Yoga, as most practitioners knew, was more than just a bunch of different poses to twist someone into a human pretzel. Yes, Ariadne definitely noticed better balance, strength and muscle tone. She knew a number of different breathing techniques and meditations to distress, always good before finals. Her teacher in Paris was also a nutritionist, so she ate much better than her classmates and felt as though her mind was clearer. It was supposed to be a very holistic and spiritual practice.
Trust Eames to boil everything down to how bendy and flexible she must be in the bedroom.
Ariadne had been irritated at the time, wanting to focus on the Fischer job, and had snapped that she was devoted to the religious aspect, thank you very much. That chastised him, unfortunately also putting a halt to the flirting she and Arthur had been doing. In fact, she thought that potential relationship was dead in the water until the kiss in the dream hotel's lobby.
Later, while holed up on the first level of the dream, she had cornered him. "You know I'm interested," she said. "And that I lied to Eames."
He had smiled. "I was impressed at the time. I've never thought of that excuse to give him. He really is respectful of people's boundaries. Most of the time," he conceded with a sheepish smile at her sour look. "If he likes you, anyway. He tolerates me but definitely likes you."
"I think it's more than tolerates. I think it's Cobb that annoys him. You he can deal with if you're by yourself."
Arthur seemed to file that observation away for later. He paced the length of the safe house they were in, thinking. Just watching him made Ariadne feel stir crazy.
"Stop, stop, stop," she cried. "Arthur, you are not doing that for a week. We'll go nuts. I'm going to teach you yoga. It always helps me stay centered."
"You mean you didn't just say that to rile up Eames?"
"As amusing as that is, no," Ariadne replied with a laugh. "C'mon. I'll teach you stuff, and by the end of this week here, you'll be cooler than a glacier when he makes his comments. He's the one that definitely says things just to cause trouble."
"That, I knew," Arthur admitted.
As much as Ariadne was tempted to use the time to sidle up to Arthur and prove how flexible she really was, she didn't want any romancing done to be within a dream. If they were going to have a physical relationship, she wanted it to be the real thing for the first time. The first few times, if she was completely honest. There would be time for sex in dreams later, she was sure.
The job itself progressed smoothly, and then they were in LA with several hours before their separate flights. Ariadne was headed back to Paris to complete the last few classes of her degree, Arthur was planning on flying to Geneva. It was possible to commute between places, assuming he was going to stay there long term. Ariadne didn't want to ask and sound like a stalker or some mindless idiot glomming onto him. Eames had blended into the crowd as he left baggage claim, and Yusuf offered her a smile before heading to the taxi stand himself. Cobb only had eyes for his father in law, and Ariadne at the moment didn't want the situation marred by Professor Miles asking how she had gotten along with dream share.
Arthur smiled at her. "I have a hotel room booked. My flight out isn't until tomorrow," he said, softly enough that no one else could hear. "Unless you have better plans?"
"I like the sound of that," Ariadne admitted. "The others went that way," she told him, nodding toward the exit. "I don't feel like sharing. Or explaining."
"Always a good idea," he said with approval. "I made arrangements for the hotel shuttle. You can come with me."
Of course he made arrangements. Of course he had plans. That was what Arthur did with jobs, and it made sense that he would be just as meticulous in his personal life. It added to the tension levels he had to work through as they had practiced yoga in the dream. Though he had the muscle memory now, his body would have to learn it from scratch.
Ariadne looked forward to being his teacher. And maybe this time adding a more personal touch.
Arthur's room was at a nice hotel, low key and off the beaten path. There was a restaurant on the ground floor, so they headed there for dinner together. They talked about a dozen things that had nothing to do with the job and the flight waiting for Ariadne to go back to Paris. Instead, it was their favorite foods, music, movies, books and qualities in friends. Some things were similar; they both valued truth and loyalty, creativity and intelligence, stability however they could find it, a spark of individuality to set them apart from the masses. Ariadne unabashedly loved her guilty pleasures, and Arthur took pains to appear professional at all times. "You never know when someone will find you and want to refer you for a job," he'd explained.
"Or have to be on the run," she guessed.
"Or be on the run," he agreed with a nod. Most of his prized possessions fit in a single shoulder bag, and he could live out of a suitcase of clothes. He'd had to do it more than once, which fascinated and horrified Ariadne. Her apartment had looked lived in within a week or two of her moving into it, and she collected so much stuff that it would be impossible for her to sort through for valued possessions on short notice.
"I'm not sure I could live that way," Ariadne said quietly, the high from the completed job crashing down around her. To live on the run at all times, to have to protect herself against unknown enemies and dream intrusions... This was a reckless interlude, a chapter in her life that she could look back on fondly.
In that case, she'd better go all in. She might not have another chance.
"It's not for everyone," Arthur told her, reaching out to grasp her hands across the table. "But I'm glad I got to know you for a little while."
"We have a little while longer," she reminded him.
He smiled, eyes crinkling in the corners and dimples appearing. "Yes, we do."
It was only minutes before they were back in his room, mouths attached and clothes being peeled off with alacrity. Arthur paused long enough to admire Ariadne poised on one foot, the other gracefully arched behind her, practically in her armpit, so that she could unzip her boot with one hand and unknot her scarf with the other. She smiled at the shocked desire on his face, and eased into the actual standing bow pose. "Like what you see?" she purred.
Arthur nodded, unable to take his eyes off of her. He watched as she moved her arms forward, her leg behind her. "Balancing stick," he murmured, recognizing the pose he could never maintain in dreams.
She laughed. "Very good." She moved from that pose into her normal standing position and took off her scarf. "Name the poses correctly, and I'll take off a piece of clothing."
"I can't reciprocate..." he began uncertainly.
"Just take them off as the spirit moves you." Ariadne shot him a playful look. "This is a spiritual journey, remember? Let go of what you think you should be. Be in the moment. Go all in, nothing of what you worry about should be left."
Taking off his shirt and tie, Arthur nodded, smiling. "All in, then."
Balancing her weight entirely on her hands, Ariadne lifted her body up at an angle. She held it as Arthur began to guess what pose it might be. She finally had to cheat a little and tell him that her legs were supposed to be decorated feathers fanning up behind the bird. "Peacock pose," Arthur finally said. Nodding, Ariadne removed her other boot and her socks.
"Hey, that's not much..."
"I had to give you a hint," she admonished playfully. "C'mon, I know you have a good memory, and I showed you all of these before." Resting on her forearms, Ariadne lifted her body up in the air, then let her legs fall forward toward her head, her toes brushing against her hair.
"Scorpion pose," Arthur identified correctly. Off came her shirt and vest, leaving her in just her bra, pants and panties. "You know, I think this is very motivating to learn."
Ariadne laughed, then moved into a crouch, balancing her weight on one foot, her other leg tucked into her lap, almost as if she was sitting cross legged, her hands on her knees. "That's a kind of standing pose," Arthur began slowly. She grinned at him, wiggling her toes. "Oh! That's right, toe stand pose."
"You catch on quick," she teased, but off came her bra anyway. She gradually shifted so that she was on her knees on the floor, leaning backward with her torso in a straight line as she grasped her ankles loosely. "And this one?"
"Fixed firm pose," Arthur replied promptly as he took off his shoes and socks. He needed to take off his pants; his cock was tenting them, and his underwear was getting uncomfortably tight.
"You can unbutton the jeans if you want," she offered, her voice a little husky at the sight of him in nothing more than his underwear.
"Oh, yeah," he said, and he helped her shimmy out of her jeans. Left only in her underwear, Ariadne remained on her knees and bent her torso forward, crown of her head on the floor and arms pointing behind her, parallel to the floor. "Rabbit pose," he said, hooking his fingers into the waistband of her panties and tugging them off of her hips. "God, I love this one," he growled, pressing his lips against her naked spine.
And I love you, she almost said in reply, but all she did was ease her knees apart as his mouth moved over the curve of her ass. She was held tightly by the panties around her thighs and her arms still parallel to the floor, but she could feel his warm breath on her. Desire pooled low in her belly, an ache between her thighs that she wanted him to fill.
And then he was, fingers probing her folds as he kissed his way up her spine. Ariadne moaned a little, and broke the pose to shimmy the panties further down toward her knees. He laughed as she pushed her weight forward onto her head, then moved her knees one at a time to move her panties off of her legs. He helped her, moving to press kisses along the backs of her thighs, his fingers still inside her and moving steadily. Ariadne reached out to the side, stroking him through the cotton of his underwear, making him groan in pleasure.
Arthur couldn't even wait for the bed. He removed his fingers from her long enough to help turn her onto her back on the floor. Spreading her legs wide, he licked into her with determination, nose bumping into her clit as he licked into her in earnest. Ariadne grasped his head with both hands, holding him in place as she arched up and moaned, thighs quivering around his head. She gasped for air, dimly realizing she sounded something like a porn star. He certainly seemed to enjoy the sound of her pleasure, and looked extremely pleased with himself when she came, yanking on his hair.
"Get those off," she gasped, pointing to his underwear. "I want you in me."
"One sec..." Ariadne watched impatiently as he knee-walked his way to his wallet and removed a strip of three condoms. He laughed a little awkwardly at her blink of surprise. "I might have been hoping you were lying to Eames," he admitted.
"Hell, yeah, I was," she agreed. "Get over here."
He eagerly did so, ripping open one foil packet to roll the condom on. Then he was sliding inside her, tossing the other two off to the right. Leaning over her, Arthur lifted her hips to control the angle he was sliding into her. Ariadne moaned, the deliciousness of that angle perfect. He moved hard and fast she urged him on, pulling on his hips and pushing him deeper into her with her heels. Arthur seemed almost incredulous that she could contort herself around him, but didn't he realize how flexible she was? Pulling one leg away from him, she held it straight, her knee near her head. That opened her core to him, and the downward thrust drilled down deeply inside of her, enough to make her gasp "Right there!" breathlessly.
The sensation was too much for Arthur, and he grimaced as he came, continuing to thrust into her through his orgasm so that she could get some pleasure. Ariadne could feel the difference inside her, a softening that meant he wasn't quite hitting the same spot any longer. She reached down with her other hand and rubbed at her own clit, hard and fast and almost desperate, riding the pleasure until it peaked and broke, her entire body tightening before it relaxed with her intense release.
Arthur laid down next to her after disposing of the condom. "Wow."
She laughed. "So many benefits to yoga," she informed him, unable to wipe the grin off of her face. That was all right; he had an answering grin mirroring hers.
"Give me a little time, and we'll use those other two condoms I have."
"Sounds like a plan."
He kissed her jaw, pushing himself up on one elbow. "I'll buy more before I visit you in Paris," he said softly. "If you want me to."
"Buy an economy size box," she told him, pulling him down on top of her. "And plan to use them all."
Arthur smiled and kissed her, tongue lazily swiping along her lips. "Oh, that plan goes without saying," he murmured. "Now let's get to those other two that I have..."
Ariadne laughed and wrapped her arms and legs around him. "Absolutely."
Sometimes, being reckless paid off.