Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 35
Rating: R, not this part
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Word Count: 626
Prompt: Eye Contact
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
”What are you wearing? You look about twelve,” Arthur says abruptly when Merlin finds him in the kitchen.
Merlin looks down at his light blue Avengers t-shirt, jeans and red Converse. “I’m dressing for the part of an eighteen year old throwing a party. I think I nailed it.”
“Toss in a skateboard and a backward baseball cap and I’d expect to find you on a school bus,” Arthur says, strange expression crossing his face.
“Shut up. I look like I’m supposed to, Mr. Three Piece Suit On a Ninety Degree Day,” Merlin says pouring a cup of coffee. “The script describes Chad as dressed more casually than his trendier friends, hence…” Merlin waves his free hand up and down his body. “Teen casual.”
Arthur cocks his head and looks again, face clearing. “Okay, I see it. You’ve knocked about five years off what your passport says so job well done. Break a leg!”
“Thank you,” Merlin beams at him.
He arrives at The Geffen Playhouse an hour before his audition time. The backstage is already swarming with dozens of young men stretching and mouthing words. It’s unnerving and exciting in turns. He fills in a registration form, hands over a headshot and resume in exchange for a number to pin to his shirt and a short portion of the script to perform. “The stage manager will call your number when they’re all ready for you,” the young woman working the registration table says. “There’s a bathroom down the hall but don’t wander far,” she warns. “If you don’t hear your number called they’ll move on.”
Merlin thanks her and heads to lean on a bare piece of wall. He does some vocal exercises and runs through the dialogue. Fortunately, it’s a piece he’s already committed to memory so he relaxes a little. He can’t help looking about, checking out the competition.
There’s a baby faced blond standing a few feet away who Merlin’s sure he recognizes from somewhere. When the man catches him staring he gives Merlin a brief nod and an eyebrow raise. He realizes the actor had a short story arc as a witch on Season 5 and 6 of The Vampire Diaries, a show Arthur teased him mercilessly for watching before succumbing to addiction as well. ”It’s just so bad it’s good,” he’d admitted. Merlin agrees.
He blushes at being caught and looks away, mentally shaking his head. He needs to focus, center himself before the audition. When his number is called, Merlin’s ready.
The stage is bare and well lit in the darkened, mid sized theater. Merlin can make out three figures in the audience.
“Please step up to the mark and state your name,” a thin gray haired man with glasses calls from the third row.
Merlin takes his mark, making eye contact with each of the people in the audience. “I’m Merlin Pendragon,” he states.
“You may begin.”
Merlin takes a deep breath and goes to work.
As soon as he hits the sunny sidewalk, Merlin texts Arthur.
1:55 PM Merlin: Audition just over. I’m heading home. Thai for dinner?
A moment later his phone rings.
“How did it go?” Arthur blurts before Merlin can get out a hello.
“I feel really good about it but that doesn’t mean anything,” Merlin answers. “I’ve gotten roles when I thought I completely blew the audition.”
“I’m sure you did terrific,” Arthur says. There’s a moment of silence. “I’m sorry I made fun of your outfit. It was disconcerting to look up and see that I’d married a teenager. You took me by surprise,” Arthur says sheepishly.
Merlin laughs, “You’re ridiculous. Now how about dinner? I was thinking green papaya salad and tofu and veggies in red curry.”