Characters: Arthur, Eames
Warnings: Language, some violence
La Vie En Rose (Continued)
Eames is twenty-two.
As an adult, Eames steals, gambles, and cheats his way through life. Sometimes even at the same time. He’s quick on the offensive, slow to defend, and a good briber.
(It comes naturally, he supposes, what with having to deal with Freddy all the time.)
He’s out, celebrating his birthday (that happened three months ago, Frederick, you inconsiderate arse), at the nearest pub with a group of people he supposes he calls friends.
(They’re definitely not family, though, that much he’s certain of.)
They’re sporadically placed around the large room, mingling with other guests. Eames can hear snippets of conversation drifting around, but there’s one voice that catches his attention.
(“Birthday boy,” Freddy coos. “We’ve got a surprise for you outside.”)
And, okay, Eames doesn’t really care for surprises. But whatever. It’s his not-birthday, so he deserves to have some fun.
He downs the rest of his drink, and follows Freddy outside. He’s led around the back, where the skeleton of a house, not completely built, is residing. Three other guys, and one girl, are sitting around. Smoke is wafting around the beams, and Eames blanches.
The girl looks up at them, and smiles at Freddy.
(“You got what we want?” the first douche asks.)
(DNO, Eames calls him. Douche Number One.)
(“Depends, is that Buttercream?”)
(Buttercream, Eames thinks.)
(“You got me a stripper?”)
(“Hooker, actually,” Douchebag Number Two answers. (DNT.))
(Eames glares at him. “I wasn’t talking to you, was I?”)
DNO stands up, wobbles, and falls over in a fit of aggravated laughter. The others giggle at his misfortune. He rubs his knee and asks Freddy if he brought the stuff.
The stuff. How cliché.
Freddy apologizes for only having one needle available, but don’t worry, he was able to jack a lot of The Stuff from his brother.
Eames watches as Freddy walks over to the group, handing out small baggies. He motions for Eames to come join them.
(“Eames, mate, come over here and have some fun for once. It’s your birthday.”)
(Eames rubs his temple. “Bloody fuck, Fred. You’re such a dumbass.”)
(Freddy’s eyes burn bright. “Fuck you. I risked my life to give you this.”)
Eames laughs. He scans the people. DNO is now pulling Buttercream into his lap, saying something along the lines of “you can cream my butter any day,” and Eames is fairly certain he’s going to be sick.
(“You risked nothing. You really think I want this?”)
DNT looks over at the DNO and they nod.
(“I don’t,” Eames starts, “I don’t even know you.”)
(“Oh, don’t be shy,” Freddy coaxes.)
(“You know what I fucking mean, Frederick. You take me to a pub to get drunk, then you tell me you bought me a hooker—”)
(“—Traded, actually. I traded for her.”)
(Yes, that makes things better.)
Eames doesn’t drop his glare. He does, however, turn on his heel and begins to walk away.
(“Hey! The hell is your problem?”)
Eames continues walking back to the pub (where there are witnesses, where someone might see how fucked up this all is), without a second glance back.
Until, of course, Douchebag Numero Three decides to pipe in.
(“If you’re not gonna take creamy thighs,” he motions to the hooker, needle halfway to (from?) her arm, “home tonight, then I call dibs.”)
There’s a chorus of “fuck you” from the others.
(“Whatever,” Eames mutters. “It’s not even my birthday, arse.”)
Freddy kicks a rock at him, which doesn’t hurt Eames so much as it annoys him, but doesn’t do anything else.
As an adult, Eames walks away for the first time.
He drives home (he’s really not drunk. He had one beer. He’s starving though. Takeout sounds atrocious, but his fridge is empty.) as the clouds form overhead and the street lights turn on.
He’s watching re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie and eating Thai right out of the boxes knowing that his roommate won’t appreciate the stale smell of cardboard the next day.
(He doesn’t really care, though. It’s his apartment. He can do whatever the bleeding hell he wants.)
His phone rings, and the number that comes up is unlisted, so he wages a short battle with himself before he loses and answers.
(“The hell is your problem?”)
(“The fuck, Eames? Why can’t you be appreciative of shit? I do so much for you.”)
(“You supply me with drugs and hookers I don’t want or need.”)
(“Oh,” Freddy snorts unappealingly, “Because you get laid all the time, right?”)
(Eames glowers through the phone. “Fuck you.”)
(The line is silent for a few moments. “Jesus. You’re a fag, aren’t you?”)
Eames doesn’t hang up. He waltzes into the kitchen, turns the dish disposal on, and holds the phone over the drain.
(“Buggering fuck, Eames! Are you trying to deafen me? Is that your type? Retarded fags?”)
(“Oh, don’t flatter yourself. I don’t go for guys like you.”)
(“So, you are a queermo. It makes sense now. No wonder your mom offed herself.”)
(“She had a terminal disease, dumb shit. I’m hanging up now.”)
(“You owe me, dick.”)
(Eames’ finger hovers over the End Call button. “I don’t owe you shit.”)
(“You owe me my lighter. And for the Butts of Cream or whatever the hell her idiotic name is.”)
(“Buttercream. And I don’t. Owe. You. Shit. I threw out that lighter years ago.”)
(That’s not true, but no one needs to know that. No one needs to know that he sometimes spends his days learning about different fires and practices starting and putting them out. (He doesn’t want a repeat of burning down the house.) No one needs to know how it relaxes him and calms him down and makes him feel alive.)
He hangs up before Frederick can say another word.
And then, in a fuck-it-all move, he buys a one-way ticket to the United States.
As an adult Eames is pretty sure he knows who he is (not gay, he’s sure, but he can’t be sure) and he doesn’t know what he wants.
And, as an adult, he’d rather figure his shit out anywhere except here.