Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 11
Rating: R, though not this chapter
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Hunith
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the united States. Merlin is that plan.
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff and a plan to lie to Immigration.
Word Count: 1159 (Sorry, again)
Prompt: 180, Snuggle
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
Arthur walks up to Merlin and Hunith fifteen minutes later so Hunith corrals them into posing for a series of photographs, arms wrapped around one another in front of the theater and by Arthur’s favorite actors and actresses’ hand prints. “Jimmy Stewart was fantastic. I could watch Harvey every year and never get bored by his performance. Don’t get me started on Rear Window and Vertigo. Brilliant.” Merlin couldn’t agree more.
He directs them down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and then into Musso and Frank’s, Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. The exterior is nothing to look at but the interior is beautiful. Low light gleams off polished dark wood booths serviced by grey haired, red jacketed waiters who look like they’ve stepped out of the 1930’s.
They sit near the bar and Hunith orders an Old Fashioned, Merlin a Sidecar. “Charlie Chaplin and Dashiel Hammet drank and ate here,” Arthur says, eyes gleaming as he sips his club soda. “Greta Garbo might have sat in this very booth. She could have been sharing a table with Orson Welles or F. Scott Fitzgerald!”
They linger, munching on stuffed celery served on a bed of crushed ice, enjoying their drinks while watching the septuagenarian bartender mix one classic cocktail after another. Hunith takes photos of everything.
Arthur drives them up to Griffith Park where they walk around the observatory to see the Hollywood sign. Arthur trains the pay binoculars on the downtown skyline, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The La Brea Tarpits and other sights. It’s sunny and the air is clear, the view spectacular.
“It’s even better at night. There’s a star party once a month where the observatory staff let people use telescopes to look at planets and constellations. It’s really neat,” Arthur says.
Hunith takes a few shots of the observatory, pointing out scenes and angles she recognizes from “Rebel Without a Cause.”
Arthur takes them by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, explaining that the exterior was used as Angel, Drusilla and Spike’s mansion in some episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as in Blade Runner. Arthur just grins when Merlin whispers “Dork” under his breath.
They drive up The Sunset Strip, Arthur directing their eyes to clubs where The Doors and Guns and Roses once played. They park and window shop down Rodeo Drive, Hunith taking photos of the Chanel and Cartier displays but refusing to go inside. “Don’t be ridiculous, Arthur, it’s not like I could afford anything in there,” she laughs merrily.
“That’s where they filmed the exteriors for ‘Pretty Woman,” Arthur says pointing out The Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
“Why do you even know that?” Merlin asks with a smile.
Arthur holds up his phone. “You may have heard of the internet, Merlin. It’s a handy tool. You should look into it.” Merlin sticks his tongue out at the smirking blonde and Arthur laughs and grabs him in a headlock for a good natured noogie. Merlin swats at him ineffectually but they’re both laughing .
Hunith giggles and takes a picture to show Gaius and Will that Merlin may be a married man but he still hasn't really grown up.
It’s nearly dark by the time Arthur pulls up to a valet in front of a Spanish style hotel in a neighborhood Merlin thinks is close to the house. He gives Arthur a quizzical look. “There’s an excellent restaurant in the garden that I know you and your mum are going to love,” he says, handing the keys to the valet. He ushers Hunith and Merlin through the elegant lobby into a courtyard where they're greeted by the hostess.
“Reservations for three under Pendragon.” The woman leads them by a koi pond to a table under twinkling overhead lights and hands them each a menu.
Hunith pulls out her phone again and surreptitiously takes a picture of the colorful fish and the menu. She smiles sheepishly, “I am such a tourist.”
Arthur laughs, “Aren’t we all? Isn’t it fun? I just hope we see some celebrity to make this outing perfect.” He looks around and his eyes widen comically before holding his menu up over his face and shooting Hunith a sideways glance. “Hey,” he whispers, “I actually think that’s James Spader two tables over.”
Hunith whips around and gasps, rifling through her bag once more, discretely taking a picture. Arthur beams and Merlin can’t help grinning. His mum is obviously having the time of her life. He reaches over and squeezes Arthur’s hand, mouthing “Thank you” when their eyes meet. Arthur gives him a pleased smile in return.
Hunith declares the Mediterranean sea bass is the most delicious thing she has ever tasted though she almost changes her verdict when she has a bite of Merlin’s roasted cauliflower “steak.”
“It’s cauliflower. How can somebody make cauliflower taste this ridiculously good?” Merlin wonders aloud.
“I think the truffles and artichokes are helping quite a bit,” Arthur answers after sneaking a bite. Merlin just nods, mouth full.
After dinner Hunith decides she’s too full for dessert so Arthur proposes they head home and take a walk in their neighborhood so he can show them the best shops and restaurants. “We need to pick up milk for coffee, so we should stop at Ralph’s.”
The house is less than a ten minute drive from the restaurant but Hunith manages to fall asleep on the way. “It’s been an action packed, wonderful day,” she explains with a yawn. “Thank you for the tour and dinner, Arthur.” She pulls him in for a tight hug. “I can see why my boy likes you so much.”
Arthur smiles down at her, “It was my pleasure, Hunith. I had a great time showing you two around. It was a nice reminder how much there is to see and do outside work, home, rinse, repeat. It’s going to be delightful exploring with Merlin. I’m looking forward to seeing the city through his eyes.”
Hunith wanders off toward her guest room so they lock up the house before heading out again.
It’s a balmy evening and there’s a car alarm blaring a few streets over. Merlin gazes at the man by his side and feels warm in the knowledge that in a few hours they’ll be lying in bed together, possibly sleep snuggling again, getting ready to face another day in this sprawling city. Instead of being scared of the possibilities, Merlin is excited.
“You certainly charmed my mum today,” he says quietly.
Arthur looks over at him and smiles, “I hope she’s not the only one,” he answers before looking away.
Merlin wonders if Arthur would think it weird if he took his hand and then he stops thinking and takes it anyway. Arthur holds on tight all the way to the supermarket.
Arthur shifts the grocery bag full of milk and Wheat Chex so he can take Merlin’s hand again for the walk back home.