Layer Cake

by shukyou (主教)
illustrated by Iron Eater


“Not yet, boss,” Manda called from the next room.

Steve looked at the car keys in his hand. He looked at the back door. He looked at the light switches he would hit and the alarm that he would set before going home for the day. Why did they all now suddenly seem so far away?

She walked back in with her purse slung over her shoulder and her apron off. “That was Mr. Olatunji on the phone,” she told him.

Despite his practiced good cheer, Steve felt his entire face fall like a mismade souffle. “What … did he want?” he asked, braced already for the impact of the answer.

“They’re not sold on the white chocolate and raspberry,” Manda told him. The look on her face was something just this side of smugness. Well, at least somebody was enjoying this. “They’re thinking pink champagne now.”

“That it?” Steve frowned. That seemed too simple a change for the second biggest groomzilla he’d ever met. The date was still three weeks out; he hadn’t even started making anything yet. He could even keep the tiered design they’d agreed upon earlier (after a mere four consultations), and any day he didn’t have to use a double boiler was a good day.

“And they’re coming by to taste it,” Manda added as she walked toward the door, casual and devastating as though she were dropping a grenade.

“What, now?” Steve glared at her. “Both of them?”

“In person.” Manda patted Steve’s shoulder, letting fly a little cloud of flour. A constant coating of suspicious powder was an occupational hazard. “Have fun!”

“I will pay you ten million dollars to do this instead of me,” Steve promised, highballing the bid on account of knowing it was useless.

Manda shook her head. “Nope. Got to go get Dominic before the late fee kicks in.” She gave his shoulder another pat, then a companionable squeeze with it. “Besides, you don’t need me. There’s leftovers of everything on ice. Shove some of the cupcakes in their faces. Who knows! Maybe they’ll think bubblegum bacon is the way to go.”

“I highly doubt that,” Steve said, trying to add a bit of whine to the edge of his voice to maybe, maybe convince her to risk her babysitter’s goodwill and hang around for another hour, maybe two, depending. But she was already on her way out the door, giving him a little waggle of her fingers as a parting gesture. He had a different parting gesture in mind, but she couldn’t see him anyway.

Alone in his bakery, Steve sighed.

He wasn’t mad at Manda; she was his best employee, he was fond of saying, without letting her point out that she was his only employee. He wasn’t even mad at the couple now headed his way, who only wanted their special day to be as special as possible, just like everyone else. No, he was mostly mad at the universe in general for dropping straight into his own very-small-business lap the pickiest pair of people ever to choose a wedding cake.

It wasn’t that he ever expected to be some big-time baker, a fancy Food Network pastry chef with layers of impossible fondant spilling from his talented hands and perfect profiteroles popping up in his footsteps. To do that, he figured he would’ve had to have taken a culinary career far more direct than the one he had, without nine post-college years lost to the soulless grind of a dreary corporate workplace. He didn’t break out because he wanted the fame and fortune; he left his job because he could feel the life draining out of him with every second he spent behind the computer.

But that had been three years and several thousand dollars’ worth of debt ago, and he was nowhere near the point where he could tell any customers to fuck off. Not even if this was the eighth — eighth! — time they’d changed some direction about the cake. Most other couples he’d worked with did a tasting, maybe called back with revisions, and that was it, and they were happy, and so was he. Eight actual, physical visits was just pathological.

God, he was starting to wish he had said yes when they’d asked him pointedly at their first meeting if he’d have any problem making a cake for them. It might have branded him a bigot unnecessarily, but it certainly would have simplified his life.

It didn’t help one bit, either, that both of them were stunningly attractive, a fact he was reminded of as the open-door chime made him turn. In walked the second biggest groomzilla he’d ever had occasion to meet, followed close behind by the grand-prize biggest. At least they deserved each other.

“So!” chirped Steve, putting on the bravest, brightest face he could manage. “Pink champagne, huh?”

“Ah, good, Miss Gracheva told you already,” said the man Manda had identified as Mr. Olatunji, but who had told Steve at least six meetings ago that ‘Yemi’ would be acceptable. Steve mostly dealt with the matter by going to complicated linguistic lengths to avoid using either first or last name in the man’s presence. It wasn’t that he didn’t look like a Yemi so much as that he didn’t look like a man who should be referred to by his first name at all, or by any name that didn’t have some sort of complicated royal title attached. With his impeccably tailored suits and his musical Nigerian accent, he looked like he’d walked off the cover of GQ and into the cramped, linoleum-tiled front of Steve’s Sweets. (The name had been a placeholder before going on all the legal documents when Steve couldn’t think of anything more creative.)

His husband-to-be looked no less like a high-fashion photoshoot, but gone the other direction — tie missing, shirtsleeves rolled up, royal purple sneakers instead of expensive Italian loafers. With his bright, gap-toothed smile, Anthony Parker looked the less forbidding and more approachable of the two, which Steve had come to realize was a dangerous misimpression. Despite Yemi’s cutthroat executive air, Anthony was the real power broker in this relationship. And Steve could see he had cake on his mind.

“Speaking of, is she around?” asked Anthony, running his hand over his close-cropped hair. They were both gracefully ageless and handsome — almost infuriatingly so — but Steve had been given the impression more than once that he was the younger of the pair.

Steve shook his head as he stepped around behind them to flip the deadbolt on the front door. Just because the lights were off, the drapes were down, and the hours were clearly posted on the door didn’t mean passers-by could be counted on to be reliably deterred from wandering in. “She had to run get her son from his daycare before it got too late,” Steve explained, hoping that the sentiment would convey some sort of urgency.

He thought he saw, out of the corner of his eye, some look pass between the two of them, but he turned in time only to hear Anthony cluck his tongue with disappointment. “I wanted to follow up with her about a florist she mentioned.”

Unable to contain his surprise and despite his better judgment, Steve asked, “You don’t have a florist yet?”

Had,” said Yemi, with a wry set to the corner of his mouth. “We had … disagreements recently about the reception arrangements.”

What a fucking shock, Steve absolutely did not say, did not even really himself think. He should get the names of all the other vendors these two were coordinating, and afterwards they should all go out and buy one another drinks to celebrate having survived the pickiest wedding of the century. “I’ll leave her a message,” he promised, then clapped his hands together with a desperate measure of enthusiasm. “All right, tell me your thoughts on the cake.”

Anthony looked at Yemi, who nodded at him to proceed. “Tasteful, not strictly traditional,” Anthony explained. “Something that doesn’t taste like a brick of sugar with more sugar on top.”

Steve nodded sagely, like this was something that hadn’t been said from the get-go, then reworded every subsequent visit: splendid yet eclectic, classy but original, personal without being iconoclastic. Steve had joked to Manda that he would’ve had an easier time if they’d requested ‘cake, but also a pie’. “Pink champagne is definitely a way to go for that,” Steve said, without bringing up how they’d seemed to think only a few weeks previous that white chocolate and raspberry would fit the same bill. “Do you want to try anything other than that, or will that have you covered?”

Yemi hummed thoughtfully. “We are open to other possibilities.”

“We are,” Anthony agreed.

For all other, scheduled tastings, Steve brought out from the back a bar table, tossed a tablecloth over it, maybe added a vase with a sprig of flowers if he was thinking that far in advance. But much though he wanted to impress his paying customers, less than ten minutes’ worth of warning meant that if they wanted to have their cake and eat it too, they’d have to make do. “Come on into the back,” said Steve, nudging up the counterpiece that divided the front of the store in two. Maybe they’d have to get those amazing suits dry-cleaned after visiting the behind-the-scenes of a bakery. It’d serve them right.

The back of Steve’s Sweets was not a large place; on a daily basis, he and Manda would bump butts dozens of times trying to get past one another between ovens and counters and tall cooling racks and refrigerated cabinets. It wasn’t particularly state-of-the-art, either, which didn’t both Steve on a regular basis, but made him self-conscious a bit now that he had visitors. He decided to play it cool, though, and not to apologize. Maybe they’d never been in the back of the house at a bakery before. Maybe they wouldn’t be able to tell that the oven that was going to bake their wedding cake had been bought third-hand, rehomed once already by the time it was auctioned off after a foreclosure halfway across town. Maybe they wouldn’t notice the mismatched cutlery sets, the time-stained baking sheets, the range hood sealed at the top by duct tape. Or maybe he’d just made yet another mistake.

Steve sighed and stuck his head inside the refrigerator, then forced himself to count to five before sorting some cupcakes and precut slices onto a tray. Each exhalation sent plumes of vapor swirling around the confections. He had no business taking his general exhaustion and frustration out on them, especially since they were singlehandedly all but covering his rent for next month. This wasn’t their fault — or, well, it was, but only the part where he wasn’t headed home to his small, otherwise empty apartment in a timely fashion.

When he emerged, it was with a smile and an assortment of flavors. “I don’t get a lot of call for pink champagne,” he admitted as he set the tray down atop a high wood-topped table. Anthony and Yemi had each taken seats around it, on the only two stools in the kitchen. That was okay; Steve was more comfortable standing. “So I can’t vouch for the texture, but at least you can get a sense of the taste.” He handed them two forks, then took the rose-hued slice and placed it in front of them.

Yemi wasted no time in stabbing a bite off the side, while Anthony was a little more circumspect. “Tell me about the frosting,” he said, scraping off a white dab of it with his fork’s tines.

“That? Just buttercream,” Steve explained.

“Oh, I rather like that,” said Yemi approvingly. “A hint of bitterness. Pleasant.”

Anthony at last took a bite, then quirked his mouth thoughtfully to the side. “I agree. Though I’m not feeling the buttercream.”

“Maybe something fruity?” Steve took two of the cupcakes and nudged them forward. “That one’s peach and that one’s strawberry.”

“Strawberries and champagne!” Anthony gave Yemi a wicked little smile.

Yemi gave one right back, a grin of wicked smugness. “Just like Barbados.”

That was not a phrase Steve ever expected he’d utter in his life, so he just smiled managerially as they both took it upon themselves to mix pastel blobs of cupcake frosting with layers of crumbly cake. If they were in fact sold on the strawberry, Steve knew he’d have to finesse the food coloring in both parts, or it would be an unpleasant battle of the pinks. “I could even do both,” he offered, hoping this would push them to some sort of conclusion. “One tier one, one tier another. Or a different base, if you like. Strawberry cream cheese, or–”

What stopped him mid-sentence was the way his heart caught in his throat as Anthony stuck out his pinky, swiped it through the top of the peach cupcake’s swirl, and brought it to Yemi’s mouth. Yemi opened his lips and took it inside with a look of obvious pleasure, and took far longer than was strictly necessary getting it back out clean again. “Oh, that is very good,” Yemi said, his voice deep and rich like melted chocolate.

“Well,” said Steve, trying to clear his throat in a way that wasn’t too hi-I’m-still-here-remember?, “there are also peach options–”

“Tell us about yourself, Steven,” said Yemi, breaking a sultry gaze with his fiance only to turn that same pointed look right across the table at Steve. “We know so little about you.”

“That’s true,” Anthony added, dragging his pinky around the edge of a key lime cupcake. (Steve didn’t think the acidity would play well with the notes the champagne brought to the cake, but stranger things had happened.) “Are you married?”

“Married? Me?” Steve shook his head. “No. Only to this.”

“So there’s no one special in your life?” asked Anthony.

Steve shook his head. “Not for a while,” he admitted.

“Children?” asked Yemi.

Steve gestured in the general direction of the cupcakes. “You’re eating them right now,” he said, before good sense caught up with his tongue and he clapped his hand over his mouth. “Oh, no, that came out all–”

Fortunately for him, the affianced pair found the answer hilarious. Laughing, they leaned into one another, an affectionate gesture that made Steve smile to see. No matter how difficult they were, they were genuinely in love, and that was great. Just because Steve hadn’t had a date since before he traded his Gucci ties for chef’s whites didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate when others found happiness together. Even when that happiness compelled him to stay after hours.

As their laughter subsided, Anthony gave Yemi a knowing look, and Yemi returned it with a brief nod. Anthony stood, smiling, and picked up the key lime cupcake. He dragged his pinky in the icing again, this time not around the edges but straight through the middle. He took a step toward Steve, and Steve found himself stepping back by instinct, a retreat impeded by the industrial refrigerator at his back. There really was nowhere to move in here. “Do you taste everything you make?” asked Anthony, lowering his chin so his gaze filtered through long, dark lashes.

Steve swallowed. Had the air conditioning clicked off for the night? Everything felt warm. “I do,” he said. “Or, I-I try.”

Anthony took another step closer, definitely landing inside Steve’s personal space now. He held up his pinky, smeared with the light green icing. “And you’re in such good shape,” he said, giving Steve what even a casual observer would call an eye rake. “How is that?”

“I run,” Steve said. “Jogging.”

“And did you taste this?” Anthony indicated his finger. No, he indicated the icing on his finger. There was, Steve had to remember, a difference.

“I … can’t remember,” Steve said. Had he made that batch or had Manda? Things like that were such a blur, especially with a very attractive man now only a foot, maybe two, away from him. He could smell Anthony’s rich aftershave, a musky counterpoint to the sweet, bready scents of the bakery. “Is there” — he swallowed hard– “something wrong with it?”

Anthony shrugged, then reached his hand toward Steve’s face. “Give it a taste.”

Good sense would have bypassed Anthony, grabbed a spoon from a drawer, taken a bit off the top of the cupcake, and evaluated it from there. Good sense would not have made a move on a client, in a place where food was prepared, in front of his handsome and significantly imposing fiance. That was how Steve knew he was out of his mind, as he opened his mouth and obediently took Anthony’s finger inside his lips.

The icing was delicious — tart, maybe tarter than he would have liked, which somewhat answered the question of whether he’d had it before. But the taste that cut through even more was the salt of Anthony’s skin. It was a good taste, a clean one, and where good sense again would have had him making a different set of decisions, instinct and need demanded more. He swirled his tongue around Anthony’s pinky, cleaning the digit until there was no more citrus taste in his mouth, and not even stopping then.

Steve heard a low chuckle from his side that nearly made him jump out of his skin. He turned to see Yemi there, having snuck up while Steve was distracted. He had in his fingers a slice of strawberry, one that still had clinging to it the dark chocolate buttercream frosting into which Steve had placed it only that morning. “I proposed in Barbados,” Yemi explained as he brought the strawberry beneath his nose. He inhaled its scent and smiled. “Champagne and strawberries, and I got on one knee to give him a ring, and then he got on both knees to suck my cock.”

Steve had never been so grateful for the refrigerator at his back in all his life, because his knee joints were now made of water, and blood had left every part of his body to go straight to his dick. He didn’t know what to say, or if there even was anything to say in response to something like that. The evening had turned around so fast he had whiplash. A significant number of things he’d believed to be true had been thrown into question, not least among them being his general practical straightness. Despite being aware of an attraction to the male form from a young age, he’d never been with any men before he’d left his job, and he hadn’t been with anyone since, and thus he’d sorted the whole question of his sexuality into something of a moot-point category. But it turned out that when two handsome black men in suits cornered you with frosting, theory met practice real fast.

Yemi took the strawberry and brushed it along Steve’s lower lip, leaving a smear of juice and chocolate. “Do you suck cock, Steven?”

The oddness of the question was only elevated by Yemi’s strange insistence on his full name — but this was no time to be arguing that point. “I,” Steve began, considering his options carefully, before deciding on an honest, “I don’t know.”

That made Yemi and Anthony both chuckle, which had an air of danger to it Steve couldn’t quite identify. Strangely enough, he was all right with this, even as Anthony’s fingers slipped inside the open collar of Steve’s jacket to stroke at his bare throat. He felt a hand brush across his belly, and then another cup against his hip, and which was whose, he couldn’t say.

Anthony’s fingertips came to rest just against the beat of Steve’s pulse in his neck, thrumming like a piston. His other hand appeared, this time dabbed with a bright orange glob Steve recognized as the mango habanero frosting that had become such a hit with the younger crowd of late; he didn’t know if they actually liked it or just dared one another to eat it, but either way, cupcakes topped with that sweet-spicy mess had been a recent top seller. Anthony dabbed his tongue against the tip of the icing and his eyebrows rose. “Oh, that’s got a nice bite to it,” he said to Steve with an approving grin. “Maybe we should get this. Shock all the guests.”

At this point, Steve didn’t figure cake frosting was the most shocking thing these two could pull off at a wedding, not considering how Yemi’s (he was almost sure) hand was now toying with the top button of his jeans. When had his coat come undone? He felt little cooler as the white fabric was nudged back over his shoulders, off his arms, revealing only a tight Hanes undershirt beneath. (Had he washed it recently? He hoped he had.)

With a chuckle, Yemi leaned forward and took Anthony’s icing-covered finger in his mouth, sucking it with a kind of enthusiasm that suggested oral sex in that relationship was very reciprocal. He opened his mouth with a laugh as Anthony hooked his finger on Yemi’s lower teeth and pulled him forward for a deep, loving kiss. This was certainly the closest Steve had ever been to two men kissing, and far and away the only time he’d ever seen that happen while one of them was reaching his hand down Steve’s pants to grab at his dick. He didn’t live completely under a rock; he was a modern man, he read the New Yorker and knew who Dan Savage was. The abstract idea of open relationships did not shock him. But abstract had left the building ten minutes ago.

“You’re right,” said Yemi, pulling away after a few moments. “A nice bite.” He punctuated the word by giving Steve’s balls a gentle squeeze, which made Steve moan and Anthony laugh. “Now while we’re here, was there another one you wanted to try?”

Anthony hummed thoughtfully and let go of Steve, then sauntered the few steps to where the tray sat. He was visibly hard beneath the slim-cut line of his trousers, which made Steve feel better about how this probably wasn’t some practical joke and/or vendor hazing ritual they engaged in on the regular. (Though if it was the latter, Steve supposed he could understand why they were having trouble finding a florist.) He picked up what looked to be a plain vanilla cupcake with a few chopped nuts sprinkled on the top and gave it a curious frown. “What’s this one?” he asked.

Steve had a gorgeous man’s hand teasing his bait and tackle and he was supposed to remember his menu? “Maple,” he answered, remembering the frosting first. “Maple bourbon pecan.”

Oh,” sighed Anthony, shutting his eyes with an expression of bliss. “How decadent.”

“It’s — ah!” Steve’s attempt at further explanation was momentarily derailed as Yemi’s lips brushed against the curve of his ear. “Filled! It’s filled.”

Both men had to laugh before Steve realized how dirty, especially in context, that sounded, and he blushed pink across his lily-pale cheeks for no good reason except that it seemed the polite thing to do. “I like filled,” said Anthony, giving the cupcake a little twirl in his fingers. “Do you get a lot of calls for this at weddings? Or are your brides usually assuming they’ll get their own creamy fillings later?”

“Um,” said Steve, who could have answered the first question, but got waylaid by the second.

Yemi’s lips curled into a smile Steve could feel against his cheek. “But where are our manners?” he purred, dropping his lovely voice into a register so deep that Steve could feel the rumble where Yemi’s chest pressed against his bare arm. “It’s only right our host should have a taste.”

A taste of what? Steve almost asked, even though there was little need — nor much control left over his vocal cords as Yemi ran his thumb over the tip of Steve’s cock. Anthony grinned as he bit into the cupcake, then laughed. “Oh no, that’s good. That’s really good. We may need to add a tower of those to our order. Can we do that?”

“Let me try,” Yemi said, so Anthony brought the remaining cupcake over and held it to his fiance’s lips. Yemi took a bite and sighed happily as he chewed. “Oh, certainly,” he agreed. “How could we have a wedding without this?”

How indeed. Steve looked from Yemi to Anthony and back again. One of the great truths of a cupcake was that there was no dignified way to eat one. “Um, you’ve got,” said Steve to Yemi, tapping at his own upper lip with his tongue. (It wasn’t as though his arms were pinned down so much as he feared that if he let go of the freezer, he’d fall over.) “Little frosting there.”

“Then you’d better take care of it,” Yemi said, and he leaned with his white-smeared lip in for a kiss.

There were kisses and there were kisses, and then there was whatever firework extravaganza this was. Ordinarily all but silent during sex, Steve outright moaned as their mouths pressed together and Yemi’s body trapped Steve up against the cool metal surface behind him. He was caught at last, with no choice but to submit. And he had never been this hard in his entire life. He felt strong hands grab at his fine blond hair, holding him in place for a kiss so intense that he almost couldn’t breathe. This was the essence of being overpowered by sex, and he wanted more.

Anthony’s mouth moved in after that, and Steve learned by contrast how each of them tasted. Anthony was bright, citrus and champagne; Yemi was rich coffee beans and strong teas. No wonder they were so good together, all contrast and counterpoint. He’d never doubted the engagement before, of course — he had no real stake in any of his clients’ relationships, save that they stuck together long enough to settle their bill — but seeing them work together like this brought it all into a new light. It seemed that when the two of them put their mind to a single goal, they were unstoppable.

Not that Steve would have tried to stop them now under circumstances short of the building’s being on fire. And even then, it would have been a tough call.

Yemi took Steve’s mouth again then, as Anthony kissed his way back to Steve’s ear. “You say you taste everything you make,” Anthony said, smug pleasure audible in his soft voice. “And look, you’ve made my husband-to-be hard.” He took his hand and put it around Steve’s wrist, and Steve let his hand be guided to the front of Yemi’s pants — where Yemi was, in fact, as hard as promised. His fine suit was tailored to a nice, snug fit, which meant there was no chance of disguising his arousal. Anthony sucked on Steve’s ear for a moment before asking, “Would you like a taste?”

This was it, his last chance to back out. He was sure that he could stammer some excuse, wriggle out from between the two of them, head this off at the pass. Instead he gasped away from the kiss and nodded. “Yes,” he moaned, pressing hard against Yemi’s clothed cock and feeling what he was agreeing to. “Yes, please.”

There was that sound again, that dangerous paired laugh. He felt Anthony’s hands on his hips and Yemi’s hand settle on the top of his head, and together the two of them guided him to the floor. He had a moment of being grateful for how recently he’d swept, and then he found himself on his knees with Anthony, both face-level with the front of Yemi’s pants. Anthony held him, pressing his chest to Steve’s back and stroking his chest and belly, while Yemi unbuckled his belt. He unzipped the fly of his pants next, then reached inside and pulled out his very stiff cock.

Steve stared at it for a moment, wide-eyed. Rationally, he knew it was of a moderate, modest size, perhaps smaller even than his own. But at that angle, Yemi might as well have drawn a battleship from his trousers for the shock of Steve’s seeing it so close to his face. He had a fair amount of familiarity with penises, mostly from owning one his whole life, and the rest from general cultural osmosis. This was different, though, to see one so close and to know that it was waiting for him to do something with it.

“Let me show you,” said Anthony. He leaned forward, over Steve’s shoulder, and took the head of Yemi’s cock in his mouth. It seemed smaller that way, with Anthony’s mouth for scale, but not by much. As his lips closed around the shaft, Anthony’s eyes close as well in an expression of bliss, the same one he’d had earlier over the cupcakes. He pushed his head forward, taking more of Yemi’s shaft into his mouth, then withdrew, leaving the skin spit-slick in his wake. He did this again, then a third time, slipping down as far as he could go to the root, then pulling back. And because of the way his body was pressed to Steve’s, with every push Anthony made to take Yemi’s cock down toward his throat, Steve went at least partway with him.

After the third time, Anthony let go with a smile and put a hand gently along the curve of Steve’s chin. “You still want it?” he asked softly.

Steve nodded. He was shaking and salivating at once. Maybe he would regret this tomorrow, but he knew he’d regret chickening out for the rest of his life.

“Then open wide,” Anthony instructed him. Steve did so, letting his jaw fall slack down into Anthony’s supporting touch. Carefully, he let himself be steered correctly, though all forward movement was his own. He took a deep breath, then pressed forward, letting his tongue dart out first to taste the precome beading at the tip of Yemi’s cock. He swirled his tongue around, tasting the salt and skin of it. There was a bitterness there, like the bitterness of the champagne in the cake, but a similar sweetness as well. He closed his lips around the round, soft head, letting it fill the front of his mouth. His tongue slid back beneath the shaft, down to where he could feel the slightest change in texture at the circumcision scar.

Once he had taken into his mouth all that he could, getting far enough that his nose pushed into the folds of fabric of Yemi’s shirttail, Steve took a cue from Anthony and withdrew. As he did, he could feel the way Yemi’s whole body shivered with pleasure. His fingers wound in Steve’s hair, giving Steve significant range of motion but at the same time not letting him go. Steve took that as a sign he was doing right and pressed on.

He felt hands on his stomach, and then Anthony was behind him, rubbing his cock against the small of Steve’s back while stroking him from behind. His fingers teased up and down the length of Steve’s shaft just like Steve’s mouth traced the full length of Yemi’s cock, slow and steady. His hands were thinner than Yemi’s, slender, more delicate, and the touch was teasing. It was too soft, too little! Steve wanted to complain, but his mouth was unhelpfully full. Given few other options, he drew a breath and took Yemi’s cock back into his mouth with clumsy speed.

Anthony’s hand responded in kind, and when Steve withdrew with some force this time, the strength of Anthony’s grip increased. As Steve began to move with more confidence, he got the same treatment. Desperate for more sensation, he bobbed his head now with inexpert enthusiasm, all the while feeling the warmth of Anthony’s body pressed to his and the cool touch of Anthony’s fingers against his cock. He sank quickly into a rhythm where nothing mattered except giving and getting pleasure. His worries were rocked away by this tide, replaced instead with raw need. It had been so long, too long by almost anyone’s standards. He needed this, to be able to lose himself sense and sensation.

He fell almost into a trance like this, one where he lost all track of time — until he caught himself gasping for breath and shooting ropes of white come across the floor as his orgasm took him. He hadn’t even known he was so close, but there he was, shuddering and kneeling on his kitchen floor as he had the climax of his life. He pulled his head back and drew in great lungfuls of air while he spent himself in Anthony’s hand. Then he collapsed backward, letting Anthony hold him up.

Anthony’s arms were kind around him, but there was no question that there was work Steve had left undone. Fortunately, Anthony seemed more than eager to the task, swallowing Yemi down with expert skill. With his hands still occupied, he grinned and sucked and teased with the very edge of his teeth, right until Yemi began to make a cautionary moan. Then Anthony clamped his mouth down over the head of Yemi’s shaft. Moments later, Steve could see Yemi’s shaft begin to pulse as Anthony’s throat began to bob. That was certainly one way to conduct a tasting.

Then it was over, and though it seemed far too soon, Steve’s aging knees were glad when he settled back down against the cool tile floor. His jeans still undone, his still-half-hard cock flopping out against the soft denim, he figured he looked well and truly ravaged.

Not half so much, though, as his kitchen did. It had been easy enough to ignore while things were going on, but with a cooler head, and from this angle, Steve could see the damage that had been done. Not all icing had been licked cleanly off fingers, nor had all mouths been neatly wiped; walls where hands had braced themselves now wore sticky smears of many shades, and at least two cupcakes had been bumped off the table, landing messily on the floor below. There were streaks of sugar caked to the dark fabric of Yemi’s suit, especially around where he was now tucking his cock back inside — and that was to say nothing of his shoes, where Steve knew the drips of white hadn’t come from any of his confections.

“Well,” said Yemi with a smirk, straightening his tie, “I believe this was a success.”

“S-so,” stammered Steve, having trouble making sense of that declaration, “um … I’m sorry, but … what kind of cake do you want, again?”

“Oh, you decide.” Anthony got to his feet with some skill, considering how aroused he still visibly was. The look that Yemi gave him, however, told Steve that Anthony would have no worries about ending the evening unsatisfied. “We’ve trusted your judgment from the start. Pick something good.”

“There will be a rehearsal dinner at our house.” Yemi straightened his jacket as he spoke, until he looked only moderately like a businessman who’d been mauled by a bag of icing. “And we’d like very much to have some of Steve’s sweets there. Those cupcake towers I’ve seen, they’re rather charming.”

“That they are,” Anthony agreed. He drew his hand across the back of his mouth, wiping it as clean as could be under the circumstances, then twined his fingers with Yemi’s. “I believe we’d like you to come by beforehand. Survey the space, give us some of your ideas about the layout.”

“Yes, I believe we would,” Yemi said, a wicked curl turning up his lips. “In fact, I think that would be a far better excuse to see you than to invent dissatisfaction with your work.”

Of all the times he’d been rendered speechless in the past hour, Steve was at his speechlessest.

Anthony grinned right back. Dear God, they were unstoppable — and irresistable, which could be a deadly combination. “You didn’t have any other plans tonight, did you?” asked Anthony.

Was there any other possible answer? “Um … nope,” said Steve, clearing his throat. “No, I did not.” He felt a little silly to be left like this, sprawled on the ground with his dick out, but he couldn’t really get his limbs together enough to stand just yet. And besides, from the way they were looking at him, Steve didn’t imagine these particular clients had any problem with his appearance at the moment.

The grooms looked at one another and flashed smiles that looked hungry indeed. “Another tasting,” Yemi declared. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a silver card case, then produced one deep red calling card and set it right next to the smashed remains of a slice of dulce de leche cheesecake. Steve hadn’t even noticed when that one had bit the dust. “Bring some more of your wares to sample, if you like. I believe the theme for this evening will be … chocolate and vanilla.”

Anthony snorted and elbowed Yemi in the side. “I thought we agreed not to make that joke,” he chuckled.

Yemi shrugged, looking unconcerned either at the chastisement or at the reveal that this had not remotely been a spontaneous operation. “As with so many things,” Yemi sighed, “it was simply too delicious to resist.”

Anthony rolled his eyes, then leaned in to give Yemi a bright kiss on his cheek. “I think we can let ourselves out,” Anthony said, then blew a kiss in Steve’s direction. “We’ll see you soon.”

Steve lifted his hand and gave them a slightly dazed wave good-bye. Hand in hand, the husbands-to-be walked out of Steve’s kitchen and back into the front of the shop. There was the small chime as the door opened, then a quiet thud as it shut, leaving Steve alone in the sugar-and-come-smeared wreck of his kitchen.

He’d have to clean this up first, or Manda would kill him in the morning — or worse, make him explain just what the hell had happened. He took one of the forks he’d set out for the cake and jabbed it gently into the back of his hand twice, just to make sure. No, he was still awake, and his kitchen was still a mess, and he’d still just given the first blowjob of his life before being invited over to what sounded like … well, he wasn’t honestly sure all of what it sounded like, but it certainly sounded unmissable.

No, there was no other possible answer, and he’d known it from the moment he’d opened his mouth. He took a deep breath and let it out noisily. “Okay,” he said, just to hear the sound of his own voice, and then again: “Okay. Okay.” Okay was what it was. Okay was what it would have to be.

He took the calling card from the table and sucked a bit of icing from its corner, thinking again of the taste of strawberries and skin, of caramel and precome. There were pairings to be made for things like this, he realized, possibilities he’d never considered before. Chai and a chesty baritone rumble. Key lime and the feel of cold fingers against warm skin. Toasted almonds and the crackle of teasing laughter. Espresso and a look of pure desire. Perhaps he could plan a whole menu of this, if they’d let him. And something told him they just might let him.

With a smile on his lips like he hadn’t felt in a long time, he went to find the mop.

illustrated by Iron Eater


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