um. hey guys. if any of you are still here, i'm really really sorry. i guess i kinda blew it..its been...*checks calendar* four months? five months. i could take the time to explain that i was very busy with school and love and such but you didnt come here for excuses. you came for a goddamn story. so here is the next installment. and believe me when i say the next is already in the works.
Arthur maintained his act of a distracted businessman until he felt the jolt of the cab door slam securely behind him. Only then did he shrug off the stress that had bound his nerves during their hasty leave. As the adrenaline evaporated from his temporarily weary muscles, he reflected on whether he had ever experienced such luxurious upholstery in such a modest taxi. He sighed and rested his forehead tentatively on the chill window glass. His eyelids fluttered, his mind had escaped from the chaos of the large city and without realizing it, he was seconds away from an accidental nap. He was abruptly shaken from his trance by a violent crackling noise. He winced, unwittingly knocking the fortune cookie from Eames' outstretched hand.
The man chuckled and leaned back onto his side of the taxi. "Couldn't have you falling asleep on me, dear. We haven't even had supper yet."
Arthur grumbled an irritated reply under his breath. He struggled against the snug embrace of the seatbelt to pick up the fallen cookie.
Eames watched him with smiling eyes. "Thought you might like a fortune," he commented.
Arthur glanced at him skeptically. He tore open the plastic effortlessly and, with a crunch, divided the cookie cleanly in two. He removed the slip of stiff white paper with delicate fingers and gave the empty shell to Eames.
With halfhearted interest, he read the prophesy: Your future is closer than you think.
His eyes panned upward. The first thing he noticed was the rearview mirror. Displayed in it was Eames, his eyes reflecting the scrolling skyscrapers like tiny twin mirrors. He munched unenthusiastically on the cookie while his mind spoke of bigger things.
Arthur's eyes glanced back at the fortune. His logic began molding reasons why Eames and the fortune were not related before he had even consciously made the connection. When his eyes returned to the mirror, Eames was staring straight through him. He smiled.
"Well, was it a good one, then? The fortune?"
"Awful," Arthur said quickly.
Eames turned back to his window. He smiled softly at the passing cars. "I bet it was."
Arthur attempted to shove the mischievous slip of paper into some forgotten corner of his pocket, but to his genuine confusion he found that the space was already occupied. It wasn't until after he had removed the incriminating napkin, and had it snatched from his hand, that he recalled what it was.
"What's this?" Eames asked playfully. When he realized that it was a phone number, he raised his eyebrows. "And who is the lucky owner of this number, hm? It's that fanatical waitress, isn't it?"
"No! Well, uh-"
"Uh huh. So what's your plan? Give her a ring tonight and have a snog? Is that what you want?" Eames seemed lighthearted at first, but his tone hinted at something darker. Was it anger? Jealousy?
"No! I never..." An internal puzzle piece locked into place when Arthur stared again at the phone number. "That number! Eames, I saw that phone number at the hospital! I knew it looked familiar!"
Eames was slow to adjust to the new topic of conversation. "You…what?"
"I'm certain it's the same. Eames, this number," he held up the napkin," Was in Katerina's hospital room."
Eames bore a look that meant he was on the verge of revelation. "But how is this waitress connected to Katerina?"
"If the hospital records are to be believed," Arthur stated, leaning towards him, "this waitress is her closest living relative."
Eames sat back in his seat, his thumb grazing his stubble pensively. "That waitress was rather young...you think she might be her sister?"
"Wouldn't hurt to ask," Arthur responded with a slight smile.
Eames gave one in return. "My, Arthur, we're lucky you're such an attractive boy, or we wouldn't be getting anywhere with this job."
Arthur chose to ignore his flirtatious comment. "I can use this phone number to find the waitress's address when we get back to the hotel, and -"
"When you get back to the hotel," Eames corrected. He chuckled when he saw his stunned expression. "No need to get your panties in a bunch, darling, I just need to return to my apartment and pack my things. I think it's safe to say I'll be staying at your place for the next couple days."
"Oh," Arthur replied sheepishly. He saw no immediate problem with Eames staying with him. Temporarily, of course. Yet some tiny anonymous barb in the back of his mind picked at the idea. Arthur shrugged it off, assuming that he would remember the issue soon enough.
Minutes later, the taxi paused outside Arthur's hotel. He hesitated, his hand on the door handle.
"Don't worry, love," Eames urged pleasantly. "I promise our separation will be brief."
But Arthur wasn't leaving that easily. "You need money for the fare..."
"Already taken care of," Eames produced a hearty wad of cash. "That thick-headed nurse was kind enough to supply us with all the fare money we'll ever need." he winked.
Arthur ignored the blatant robbery. "So my room is on the fifth floor, it's-"
"Honestly, Arthur, have you no faith in me?" Eames gestured towards his coat pocket. "My number's in your contacts. I'll text you when I'm on the lift so you can give me a proper welcome." (A/N: He pronounced 'proper' so that it sounded like 'propah.')
Arthur couldn't help but smile; he never gave Eames the credit he deserved. His right foot was out the door when he paused again. When he turned his head again, he found that Eames was suddenly very close. His familiar scent sent his mind reeling back to that morning, in his apartment. God, how far they'd come since that morning.
"Try not to miss me too much, beautiful," he murmured in Arthur's ear. Then, with gentle celerity, Eames's lips brushed against his jaw bone. In the same breath, he shoved Arthur roughly out of the cab and onto the sidewalk.
"Cheerio!" Eames called merrily before shutting the taxi door and riding out of sight.
Arthur watched the cab for a few seconds, then, deciding it was a silly gesture, walked into the hotel lobby. His jaw buzzed with incredible sensitivity. He swore he could still feel Eames's whiskers as he had pulled away. He reviewed the movement over and over again in his head, searching for evidence that it was an accident and nothing more. However, the more he thought about it, the more convinced he became that the action wasn't so benign. So, after he exited the elevator at his floor, he decided not to think about it anymore.