Title: Strangers When They Meet?
Pairing/s: None, yet
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Gwen's set Merlin up.
Warnings: Alcohol use and abuse
Word Count: 510
Prompt: 164 Truth
Author's Notes: This fills the Blind Date Square on my trope BINGO
Merlin looked at his watch again, noting that his blind date was now officially one minute late. He’d shown up twenty minutes early, worried about making a bad first impression, and had been sitting growing more nervous with each turn of the second hand. He cradled his empty glass, wondering if another pint would calm him a bit. Why had he let Gwen talk him into this, again?
“Hello, Merlin. Sorry to keep you waiting,” said a well dressed blond man sliding onto the barstool next to him. He offered a hand “I’m Arthur, Gwen’s told me a lot about you.” The handshake was firm without being aggressive and Merlin took note of the man’s strong jaw, broad shoulders and snaggle toothed grin.
“You haven’t kept me waiting, I was way too early and got a head start.” He gestured with his empty pint glass, “Can I get you something?”
The bartender had seen the new arrival and was already waiting with a cocktail menu and wine list. Arthur waved them off, ordering a single malt while Merlin asked for another pint. They clinked glasses and Merlin took a deep drink, willing his nerves to settle.
“Gwen says you and Lance play footie on the weekends,” Merlin opened. “I’m surprised we haven’t met before.”
Arthur chuckled, “Oh, we’ve met before. Lance’s 30th birthday, you were just too pissed to remember.”
Merlin groaned, “Oh, hell, you think Gwen might have thought to mention that. Now I’m both nervous and embarrassed. I was a disaster that night. I’d just broken up with a long distance boyfriend and was drowning my sorrows. There might have been shirtless dancing.” Merlin’s face was flaming and he took another drink.
“You were a bit of a train wreck but you were awfully cute with it and I quite enjoyed the shirtlessness and the drunken confession that you thought I was fit and totally shaggable.” Arthur smiled around another sip of his whiskey. “I asked Gwen for your number the next day.”
Merlin goggled at him. “I was a total mess. Why would you call me? No, wait, why didn’t you call me?”
“I thought you were hilarious and fun and very easy on the eyes and I would have called you if Gwen had given me your number. Instead she made me wait to make sure I wasn’t your rebound fling, so here we are,” he raised his glass in a salute. “It’s nice to see you again, Merlin, would you like to get some dinner and see if your initial drinks fueled assessment still stands?”
Merlin laughed, nerves ebbing a bit. Arthur seemed nice and meddling Gwen always had his best interests at heart. He gave Arthur another once over, “I stand by my declaration of your fitness, but let’s put the shaggability on the back burner for a few more dates. I’m not that kind of boy.”
Arthur gracefully slid off his bar stool with a wolfish smile, “I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know just what kind of boy you are.”