Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me.
Arthur swallowed, feeling slightly uncomfortable. He'd tried to be as civil as possible during the meal, despite endless provocation - Eames had flattered his looks, praised his work, commenting how long it had been since he'd had a meal with a gorgeous young man- but Arthur still felt it was a charade. Taunting him. Trying to convince him to open up to feelings he would not confess.
"I'm fine," he answered, "the words coming out slightly more curtly than he'd intended. "I don't need more wine."
"You barely touched your steak."
Arthur swallowed. "I'm just not very hungry."
Eames narrowed his eyes. "Its easy to worry about you, Arthur. Very easy. Problem is, you're too selfish to realise it."
The Point Man reached for his wine glass. "You're so perceptive."
"Of course," Eames said, smirking. "I just feel sorry for Ariadne. Being with you. Not wanting to accept or realise what's right in front of her."
Arthur glared at him. "Leave her out of it. She's not here, remember?"
"No. She isn't."
Arthur blinked. The wine was making him feel light headed. Pushing back his chair, he began to get up. "Excuse me."
"You're a charmless dinner partner." Eames shrugged. "But its all right. I need a cigarette."
Arthur began to walk away from the table, trying to keep his raging emotions under control. As he entered the elevator, he felt his phone begin to vibrate. Biting his lip, he pulled it out.
Swallowing, he waited until he'd reached the floor of his room, then walked over to the door. Unlocking the door with his swipe card, he then entered, and decided to go to the balcony for privacy.
The night was darkening. He noted the stains of indigo against the turquoise sky, and settled himself in one of the chairs. Pulling his phone out, he began to return the call.
After a few seconds, she answered. "Hello?"
"Hey," he replied, softly. "How are you?"
"Arthur! I wondered...why you didn't answer the first time." Her voice sounded slightly strained, and Arthur bit his lip. He swallowed, trying to consider a response that wouldn't appear hurtful.
"I'm sorry. I was at dinner."
He flushed, and began to feel guilty. The reproach in her voice was perceptible enough to make him wince. "I'm sorry, I was at dinner with Eames - we were trying to meet the Mark."
He exhaled slowly. The conversation was going nowhere. "Ari, I'm sorry, ok?"
"Arthur, I'm not asking you to be sorry," she replied, her tone puzzled. "Its just...I just wanted to call you, hear your voice. Is that ok?"
"Of course." He realised how defensive he sounded, and tried to keep it out of his voice.
"I just hope you're taking care of yourself," she said, not waiting for him to continue with his sentence. "You know what you're like when you're working on a job."
Arthur ground his teeth slightly. "Trust me. Please."
"I do! she protested. "I-"
"How's Miles?" he interrupted, desperate to switch the focus of the conversation. "And the kids?"
"As well as can be expected," she replied. "He's still in hospital."
"OK, listen, now you take care, and I'll call soon, ok?"
As he clicked off, he felt a rush of self loathing. She didn't deserve that.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. He felt a rush of irritation. "Eames, leave it!" he shouted.
There was a pause.
"Well, I'm sorry, I'll -"
His eyes widening, Arthur moved forward and pulled the door open. The mark stood on the other side, smiling.
"Hi," he said, gently. "May I come in?"
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