty here can buzz other staff members for help or to let them know someone is looking for them.” She held up the master buzzer. There were seven lights in the panel. Three were lit up. “This one is Peter. Twice means someone is looking for him.” She pressed the light twice. “Once is ‘need help’. Three times is ‘bring baked goods’.”
“Four get me the fuck out of here.”
Peter brought a tray of scones to the display case. “Try?” she gave one to Dan. “Espresso infused lemon cake. Lemon curd glaze and vanilla butter cream.”
“Expanding your fat-free line.” Dan took a bite. “You can’t keep food like this from the public Jill. Keeping this place running is really a public service.” He took another bite.
“Sit for a mo.” He said to Peter & nodded to an empty table in the window.
“I dropped by to let you know I’m expecting Jeremy and his daughter for supper tonight.”
“So you don’t want me around.” Peter snapped. “Sir. To walk in on the two of you?”
“Three – I said daughter. I just didn’t want you to be surprised when you got to the house. That’s all.”
“Okay.” He got up from the table. “I better get back to work.” He went to the display case and rearranged the cupcakes.
“What’s with him?” he asked Jill.
“He was telling me how much he was looking forward to having you all to himself tonight.”
“You try saying no to the charming Ashley Moxham.”
“I have.” she smiled. “That girl only hears what she wants to hear. I don’t envy the man who marries her. Besides that’s not called charm it’s called money.”
“I don’t envy any man who wants to marry period.” Dan laughed. “I’ll take … six of those lemon muffins.”
“They are not muffins, asshole,” Jill said. “They are handcrafted limited edition Classic Carafe Brioche.”
“I stand corrected.” He got up and went to the counter & paid for the desserts. “The Depot gang are handcrafting a promotion for you. I’ll know more tomorrow.”
He opened the door to leave and Peter stopped him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to give you attitude, sir. I know this …” he tapped his chest then Dan’s, “between us is temporary. You being on the rebound and me being handy.”
“We’ll talk later Peter but rest assured it isn’t rebound. I want to get back to the house to relax a little.”
He crossed to the corner to wait fro the street car. Sandy was right about him attracting men easily. He’d never felt particularly good looking. Not in that classic porn hunk way, anyway. Even with a beard he felt he lacked standard queer appeal. When he met Sanjay he was amazed that there was such a strong sexual connection between them.
The street car pulled up. Not too full for a change. More construction along Queen East than ever before. Who was moving into those places? Another Starbucks in a corner building. What was replacing the Cool Jerk. He got off a stop before his and walked. Finally he was feeling relaxed. No one to content with. The air was cool. Leaves were beginning to change. He left Queen and was pleased that the street traffic sound dimmed quickly on his street. It was like stepping out of one city and into another.
He’d have to get someone in to look after the garden before fall really set in. He’d be back on the east coast for all that. Did Peter know anything about gardens? Or was it better to set clear limits on that … friendship.
He turned around. “Sanjay!” Was the universe going to squeeze everyone into these forty-eight hours.
“I was hoping we could talk like adults.”
“We can try.” Dan replied. They hadn’t spoken face to face since Sanjay left the house. He put the box of brioche on the porch rail.
“You going to ask me in?”
“No. Our attorneys no meeting privately even in public.
“Your little boy toy …”
“Watch it Sanjay. You wanted to talk like adults. Name calling isn’t a good way to start.”
“That was quite a rain storm on the east coast. It made me think of the monsoons. I was concerned when I heard about the accident. First it was reported that Toronto TV personalities were involved in it. When names were attached I was relieved.”
“Did you look for your copy of the life insurance policy or were you cursing me for changing my will before I left.”
“You changed …”
‘Yes. Did you think I wouldn’t?”
“I guess I’m still hoping you’d change your mind.”
“Sanjay you were the one who couldn’t go on living this way. Living in sin.”
“Peter moved in fast enough.” Sanjay said.
“I needed a house sitter. He was willing.”
“To do more than house sit, I am sure.”
“Sanjay let’s not start in on that again. It’s tired and not productive. How are things with Papoulias?”
“Business is good. You should come up and check it out.”
“I just might. I’m happy to see you are doing well. I have no ill will towards you.”
“Then why not ask me in.” Sanjay caressed Dan’s chin.
“Because I have no interest in you either.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Not my problem. I have company coming in a couple of hours. You haven’t forgotten how long it takes me to put my face on.”
“When are you going back to your show?”
“That’s not relevant to this conversation. Have a good weekend.” He went into the house. Leaned his back against the front door. The emotions he still felt towards Sanjay surprised him. The smell of him, the touch of him. It hurt to be so close and to hold back but that’s what adults out of love did.