The insides of Arthur's pumps, when she lets them drop off her feet, are vivid satin purple with tiny green printed flowers scattered over the lining.
"They're worth the pain," she says, as though she honestly believes that Eames' lifted eyebrow is questioning her motives rather than reacting to the unexpected burst of colour inside outwardly sophisticated but plain black heels. "But I can't wear them a second longer," she adds, settling back into the seat opposite Eames' in the limo, straightening her knees and flexing her toes with a little grunt of relief.
Any other woman, Eames would sense his cue to offer a foot massage, but this is Arthur; he's as likely to get that stockinged neat narrow foot kicked into his balls as he is to get the more standard sexy smile and proffered toes. So Eames mirrors Arthur's posture and sits back in his seat, too, casting an eye down Arthur's form.
This, at least, is a safe maneuver; Eames has been ogling Arthur long as they've known each other, after all, and much as Arthur might be exasperated by Eames' other behaviours, it's always been apparent that she has a fine appreciation for being — appreciated.
Eames had a girlfriend once who insisted that being a woman was all about spending hours hiding the other hours you spent working to look incredible.
Eames thinks, looking Arthur up and down, that his ex-girlfriend had it all fucking wrong.
Every little piece of Arthur — even now at the end of a long night working recon undercover at a benefit — every little bit of her is manicured, deliberate, artful, like a visible brushstroke on a photorealist painting. From the part of her sleek dark hair, to the swoop of her chignon, the arch of eyebrow to the curve of lipliner emphasizing her natural pout, bare smooth shoulders to wrists, and stockinged knee to painted nails just visible through the straight black seams at the toe: Arthur's constructed herself wonderfully, fearfully, impeccably. All of this makes the lining of Arthur's shoes, that unanticipated burst of — god help Eames — of whimsy, that much more delightful.
"Don't go saying you'd like a shirt made out of that material," Arthur says, catching Eames staring at her discarded shoes again. "I'm doing my best to pretend you dressed yourself tonight, you'll ruin the illusion."
Eames looks down at himself now, as though he could possibly have forgotten the starched expanse of white shirtfront spooling down his chest, cinched tight round his neck with a black bow-tie and his wrists with french cuffs and square mother-of-pearl cufflinks. There’s no more ease to Arthur’s ensemble than there is to Eames’, but Eames has never had the knack for wearing clothing like Arthur does: like armour. On Eames, this formality always looks like costumery, nothing more, nothing less. “I was only wondering how you knew to coordinate with my pants,” Eames says now, furrowing his brow. “Did I say I would wear the purple satin boxers with green flowers on? I could have sworn I”—
—“Eames,” says Arthur, and her tone is utterly, wonderfully as unexpected as the insides of her killingly sleek heels were: not in the least exasperated or angry or even bored. She sounds, instead — with that smoky smudgy alto voice of hers — Arthur sounds abruptly like sex.
Eames’ eyebrows pop up, his shoulders roll flat, he scoots upright in his seat. Two weeks ago he had no idea Arthur even had a voice like that, but it’s been an informative fortnight to say the least. “Yes, darling?” he says, brightly, perhaps a touch overeager.
“Will you fucking get over here, already?” she says, and the words are all Arthur, Arthur on the job with a moleskine open on her thigh and a pencil jabbed through her slick neat ponytail and a frown creasing her brow. The tone, though, is as different from working Arthur’s voice as the insides of her shoes are to the outsides.
Eames fucking gets over there, already, half-tumbling into the narrow space between his seat and hers, failing to land quite beside her but ending up rather at her stockinged feet.
This suits Eames just fine, all things considered.
It seems to suit Arthur, too, judging by the drop of her hand onto Eames’ head. She strokes his hair for a moment like he’s her faithful hound, her long steady fingers teasing apart the gelled strands to get at his scalp, to stroke his hair back the other way. Eames tilts his face over onto Arthur’s thigh, which is hard and lean and probably best disguised as it is under a sheath of satin if Arthur’s trying to pass for a pilates-toned socialite. But Eames likes Arthur’s body, likes how narrow and ropy she is, fit and capable and steady as Gilbraltar with the fiercest projections bearing down on them.
Eames misses the sight of Arthur’s thighs, now he comes to think of them, and so he lifts his face up again and pushes at the skirt of the dress. The slit’s on the other side but it slithers over obligingly, slick against the sheen of Arthur’s stockings, and here’s Arthur’s other knee, hello. Eames pushes a little more, greedy, and two tiny stitches at the very apex of the slit abruptly part, pop pop. Arthur’s hand leaps from Eames’ head to grip Eames’ wrist in utterly unsubtle warning.
“Come now,” Eames says, heartbroken, “I’ll buy you another.”
“Fuck you,” says Arthur, but she’s smiling anyway. She twists Eames’ hand away from her leg and drops it, reaches round behind her and finds the zip of her dress. Long arms, flexible joints; she’d no need of Eames to zip her into the gown earlier this evening, which upset him at the time, but it’s sort of wonderful watching it in reverse, the abrupt sag of the sleeveless bodice as it relaxes its embrace of Arthur’s body. Arthur’s wrap drops off her arms and Eames is struck momentarily with the stark beauty of her shoulders, her biceps. He’d like to paint her; no, he’d like to paint on her, christ.
He only notices the way he’s hungrily chasing the lines of her arms down — elbows, forearms, wrists, fingertips — when Arthur clears her throat gently and says, “Eames. My breasts are up here.”
“Right,” says Eames, and blinks his gaze back up with all due haste.
“Hasn’t anyone ever told you it’s only polite to pretend they’re as interesting to you as, you know, the big round fake ones you can buy for”— Arthur starts to grouse, complete with hand gestures, and Eames chokes out a laugh before he pops up on his knees and shuts her up with a kiss. It’s not often Arthur shows any kind of vulnerability, any uncertainty about her body, but everyone’s got their sore spots. Arthur’s happen to be just below her chin. But they’re bloody lovely no matter what her opinion, so Eames kisses Arthur’s mouth and does a little shameless groping while he’s up there.
“Wait, wait,” says Arthur breathlessly some minutes later, pushing back on Eames’ forehead to get him away from where he’d been expressing his affection for Arthur’s sweet tight hard nipples. “Move, I wanted to,” and she lifts up her bottom and slips her dress right off her hips and down her legs.
“Fuck,” Eames says a little thickly at the sight of her. She was gorgeous in satin, perfect, but he likes her even more like this: naked from the waist up, breasts glistening faintly from Eames’ mouth, sat on the limo seat in nothing but small black lace pants and thigh-high black stockings.
“Wait,” she says again, retrieving her dress from the floor of the limo and laying it out with great care on the seat opposite. This means she has to lean over Eames, but she seems wonderfully unaware of the fact, of how her ribs-no-stomach-no-hip push past Eames’ nose, how her fussing makes her smooth skin wriggle enticingly over Eames’ face, his searching happy mouth, how when she settles back down he follows after her unthinking so that she’s no sooner sitting back in the seat than Eames is on her, breathing hotly into the hollow at the base of her sternum, the dip of her navel. “Wait,” Arthur says yet again, and stretches up to push one of the buttons in the control panel overhead. The sunroof glides open; Eames can see the stars when he looks up. “Fuck,” says Arthur, and tries again. “Hello?”
“Yes,” says the driver’s voice.
“Take the long way back,” says Arthur, clipped and busy like nobody’s teeth are biting at the lacy waistband of her panties.
“How — how long a way back would that be?” asks the driver with impressive circumspection. Part of the job, Eames supposes, wriggling his fingers between Arthur’s bottom and the seat back.
“Mm,” says Arthur, giving Eames a serious and evaluative look. “Twenty minutes should do it, thanks.” And she releases the intercom button and drops her hand back onto Eames’ head, guiding him lower.
“Twenty minutes?” Eames says, going along with Arthur but taking the opportunity to grouse. “Go on with your twenty minutes, I need at least forty to”—
—“It’s not about what you need, Eames,” Arthur says, and slips her thighs apart, urges him down between them.
Eames might argue, under other circumstances. He really enjoys arguing with Arthur, so much so that he was the one afraid of finally bowing to the years of tension building between them. Arthur said, before, they’d still be the same, they’d still be them; but it wasn’t until the morning after when they had a spectacular row over Eames using Arthur’s toothpaste without asking that Eames finally believed it, finally trusted that making Arthur come isn’t the natural antidote to wanting to wind Arthur up again. If anything, winding Arthur up has gotten amazingly better, the last couple of weeks. It turns out that the only thing more satisfying than making Arthur slam the PASIV case shut and storm out of the workshop is making Arthur slam Eames up against his drafting table, hold him in place while she grips his shirt front and grinds out an angry desperate orgasm against his thigh.
So, yes, Eames might argue, if he wasn’t exactly where he is: namely, face first between Arthur’s wondrous runner’s thighs, nose pressed to the seam of Arthur’s filmy pants, to the seam of Arthur. Eames can’t think of a suitable smart comment to make, quite. He can’t, quite, think at all.
Arthur’s first orgasm is always something of a freebie, like some part of her is perpetually on the verge of getting off and all it takes is the merest encouragement to coax that bit of her loose. Eames has got past the initial delight of it, by now.
(Okay — he hasn’t, not at all, actually, it’s fucking brilliant having her come at the stroke of his fingers, like finding a magic button that’s been right under your nose — ha! — all along.)
But Eames likes to see, sometimes, what it takes to make her hold out for him. He exhales onto her now, runs his palms down the tops of her thighs and hooks his thumbs into the tender undersides of her knees where Arthur solemnly swears (lying) that she’s not ticklish. Above him, Arthur sighs shakily. She twists her fingers in Eames’ hair, urgent, but she doesn’t bring herself to his mouth; beneath her dignity, probably, or so she thinks for the moment.
Eames pushes a little closer, knowing his half-grown stubble is pushing through the loose weave of the lace now, knowing she can feel his beard rasping at the insides of her thighs and the sensitive lips of her cunt. He breathes in, slow, pauses to wriggle his nose in just above the insistent bump of her clit before he lets the breath go again.
Two more times, and Arthur quickly gives up on dignity, pushing Eames’ head in tight even though he’s being smilingly uncooperative, offering no more than the contours of his grin and the hard bones of his face, the shift of his warm breath. Arthur draws breath hard, and Eames is honestly expecting to be berated for his laziness, but instead she arches up from the seat and rolls her hips up into Eames’ face, comes like that, panties wet and slick and hot against his lips.
“God, I love how you do that,” Eames says appreciatively when she lets him go again. He’s a bit dizzy from it — not enough air to be had, down there, but who in the world would mind dying of asphyxiation with Arthur coming on your face? “Can we do it again? Let’s do it again.” He tugs at Arthur’s panties, wanting more of her this time, and she’s gone all limp and dimpled and useless, so it’s left to Eames to work the fucking things down off her arse and round her hips, over her thighs and the tops of the —
“Hello,” says Eames, halting when he realises exactly why the pants are getting stuck at this particular juncture. He pushes up on the underside of Arthur’s right thigh, holding her knee up with his palm and twisting his head down under so he can see: the backs of the stockings are cuffed, literally, buttons and wings and — no, collared, more like. The backs of Arthur’s perfect fucking thighs are wearing tux shirts, and fuck it all if they don’t look far, far nicer than Eames does in his.
“God, you’re marvellous, you are,” Eames says, meaning it with all his heart.
Arthur laughs. “Thought you’d notice much sooner,” she says. “Can’t believe it took you all night to get a hand up the back of my thigh.”
“I’m a gentleman,” Eames says, affronted.
“Right,” says Arthur, and finally gets involved, wriggling and ridding herself of the panties with a few efficient motions. When she settles down again she throws one long glorious thigh over Eames’ shoulder and crooks her knee to pull him back in close. “You’re no gentleman,” she tells him, all serious dark eyes and flushed pink mouth, “but you’ve got a very talented tongue.”
Eames pulls a shocked expression, slips one hand around and pinches Arthur’s bum by way of punishment. She laughs, throaty and delicious, and then Eames can’t resist her any longer: slumped down as she is, naked but for these ridiculous glorious stockings, flushed from coming against Eames’ face and grinning at the prospect of doing it again. Eames pushes two fingers into her, no teasing now, and she sighs shakily while her smile goes crooked and messy. “Feel free,” he tells her, “to extend your praise to my skilled hands, too.”
“Oh, fuck,” Arthur says, the flush spreading down her chest now, “they’re — they’re not small, that’s for fucking sure.”
“Stop, I’m blushing,” Eames says, and twists his wrist so he can get a thumb on Arthur’s clit. First one’s a freebie, but Eames has to work for the second. Never feels like work, somehow, this slick heat on his fingertips, this slippery tight press of Arthur all round him. Eames works his fingers in-out and circles the tip of his thumb and Arthur fucks Eames’ hand in slow sinuous rolls of her hips. He’s learned her, a bit, knows how she likes this: no teasing but no rushing either, just a deliberate ratcheting of the tension, a slow inexorable press until it’s obvious that it’s not enough, his hand in her cunt, his thumb stroking alongside her clit, over it.
It’s obvious; but Eames has a bit of a thing for hearing Arthur state the obvious.
“Come on, Eames,” she says, strained, “come on.”
Eames holds his fingers deep inside her and curls them, three together now, not enough for her to come around without a little more help. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, darling,” he says.
Arthur’s knee, still over his shoulder, squeezes him hard. “Eames,” she says, unamused, rough.
Eames curves his mouth, wets his lips. Stays put.
“Please,” she says, exasperated. “Eames, your mouth.”
“Arthur,” he says, patient, moving in closer. “All you had to do was ask.”
She’s incredibly wet now, slick on his tongue. Eames has to resist the urge to tease further; entirely apart from Arthur’s desperation, some mental timer in Eames’ mind is ticking dangerously close to the twenty minutes Arthur granted him. He’s less horrified by the prospect of interruption than he is by letting all his efforts go to waste; if Arthur doesn’t come before they arrive back at the hotel, Eames isn’t sure he’ll even be granted another go tonight. Arthur’s infuriatingly diligent about such things.
So, no teasing: Eames moves in with the point of his tongue and flicks it over Arthur’s clit, pushing into her and sucking on her in the same rhythm, gently for a moment and then, encouraged by the way she closes her thighs over his ears almost reflexively, hard and hungry and certain. Arthur tenses, gasps, and then comes around Eames’ fingers with a delicious series of flutters and thrusts, muffling her groans in the crook of her elbow — proper, filthy, perfect Arthur with her fucking sinful formalwear for thighs, her black shoes with secret violet insides.
“Get my dress,” Arthur is saying a moment later, and if her voice is delicious when she’s contemplating sex, it’s sheer decadence when she’s just come, raspy and soft and low, low, low, throaty sweetness. She sounds like the taste Eames is still licking from his lips and his fingertips, even as she’s busily slipping into her gown and zipping herself up and stuffing her lacy damp knickers into her tiny clutch purse. A strand of her chignon has come loose; other than that and the high pink colour in her cheeks, she’s as sleek as she was on the way to the function.
“You’d better take your jacket off,” she says, tucking the errant strand away with a little distracted frown.
“Why?” Eames asks, glancing down at his open tux jacket. “Did you come on it?”
“No,” Arthur says disdainfully, checking her make-up in her compact mirror now, as though she didn’t come on Eames’ face, his chin, his mouth, his hand. “You need to hold it up in front of you when we go through the lobby.”
Eames looks down into his lap; he’s not really surprised to see his cock tenting his trousers out, but somehow he hasn’t given it any thought until this moment. Suddenly, it’s all he can think of, his hard cock and what he might do with it once they’re in their room, once Arthur disrobes again and Eames can free himself from the cage of his tuxedo shirt, tie, cufflinks, bloody sock garters. “Can you keep the stockings on?” Eames asks, having a brainwave. “When I fuck you?”
“How about you keep them on?” Arthur suggests, snapping her compact shut. The limo pulls up to the kerb, the door pops open, and Arthur exits while Eames is still struggling to work his jacket off his arms.
She’s left her shoes behind, though, patting on across the hotel’s entrance in stocking-feet like some especially carefree and lackadaisical Cinderella. Eames scoops the heels into his hands and stumbles after her with his jacket strategically hanging over his forearm. He looks a right idiot, probably, disheveled and hiding his erection badly, chasing after Arthur with high heels dangling from his fingers, fingers that are still faintly damp from being inside her.
But when Eames glances over at his reflection in the mirror, crossing the lobby, he only sees the flash of wild purple satin inside the black, perfect, chic shoes.