This is the tale of Cason Banks, a young pastry chef from Surrey England, who, with his mother’s encouragement, moves to London to start his career and follow in the successful footprints the Banks family are determined to keep on printing. Though Cason is relatively wealthy, moderately handsome and determined to create a life for himself, he is also shy, and adamant love is for a certain breed of urbanites.
Hi! My name is Christopher Sergi. I’m a novelist and a blogger currently living in the leafy suburbs of Surrey England. The Chocolate Prince will be an ongoing serial depicting the exciting life of Cason Banks as he navigates the new world of London on his search for success and love. Feel free to comment below on where you’d like to see the story go next! Want to know more about me? Click here to read my bio, or follow me on Instagram to join me on my adventures.
Part 10 – Take Stock
The same evening I returned to Harding Muse. Phone now off, I allowed myself a breather to take stock of what had happened to me in the last two weeks of my life as a Londoner.
Should a headache seriously last this long? I’d had it almost immediately after donning that awful paint-balling jumpsuit. Clearly my disposition for anything resembling traditional masculinity was too much for my sensibilities, and this was coming from a chef: a person who on almost all accounts of their career would have to endure the wrath of their superior. And trust me, head chefs can be scary, no matter how much respect you show them.
But alas, here I now was, in an apartment I could barely call my own now it had been tainted with the celebrity touch. Every redecoration was a reminder of the people I had met: Anthony, Caprice, Gareth and now this Darcie. But it was the circle I had yearned for. This is what you wanted, my brain would say. This is where recognition got you.
I was being melodramatic. There were far more reasons in the world to be this unhappy. I mean look at me. There I stood in nice clothes, in a Belgravian apartment surrounded by people who looked at life and said “I will master you!” People with money to have days off when they feel like it: passive earners I believe they’re called. People who dress in ways that define them, not in ways that define what society thinks of them. People who eat good food, who dress well, who buy nice things! For god’s sake, why was I complaining?
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I went to cook dinner. I’d thought about delaying it, perhaps going out to eat instead, by myself, the vulgar idea of touching those counter tops knowing they were paid for by someone else. But I was ravished and I couldn’t give a shit. Pardon my foul mouth but that was the mood I had my feet stuck in.
It didn’t take long. You learn a few tricks in the catering business. And within the hour I had a plate of pesto tagliatelle, a pomegranate salad and, well, you guessed it, a dark bar of chocolate in my fridge. After all, I couldn’t let Caprice’s efforts of keeping me stocked with a Harrod’s food order go to waste.
By the time I sat to ate the sun was on it’s way to bed. I’d set the mood with candles, the Jo Malone ones dotted here and there, again, left here by the woman who expected me to spy on her fiance in about fourteen hours. I blocked the thought, sticking on Kiss from a Rose by Seal, oh so tempted to play Jame’s Horner’s Titanic score. But no, we hadn’t quite hit an iceberg just yet. It would take a little more to moisten these eyes.
It felt good to cook for myself after days of eating out. Who knew living in London would demand so much of you mentally. Each mouthful an escape from it all. But was I tired of it all already? Absolutely not. This was a blip. There were over four million men in this city, two hundred thousand if you consider the fiver percent homosexual ratio. Great, now the maths was taking place in my head, weeding out another hundred thousand who might want someone my age. After five minutes I had deduced there were approximately 50 potential ,en in this city who might be interested in me.
Not bad considering. A glass of wine I think. How nice would it be to take two glasses from the cabinet? And as soon as thought hit me, the door bell rang. ‘Who is it?’ I asked through the receiver.
Bollocks. Why was he here? Hadn’t he got the hint? Bloody Dominique must have given him my address. I should have had a word with him about directing these colourful people all to my door. Then again, I didn’t think we’d gone down any holes too far just yet to warrant leaving him there alone down the muse like some lost dog. After all, there I was with two wine glasses in my hand.
He stood there in the living area at the foot of the stairs. My apartment wasn’t big, and the lounge and dining area formed one room with the kitchen and bedroom off at the side. Even in here he looked big enough to take up space, not to mention the large object he had under his arm.
‘What have you got there? I asked pointing to it. Truth is I already knew. Gareth was a painter, what else would he have under his arm wrapped in fabric. But I confirmed it to him anyway. ‘Is it a painting?’
He smirked, but not like he usually did. It was evidential from the lines in his face he knew he’d done something wrong, but that boyishness of his meant he also knew not what wrong thing he’d done. Bloody hell, are you hearing me right now? The guy clearly had no idea and here I was judging him.
‘Oh yeah,’ he said, and he reach round with his other arm, revealing once more just how many surprises I had yet to grow accustomed to, for in what I thought was his free hand, was a wine bottle, but with dexterous finger he took the canvas in both hands passed it to me. ‘I’m sorry I don’t know what I did, but I hope you forgive me anyway. Peace?’
Bewildered, I took the canvas, laid it on the table and pulled back the fabric.
It was smaller than his usual pieces. The signature was evident: an array of intricate florals enveloping a shapeless figure, a muggy grey green background. It was stunning…stunning. It couldn’t have been a gift.
‘It’s, um,’ I stuttered and swallowed. ‘It’s beautiful, Gareth.’ And why I said this I don’t know but I said it anyway. ‘Who’s it for?’
He laughed, and I noticed only then he had not moved from his spot by the top of the staircase. ‘Um, it’s for you, dummy. You like it then?’
I brushed the edge of the canvas. ‘I do yeah, it’s, it really is lovely, but you shouldn’t have. I know how much your pieces go for.’
He held up the wine bottle. Oh that bloody smile. Infuriating yet heart melting. ‘I’ve got wine, you’ve got glasses…how you wanna do this?’
I really hope you’ve enjoyed part 10 of Cason Banks’ story. The Chocolate Prince is a weekly serial introducing new characters and exciting new adventures for Cason and his new friends as he navigates the difficult yet rewarding city of London. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, make sure to sign up to my monthly newsletter to be the first to know when the next part of The Chocolate Prince is up!
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