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Eames gets halfway across the deserted lobby before the insistent urge to run gives way to a sickening realization that he’s blown it. His knees buckle as the enormity of his mistake rolls over him. Sinking onto a bench he chants “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” into shaking hands. It doesn’t ease the clenching in his gut. Nor does it begin to explain why he just left Arthur sated and sleeping upstairs.

A silver balloon scuds across the floor near his feet, one of a cluster bobbing feebly from the banister beside him. Once festive, now forlorn and Christ if that isn’t apt. One moment he and Arthur are high on inception and finally acting on the attraction that’s hummed between them for years, the next he’s doing a runner at 5 a.m. Because now he knows that Arthur is greedy and giving, unexpectedly filthy and altogether splendid. Now he knows that he wants more, so much more. And he’s always known how dangerous it is to want anything this much.

He’s dribbling the balloon between his feet, unwilling to leave but afraid to go back, when lights flicker on in the hotel Starbucks. Two lattes, one second chance, to go.