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You Would Have Seen Signs Enough

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Eames’ fingers twitched, itching to trace Arthur’s exposed skin. He had spent the better part of the past half hour watching Arthur get ready.

The shower, shaving, moisturising, blow drying his hair. Despite having seen this whole routine before, Eames couldn’t get over the fact that Arthur blow-dried his hair. Actually, Eames rather preferred Arthur’s blow-dried style. The fluffy way it stood up from his head was endearing and made Arthur look much younger than his usual slicked-back style did.

At this point, Eames almost always made a noise of protest. But Arthur had a pomade rather than a gel. Eames bit his tongue to watch the process as he haphazardly dried himself.

“You could always take a picture,” Arthur drawled, finally noticing Eames watching him.

“Is that an invitation, darling?” Eames smirked, wrapping the towel low on his hips.

“I don’t think your collection needs to grow,” Arthur replied as he patted his hair with a few finishing touches.

Eames hummed in disagreement, wrenching his gaze from Arthur and walking to the bedroom.

Arthur had dutifully laid out their tuxes the night before, Gucci suits they had gotten at the same time. Arthur had a close-cut, satin-trimmed number that accentuated his lithe form. Eames had a simple black three-piece suit with a satin trim down the sides of the pants, and a satin bow tie. The satin was Eames’ idea, so they would match without being in the exact same suit. Surprisingly, Arthur hadn’t fought him at all over it.

As Eames was sliding his pants on, towel pooled at his socked feet, Arthur sidled into the bedroom. He was ignoring Eames’ blatant staring, but Eames couldn’t blame him. Eames watched Arthur from the corner of his eye and he settled into getting his tux on. There was a routine, one Arthur had taught him. Shirt first, trousers, cufflinks, bow tie, waistcoat, shoes, jacket. It had become second nature to get dressed this way so Eames didn’t have to think about it as he started openly watching Arthur.

It was a show in itself watching his partner get dressed. The way Arthur dressed was the same as he did everything else: efficient and methodical. Normally those traits wouldn’t lead to an overtly sexual show, but Eames knew Arthur put a little bit extra in these days. There was no way Arthur needed to wriggle his hips that much to get his trousers on. Eames had said something about it once before and it had taken months for Arthur to bring the wriggling back into his routine.

Eames buttoned up his pants and moved to the dresser, rummaging in the top drawer to find the cufflinks Arthur had given him for his last birthday; a purple paisley set. He pulled them out and sorted out his French cuffs, sliding the cufflinks into place. Eames liked having a small pop of colour in his otherwise monotone outfit.

Eames grabbed his bow tie and walked back to the bathroom. It had been too long since he’d worn a bow tie and he figured he was going to need any help he could get, though he wasn’t entirely convinced the reversed image would actually help.

Five minutes in, Eames grunted. He should have gotten one of those ridiculous pre-done bow ties. His pride hadn’t let him though.

“Let me,” Arthur sighed, knocking Eames’ hands out of the way as he turned around, startled by Arthur’s presence. How hadn’t he noticed Arthur come in?

Eames swallowed, trying not to focus on Arthur’s fingers brushing against his throat. They were warm and soft, sending a thrill straight to Eames’ core.

“There,” Arthur said with a pat to the bowtie, as efficient as ever.

“Thank you,” Eames mumbled, his voice slightly rougher than normal.

Arthur was already dressed, his bow tie neatly snug against his throat. When Arthur turned to retrieve his jacket, Eames spotted a glimpse of silver in the light. Even with Arthur’s retreating form, Eames could tell he had chosen the ones with his initials on: AB. The ones Eames had given him for Christmas.

Eames smiled broadly and followed Arthur to the bedroom, eyes trailing him as he slipped the jacket on. Eames grabbed his own jacket, slipping it on as smoothly as he could manage.

Arthur turned, doing up the top button on the jacket. “Good enough?” he asked, holding his arms out for Eames’ inspection.

Eames moved forward, watching Arthur carefully for a sign of hesitation. Not seeing one, Eames gave Arthur a soft peck on the lips, adjusted his bow tie and left the room with a parting “Delectable, darling.”

Eames loved Arthur dressed to the nines. He especially loved being able to undress Arthur at the end of the evening. He hoped he would get to do that later.

There was a car waiting when Eames ushered Arthur onto the street. It was unusual for them to go anywhere this way, Arthur preferred to drive himself. Even in Paris.

The drive was quiet. Eames’ gaze wandered over to Arthur, watching as he looked out at the passing city. It was at moments like these that Eames wished telepathy was a real thing. He would give anything to know what Arthur was thinking. Whether or not he was upset with Eames keeping the evening plans from him.

Instead, Eames had to settle for not knowing. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. They had been together long enough that Eames knew Arthur’s tells. The way he held himself in different moods. But Eames couldn’t get a read on him. He wondered if it was because of his own nerves.

Sooner than Eames expected, they arrived at their destination, the imposing facade of the Palais Garnier looming over the car. A smile spread across his lips. It had been months since they had spent the evening at the opera.

He chanced a glance over at Arthur, noting the surprised look on his face before it was schooled into a more subdued pleasure.

Eames slipped his hand into Arthur’s, squeezing lightly before leading the way through the doors.

They were led to a private box where there was champagne and chocolates waiting for them and Eames settled into one of the chairs, pouring them both a glass.

“Are you going to tell me what the occasion is?” Arthur asked, taking a glass when Eames held it out.

“We had the time.”

Arthur lifted a brow at Eames. “You’re kidding right?”

Eames chuckled, shifting in his seat as he sipped at the champagne. “It’s been too long since we did this, darling. Aren’t I allowed to take you to the opera? I thought you liked it.” Eames frowned a little at the last part.

Arthur hurried to his own seat, setting the champagne flute on the table as he got Eames’ attention. “You know I do, Eames. Just, this isn’t our usual style. You’ve told me absolutely nothing about this evening. It’s frustrating.”

“I’m a man of mystery.”

“You are not Bond.”

“I could be.”

“In your dreams.”

“Or yours.” Eames winked.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You’re adorable, love. Now stop worrying and enjoy the show.”

The lights dimmed and the opera started. Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde .

Eames half watched the performance, preferring to keep his eyes on Arthur. Watching his emotions shift with the rise and fall of the music. Despite how hard Arthur tried to hide it, he was an extremely emotional person.

“That was amazing,” Arthur gushed as soon as the lights came back up.

Eames chuckled, unabashedly staring at Arthur as they stood.

Arthur noticed Eames staring at him and touched a hand to his face. “Am I drooling or something?”

“No, no,” Eames said, crowding Arthur against the wall. “You’re perfect, as always.”

Arthur snorted. “I am far from perfect, Eames.”

“Think what you will.” Eames pressed his lips against Arthur’s. He could still taste the champagne on Arthur’s lips.

Arthur groaned into the kiss, his hands finding Eames’ jacket and pulling him closer.

They broke the kiss with a gasp. “Hungry?”

“Starving,” Arthur responded.