Disclaimer: I don't own Inception, the rights belong to Chris Nolan and his partner Emma Thomas.
When Cobb said the architect was a student his father recommended, he assumed to expect some schmuck with glasses and a pencil pocket protector. Ha, higher entities above seemed to take satisfaction by proving him wrong on all accounts.
Perhaps he had gotten used to expecting, to fill in the finer details for Cobb and his extravagant heists. Maybe the going with the flow of the plan and just reacting, that he had gotten complacent, and stopped actually taking in the details that he was so scrupulous about. That when he least expected to get a surprise it was in the form of waif thin girl with sharp bright eyes and witty repartee. Arthur hated surprises, but he could deal with what came with the job description. Surprises in the grand scheme of Cobb's plans usually meant death was a closer possibility than life, whether in the dream world or in reality. So, Arthur wasn't a fan of surprises.
However, after meeting the potential architect he had to digress… a little. When Arthur came upon the ramshackle facility, he pioneered for their quasi-headquarters the scene he entered in caused him to pause. Near Cobb, sprawled out on the lawn chair he had procured (the one he labeled crash spot of choice) was a tiny little thing with long chestnut curls and dressed in casual fitted clothes typical of a student in Paris. No glasses on her face, and definitely not nerdy. If anything, he might have even said she was lovely. To look at of course, outer appearances never went hand in hand with inner personality too often when it came to the women he came across, so he didn't want to imagine.
But imagining her was different from experiencing her come to life, eyes –bright hazel- wide and unseeing and delicate shoulders shaking with phantom pains. She came back from the dream-sharing before the timer set. Arthur grimaced; Mal was most likely the culprit as she had been slithering in through the cracks of Cobb's subconscious more frequently. Cobb was beginning to fray, more so than the day of his escape from the states. Dom was an idiot if he thought he wouldn't notice, he was the point man the producer behind his artist, he had to take in all the details directly or by observation. He almost felt guilty of what this girl could be getting into; their business wasn't very clean as of late.
She was refreshingly bright and perceptive to notice that not everything was as it seemed when it came to Cobb's offer. She could tell that Mal wasn't an ordinary projection and was immediately curious. Her face was a mix of panic, fear, but also intriguingly curiosity. Arthur was almost taken aback by how often his eyes traveled back to the soft curves of her lovely face.
She was a pleasant surprise, one that he didn't feel obligated to tolerate and adapt to. It almost made him disappointed to see her flee after her tirade at Cobb.
"She'll be back" Dom announced confidently after the echo of stomping feet faded away.
Arthur was unsure, but he had a feeling she would come back though, the intellectual drawl was hard to overcome. She was an unexpectedly lovely creature. It almost made him hate surprises a little less.