Title: The Email Order bridegroom, Chapter 22
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That Plan is Merlin.
Warnings: More cute guys being all kissy face and hand holdy and ridiculous.
Word Count: 1032
Prompt: Unpredictable, which is pretty much Mordred's role in this fic so far.
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
The rest of the shoot is more standing, walking and socializing but Merlin keeps catching Elena and Mordred watching him. Being self-conscious puts him on edge, making the final few hours crawl by. It may just be friendly interest but it’s still disconcerting so Merlin is relieved when the director calls it a wrap and he’s able to get ready to leave.
Finally free of the last of the makeup, Merlin is poised to change into his street clothes when he looks up to see Mordred entering the dressing area. There are several other actors in various stages of undress but Mordred makes a beeline for him.
“Oh, great, I thought I might have missed you.”
Merlin takes off his jacket and puts it on a hanger, “I’m nowhere near ready to leave.” He loosens his tie and then starts in on the button down, feeling a bit wrong footed but not wanting Mordred to think he’s uncomfortable getting undressed surrounded by people doing exactly the same thing. He pulls his shirt off a little forcefully and gets tangled in an unbuttoned cuff. “I still have to get paid and collect my SAG voucher. I’ll be a few more minutes,” Merlin says once he’s figured out the cuff situation.
He’s pulled on his sweater and now there’s just the trousers to change into but Merlin stops fussing with his clothes and meets Mordred’s eyes. “What did you need me for?”
Mordred has been watching his clumsy dance, small smile playing across his face as Merlin probably looks like the skinniest, palest duckling in a room full of buff, tan swans. He envies everyone in the room, especially fully dressed Mordred. Merlin takes a breath and tries to relax.
“I have another project, a play being put on at Odyssey Theater Ensemble. I wanted to ask if you do live performance.” Merlin gives him a nod so Mordred continues, “I won’t have much say in the casting, but if you’re interested I can get you a script and the whens and wheres of auditions.”
Merlin is surprised at the offer but doesn’t hesitate, “If you think I’m a fit for one of the characters, I’d love to read the script. Actually, I’d like to read it regardless. Your dialogue really is remarkable.”
Mordred’s smile widens, “Thank you,” he looks Merlin up and down once. “It’s almost like I wrote the character with you in mind. Well, physically anyway.” His eyes sparkle with mirth Merlin doesn’t understand but it doesn’t seem cruel or teasing. “You’ll see what I mean when you read the play. I’ll get your contact information from Elena and get it to you in the next few days.” He holds out his hand, “It was very nice to meet you, Merlin. I hope we’ll see one another again.”
“Thanks, Mordred, I’m looking forward to reading more of your work,” Merlin says, finally getting back to changing out of his trousers.
Arthur is waiting in the lobby when Merlin gets off the elevator. He’s smiling brightly as he takes a photo, “To commemorate your first job in Hollywood,” he says and then takes Merlin’s bags. “How was it?”
“It was cool and fun and a bit weird,” Merlin admits with a tired smile. “The script was excellent.”
Arthur has a mock scowl on his face, “Weird? Was there kissing? You said you didn’t think there’d be kissing.”
Merlin laughs, “No, there was no kissing. Well, the two leads kissed but that’s part of what they were being paid for.”
“And the director? Did he genius it up all over the place?”
Merlin laughs again, “What does that even mean?”
“Was he a brilliant visionary Merlin? Are you proud to have been a part of his brilliant vision? Your public wants to know.”
“My public?” Merlin snorts. “You mean you, right?”
Arthur nods so Merlin thinks for a moment before answering, “He really is an amazing director. He was able to help the leads find the emotional depth the script demanded without compromising their interpretations of the characters. The script is smart and funny and I think it has the chance to be a great short film.”
“Okay, that sounds like a pretty brilliant day at work, what’s the weird part?” Arthur prompts.
“The woman who cast me introduced me to the writer. He seems nice but after the shoot he came into the dressing room-“
“Wait, the dressing room? While you were dressing?” Arthur breaks in.
“Undressing, actually,” Merlin says, knowing it will wind Arthur up.
“Even worse,” Arthur says darkly.
Merlin laughs again, “Down, boy. I was getting out of my tux in an area with fifteen other guys doing exactly the same thing. Anyway, I’d told Mordred how much I admired the piece we were working on and he came back to ask if I’d like a chance to audition for a play he’s written.”
Arthur looks confused now, “Why is that weird? That sounds like a perfectly normal actor-y thing to do.”
“Arthur, he’d spoken with me for ten minutes and then he comes back to invite me to audition for his play? I didn’t do anything to stand out from anyone else.”
Arthur looks at him with raised eyebrows, “Did you happen to look in a mirror? You looked devastating at the wedding and I have to assume you did the same on set. Also, you’ve killed it acting as my fiancé, bridegroom and loving husband so I have to think you nailed something as simple as being an engaged and engaging wedding guest.”
Merlin beams at him, “You are the best fanboy ever.” He leans in to give Arthur a kiss that Arthur enthusiastically returns. Merlin wonders if Arthur realizes he’s nailed the role of happy husband because it’s hardly an act at all.
Merlin pulls away for a jaw cracking yawn and Arthur takes his hand and leads him to the car. They’ll have to talk about what’s happening between them but right this minute Merlin’s too tired to think beyond the warmth of Arthur’s hand. He hopes that his husband is able to read between the lines and see the words Merlin’s still a bit too shy to say out loud.