Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 43
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin
Warnings: Ridiculous fluff
Word Count: 653
Prompt: 225 Recipe
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here.
As he walks toward home, Merlin contemplates what to make for dinner. His circumstances in London hadn’t lent themselves to preparing many sit down meals though his mother and he had shared nearly every meal at their scarred wooden dining table. She had raised him on home cooked, healthy, delicious food and Merlin had been her kitchen helper since he grew tall enough to stand on the little wooden step stool to peel potatoes into the sink.
Arthur had mostly been raised by nannies. He’d admitted he worked hard to win over their kitchen staff. ”Yes we had staff, Merlin. Does dad look like he bakes birthday cakes or knows his way around a Sunday roast?” Merlin bets wee Arthur had said staff wrapped around his pudgy little finger and got sweets slipped to him every time he flashed a crooked grin.
After the carb heavy dinner of the night before, something light is definitely in order. He decides mixed olives and a salad will go well with the champagne. Merlin googles Mediterranean vegetarian salad recipes and Mesclun Salad with Veggies, Goat Cheese and Crispy Garlic immediately piques his interest. The combination of beets, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries and goat cheese makes his stomach growl, reminding him he hasn’t eaten in a while. He'd better put a loaf of french bread on his mental list.
He’s unsure what mesclun is but another quick google search shows spring mix will do so Merlin heads off to the Whole Foods closest to their house. Hopefully somebody in the wine aisle can point him toward a decent, not break the bank bottle of champagne to accompany the meal.
The “wine guy” (it actually says that on his name tag) is really the substitute “wine guy” and has very rudimentary knowledge of champagne so he wanders off to find better informed help, leaving Merlin warily eyeing the rows of refrigerated bottles. After nearly ten minutes, Merlin is wondering if he should give up and call Morgana or Arthur for a recommendation when someone next to him clears their throat.
Merlin jumps, “Oh, sorry, am I in your way?” He apologizes.
“Not really, I just thought you looked a little lost,” says a soft southern drawl. “Need any help?”
Merlin turns with a smile to see a slightly shorter man with a dramatically receding hairline staring intently into the wine cooler. Merlin joins him in staring into the cooler again. “I have no idea what’s good and the guy working this aisle was surprisingly useless and has not sent backup,” Merlin says with a laugh.
“The people working this store seem to spend a lot of time smoking weed on the loading dock," the man offers in explanation of the bad customer service. "Employee munchie attacks must be hell on the bakery's profit margin. Maybe I can help. D’ya know what you like? Dry or sweet?”
“I loved the brut at our wedding but don’t want to be so extravagant,” Merlin admits. “I was thinking forty dollars or under for a slightly less momentous occasion. Something that will pair well with olives and goat cheese.”
The man opens the refrigerator, pulling out a bottle. “This here Gosset Brut fits the bill. It’s bright and zesty and, lookie here,” he turns to Merlin with blinding grin, “It’s on sale for only thirty bucks. I’d say it’s your lucky day.”
Merlin grins back, “It really is. We’re celebrating me being cast in a play.”
“Congratulations,” the man says. “Maybe I’ll catch you in something some day.” He turns and swaggers off toward produce.
It’s not until Merlin’s in the check out line that he realizes that the good samaritan helping him out in the wine aisle was none other than Walton Goggins. It boggles his mind that he didn't recognize the Justified actor but can’t help laughing at how surreal his life has become.