Character/s: Arthur, Gwen, Lancelot, Gwaine, Percival, Merlin
Summary: Arthur starts his job at Camelot Coffee and settles in, only to have a surprise customer.
Word Count: 1200
Prompt: # 281, 1200
Author's Notes: Not beta'd, sorry about that.
Arthur sighed as he entered Camelot Coffee’s front door. He was still irked at his father for this. Uther had decided that the best way for Arthur to learn the business was to work his way up from the lowest levels, really getting to know how the company worked. So much for the MBA he’d worked all those years for. He had no choice but to report to his local branch of Camelot Coffee and work there for the foreseeable future.
He looked up to see a smiling young woman behind the counter. She had gorgeous caramel skin and chocolate-brown eyes. Maybe working here wouldn’t be so bad after all. She said, “Hello there, you must be Arthur. Corporate told me you’d be coming this morning.”
“Yes, I’m Arthur. Pleased to meet you . . .”
“Gwen. I’m the day manager.”
“Gwen. Very good to meet you. I assume you’ll be showing me the ropes?”
“Of course. Follow me and we’ll get you set up with an apron and start your training.”
Arthur smiled. “Thank you, Gwen.”
He stepped behind the counter and she led the way into one of the back rooms, where she pointed out the timecard system, the employee lockers and other bits of the room. Soon he’d been fitted with an apron and a name badge. Once she felt he was oriented enough, Gwen led him to the front of the store to explain the various products and machines he’d be using.
Gwen let him experiment with the machines and try out what he’d created. “Not too bad,” she decided, “but I think we’ll start you out on the register first.”
“Okay, if you think that’s best. You’re the manager.” Despite being put in this predicament, Arthur wished no ill to Gwen. It wasn’t her fault he’d been sent here, and maybe his father had a point. Maybe.
Just then the front door jingled open and a dark-haired man stepped in. “Oh, hey, Lance, this is Arthur. He’s just joined us today.”
Lance stepped up to the counter and held out his hand, which Arthur took. “The new guy from corporate, huh?”
Arthur glanced at Gwen, who blushed. He guessed there were no secrets in this establishment. “That’s right. Good to meet you.”
Lance walked around the counter. “Likewise. I generally work mornings, so it looks like we’ll be working together.”
“Oh good. I’m glad to have another compatriot here.”
“I’m sure we’ll enjoy working together.” He turned to head for the back. “I’ve got to get ready for my shift. The addicts will be here before you know it.”
Arthur and Gwen chuckled before turning back to the register. “Let me show you how to operate this thing so we can be up and running before opening.”
“Great,” Arthur replied. He returned his attention back to her and the register. Soon he felt he could ring up an order in his sleep, which Gwen said would serve him well as the day wore on.
Fifteen minutes later, Gwen went to the door and flipped the sign from “closed” to “open.” That’s when the line outside the store made its way inside. Arthur’s eyes widened at its length as Gwen rejoined him behind the counter. “Buckle up, buttercup. It’s going to be a bumpy ride,” she told him before the first customer stepped up to the counter.
The next three hours passed by in a blur. To his surprise, he’d only messed up two orders. Gwen had to step in, but she told him he was doing great for a newbie, especially considering the morning rush. She gave him a fifteen-minute break and told him to relax a bit before he came back.
He explored the break room a bit and sat down on its sofa. After a few minutes of that, he couldn’t take the sitting around anymore and went back to the front. “Couldn’t take the break, huh?” Lance asked.
“I’m used to a much faster pace of life, I guess.”
“You’ll fit in perfectly here.”
In the lull between customers, Gwen had Arthur practice on the machines again. Soon he was making drinks for customers. Gwen smiled and declared him fully trained. He alternated between the register and drink-making, according to who was up front with him and what they were doing. Before he knew it, it was early afternoon and his shift was over.
As he hung up his apron and clocked out, Gwen came into the break room. “You did really well for your first day.”
“Thank you,” he replied.
“I look forward to working with you again tomorrow. Before you go, I’d like you to meet the evening workers.” Three people stepped into the room. One was a very tall man with short blond hair. The other man had longer brown hair and a short beard. The last was a short woman with long, dark hair. “This is Percy,” she indicated the tall man, “he’s the evening manager. The other two are Gwaine and Freya.”
“Pleasure to meet you all,” Arthur said, holding out his hand to each of them in turn.
“So you’re the new guy, huh?” Gwaine said.
“Sent from corporate, yep.”
“Good. We need them to know what it’s like for the little people.”
Arthur’s eyes widened. “I’m not a spy. I’m here to learn the business.”
“Oh, ok.” Gwaine backed off. “Then welcome.”
Percival smiled. “I hope we get to work together sometime.”
“I’m sure you can work that out with Gwen,” Arthur replied.
Freya glanced at him then glanced away. So she was the shy one of the bunch. That was okay too, as long as she did her work and was pleasant to others, he wouldn’t have a problem with her.
“Well, it’s been good to talk to you all, and I’m sure you want to get to work. I’ve got to get home so I can have a nap.” He yawned. “I never imagined I’d be at work this early.”
They all chuckled and he made his way out of his room. He tossed a wave to Lance and headed out the door. It had been a long day and he’d learned a lot. He was lucky his co-workers were lovely people and the work surprisingly satisfying. He looked forward to the days ahead.
Before Arthur knew it, two weeks had flown by. He was standing in the front of the store chatting with Gwen when a customer came in. He hurried to the counter to meet him.
The young man stopped short of the counter and stared at Arthur. His eyes slowly widened and his mouth hung open for a second before he said, “Arthur, is that you?”
“Do I know you?” Arthur replied.
The man rushed to the counter. “It’s me, Merlin. Oh my . . . I’ve been waiting for you for so long!” He reached out to touch Arthur.
Once his hand came into contact with Arthur’s arm, a flood of memories washed through Arthur’s mind. Cloaks of red, monsters, crowns, battles, and a very special sword. After what felt like an eternity, the vision cleared. He looked at the man in front of him and smiled. “Merlin.”