Title: The Email Order bridegroom, Chapter 33
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff
Word Count: 874
Prompt: 21, Elusive
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order bridegroom which starts here Vacation, illness and the prompts had me staying away from these two for too long. Sorry about that.
Wednesday morning Merlin shows up for the call back for extra work as a dancer/drinker/hanger about in a nightclub scene at a dive bar in Westlake only to find that there’s been a miscommunication and they’re actually shooting the scene and it’s scheduled to take all day.
“We’ll feed you lunch and snacks,” the frazzled PA says, “and Misty is on a coffee and pastry run. Hopefully she’ll be back before the shoot starts. If you can stay for the shoot. Oh, God, please tell me you’re staying.” She looks desperate.
“I just have to cancel a lunch date,” Merlin reassures her, “Are my street clothes all right?” She gives his white button down and black skinny jeans and low boots a once over, shooting him a relieved smile. “You look great. Step over to makeup and they’ll give you a polish. Thanks for being flexible.”
Merlin shrugs, “That’s show biz.”
She pushes sweaty, ice blue bangs off her forehead, “Tell me about it.”
Merlin texts Arthur while he’s being decked out in guyliner and a generous smattering of multi coloured glitter.
Can’t make lunch. Call back is actually a shoot that goes until after six. See you at home.
Arthur immediately texts back This isn’t a serial killer that’s snatched Merlin from a fake call back is it? Tell me something that only Merlin would know, Possible Serial Killer.
Merlin laughs, Like any serial killer worth their salt couldn’t torture that information out of me, dork. I am at present totally unkidnapped. See you at home tonight.
Arthur texts, Call if you want a ride after the serial killer is done with you winky face
Merlin laughs again, slips his phone into his pocket and goes to join the sixty or so other people gathered on the dance floor.
The shoot goes a lot smoother than its disorganized beginnings implied but it runs long so when they finally wrap for the night it’s after eight. Merlin’s got another SAG voucher and a hundred dollar Ralph’s grocery store gift card (the director’s mum is a regional manager he’d explained sheepishly) in his wallet. He is exhausted, though, so calls Arthur for a pick up.
“My phone says Merlin but if it’s his serial killer I’m hanging right up,” Arthur answers.
“No, it’s just me. We’re done and I’m tired and my feet ache,” Merlin whines. “I’ve texted the address. Save me?”
The line is silent for a few seconds and Merlin wonders if the call has been dropped before Arthur answers. “There’s a gastropub a few doors down, I’ll meet you there in twenty.”
Merlin sighs with relief, “My saviour. I’ll order you a pint.”
Plan Check Kitchen and Bar really is just a few storefronts down the street and Merlin’s happily munching on house made Wasabi beer nuts and sipping a Hell or High Watermelon Wheat when Arthur slips onto the next barstool. There’s a Grunion Pale Ale sweating on the wooden bar top.
“I am so glad you weren’t kidnapped and serial killed,” Arthur says after a too quick kiss hello and a sip of his beer. “I was worried all day.”
“I warned you not to watch “Model Killers,” Merlin says with a grin.
“But it was about models! One was a murderous model, Merlin. Now that I’m married to a model I find your world fascinating. Crime just adds a compelling twist,” Arthur says hyper sincerely and reaches out to run his fingers through Merlin’s hair. A shower of glitter drifts onto his shirt and the bar. “Glitter is a strange modeling bonus.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Merlin laughs.
“You love it,” Arthur says, brushing the glitter off Merlin’s shoulder then vigorously shaking his hand because the cursed stuff has stuck to the condensation from his pint glass.
“You’re right, I do,” Merlin says with a smile and orders himself another pint and some more beer nuts to share.
It was nearly eleven when they finally turned off the lights and Merlin sleeps in until well after Arthur has headed off to work. He has coffee and a shower before picking up Mordred’s script again.
Merlin has already memorized a monologue for Friday’s audition but he is still struggling to achieve the right tone for its delivery. In the scene Chad has walked in on his father and Buckley, a male college friend, kissing in their kitchen and the monologue rides the emotional roller coaster of his shock, anger, confusion and hurt.
Calming them into a cohesive, emotionally real whole remains elusive so Merlin puts the script aside and settles into character, filling in small details and past actions and interactions he’s created for this teenager who lost his mum too early and has now, in a way, possibly lost his father, too.
Even though he’s at university, Chad is obviously frightened about what his father moving on might mean for them as a family. What being with a man means about the loving relationship he believed his parents shared. Was his father living a lie? Was his mother in on it? Were they ever even really a happy family or had he imagined it all?
Merlin lets the character take hold and this time the words feel natural in his mouth.