Title: Email Order Bridegroom
Rating: G for this part though it may rise depending on what the guys decide to get up to.
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Gwaine
Summary: Merlin's agreed to help Arthur out
Warnings: Arthur's trying to pull a not so fast one.
Word Count: 528
Prompt: Free for all!
Author's Notes: I'm going to try to stick to this 'verse to fill several of my Trope BINGO prompts, so hopefully my muse will help me stay the course.
Merlin stepped off the escalator and looked around for the devastatingly handsome blonde holding up a sign with his name among the dozen chauffeurs and tour guides gathered in a semi-circle around the staircase. He let out a small laugh when instead of seeing Merlin Emrys he spotted light pink poster board with The Future Mister Arthur Pendragon bobbing above the head of a broad shouldered blonde in a well cut gray suit.
They’d exchanged photographs and emails but in person Arthur was, indeed, devastatingly handsome. Merlin raised a hand in greeting and the man dropped the sign and came forward, giving Merlin a calculating once over and then offering his hand for a shake.
Merlin awkwardly shook, embarrassed by the assessing perusal and feeling wrong footed until Arthur moved back and winked. “You’re even better looking in person,” he said conversationally. “I think after a few visits with my tailor, you'll clean up quite nicely.”
Merlin could feel his ears pinking at the back handed compliment. “It’s not like I’d wear a tuxedo on the plane,” he said rolling his eyes. Arthur laughed and lifted the carryon off Merlin's shoulder as they headed to Baggage Claim.
They had been emailing back and forth for all of two weeks before Merlin would commit to this marriage so Arthur could gain United States citizenship. Thanks to his American absentee father, Merlin held dual citizenship in the UK and the United States. Arthur and Merlin’s mutual friend Gwaine had come up with this
Merlin had recently finished his Drama and Performance degree and found himself in London, fruitlessly pursuing one audition after another, barely subsisting on a barista’s salary in a grotty flat share with three other similarly underemployed actors. His mum kept having to bail Merlin out to make rent and not default on his student loans so he was getting more than a bit desperate when he got the call from Gwaine. A desperation that led to a one way ticket to Los Angeles, where he was now standing waiting for everything he owned in the world to come careening down a metal chute.
Arthur seemed to sense Merlin second guessing this whole endeavor and he reached over, squeezing Merlin’s hand.
“Gwaine tells me you’re a very talented actor. Try to think of this as a challenging role you’re going to be playing for the next twelve months. Getting married is the easy part and then all you have to do is act like we’re madly in love and be my plus one at public functions and work events until the interview with immigration. Gwaine offered to introduce you to his agent, maybe she’ll line up some auditions, too.”
Having spent the last eight months in that pursuit with only a local kebab shop commercial (Hungry Uni Student #1, with two lines!) and a few roles in local theater productions on his CV, Merlin didn’t really hold out hope. He squeezed Arthur’s hand anyway, mentally thanking him for being kind. That moment, the carousel started to turn and Merlin waited for this new stage in his life to begin.