Title: Love Looks Not With Eyes
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Merlin's a little blind, Arthur's a little smitten, and there's shameless flirting (from Arthur) over coffee.
Word Count: 1000
Prompt: #77 - Shocked
Author's Notes: I've found that I've never actually written a coffeeshop!AU, and this is terrible. Every writer should write at least one coffeeshop!AU once in there life, even if they never do it again afterwards. I dunno, this one just came to me out of nowhere, and the thought of Merlin squinting everywhere was kind of funny in my head. (Plus, I love Merlin wearing glasses, it's really adorable). So yeah, I kind of like this verse, and I definitely might expand on it. Please enjoy! The title is from this quote by Shakespeare. "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
Merlin is pretty sure he hates his life.
Okay, okay, maybe he doesn't quite hate his life. But he's pretty sure he doesn't like it right now. He rubs at his eyes, letting out a swear as he struggles to get them into focus. He hadn't had time to put in contacts this morning, and lucky him, he'd broken his glasses on the way to work this morning.
It's probably a miracle that Gwen hasn't fired him, but it's not like she has the power to fire him anyway. But it's still a miracle.
He leans down, nearly face-to-face with the register, squinting as he tries to read the numbers. After all the time he's been working at the small coffee shop, he figures he would've known the register by heart, but for some reason his mind is drawing a blank. Which isn't really a surprise, he finds himself drawing blanks at a lot of points in his life, lately. Possibly from lack of sleep because university thinks it's funny to drown students in work, and on top of that, have to get up early in the morning to work to pay for said university. It's a horrible cycle that Merlin can't wait to break free from.
“Excuse me,” a voice drawls. “As much as I like seeing you bend over that register, I really do need to get going, so if you could kindly get me my coffee, I would quite appreciate it.”
Merlin jumps up, turning to the source of the voice. Unconsciously, he squints again, trying to make the blurry images come into focus. He scrubs at his eyes, but lets out an irritable sigh as he can't seem to make out more than blond hair and sunglasses that look like black blobs where his eyes are supposed to be. If Merlin hadn't been smart enough to put two and two together, he would've been terrified.
“Yeah, yeah,” he mutters, shaking his head. “Sorry, what was it that you wanted?”
Blondie relays the order, an annoyingly amused tone in his posh voice. Merlin spends a total of five minutes trying to get the order right, pressing buttons on the coffee machine, only to mix the wrong thing in it, thus forcing him to make it over again.
After it hits the seven minute mark, Merlin is too tired to even try to take money from the man. He sets the coffee on the counter, and sighs, waving his hand when he sees the flash of what he assumes is a bill in his line of vision.
“No, no,” he says, shaking his head. “That took me forever. Seriously, it's on the house.”
“Can you do that?” Blondie asks, clearly a little confused, and Merlin doesn't need his eyes to see the quirked brow. “I don't want you to get in trouble.”
“Really, it's no problem,” Merlin smiles but rubs at his eyes again, irritation prickling under his skin. Not being able to see really shouldn't bother him this much, but it does and if this man doesn't take his coffee and leave soon--
Blondie clears his throat, and Merlin sighs, almost relieved. He's quite out of luck, though, when instead of leaving, Blondie leans across the counter.
“I appreciate the favor, really. I owe you one,” he hums, practically purring. “So tell me, are you free later this evening? What time do you get off?”
Merlin groans inwardly. This wouldn't be the first time someone's hit on him in the shop. He should've known that the posh man would be exactly like the rest.
He scoffs, and says sharply, “Now you listen here--” he leans down a bit to where he's eye level with the stranger, realizing that his eyes are a startling blue. Now, Merlin's not totally blind, so upon getting that close to the man, he's completely shocked to realize two things:
One, the man is tragically gorgeous, the former blob of his face morphing into something akin to a Greek God. The second thing is he's got this arrogant look to him, mostly because Merlin's cut himself off and still hasn't finished his sentence.
“I'm listening,” Blondie coos. Great, he's tragically gorgeous and he knows it.
Merlin stands straight again, not even bothering to finish. He turns away and begins to head into the back room where he'll convince Gwen to let him go home and wallow, or at least put in his contacts, when the man reaches across and grabs him by the wrist.
“No, wait, I'm serious,” he says, sounding sincere, and for some reason, he's inclined to believe him. “I'm not trying to make fun of you, really. I do want to go out with you. I just have...a bit of a hard time showing it, is all. I like to be...forward. I do happen to fancy you, to be honest.”
“Yeah, okay,” Merlin says, tugging on his wrist. “Let go.”
Blondie sighs, but lets go. Merlin turns back to look at him, crossing his arms. The man shifts, rummaging around in his pocket, before withdrawing a long, black object that Merlin guesses is a pen.
He writes something down on what Merlin thinks is a napkin, before it's thrust into his face, revealing a phone number. He takes it warily, squinting at the man in a way that he hopes looks scrutinizing, but it's mostly because he wants to see what kind of expression is on his face.
“Call me, or text,” the man says, and he sounds...a little nervous, now? “Really. I'll be waiting.”
Merlin nods once, quirking a small smile, somehow, and then pockets the napkin. He makes a shooing gesture with his hands, and damn it all, the man laughs, rich and beautiful.
He begins to leave when Merlin is shocked to realize he doesn't know Blondie's name yet.
“Wait!” Merlin calls. “What's your name?”
He pauses and, with the same amusing tone as he'd had when he'd entered, the man grins at him.