Title: Unpredictable Evening
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Arthur runs into Owen.
Word Count: 1390 (oops!)
Prompt: "Unpredictable" for camelot_drabble.
Author's Notes: Part 14 of the "A Secret Admirer?" Story. Unbetaed. It's like the thing that won't end.
Also note, this is my SECOND entry for this week. Part 13 is here.
The next time Arthur met up with Merlin, it was at a gay club called Defiant. Arthur had all but avoided the club because he knew that it was one of Owen's. But when Merlin invited him, saying that it was one of his coworker's birthday, Arthur couldn't say no.
As soon as he'd entered the club, his eyes had found Merlin. Arthur couldn't believe how unpredictable his life had become these past few weeks. To go from worshipping Owen, who turned out to be quite the wanker, to being absolutely heartbroken—and now to find a man who was sweet and sexy, but also acted like he was Arthur's friend had his heart doing cart wheels.
Still, Merlin didn't let him in. He had a wall around him, and Arthur had to wonder why. He figured taking his time with Merlin was probably the best thing to do. He genuinely cared about Merlin, more than just his attraction towards him, and even if they never became more, Arthur would be there for him. Because Merlin deserved it. He clearly had a fanclub of people--given how many of them had told Arthur to stay away--so Arthur would simply become one of those faces.
"Hey, you made it!" Merlin jumped out of his seat to greet Arthur and pulled him in for a hug. "It's good to see you."
"You too," Arthur said smiling.
Merlin introduced Arthur to his co-worker Cora who gave Arthur an assessing look. "So you're the reason Merlin's been all smiles at work."
Arthur looked at Merlin who was rolling his eyes at Cora. "Don't mind her. She's drunk."
"Yes. But only enough to dance!" Cora said and pulled the girl that was seated next to her onto the dancefloor.
Arthur watched them for a while and then returned his attention to Merlin. "Get you a drink?"
Arthur shook his head. "I'm okay right now. I didn't drive tonight so I have all evening to drink," he said.
Merlin nodded. "Yes, unfortunately I did, so I'll just be having this one," Merlin said pointing at the beer he was holding.
"Are you the designated driver?" Arthur asked, feeling stupid. He should have asked Merlin about that in advance, then he could have brought his car also. "I wish I'd known…"
"Not officially," Merlin said. "I didn't want to drink and do something stupid…well…"
"What is it?"
Merlin shrugged. "I didn't want to do something stupid in front of you. Drunk, I mean. I've been feeling quite stupid around you, anyway."
"I don't…Did I do something…"
"No," Merlin said, laughing. "It's just, it's all a bit unreal, you know. For me." Arthur stayed quiet but he edged himself closer to Merlin, waiting for him to continue. "I fancied you and all, and now you're here—"
Arthur closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. Fucking hell.
"Is that you?"
The voice that wouldn't go away, Arthur thought. Arthur opened his eyes to look at Merlin who seemed more annoyed than anything else, and then he slowly turned around to find Owen standing close to him.
"It is you!"
Yes, this is pretty much why I don't come here.
"Owen," Arthur said, dryly.
Owen looked past Arthur's shoulder and at Merlin. He gave a knowing smile before looking at Arthur again. "Should've figured that was going to happen," he said.
Arthur didn't reply, he continued to glare at Owen.
"I knew you'd rebound with him. He's been so desperate for—"
"What do you want, Owen?"
"I don't want anything. Saw you here so I supposed I'd say hi."
"Very well," Arthur said standing up straight. "Goodbye."
"You're still cross with me?" Owen shook his head. "You know you should really move on from it, Arthur. It's in the past. There's no reason why we can't be friends."
"I'm not cross with you. I've moved on and made new friends. I don't have any interest in being friends with you so you know, that's that. Have a nice night, Owen."
"It's my club, you know. You know I come here all the time. If you didn't want to see me—"
"You don't own the fucking club, Owen," Arthur said. "And I was invited here for a birthday party. I had hoped I wouldn't see you, but you had to come by and ruin my evening. So, congratulations. Now if you'll excuse me…" Arthur brushed past Owen, pushing him against the crowd, and made his way to the bar.
He probably shouldn't have left Merlin alone back there but Merlin was surrounded by his friends and Arthur was the one that was all alone. He didn't want to start a scene so it was best to walk away.
"Are you okay?" Merlin's voice was soothing, and Arthur wanted to close his eyes and thank God for sending him then. But most of all, Arthur wanted to turn around and pull Merlin into his arms.
Instead, he nodded once, and grabbed the bartender's attention to get him a pint. Then a few seconds later, he turned around and looked at Merlin as if nothing had happened.
"That was unpredictable," Arthur said, almost lying. He'd actually thought that Owen was going to be there, but he'd not thought of Owen speaking to him.
"Unfortunate, really," Merlin said with a smile. "Besides, apparently even Owen knew I fancied you."
"Yeah, sorry about that. I shouldn't have let him speak about you—"
"Hey, it's okay. I don't care. That man's an arse."
Arthur chuckled lightly and took a sip of his pint before paying the bartender for it. Then, they both walked back towards the table where Merlin's friends were.
"I'd hoped we wouldn't see him," Arthur told Merlin when he sat down next to him in the booth. He'd kept himself close to Merlin, afraid that Merlin would run away otherwise.
"So he does come here a lot?"
Arthur frowned slightly. "It's one of his favourite places. He knows almost everyone that works here, it's kind of pathetic, I think. I don't know, maybe I'm jealous."
Arthur shrugged. "He knows everyone here, maybe it's like he belongs here. Not pathetic… maybe I'm the pathetic one…"
"Do you want him back?" Merlin asked. His voice was even as if he really were inquiring as a friend.
Arthur resisted rolling his eyes. "Of course, not. You said it, he's an arse."
"So if he wasn't an arse anymore. What if he apologised, begged for forgiveness, wanted another chance—"
"No. I've moved on. Cleaned out my flat of him."
Arthur looked right into Merlin's eyes when he said the next words, "found someone far better."
Merlin smiled and bit his lower lip. "You have?"
Arthur let go of his pint glass and placed it on the table. Then, he wiped his hand on his jeans before running his fingers through Merlin's hair and pulled him close. "You tell me, Merlin." He pressed his lips against Merlin's and used his other hand to pull on Merlin's shirt. It seemed any distance between them was too much, and Arthur wanted nothing between them.
"You know that time when we were in my car outside your flat? After Gwen's dinner party?" Merlin asked and Arthur smiled. How could he forget. He'd tasted Merlin for the first time that night and he'd been drunk ever since.
"I was right then, you know," said Merlin.
"That you're trouble."
Arthur grinned and placed his hand on Merlin's knee, squeezing it lightly. "Glad you gave me a chance regardless."
"Hmm," Merlin said.
"What?" Arthur asked, nervous all of a sudden. Had he said the wrong thing again?
"Nothing. This isn't the right place to get all serious—"
"No," Arthur said and turned his body so he could be face to face with Merlin. "Don't do this. Don't shut me out. Please."
"We can get out of here if you want. I'm sure your friend won't care…" Arthur gestured towards Cora who was on the dancefloor still and kissing the girl she was dancing with. "Let's go somewhere. And let's talk."
Merlin shrugged. "You could come over."
Arthur's eyes widened then. "Come over?"
"I don't mean it like that," Merlin said, rolling his eyes. "I live with my mum."
"Okay," Arthur said immediately.
READ NEXT PART: Trust