She used to taste like coffee and burbon, Arthur remembers. He doubts very much that he would have liked the flavor normally, but she liked to drink them mixed together nights when she didn't want to sleep.
Those nights when she'd look up at the stars and breathe, Ah cheri, do you see the stars? And he'd look up, and maybe make out one or two between the light pollution, so he'd say yes, and she'd laugh and laugh like he'd told a very funny joke.
It was one of those nights when she first kissed him, and that was how he remembered she'd tasted. He remembers the way they walked back down the fire escape to her apartment like nothing happened. He remembers how she leaned out the window of her tiny apartment and almost dropped her favorite mug, but caught herself and came back in with a sly grin.
He remembers draining the mug when she offered it to him, and he remembers the way their lips slid together again like they couldn't get enough of each other. The way her nipples perked even under the padding of her bra. The way she looked, sprawled out naked on her bed, legs bent and spread in the most inviting way.
He remembers how her hair curled against her cheek and shoulders as she fell asleep.
(Arthur knew Dom then but Mal didn't. He introduced them a few weeks later and he sometimes thinks he could wish he hadn't, but he knows he's glad he did.
Dom needed Mal more than Arthur needed her.
But the ache that began then still coils in his chest and burns through his veins sometimes)
She wasn't light like Cobb would still describe her as sometimes. Not to Arthur she wasn't. She was rain on the pavement of the city, and smoke coiling from the end of someone else's cigarette- beautiful and tangible but something else too, something you would never be able to catch if you tried.
But now. Now it's not ArthurandMal. It's ArthurandCobb.
(Not Dom, not anymore.
He's not sure when that changed in his head, but it did)
And he doesn't mind, honestly. But he misses her. And sometimes he feels like Cobb is just using him, and sometimes he knows it, and sometimes he's convinced otherwise.
But either way, it doesn't really matter now. He's attatched to Cobb much like he was attatched to Mal. He's attatched to the way Cobb stretches out and tangles himself in the sheets in his sleep. The way he buries his head further into the pillows when he doesn't want to wake up. The way he breathes in Arthur's ear sometimes.
He's attatched to how Cobb will hold- cling- as though Arthur will disappear if he lets go too long.
Arthur's definitely sure they both miss Mal more than anything. But they have each other, and together they pretend they can move on.