Eames belatedly realizes that Arthur is actually seriously mad at him when he sends his coffee back and asks Yusuf for another that Eames hasn’t tampered with.
Ever since they’d started dating (and it’s been two months and twelve days now), Eames has taken to making Arthur’s coffee, Yusuf’s custom brew that Eames invariable always messes up, but Arthur always finishes, even if sometimes he chokes on the first mouthful.
(Eames is not very good at making coffee, but he tries, Arthur is not very good at drinking bad coffee, but he tries too so Eames figures that it’s okay that they are not very good at doing a lot of things as long as they are good at trying.)
They aren’t perfect –far from it, really- and this isn’t the first time they’ve disagreed on something (read: someone; see also: Dominic Cobb), but this is the first time in two months and twelve days that Arthur’s come into the coffee shop and refused to drink Eames’ admittedly sad excuse of a cup of coffee.
“Are you going to tell me what you did or do I have to ask Ariadne?” Yusuf asks after Arthur leaves the coffee shop with nary a glance at Eames.
Perhaps, in retrospect, he shouldn’t have punched Cobb in the face.
“So,” Ariadne drawls as she hoists herself onto the counter when she comes in later in the afternoon, “I heard you broke Dom’s nose.”
Eames’ head snaps up. “Is it broken?”
“You don’t know?” she says with a laugh. “Arthur didn’t tell you? He must be really pissed at you.”
Eames groans. “He’s going to hate me forever.”
“Probably,” Ariadne says, snickering.
“You’re no help at all,” Eames grits out.
Ariadne nods. “I know.”
Eames scowls. “Why are you even here?”
“Why is she always here?” Yusuf calls out from the backroom where he’s doing an inventory check. “She misses my face!”
are you mad at me
please talk to me
For the next three days, Eames does what he does best and mopes.
“He’s never going to talk to me again,” he mumbles into the crook of his arm. “He’s going to keep coming in and not drink my coffee and hate me silently and it’s going to be even worse than it was before, because at least before he would look at me and talk to me and now it’s like he doesn’t even see me at all.”
Yusuf sighs as he busies himself with the coffee machine. “It’s not going to happen,” he repeats for the billionth time since Eames started getting mopey. “Give him a few days to be angry and then it’ll all blow over and you’ll be sickeningly happy and in love again.”
Eames is silent for a long moment.
Eames is rarely silent. Yusuf hates it when Eames is silent. Eames’ silence comes like the calm before the storm. It precedes bad things (for Yusuf, always for Yusuf).
He turns over and prods Eames in the shoulder. “Are you dead?” he asks, when Eames doesn’t move. “Are you dying?” he says, trying to see if he can annoy Eames into speaking, “Because if you are, can you please die in the backroom? Dying on the counter where customers can see you is bad for business.”
Eames doesn’t say anything.
Eames looks up slowly and blinks at Yusuf. “I’m– Arthur– I’ve got to go,” he babbles and runs out of the coffee shop.
“Oh, fuck,” Yusuf says, and prepares for the storm.
Eames runs his way to Arthur’s apartment and knocks frantically even as he’s wheezing for breath. He’s not really good at running, he realizes, but for Arthur, he tries. For Arthur, Eames is willing to try all kinds of stupid and possibly life endangering things.
He hears a shuffle on the other side of the door, but Arthur doesn’t open the door.
Eames resumes knocking. “Arthur! Arthur, I can hear you inside, can you please open the damned door?”
His words are met with complete silence.
Arthur is probably still angry at him. He should probably allow Arthur time to calm down and come back later so they can talk like adults about why Eames shouldn’t break Arthur’s best friend’s nose and that Arthur needs to learn how to communicate with words and not silence because Eames cannot really take this whole being ignored thingamajig.
That can all wait. Eames should leave.
So, of course, he doesn’t.
“Arthur,” Eames says, raising his voice so Arthur can hear him clearly. “Arthur, I’m sorry I socked Cobb in the face and I’m sorry I didn’t realize that you were mad at me for doing that. I should probably apologize to Cobb, and I will, I will march over to his house right after I’m done here to apologize for breaking his nose. I’ll grovel for his forgiveness if he wants me to. Well, not grovel, as per such, because, really, you have to admit that on some level, he deserved to be punched.” Eames pauses and thinks better of his words. He’s not here to argue. “Sorry.”
He looks up from where he’s staring down at his shoes to the door. “I’m not here to talk you into forgiving me, though. I just– There’s something that you should know. And I know that I should probably save this for another time when you’re not so mad at me that you wouldn’t even open the door, but this isn’t the kind of thing that I can keep to myself. And I would tell it to Yusuf, but I really want you to be the first to know.” Eames runs his hand through his hair, mussing it even more than it already is, mostly to stop his hand from shaking. “I want you to be the first to know that I’m in love with you.”
The silence drags on.
“I don’t know the exact moment I fell in love with you,” Eames continues, because talking over the silence is a lot better than trying to analyze the silence. “It didn’t even occur to me that I was in love with you until Yusuf mentioned it today, but looking back, God, I don’t know how I could’ve missed it. I love you. I love you so bloody much and it hurts that you’re not talking to me, that you’re not even looking at me. I’m not saying that I don’t deserve it, because I do. It’s just awful to see you every day and not have you smile at me, and not being able to hold your hand or peck you on the cheek… I miss you, Arthur. I miss you terribly.”
The lock of the door clicks and Eames feels hope settle in his chest–
“That was some speech.”
–only to see Cobb.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Eames says.
Cobb smirks. “I believe you owe me an apology.”
Eames gapes at him. “I owe you an apology? You owe me an apology for listening in on a private conversation!”
“Eames, you were screaming your love confession for Arthur outside his door,” Cobb says. “Everyone probably heard that you love Arthur.”
“Except for Arthur,” Eames says dejectedly, running his hand over his face. “Fuck.”
“Do you want to come in?” Cobb asks.
Eames shakes his head. “No, I don’t reckon Arthur would like that much.” And then before he can talk himself out of it, he says, “I’m sorry, y’know, about your nose. I didn’t mean to–”
“It’s alright,” Cobb says. “Apology accepted, groveling not required.” He steps away from the frame of the door and out of Arthur’s apartment, waving Eames in. “You should probably go in, though. I really must be getting back to Mal, and Arthur’s inside waiting for you.”
“He– Wait, what?”
Cobb grins at him. “Everyone knows you love Arthur,” he says as he heads for the stairwell. “Including Arthur.”
“I knew,” Arthur says from where he’s sitting on the couch, when Eames walks in. “I knew before you did.”
Eames’ eyebrows climb up his forehead. “That I was sorry for that thing with Cobb?” Eames asks, incredulous. “I didn’t even know I was sorry for that thing with Cobb.”
Arthur rolls his eyes and pats on the space next to him, motioning Eames to sit. “The other thing,” he says.
“That I love you?” Eames asks as he sits.
“Yeah,” Arthur says, “that thing.”
“Before I say anything,” Arthur says, “I want you to know that I am still very mad at you for punching Dom in the face unprovoked.”
“Of course,” Eames agrees.
“I’m probably still going to be angry at you for awhile,” Arthur continues, face very straight.
“Naturally,” Eames says.
“But?” Eames echoes and there is a sense of déjà vu. They’ve done exactly this before, and they last time they did, it all ended perfectly for Eames. “But what, darling?”
“But I love you too,” Arthur says, and there’s a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, the one that Eames absolutely loves, the one that he’s been deprived of for days, and Eames cannot be blamed for leaning in to press a kiss against the corner of Arthur’s mouth.
“Yeah?” he murmurs, and feels Arthur’s smile grow.
“Yeah,” Arthur says, and then presses his lips against Eames’ for a proper kiss this time.