It looked like there was going to be a strike vote, after the holiday. So, the workers at the Penny Savers' decided that the Labor Day picnic was going to be the blowout to end all blowouts.
Seth the Wine Guy sold the union cases and cases of, naturally, wine, at cost. Larry was back from his Mexican romp to work with Nicky on getting the hotdogs, hamburgers, and steaks at cost; Emma supplied the tofurkey dogs.
The bakery? Desserts.
"Yummy chocolate cakes," Snow said. "If this is the last icing Dave gets, it's going to be great."
Mark and Andy were back from their honeymoon, undimmed by the fact that the state had repealed their legal status. "Who cares, honey, if it doesn't work out, I have twentyfive new prospects in the bay area alone!" Andy confided. "Since Big Dave won't give me the time of day."
David, who was keying in the security codes of the registers, said, tranquilly, "Oh, Andy, you're too much man for me."
Andy shrugged. "Willing to take the risk, sweetcheeks."
David laughed. 'You'll have Mark running over me in the parking lot."
"What are you gonna do if you get canned?" Sarah Michelle asked him.
("Just because he banged her in the Dark Ages, she thinks she's his pal," a wrathful Vinnie said. "As if.")
"I always wanted to direct," David said, and went back to his office.
"What does that mean?" Sarah Michelle asked the ambient air.
No one enlightened her.
Eliza, with every evidence of sincerity, let Jules take bets on the duration of her thing with Nicky. "Fine. If they wanna bet, let it ride," she said. "Anyone seen Chris?"
James gave her a sour look. "Oh, is he the next target?"
"Way off, Doughnut Man," Eliza said genially. "I do have some money going on whether you'll move in with Jules."
Jules stepped hard on her foot.
"Never mind all that shit," Jules said. "Has anyone seen Snow?"
Eliza and James looked at each other much as stout Cortez had gazed from that peak in Darien. "No," they chorused.
"It's our duty to go check on her," James said. "She's our manager."
"And if we happen to have a camera with us and happen to take pictures of any trucks in her driveway---" Eliza said.
"Excuse me?" David asked. "Snow is off today. So the department doesn't need anyone else leaving." He opened the register, and put in the security code.
Eliza leaned on the counter. "She never takes off. Dave, what do you know?"
He frowned at her. "I didn't ask why she wanted off. I assumed she wanted a day away from you bakery bitches from hell." He saw James. "Sorry, James. Son of bitch. No offense."
"None taken," James said. "You're nicer than your boyfriend."
The girls immediately had the sensation that global warming had occurred. David didn't even answer him, but picked up his pdf and left.
Jules thumped James on the back. "You are too cool!"
"A non-denial denial!" Eliza crowed. "I gotta find Chris!"
"I thought Nicky told you to stay out of it," Jules asked.
"What? I just said that I wanted to find my union representative. I gotta make sure my dues are paid up."
On break, Eliza called Snow. She put down the cell phone, and smoked a cigarette, letting it ring and ring and ring. Finally, Snow picked up. "What!"
"Just wanted to see how you were, honey," Eliza said.
"I'm too fucking busy and vice versa!" Snow slammed the phone down.
Eliza promptly redialed, and got a busy signal. She laughed.
"You are evil incarnate," David told her, standing on the edge of the loading dock and smoking.
Eliza dimpled. "Look, I try to use my powers for good and not evil. Can I call 'em, or can I call 'em? She's having sex with Seth!"
"Say that seven times fast," David advised, pitching his cigarette out on to the concrete. It landed in a shower of sparks in the dark.
"She's having sex with Seth---sex wiss Seth---sess with Seff---you're right." She pouted. "No money anywhere on it!" She threw her cigarette down, and, on the way back in, stopped and hugged David.
He patted her on the shoulder. "What's that for, E?"
"I love you, man. You know I wouldn't do anything to hurt you. All things aside, Nicky would kill me."
David patted her again. "I actually believe you." He pinched her chin. "And if you hurt him, I'll kill you. Just so we're clear."
Eliza made a kissy face. "Crystal clear, big boy."
At the picnic, Snow supervised the placement of her cakes and pies in the shade of the covered picnic area, and appeared to take no more interest in the entire affair.
"Amazing what a little oomph-oomph will do to a woman," Eliza observed. She had a baseball cap on backwards, her cell phone and pdf set out in front of her at the picnic table.
"You would know," Snow said sweetly.
"Meow!" Jules said. She stretched luxuriously. "Hey, oomph-oomph's good for what ails ya. And I'm ready to testify. Shit, I'll put it on the Internet." She rolled her shoulders. "All those rumors about James? All true. I'm a lucky, lucky bitch." She opened her eyes to the slack-jawed gazes of Snow and Eliza. "Oh, come on!"
"The rumor about his, uh, endowment?" Eliza asked.
Jules smiled, and slowly ran her tongue over her upper lip.
"Shit," Eliza said. She turned to Snow. "What about you, baby? How's the wine guy? Felt his grapes?"
Snow choked on her Diet Coke.
On the other side of the canopied space, near the grills, Nicky, Seth, and James were in uneasy consultation. "Eliza thinks that something's gonna happen today," Nicky said, squirting charcoal starter with joyful abandon. "She's never wrong about something like that, especially when she's got money riding on it."
Seth uncapped a beer. "Huh. She wouldn't be nudging the odds, would she?"
Nicky laughed. "There's betting on how long I'll stay with her," he said. "She told me."
James carefully unpacked the coolers. "Big money's on the big guy. I think he's gonna lose it and clock Chris."
Nicky drank his beer. "Oh, no. I think Chris'll throw the first punch."
They each got money out of their pockets.
Near the swimming pool, Chris was talking to Clare, who kept leaning over him in her spangled bikini. "Looks like the vote's gonna be for strike," he said. "Won't know until Tuesday, when we count the ballots."
She played with the frayed threads of his cut-offs. "You're the only one who could take them out, so close to the end of the year."
"Bullshit," Chris said. "Clare, stop fondling me. You know it makes me crazy."
Clare smiled, arching her back. In the background, Sarah Michelle bickered with Freddie.
David drove up, and took a slow walk through the park with Alexis. They were identically dressed, with running shoes, khaki shorts, and tee-shirts, but Alexis just looked gangly, where as David----
"Whoa," Snow said.
"Down," Jules said.
Eliza bounded away from them, and leapt into Dave's arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. "You came!"
"Not yet," Jules said in an aside to Snow. Then she turned red. "Oh, my God. Sex has turned me into a TMI slut whore."
Snow sat up. "Oh, my God, Tony's here!" She jumped out of her canvas chair, and ran down the path to cast herself on the former manager's chest.
Jules shook her head. "That's what I get for being a new hire, " she muttered to herself. She stood up, and walked down the picnic area to where the guys were cooking. "Men and fire, sexy," she said to James, running a hand down her hip and tossing her head.
His eyes glazed over.
Seth and Nicky raised their eyebrows at each other, and clinked their beer bottles together.
Vinnie was at the pool, rubbing oil on Michelle's back.
"He's so androgynous," Clare sniffed to Elisabeth, the GM manager. "I don't get the appeal."
Elisabeth's rather immobile face didn't register. "Something for everybody," she said vaguely. She was tracking Amber and Mercedes as they painted each other's toes. "That's interesting," she murmured. "Thank God Charisma----"
"---Is just driving up," Ally said, behind them. "Did you have something to say about Charisma, Liz?" For a short woman in a big hat, she looked intimidating.
"No, no, " Elisabeth said, subsiding.
Ally broke into a smile. "David! What did you do with my hubby?"
David leaned on the chain link fence. "He's looking for you, sweetness." His gaze travelled to the other women. "Hello, ladies."
"Pure sex," Mercedes hissed to Amber.
"I have twenty on Chris," Amber sniffed. "The only way James took him was by surprise."
Somehow, like negative and positive grips on jumper cables, David and Chris managed to stay away from each other. The people with families remained blissfully unaware that their single compadres were sneaking off into the woods behind Eliza's "Warning---Poison Ivy" signs tied to a certain stand of trees.
The smell of weed drifted out and was lost amid the smells of beer, charcoal, sizzling meat, and suntan oil.
So naturally, things had to go south.
The guys came to the dessert table at the same time.
One hundred yards away, Eliza said, "Two to one a cake gets smashed." She was immediately handed a lot of money.
Unfortunately, only Snow heard what was said, and she was too angry to tell, because the next thing anyone knew, Chris shoved Dave, and Dave shoved back, and they fell onto the table into the sheet cakes.
Snow screamed so loudly that someone on the playground panicked and called for the private security rangers.
James and Nicky threw both of the guys into the bed of Seth's truck, and he roared off, before the security guys could locate the source of the screaming and the confusion.
Seth, in his infinite wisdom, dropped them both off at Chris' driveway, and turned around. "I'm going back to see what the odds were," he said enigmatically. "And there's free beer. Eliza's buying."
Chris and Dave stared at the tail-lights, going off in the distance.
"My fucking truck's still there," Chris groused.
"Fuck you," David said. "My car's still there, too." He still had icing in his hair and smeared on his forehead.
They walked wearily into the house. Chris nodded to the refrigerator. "Beer," he said.
"I just want to use the phone, call a taxi," David said. Chris was pleased to note that he had a reddening bruise under one eye.
"Ah, chill out, willya? I promise not to lay a hand on you," Chris said, reaching for the refrigerator door. "Oops," he said, touching David, "I lied."
David slapped his hand away. "Just shut the fuck up, for once!" he yelled.
Chris grabbed his shirt in two handfuls. "Listen, you big fuck. I didn't have to blow you that time. I wanted to. Nobody paid me or set me up, and you've been acting like you're the lead soprano and someone felt you up in choir practice. Grow the fuck up!" He let go, and started to back to the refrigerator.
David pushed him against the kitchen counter. "You shut the fuck up! You shut up!" Oh, he had expression in his face now. He was practically spitting.
He was hot.
"Make me," Chris said, ready to take him down, even if he broke his own table.
David kissed him, hard and angry, and all of Chris' resolutions melted.
David drew back, red-faced and still angry. "Now just shut up. I'm going to blow you, and you're going to stand there and take it!" And shoving Chris against the counter, David knelt, his face thunderous, but his hands gentle. He unzipped Chris' jeans, and Chris thought he would come right there. As it was, he had to close his eyes when David took him in his mouth.
"And touch yourself, too, you son of a bitch," Chris gasped.
David grunted something, and the vibration on his dick made Chris' hair stand on end.
When he yelled, he felt David jerk, and knew he had come, too.
They collapsed on the kitchen floor, leaning against the cabinet doors, shoulder to shoulder.
"Way to threaten someone, big guy," Chris said, patting David's knee.
David leaned his head against the wooden door, eyes closed, shorts still unzipped. "Shut up," he said, without rancor.
"I hear some guys hate blow jobs," Chris said. He left his hand on David's leg. "Never met anyone like that, though."
David smiled, faintly.
"You actually had me at 'fuck you,' " Chris said, his own eyes half-closed.
"Shut up," David said again. He put a hand up to his forehead. He looked at the icing at his fingertips for a second, and licked it off.
Chris thought, the bakery girls are right. There is nothing sexier than Big Dave and icing.
*loves this story*
::covers everyone with icing::