“Merlin, get back on the sofa, sitting so close can’t be good for your eyes.”
His mother meant well, but he’d heard her complain about him sitting too close to the telly a million times before, even though he only sat there when he was on.
“Merlin, move back,” she repeated a few seconds later as he hadn’t moved. Reluctantly Merlin shifted backwards, hating their small telly. They weren’t rich, but Merlin knew they could afford a slightly bigger telly. However, when he suggested it to his mother she said the one they had was good enough as Merlin was spending too much time inside. She meant well by what she said, but Merlin hated going outside.
He didn’t really hate it outside, it was more the lack of friends. His only friend Will was great, but he was getting a little more serious with a girl and didn’t have time to see Merlin as often. There were others in his small town he liked, but nobody were as close to him as Will.
It didn’t matter, Merlin had other interests which he occupied his time with.
As he sat in the old sofa he leaned slightly forward, wishing he was back on the floor. He wasn’t really interested in sport, but he’d fallen for one of the players. The moment he saw Arthur Pendragon for the first time he couldn’t get him out of his mind.
There was something special about Arthur, about the way he talked to his friends, the way he walked, and even the way he brushed his hair whenever it fell on his face.
Merlin watched closely as Arthur and another of his teammates prepared themselves, the ball was thrown and Arthur hit it. Merlin’s heart skipped a beat as Arthur ran, wind brushing through his hair as he smiled brightly.
Merlin wanted to be good, but whenever Arthur was on he couldn’t help himself. He was so taken by Arthur that he didn’t realise he’d moved off the sofa before his mother snapped at him for not listening to her. She was occupied with washing and cleaning and didn’t notice him moving back a moment earlier.
Merlin moved back again, making it halfway to the sofa before stopping as they cameramen took a closeup of Arthur. He was perfect, his golden hair, his cocky smile, his blue eyes. All Merlin wanted to do was to be there and touch Arthur, to feel his warm skin against the palm of his hand, to let his thumb move across his lips, to kiss him.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been obsessed with another individual, but never had he struggle so much with his obsession as he did right then.
“Arthur,” he whispered, loving how the name rolled of his tongue, how it came out as natural to him as breathing. He always liked names beginning with A. It was the first name in the alphabet, number one, it was also a letter most names had, and it was a letter he didn’t have. Merlin wasn’t such a bad name, but it was nothing compared with Arthur.
The camera zoomed out so he could see the whole of Arthur as he prepared himself to bat, his white clothes slightly goldish as the dust from the sand stuck to his uniform. Merlin watched closely, swallowing slightly as Arthur was ready, holding his breath as the ball was thrown, and smiling broadly as Arthur hit the ball and it moved past the boundary.
His mother said something, Merlin didn’t hear what it was but he automatically moved further back, not wanting his mother to complain yet again.
“Merlin, what do you want for dinner?” He could hear her question, but at the same time they had another closeup of Arthur’s face, which caused caused him to forget everything, included his mother.
“Merlin, could you please answer me?”
“Eh,” he began, not sure what she had asked about. However, a quick glance at the clock was all he needed in order to guess what her question was about. “Anything will be good, I’m not that hungry today.”
“You’ve got to eat, you’re thin enough as it is. Are you sure you’re well?”
“Yes mom, I’m fine, I just haven’t been hungry lately. You know how that goes, one day I’m eating like a horse, the next I’m barely eating more than a mouse.” His mother didn’t look convinced but she seemed to accept his excuse and returned to the kitchen.
The truth was that Merlin hadn’t felt like eating since he saw Arthur for the first time. It was love at first sight, Merlin standing in the bar where he worked at, watching the news about a new cricket player who was taking the world by storm. He was young, rich, and a Duke. After that Merlin bought every magazine he’d come across which had any information about Arthur, even if it was in the least trustworthy tabloid. He didn’t care if it was true or not, as long as they mentioned Arthur he was happy.
He would cut out the short articles, then carefully glue them in his scrapbook. The book wasn’t that large, but it was already half full with clippings of Arthur, short poems he’d written about him, or even small declarations of love. Next to his scrapbook he had a box filled with letters addressed to Arthur. Sadly he couldn’t send them to the man as he didn’t want anyone discovering and taking that away Arthur as they did with all the other men he fancied..
It wasn’t the first time he’d fallen in love with someone, and while people would say it was an unhealthy obsession he thought it was perfectly fine, it was his way of letting someone know he really liked them. If he wanted to keep Arthur he needed to keep it a secret, if not then his mother would send him away to the crazy house as she threatened to do the last time the police got involved with his love life.
Suddenly adds interrupted the game, which meant he had a few minutes to do all the essentials before he could return to watch the remaining of the match.
“Merlin, could you please take the garbage out?” his mother asked as he entered the kitchen to get some water. He wanted to say he didn’t have time, but didn’t want his mother to worry about him so he smiled and accepted the the task, knowing he would have to run down and back up the apartment stairs in order to return before he missed anything important.
As he ran to the garbage cans he overheard two of the neighbours standing outside chatting as one returned with his dog from their nightly walk.
“Long since there has been any cricket tournament up here, you should think there is something wrong with us. Sadly I didn’t attend the last time as my wife went into labour.” James was an elderly man who used to babysit Merlin when he was younger
“So we might finally get to see the new star, I’ve heard he’s quite picky about his food, even more than my daughter,” Samuel said and laughed.
“Are you talking about Arthur Pendragon?” Merlin asked, not caring if he interrupted their private conversation. “Are you sure?” Merlin asked as Samuel nodded.
“Yes. You know how my wife is a manager for the hotel in the city, well, the cricket board reserved enough rooms for several teams for the total of two weeks. She doesn’t know which teams will be there yet, as the board didn’t add that information, but we’re certain that young bloke must be a part of it, it would be idiotic if they didn’t use his fame to capture some of the more influenced teenagers, he’s even more popular than certain music or movie stars we have,” James said, sounding as eager as Merlin felt at that moment.
“Yes, that would be foolish. There has always been young people following the sport, but that’s nothing compared to how famous the sport has become after Pendragon joined his team.” Samuel added.
Merlin agreed with both of them as his mind processed all the information he received. The men continued to discuss the upcoming event as Merlin bid them goodnight, suddenly not that anxious about seeing Arthur on the telly when he knew he could see him in real life. Not only that, but whenever the hotel was booked for sport events the players would always visit the bar he worked at which was located almost next to it, so unless Arthur didn’t drink then Merlin would have a chance to be close to him.
He wondered why he was given the chance to see Arthur, maybe it was because he’d been good and not sent the letters, that maybe a higher power decided to award him, to give him what he wanted the most, Arthur. He realised then that just meeting him wouldn’t be enough, that he needed the man.
A plan formed in his mind, a devious plan which would grant him his one wish. It wouldn’t be easy, and he would have to lie to his mother, and everyone else, but it was the only way for him to get everything he deserved.