Young And Pretty

It's been a week, three days and six hours since the last job. Arthur had been counting as you may have guessed.

His mind racing ever since he got off the plane. When he saw the infinite red scarf disappear into a sea of people, regret had filled his head. Not a goodbye. Not even mentioning the kiss to her, which left his lips tingling ever since. He still got up and got dressed and made himself presentable aside from the fact that he hadn't left his apartment since he got back from L.A.

He'd been pushing the young architect out of his head. Why her? She had so much more to learn that he didn't have the patience to teach. A muffled noise knocked him out of his trance. He picked up the telephone.

"Arthur speaking"He mumbled. A voice chuckled on the other end.

"I've never heard you so tense." The voice teased. Only one person could tease him and not get in trouble. Cobb.

"Sorry. Haven't exactly been in contact with civilization since-well you know." He huffed. Arthur loosened his tie and sat up. He needed to get out and distract himself.

"Yes well I figured I'd give you a call, seeing as though I may have a job for you." Cobb said, his voice light and somewhat cheery.

"I doubt I have a degree for whatever sort of job they're offering." Arthur chirped.

There was another chuckle, this one longer then the last.

"Amusing but it is in your degree. Gather up the team. This one is big." Arthur grinned but it quickly faded.

"I'm guessing...You wont be joining us will you Cobb?" He asked. Cobb sighed. Arthur's shoulders slumped.

"Arthur you know I am now retired. Philipa and James..." He trailed off. Arthur grumbled but he knew this was true.

"I know you'll have no trouble opening up to you're teammates. One in particular, one architect of the female gender." Cobb taunted. The smile was back, followed by a blush.

"You don't know anything you old bastard." He snickered.

-Ariadne

Ariadne sat in class, her chin in her palm. Lectures were hard to pay attention to while building dreams in you're mind. She desperately needed a break, a dream, to build as she pleased. She missed the team. Yusef, she wanted to learn more about him. Saito, she knew there was more to him then his stony expression. Eames, the witty Englishman that she knew deep, deep down he had a heart. Then there was Cobb, something about the way he opened up to her made her want to go and open up to him. She avoided the last person. Mostly because she could make up a paragraph of all things she missed about him. She knew it would never happen. Of all the silly unrealistic thoughts, this was definitely one of them. She was a student, young and still immature when it comes building dreams. He was classy, mature, older and wiser. Ariadne was a smart girl and she could easily read people like books. But Arthur, Arthur was different. He was very closed off, sarcastic and serious. She looked down at her notes. Her name was at the top of the nearly blank sheet of paper.

"Ariadne?" Professor Miles called. She looked up. The room was empty.

"Class is over dear." He said, his voice wary. She quickly gathered her stuff and headed for the door but Miles stopped her.

"Someone's waiting for you outside. A black town car will retrieve you." He smiled.

Outside she couldn't help but fumble with her bishop in her pocket while looking for the black town car. The totem helped her regain what's real and what's not. Then the town car pulled up, just as Miles said it would. The back door opened and a familiar figure stepped out.

Of all the people to pick her up it was the one person she couldn't seem to get off her mind. There, in a black sweater, red tie tucked in of course and gray slacks was Arthur. A small amused smile escaped his lips. She realized she was blushing. How attractive?

"What are you doing here Arthur?"She asked, her voice squeaky and high. He brushed his hand through his hair and let out a sigh.

"Well at the moment I'm waiting for you to get into the car." He said, clearing his throat. Ariadne smirked. Someone was a little nervous. She brushed past him and paused.

"I missed you."She said, quiet but just loud enough for him to hear. He reached out and gave her a wrist a small squeeze. They stood there, staring at each other. Long enough for a voice to call: "Would you two get in the bloody car?". Ariadne broke the gaze and peaked in the car.

"Eames is that you?"She asked. Eames leaned forward.

"No my dear its Old Chris Crinkle! Come sit on my lap!" He called sarcastically. Ariadne let herself smirk as she climbed into the town car but she stopped. Arthur hadn't let go of her arm yet. She looked back at him and then at her arm. Arthur turned red when he noticed and he quickly let go. She turned back around and planted herself in the seat next to Eames. Arthur settled down next to her before closing the door. Ariadne was squished in between the two men. Every twist and turn either landed her in Arthur's lap or on top of Eames. Eames found it entertaining but Arthur did not. He just helped her back into her seat and went back to gazing out the window. What was his problem? They were just fine moments before. Then it struck her. This was normal Arthur. She just forgot because of all the immature college boys. He was a gentlemen and as much as she'd like him to be red with embarrassment, he was collected and concentrated. At least he wasn't curled up in the corner, making sure they didn't touch period. They finally reached their destination.

-Arthur

Arthur padded towards the black double doors. Eames and Ariadne traveling at a steady pace behind him. He swung one door open and held it open for them. Ariadne thanked him quietly and he watched her walk into the warehouse. He couldn't help but smile. Her wavy chestnut hair hung in a low ponytail bouncing as she walked. "Will you be joining us Arthur or are you enjoying they a lovely Paris day?" Eames snickered. Arthur shook his head and joined the group.

"Why are we here?" Ariadne asked. Arthur sat on the foot of one of the pastel lawn chairs.

"A new job. Cobb wanted us to meet here." Arthur replied dryly. Moments later Cobb stepped in with Yusef and a woman trailing behind him.

"Glad you all could make it." Cobb said smiling big. The room was silent and Cobb's smile weakened.

"Tough crowd. Uh I have a job but you can't exactly do a job without a an extractor so..." The woman stepped up next to him. "This is Ophelia, my apprentice and she'll be joining our team."He finished.

-Ariadne

Ariadne studied the woman. Long silky black hair, piercing green cat like eyes and a thin frame. She was dressed in a royal blue ruffled blouse with a brown high waisted pencil skirt. She reminded Ariadne of a female Arthur by the way she dressed. Something about Ophelia upset Ariadne. Ophelia looked serious and not like someone she could talk to. She was no Cobb. Arthur crossed the room and took Ophelia's hand in his.

"I'm Arthur. The point man" He smirked lifting her hand up and kissing it lightly. Ophelia blushed. Okay, Ariadne definitely didn't like her. She clenched her fists and narrowed her eyes.

"You okay darling?"Eames asked softly. Ariadne looked at him, he looked concerned. She slumped her shoulders and nodded.

"I'm fine..just...I'm fine." Ariadne shifted uncomfortably. Eames watched her carefully.

"Well you don't look fine to be honest."Eames grumbled. Ariadne looked up at Cobb. He looked different...happy and he had a glimmer in his eye. He wasn't the Cobb she last saw exiting the baggage claim at the airport. He was somewhat jolly. Ariadne wondered if his kids looked more like Mal or Cobb. Probably a mix of both. Part of her hoped they'd have the same bright blue eyes as Cobb and maybe have Mal's facial structure. She wished she could see them. Eames walked over and greeted Ophelia and she treaded to Cobb's side. He smiled at her and gave her shoulder a squeeze.

"Architect, what can I do for you?" He chirped. The new Cobb would take some getting used to.

"The job...do we know anything yet?" Ariadne asked. Cobb nodded.

"Don't worry, I'll explain." He replied. "Okay now that we're all acquainted lets get down to business." Cobb said. Ariadne slumped into the folding chair next to Yusef. She was excited, yes, but it was a lot to take in.

"The client is Mr. Roswell Olsen. You all may have heard of him, he's the CEO of Olsen Dynamics and owns many successful products. Now our mark is Mr. Lionel Bruins. He's the owns the rival company and they are at the top of their game. They have a secret product coming out next March and we need to find out what it is. A simple extraction." Cobb explained. Eames's eyes darted back and forth from the ground to Cobb.

"Where do I come in again?" Eames suggested. Cobb shrugged.

"Just do what Arthur tells you and you'll be fine."He said. Ariadne fumbled with her bishop and contemplated level plans in her mind.

"Ariadne, you will be needing some background information." Cobb said, handing her a file. It was heavy, and after reading it she could most likely write a good, thought out essay on Lionel Bruins. After being dismissed she put her file in her brown tote and headed for the door.

"Ariadne!" A voice called. She turned on her heel and was face to face with Cobb.

"I know you weren't allowed to show me the plans on our last mission but this time, call me if you need anything." He said. Ariadne cracked a smile. He sounded like a father, wishing his daughter well as she goes off to college. Without thinking she wrapped her arms around his torso and hugged him. He returned the hug and they parted soon after. When he left, she walked over to a desk in the warehouse and ran her hand along the top. She needed a good place to work and she figured this would do fine.

"That's mine you know." Someone taunted. She looked over her shoulder to see that Arthur was still there. Her hand halted. There goes her perfect workplace.

"If you want I'll order you one."He said stuffing his hands in his pockets. Ariadne shook her head and sat in the nearest chair.

"I'll be fine. I just was looking for a good place to study." She said calm cool and collected. He gazed at her and then took one hand out of his pocket to open a silver briefcase.

"Well don't mind me. I'm going into a dream. Feel free to join me if you get bored." He winked. He laid down on a lawn chair, hooked himself up and fell asleep.