Chapter 5: Dream Break-In
My phone went off again after about 20minutes but I didn't hear it until quite a while later, "Gnight Arthur, I'm glad I met you again tonight :)" as I read that my heartbeat rose again, I thought about responding and saying good night but I figured I didn't want to wake her. She probably thinks I'm an asshole since I didn't answer her. I knew at that point that I could have a future with this girl. She was perfect.
My phone rang around 2:30pm and I practically ran to answer it. "Well, somebody's excited," I glared at Eames as I picked up my phone and walked down the hallway.
"Hey how's it goin?"
"Good, just had some lunch, how're you? How's your brother?"
"He was up a bit ago, he seems back to life. I think he's heading back to sleep, is now a good time?"
"Heading there," I was playing with hair tie on my wrist, tying my fingers in it nervously,
"Alright, now should be good. Where are ya?"
I gave him the address to my apartment building and the key code to get in, still nervous about what I was about to do.
I cooked up some tea as I waited for Arthur, but as I waited for the water to boil I realized I looked like shit and my apartment was a mess. Screw the tea. I started running around frantically picking up clothes and trash and collecting dishes and trying to fix my hair at the same time. I suddenly heard my doorbell ring. Shit. I quickly finished throwing mascara on my long eyelashes and ran to the door, calmed down, and opened it slowly. Arthur stood there, perfect as ever, with a slight grin on his face and silver briefcase by his side. "Hey come on in," I backed up and gestured inside, "Wow, your place is lovely," he walked towards a painting of mine on the wall and I heard him mutter, "Amazing," he turned to me, "Did you do this?" "Yea, painting's a side hobby of mine. My grandpa was an amazing artist. Unfortunately he died when I was young and wasn't able to teach me anything. I remember watching him paint one time, but that's really all I remember." Arthur turned to me, "I'm sorry," he looked back at the stormy painting then back at me, "I don't think you need any teaching." I looked at him with a soft smile, "Thanks". We stood there just a few feet apart from each other smiling with locked eyes. Arthur looked down suddenly and broke the silence, I think he got nervous, "So where's your brother?"
I led him into the other room where I'd set him up in my bed. Arthur pulled a couple chairs next to the bed and opened up the silver briefcase. Inside was a big red button and a lot of tubes and cords, "What's that?" He was pulling out a long, thin tube with a needle on the end towards my brother. I took a step forward as he glanced back at me to answer, "This," he looked back at my brother then back to me, "is how we get into his subconscious. Take a seat." He gestured towards a chair as he injected the needle into my brothers' wrist. I started to panic, not understanding how this worked. He walked towards me with a tube just like the one he connected to my brother. He's so tall, "What's going to happen?" My voice was shaky as I spoke. He looked up into my eyes, smiling slightly as he crouched down to my level on the chair and picked up my arm. His touch is so soft and his hands are warm and gentle, I want him to touch me, to really touch me. He looked down as he pierced my wrist with the needle, I winced. He gently let my hand slide out of his and onto the arm of the chair. I watched him as he walked back to the case, injected himself and pressed the red button in the center of the case. I instantly felt numb and relaxed; it felt like every muscle had just melted into itself as I my head fell to the side and I drifted off.
When I 'woke up' I was standing in the middle of a messy apartment. I knew right away it was my brothers' house. There were clothes and dishes everywhere and the air smelled stale. I looked to my left and saw Arthur standing a few feet away from me looking calm as he poked at an ashtray on the coffee table. I am definitely not as calm as he is; it's a weird feeling knowing you're not actually there even though you are... if that makes any sense at all. I began to shake a little as I looked around. I'm so nervous; I don't understand this at all. What's happening? Where's Sean? Is he even here? I don't know if I even want to search around in here. It feels wrong, I started to doubt my actions, this is such an awkward thing to do, I'm breaking into my own brothers' house that's really in his head to snoop around and discover something he doesn't want to tell me in the first place. Such a breach in privacy, "I don't want to be here anymore," my voice was shaky as I looked around in a panicked way. Arthur walked towards me and put his hands on my shoulders, "it's ok, just take a breath. Take a deep breath," I was still looking around nervously, my eyes wide in what felt like fear, "Hey, hey, look at me," he gave me a slight shake to grab my attention, it worked. I looked up at him in his eyes and I calmed down immediately. There's something about his eyes, his features that just brings me back. Both our heads snapped to the bedroom door as it opened, "Uh, hi? When did you get here? I never heard the door open." "Hey Sean, uhm," I turned to Arthur, "This is my friend Arthur," my eyes flipped back to Sean, "We just wanted to say hi..." He stared at us blankly, "Ok... hi?" My brother and I weren't very close. I turned to Arthur, "Does he not know?" Arthur shook his head and slid his hands from my shoulders. Only then did I notice we were both wearing plain old jeans and t-shirts. Last I knew he was in a brown leather jacket and I was in leggings. I know I barely know him but I have a vague feeling this will be one of the only times I'll see him in grubby jeans and a grey t-shirt. A couple people all of a sudden came through the front door, they looked tough and I got a little nervous again. Who are they? I thought it was only us three plugged in? Does that mean someone broke into my house and plugged themselves in?! Arthur noticed me panic and put a hand on the small of my back, leaned towards me and whispered, "It's ok. They're just projections of his subconscious. They're not real." I let my breath go but I'm still freaking out here. "How are we even going to do this?" I whispered. He kept his eyes on the newcomers as they stepped towards us and moved his arm from behind me to in front of me slightly pushing me back. Sean stepped towards us, "What the hell are you even doing in my house?" He did not want us here. I don't think he knew he was dreaming but I think he knew what we were after. I've pestered him so many times wanting to find out what he was doing and every time he just got pissed off. Arthur stood tall in front of me as if some kind of rumble was about to break out. Sean doesn't like me snooping but it's not like he's gunna beat us up or something. The projections started coming towards us, Arthur pushed me further behind him till I was almost against the wall. Why is he so nervous? They're rough lookin dudes but they're not an army. "Arthur?" I took a step forward, "Stay back, they've sensed we're not supposed to be here. Nobody's subconscious likes to be messed around with." His voice was strained near the end as he caught one of the projections fists in midair and shoved him back. The rest of them ran at us and I screamed as one of them grabbed my arm from behind Arthur, "Haylie!" he yelled, still fighting as he was being pulled in the other direction. I struggled as hard as I could but I couldn't get away, they started beating me and it hurt like hell, I'm in a dream why does this hurt so bad?! "Arthur! Wake me up!" I could feel the blood trickling down the side of my face as I looked up and screamed as I saw the glass shatter when they violently threw Arthur out the window, "Arthur!" There was no answer from him but I screamed again and struggled harder as one of the projections charged at me holding a large shard of shattered glass from the broken window above his head and smashed it down slicing my face and stabbing right into onto my torso.
I jumped and launched myself forward ripping out the needle and coughing and feeling my head for the blood and holding my stomach with the other hand, my heart rate was through the roof and I swear I was about to hyperventilate. Arthur dove towards me and grabbed my shoulders turning me to face him to calm me down, not realizing it was him and still freaked out I threw my right fist out and clocked him in the side of the face knocking him backwards with a thump. I covered my mouth to stifle a scream as I noticed who he was and what I'd done. Coughing still I choked out the words, "Arthur I am so sorry." Both of us still being on the floor I crawled towards him and reached out to touch his face as it turned red, "If only you'd done that in the dream we would have been alright," Arthur chuckled as he sat up and took my hand off his face as he winced. I started scanning around the room and began to fully remember where I was. I looked at my brother lying on the bed, his eyes were half open now and he was looking right at me. I stumbled towards him and yanked the needle out before he saw it. I don't think he'd be too pleased to know that wasn't a dream he just had and that we were actually in his head. Arthur clambered to pack up the case and drag it into the other room but as he attempted to do so Sean sat up, "hey. Who are you," he sounded rough and angry, "this is my friend, Arthur, we were just checking on you, go back to sleep!" I pushed Arthur out of the bedroom as I said this and slammed the door shut after us. I didn't want Sean's first impression of Arthur to be 'the guy who invaded his dream'. Even though Sean and I weren't close, I still wanted him to like Arthur. I like Arthur.
He looked at me with sad eyes, "I'm really sorry about that," he took a step towards me, "about what?" I looked at him, slightly confused, "for what happened, I'm so sorry. Are you alright?" "I'm... Ok ya," I let out a slight laugh as my hand moved to my stomach again, "why are you sorry? That's Sean's subconscious right?" "Well ya but I should have warned you. I should have told you more about this stuff first." I looked down, "It's ok, you can explain it now though", I laughed awkwardly as he came over and sat me down in the couch. He took the seat next to me and took the next hour and a half explaining everything about extraction and dream sharing and everything about projections and how it all works. He told me about Architects, Forgers, Thieves, Extractors and about his position, the Point Man. "I wanna try it again, but without getting beat up," Arthur smiled lightly as he looked at me, "I'll set something up for ya," he grinned n shot a wink at me, my heart skipped a beat.