Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 25
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: More job hunting and fluff
Word Count: 904
Author's Notes: This is a continuations of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
The morning gets off to a bad start when they both sleep through Arthur’s alarm and Merlin has to shake him awake forty minutes after he’s usually showering. It’s a mad dash to get out of the house to make a morning meeting he needs to cover for Uther. Merlin hands off a travel mug of coffee, gets a quick kiss and is left feeling frazzled and half awake.
He checks his email to find a call back from the modeling job as well as a request for a face to face with the children’s theater director. Frazzled turns to frantic when Merlin sees that the call back is in less than an hour. He jumps in the shower and is out the door in record time and at the same rundown warehouse in Echo Park half an hour later.
There are only twenty or so other hopefuls scattered among racks of clothing and stage lights for this call back. Merlin’s told to get into a pair of tight black and white pinstripe slacks, a dark red tuxedo jacket and black and white tweed pork pie hat. A pair of oversized black horn rimmed glasses and a long white scarf cap off the ridiculous ensemble. The photographer tells Merlin to look engaged and intelligent so he does his best not to look as silly as he feels.
Two outfit changes and they’re done. “You wear the clothes well and look great on camera,” the photographer says with a smile. She looks down at a clipboard by her laptop, “I’ll call your agent and we’ll see you Monday, Merlin.”
He takes a shirtless selfie in the dressing room and sends it to Arthur with the caption you married a male model. Arthur immediately responds *wolf whistle*.
Merlin can’t stop smiling the whole way home.
Merlin meets up with The Merry Minstrels Theater director mid afternoon and is gifted with two tickets to see “Pinocchio” on Sunday so he can decide if he’d be interested in trying out for future roles. “I loved going to the pantomime when I was little, so this should be fun,” he tells Arthur over the phone. Arthur does not sound enthusiastic but still agrees to come along if Merlin buys him popcorn and a candy bar.
Merlin’s curled up on the sofa doing another read through of “On the Inside Looking In” when Arthur gets home. He looks tired and grumpy.
“Father must have called a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t running his business into the ground,” he complains. “You’d think I was using his accident as an opportunity to stage a coup.”
“I’ll bet you thought about it,” Merlin says with a smile.
“His harassment nearly drove me to it,” Arthur agrees. “I almost told him to get his arse out of bed and come run the damn company himself. Then I remembered he’d had a blow to the head.”
“I’m sure he was just going mad being stuck in bed all day,” Merlin says mildly.
“Stop being reasonable when I’m whining. It’s annoying.” Arthur plops down on the couch, pulling Merlin’s blanket so it’s covering them both. “Tell me we’ve got something really fatty and unhealthy for supper. I’m in the mood for chips and beer and some crap television.”
“Crap television is always a go and I think we’ve got some Tater Tots in the freezer.” Merlin pets Arthur’s hair soothingly. “Why don’t you get out of that suit and I’ll make us both something to eat.” Arthur leans in to the petting for a bit, and then heaves himself up off the couch with a sigh.
“I know he was just feeling lousy but sometimes he makes me feel like he doesn’t trust my judgment and that makes me wonder why I even bother working as hard as I do,” he grouses.
“Because you love your father and want to make him proud. That’s not a bad thing, Arthur,” Merlin points out.
“No,” Arthur agrees. “What’s bad is not feeling valued and doing work I don’t believe in.” He moves toward the kitchen, “I’m getting a beer. Do you want one, too?”
Merlin gets up to follow, “So would it cheer you up to hear about my awesome day of being half naked around a bunch of handsome, also half naked men or this probably award winning play about a parent not meeting their child’s expectations that a brilliant playwright sent me to read for?”
Arthur scowls at him but it looks like he’s having to force back a smile. “Your day was much too good and your mood is much too sunny. I expect you to sulk alongside me,” Arthur says pulling out two beers and thrusting one at Merlin. “Here, drink until you’re maudlin and then we can match.” He waves the bottle back and forth “Don’t try to jolly me out of this funk. I’m in wallow mode.”
Merlin takes the bottle with a laugh. “Wallow away. I’ll put in the Tater Tots while you complain about your no good, very bad day and then we can cuddle up on the couch and clear crap off the DVR and get a good night’s sleep. I bet you’ll feel lots better after.”
By the time they’ve finished two episodes of American Ninja Warrior, all the tots and a six pack of beer Arthur’s not so determined wallow has completely slipped away.