If there's anything that Eames can't stand, it's being told that something is "good enough." He had a reputation for being the best at this point, and "good enough" too often was shorthand that the entire job fell through and no one wanted to hurt his feelings.
Ariadne was enamored of the dreaming itself, often building for the sake of building now, experimenting with where she could take it. Everyone did that in the beginning, in the absent sort of way that led to learning where limits lay. It was how Eames discovered his talent at forgery in dreams, and sometimes playing around in the edges of what was supposed to be allowed in dream share led to new discoveries. Whatever she might have discovered in her dream she kept to herself. It was maddening, though he couldn't have said exactly why.
They weren't involved in a romantic sense. She trusted him, that much was obvious, but she treated the entire affair as if it was a business transaction. Normally Eames might not have minded that, but he rather liked Ariadne. She was inquisitive and brilliant, beautiful in a more classical sense and had kept up with his drier wit or esoteric comments. Most people he met weren't worth knowing, but Ariadne had been.
And now he couldn't get the taste of her out of his mind, couldn't stop imagining what she would feel like if she responded to his touch. Now he couldn't help but see her as more than a coworker he had teased and joked with, harmlessly flirting to pass the time. Now Eames wanted more than he allowed himself, more than what was possibly safe in his world.
"What did you dream of?" he pressed, following her to her dresser. She picked out ordinary clothes, intending to dress and write off the entire experience as something private. Eames put a hand on her arm, stopping the movement. "What happened?"
"Butterflies," she said, turning to look at him. "It was a garden full of butterflies."
There had to be some kind of meaning for her to see that, though at the moment Eames was paying more attention to the shape of her mouth as she formed the words, the way the corner tilted up into an almost smile. The delight in the dream suffused her, as if lighting her up from the inside out. He was kissing her before he even realized that was his intent, soft and gentle, fingers light on her skin as if that would keep her from fluttering away from him.
"It was like that," she whispered, looking up at him with her large golden eyes. "It was exactly like that."
Eames found himself smiling gently at her. "We can do better than that, can't we?"
Her answering smile of assent was all he needed.
"Is that how you see it, then? A shattering? Or a fluttering?"
Ariadne reached across the bed to put the sketchbook away. "Neither, really. More like the wings, actually." She grinned at his confused look. "Ready to take flight, or the expectation that something amazing is going to happen."
Eames slid his hand along the curve of her hip and watched her shiver slightly at the contact. He put the sketch down on the pillow and leaned in, eyes locked to hers. "And did something amazing happen then? Or was it simply good enough?"
She smirked at him, eyes dancing. "And if it's only good enough?"
"We can do better than that," Eames replied, grinning. "I need to get the details right, you understand. It's important to getting the job done."
Ariadne laughed. "Well then. It was a good enough start."
As far as Eames was concerned, she had just issued a challenge he was only too willing to accept.