Title: Good Business Practice
Character/s: Merlin, Arthur
Summary: Unfortunately for Merlin, he was attracted him to Arthur, but it wasn't a good business practice.
Warnings: Modern AU. Pining. Angst.
Word Count: 895
Prompt: "Insecurities" for camelot_drabble
Author's Notes: Thanks to my beta schweet_heart. The story is going to be multiple chapters and also written for tavern_tales July prompt: Water. Salt. Sugar. -- which I'm not gonna lie -- is like the best fucking prompt ever.
Merlin tried not to stare as Arthur dove into the pool from high above. He really tried. But apparently, it was his turn to look after his highness today and today, of all the days, Arthur had decided to go for a swim.
He really hated being treated as "the help," when he was far more than that. But, Gaius was the family doctor, and even if Merlin was studying under the company accountant, he sometimes had to be Arthur's personal minder.
Arthur splashed around in the water for a bit more before he seemed to calm down and then he was simply lazily backstroking his way from one end of the pool to the other. Merlin busied himself with the lemonade, his gaze still lingering on Arthur's lean body, his abs, and the way his legs just seemed to go on forever. Merlin had half a thought about what it would be like to have those legs wrapped around his torso, and then he immediately dismissed it.
"Towel," Arthur yelled, as if Merlin wouldn't have heard him otherwise.
He waited for Arthur by the end of the pool as his royal pain-in-the-arse stepped out and started to dry himself off. Merlin got to see Arthur's swimming trunks hugging his thighs, and clinging to everything in a way that left very little for the imagination.
Again, he quickly looked away and went to get the tray that held the lemonade and sandwiches. "A snack, Mr Pendragon, before you shower—" Merlin turned around to find Arthur right there behind him and the tray he was holding bumped into Arthur's chest.
Arthur shook his head and water spattered everywhere. Evidently, he'd not yet towelled off his hair.
"For the love of..." Merlin trailed off and placed the tray back on the table from where he'd grabbed it and started to wipe water off his jacket.
"Why are you wearing a suit at the pool?" Arthur asked, chuckling.
Obviously, he'd done this on purpose, just to piss Merlin off.
"I didn't realise I was on pool duty today," Merlin spat back. "I thought I was going to the bank with Mr Bayard, but apparently, they needed someone to stay back and look after you. The butler has the day off."
"I don't need looking after," Arthur said, rolling his eyes. He reached over to the table and grabbed a tomato cucumber sandwich. Merlin wished he'd had the cook add extra salt in those sandwiches so the prat would be choking on them. "I'm on holiday," Arthur continued, "I can take care of myself. Jesus, I'm not a fucking child. I've just finished my Master's in Global Marketing."
"Yes, and you've also managed to get your pictures published in the tabloids. Not very good marketing, I'd say," Merlin said. "Now, will you please go and take a shower. We're supposed to meet your father and Morgana for tea."
It was more than just tea, and Arthur knew it just as well as Merlin. The head of a software design company was coming over and Uther was expecting Arthur to make a good impression. If the CEO of the company liked Arthur, then they would be willing to do business with Pendragon Industries, and in turn, Arthur would have a job with the design company.
Merlin was confident Arthur would not fail in this; he knew Arthur was smart, smarter than Uther gave him credit for, but he could also be rash. He was far too hot-headed for his own good, and at times, without realising it, he could come off as arrogant. Of course, he was arrogant, and unfortunately for Merlin, that was what had attracted him to Arthur, but it wasn't a good business practice.
Of course, having the hots for your future boss's son, who was also your godfather's other godson, wasn't a good business practice either.
Or a personal life practice.
It was just a bad idea all around.
"Will you be there?" Arthur asked. His tone was light, but Merlin couldn't help thinking Arthur sounded...unsure? No, that couldn't be it.
"I'll be serving tea," Merlin said, making a face. Of course, he'd be there. He loved watching Arthur in action, just as much as he loved watching Arthur swimming. This time, when Arthur was talking business, Merlin would have a reason to stare at him. He could only hope his mouth wouldn't be hanging open so Morgana could make fun of him. One time, that was one time, and she'd still not forgotten it.
"I like four cubes of sugar with little milk," Arthur said walking away from Merlin. He had his towel wrapped around his waist and Merlin gave himself the permission to ogle just a bit. Arthur's arse was something of a sight when he was walking away.
"And, Merlin..." Arthur called, turning around. "I'll need a clean towel after my shower."
Merlin released a long and exasperated sigh. Honestly, he couldn't figure out why Arthur liked to torture him. Was it because he was aware of Merlin's hopeless crush on the man, or was it because he thought it all genuinely irritated Merlin and he liked to torture him? Merlin would never find out.
His suit was most definitely going to get ruined and he hoped he had the time to go back home and change clothes before it was time for tea.