Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 42
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur Pendragon has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff.
Word Count: 794
Prompt: Anything I want!
Author's Notes: This is continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
A shiver of anticipation rushes through him when Merlin enters the Geffen’s auditorium. A large oval table has been set up center stage, surrounded by mostly empty folding chairs. Merlin drops his messenger bag on a seat before introducing himself to the director, designers and other actors. He hears somebody call his name and turns to see Mordred approaching.
“I thought you’d be here,” Merlin says with a smile. “It's great to see you again. Thank you for the opportunity.”
Mordred smiles back, “Getting the read is all you. I didn’t pull any strings.”
The director, standing nearby, snorts. “Not like we’d listen to you, writer boy. You think Keanu Reeves can act.”
Mordred turns on him, “He was brilliant in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and My Own Private Idaho. End of discussion.”
“He did good work in Parenthood a young blond says across the table. Merlin nods in agreement.
”He brings bank to the box office so I’d happily perform with him,” a voice interjects from the wings. Merlin looks over his shoulder to take in a familiar looking man standing by the director. He’s almost as tall as Merlin but has ten or fifteen years on him. Merlin thinks he remembers him from a few episodes of Law & Order or NCIS.
“That’s Jeff Skowron," Mordred says in a low voice. “He’s agreed to the read but hasn’t committed to the role yet. Fingers crossed you two play well off one another and you seduce him to sign up. He’s terrific and I think he’d be great in the part.”
“I’m not seducing anybody but I’ll do my damnedest,” Merlin answers with a laugh. He turns to his messenger bag to gather his script, notebooks and highlighters, organizing his work space before show time.
The read is energetic and constructive. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent almost immediately that the actor chosen to play Buckley, Chad’s father’s love interest, is not right for the role. There’s nothing to do but move on.
They get through three reads, the director and actors making suggestions to tighten up dialogue or clarify character motivation along the way. In the end, Merlin’s script is even more marked up and his notebook is loaded with ideas and suggestions. He's feeling positive about his interaction with Jeff and really hopes he signs on and Merlin has sewn up his role as well.
He shakes Jeff’s hand. “You were brilliant. I hope we get to work together.”
Jeff smiles, “Thanks, I think you’re perfect for this part. Our scenes together were definitely some of the strongest.”
Merlin, blushing at the compliment, thanks him. He packs up his bag before going over to say goodbye to Mordred.
“Job well done,” Mordred says with a grin. “I was floored at the electricity in the discovery scene.” He lowers his voice “Too bad our Buckley showed all the personality of a baked potato.”
Merlin grimaces, “It was painful to watch.”
“Maybe he casting couched his way to an audition,” Mordred speculates with a wicked smile. “I should go console him.”
“A baked potato would not be good in bed,” Merlin warns him with a laugh, but Mordred just gives him a wave as he’s approaching the sure to be dismissed actor.
Merlin’s got his bag and is wondering whether or not to approach the director who is speaking with the set designer. The conversation comes to an end and the man strides over, warmly squeezing Merlin's shoulder.
“Very good work, Mr. Pendragon. I was impressed with your interpretation and performance. With a little polish you’ll be even better.”
“Does this mean I’ve got the part?” Merlin asks, trying not to seem too eager.
“Skawron’s on board if you’re on board, so it’s up to you,” the director answers.
“I’m on board,” Merlin says with a grin.
“Good man. I’ll get the paperwork to your agent this afternoon. I’m looking forward to watching you work.”
The theater is several miles from home but it’s yet another beautiful day and Merlin is amped up so he decides to walk for a while. He pulls out his phone and sees there are three missed texts.
9:14 AM Arthur: I bet you are blowing everyone away with your brilliant actoring. Act, Merlin, act!
11:35 AM Arthur: Have you won a Tony yet? Our mantle is lonely for awards! smiley face
1:42 PM Arthur: Pick up some beer on your way home. Morgana drives me to drink.
Merlin laughs, texting as he travels.
2:50 PM Merlin: I got the part!
A moment later his phone buzzes a text alert.
2:51 PM Arthur: I never doubted you would kissy face I’ll be home early so we can go out to celebrate. Pick up champagne instead smiley face
Merlin sends him a widely grinning thumbs up selfie in response.