Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 14
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Fraud, fluff
Word Count: 932
Prompt: 183 Rendezvous
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
With his short time settling in, the wedding and his mum’s visit, the next morning is the first day that Merlin wakes up in L.A. with nothing on the calendar. This is when the real work starts. After breakfast he makes appointments with three temporary placement agencies, setting up interviews for later in the week. These are the first steps in a long walk toward really being settled.
He calls Gwaine and asks if he was serious about getting him a meeting with his agent. “I’ve already spoken to Morgause and she said, and I quote, ‘If he’s as talented as you say, I’d love to meet him.’ Then I showed her a picture of you at the wedding and she said she didn’t care if you could act because she knew a couple photo gigs to put you forward for. I’ll give her a ring right away.”
“Thanks, Gwaine. I know I’m destined for another boring office or barista job but I’d really like to perform, too. I need to work on getting a Screen Actors Guild card, so I’m going to register for extra work. Central Casting is all the way in Burbank which looks like I’ll be spending the day on the bus and train.”
Gwaine laughs, “Been there, done that and actually have a career now. You’re sure to land something brilliant and the buses are a lot less aggravating than being stuck in traffic behind the wheel. At least you can read or play games on your phone,” he says. “I’ll give you a call when I’ve spoken with M. Her office is in Burbank, too, so maybe you can kill two birds. Talk to you later.”
Merlin settles at the kitchen table in front of his battered laptop, looking at help wanted, television and film postings on Craigslist. Most of the ads are for reality shows and some amateur porn but there’s one posting that looks really promising:
Background to play wedding guests
Compensation: $25 meal/imdb credit
Employment type: Contract
We need several background actors to play wedding guests in a 15 minute short film. Compensation is $25 for the day plus dinner and an imdb credit. Must own an outfit suitable for a formal wedding. Film shoots this Sunday 2pm-9pm in North Hollywood. SAG vouchers will be given! Send me your picture, email address and phone number. Thanks! Elena.
There are other postings for extras so Merlin emails head and full body shots and his stats to Elena and calls to make inquiries about casting for a non-union series filming downtown this weekend and a music video filming in a few days. “The ad didn’t say anything about dancing. I’m more of a flailer than a dancer,” he admits. The woman who answered the phone laughs, “No, it’s mainly standing around acting elitist and sipping fake cocktails while the band lip syncs in the middle of an art gallery. Send me your photos and I’ll call if you’re selected.” Snootily standing about? Merlin can totally do that.
His cell plays Arthur’s ringtone just as he’s hit send.
“Hey, what’s up?” Merlin asks.
“I was going to ask you the same,” Arthur says. “Are you enjoying some downtime after the crazy pace you’ve been setting?”
“No, actually, I’ve started looking for work. Well, on a small scale: Made a few appointments at temp agencies, answered some online ads, made some calls, sent out a couple headshots. I’ll have to see if I get any callbacks. The life of an unemployed actor,” Merlin answers with an exaggerated sigh.
“Wow. I thought you’d give yourself a few days but you’re diving right in.”
“Well, you can’t get rejected if you don’t put yourself out there,” Merlin says. He’s smiling even though it’s true.
“I hope you’re not pushing yourself because of that slacker, kept boy teasing the other night. You know I was joking, right?” There’s a hint of real concern in Arthur’s voice.
“What? No. This was always the plan. I want a job. I like to keep busy and money is a good thing to have,” Merlin answers, puzzled why Arthur would think otherwise.
“Okay, I just want to make sure you aren’t feeling pressured to take any crappy job that comes your way.”
“So I don’t have to work at McDonald’s? Thanks but I could make a latte in my sleep and that’s as close to fast food as I’m likely to fall,” Merlin says with a laugh.
“Good,” Arthur says and then pauses. “Wait, you can make lattes? Why the hell do I make the coffee every morning?” He sounds genuinely outraged.
“Because you’re up first?”
“Yeah, not any more. Tomorrow I’m breaking out the espresso machine and you’re sharing this skill set,” Arthur says firmly.
Merlin makes a noncommittal noise. Arthur gets up at the crack of dawn so that may or may not happen.
Arthur seems to take the noise as agreement because he goes on, “I actually called to see if you’d like to meet up for happy hour at five. There’s a place called Rascal on South La Brea that Morgana says has great Moscow Mules and a delicious vegetable gyro sandwich. It’s a few blocks from the Tar Pits so you’ve already been in the neighborhood.”
“That sounds great. It will be a good opportunity to do a bit more exploring. I’ll see you there at five.”
“It’s a date,” Arthur replies and then rings off.
Merlin’s staring at his phone thinking ”Date?” for a few seconds before shaking his head and googling Rascal to map out his walk.