Well. Here was a turn-up for the books, wasn't it?
Eames had begun to put together a picture of the sharp-looking man of middling age with the wild curls and the vision of poetic landscapes. It was a shrewd picture rather than anything flattering because Eames was fond of facts rather than fiddles in the margins when it came to dreams. As much as he enjoyed fiddling, when it came down to work, darling, he was brutally to the point.
He was used to dreams shifting. Most people who operated on the subconscious level knew the ins and outs of a little shift in landscape even if they weren't an architect who could shape it. It was about big picture and will and the desire to sustain and Eames we've already determined is a man for the detail, for digging under the surface like a splinter instead of constructing the surface. The dreamer (because Eames hadn't stroked the dream-tension long enough to produce a name) was prone to inner reflection. He was shy or he was withdrawn, it was much of the same thing to everyone else. He suffered from conflict or a hectic life when he was awake and his background belonged to the vague outlines of the upper-class or at a push, upper-middle. It was the landscape, darling. No one hankered after mist and small cottages if they thirsted for bigger and better things.
All of this Eames identified with a casual disregard for the passage of time in the dream. Until they crossed the Rubicon and sod all of that for a game of soldiers. This was the main show. Somewhere, in the dark cool room with the beads of a soporific sliding down plastic tubing, Eames' heart-rate picked up a tick.
The eyes of the man looking at the dreamer narrowed a fraction. He shook off the illusion of the middling accountant-looking man with an ease and a ripple of oiled water and the blonde looked back at all that perfection in evening dress. It would be worth something, to say what it was exactly Eames looked at and he was funny about giveaways of a personal nature. He admired the suit for a fraction of a second with a touch of envy that was notionally indulged in before it swept aside. It was a very good suit.
The blonde was taller than the accountant had been but she fitted the illusion of the setting better, so that was all right. She wore a dress that borrowed liberally from whatever magazine spread had last been looked at, that poured and clung rather better than any woman and dress could manage the other side of reality. She had a heart-shaped face and very clear and very cold blue eyes. They were assessing rapidly as Eames ran through exactly how far down they had gone. The blonde meant burning that particular card but he was more comfortable in her in here than he was in the accountant.
And then the dreamer mentioned his name and the blonde smiled smoothly as if she'd been asked for an autograph and Eames threw the playbook out the window. The blonde held out a hand, perfectly manicured fingernails and a strong grip.
"Eames will do. And you are?" The blonde leaned into the question with a purr. She laughed. "Aren't we doing that already?"