Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 46
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff
Word Count: 827
Prompt: 230 heat of the moment
Author's Notes: Sorry for the absence. Family visits to the stick where wifi is a foreign concept cut into my postings. Also, this is a continuation of This is a continuation of The Email Order bridegroom which starts here.
The sun is directly overhead as Arthur and Merlin sit in the shade of the yellow and blue striped patio table umbrella, massaging sunscreen into one another’s backs and shoulders.
“I bet you go from pasty to burnt to a crisp in no time flat,” Arthur murmurs. “Can’t have you peeling all over the stage. Maybe we should look into buying you a parasol.”
Merlin laughs, “You think I’m pasty, huh? My last makeup artist said she’d kill for my alabaster skin.”
Arthur slides a hand over Merlin’s lower back, slipping a finger under the elastic of his swim trunks. “I think everything about you is gorgeous,” he whispers, kissing Merlin behind the ear he’s just spread cream over, “And you know it.” His fingers dip a little lower, slowly rubbing back and forth across the top of Merlin’s arse. Merlin shivers before pulling away.
“None of that,” he says with a wagging finger and a smile. “Stop being a sexy, seductive sneak. I’m all sun protected and wanting a swim.” He looks around, noting the tall cement block privacy wall between them and the houses on either side. “Your neighbors might not be able to see anything but I don’t fancy meeting them for the first time after they’ve heard me being ravished poolside.”
Arthur laughs, “Fair point.” He points a thumb toward the house to the right. “Ms. Barrymore is seventy-six but she’s got ears like a bat. She’d never let us live it down.”
“I heard that,” a woman’s voice calls from the other side of the wall.
“I hoped you might! Are you decent?” Arthur calls back, standing and pulling Merlin up, too.
“Of course I'm not!” the voice says back with a laugh, but Arthur, knowing she's just joking, clambers up on a small bench against the wall so he can look into Mary’s back patio anyway.
Their neighbor is laying out in a green one piece bathing suit, soaking up the sun on a white chaise. Arthur grins down at the deeply tanned blonde.
“Hi, Mary, I have someone I’d like you to meet.” He gestures for Merlin to get up beside him so Merlin does. “This is Merlin. Merlin, this is Mary Barrymore.”
Mary waves from the chaise, “Hello Merlin. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you, too,” Merlin says with an answering wave.
“Merlin’s my husband,” Arthur says holding up his left hand so she can see the ring.
Mary sits up at that revelation. “Married? That’s wonderful news.” She pulls herself out of the chaise, slipping into a pair of flip flops “This calls for champagne. I’ll be right back.”
Merlin admires her long, shapely legs as she walks off into the house. He turns to Arthur. “She’s seventy-six? She doesn’t look it,” he says with wonder.
“Once upon a time, I was a professional dancer. Also, I’ve had a lot of work done,” Mary says with a blinding grin as she’s emerging from the house with an already sweating bottle of Veuve Cliquot and three champagne flutes.
Arthur laughs, “See what I said about ears like a bat?”
“At my age, I take that as a compliment,” Mary says popping the cork. “Come over, I’ll get a stiff neck talking to you two up there.”
They’d ended up spending over an hour at Mary’s, listening to stories of Palm Springs in the fifties and sixties when she was ”still on husband number one.” She’d pulled out cheese and crackers along with two more bottles of champagne. Merlin’s sides ache from laughter and he’s feeling loose and loopy from the sun and alcohol.
“She’s a character,” he tells Arthur who hums in agreement. “I want to be just like her when I’m in my seventies.”
“Blonde and tanned?” Arthur asks with a smile.
Merlin gives him a swat on his firm bum, “No. I mean still engaged and open minded, though I think I’d look dashing as a blonde.”
Arthur gives him an assessing look then shakes his head, “I can’t picture it but I guess I’ll have to get used to the idea of you having to change things up for work. Are you doing anything for the play?”
“I’m just supposed to let my hair grow a bit for the role,” Merlin answers as they let themselves into the backyard again. Merlin looks at the pool and then down at himself. “I probably need to reapply, don’t I?”
Arthur laughs, “Alabaster skin maintenance is a never ending battle. C’mere, let me get your back again.” Merlin grabs Arthur by the hips and reels him in instead.
“I have a better idea,” he says and quick as a wink he has his and Arthur’s swim trunks down around their ankles and is off cannon balling into the deep end of the pool.
“I can tell you’re naked over there,” Mary calls with a laugh.
“We don’t care,” Arthur sing songs at her before diving in after Merlin.