“Was that really necessary?” Arthur asks, holding the phone against his shoulder, his hands at work with undoing his cufflinks.
“You gave me no choice,” Eames says, tone warm, “I had to get in contact somehow.” Arthur smiles despite himself. He tugs at his tie.
“You couldn’t just call like a normal person?”
“I wanted to make sure you would answer.”
“You have my attention, Mr. Eames,” Arthur says, sitting down on the bed, shrugging off his jacket.
“And that is all I ever wanted.”
Arthur snorts. “The million-dollar painting is just a bonus?”
“I would be happy to return that at your earliest convenience,” Eames says at once. Arthur raises his eyebrows at that, shifting the phone to his hand.
“As long as you agree to have dinner with me, of course.”
“Oh, of course,” Arthur says wryly, grinning now. “But that’s all?”
“Well, drinks would be customary, after. Maybe a coffee. In my flat.”
“In your flat,” Arthur repeats, trying not to laugh.
“Starving artists must cut corners where they can,” Eames replies loftily.
“Starving artist, right,” Arthur says. He exhales. “Well. If I have no choice-”
“None at all, really.”
“Alright, alright,” Arthur says, tamping down his smile. “For the sake of my mother’s painting.”
“Hmm, I do admire your strong familial bond.”
Arthur rolls his eyes. “Right. As well you should, since-” he cuts off when there’s a knock on the door. He goes into the narrow hallway suspiciously.
“Room service,” a cheerful voice calls out.
“Oh, Jesus,” Arthur mutters, hanging up and tossing his cell phone onto the table. He opens the door.
“Hello, darling,” Eames says, eyes crinkling, his hands in his pockets. “Have you eaten yet?”