Part 5: link
“Shit, my phone!” Gwen exclaims as the elevator doors open on the first floor. She and Arthur were about to head home for the day, back to her house for a little dinner and an evening in.
“Did you leave it?” Arthur asks, looking down at her.
“Yeah. You go on ahead, I’ll just go back up and get it and meet you at my house,” she tells him. “There’s a spare key in the back garden under a pot of petunias,” she adds quietly just before the doors slide closed again.
“Okay,” she just hears him say.
What do petunias look like?
Arthur thinks as he walks to his car. Hopefully it’ll be obvious when I get there.
I was going to suggest dropping my car off at my place so we didn’t have two cars again,
he thinks, climbing into the driver’s seat. They actually spent the previous night apart, in their own homes and their own beds, and both shyly agreed this morning that it kind of sucked.
Are we moving too fast? It doesn’t feel like it,
Arthur muses as he navigates the now-familiar route to Gwen’s cozy house.
Gwen grabs her phone, shoves it in her purse without looking at it, and hurries back to the lift, ready to go home for the week. She idly thinks about possible things she and Arthur might do over the weekend as the lift starts to descend. It stops one floor down.
Gwen thinks as the doors open and an older, distinguished-looking man strides in, looking as though he is King of the Lift.
She smiles politely at him and the doors slide closed again.
“Excuse me, but you’re Guinevere, aren’t you?” the man asks.
“Um, yes, I am. I’m sorry, but…” she answers, wondering how this man knows her. She doesn’t recall having seen him before.
“Forgive me, I’m Uther Pendragon. Arthur’s father,” he introduces himself, extending his hand.
“Oh!” Gwen exclaims, shaking his hand. “Um, pleased to meet you, sir,” she recovers herself and smiles again, maintaining her composure while her insides are churning and her heart is thumping.
Not exactly the venue in which I expected to meet Arthur’s father, but oh well,
she tells herself, willing herself to calm down.
“You work for my friend Gaius Richards, I understand,” Uther says.
He seems pleasant enough,
Gwen thinks. “Yes. He’s excellent to work for,” she says, figuring a little light flattery couldn’t hurt.
“I imagine so. He’s a top-notch bloke,” Uther nods. “He speaks highly of you as well.”
“Does he?” Gwen asks, surprised.
“Yes. He told me he saw Arthur at your clients’ dinner last weekend, so naturally I was curious. Arthur, of course, speaks highly of you, but I fear his opinion may be somewhat biased. According to him, you hung the moon in the sky,” he chuckles, and Gwen laughs a little too, but she blushes as well.
The lift reaches the first floor again, and the doors slide open. “It was nice meeting you, sir,” Gwen says, stepping forward when he holds his hand out in gentlemanly fashion, indicating that she should exit first.
“The pleasure was all mine, dear,” Uther says, smiling at her. “I’ve seen you here and there when you’ve popped down to have lunch with my son, but I hadn’t yet gotten the opportunity to corner him and ask about meeting you. So this was fortuitous.”
“Um, yes,” she smiles back, standing with him in the lobby.
“I do apologize for the surprise of it, though,” he allows. He had noticed how she seemed nervous, slightly fidgety. “I daresay you probably would have liked a bit of warning before meeting your boyfriend’s father,” he adds, grinning at her.
Ah, that’s where Arthur gets that impish grin from.
“Was it that obvious?” she asks, sagging a little with relief.
“Don’t worry about it, Guinevere,” he laughs. “Arthur likes you, so I like you. I trust him.”
“Thank you, sir. And please, call me Gwen. Most people do,” she says.
“Oh? Arthur only ever seems to call you Guinevere,” he observes.
“Yeah, he does that,” she shrugs.
“It’s getting dark,” Uther says, looking outside. “Let me walk you to your car.”
“Thank you,” she says, and they start out.
“And please, Gwen, do call me Uther.”
Gwen smiles. He’s not a bad guy at all,
she thinks, sliding into her car, waving as he closes her door for her.
I’d better call Arthur and let him know I’m on my way,
she thinks, pulling out her phone. I didn’t count on getting stuck chatting to his dad.
Gwen swipes her phone to life and sees a text message waiting. She pokes it.
G, I’m in town for 24. See you at the house.
Gwen stares at the message for a second, her heart thumping again for a completely different reason.
“Shit,” she repeats, scrolling through her contact list.
“Oi! Just what do you think you’re doing?”
An unfamiliar voice startles Arthur and he releases the large terra cotta pot he had just tilted up and dragged a bit, hoping that this
one was holding petunias.
He turns around and sees a young man standing there, a cricket bat in his right hand and his mobile in his left.
“I could very well ask you the same thing,” Arthur answers. “I happen to know that this is not your house.”
“Neither is it yours,” the man answers, stepping forward.
Arthur looks at him. He looks familiar. Where have I seen this guy? His eyes. They’re the same as Guinevere’s. Shit, what is her brother’s name again?
“Elyan?” he asks hesitantly, and the man stops.
“Who the hell are you and how do you know my name?” he asks, his face stormy.
“My name is Arthur Pendragon. I’m Guinevere’s boyfriend,” Arthur says simply. “I’ve seen your picture. In there,” he points to the house.
“Boyfriend?” Elyan says, incredulous. Then his mobile rings and he nearly drops his bat.
“G,” he answers, “there’s a—”
“Elyan, my boyfriend is coming over ahead of me, and… wait. He’s there already, isn’t he?” she says, changing horses midstream once what he started saying connected.
“Well, there’s a bloke here claiming
that he’s your boyfriend. He’s moving around your potted plants.”
Gwen laughs. “That would be him.” I knew I should have been more specific.
“What does he look like?” Elyan asks, narrowing his eyes at Arthur.
Oh, good grief,
Arthur thinks, rolling his eyes now.
“Six feet tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, handsome, well-built,” Gwen says.
“He does meet that description. What’s his name?”
“Arthur Pendragon,” Gwen answers.
“Do you have some ID?” Elyan asks Arthur.
“What?” Arthur says, starting to lose patience now.
” Gwen snaps at him. “I just heard his voice. That’s him. Now stop being a dick and let him in the bloody house. I’ll be there in five. Order us some pizza.” And she hangs up on him.
Elyan stares at his phone, dumbstruck. Arthur tries not to laugh. “Come on, then,” Elyan grumbles, thoroughly chastised.
“Thank you,” Arthur says politely, reaching for his backpack and following Gwen’s brother in the back door.
“What kind of pizza do you like?” Elyan asks. “I’m supposed to order us some.”
“I’m not too picky,” Arthur says, “just order whatever you and Guinevere like, and I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
Arthur helps himself to a bottle of ale, also grabbing one for Elyan, and sits at the kitchen table while Elyan orders, tapping his fingers on the table.
Elyan reappears, and Arthur asks, “So, you’re on leave? Guinevere says you’re a Marine, right?”
Elyan nods, opening his bottle. “Twenty-four hours, then I’m back to Kabul,” he slumps in his chair. “Thought I’d pop in on my big sister this time. Sorry I surprised you,” he chuckles.
“Understood, you had no idea who I was. For all you knew I was a burglar or a rapist, lurking about your sister’s back garden,” Arthur says.
“Exactly,” Elyan nods.
“In an £800 Armani suit,” he adds, smirking.
Elyan blinks, looking at him now. Really looking. “Oh…”
“Elyan!” Gwen’s voice shouting interrupts them.
“Kitchen,” Arthur calls. Elyan glares at him. “She was going to find you anyway,” Arthur chuckles.
She strides into the kitchen, drops her purse on the table, and smacks her brother along the back of his head.
“Ow!” Elyan complains. “Is that any way to greet your only brother?”
“When he’s been unreasonably hassling my boyfriend, yes.”
“Guinevere, it’s all right. He was just looking out for you,” Arthur says. “We’re cool. Right?”
“Yeah, I apologized and everything,” Elyan says. “Now can I have a hug at least?”
“Well, all right, but we just met…” Arthur answers, and Gwen laughs.
“Come here, idiot,” Gwen holds her arms out and hugs her brother. “Thank you for staying alive,” she whispers.
“Yeah, I just do like you tell me,” he smiles, kissing her cheek.
“Good. Pizza ordered?” she asks.
“Yes, sausage and mushroom for you, everything for me. Arthur said he didn’t care. I did
Gwen glances at Arthur, who nods.
“I’m going to go change,” she declares. As she walks from the room, she spies Arthur’s backpack leaning against the table, and she picks it up and carries it back to her room with her.
I guess I’m still staying,
Arthur thinks. He glances at Elyan, who watches the pack swinging from his sister’s hand through narrowed eyes.
“Can I ask you a question?” Arthur asks suddenly.
“Do you know what petunias look like?”
“I was looking for the spare key out there. She said it was under a pot of petunias. I have no bloody idea what a petunia looks like,” he stands and walks to the window.
“Me neither, mate,” Elyan says, standing beside him. They stare out at the collection of pots on the patio.
“I only checked under that one,” Arthur says. “And since it was the wrong one, it’s still a mystery.”
“What is?” Gwen asks, standing and puzzling at them staring out the window. She’s changed into a tank top and pajama shorts, her hair back in a ponytail.
“Petunias,” Elyan answers.
“Yeah, sorry about that. I realized my mistake too late.” She walks to the window, nudging in between them. “That one. The red ones. On the right.”
“Oh. Well, live and learn,” Arthur shrugs.
“Gwen, I don’t think I like the thought of you having a key to the house out in the garden. I mean, what if someone finds it?” Elyan says, moving back into Protector mode again.
“Elyan, it’s been there forever, you know that.”
“Well, yes, but that was before you were alone here. When we all lived here, that was different.”
She sighs. “Fine, but the next time I accidentally lock myself out, I’m sending you the locksmith’s bill.”
“How often does that happen?” Arthur asks.
“More than I’d care to admit,” Gwen says. “The door is a little temperamental.”
“Hmm,” Arthur frowns.
“What? Not you, too.”
“I’m afraid I agree with Elyan. You should have that lock fixed, at the very least,” he says.
“See?” Elyan says, triumphant.
“Arthur, you’re still in your suit. Go change,” she tells him.
Okay, definitely staying, but I am getting the feeling I’m being dismissed,
Arthur thinks, but he just says, “Be right back, then,” and deposits a kiss on her cheek before he heads back to Gwen’s room.
As he walks away, he hears Elyan ask, “He treats you well? You’re happy?”
“Very,” she answers. “He’s the best…” her voice fades, but Arthur grins.
Arthur changes into his own comfy sleep shorts and a t-shirt that says Oxford University
across the front. He can hear Guinevere and her brother talking, their voices muffled. He can’t make out the words, but they seem to be bickering about something.
Well, at least it’s nice to know that it’s not just my sister and me that behave that way,
he thinks, deciding to head to the bathroom quick before returning, to give them some more time to discuss whatever they’re discussing in private.
He just comes out of the bathroom, and the doorbell rings. Their voices stop momentarily, and Arthur yells, “I got it,” grabs his wallet from where he placed it on the dresser, and walks through to get the door.
As he passes by the kitchen, their voices come clearer.
“…honestly, Elyan, why the hell does that even matter?”
“I guess it doesn’t, but…”
“I don’t know. I just want to make sure you’re happy, that’s all.”
“I am. So drop it. And need I remind you that my mother…”
Strange. Something about me, obviously,
Arthur thinks, opening the door for the pizza delivery man.
Well, delivery boy. He can’t be more than seventeen.
Arthur pays the guy, tips him generously, and carries the pizza boxes back to the kitchen. He can still hear them talking.
“Coming back with pizzas, so you might want to stop talking about me,” he calls as he walks.
“Sorry,” Gwen says to him when he enters the room, shooting a glare at her brother.
“He’s allowed to be concerned about you,” Arthur says casually. “Even though he has no reason for worry, I promise,” he adds, looking at Elyan now.
“Um… how much do I owe for the pizzas?” Elyan asks, redirecting.
Arthur waves him off, and while Elyan smiles and says, “Thanks, mate,” Gwen sighs. “I was going to get tonight,” she protests.
“Next time,” Arthur tells her.
“You’ve said that the last three times,” she turns, one hand holding some paper plates, the other hand on her hip.
“Oh, have I?” he asks innocently.
“All right, next time, I promise
to let you buy.”
“You are such a Neanderthal sometimes,” she huffs. “Let’s take these to the living room,” she indicates the pizzas. Arthur grabs drinks, Elyan takes the pizzas, and Gwen leads the way with plates and napkins.
“I’m a Neanderthal because I like to buy? Gotta spend it somewhere; and it may as well be on you,” he says simply.
Gwen ducks her head and smiles. She knows Arthur has cash to spare, thanks to his father and the fact that, with the exception of his car, his apartment, and his business clothes, he buys very little outside of food and gasoline. She also knows that his oh-so-attractive red and green plaid shorts with tiny cartoon reindeers scattered about were bought on day-after-Christmas clearance.
All Elyan can think is Bloody hell, how loaded
is this guy?
“Ooo, breadsticks, too, thanks, El,” Gwen gushes when she opens the top box.
“Arthur, can you help me a minute?” Gwen calls from the kitchen. She had muttered something about dessert and padded back there, leaving the men to their Heinekens and their football.
“Um, sure,” he says, setting his bottle down, eyes not leaving the set as he walks backwards out of the room. A missed goal brings a curse word from his lips and he turns around to go to the kitchen when the game goes to commercial.
“What can I help you with, my sweet?” Arthur asks, strolling casually in, stopping in his tracks when he sees the look on her face as she stands there, leaning back against the counter.
“Dare,” she whispers, beckoning him forward, and he staggers forward as though he is being pulled.
“Your brother will have my head – or another choice part of my anatomy – if I say what I’m thinking right now,” he mutters. Her hand grabs the front of his t-shirt and pulls him to her, his hands finding her waist by instinct alone.
“You’ll just have to owe me, then,” she says, pulling his head down to hers for a kiss, her tongue immediately seeking his out as one hand winds into his hair, the other still clutching his shirt.
He leans into her, abandoning rational thought in favor of blissful sensation, wrapping her in his arms while they kiss, holding her as close as he dares.
“Oh, God, you are cruel,” he groans, pulling away before he is unable to do so.
“Sorry,” she giggles.
“No, you’re not.”
“No, I’m not. But I needed that, thank you,” she says, kissing the side of his jaw.
“Your brother is going to know something’s up,” Arthur warns, trying to pull away, but she holds him fast.
As if on cue, Elyan’s voice comes drifting back. “When the two of you are done snogging back there, would one of you bring me a fresh one?”
“See?” Arthur says, and Gwen laughs. “We still have some of those caramel things, don’t we?” he asks, realizing suddenly that he just used the ‘w’ word. Twice.
“Yeah, I just put them in a smaller container,” she says. “They’re right there,” she says as Arthur opens the fridge for two more Heinekens. “No, there,
” she corrects. “The orange container.”
“Ah,” Arthur grabs it and hands it to her so he can take the beers. “Do you need another?” he asks, brandishing a bottle at her.
“No, thanks,” she says, smiling to herself as they walk back to the living room. We. Such a little word, such big connotations.
“Can I ask what you and Elyan were arguing about?” Arthur asks later, cuddled in Guinevere’s very comfortable bed with her, her soft warm body pressed against his side.
“He was being a complete git,” she sighs. “Honestly, I don’t know what his problem was. It looked like the two of you were getting along,” she says.
“We were. I thought so, anyway. What did he say?”
“I don’t even want to tell you… but he just looked at me and said, ‘Another white guy?’”
“Another?” Arthur asks, blinking.
the detail you grabbed?” she asks, not knowing whether to be amused or irritated.
“Sorry,” he says, kissing her forehead. “Continue.”
She sighs. “Yes, I’ve dated other white guys. I’ve also dated black guys. Hell, Lance has stopped vying for my attention, but there was a time I thought about going out with him, and he’s half… Chilean or Argentinean or something. Wonder what El would have said about that? Honestly, I don’t understand why he’s so hung up on it.”
“Um, wasn’t your mother white?” Arthur asks.
“Yes, but his wasn’t. My father remarried after my mom died, as you know, and Elyan’s mother was black. And somehow he tends to conveniently forget
that detail about me. So I did have to gently remind him that I am both black and white and if he thinks I should risk missing out on something really special by limiting my choices, then he’s an ignorant fool.”
“Not only that, he might be missing out on something himself if that’s how he’s living his
life,” Arthur adds, caressing her back softly, comfortingly. “It’s about the person, not their skin. Though I will admit that I do quite like yours.” He runs one finger softly down her cheek.
Gwen smiles up at him, kissing him. “My point exactly. And if he’s going to only choose from a select pool, that’s his problem. His choice.
I do try to not get involved in his affairs, hoping that he’ll get the message to keep his stupid nose out of mine,” she says, snuggling into him.
They lay together quietly for a time. Arthur isn’t sure what to do. He knows what he wants
to do, but Elyan’s goodnight keeps drifting back to him.
Good night. Do remember I am across the hall. If I hear anything… unpleasant, I cannot guarantee that my battle training won’t kick in automatically.
“You owe me a dare from earlier,” Gwen says quietly, nuzzling his neck and slyly slipping her hand up under his t-shirt to run her hand along his skin.
“Your brother is across the hall, Guinevere,” he says, clamping his hand over hers, attempting to still it through his t-shirt.
“He sleeps like a dead person, Arthur,” she says, worming her hand free and moving it up over his chest, her thumb brushing deliberately against his nipple.
“Yes, well, I don’t want to take any chances,” he says, closing his eyes now, fighting the urge to pounce.
“Honestly, Arthur, what did he do, threaten you?”
“He won’t hear a thing,” she says, sliding her hand down now, teasing her fingers under the waistband of his shorts.
He groans pinches his eyes closed.
“Here,” she says, and before he knows what’s happening, Gwen starts shouting, “Oh! Oh, God! Arth—”
He clamps his hand over her mouth. “Are you trying to get me killed?” he asks, incredulous, his wide eyes locked on the bedroom door while Gwen giggles like mad.
A few minutes pass, and finally Gwen says, “See?”
“Well, then,” Arthur says, a crafty look crossing his face, “in that case,” he leans over her, trapping her beneath him.
“I dare you to be quiet,” he whispers against her lips, nibbling lightly.
“You could have just started with that, you know,” she says. “But you are still evil.”
“I have not yet begun to be evil,” Arthur purrs, purposely pronouncing it “ee-ville” and raising his eyebrow.
Arthur works his way down, pulling off her tank top and tossing it aside. He kisses his way to her breasts, capturing a waiting nipple between his lips, running his tongue over it.
She sighs and arches beneath him. He reaches down for her shorts, sliding them down and off. He glides his hand back up her leg, moving it around between her thighs, gently nudging, parting them.
“Oh,” she breathes, and he starts kissing downward, across her stomach, briefly dipping his tongue into her navel before heading lower.
“Oh, no…” she mutters, trying to close her legs on him as he scoots between them.
“Oh, yes…” he answers, gently biting the inside of her thigh before running his tongue along her skin, heading towards his target.
“You are not playing fff…” she bites her lip when she feels his tongue slide against her, slow and languid, circling.
“Ah,” she breathes, squirming under his ministrations, his tongue swirling and flicking her sensitive flesh. He moves and thrusts his tongue up inside her, then back out and in again, and her hands grope blindly, clutching the blankets, his hair, her own breasts.
He moves his tongue out again and he traces it along her contours, circling and flicking again.
Then Arthur slides two fingers inside her, adding to his sweet torture. Gwen grabs his pillow and presses it to her face, sinking her teeth into it and groaning, using the pillow to muffle the sound.
“Cheating,” Arthur lifts his head to chastise lightly, and she pushes him back down with one hand, the other still clutching the pillow.
He slides his fingers in and out while he licks and suckles her nub, pushing her over the edge.
Gwen lets sensation overtake her and she shouts into the pillow as her climax engulfs her, clutching it to her face, a muffled garble of sound. Arthur surfaces, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and kisses her stomach.
She pulls the pillow away from her face, takes one look at him, and says, “You’re not done yet, are you?” It’s not really a question.
“My turn,” he says, prowling up over her body, yanking his shirt off in the process. She reaches down and pulls his shorts down, and he pulls them the rest of the way off.
“Mmm,” he hums into her neck, kissing the soft sensitive skin there as he plunges forward into her, wasting no time at all.
“Oh!” she exclaims, her voice breathy. She grabs his head and pulls his lips to hers, kissing him fiercely, possessing his lips, holding him to her to keep her quiet.
“Am…” he manages, “am I… the substitute… pillow?”
“Yes,” she answers, silencing him with her tongue. He picks up his pace, her greedy tongue igniting something inside him.
“Oh, God,” Arthur groans softly, tearing his lips away for just a moment before diving back in, locking his lips over hers once more as they battle for dominance inside each other’s mouths. He thrusts a few more times, her legs around his waist now, pulling him close. He makes one final thrust, throwing his head back and burying himself deep, his hand on her breast, and he clenches his jaw together as he comes, trying not to make any noise himself now.
Gwen clutches his shoulders, and a soft giggle escapes her lips when she sees him struggling to be quiet.
Arthur drops over her, exhausted and spent, and kisses her ear. “Shh,” he says, and she slaps him on the shoulder.