Title: The Email Order Bridegroom, Chapter 45
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur has a plan to stay in the United States. That plan is Merlin.
Warnings: Boys being happy and in love. You are warned.
Word Count: 564
Author's Notes: This is a continuation of The Email Order Bridegroom which starts here
Gwaine loans them his 1965 cherry red Mustang convertible so Merlin can ”Rat Pack Palm Springs up in style.” Arthur promises to take very good care of her. They sleep in so they can avoid most of the morning commute traffic leaving Los Angeles.
An hour plus into the drive, Arthur pulls off I-10 so he and Merlin can take photos with the
Cabozon dinosaurs. It’s ridiculously fun to pose, feigning terror under the enormous sculptures. Arthur’s grinning like a school boy as he’s taking one shot after another, not informing Merlin that his hair’s a total mess from having the top down until after they’re back in the car. “You look like you’ve been through a tornado,” he laughs, holding up a photo for Merlin to see.
Merlin punches him on the arm, threatening to steal his phone and delete them all. Arthur just laughs harder pulling out of the parking lot.
Half an hour later they’re turning off a palm tree lined street, into the driveway of a much bigger than Merlin imagined mid-century house. The front yard is landscaped with rocks and mature cactus but that’s not what Merlin’s eyes are drawn to. “The mountains are gorgeous,” he says, shielding his eyes from the overhead sun.
“Wait until you see the view from the pool,” Arthur says as he’s lifting their bags out of the trunk.
“You have a pool?” Merlin asks, eyes wide. “Why did I not know you have a pool?”
“We have a pool,” Arthur corrects, “and It’s Palm Springs. Of course there’s a pool. I think it's the law,” he says with a smile.
He unlocks the frosted glass front door and ushers Merlin inside. Merlin doesn’t know where to look first so he turns back to Arthur who’s still standing in the doorway grinning at him. “This looks like a 60’s movie set!”
“That’s just what Morgana and I are going for,” Arthur says. “Come on, I’ll show you around.” He takes Merlin through the sleek three bedroom, two bath house, pointing out the original terrazzo floors that he’d had to polish to bring to this shine. The also original fireplace is covered in large, rough rock that wouldn’t look out of place in a Flinstones episode. “It’s so ugly it’s cool,” Merlin says.
The house has been furnished with thrift store and estate sale finds from the 1950’s and 60’s that Arthur says he and Morgana have been collecting for years. Merlin goggles at the atomic light fixtures in the guest bathroom and the lime green swag lamp hanging over the teak dining table.
The kitchen cabinets are aqua enameled steel Arthur had salvaged from one of their teardowns. “They’re from the same era as the house,” he says.
Two of the three bedrooms are still unfurnished “We haven’t found the right pieces yet,” Arthur says with a shrug. “Maybe you can help.”
“I’d love to,” Merlin answers, smiling imagining them scouring garage sales and thrift stores on road trips around California.
The master bedroom has a wall of windows and a sliding glass door overlooking an enormous, sparkling pool and the mountains beyond. It’s a stunning view and Merlin is speechless so he turns to Arthur and gives him a kiss that quickly turns heated. Finally needing air, Merlin pulls back, smiling. “This place is amazing. Tell me you packed my swim trunks.”
Arthur’s looking a bit dazed but happy, “I packed your trunks and plenty of sunblock. Swim?”
“Yes, please,” Merlin answers with a grin, already toeing off his trainers.