Part 15: link
Arthur had set his alarm clock for Guinevere, since she has to work again Thursday morning. He has to be back to the firehouse at noon as well, and he wants to make sure he sees her before she leaves this time. He is really getting accustomed to waking up with her in his arms, just as she as getting accustomed to waking up in them. They snuggle under the covers for a bit, whispering, touching, teasing, before Gwen reluctantly gets out of বিছানা and goes to the bathroom and the shower.
He decides to leave her alone this time so she isn’t late for work. He lounges in বিছানা a little longer, thinking about her. He’s so far gone now that he can’t even remember life before her. It was last week, man,
he reminds himself, then rolls over and pushes his face into the বালিশ on which she slept.
They had a wonderful night. The movie wasn’t great, so they spent most of their time making fun of it, cracking each other up. They cuddled together on the sofa after they’d eaten, and managed to finish the movie without ripping each other’s clothes off. You’ve got no bra on.
He had run his hand down her back at one point. Do আপনি have any idea how uncomfortable those things can be? Um, no.
From that point on all he wanted was for the movie to just end
Arthur decides to pop in at the লাইব্রেরি for a few মিনিট before he went to work. He walks through the door, meeting Dr. Gaius on the way in, and relieves him of his heavy bags once again, carrying them to the ডেস্ক for him.
“Thank আপনি again, Arthur,” Gaius tells him.
“Any time, sir,” he says, then turns to see Gwen talking to someone. It’s an older man that she seems to know well. He walks a step closer, and the man laughs. It’s Gwen’s laugh. That must be her father,
he thinks, and stops.
Gwen spots Arthur over her father’s shoulder and waves him over.
“Dad, I want আপনি to meet someone,” she says as Arthur approaches. The man turns. He looks exactly the same as he did in the picture, apart from the grey hair he has now.
“You must be Arthur,” he says, extending his hand. “Guinevere has told me about you.”
“Arthur, my father, Tom Thomas,” Gwen introduces him.
“An honor to meet you, sir,” Arthur says, taking his hand and grasping it firmly.
“Guinevere tells me you’re a fireman?” he inquires.
“Yes, on my way to work right now, in fact. I just wanted to stop in and say hello to your lovely daughter before I’m trapped there until Saturday,” he smiles. He finds he likes her father and really hopes he likes him as well.
“Long hours,” he comments.
“Yes, but it’s a good job. It makes me happy.”
“That’s important. It’s good to do what আপনি like,” he says, smiling at Gwen. “Speaking of which,” he continues, “I had better get back myself. Thanks for the books, Guinevere.” He leans over and kisses her on the cheek and she hugs him.
“Very nice to meet you, Arthur.”
“You, too, sir.”
“Call me Tom, please.” He claps Arthur on the shoulder as he walks past and out the door.
Arthur looks at Gwen. “You didn’t plan that, did you?” he smirks at her, raising an eyebrow.
“No, honest!” she laughs. “I’m glad আপনি came in just now, though.”
He exhales heavily. “Got that
out of the way, then.”
She shoves his shoulder, and he pulls her into his arms for a brief kiss. She lets him, as there is no one in the lobby at the moment.
“Okay, I showed আপনি mine, now আপনি have to প্রদর্শনী me yours,” she tells him.
“When do I get to meet your father?”
“Ha. I have to get a hold of him first. Probably Christmas.”
“Perhaps not. I’ll work on it, I promise. He’s a pain to nail down if it’s not bank-related.”
“You do that. Oh, my dad stopped in to give me these,” she pulls out of his embrace and waves some tickets in his face.
“Rugby?” he grabs them, পাঠ করা them. “These are fantastic seats!”
brother is on the team,” she says, rolling her eyes at him. “They’re for Saturday afternoon.”
He kisses her, and she says, “Did I say I was taking you?”
“No. But আপনি are.”
“Shut up.” She laughs and takes the tickets out of his hand.
“I have to go. See আপনি Saturday.” He gives her one আরো চুম্বন and says, “I প্রণয় you,” against her lips.
“I প্রণয় you, too. Be safe.”
Gwen wakes up Friday morning and sees a light on her phone flashing slowly on and off. I must not have heard it,
she thinks, picking it up. One new text message. 2:17 a.m. She pokes it and her হৃদয় stops. Bigg আগুন @ শস্যাগার ootsid town. Gothurt. Am oK. Luve o.
She stares at it. And then stares at it some more, willing it to change. Willing the spelling errors to fix themselves, willing the words to rearrange so they don’t say what they say.
It’s seven thirty. She normally doesn’t call Arthur when he’s on duty, but she dials his number anyway. It rings for a bit, and just when she thinks it’s going to go to voice mail, a voice answers.
“Don’t ‘hi’ me, Merlin, where’s Arthur?”
“He’s sleeping. I’ve got him on pain meds and he’s out cold.”
Merlin hesitates. Arthur told him that he didn’t want to worry her. He doesn’t know what to say. Stick to the facts,
“There was a আগুন in an abandoned শস্যাগার outside of town. A beam fell and hit Arthur’s shoulder, dislocating it. He’s also got quite an impressive bruise. He’ll be fine.”
“He dislocated his shoulder?”
“Yes, but I managed to pop it back in. It’s quite painful, but it has to be done. That’s why he’s drugged up and sleeping it off now.”
She says nothing. She holds her bear.
Merlin has an idea that should get him out of any trouble with Arthur. He’s not sure about Gwen, though. “Why don’t আপনি stop in at the firehouse this evening?”
“Is that allowed? I wouldn’t want to get him in trouble,” she says, but she really wants to see him. Work is going to be a lot of fun today,
she thinks ruefully.
“It’s fine. Leon’s wife pops in regularly. Besides, Arthur’s the chief. He won’t yell at himself.”
“Oh.” She hadn’t realized that he was in charge
of his shift. Merlin placing her in the same category as a wife
did not escape her attention, either. “What if you’re on a call?”
“Well, Arthur won’t be going.”
“I suppose not.”
The দিন passes in a fog, but it’s a completely different kind of fog than earlier in the week. This fog is unpleasant and worrisome. She decides to leave early and go home. She bakes চকোলেট chip বিস্কুট to bring to the firehouse with her. Baking makes her feel better and keeps her occupied.
She attempts to eat a bite of dinner, but finds she has no stomach. She picks up the scrap of paper with the firehouse’s address and heads out the door, box of বিস্কুট in her arms.
Gwen parks on the রাস্তা and walks to the building. She hears noises coming from behind the building. Sounds like a men engaging in sport. She changes her path and walks around the side, following the noise.
As she walks up, she finds her guess was correct. There is a small impromptu game going on, and as she approaches, she sees a tall man, slender but muscular with brown wavy hair, trip over his own feet and tumble to the ground. The men laugh and he is প্রদত্ত a hand up from a huge man, even taller and quite muscular, but with a sweet boyish face and close-cropped hair. Merlin is standing to the side, with another, a rakishly handsome man with longish dark brown hair. Merlin notices Gwen first. He smiles at her and nods in Arthur’s direction. He is sitting atop a nearby picnic টেবিল watching the action.
Gwen looks and stops walking. Arthur has his left arm in a গুল্তি ছোড়া and there is a large bandage on the side of his neck, low, where the neck meets the shoulder. What is that for?
she thinks. Worry is battling with anger now. What else did they not tell me?
“Arthur,” Merlin calls, and points.
Arthur looks, his face brightening at first. She is wearing a pale green t-shirt, black shorts and black flip-flops that have silver beads on them. As always, his হৃদয় quickens at how she manages to look cute and sexy at the same time. Then he sees the expression on her face. I’m in trouble,
he thinks as he stands and walks to meet her. The game is forgotten as there is much আরো interesting entertainment about to ensue.
“Guinevere,” he tries, smiling at her.
“I’m in trouble, aren’t I?” he says quietly to her once he reaches her. She keeps her box of বিস্কুট between them like a barrier.
“What else happened to you?” she demands.
“I dislocated my shoulder when a beam fell on it—“
“Yes, I know that, Merlin told me,” she cuts him off.
“I’m talking about this
,” she points to the bandage on his neck.
“Oh. Um, it’s a burn.”
“The beam that fell on me was on fire. Some of the bits got under my মণ্ডল and burned me.”
“And…” he’s not sure what she’s looking for now. “And that’s all. Dislocated shoulder, big bruise, burned neck.”
Gwen looks down.
“I didn’t want to worry you,” he says.
“You worry me আরো দ্বারা not telling me everything,” she looks up at him, eyes pained. He reaches out and touches her arm gently.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think about it that way.”
“I’d rather know everything, no matter how gruesome, then be left to wonder if there is anything else
that might be wrong. I came here expecting to see আপনি a little worse for wear, not looking like a hospital patient. আপনি don’t need to protect me, Arthur. Not from things like this.”
“Understood,” he says. “Hopefully there won’t be a পরবর্তি time.” He tries giving her a smile.
“Right. And don’t worry, Merlin’s in for it as well.” She smiles back at him.
“Well, that’s something, at least. I প্রণয় you, Guinevere. I ব্যক্ত last night I wanted আপনি to feel আপনি can tell me anything, and apparently I don’t listen to my own words.”
She kisses him, a soft peck. “I প্রণয় you, too, Arthur. I don’t need আপনি to প্রতিবেদন your every সরানো to me. But I told আপনি I was a worrier.”
“I remember. If the tables were turned, I would expect the same, frankly,” he admits.
The men are watching with interest. They can’t hear what they’re saying, but they watch nevertheless.
“Whoa, she’s cute. She’s the one who’s got him all tied up in knots, then?” Wayne asks Merlin.
“Yes. She’s really great, actually,” he answers.
“He’s in trouble, though. Look at her,” Leon, the only married man there, observes. He’s familiar with that look. “She’s little, but she means business.”
“Nah, look at him.
” Paul joins the conversation. “Never seen him contrite like that before,” he chuckles. “What do আপনি think she’s got in that box?”
“Hopefully something to eat,” Wayne muses, hopeful.
Arthur takes Gwen’s hand and walks her over to meet the men. Merlin steps অগ্রবর্তী first, intending to greet her in a friendly way, but she punches him on the arm.
“Ow! What was that for?” he moans.
“For listening to him
when he told আপনি not to ‘worry’ me.”
Merlin glowers at Arthur, who says, “She figured it out, mate, I didn’t squeal on you.”
“Sorry,” he says, rubbing his arm. She is surprisingly strong.
“Gwen, this is Leon.”
Leon offers his hand. She takes it, saying, “Nice to meet you.” His hand is warm and his long slender fingers nearly মোড়ানো completely around her small hand.
“Nice to meet আপনি as well, Gwen,” he replies. He smiles, eyes twinkling.
“This is Paul,” Arthur indicates the giant man পরবর্তি in line, who also offers a hand. Gwen clasps his broad hand, her fingers barely reaching around. His grip is firm but surprisingly gentle; the handshake of a man in complete control of his considerable strength.
“Paul,” Gwen says and smiles up at him. He smiles back warmly but says nothing.
“And Wayne,” he indicates the handsome dark-haired devil, who extends a hand. As Gwen gives hers, he lifts her knuckles to his lips and kisses them.
“My lady,” he greets her, smiling. Gwen responds with a look that is highly amused and slightly puzzled. The men laugh as Wayne pouts.
“Well, that’s not a response he’s accustomed to receiving,” says Leon, laughing.
“Forgive me, sir, but I seem to be immune to your charms,” Gwen teases.
Wayne finally smiles, saying, “Well, a man can dream, can’t he?”
“No, he bloody well can’t,” Arthur declares, and Gwen joins the men (except Arthur and Wayne) in their laughter.
“I’ve brought a snack for আপনি all,” Gwen says, handing the box to Merlin, who opens it immediately on the picnic table. They are suddenly great boys, oohing and aahing over the cookies, tucking in immediately.
“These are amazing. Where did আপনি get them?” Leon asks after one bite.
“My kitchen,” Gwen tells him.
“Really? I should very much like the recipe, if আপনি can share it.”
“Leon’s the best cook at the station,” Merlin tells her.
“Thank you, Merlin,” he raises his cookie as if offering a toast.
“All right, lads, let’s take these inside to the others. Gwen, would আপনি like a tour?”
“I would প্রণয় one.”
Part 17: link