Arthur was angry. Rage curled up in his stomach as he watched Eames with his tongue down another guy's throat. Arthur had suspected for a long time that Eames had been cheating on him. The number of times he had crawled into their bed, reeking of alcohol and smelling of other men.
They'd gotten together after the Fischer job, on a high after completing an Inception the two of them had fallen into bed together. And that was that. Eames was always loud, full of life and it had taken Arthur a while to notice Eames had a drinking problem. Every job they completed the British man would insist on dragging Arthur to the nearest bar and getting piss drunk, and every time Eames left work early Arthur knew that he was going to go and down copious amounts of alcohol. The rest of the team had worked it out as well and every pitying look they gave him drove his frustration up another notch.
But this was the final straw, now he could no longer lie to himself. He had decided that day, that he needed to know for sure. He couldn't stand another night of waiting for Eames to come home. So he'd followed him to a club in the red light district. Watching the man he'd fallen in love with, leave a club to have sex with another guy, a guy Arthur was sure, Eames wouldn't even remember the name of tomorrow judging by his dubious balance.
Arthur couldn't watch anymore, something had shattered inside him. He felt numb. He ran all the way back to their apartment, tears streaming down his cheeks. He threw everything he owned into a suitcase, wrote a short note, left his key beside it and left the apartment for the last time.
At about three o'clock in the morning Eames let himself into his apartment, and collapsed into an empty bed. He didn't notice that Arthur wasn't there he was too drunk to notice anything. He passed out a soon as his head landed on the pillow.
Hangovers were a bitch Eames decided as he slowly came to the next morning. His eyelids felt as though they were glued shut, and his head felt like someone was stabbing him repeatedly. Slowly he began to realise that he was alone. The other side of the bed was empty. Cold. Arthur had probably gone to work early, Eames decided. He was unsure what had happened last night, but a sharp and all too familiar sense of guilt was making its nest in his stomach, and he felt sore. Eames knew he had cheated again. He felt terrible and horrifically sorry. How could he ever tell Arthur?
Eames noticed that Arthur's side of the wardrobe was empty when he finally got up and decided to get dressed. It was then that Eames started to panic. He hurriedly began to look for the rest of Arthurs stuff. There was nothing there. It was then Eames noticed the scrap of paper on the kitchen table. A sinking feeling accompanied the nausea in his gut. There were only a few lines.
My heart can't love you anymore because you have broken it.
I don't know who he was and I don't care.
Don't look for me. We're finished.
Eames knew one thing for certain. He wasn't going to work today. Maybe wouldn't ever again. Screw what Arthur wanted. He would find him, no matter how long it took.
Arthur showed up on Ariadne's doorstep in Paris. He'd called the extractor on the job he'd been working and told him he was quitting. He'd flown straight to Paris from Chicago. Tired, miserable and wet because of the shitty weather he stood outside the apartment of his favourite architect and knocked three times.
"Okay, I'm coming just hold on a sec."
To say Ariadne looked surprised to see the calm collected pointman standing on her front porch dripping wet with shadows of sleepless nights under his eyes, would be the understatement of the century. She stood speechless, mouth wide open taking him in. She couldn't stop the slight trickle of hope that was spreading through her heart. She'd told herself over and over again that he didn't love her, he was with Eames, but seeing him now standing there looking miserable and holding a bag, her crushed spirit began to show signs of life. Something had happened between Arthur and Eames and she felt terrible for him. However the fact that Arthur had come to her, not Cobb or Yusuf or Saito, meant he felt enough for her that he could trust her with this and that made her heart flutter.
"Arthur, what are you doing here? What's wrong? Come in your soaking."
It took about half an hour for Ariadne to get the gist of what had happened. Arthur kept stammering "He...he cheated...on me." It was hard to get more than that out of him but Ariadne got there in the end. He sobbed into her shoulder for at least an hour afterward and it hurt her to see him like this. If she ever saw Eames again, she was going to break his nose. He didn't deserve Arthur.
"It's ok" she murmured over and over again. When he'd calmed down enough she told him "You can stay with me if you want. For as long as you want, I have a spare room and I've been looking for a roommate anyway."
The gratitude in Arthur's eyes was overwhelming and it dimmed the betrayal for a split second. "Thank you" he whispered. He took a shower, and fell asleep in Ariadne's spare room; it was his room now he told himself just before his eyes closed.
Eames threw down his mobile in frustration. Fat lot of good Cobb had been. "I promised not to tell you, and I wouldn't have any way you conceited twat" was all Eames got before Cobb slammed the phone down on him. Since Arthur had left, Eames had been travelling city to city looking for him, phoning anyone that knew him desperate for answers.
He slouched in the hotel lounge chair, opening bottles of whiskey from the minibar. Downing them all. Anything that could dull the pain was welcomed with gratitude. Eames glared at the empty bottles; this was a light bulb moment for him. Alcohol was the reason he'd cheated. It was the hangovers that caused Eames to snap at his boyfriend the next day. He had a problem Eames realised; maybe if he changed Arthur would want him back.
Arthur had been living with Ariadne for three months now. He heart was slowly beginning to heal, and that was mostly due to Ariadne. She was patient with him; made sure he looked after himself properly, she could make him smile. They would hang out in the evenings watch movies, bitch about relationships. They started spending more time together, taking the same jobs. He enjoyed being with her, he realised they had a lot in common and it was easy to be around her.
When he was with Eames, Arthur had constantly been walking on eggshells. The wrong thing said would throw Eames into a temper if he was sober and especially when he had a hangover. To be honest Arthur had preferred him when he was drunk, but he'd put up with everything else because he loved him.
Did he still love him? This was the question Arthur asked himself on a daily basis. The answer was always yes. Arthur couldn't wait for the day when the automatic answer was no.
Rehab was going rather well for Eames, it had been six months since Arthur had left him and four before he'd signed in for this place. He'd not missed a single counselling session and he hadn't had a drink since. When he left the unit for the last time he felt free.
Now to find Arthur. Show him that he was different and possibly beg a little.
"Hey Ari, it's your turn to wash up" Arthur called from the kitchen. His response was a groan of submission from the other room. Ariadne pouted at him as she entered the kitchen. Arthur shook his head at her. "That's not going to work on me, you'd better get started." Ariadne sighed but rolled her sleeves up willingly.
"We should grab lunch when I'm finished, it's almost one" she said over her shoulder.
"Sounds good. What do you want to eat?"
"You have to ask?"
It was Arthurs turn to groan. "No more burger's, ever. You're killing me here." She laughed at his expression and flicked a soap bubble at her roommate. Arthur smiled, at her laughter; it always made something squirm inside him. He'd been noticing all sorts of things about her lately, things he would never have noticed a few months ago. Things like the way her hair looked in the sunlight or how her eyes looked almost green at the right time of day, how she could make him laugh.
"Do I still love Eames?" he asked himself. "No" was his first thought and the second one was "thank god" a wave of relief crashed down over him, but only for a second. Then a sense of shock replaced it. He realised why he no longer wanted Eames.
"I've fallen in love with Ariadne." Suddenly there was only one thought occupying his mind.
"Oh Shit. What the hell do I do now?"
"Cobb, please, you're Arthur's best friend, can't you tell me where he is. I swear I'm better; I'll do anything to get him back." Eames was standing outside the home of Dominic Cobb, begging for his help.
"Fine, but if you hurt him again I will shoot you in the face." Cobb wrote down an address and handed it to the Brit, before turning inside to deal with a couple of screaming children, and slamming the door in Eames' face.
He glanced at the piece of paper; it was an address in Paris. Eames smiled and took out his phone booking the first flight to Paris from Los Angeles it left in two days time. He just hoped he wasn't too late. It had taken him eight months to find him.
They were watching the news when Arthur got up the courage to say something to Ariadne about how he felt.
"Ariadne, you like me right?"
"So if I say something, that you don't want to hear, you'll forgive me and forget this ever happened, right?"
"Depends on what you say"
"I love you"
"I'm in love with you. I realised a while ago but I was too nervous to say anything. I don't love Eames anymore and I know you probably don't feel the same way about me but..."
She stopped him from continuing by hauling him forwards by his shirt and kissing him senseless.
"Okay, I'm going to take that as a good sign" Arthur said when they paused for breath.
"I've been in love with you since the day we met. When you kissed me on the Inception job I knew for certain. It's always been you, there's no one else for me and I promise you I will never hurt you like he did." She locked eyes with him, letting him see the truth written in them.
Arthur knew then, he would never leave her.
Eames took a deep breath and knocked on the apartment door. When it opened, he felt as though he'd been punched in the chest. Ariadne opened the door, wearing a shirt too big for her and Eames knew it was Arthurs.
"What are you doing here" Eames winced at the venom in her voice and suddenly wished he hadn't come.
"Who is it" called a voice from behind her, and Eames' chest was suddenly overcome with a desperate need to see the owner of it.
"Eames" was all she said, but she didn't move an inch to let him pass.
Arthur was shocked to hear that word come out of Ariadne's mouth and for a moment he couldn't move. This would be unpleasant no matter how he handled it.
"Let him in" Arthur told her. She did. The two men stared at each other neither one wanting to make the first move. Ariadne left to give them some privacy, but she made a point of kissing Arthur on the cheek first, making sure Eames knew Arthur was hers.
"What are you doing here?" Arthur asked him.
"I thought if I could turn my life around, stop drinking you would give me another chance."
"I gave you hundreds of chances. You think I didn't know where you went every night, who you were fucking behind my back. I don't care anymore. You can do what you want with them now. You are nothing to me anymore."
"You don't mean that."
"Yes I do. I'm in love with Ariadne. When I left you, it was because you had broken my heart. You shattered it into little pieces and Ariadne let me cry on her shoulder, she gave me a place to stay; she helped me build myself up again. I knew I'd fallen in love with her, the day she made me laugh for the first time in months."
"Don't be. I forgive you. Maybe we'll even be friends again one day. I'm glad you turned your life around."
"Thank you. I should go. Leave you with your girlfriend. I'll see you." Eames turned around and walked out of the apartment and he heard Arthur say "I hope you find someone who can make you as happy as I am, one day."
Eames didn't look back.
The wedding invitation came ten months later. Eames decided to go in the end, and he applauded with everyone else.
"Hi, I'm Ben" the cute best man came over to shake Eames' hand and he couldn't help but smile back.
Eames didn't drink anything at the reception. After all everyone deserves a second chance, even if not with the same person.
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