"Oh," Eames states, the door ajar and the top buttons on his salmon pink shirt undone, "wasn't expecting you."
"Sorry," Arthur apologizes, "can I come in?"
The door opens and Eames makes an excessive bow, smirk plain on his face. "Please do darling."
Arthur rolls his eyes but picks up his worn leather case and walks into Eames' apartment.
"If you would have given me some notice, I would have been able to cleanup the place a bit," Eames apologizes.
The place isn't messy. There's almost not enough stuff for there to be a mess to make. Eames has one black recliner, a propely large television and taped up boxes along the back wall. There is no art, no knickknacks, only some books and a couple of open latptops.
"Lucky for you," Eames whispers, starling close to Arthur's ear, "I have an extra room." He steps from behind Arthur and leads the way into his apartment.
The spare bedroom is as sparse as the living room. But there's a bed and sheets and some security that blank faced agents won't be knocking down the door.
"Thanks," Arthur says honestly, "I'll only need it for a couple of nights."
Eames shrugs, still leaning against the doorway and still showing hints of skin. "I wouldn't have given you my address if I hadn't wanted you to use it," Eames explains, "you did catch me in the middle of preparing dinner though. Feel free to make yourself useful and finish chopping the onions, I have to take care of something." Eames pushes himself off Arthur's doorway and goes into his own room down the hall. The door slams shut and echoes throughout the empty apartment.
Arthur catalogues the action, only pausing for a moment to look at the closed door and consider what's going on inside.
He figures the kitchen to be as sparse as the rest of the house. But what he finds are jars full of spices, pots and pans hanging along the wall and a chopping board with onions in mid dice. Already chopped celery and carrots are waiting in a pan. There's chicken in an unidentifiable marinade with mangoes, red onion and jalopones pulled out.
"I see you decided to forgo being useful," Eames teases. He settles in next to Arthur, picking up the knife and continuing to cut the onions.
"I didn't realize you knew how to cook," Arthur states. He leans back against the granite counter tops, openly smiling at the forger. The kitchen is warm and there's something oddly comforting about the rhythm of Eames knife hitting the cutting board.
"I can tie my shoes too," Eames responds, "if you'd like a demonstration of that."
"Really? I thought that's why you wore those horrible loafers,"
"I will throw you onto the streets."
But Eames won't. It's why Arthur felt safest running to him. Cobb would have taken him in of course. With the kids though, Arthur didn't want to threaten his best friend's family. Ariadne had made him keep in contact via email but she had a tiny apartment in Paris. Yusaf is laying low at the moment and Saito promised that he'd always be willing to help, but it had been Eames who Arthur had run to.
"If you're not going to put your knife skills to work then at least refresh my drink," Eames holds up a blue tumbler of rattling ice and clear liquid. "There's a pitcher of mojitos in the fridge if you want a glass yourself."
Arthur takes the glass and opens the stainless steel fridge. It's packed with fresh fruit and veggies, deli cheese and meats all in their own compartments. The mojitos are in a shapely crystal decanter, sandwiched between sparkling water and fresh orange juice.
Arthur's impressed despite himself.
"Grab me the garlic."
Arthur follows Eames directions, grabbing different spices and ingredients for whatever Eames is making. The diced onions join the carrots and celery with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Eames flicks the gas stove to medium.
"Now I'm going to make you work for your supper," Eames states, "grab a knife and start dicing these while I heat up the grill."
Arthur, always good at completing given tasks, picks up the knife and starts chopping.
Eames disappears for a few seconds, opening a sliding glass door to a deck Arthur hadn't realized was there. There's some commotion and what Arthur swears is a huge fireball, but Eames comes back with both his eyebrows so Arthur continues slicing off mango skin. He's a little at a loss at how to proceed though. The mango is sticky and sweet in his hand, and virtually impossible to cut cleanly on the board.
"Tsk, tsk," Eames clicks with his tongue, "and here I thought you were a professional."
Arthur raises an eyebrow and says, "Feel free to show me."
Eames grabs another mango, standing it up straight and cuts off a large chunk just left of the pit in the middle. Eames takes the cut off piece of mango and slices the fruit length and height wise without piercing the skin. Eames then slices off the mango, forming perfect squares of fruit. Without a word, Arthur slices off the other half of fruit and repeats the process exactly. Eames smiles and something in Arthur preens at the thought of doings a good job.
Eames goes back to the pot of diced vegetables. The mixture has sweated down enough for him to pour in chicken stock and couscous.
"Watch this for me love," Eames asks, grabbing the marinating chicken and going outside again.
Steam begins to rise from the pot, the smell of fresh cooking filling the kitchen. Arthur washes his hands after finishing with the mango. The red onions, cucumbers and jalapenos are next. He mixes the ingredients together while keeping an eye on the boiling couscous. The smell of BBQ wafts in from the patio. At some point Eames has turned on the radio and soft music fills the air, mixing with the smells of homemade cooking.
"Chicken is done," Eames swoops back in, tray full of carefully chargrilled poultry.
"I'm surprised you don't have a kiss the cook apron," Arthur teases, adding in salt, pepper and garlic into the mango salsa mixture.
"If I did, would you?"
"I think I would have to see you in it first," Arthur states, "Do you have any cilantro for this?"
"Herb drawer," Eames responds. Arthur can feel his eyes following him, but Arthur simply grabs the herb and starts chopping.
Eames moves to the other side of the kitchen to get two plates, fine white and square, from his cupboard. The couscous finishes cooking. Eames spoons the golden grains infused with vegetables and spices onto the plate. Next is the chicken which has had a moment to rest and soak in all its delicious Caribbean marinade.
"And the salsa?" Arthur asks.
Eames takes the bowl, sprinkling Arthur's mango salsa along the chicken.
"Bon appetit love," Eames smiles and offers Arthur his plate.
There's no table so they sit on the floor. Two unopened boxes act as their tables and their legs brush against one another on the floor.
But Arthur doesn't notice the furnishing as soon as he takes the first bite.
"This is incredible," Arthur moans, immediately cutting another piece of chicken.
Eames smile looks like the cat who got the cream. "I'm glad you enjoy. I do have a little confession to make though."
Arthur looks up from his plate, "What's that?"
"When you arrived I had to check my totem. Too many of my dreams started with you arriving on my doorstep. Albeit, usually you were soaking wet."
Arthur dabs the side of his mouth with his napkin. "Well I have something to confess too." He smiles across at Eames. "I love a man who can cook."
It's as if Eames is a Porsche and the light's just switched to green. He's all over Arthur, divesting him of multiple tailored layers to taste milky white skin. Arthur's just as happy to kiss back, although he does take the time to say, "What about my dinner?"
"I'll make you another dinner," Eames promises, running his lips along Arthur's neck, "anything you want love."
"Tuna tartar? Lasagna? Quiche?"
"Anything," Eames states, "just get out of those clothes."
Arthur quickly complies, and finds out that Eames is just as talented in the bedroom, as he is in the kitchen.