Part 46: link
“That was a very naughty thing आप did, Guinevere,” Arthur purrs in her ear in the taxi home.
“Whatever are आप talking about, Arthur?” she asks innocently, placing her hand on his thigh, not so innocently rubbing it with her palm.
“Telling me during मिठाई that आप aren’t wearing any knickers,” he whispers in her ear, his tongue snaking out to flick at it, nibbling lightly.
Gwen just giggles, and he moves lower to किस her neck and down to that bare shoulder. “Are आप really not?” he asks, his hand on her knee, pushing her स्कर्ट out of the way to feel her skin.
“What do आप think?” she asks, lifting her hand to caress his cheek.
“Well, I’ve never known आप to lie before,” he says, sliding his hand higher. His hand is deliciously hot against her skin, but she puts her hand over it, stopping him.
“You are not
going investigating while we’re in this cab,” she warns, and he lifts his face from her neck and gives her an innocent look.
“Nah, please, द्वारा all means, proceed,” the cabbie calls over his shoulder, winking at them in the rear view mirror.
Gwen makes an exasperated noise and shoves Arthur now, pulling her स्कर्ट firmly down over her knees.
“Thanks, mate,” Arthur says sarcastically.
“Hey, I’m just as disappointed as आप are,” the driver says.
“There is no way possible that that
is true,” Arthur says back. He creeps his hand across to rest it on Gwen’s knee again, over the स्कर्ट this time.
“Here we are then,” he announces, pulling in front of their flat. Arthur pays the driver and then gets out and runs around to open the door for Gwen, taking her hand to assist her.
“Enjoy your night, kids,” the driver calls impishly before Arthur shuts the door with a muttered “Piss off.”
“Hey, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself,” Gwen laughs at him and runs to the door. She is surprisingly fast in those heels,
he thinks, following her up to the door to unlock it.
He opens the door and allows her to enter, reaching out with his hand to caress her backside as she passes.
“Bloody hell, Guinevere, आप aren’t
wearing any!” he practically shouts, closing the door and locking it behind him.
Gwen laughs and gives Iggy a little pat.
“You know what the funny part actually is?” Arthur asks, on her in an instant, his arms wrapping around her waist, sliding his palms on the silk of her dress.
“I actually am
wearing जांघिया tonight.”
Gwen bursts forth laughing, and her laughter turns into a squeal as she finds herself hoisted into his arms and carried back to the bedroom.
He drops her gently on the bed, sliding his hands down to her feet, taking her shoes off now. They are simple pumps, black peep-toe, her lavender painted toenails just peeking out. “Just to drive my brother a little crazy,” Morgana had declared, cementing Gwen’s decision.
“Come over here,” Gwen says, beckoning him with her finger once his shoes शामिल होइए hers on the floor.
“Come here, Arthur,” her voice drops to that velvety register that Arthur cannot resist and he sits beside her as she sits up.
She slides her hands on his chest, upwards, easing his कोट from his shoulders and setting it on a chair. He leans in and kisses her, a little greedy. He tastes of champagne and dessert.
Gwen pulls back and carefully removes the tie tack, placing it on the bedside तालिका, टेबल before reaching up to loosen his tie, pulling it free.
Arthur leans in and kisses her again, trying for longer, deeper. Still she stops him, lifting his hand, removing one cufflink, then the other and placing them beside the pin.
She reaches for his buttons and he begins nibbling her ear, mindful of the simple pearl drop earrings, the only touch of jewelry she wore tonight, his hot breath sending chills through her as it puffs gently on her neck.
Gwen’s hands creep inside his shirt, pulling it open, un-tucking it the rest of the way. He sighs at the feel of her hands on his skin, and drops his head lower to suck lightly at the skin of her neck.
“Arthur, आप are being very… distracting,” Gwen says, her hands groping for his बेल्ट now that she’s gotten his कमीज, शर्ट off.
“Then I’m doing it right,” he says, his lips never leaving her skin, his one hand now halfway up her thigh beneath her dress.
She manages to get both his बेल्ट and trousers open, so finally he stands, dropping the trousers to the floor, standing for a moment in his boxers.
Gwen giggles. Arthur pouts.
“I’m sorry, Love, it’s just… I’m not used to seeing आप in…” she giggles. “At least they’re black…”
He twists his lips to the side in frustration, but then Gwen stands and slides her hands around his torso, hugging him tightly, चुंबन his chest. Arthur’s hands grope her body, searching for a zipper.
“How on earth do आप get this thing off?” he asks. Gwen smiles and lifts her left arm, the one with no strap.
“Zipper on the side.”
She caresses his cheek as he eases the zipper down, and he lowers his head to किस her shoulder again.
A small push to the right shoulder of her dress and it slithers downward, the silk like water as it pools around her feet. She bends to pick it up and lay it over the chair, and Arthur knows better than to protest her practicality at this time.
Gwen quickly removes her earrings, setting them with his cufflinks and tie tack and is back in an instant, removing his boxers now. Arthur kicks them agitatedly across the floor.
Gwen snorts. “The socks must
Arthur looks down at his black-clad feet. “Right,” he laughs as they both fall onto the बिस्तर and he whips the socks from his feet, tossing them in the general direction as his boxers.
Gwen sighs, but her fleeting irritation over the mess he is making is forgotten as his lips press softly against hers.
“You were brilliant tonight,” he whispers as his lips travel over her skin, leaving आग in their wake. “Everyone loved you.”
“You want to discuss this now,
Arthur?” she asks, her hands gently holding his head, hooking one leg around him as he moves over her, now closing his lips around a straining nipple, groaning low in the back of his throat. Conversation over.
Gwen smiles and lets her eyes drift closed, her head falling back into the pillows, no longer concerned about her hair.
“Arthur,” she sighs his name, her hands thrown over her head now, letting him worship her, letting herself enjoy his attention.
His hand moves down to touch her, fingers sliding easily along her wetness as he moves his lips to her other breast, opening his eyes briefly to gaze up at her. She is amazing.
As if she can sense him watching her, Gwen opens her eyes and smiles at him. “I प्यार you, Arthur,” she says softly, breathily.
“I प्यार you, Guinevere,” he answers, softly चुंबन the skin between her breasts. He slides one finger inside her then, and her lips part with a silent gasp of pleasure.
Arthur smiles, satisfied but not smug, finally drawing her other nipple into his mouth, his tongue sending shivers of pleasure downward her while his fingers send them up.
“Please,” she whispers, pressing her hips upward, against his hand, reaching down for him now.
“Oh,” he grunts when she finds him, stroking gently but not too much so, tugging him carefully towards her waiting thighs.
Arthur finds his way between her legs, leaning आगे to किस her, closing his hand over her wrist and bringing it back over her head with the other, capturing them there, holding her, his willing captive as he lowers his hips and joins himself to her, entering her, the feeling no less decadent than it was the first दिन they met.
He leans on his hand not holding hers, letting that one भालू his weight while he delves into her again and again, watching her as she writhes deliciously beneath him.
Gwen’s breathing is growing ragged, and her arms strain against his one immovable hand holding them in place. The sensation is slightly thrilling, not unlike being tied, but somehow और interesting because it’s his hand holding her wrists, not a scarf.
Suddenly he releases her hands and she opens her eyes in surprise, exclaiming, “Oh!”
“Moving,” he growls low, still thrusting with long, languid strokes. He pauses and leans back, holding her thighs now, pulling her with him as he lifts onto his knees.
Arthur moves her legs in front of him, resting both against his chest, holding her hips, her backside, supporting her in this new position.
He turns his head and kisses her foot, flicking his tongue against her toes. Her legs are just far enough apart that he is able to हटाइए one hand around and rub small circles against her, bringing her closer, faster, and soon her urgency matches his and they are both gasping and crying out, calling out each other’s names as they crash down together.
Arthur moves her legs back down, his breathing still heavy, sliding carefully out of her, collapsing beside her and immediately gathering her close, as if he cannot भालू to be parted from her for even an instant.
Gwen can only smile as she idly places small kisses on his neck, shoulder, and chest. His hands skim her hip and back as he holds her.
“You really are amazing, do आप know that?” he finally says.
“So आप tell me,” she answers, and he chuckles. “Did आप have a good time tonight? At the party, I mean.”
“It was very strange, really. But yes, I did. I’m very glad आप were with me.”
“It was actually good having Gwaine there, too,” Gwen observes, capturing his hand with her own, threading her immaculate red-lacquered fingers in between his.
“Yeah,” he says. “Who would have thought?”
Gwen chuckles. “You didn’t seem uneasy या uncomfortable at all, even though I’m sure आप heard the same mutterings that I did.”
“Yes, well, आप know I have no time for the small-minded,” he says casually. “You were there with me. That’s all that mattered to me; having आप at my side.” He bends his head and kisses the चोटी, शीर्ष of her head. She lifts her face to him and he kisses her lips.
“I can do anything if you’re with me,” he whispers to her, चुंबन her again, slowly, softly at first, then gradually growing and building until they are once again grasping for each other. Needing each other.
“So what was this Merlin was saying about your needing my help with a tattoo? आप don’t even work here anymore, Arthur,” Guinevere says, walking into Excalibur just before closing on Monday.
Gwaine locks the door behind her and flips the sign over to read Closed.
“Something Gwaine कहा at the gallery gave me an idea,” Arthur says, pulling her in for a kiss. “And hello.”
“Hello, yourself,” she says, wrapping her arms around him, lifting her face to his again for और kisses.
“All right, break it up,” Gwaine says.
“So,” Gwen pulls away from Arthur, “explain.”
“I want your lips tattooed on me.”
“You want what?”
“Your lips. A… a किस mark. आप kissed me on the head at the दिखाना and it left a mark, and Gwaine कहा that it would make a brilliant tattoo…”
“You are not getting your head tattooed,” she says, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Oh, no, no, not my head,” he holds up his hands. “My chest. I would have liked it to be right over my heart, but…”
He is interrupted द्वारा Gwaine and Phil making gagging noises in the background.
the dragon is in the way. So it’ll be over here,” he says, pointing to the right side of his chest.
“So, Little Sparrow, what I need from आप is your lips on this piece of paper here,” Gwaine says, handing her a small sheet of paper.
“On the paper?”
“Yeah, if आप just printed him with the lipstick it would smear and I’d bugger it all up. And then he’d be mad, and we’d have to fight, and I’d win, and then he’d be embarrassed ’cause I kicked his नितंब, गधा in front of you, so it’d just be easier if आप put those luscious things on this piece of paper.”
Arthur sighs audibly while Gwen laughs and digs into her पर्स for her lipstick.
“Oh, is this going to be dark enough?” she asks, opening it. It is a soft pink.
“Probably not,” Gwaine says, pondering it, raising his hand to his chin to think.
Gwen looks over to see Phil digging in a drawer द्वारा her chair. She produces a small black tube and tosses it to Gwen with a smirk.
“Thanks,” Gwen says, knowing it must be the dark merlot, मर्लोट color that Phil constantly wears.
“Men do overthink these things,” she calls, chuckling.
“What?” Gwaine asks. “Oh,” he says, watching Gwen open up the dark lipstick and walk to a mirror.
She applies the dark बेर color, being very careful to make sure it is absolutely perfect.
“Hey, don’t use it all up on those unfair lips o’ yours, girlie,” Phil teases.
Gwen laughs, and turns back to the men, handing the lipstick back to Phil.
“Whoa,” Arthur says. “You have got
to get that color.”
“Oh, आप like it?” Gwen says, looking back at the mirror. “I hadn’t even really looked,” she chuckles. “Not bad,” she assesses.
Gwaine hands her the paper, and she ponders it a moment. “I don’t want to crinkle it. It needs to be done right या it won’t turn out,” she says. “Take your कमीज, शर्ट off, Arthur.”
“Um, okay,” he says, a little nervous because they’ve already shaved the section of his chest to be tattooed and Gwen hasn’t seen it.
“What the…?” she asks, and laughs, walking over to touch the smooth skin.
“Can’t tattoo with the hair in the way, Sweet,” Arthur explains, inhaling sharply at the touch of her fingers on his skin. It’s extra sensitive now without its protective coating.
“Where?” she asks.
“I want it at exactly your height, as if आप were standing in front of me—”
“Like I am.”
“And have just leaned आगे and kissed my chest.”
“Got it.” She puts the piece of paper up, pressing it against his chest, then leans आगे and kisses the paper.
She leans back and looks at it. “Perfect,” she smiles, handing it to Gwaine.
“Very nice,” he declares and sets it down. “Stay right there, Sparrow.”
Gwaine steps over with a marker and has Gwen lean in close again, almost touching Arthur’s chest with her lips.
“What are आप doing?” she asks, Arthur’s hands coming around her waist to steady her.
“Shh. Marking the spot.” He lifts the marker and carefully draws a वृत्त on Arthur’s chest around the area where Gwen’s lips are almost touching.
“There we are. Now,” he takes the kiss-printed paper and takes it over to make a transfer of it.
Arthur groans and leans down, चुंबन Gwen passionately, as if her closeness is too much for him and he has no choice but to succumb.
“Hey, loverboy, I’m ready for आप now,” Gwaine calls, interrupting them.
Guinevere breaks the किस gently and opens her eyes. She starts laughing then. “That color doesn’t favor आप at all, Arthur.”
He growls and reaches for a paper towel, scrubbing at his lips and tossing the towel in the bin as he walks to Gwaine’s chair.
Knowing he’s decimated her own lipstick job, Gwen does the same, carefully rubbing the color from her own lips before reaching into her पर्स for another tube, clear lip gloss this time.
She pulls a स्टूल, मल over near them, watching, fascinated as Gwaine applies the transferred image to Arthur’s chest.
“Arthur,” Gwen says, uncertainty hitting her, “are आप sure आप want to do this?”
“What? Of course I do,” he says, lifting his head up to look at her.
“It’s just that… well, as आप are fully aware, this is… permanent.
“I know,” he says, looking steadily at her, his eyes boring into her very soul.
“Oh,” is all she can manage, swallowing, her दिल suddenly thumping. Is it warm in here? Why is it so warm in here?
“May I proceed या do आप two need to go do it first?” Gwaine asks with a smirk.
Arthur reaches up and smacks the back of his head. “Get to work, arse.”
“Red,” Arthur says. “Dark red.”
“Okay, then…” Gwaine finds the color he wants, holding it up for Gwen and Arthur to both give their approval. He ties a bandana around his head to keep his hair out of the way, and the tattoo gun springs to life and he bends his head over his friend’s chest.
Gwen watches, still fascinated द्वारा the whole process, how the needle moves so fast that the eye can’t even see it, the little droplets of blood that rise to the surface, the way the excess ink smears on the surface of Arthur’s skin.
“It looks like a ghastly chest wound,” she says, laughing. “I mean, with the red ink and the blood and the mess.”
“Don’t make me laugh,” Arthur says, and Gwen can see his stomach muscles taut as he tries to hold it in.
Gwaine lifts the gun and reaches for a damp paper towel, gently wiping the excess so he can see the डिज़ाइन again. Arthur relaxes a moment, allowing himself a chuckle.
Work resumes, and Gwen holds Arthur’s left hand as she watches, staying out of the way. He’s just lying there like this is nothing at all. Either it doesn’t hurt that much, या he’s got a very high tolerance for pain. या he’s being ब्रेव for me,
“Does it hurt much?”
“Are आप just being ब्रेव for me?”
“Yes,” Gwaine answers, grinning.
” Arthur argues.
Halfway done, Gwen decides. “I think I want one,” she says.
Gwaine stops and looks at her. “A tattoo?”
“You. Want a tattoo,” he repeats, as if trying out the words.
“Don’t go getting any ideas, Gwaine, no one is touching her skin but me,” Arthur says, making a preemptive strike.
“You don’t work here anymore, Drag,” Gwaine reminds him.
“I don’t care. If anyone is tattooing Guinevere, it’s going to be me,” he says.
“He’d probably let me do it before he would you, Brother,” Phil calls across the room, laughing.
“Hey! Have आप forgotten that I am hopelessly in प्यार with your sister?” Gwaine attempts to defend himself.
“Yes, but you’re still you,
” Arthur answers. “I saw the way your eyes lit up with she कहा she wanted one. Now get back to work.”
Gwaine grumbles but resumes his work, carefully tracing in each line, permanently imprinting Guinevere’s lips on Arthur’s chest.
“What do आप think आप want?” Arthur asks her, rubbing his thumb on the back of her hand.
“Maybe a cute little dragon?”
Arthur’s face breaks into a broad grin. “I think I could make that happen.”
“Where will this cute little dragon reside, Sparrow?” Gwaine asks, still working.
“I don’t know. Nowhere visible,
that’s certain. Nowhere that my father might happen to see it.”
“Guinevere, you’d better stop talking या Gwaine is going to slip,” Arthur says slyly.
“I’m good,” Gwaine lies, pretending he’s not thinking about the various places Gwen could be talking about.
“Bloody liar. Stop thinking about my girlfriend’s body and concentrate on what you’re doing,” Arthur says. “I’d hate to have to tattle on आप to Morgana.”
Gwen laughs. “How about my hip?”
“How about them?” Arthur echoes suggestively.
“Shut up,” she laughs, releasing his hand to stand. “Like right… here.” She points to a spot high on her hip, towards the back, where her hip meets her bum.
An घंटा later Gwen is half on her side, half on her stomach in Phil’s chair, screen pulled, wearing a pair of her own shorts that she had loaned to Phil.
The shorts are pulled down just enough to expose the area to be inked, the little dragon Arthur drew for her now transferred to her flawless कारमेल hip.
“Purple. And red,” Gwen declares, shifting slightly to be और comfortable.
“Your प्रिय and mine,” Arthur टिप्पणियाँ softly, smiling. “Phil, where are the… oh, thanks.” He takes the gloves she holds out for him.
“Gwaine’s gone upstairs,” Phil tells him. “He’s pouting.”
Arthur laughs, and pulls his स्टूल, मल up close to Gwen’s hip. “Ready?”
He leans over and starts the tattoo gun. Then he stops it. “I don’t think I can,” he says suddenly.
“What?” both Phyllis and Gwen say.
“Arthur, if you’re going to get all ‘I can’t mar आप skin’ on me…”
“No, it’s not that,” he says, his fingers touching her skin almost absentmindedly. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“If you’d rather go hold her hand, I’ll do the ink,” Phil offers.
“You will?” Arthur asks.
“No,” Gwen interrupts. “No offense, Phil, I’m sure you’re brilliant. I just want Arthur to be the one to do it.”
Phil nods. “Completely understood.”
“So be a man and get to it, Pendragon,” Gwen orders.
Arthur takes a deep breath and looks at Phil.
go hold her hand, then, will that do?” she offers.
Phil brings another स्टूल, मल over and sits द्वारा Gwen’s head. “Hey. आप don’t have to hold my hand if आप don’t want to.”
“Does it hurt a lot?” Gwen asks.
“Depends,” she shrugs.
“Where it is and how tough आप are.”
“Not very helpful,” Gwen says. She is busy talking and doesn’t notice the tattoo gun has turned back on.
“Well, your meatier areas are going to be less sensitive,” Phil explains, leaning closer, knowing exactly what Arthur is doing. “Your bonier areas, and the areas that are और protected, will hurt more. Simple.”
“So the spot I’m getTING!
” She yelps the last syllable when the needle makes contact with her flesh.
“Sorry, Love,” Arthur says, sounding properly upset about it.
“It’s… it’s okay,” she breathes. “You just caught me off guard.”
“I know,” he says, working carefully, as gently as he can.
“You all right?” Phil asks.
“Yes. It just feels like… he’s carving into me with a knife,” she chuckles.
“Don’t laugh,” Arthur says quietly.
“Sorry.” She closes her eyes and reaches for Phil’s hand.
“How many टैटू do आप have, Phyllis?”
“Couple. I have a चिड़ियों, हिंगबर्ड and some फूल on my shoulder,” she says, pointing her free hand back over her shoulder. “And I have an ऊद, ओटर, ऊदबिलाव on my thigh.”
Gwen opens her eyes and smiles, remembering her strange affection for the cute, sleek, mammals.
“The people in the emergency room were properly stunned द्वारा that little surprise,” she laughs.
“I’ll bet,” Gwen says, sighing and relaxing for a moment while Arthur pauses, wiping her skin gently.
“Doing okay?” Arthur asks.
“Yes. How far are you?”
“Outline is done.”
“We can stop now if आप want. Do the color another time. या just leave it as an outline.”
Gwen walks घर from work, happy, humming softly to herself, looking आगे to going घर and putting on some comfortable clothes, something soft that won’t be pressing on या rubbing against the fresh and still-tender little dragon on her hip.
She reaches the intersection and sees them. He’s done at the childcare center already?
she thinks, crossing now that the सड़क, स्ट्रीट is clear. She crosses again and approaches them, chucking at how they used to unnerve her. Seems quite ridiculous now.
“Guinevere,” Arthur greets her, stepping away from the group. He reaches for her and kisses her sweetly. She notices his hands are lightly stained from the paint he has to use on the concrete.
“You’re done already?” she asks, squeezing him a moment before joining the others.
“Yeah, we got to a good stopping point so I begged off. It was just a bit ago, actually.”
The others nod in agreement, backing him up on his story.
“And the rest of you? Wait, let me guess. Nothing going on.”
“You know Tuesdays are slow, Sparrow. Never understood why, but they just are,” Gwaine says with a shrug.
“Leon, shouldn’t आप be with Phil?” she asks.
“Migraine. I leave her alone when she has a migraine,” he explains.
“She turns into a raving bitch,” Gwaine explains.
“She’s taking a nap,” Leon says, thumping Gwaine on the head.
“How was your day?” Arthur asks, leaning against the दीवार and pulling her against him, spreading his feet so she can stand between them.
“Probably not as much fun as yours. Merlin’s book has gone to press now, but Marcus’ is still
“God, that bloke has problems, doesn’t he?” Arthur laughs.
“He’s a huge pain in the नितंब, गधा is what he is, but at least he’s being polite now,” Gwen says, resting her head on his chest, facing Merlin. “I’m just glad I have one
लेखक who has a brain,” she says to him.
“And that’s why I’m your favorite,” he grins.
“One of the reasons. But don’t get cocky, Merlin, या I’ll start giving your manuscripts to someone else,” she smirks at him.
“Yeah, आप wouldn’t do that. You’ve gotten far too possessive of me,” Merlin laughs knowingly.
Gwen looks up at Arthur to find him studying her rather intently. “What is it, Arthur?” she asks.
“I was just thinking. About how you’ve done so much for me. And my friends.”
“I’ve hardly done anything, Arthur,” she protests, leaning back to look up at him.
“You’ve done so much, Guinevere,” he insists, gently setting her upright in front of him. “And I’ve done nothing for you.”
“So I got to thinking,” he presses on, interrupting her, his blue-grey eyes still searing into her as he talks. “What could I do, what could I give आप to दिखाना how much I प्यार you, how much आप mean to me?”
This time her mouth closes on its own as Arthur is digging into the pocket of his jeans. Merlin, Leon, and Gwaine step closer, curious as well.
Arthur pulls out a plastic bag full of candy. “Shit,” he says, handing it absentmindedly to Merlin, who takes it, puzzled. His fingers dig deeper in and find what he is looking for. “Aha,” he says, pulling his hand out of his pocket as he sinks to one knee in front of her.
Gwen gasps, her hands flying over her mouth.
Behind her, she vaguely hears a rustling and Merlin’s snicker as Gwaine passes Leon a five-pound note.
“So…” Arthur holds up the ring, offering it to her, “you’ll just have to settle for me, as that’s all I have to give you, Guinevere. All that I am belongs to you, if आप will have me and be my wife.”
Gwen stares down at him, tears streaming down her smiling face. She holds her trembling left hand out for him, and he slides the ring over her finger.
“Arthur,” she says at last, once she can finally speak, “why must आप always ask me सवालों to which आप already know the answers?” Then she leans down to him, चुंबन him, pulling him to his feet as she does so, allowing him to लपेटें her in his arms as they किस passionately, forgetting the fact that they are there on the सड़क, स्ट्रीट with three of their फ्रेंड्स standing very close by.
Gwaine starts clapping then, a grin splitting his face, and Merlin and Leon शामिल होइए in. Merlin even whistles, which causes the couple to break apart, laughing now, blushing.
Gwen finally looks down at the ring. It’s a lovely, understated सोना ring with a single round diamond, modestly sized, set in such a way that the सोना appears swirled around it. The central stone is flanked द्वारा a small row of baguette diamonds on either side. She smiles at it and indulgently holds it up to catch the sunlight.
“I know it’s not much,” Arthur starts, “but I knew you’d kill me if I spent all
my money on it and the guy at the store कहा that I can always get a bigger diamond later, and I know I could have spent और and financed it, but I really didn’t want to do that, and—”
“Arthur,” Gwen says, looking at him, silencing him with a kiss. “Shut up. And don’t even think
about swapping this diamond out for a bigger one.”
“Shit, Arthur, that’s a large enough diamond,” Gwaine says peeking over Gwen’s shoulder at it.
Leon looks now. “It’s three-quarter carats at least,” he agrees. Gwen gives him a strange look.
“Been doing a bit of ring shopping myself,” he mutters sheepishly.
Gwen smiles at him and sighs. “Gentlemen, I don’t care
how big the diamond is,” she says. “It’s what it represents that is the important part. Which is why it is not going to get replaced later, no matter how much money we have,
” she states pointedly.
“Okay, okay,” Arthur holds his hands up. Then he takes her left hand in his and looks down at the ring there. “Now you’re really mine, आप know,” he grins.
“Oh? I believe I just heard आप say that it is आप who now belongs to me,” she says, pulling his lips back to hers.
“Completely,” he answers, nuzzling her nose with his own.
Merlin clears his throat.
“What is it, Merlin?” Arthur asks, not looking away from Guinevere.
“Why didn’t आप tell me? I didn’t even know आप bought a ring!”
Arthur looks over at his friend. “You see her far too often, and आप couldn’t keep a secret if your life depended on it.”
“I can so! I never told anyone about how Morgana used to call you—”
Arthur puts his hand over Merlin’s mouth. Gwen presses her lips together, trying not to laugh. “You just proved his point, Merlin,” she says, letting her laughter go now.
Merlin pouts, so Gwen hugs him. Arthur even gives him a one-armed pseudo-hug.
“All right, I forgive you, jeez,” Merlin complains.
“Come on,” Arthur says, taking Gwen’s hand in his. “I want to take आप out.”
“The only place I want आप to take me right now is home,” Gwen says, leaning up to किस him.
“Mmm.” Arthur is convinced. “Later, guys,” he calls over his shoulder as he and Gwen walk home.
Two hours later, Gwen looks up at Arthur from his chest where her head is currently resting. “Who else do we need to call?” she asks, चुंबन his neck.
“More? I’m so cozy,” he complains, squeezing her tightly. She slides her foot along his leg.
“I’m not saying आप need to get dressed, Arthur,” she says, dragging her fingernails down his stomach, tempting fate.
“Watch your hand there, woman. That’s how the phone calls got interrupted in the first place,” he warns, leaning down to किस her fully nevertheless.
“What’s Morgana’s number?” Gwen says, rolling away suddenly.
“Hey! You’re pulling the blanket with you!”
“Number,” she reminds him. He tells her the number and she dials, waiting.
“Hi Morgana, this is your future sister-in-law calling,” Gwen says, grinning into the phone.
“I KNEW IT!” Morgana yells, and Gwen has to pull the phone away from her ear, causing Arthur to chuckle.
They chat a bit, Gwen giving her the details of the proposal and how Merlin was disappointed he wasn’t in on the secret.
“He never could keep his mouth closed,” Morgana laughs.
“That’s what Arthur said.”
“Well congratulations to आप both, आप have no idea how happy I am for you,” Morgana says.
“Thank you, Morgana. Have to run now, got a couple और calls to make.”
Gwen hangs up. She turns to Arthur, bringing the phone to sit on the बिस्तर between them.
“Call your father,” she says. Orders.
Arthur pulls the blanket over his face and groans.
“He already knows,” Arthur says from beneath the blanket.
He pulls the blanket down. “He already knows. I bought the ring the दिन I talked to him at the बत्तख, बतख pond. I had it already then.”
“You showed it to him?”
“Call him anyway. He doesn’t know that you’ve done
it, only that आप were planning to.”
He sighs and picks up the handset, dialing the number.
“Hello, Joseph, this is Arthur. Is my father free?”
“His butler जवाब the phone?” Gwen asks. “Ooo, posh,” she teases. Arthur pokes her in the ribs.
“Hello, Arthur,” Uther’s tired voice comes through.
“Were आप sleeping?”
“Not yet. Soon, though. To what do I owe this dubious honor?”
“I asked her. Guinevere. We’re going to be married,” Arthur says, smiling warmly at her.
“Good. I was wondering when I didn’t see it on her hand Saturday night,” Uther says.
“I just did this evening, actually.”
“I’m… I’m not the last to know, am I?” Uther asks, sounding as though he would be disappointed if he was.
“No, actually. Gwen hasn’t told her mother yet. They’re not exactly close. And her brother lives in Chicago, so who knows about him.”
“Ah. Well, congratulations. She will be good for you.”
“She already has been, Father.”
“Yes, I know. Keep her happy, Son…” he says. He sounds like he wants to say more, but he doesn’t. Because आप never know when आप might lose her
Arthur mentally fills in, and suddenly the sadness always on his father’s shoulders makes too much sense.
“I will, Dad. I will.”
“Good. If आप need anything at all for the wedding, let me know. Anything.”
“Oh. Um, thanks. We’ll let आप know. Go to bed, Dad.”
“Good night, Arthur.”
“Why so sad?” Gwen says.
“Mum,” Arthur says, shrugging.
“Oh,” Gwen answers, understanding. She takes the phone and puts it back on the nightstand. “Come here,” she pulls him to her, and they lay back down.
“I think I want to give him the painting of her,” Arthur says, his head on her chest now. “Retirement present, I guess.”
“I think that would be lovely,” Gwen says.
“I प्यार आप so much, Guinevere,” he says, lifting his head and closing his lips softly over hers.
Part 48: link