“This...is a check for 17 million dollars.” Arthur cannot, for the life of him, figure out why Saito has written him a check with this many zeros.
“So you agree. Good.”
“Agree? What? I haven’t--”
“The check is a prop. I already transferred the money between your three primary accounts, with the requisite ten percent placed in your retirement nest egg. Your funds manager was quite adamant on that point.”
“I...don’t have a funds manager,” Arthur manages weakly. He likes managing his own assets. Of course, he didn't have 17 million dollars either. He hasn’t felt this out of his depth since he was seven and marched himself over to the suits section of the store and refused to move until his mother put back all the gaudy t-shirts and acid wash jeans and bought him two suits, three pairs of slacks and a couple of button-up shirts.
“You do,” Saito says.
“You still haven’t told me what the money is for,” Arthur points out. Saito leans over the table, his eyes intent.
“You are quite worth that amount, Arthur.” Arthur blinks because...okay, sure, but what? “Now, put this on.” Arthur stares blankly down at the red-and-cream bow in his hands. The colors match the accents of his suit.
“Put it...on?” Arthur asks warily. This has to be a trap. Surreptitiously he palms his die and feels along its groves and scratches. Reality, then.
“Your head will have the greatest effect,” Saito says after a moment’s consideration.
“You want me to put a gift bow on my head,” Arthur says slowly, and that’s when the first little niggle of real worry starts.
“Your shoulder or chest would be acceptable as well, but would lack the same panache,” Saito tells him in the same, even tone he’s used all day. Arthur remembers that lack of affect is a hallmark of sociopaths.
There’s a rattle of the door, the sound of someone picking a lock, and then Eames gliding in, a slim line between his teeth.
“Ah, Mr. Eames. Right on time,” Saito greets.
“Am I?” Eames asks, looking genuinely pleased with himself.
“For a certain value of on time,” Saito concedes. Arthur stiffens when Eames’ eyes alight on him, taking in everything and pausing at the bow.
“Saito. You didn’t.” Arthur drops the bow like it bit him.
“Arthur has been very agreeable,” Saito lies. Arthur has agreed to nothing. He resists the urge to run far away when he sees the way Eames’ smiles at him, slow and wide.
“Why in the world wouldn't he?” Eames asks, sinking into a chair far too close to Arthur’s side. Eames props his head in his hand and stares at Arthur, a goofy look on his face. Arthur stands it for a few seconds before he caves and rolls his die on the table. He grits his teeth harder every time four comes up. On his seventh roll Eames suddenly sits up straight and turns to Saito, his posture radiating danger.
“How much did you pay for him?” Eames asks Saito sharply, and Arthur...wait a second. Wait a goddamned minute.
“Seventeen million US dollars,” Saito responds and Arthur makes a strangled noise. “I felt it struck the right balance between respectfully expensive and not inflating Arthur’s ego.”
“Ta, darling, I would have taken him at fifteen.”
“There there, pet,” Eames says, patting Arthur soothingly on the hand. “You’re practically priceless to me. Sentimental value and all that rot.”
“Good. I shall leave you to it. Enjoy your gift, Mr. Eames.”
“Oh I will, Saito. And thank you.”
“You can’t--he can’t--you’re both--EAMES. Get your hand...no, that is the wrong direction.”