Merlin Emrys shifted in his sleep, burrowing his face sleepily into his pillow. His hand flexed subconsciously, expecting his lover, Arthur Pendragon, to be lying next to him. It took him less than a heartbeat to notice the empty space beside him. He stared sadly into the cold spot on the double bed from his place. Oh yes, he had almost forgotten.
It had been nearly a week since Arthur had left on his business trip to the Canary Islands. He had been on trips before, but never for so long or so far away. Being someone who was always surrounded by people, one way or another, Merlin was finding it hard to cope, although that wasn’t the least of his problems.
Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father and owner of Camelot Enterprises, had asked Vivian (who was Arthur’s girlfriend before he left her for Merlin) to accompany his son on the trip. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his lover – he just didn’t trust her. She had told him on many occasions she would get Arthur back, and there was no limit to what she would do to get her way.
Sighing slightly depressed, Merlin rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He prayed silently for the trip to end quickly.
He turned his head to the side, where his mobile phone had been carelessly placed the night before. It beeped again, moving at an angle across the table. He reached for the device lazily and opened the message.
‘Thinking of you xxx’
Merlin smiled softly, his heart flittered in his chest happily. As soppy as it sounds, he was glad the gorgeous blond thought of him as much as Merlin thought of him. After a moment’s pause, he replied.
‘Missing you too xxx’
Feeling strangely lighter than he felt before, he slowly moved out of bed and stretched before making his way leisurely to the bathroom en suite. After all, he still had to get to work despite his lover’s absence.
Work, he found, distracted him from what he missed. His art career was limited to painting murals and portraits, and it didn’t pay was well as he would hope so he baby-sat. Mostly for friends, but sometimes for neighbours who couldn’t find someone to watch over their toddlers would request his services at the last minute. It paid well and he enjoyed it, so he had no problems with getting up early. Well that, and he knew Gwen would call him soon, panicking he would be late and Sammy, her four-year-old, would be left on his own for a few minutes whilst she and Lance had to leave for work. He loved Gwen, he did – she was like his sister – but he had to admit her paranoia could be over bearing sometimes.
As he busied himself getting washed, he didn’t notice his phone beeping the arrival of another text message.
Merlin dropped his bag to the floor as soon as his front door was closed behind him. He let out a sigh, scratching the back of his neck tiredly. He loved Sammy – he really did – but he was going to have to ask Lance to stop putting so much sugar on the boy’s cereal in the morning. It was fine for the parent but hell for the baby-sitter.
He paused silently, confused, when he heard movement on the floor above. He tensed slightly. Someone was in his house. This sense of fear gripped him at the mere thought of it. He’d never been robbed before but he’d always had a fear of it. He liked his privacy and this was violating that. He breathed in deeply through his nose and, hesitantly, moved forward. Something, however, attracted his gaze and made his heart lurch.
Fixed to the hallway mirror, a huge extravagant thing that Arthur’s mother had brought before she had died was a yellow post-it note he knew for certain had not been there that morning. Swallowing hesitantly, he moved to stand in front of the reflective surface. His hands shaking, he reached to remove it carefully. Standing out against the block yellow colour was a familiar, messy scrawl in thick black marker.
Three words that made his eyes water with disbelief.
‘I love you x’
It was Arthur’s handwriting. He knew because he had spent nearly half of their relationship trying to learn how to read the man’s uselessly unclear handwriting. It was really like chicken scratch – no exaggerations – but he loved it and, right now, the sight of it was like a god-sent. Crushing the paper in his hand, the dark haired man quickly made his way up the stairs to the bedroom, where he could hear the noises coming from. He paused as he neared the doors, and peered around the door, which was ajar.
Standing on the other side of the room, unpacking a suitcase that was spread open across their bed, was Arthur Pendragon. He was humming quietly to himself, as he hung clean clothes on his side of the wardrobe and dropped his dirty clothes in the laundry bin. Merlin couldn’t help grinning at the sight he had missed so much and entered the room with a large step, the floorboard creaking under his foot.
Arthur looked up in surprise at the noise. His blue eyes locked with his lover’s and a grin broke out across his face. He stepped around the bed and Merlin moved closer. In an instant, the dark haired artist threw himself at the taller blond, slinging his arms around his shoulders. The embrace was tight, familiar, and when Arthur moved his head to press his lips to the younger man’s, his heart beat became erratic.
“Well, that was a nice greeting,” Arthur commented, amused.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back today?” Merlin demanded, “I wasn’t expecting you back for another week at least.”
“Apparently, I’m a great businessman,” Arthur stated proudly, “The deal was wrapped up this morning and I got the first plane I could catch back here. Didn’t you get my text?”
With a fumble in his pocket, he saw his screen flashing ‘1 new message’. He flushed pink and shook his head. “Ah, no, I didn’t. I…was late this morning and didn’t have a chance…”
Arthur laughed and buried his face in the crook of the brunet’s neck, tickling the skin there with his kisses. “You are hopeless aren’t you?”
Merlin refused to answer that one, but he wasn’t really by choice. He was sure he could have thought of some witty retort if he had the chance but his mind hazed over slightly at the feeling of his lover pleasuring his neck. He whined softly under his breath and inclined his head away, giving him more access which he gladly took with a rough bite.
“I missed you…” Merlin muttered as his breath shuddered helplessly.
Arthur smiled against his skin. “I missed you too…want me to show you how much?”