Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 4
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur devises a plan to become a US citizen. Merlin's his plan
Word Count: 1001 (Ack!)
Prompt: 168, Impassive
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom.
The plan was simple and so was the script Merlin outlined. They’d been dating for several months, Skyping and shoehorning in dates when Arthur was in London for business. With both their busy schedules, time together was a precious commodity so they chose to spend it in one another’s company rather than share each other with friends or family. On Arthur’s last trip to London he’d proposed and Merlin had accepted. Now here they were, seated in a neighborhood pub facing six of Arthur’s closest friends and his half sister, Morgana.
Introductions were made and Merlin started getting nervous at the curious looks they were getting. Gwen, Lance, Mithian, Leon, Percival and Morgana seemed nice enough, he supposed, but they were all staring at him like an exotic creature. He wondered if Arthur usually kept his private life very, very private.
Arthur started right in. “At Gwaine’s suggestion, I saw a student production of “Vernon God Little” last year and Merlin was so brilliant I had to meet him,” he opened, then clutched Merlin’s hand under the table as the signal to hijack the story. ”Ooh, we’ll be one of those obnoxious finish each other’s sentences couples. Nice touch,” Merlin had laughed.
“He was so over the top in his praise that I had to buy him a drink so he could gush at me some more. He’s my first fanboy, how could I help falling for him? I had to keep him!” He scanned the six faces across the table and they were mostly smiling back. Even Gwaine who knew the story was pure fiction. He and Arthur were totally selling this.
“I am most definitely not a fanboy,” Arthur groused.
“Your Buffy the Vampire Slayer doll collection begs to differ,” Merlin said with a grin.
“They’re not dolls, Merlin. They’re action figures. They’re collectibles,” Arthur said in a tone that suggested this was an oft repeated disagreement.
“They’re only collectible if you don’t play with them and that tableau on your desk changes every day, Arthur.” Arthur looked like he wanted to protest but Merlin just raised an eyebrow, “Angel and Spike weren’t kissing yesterday.” Arthur huffed in response and turned back to the group, “We’ve gotten off topic.”
“Really off topic,” Gwen answered, looking between the two of them. “It’s like a movie.”
“It certainly is,” agreed Morgana but she had an unreadable look on her face. “Why keep this romance secret, though, Arthur? I could have bought Merlin dinner when I was in London last month.”
Arthur scowled, “And have you tell him all my most embarrassing stories without being there to defend myself? I learned that lesson when you bent Sophia Larson’s ear in sixth form.”
Morgana laughed, “Her face was absolutely priceless when I told her about you wearing that tutu to the park.”
“That tutu that you put me in. I was six, Morgana!”
“I hope there are pictures,” Merlin piped in.
Arthur gave her an even darker look. “Of course there are.”
Morgana laughed again and mouthed call me at Merlin.
Arthur pointed a finger at her. “Don’t you dare.” He looked back at Merlin. “Steer well clear.”
Merlin laughed again, “I think I like her.”
Arthur threw his hands in the air. “I warned you. Don’t come crying to me when she spreads your secrets all over facebook. Also, in her hands tequila becomes truth serum. Fair warning.”
Merlin smiled merrily at the small circle. “Happily, I don’t have any secrets to spread. Quite boring, me.”
Morgana shot Arthur a speculative look. “Somehow, I very much doubt that.”
Something in that look caused Arthur to lean in, seeming on the verge of kissing Merlin but stopping just short and staring into his eyes instead. “No, boring is not a word I’d ever use to describe you.” Merlin’s cheeks heated and he had to glance away to break the building tension. Arthur cleared his throat and pulled back, facing the gang again.
“So, I didn’t just ask you all to come out and meet Merlin. We actually have some bigger news that we wanted to share.” All eyes were trained on him so took a breath and plunged on, “We’re getting married.”
Gwen’s delighted squeal could be heard from space.
“You’re not just going down to City Hall and having some stranger marry you,” Morgana said again. “You’re having a proper ceremony with suits and rings and flowers and cake. I’ll take care of everything.” Arthur tried to protest, not that it had done any good the first, second, third or fourth time. Morgana narrowed her eyes and repeated even more firmly, “Arthur, I insist.”
“Well, we were planning on getting married on Friday, so if you can pull it off by then I guess we’re in.” He deferred to Merlin, “Right?”
Merlin shrugged, “It could be fun but where will we have it? The dumpster might not even arrive by Friday.”
Arthur barked a laugh and Morgana gave them both a strange look. “Dumpster?”
“Inside joke,” they said at the same time and then smiled widely at one another.
“I’d be happy to step in as officiant,” Gwaine offered and the entire table turned toward him. “It’s dead easy to get ordained on the internet and I played a priest in that Lifetime movie last year. ”
“You played a homicidal maniac, Gwaine,” Arthur countered.
“A homicidal maniac priest, Arthur,” Gwaine answered as though that made him even more qualified for the role of marrying them.
“You were quite good. Very menacing,” Merlin said.
“Cheers, mate,” Gwaine gave a small nod and raised his pint glass.
Arthur looked at Merlin grinning at Gwaine and gave up. “Fine, fine. I’ve been overruled. Now I just have to get a few days off so Merlin and I can sort the backyard.”
“What? I don’t know anything about grass and bushes and stuff,” Merlin protested.
“No worries, I just need a minion and you’ll do nicely. Next stop Dream Garden."