Part 14: link
Gwen stops home briefly after work to pack a proper overnight bag this time. She’s not sure what Arthur has in mind for the evening, but she decides to stay in her work clothes and pack something more comfortable. That way she’s prepared whether they go out and stay in. He’ll just have to take me out in my work clothes if we go anywhere.
She tosses a few more items in her bag, and heads out the door.
She arrives at his apartment, pausing outside his door. Do I knock? He gave me a key…
Deciding to risk it, she turns the knob and opens the door without knocking. He is sitting on the sofa, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, watching footie highlights on TV. He turns and grins at her when she pokes her head in and switches the set off.
“Hi,” she says, closing the door behind her.
“Guinevere,” he stands and jogs over to her, kissing her hello. “What have you got there?”
“Just some things. Thought I’d be prepared this time.”
“Smart girl,” he smiles.
“So what do you have in mind?” she asks, noting that he doesn’t seem to be dressed to go anywhere.
“Yum. I, um, brought some movies. I thought maybe we could do something…”
“…besides each other?” he finishes, laughing.
“Well, yes. I mean, we’ll get to that, I’m sure, but…”
“I know what you mean, love. What did you bring?”
She reaches into her bag and produces The King’s Speech,
the remake of Clash of the Titans, The Green Lantern,
and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One.
He takes them and looks them over.
“No, I borrowed them from the library.”
“They have movies at the library?”
He flips through them. He makes a face at Harry Potter
and puts it down. “Seen it,” he says about King’s Speech
, leaving the two action films.
“I’ve heard this is pretty bad,” he holds up Green Lantern.
“Yeah, I had heard that, too, actually. But Ryan Reynolds is pretty hot, so it might be worth a look,” she shrugs, grinning.
He puts it down deliberately. “Clash of the Titans
it is, then.”
“You haven’t seen it?”
“And here I thought it would have been required viewing for anyone with a Y chromosome.”
“I guess I didn’t get the memo,” he says as he sets the box down on the television. “I’m actually surprised you want to see it.”
“I like action flicks,” she tells him, tucking the other boxes back into her bag.
“Sexy. What do you like on your pizza? I’ll get it ordered.”
“Not much, honestly. Cheese is always a safe bet. I do like Italian sausage. And I like Hawaiian pizza, you know, with pineapple?”
She sticks her tongue out and makes a gagging noise.
“Guess not. How do you feel about mushrooms?”
“Mushrooms are fine.”
“Okay, I’ll get a sausage and mushroom and a Hawaiian, then.”
“For whom are you ordering all these pizzas? There are only two of us!”
“I can eat almost an entire one myself,” he admits.
“Ah. Carry on, then.”
As he dials, she takes her bag back to his room to change clothes. She rummages around in her bag and her hand brushes against a flat circular pill case. She freezes for a second, then exhales. Tell him. You have to.
“Gwen?” Arthur shouts back to her, making her jump out of her thoughts.
“Do you want green peppers and onions on your Hawaiian?”
“No! Only pineapple and ham. Or Canadian bacon or whatever they call it there.”
As she walks back out to the living room, Arthur tells her, “Forty-five minutes.” Then he looks at her. She has changed into a pair of soft black Capri pants with white running stripes down the sides, the kind one might wear to work out. She also has on a grey t-shirt supporting her brother’s rugby team and is in the process of twisting her hair into a braid over one shoulder, which she secures with a piece of elastic she had around her wrist.
“Well, then, make yourself at home,” he grins at her. She looks so cozy and he just wants to cuddle up to her. She smiles back, but looks troubled.
“What’s wrong?” he asks her.
“I have to tell you something.” She sits on the sofa, and he joins her, concerned.
“What is it?”
No sense in beating around the bush,
she thinks, taking a breath. “I was pregnant once.”
Arthur says nothing. He waits for her to continue.
“It was four years ago, when I was still at University. I had been dating a man called Lance for two years. And I accidentally got pregnant.”
“Didn’t you…?” he softly asks.
“That’s the thing. We did
use protection. But, well, I got pregnant anyway.”
“It broke. I don’t know if it was a faulty one or if he somehow messed it up when he put it on, but it broke.”
“I was in denial for two weeks. Finally Morgana made me go to the University health clinic, and I had to face the truth. When I told Lance, he admitted that the condom had broken one time the previous month.”
“He didn’t tell you until after
he found out you were pregnant?” Arthur’s face is starting to cloud.
“No, he didn’t. We had a big fight, and I told him to leave; that I would decide what to do about the baby by myself.” She talks softly.
Arthur reaches over and takes her hand.
“I thought about terminating it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I was deciding between keeping it and putting it up for adoption. But my decision got made for me.”
“How is that?”
“I lost it.”
He takes her other hand. “I’m sorry, Guinevere.”
“I called him after I lost it. I felt he deserved to know. He was crushed, actually. We tried to reconcile, but it didn’t work. It was too much for him, and he left. Transferred to a school in the US, actually.”
“Coward,” Arthur is glowering.
“Don’t be angry with him, Arthur. I’m not. Not anymore.”
“Is he still in America?”
“As far as I know.”
“It’s actually a good thing it happened, if you think about it. If not for that mistake, I might have ended up married to Lance instead of here with you.” She reaches out and strokes his cheek.
He smiles at this. “I know. I just don’t like that you were so hurt.”
“I’m better now,” she assures him.
Then a thought occurs to him. “So, is this why you always put yourself in charge of the condoms?” he asks, chuckling softly.
“Well, yes, actually. I’ve become somewhat fanatical about birth control since then. I’m on the pill as well, so we’re doubly protected. I decided that the next time I get pregnant it will be because I bloody well want
“I don’t blame you.” He scoots closer and pulls her into his arms. She rests her head on his shoulder.
“Thank you, Arthur,” she tells him.
“For listening. For being here. For not judging. I needed to tell you, for my own sake. I wanted you to know.” She looks up at him and kisses him.
“Thank you for telling me. I want you to feel you can tell me anything.”
“Has there been anyone since… Lance?” he says the name as if it tastes bad on his tongue.
“Not really. I’ve dated, sure, but nothing lasting longer than a month or so. What about you? Any sordid events in your romantic past?”
“Well, since we’re having True Confessions…” he pauses, “I almost
got engaged once.”
“Yeah. Sophia. I found out just in time that she was only with me because of my father’s money. After over two years of dating, I found this out.”
Arthur laughs at this. “Yes. It was three years ago.”
“And where is she now?” Gwen asks.
“Um, Cornwall, I think. Don’t know, don’t care. She’s probably found some rich ugly old Lord that she can suck the life out of like the vampire she is.” He waves his hand dismissively.
“How did you find out? About her being a gold digger, I mean?”
“Merlin. He overheard her having a conversation with a girlfriend. He caught me while I was quite literally on my way to the jewelry store.”
“Indeed,” he agrees.
“What a… a…” Gwen struggles for the right word.
“Whore?” Arthur recommends.
“That’ll do,” she agrees. Then she shakes her head in disgust. “How someone could do that to another person is beyond me.” Now it is her turn to take his hands in hers.
“Me as well.”
“Ah,” Gwen says after a minute, “that’s why the reluctance to talk about Daddy’s work. Lucky for you I only love you for your body.”
He laughs, but then continues, saying, “Yeah, I’m pretty careful about that detail now. Not that there are a lot of Pendragons about, but I’ve found that the less I say, the better.”
She kisses him and reminds him, “My father is a successful business owner as well. So I don’t give a fig about your father’s money. I’ve got my own.” She bites his ear, giggling.
“Well, that’s certainly reassuring,” he teases back, burying his head in her neck, nibbling and biting playfully, making her squeal with laughter as she falls back into the couch cushions. He grabs her and hugs her tightly.
“Oh!” Gwen suddenly yells, having a revelation and sitting up.
“What?” Arthur says, wondering what’s on her mind now.
“She was the ‘Sexyback’ girl, wasn’t she?”
Arthur flops forward, face into a couch pillow. The door buzzes.
“Thank God,” he says and goes to the door. His face is red. Guinevere laughs at him.
Arthur pays the pizza man and Gwen brings plates and napkins from the kitchen. He puts in the movie and they eat in the living room, watching the movie.
“Mmm, I almost forgot,” Arthur says, wiping his hands on a napkin and standing.
“I got you something.”
“You did?” She is intrigued.
Arthur comes back in with a lavender gift bag and sets it in her lap. Gwen wipes her own hands and digs in. She pulls out a stuffed bear, dressed as a fireman. She laughs and hugs it.
“I thought I needed representation as well,” he admits, a little sheepishly.
“I love it, thank you,” she says, leaning over and kissing him, her hand on the side of his neck. She sets the bear next to her on the sofa, folds the tissue and tucks it back into the bag, which she also folds and sets on the table.
“You would not believe how many shops we had to go to before I found one that was dressed appropriately,” he tells her, picking up his plate.
“’We?’ You dragged Merlin with you?”
“After we left the library today. He was getting irritated after the third store, but once I found it, I had him stop at a petrol station and I filled his tank for him. He couldn’t complain any more after that.”
“He’s a good sport, Merlin. This movie is pretty bad,” Gwen says, taking a drink. He made sure he had some Diet Coke for her.
“Yeah, but I bet it’s still better than Green Lantern.
Part 16: link