“No, no, no!” Gordie Triggs grumbled as he elbowed his best friend, Claire. His light brown hair swung across his brow as he cocked his head toward Mr. Short-Pale-and-Stunningly-Handsome, fifty yards away on the other side of the convention hall. “Dammit! He’s going back.”
Claire turned to look at the man as he headed back to the signed Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster Gordie had bid on. Gordie would’ve bet his left nut the well-fitting navy suit the guy wore was an Armani G-Line.
“Bastard.” Her mutter might have held a hint of sarcasm. Her side-eye definitely did. “Who does he think he is, anyway?”
The upbeat tempo of The Beach Boys singing “Little Saint Nick” mocked him right along with Claire. Of course he knew Mr. Blond-and-Gorgeous had every right to outbid him, but that didn’t make it any easier to accept. He shook out his hands and slowly exhaled. “I don’t have a chance, do I?”
“I did warn you.”
Gordie nodded glumly. The grocery chain’s annual silent auction charity fundraiser was mostly populated by their own upper management and that of the sales and marketing teams of their vendors. Claire had scored a couple tickets and a voucher toward her bids as a reward for being employee of the year at one of the stores.
Point being, most of the people here had deeper pockets than Gordie did as a veterinary technician. Much deeper, as evidenced by the expensive-looking suit on Mr. Totally-Unconcerned-Someone-Kept-Upping-the-Bid. Not to mention, it was for charity, so it was supposed to be all in good fun.
“Well,” he said. “It’s already more than I’d usually spend for Genna’s Christmas gift, but I can go a little higher.” Genna was his twin sister, and they shared a love—lust—for all things Captain Jack Sparrow. That poster would be perfect for her present.
“That’s the spirit. And those tickets to see Hamilton in June are still in your range. She’d like that, too.”
“I doubt they’ll stay in my reach. Not a chance, in fact.”
Claire shrugged and nodded toward the adjacent table. “I’ll bet this one hundred-bottle microbrew sampler will.”
“Maybe.” Gordie gazed longingly across the room, and Johnny Depp seemed to stare back, taunting him. Daring him to try again.
“And either of those two could be ‘couples gifts’ for both Genna and Derek, so you could factor that into your bid price.”
“I’m going to give the Pirates of the Caribbean poster one more shot.”
“Pace yourself.” Claire placed a hand on his forearm. “Let the guy wander off. Maybe he’ll get distracted. You should wait ’til closer to the end.”
“I need to leave enough time to try for something else if he outbids me. There’s some unique stuff here—things I’d never find out shopping.”
“I know, right? I want to get my dad that catered tailgate party.”
“But you bid on that gift basket full of spa crap.”
“Yeah, yeah.” She absently brushed a pretend crumb off her sleeve. “I’m letting luck decide for me. If I get outbid, I’ll go for the dad-gift. If not, that’s providence telling me I deserve to be spoiled.”
He rolled his eyes since she was looking away. There was plenty to distract them. Table after table was covered in drool-worthy merchandise and services. Convention center employees bustled back and forth converting the picked-over dinner buffet to a dessert spread.
“Come on. I want to see what the poster’s up to.” They zigzagged around tables laden with everything from autographed sports memorabilia to Tiffany-style lamps. When Gordie spied the new bid, he blew out a relieved sigh. “He only upped it by ten dollars. Maybe he’s reaching his limit.”
“Or maybe he’s flirting with you—wants you to notice him and keep coming back.”
“Oh, for fu—” Gordie bit off the rest. They were at a charity auction, after all. “He’s a straight guy. Probably wants the poster for one of his kids.”
“Lighten up. At least have fun imagining it. Why assume he’s straight? He could be gay, or maybe bi.”
“The laws of probability are on my side. Besides, why would he assume I’m gay? I’m here with you.”
“The laws of party-pooper are on your side.” Claire sniffed. “Anyone who sees you drooling over Captain Jack is gonna suspect. Why don’t you admit it, you’re hung up on this poster because you want to be able to visit it on a regular basis.”
Gordie ignored her comments, partly because it would be dishonest to deny any of it. Better to pretend he was taking the high road, refusing to be baited. “Come on. We haven’t seen all the gift baskets yet.”
Captain Jack and the Snack Attack © 2017 Addison Albright