Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 6
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Hunith
Summary: Arthur's got a plan to stay in the United States. Merlin is that plan.
Warnings: Extreme mortification.
Word Count: 1013 (Ack, again!)
Prompt: 170 Expecting
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom
The hug lasts quite a while and Merlin wonders, a bit alarmed, if his emotional mum might even be crying a little, but when Hunith finally loosens her grip and steps back, she’s smiling and her eyes are bright. “You’re looking happy and relaxed, love. California seems to be agreeing with you.”
Merlin smiles back and looks over at Arthur, “Yeah, I’m liking what I’ve seen so far.”
Arthur smiles softly, glancing down he suddenly realizes he’s been standing about in nothing but a short robe. He blushes and, stammering, excuses himself to get decent.
Hunith watches him rush away, bemused smile on her face. “He seems like a lovely, lad,” she says approvingly before giving Merlin’s waist one last squeeze and letting go entirely but keeping her gaze on Merlin. “It’s clear he’s got very good taste, too.” She then looks around the room with interest. “His home is quite nice, as well.”
“Mum don’t be ridiculous,” Merlin huffs, face reddening.
“What, am I not supposed to think the man my son loves is wonderful for loving him back?”
Merlin flushes hotter, stomach churning at the deception. He hates lying to his mum about something so important but he has committed to this ruse and he’ll have to soldier through this and more before the year is out. He doesn’t come up with a fitting response before Arthur rejoins them, casually draping his arm over Merlin’s shoulders, leaning in like they do this every day.
“Hunith, I’m sure it’s been a very long few days, let us show you to your room so you can rest up.”
“Thank you, Arthur, but I’m fine. It has been a long trip but First Class really is just like it looks in the movies.” She turns back to Merlin, red cheeked and grinning. “The seats recline into beds and there are actual duvets not those mingy little tea towels they hand out when we fly. I slept like a baby then had two glasses of champagne and a Bloody Mary with breakfast,” she says with delight. "I can’t wait to tell the hospital staff, Will and Gaius all about it!”
Merlin just wonders harder at the unexpected ticket. His reservation here was made a few weeks in advance and even an Economy ticket was over fourteen hundred pounds. On such short notice, who knows how exorbitant his mum’s ticket was. His mind reels at the extravagance but Hunith’s pleasure at the novel luxury calms him somewhat.
“We’re glad you enjoyed it,” Arthur says evenly. “Our business books several flights a year and we accumulate points we often can’t use. It’s wonderful sharing them so you can be here for Merlin. He’d be completely outnumbered otherwise.”
Merlin hadn’t really thought of it that way but Arthur’s absolutely right and he’s suddenly grateful to have his mum here. Even though the wedding is a sham, it will be nice to have her for support.
“Oh, presents,” Hunith suddenly exclaims. “Will and Gaius sent things with me.” She roots around in the largest piece of her luggage until finally pulling out a lumpy thing that is wrapped in pink cloth and tied with string. “Will’s a butcher,” Hunith explains to Arthur while handing the gift to Merlin.
Merlin opens Will’s with some trepidation, expecting something crude and bachelor party worthy. It’s actually a Lonely Planet Pocket Los Angeles guide wrapped in two pink novelty t-shirts, one proclaiming I’m Going to Win an Oscar. You Should Ask For My Autograph Now! The other says My Husband Won’t Forget The Little People. Especially His Best Mate Will.
“I warned him you’d be too embarrassed to wear them but he thought they were perfect,” Hunith beams, obviously agreeing.
Merlin is flushed, again, but this time with delight and beams back at his mum. “I love it. I’ll sleep in it,” he promises.
“Me, too,” Arthur agrees smiling. “We’ll be one of those obnoxious couples that finish each others' sentences and wear matching outfits!”
After the thoughtfulness of prankster Will’s present, Merlin turns his attention to Uncle Gaius’s beautifully wrapped gift. It takes forever to get into and when Merlin finally gets his fingers under the lid he pulls it up with a Ta-da-like flourish. Only to be faced with myriad flavored lubes, condoms and garishly colored sex toys, a copy of The Joy of Gay Sex and Keeping Mr. Right: The Gay Man’s Guide to Lasting Relationships. Mortified, Merlin slams the lid down but not before Hunith and Arthur both get an eyeful of a hell of a lot of latex.
Merlin is speechless but Arthur says sincerely, “Well, that was very considerate of your uncle, Merlin.” He turns to Hunith, “We’ll be sure to send him a nice thank you card.”
“I’m certainly glad airport security didn’t open that in front of me,” Hunith says with a shaky laugh. Merlin has to agree.
They finally pick up her luggage and show Hunith her room and she’s pleased to note that Merlin’s in a spare bedroom, too. “It’s lovely you’re saving sharing until after the wedding. It will be more special that way.”
Arthur, the asshole, shakes Gaius’s gift hard enough for it to rattle. This day just gets more and more embarrassing, Merlin thinks. Arthur’s smirk has him believing Arthur doesn't mind a bit.
Merlin is stowing the two presents in his empty luggage in the closet when Hunith steps through the bathroom door, sweet, sincere look on her face, “Honey, I think we should talk about your wedding night. I came away from mine with you and even though an unplanned pregnancy won’t result, you should be prepared for what might.”
Merlin flails and the box goes flying, scattering its contents all over the small room.
Arthur hears the series of small crashes and runs back down the hallway just in time to find Merlin on all fours, neon green dildo in one hand, frantically trying to gather up a ball gag trying to roll out the door with the other.
Of course, Arthur,laughing, pulls out his phone and snaps a series of photos.