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Life Could Be a Dream

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Ariadne heaves her carry-on off her shoulder. It's good to be back in a familiar apartment.

"I hope it's settled that we're never working with Adrian again." The man was a terror.

"Not if we can help it," Arthur muses far too generously, "but it's not a business where we can afford to burn bridges too early."

"Speaking of burning, can you at least promise we'll never have to work above a restaurant again? God knows if I'll ever get that greasy smell out of my clothes."

He gives her a peck on the cheek. "That I can promise."

"Good. I never want to eat takeout again."

~

Ariadne finds the bed beside her empty when she wakes up. She showers, then heads downstairs.

The aroma of cinnamon greets her. She peeks into the kitchen. Arthur is in a black apron, standing over the stove. He drops a spatula into a spoon rest and starts stirring a pot on the back burner. His movements are tight and practiced.

She watches from the door frame for a few minutes before she enters.

"Good morning." Arthur says when he sees her. "I hope you're hungry."

"I am."

"How do you take your eggs?"

"Scrambled is fine."

He cracks eggs one-handed, then takes a peek into the oven.

"Anything I can help with?" she asks, even though from the looks of things, he's got it all covered.

"You could set the table."

She gets the utensils from a drawer next to him. Their arms brush, and he leans over for a kiss. She obliges.

~

Arthur serves cinnamon crêpes, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and hash browns.

She takes it all in as they both sit down at the table.

"God..." she marvels. 

He perks up, closes his eyes, and bows his head, reaching for her hand. 

She stares. "Oh, I just meant, like, 'God, what a spread.' I'm not... I'm agnostic." 

"Oh." He sits back up. "Atheist."

"You don't believe in God, but you were ready to say grace?" 

"Well, I wasn't gonna be rude."

Ariadne pours syrup on her crêpes, then takes a bite. They're light and buttery.

Arthur says, "I should've asked before I went shopping, but do you have any dietary restrictions?"

She swallows, then answers, "No, but I'm surprised you don't already know."

"Have I asked before? I couldn't recall."

"No, but I figured you'd looked up my medical history."

"I haven't. That's private."

"But on the Fischer job, there was that coffee run where you came back with muffins, and Cobb asked if there were any banana walnuts, and you said no because Yusuf has a nut allergy. But Yusuf was like, 'I never told you that.'"

"I looked up Yusuf's. I was trying to rattle him. I had a bad feeling about him. I was right to. But I haven't looked up yours. Cobb had me run a background check on you, though, to make sure you weren't a federal plant."

"What about your background? Did you used to be a chef or something? This is food is just so good. And you made things look so easy in the kitchen, like you really knew what you were doing."

"I was going to be one."

"Really?"

"I went to culinary school in Paris. Then I met Mal, got into dreamshare, and dropped out."

"Oh, wow. All I know is how to follow the directions on the back of a TV dinner. Maybe you could teach me some recipes."

He smiles. "I'd love to."