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Life Could Be a Dream

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Cobb's been wanting more fresh air, so Arthur started looking into local hiking trails.

They take a preliminary hike, just the two of them, to see if it's the kind of place they want to bring James and Phillipa.

They're on the tail end of their loop around a duck pond, not far from the parking lot.

"Not bad," Arthur says. "Plenty of trees for shade. A little steep in places, but nothing the kids won't be able to handle."

"About the kids," Cobb starts. "I've been meaning to have a talk with them."

"What about?"

"You."

If Arthur thinks anything of it, he doesn't show it. He just takes it in stride. "What about me?" he asks, cool as the breeze.

"They still call you 'Uncle Arthur.' But you're more than that to them. You cook them dinner and help them with their homework."

He's more than that to Cobb. He's stopped sleeping in the guest bedroom.

"I don't mind." Arthur shrugs. "It's not like I expect them to call me 'Dad' all of a sudden."

"Do you want to get married?"

Arthur doesn't take that in stride. In fact, with his wide eyes on Cobb, he trips.

~

"That wasn't a 'no,' by the way," Arthur clarifies later.

Cobb's been waiting for him to get back to it, but the fall took precedence.

"That wasn't the proposal. I just wanted to know if it's on the table. I wouldn't want to spring it on you if it's not."

Arthur looks at his ankle, propped up, wrapped, and iced. "I don't think that qualified as not springing it on me."

"Sorry."

"It's alright. Just promise me something."

"Anything."

"Never carry me like that again."

At the time, Cobb didn't even think twice, he just knelt down and positioned Arthur's knees up, then pulled his arm and hoisted him over his shoulders.

Cobb smiles. "Not even across the threshold?"

"Not even then."