For such a skinny bastard, Arthur can pack away a truly impressive amount of food. His weaknesses are appalling—usually foreign dishes that aren’t so much foreign as they are American knockoffs, the sort of thing he always seems to crave after working too long abroad. Eames sees it as his duty to make a habit of pointing out which items aren’t authentic, even though Arthur unfailingly makes a habit of announcing he doesn’t care.
“Do you know what pad thai actually means in Thai?” Eames demands on one such occasion, though he’s almost certainly had this argument once or thrice before. “It means ‘let’s throw all the leftovers together and foist them on poor imbeciles who don’t know any better.’”
“Works like a charm,” Arthur says blithely, stealing a shrimp from Eames’s plate.
There’s really no reasoning with him.
He has a particular fondness for Italian restaurants—or bastardizations thereof—where even the appetizers sit heavy in Eames’s stomach. The entrées themselves are horrendously ambitious concoctions involving breaded vegetables and fist-sized meatballs and heaping portions of sauce-slathered pasta, all washed down with dainty sips of wine.
Afterward, he tends to take advantage of one of the only Spanish words he knows that isn’t typically found on a menu and Eames tends to let him be. Usually.
When Arthur announces, “I’m taking a fucking siesta,” he means business, but Eames thrives on mixing business and pleasure.
Normally, Arthur is a little prickly about having company at times like these. Apparently changing into a ratty t-shirt and throwing himself into bed with a book or laptop or nothing but a desire to sleep long and hard is something Eames runs the risk of disrupting with his mere presence. There are instances, though, where Eames will slip into the room—only after making sure Arthur is well and truly down for the count—and set aside whatever pens or papers are scattered over the mattress before easing into bed along with him.
When Eames is spooned up behind him, he lets his touches drift over Arthur’s body, lightly enough not to wake him. Without fail, they end up gravitating to his middle and the slight protrusion there, unfamiliar and strangely fascinating. It’s the most evident when Arthur lies on his side, which only means Eames’s hand lands there as a matter of convenience anyway. And if he happens to slip that hand up under Arthur’s shirt and let it linger, surely that’s just as convenient.
Most times, he ends up dozing off himself as well and then waking when Arthur does, squirming out of Eames’s arms and mutely but pointedly placing his hand back on the mattress. It takes a few repetitions of this before Eames starts to suspect that, whenever Arthur overeats at one of his not-so-guilty pleasure meals, this is why he never wants more than the most innocent, brief touches afterward.
Everyone has bad habits. Arthur has several, and one could even argue that Eames is the most significant one. Cobb has certainly tried. Eames has gotten better about picking his battles and more or less concluded that he might as well let Arthur enjoy this particular habit—Eames handles most of the shopping, but when left to fend for himself Arthur’s idea of cooking is tearing open a bag of salad mix or throwing a premade dinner into the microwave or just maniacally brewing coffee. The way he sees it, Arthur might even owe him an indulgence or two.
With that in mind, slowly but very surely, Eames has been luring Arthur into restaurants where the menus don’t make him want to retch but the atmosphere isn’t so upscale that Arthur feels compelled to not eat his fill and then some. Brazilian steakhouses just might be the most wonderful thing ever created.
The next time they return home after Arthur’s managed to inhale far more food than his physique should allow for, Eames tests his theory about the real reason behind all those siestas. As soon as Arthur’s stepped out of his shoes and made a beeline for the bedroom, Eames is reaching to steer him back in by his belt and breathing, “Come here,” against the warm curve of one ear.
Arthur lets himself be kissed at first, then tries to twist out of reach and starts making the usual excuses about taking some time to himself. “Not too long,” he promises. “I just need to relax. You know.”
Eames draws him in until Arthur’s back is pressed against his chest. “So let me help you relax, then.” He lifts a hand from Arthur’s hip, high enough to skim against his torso through the crispness of his shirt, and feels it when Arthur immediately sucks in his stomach. Eames gives his ear a reproving nip. “And stop doing that.”
Eames rubs a gentle circle against his belly. “That.” Arthur’s shoulders and elbows and hipbones are all slimness and sharpness, but his stomach has the most delicious little curve to it now, incongruous and inviting. “Just breathe.”
“I’m breathing fine.” Arthur mutters, and he heaves an enormous, put-upon sigh to prove it. “Let me lie down.”
“I am.” Eames kisses him, guides him forward, and doesn’t let up until he’s laid him down properly and worked open his flies. Arthur tastes vaguely of after-dinner mints and his fingers are cool against Eames’s cheek. Eames catches both of Arthur’s hands easily and presses them to the bedding with a hint of firmness, then starts working the tail of Arthur’s dress shirt out of his trousers. “Look what we have here.” He says it almost too softly to be heard, but Arthur obviously does, squirming in place as Eames starts unbuttoning his shirt from the bottom up, parting the neat white halves of it until Arthur’s middle is bared.
When he pushes Arthur’s undershirt up high enough to kiss beside his navel, Arthur actually cringes.
Eames pauses, touching lightly at the dark hair disappearing into Arthur’s waistband, drawing fingers against the grain of it. “What’s the matter?”
Another wince from Arthur. “Sorry if I don’t feel very sexy when I’ve got a gut.”
“You could eat deep-fried Mars bars for breakfast every day and still not have a gut.” Eames slides his hand higher, undoing the last few buttons. “And even if you did, I’d keep you anyway.”
It doesn’t last long, but Arthur lets Eames’s face nuzzle, his palm mold against the shape of his stomach even though he’s clearly tense and uneasy about it. “Eames, come on.”
“You with your hummingbird metabolism, it’ll be gone before you know it. Let me enjoy this while I can.”
Eames just pulls him into a sitting position so he can finish drawing his shirt off his arms, his undershirt over his head, taking care of his own as almost an afterthought. “Everything.”
“Everything,” Arthur repeats flatly.
Eames gives his shoulders a few brisk squeezes until Arthur takes the hint and lies back down. “Is that really so hard to believe?”
The only answer Arthur gives him is a smirk, which is one of the least daunting responses he could possibly make. Eames continues his work, massaging down his arms and then carefully easing him out of the rest of his clothes. His hands linger over the Arthur’s middle, drinking in the warmth of his skin and the rhythm of his breathing, and he’s vaguely surprised that Arthur lets himself be touched that way at all.
“There now,” Eames says quietly, and Arthur’s belly tenses when he brushes a kiss to the center of it, but Arthur doesn’t stop him. Eames grazes his teeth against a hip, presses his lips to the contrasting softness of his belly, darts the tip of his tongue against his navel and the does it again when Arthur’s body gives a little jerk, and Arthur lets him. Arthur rests a hand on his head and gives him free reign for what feels like a decadently long time, the seconds dragging by as if they’re in a dream.
Even though he ate approximately his own body weight in plate-sized portions and his digestive system should be protesting any sort of movement, Arthur can only keep still for so long. He’s still quick enough to tug Eames onto his back and kiss him long and hard before Eames can point this out. Then he’s undoing Eames’s zip and taking Eames’s erection into his mouth, working him over slowly and thoroughly as if he’s still hungry even now. Much too soon, he’s stopping, red-mouthed, looking at Eames with an inquisitive little arch to his brows and then simply…lying back.
“You’re not going to finish?” Eames ventures. Arthur seems perfectly content to drowse on top of the covers.
Arthur stretches a bit. “You’re not?” And then Eames catches on.
“Fuck, you’re awful,” he says pleasantly, and Arthur smiles like sin.
He braces himself on one hand so Arthur can curl an arm around his neck, croon encouragement into his ear, lick into his mouth when words fail him entirely. Eames can’t be sure how long it takes before he’s groaning against Arthur’s cheek, spilling onto his stomach in a sudden shock of heat. Arthur twists his fingers into the sheets when Eames moves down the bed to lick him clean, calls him a dirty bastard once or twice for appearance’s sake, and shudders exquisitely when Eames wedges a hand under him.
It takes some effort, since Arthur is flat to the mattress, but Eames splays a hand across the small of his back, urging him to arch and press up as much as he likes. Then he works his mouth lower still to return the favor Arthur was kind enough to do him earlier.
Eames can’t actually grin in response to the way Arthur moves for him, but he does other things with his lips and throat and tongue that he reckons are enough to make up for it, lets Arthur ride it out until there’s nothing left for him to do but moan and sprawl across the sheets like a true hedonist.
Surprisingly, Arthur doesn’t immediately spring up for a shirt or try to draw the covers over himself. He stays right where he is, a curious curve to his lips as Eames looks his fill.
“So I’m thinking maybe we need to discuss your pregnancy kink,” he announces dryly.
Eames would have to be terribly inattentive not to see that remark coming a mile away. “One of the only things I don’t have to worry about with you is a pregnancy scare. Besides, you don’t have the hips for it.”
In fact, Arthur hardly has any hips at all, which makes his stomach all the more evident. Eames kisses it once more and situates himself behind him, drawing Arthur up onto his side. Arthur doesn’t flinch this time when Eames’s hand comes to rest against his midsection, fingers spread and kneading just a bit.
He does, however, have the audacity to ask, “Does this mean you won’t whine the next time I pick the restaurant?” Even though he wriggles a bit in Eames’s arms in a very enticing way, there are some things Eames just isn’t prepared to let slide.
He ponders it for a moment until Arthur seems to have gotten himself comfortable, but there’s really only one answer to be given.
“No, I’m afraid the Olive Garden is still an abomination,” Eames says decisively, and settles in to sleep.