We bicker often.
But what couple doesn’t, darling? Really.
Eames is childish and lewd and I’m still embarrassed to take him out to fancy restaurants.
You said we didn’t go because it was booked up!
I’m joking, Eames, relax.
You don’t sound very convincing, pet. I think you need to make it up to me for that comment.
Stay on topic.
Fine, but later...
Alright, alright. So we bicker often, but it’s all in good fun in the end. We always make sure we’re both happy with a decision and turn our arguments into something positive.
And by that, he means he always gives in to my arguments.
It’s not my fault you’re so bloody stubborn! And I don’t always...Don’t look at me like that.
Anyway. We bicker often, but it was never really an issue. We didn’t think our arguments over house hunting would be what nearly ruined us. It all started after the job in Prague—
No, no, sweetheart. We definitely first discussed getting a place together on our honeymoon.
There wasn’t really much talking going on those three weeks, Eames, if you’ll remember. No productive talking anyway...Stop that.
Stop imagining it in your head.
Can you blame me? You looked absolutely stunning in your tux, Caribbean sunset on your skin and in your eyes. You let me carry you into the suite, do you remember that?
Yes...Yes, I do.
I love that smile of yours, love.
In case you couldn’t tell, Eames is the sappy one in this relationship.
Oh I don’t know, Arthur. You’ve whispered your fair share of sappy lines into my ear over the years when you thought I was asleep. Uh, now no need to get embarrassed, darling! Let’s get back on topic.
Right. Well Eames suggested how lovely it was to come back to the same room, the same bed each night after a day of adventure on our honeymoon. But we were honestly too preoccupied with...other activities...to really think further on it. And then the honeymoon was over and it was immediately back to work.
Or, to be more accurate, you ran away from the thought as quickly as you could manage.
I don’t run from anything, Eames. You know we had to help Ariadne before she barrelled herself into a job she couldn’t wrap her head around.
Keep telling yourself that. But one way or another, we definitely mentioned the thought of getting a place together before Prague. It was just that we were always jumping from one job directly into another, so there was no real point getting a place at that time.
Yeah. It was only after Prague that we really had a break between jobs.
I was so sick of living in hotels, darling. Even though you were there with me. It was so dull and boring.
So one night, when we were lying together in bed, our breathing still a little short, Eames asks aloud...
Why don’t we get a place, Arthur? A place to call our own.
Every other time he asked, I had had an answer for him: we had jobs across the world, what was the point? Hotels worked just as well and we didn’t have to put in any effort of cleaning or cooking. But that time...
You were quiet. You didn’t have an answer.
And that was answer enough. There was no reason not to get a place together.
We figured it couldn’t be all that difficult to pick a place. We were so foolish, love.
No kidding. The first argument—
The first issue arose about ten seconds after I agreed. After I finally said—
And you pulled me into a hug and kissed me until I didn’t know which way was up.
And then we made love again, because I was so excited.
And we were so wrapped up in the ideal of it all.
Yes. After that. After you had called my name and I had whispered in your ear...
Pretty soon we’ll do that and we won’t have to think about who’s sleeping on the other side of the wall. Yes, I remember.
You shivered when I told you that. I remember.
I was excited too.
And then I ruined the moment. I asked you...
Well first things first, darling. What country would you like to live in?
I love it when you say darling, Arthur.
And I love that smile...
You’re getting distracted again.
Right. So I asked you that, and then there was a really long pause because we had both been to so many countries over the years. And I knew you liked the colder climates.
While I knew you liked the warmer ones. Which is why I suggested somewhere in North America or Europe. Those countries had all four seasons so we’d get a balance of the cold and the hot weather.
And we were still close enough to travel north or south to a new destination when one of us needed something different. You know, for all Ariadne complains about your bullheadedness, you really do have an adorable habit of putting others’ happiness before your own.
Only when I like them, Eames. Wait...Ariadne complains about that?
Everyone complains about your stubbornness, Arthur. Even you. Now stay focused. Eventually we decided on the United States, since it was likely we’d get more jobs there—
--And it’s easy to get a flight anywhere in the world from America—
--And even though you didn’t want to admit it aloud, you wanted to be near Cobb because you thought he’d be in over his head taking care of James and Phillipa—
Well you know how he can get.
Yes, I certainly do now. But once we had decided on America, the next issue came up.
And even though I understood your desire to be near Cobb if he needed it, I refused to live next door to the man.
You begged me to live on the coast.
By the end I had you begging, if I remember correctly, love.
Admit it. My methods of persuasion are second to no other.
I suppose you have to be good at something.
That hurts, darling.
You’ll survive. After all, we did move to the coast in the end.
You say that like it’s a bad thing. I love it when we can leave our balcony door open at night and fall asleep listening to the surf, you curled up under the duvet in my arms.
At least it covers your snoring.
There’s the optimist I married! How about a kiss?
How about we get back to the story?
Where were we?
You wanted to live on the coast.
Ah yes, but I didn’t want to live in California. It’s gorgeous and I love our road trips there, but I refused to go through all this trouble of getting you to choose a place to live only to have it lost in an earthquake. And honestly, that was still too close to Cobb for my comfort. I needed at least two states between us.
You said Miami was where people went to retire, and New York was where your soul got stolen. But when I told you to choose...
Of course I chose the warmer option.
And I didn’t really have a preference either way, so we chose Miami. And then--
Do we really have to tell the whole story, sweetheart? It’s making me tired just thinking about it.
Yes we do.
Fine. So then we had to decide: where in Miami? We found that real estate woman, what was her name again?
Lynda, I think.
Right, Lynda. Who I swear would have kidnapped you if I didn’t hold your hand the entire time.
She wasn’t that bad. You’re exaggerating.
I’m definitely not. You saw the way she looked at you. She was completely coming up with a mental plan to steal you away and sell you into the sex trade, only to buy you back and force you to service her forever.
...Alright, Eames. I’m not even going to bother arguing this point any longer. Anyway, it didn’t matter. She did her job adequately enough.
Yeah, except she wasn’t the issue when it came to the houses themselves.
If you’re implying that I was the issue—
We were both the issue, love. We’d see one house and you’d say—
Too suburban. We never would have made use of that huge lawn and you know it. And there were way too many gardens to deal with if we had to disappear for a job. Not to mention all the cookie-cutter families surrounding us on every side of that ridiculous white-picket fence.
I liked that fence. And I liked how green it all was.
I know, but we didn’t feel comfortable in that community. So we went to the next house and you said—
Too urban. Darling, look, I know we agreed not to talk about adoption right now while everything is so uncertain and dangerous with our jobs. But I think it’s a possibility for us someday, and I didn’t want to raise a child in a concrete jungle where you didn’t want to know your neighbours...
Come here, Eames...
...What was that kiss for, love? Not that I’m complaining.
...I’d like it to be a possibility for us some day as well...Whoa, Eames, hang on. No need to get that eager; it’s not like you can impregnate me.
You never know, Arthur. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And again...and again...and again...
As much as I love your dedication to the goal, Eames, let’s try to get this done first, okay?
If it means I get you uninterrupted for the whole afternoon, anything for you.
Right, so...Where were we?
Did I distract you that much, pet? Ow! Abuse. We had seen the suburban house and the city house, and we hadn’t even bothered looking at one of the more rural, out-of-town houses, because god knows we’d both spontaneously combust without readily available modern conveniences.
Right. And then the next house was—
Too small. And the next house was—
Too big. We didn’t need that much room. And then you finally told me...
I wanted to live in a house. And you admitted...
I wanted to live in an apartment.
And we couldn’t both have our way. I think that was our first serious argument during the whole process, actually. You got that stony look you get when you’re chaining yourself to your decision. I knew I couldn’t win, but I was frustrated because I had always wanted to live in a house. I wanted a back porch looking out over water, and a little strip of lawn so I could feel grass beneath my toes.
I did, didn’t I? That was bollocks of me. I was just so sick of seeing those bland hotel rooms, and all I could think was that I’d be living in one for the rest of my life if we got an apartment.
I cried that night. Did I ever tell you that?
You cried? Darling...
It’s alright, Eames. That was years ago. But I remember at the time...I thought you had left forever and all I could do was cry and hate myself for being so stubborn I pushed you away. I cried and broke that ugly vase you insisted on picking up at the flea market for our ‘new home’. And then I told myself to get over it.
Was that when I called?
Yeah. You always did have the best timing.
I remember wondering why you sounded like your nose was stuffed, but I never knew...I just told you why I wanted a house – why I didn’t want an apartment. And you said—
Okay. And you said—
And I said it again: okay. As long as you’re there with me.
I got a speeding ticket that night, I remember. I didn’t even care though. I just wanted to get back to you that moment.
I remember there was a complaint at the hotel’s front desk the next day about our inappropriate noise level.
Fuck’em. No one else mattered. Do you remember what I told you that night, right before you screamed my name?
Say it again, darling.
Forever. You’d be with me forever.
That’s when you called my name and came beneath me. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.
It was easier after that. We finally started making some progress. I think Lynda was starting to get sick of us—
That’s because she saw my hickeys all over your neck, my love.
...Well whatever the reason, we were just lucky she showed us the house when she did.
It was new on the market – posted the day she took us. Bloody lucky for us; it would have been snatched up after another two hours on the market for sure.
It was a house right on the coast, looking out at the ocean for the morning sunrises.
There was a back patio where we set up that outdoor patio set. Even when I first saw it, I knew that if I couldn’t find you, I’d always be able to find out sprawled out on that wicker-cushion couch, computer on your lap. All of our favourite modern conveniences at our fingertips.
The house was small, but not so small that we’ll have to do any serious renovations when we eventually make a new addition to our family.
Can I kiss you again yet?
No, finish the story first.
You will be the death of me. Anyway, the house doesn’t have much of a front lawn – just the basic patch of grass. The rest of it is pretty much covered by our maple tree. But in the back we actually built a small set of stairs down to the beach. It’s not an official beach – just a little strip of sand. But we walk with our toes in the wet sand sometimes when it’s a really hot day. We also have a nice patch of grass and plenty of privacy since our neighbours seem uh...dedicated—
--with their hedges. Seriously, you should see them. Comes in handy though when Arthur lets me strip him and press him into the grass beneath the moonlight. It really makes our property our own, even though we technically have to share the area.
The house was right in between suburbia and the city. It was quiet but we did have a small community of open-minded neighbours.
You were edgy about them, don’t lie. You only warmed up to them when Jane and Ryan brought over that cheesecake to welcome us.
I like cheesecake.
Which reminds me; I really need to learn how to make cheesecake.
Please don’t. We just got the kitchen redone. Your omelettes may be magic, but you are not allowed anywhere near the blender.
Fine, fine. You did decorate most of the interior.
Of course I did. Your taste is atrocious. Though you never stopped giving me a hard time about everything from the shade of red in our dining room to the fabric pattern on our couch.
You eventually gave up on the fabric and we got a leather couch.
Yeah, but I still chose the shade of red in the dining room. Any other shade would have looked awful with the wood paneling.
If you say so.
I do say so.
Arthur was nice enough to let me populate my own closet though. As long as my choice in clothing wasn’t mingling with his prim and proper suits, I could buy what I liked. So generous of you, darling.
It was very generous. And that was all you were allowed to fill our house with. I bought the rest of the flooring, furniture, curtains and appliances.
Say that again, love.
Say what again? I bought the rest of the flooring--?
It’s still hard to believe, some days.
Even though we wake up in bed together each morning, the sun and sea breeze on our skin?
Especially then. It almost feels like a—
We really need to start believing this isn’t a dream, Eames.
It just makes me appreciate it more each time I check my totem, darling.
I love you.
I love you too...Can I kiss you now?