Eames is at a civilised gathering – a gathering of thieves and criminals, but civilised nevertheless – after his team’s valiant attempt at inception. There are people milling around the low-key warehouse, mostly other dreamshare workers but Eames has spotted some potential clients. He makes sure to schmooze them; he gets another few jobs lined up, which should do him for the time being.
He’s talking to a flirty extractor in a little black dress when he spots someone sitting at the desk in the corner – it’s a man in a white shirt rolled up to his elbows, a sinful brown vest and pinstripe trousers that hug his legs. He’s got his head resting on one of his fists, and looks like a tired child whose parents won’t let him go to bed yet. He blinks lazily and Eames smiles distractedly as he eyes the curves of the man’s body.
“Hey, Melissa,” he asks. “That guy – you know him?” Melissa turns her head then grins.
“Oh, Arthur. He runs point; one of the best. They say he’s Cobb’s pet, though, follows him around like he’s leashed.” Eames nods slowly. That would explain why he looked so exhausted; Eames had done a job with Cobb as the extractor once, and the things they achieved were incredible, but Eames wanted to punch him in the face by the end of it.
“Well, Melissa, I’m going to go and meet this Arthur. Lovely talk.”
“Good luck,” Melissa smirks, sipping her champagne and sauntering off to talk to someone else. Eames makes a beeline towards Arthur, who looks up almost guiltily when he approaches.
“Arthur?” Eames smiles, holding a hand out.
“Mr Eames, I presume,” Arthur says, shaking Eames’ hand. Eames finds himself studying Arthur’s mannerisms already, memorising the feeling of his callused palm and long fingers. “It’s a shame about the inception.”
“Next time, darling,” Eames shrugs. Arthur raises an eyebrow.
“It won’t ever work,” he says. Eames shrugs again.
“You just need some imagination.” They stare at each other for a few moments, gazes flickering to shoulders, lips, thighs. “Do you want to get out of here?”
“Yes,” Arthur groans, standing up and grabbing his jacket off the back of the chair. “Please.” Arthur makes some subtle signals at Cobb across the room then grabs Eames’ wrist and pulls him out the door.
Their first kiss is harsh, ungentle, underneath the buzzing light of a fading streetlamp while their breaths mist in the air.