DISCLAIMER - None of these characters belongs to me, I'm just playing with them for a while. I'll put them back where I found them, I promise. The story, on the other hand, such as it is, is mine, copyright August 2002.

Author's notes - 1) With thanks to Barbara for her invaluable suggestions. 2) I think I hate Barbara for her invaluable suggestions as I now seem to have the possibility of two, maybe three, stories in this sequence. (Just kidding, sweetie, and I'm glad you let me win the argument!)

Currently left to his own devices, a fact he soon hoped to remedy, Jack sat on a stool, elbows propped on the bar. To distract himself from his solitary status, he was absently popping snacks from a conveniently located dish into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. On the counter in front of him sat what he hoped would be his secret weapon, passport to a whole world of sexual high jinks.

"A can of whipped cream?" Doug paused briefly in his mission to polish every piece of glassware in the place to regard him pityingly. "I think you're reading the wrong books, man."

As he finished speaking, Jane walked up to the bar, Zoe close on her heels. They dropped onto the vacant stools on either side of Jack. Jane regarded her brother sceptically.

"If it doesn't have pictures, preferably pornographic pictures, he wouldn't know how to read it," she said tartly.

Jack pulled a face at her and went back to eating the dish of snacks in front of him.

"Doug, why do you have a can of whipped cream?" Zoe asked, frowning.

"Hey, nothing to do with me. It belongs to Mr Lover Man here," Doug informed her, backing away from the offending object.

Zoe and Jane both turned their eyes to Jack in silent question.

"All right, I'll bite," Jane said finally. "Why do you have a can of whipped cream?"

Jack grinned. "I'm glad you asked me that."

"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" muttered Zoe.

"Sex," Jack announced, as if he were revealing the world's best kept secret. He picked up the can, running a finger slowly over the smoothly rounded metal.

"You had to ask," sighed Doug.

"Sex," Jane repeated. She watched her brother fondle the can and shook her head. "I know things have been a little slow since that blonde bimbo dumped you, but..."

"She did not dump me!" Jack insisted, interrupting her. "I just let her tell people that so she'd feel better about the way things turned out between us."

Jane simply raised her eyebrows, not saying a word.

"No one dumps Jack Cooper," he added, gesturing with the can of whipped cream.

"Fine." Jane let it slide, for now. "But that still doesn't explain your latest playmate."

Jack smiled conspiratorially. "This, my friends, is the secret to all manner of erotic delights."

Plucking the can out of his hands, Jane studied the label. "Unless they're putting something new in this stuff these days, I don't think so."

Snatching it back, Jack shook his head. "You have no imagination."

"I have plenty of imagination," Jane informed him with a patently insincere smile. "I just don't share it with you."

Jack brandished the can again. "Whipped cream, naked bodies, lots of licking... Tell me that doesn't get you hot." Jack's voice dropped to its lowest register and he swept his tongue over his lips in a positively lascivious gesture.

"That doesn't get me hot," said Jane shortly.

"Well, it's not my fault if you're fr..."

"Don't even think about continuing that sentence!"

Jane's voice cut sharply across Jack's. He subsided, but not before pulling another face at his sister.

Ignoring the sibling tantrums, Zoe pitched in with, "So, basically, what you're saying is that you plan on using this can of whipped cream as a sex aid."

"Exactly." Jack turned to face her.

"That's disgusting," she decided. "Not to mention sad... and messy, sticky..."

"Oh yeah!" Jack cocked his head on one side, clearly lost in his own little fantasy world.

"Time out, guys," said Doug, drifting back over to them. "You're putting the customers off their food."

Jack slipped off his stool, settling his jacket on his shoulders with a casual shrug. "You have no idea what you're missing out on..."

"I'll take that chance," muttered Doug.

"C'mon, think about it." Jack leaned into the space between Zoe and Jane, flashing his most charming smile. "Who needs expensive sex toys? All it takes is whipped cream, a little imagination and a dash of the famous Jack Cooper charm. Women will be lining up to sleep with me. I'll have to fight them off."

"If you say so," said Jane. Her expression was pointedly sceptical.

"All right, allow me to demonstrate." Jack popped the top off the can of cream and sprayed a healthy amount onto the fingers of his other hand. He then proceeded to lick the sticky mess off in his best approximation of erotic. "See?"

"Ewww, that is so gross." Jane scrunched up her nose and shuddered.

Jack sprayed more cream on his fingers and waved them close to her mouth in a deliberate taunt.

"What, you don't like whipped cream?" he asked suggestively.

Jane looked vaguely nauseous. "On you? Definitely not! It has something to do with the whole brother/sister thing."

After considering this for a moment, Jack grimaced. "Good point." He spun back to face Zoe, turning on the charm again. "How about you?"

Zoe leaned away from him, pulling a face. "Don't even..."

Spurned on all sides, Jack stepped away from his friends. He found himself standing in the middle of the restaurant, fingers covered in whipped cream that was slowly melting and trickling down his hand.

"You people just have no appreciation for the finer things in life," he groused.

With his concentration on making sure the melted remains of the cream didn't get on his jacket and stain it, Jack didn't notice that someone had walked up behind him during the course of the conversation. The first he knew of it was when a wet mouth closed over his sticky fingers, sucking hard.

A sudden grin lit Jack's features as he decided that his luck must finally have changed. Then he noticed the shocked looks on the faces of Zoe, Jane and Doug and a sense of impending doom settled over him.

Jack turned to see an unsettlingly familiar fair, curly head pull off his fingers. His jaw dropped. No words came out, though, and his mouth closed again with an audible snap.

"Mm, nice," Duncan observed calmly, apparently oblivious to the stunned looks he was receiving from all sides. "Oops, missed a bit."

He leaned back in and licked a stray trail of cream off of Jack's hand before stepping back.

"Gotta go, guys. See you later, Jack," he added before continuing on his way out of the restaurant.

Jack was still frozen, staring at his hand as if, somehow, it didn't belong to him. He was acutely aware of the sudden, totally embarrassing hard on he was sporting. He hoped to God it wasn't too obvious as the stunned voices of his friends drifted around him, not really registering.

"Was that...?

"Did he...?"

"Nah, he couldn't have done."

"Look at Jack's face..."

Finally, in unison, "Oh my God, he did!"

Jack barely heard what was being said. His mind was too busy screaming at him, What the fuck? Did my best friend just... Fuck, he did! Shit, I have to get out of here...

"That was just a joke... right?" Jack made his voice work at last and almost cringed at the note of uncertainty it held.

Silence greeted him.

Not knowing what else to say, Jack turned to leave. As he did, he tried to surreptitiously adjust himself. His jeans felt way too tight. Looking up, he caught Jane's eye and knew she'd seen. He steeled himself for one of her usual needling comments, but it didn't come.

Unexpectedly, he received a sympathetic look of commiseration. He managed a brief, grateful smile in return - there were times when his sister surprised him - and grasped the can of whipped cream in his hands like a life preserver. Before he could embarrass himself any further, Jack hurried out of the restaurant.

The End... for now

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