Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 7
Rating: PG-13, veering into R territory (not this chapter)
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Morgana, Hunith
Summary: Arthur's got a plan to stay in the United States. Merlin is that plan.
Warnings: Plans to defraud Immigration.
Word Count: 929
Prompt: 171 Come and See
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom
Merlin checked the to do list Morgana had insisted he follow the morning of the wedding. She had wrested a promise from him the night before that he would make sure that Arthur had not "...fiddled with any of the decorations or stress eaten all of the catered hors d'oeuvres I’m dropping off. No I’m not kidding. You have no idea what you’re getting into. Seriously." The grim set to her jaw told Merlin she hadn’t been joking.
Out in the newly landscaped back garden the few rows of white wooden folding chairs were still arranged facing the strawberry trees wrapped with broad red and gold ribbons. It would make a festive backdrop for the ceremony. Arthur had balked at a red carpet aisle, pointing out the pea gravel pathway leading to the trees was enough and his "This isn’t the My Pretty Princess wedding you’ve always wanted, Morgana. Save the rose petals and dove release for your own ‘do" put paid to her arguments.
There were unfiddled with flower arrangements on the dining room table by the stacks of plates, folded red napkins and gold flatware. Arthur had scoffed at the color scheme but Merlin thought it was striking against the dark oak table.
He diligently opened the refrigerator, actually peeking into the top boxes to make sure the food was unmolested. Nothing was amiss so he slammed the refrigerator closed only to find a pale, scowling Arthur looming on the other side of the door.
“You can tell that harpy that I haven’t eaten any of her party food,” he snapped. “She cleverly stacked the horrible deviled eggs and raw vegetables on top so I couldn’t get to snacks I actually like without tearing the entire refrigerator apart. I had to run out for Taco Bell and Cool Ranch Doritos at three thirty this morning.” He glared at Merlin as though the taco and chip run was somehow his fault.
Merlin patted his arm, “I threw up at six and mum made me milky tea and toast like when I was little,” he commiserated. “I don’t know why I’m so worked up.”
Arthur looked at him a bit wild eyed. “We’re getting married, you moron, of course we’re worked up. It’s a big step.”
Merlin goggled at him open mouthed and Arthur seemed to realize what was wrong with that statement and deflated a bit. “Well, it’s still standing up in front of friends and family declaring ourselves as life partners.” He grimaced and whined petulantly, “My stomach hurts. I just want this to be over already.”
Merlin had to agree. “We have an hour before people start arriving. Let’s shower and dress so your wicked stepsister can pin on our butonnieres and send us to our fate. Are you good to go or do you need more Doritos?”
Arthur met Merlin’s gaze and seemed to steel himself before muttering, “I have half a bag left.” He looked Merlin over and Merlin hoped he didn’t look as strange as he felt. A night of fitful sleep and an upset stomach but he was buzzing like the nervous groom he really shouldn’t be.
Arthur continued, “How about you? Are you one hundred percent sure you’re okay with this? I don’t want you feeling any pressure here. I can figure out something else if you’re at all uncomfortable.”
Merlin shook his head. He was feeling a bit more okay than he’d expected. His anxiety was pre-performance nerves, not dread about breaking the law or playing the happy husband like he’d anticipated. He grinned at Arthur. “I’m oddly good now. I really think we’re going to be all right together. This year is going to fly by. I honestly like you, Arthur, and I have a feeling this is going to be life changing." He grabbed Arthur's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze and smiled. "Life changing in a not going to prison way.”
Arthur’s relieved smile and watching the tight tension in his shoulders melting away were a pleasure to see so Merlin grinned even wider. “Next time you see me I’ll be walking down the pea gravel path with my mum on one arm. Try not to cry at how lucky you are to have snagged such a catch.” He turned on one heel and went off to shower and change, Arthur’s laughter ringing in his ears.
Merlin had just finished straightening his red bowtie when there was a knock at his bedroom door and Morgana called “You’re not naked, are you?”
Merlin laughed, “No, I’m decent” and she swept in holding a small spray of white flowers and a lethal looking stickpin.
Morgana looked him up and down and gave a low whistle. “My, Mr. Emrys, who knew what was hiding under those oversized button ups and jeans. Arthur won’t know what hit him.” He blushed at the compliment but Merlin couldn’t help feeling pleased. “Here, let me pin this on and I’ll send Hunith in. It’s almost time to get this show on the road and Arthur is as nervous as I’ve ever seen him.” She quickly pinned the delicate lily of the valley butonniere to his lapel and looked into his eyes. “Do you need anything before we start? Xanax? Kleenex?”
Merlin laughed again, “No, I’m good to go. Let’s put Arthur out of his misery.”
Morgana opened the door again and yelled down the hall, “Hunith, come and see your handsome boy before Arthur gets his hands on him and rumples him all up.”
Merlin felt his blush deepen as his heart quickened in anticipation.