When I was introduced to Cobb for a job offer, I never imagined that my life would be much different. I was expecting to be provided with a chance to help with a building design or to build a house for him. The first few minutes I was with him, I was confused because he wouldn't tell me what the job was until we were alone.
He made me take a test where I had to draw a maze in two minutes that took one minute to solve. After three tries I passed.
"That's more like it." He said. I hid a smirk behind my lips. "What's your school schedule for the rest of the day?"
"I just had my last class for today." I told him.
"Then I would like it if you come with me to the warehouse." Cobb sounded like a nice man. For a second, I was afraid something would happen to me. What did he mean by 'not exactly legal'?"
On an occasion as we were walking down the block, I would ask him the same question.
"What's so illegal about this?"
Cobb's only response was a gesture advising me to be quiet. When I'm curious about something, I hold it in as easily as a cat can bathe. Sometimes I ask questions that embarrass the people I'm questioning and even myself. One time in high school there were rumors about two young math teachers dating. I asked the male math teacher and he went deep red. That's how skilled I am at keeping a question in.
I was like my favorite fictional heroine. If I saw a white rabbit in fancy clothes hopping by and saying, 'I'm late!' I would chase him. If I were lead to a giant hole, I'd crane my head in so far that I'd slip and end up at the bottom. One question would lead to another after I'd meet a crazy tea addict and a hotheaded queen. Some questions proffered interesting information, some danger. These questions I had would lead me to high hazards.
We reached the warehouse and right as I stepped inside, I said for the seventh time, "How is this illegal?"
"You'll see." He finally responded. Not good enough, I thought. I scanned the giant but empty room to see a few lawn chairs and a silver briefcase. Then I was really confused. There was a tall man in a suit looking inside of it. What's in there? Well Cobb did say the job wouldn't be legal. Were there weapons in there? Bombs? Radiation rods? That has nothing to do with architecture! I mentally face-palmed myself.
The man finally turned around. I couldn't see him well from a distance because the lighting in the warehouse was awful. As I got a better look at him, I could see his hair was slicked back. Usually I hated it when guys used hair gel. To me, they looked like maiden-kidnapping villains. That hairstyle always made me feel uneasy, but he mastered it. His eyes were dark so I assumed they were brown like mine and like me he was deathly pale.
"Ariadne, this is Arthur." Cobb introduced us. "Arthur works with me."
Arthur's face was like a continent; his features barely shifted. He kept a neutral expression. I was almost hesitant to let out my hand but I did anyway.
"Nice to meet you." My voice was nearly mute. For a moment, his face was frozen. I was about to put my hand away to reduce the awkwardness but then he took my hand gently. Does he ever talk?
"Ariadne. I haven't heard name in a long time." He finally spoke. His voice was balanced and like Cobb's it was American.
"My parents were a little obsessed with Greek mythology." I explained. His face indicated that he already knew whom the goddess Ariadne was. Not that many people do.
Arthur dressed like most of the theater students at the college. The dramatic arts boys would on a regular basis wore vests, button down shirts, ties and pants that matched their jackets. He immediately reminded me of an actor and I could clearly picture him tap dancing in a fedora. The thing about the theater boys though was that they still acted like animals while they worked and I don't mean on stage.
He's different. I told myself.
"So what exactly is going on?" I asked.
"I'll show you." Said Cobb. He stuck his arm out toward one of the lawn chairs. I blinked with suspicion but I went over and lay down.
Arthur walked back to the case. What's in there? He pulled out two skinny tubes. As I observed what he was doing, I noticed he was connecting a needle to each tube.
"I'm going to ask you to take off your jacket." He said.
"What exactly is this all about?" I asked him as I peeled off my favorite jacket.
"In a moment I'll let you know." Said Cobb. Arthur then knelt next to me with a soaked cotton ball. He took the front of my wrist and cleaned the skin over a vein. That's when I realized what he was going to do I nearly freaked out.
"You're a doctor, right?" I asked him.
"I've done this many times before." He said. "Just relax for a moment."
"What are you giving me?"
"Some drugs that will make you sleep." He said. I was about the jump off the chair and run but Cobb was getting hooked up to the case also so I assumed I'd be fine. The needle stung for a brief moment but that wasn't the strange feeling crawling through my body.
I ended up sleeping two five-minute trials. The second dream where Cobb's crazy wife stabbed me, I woke up gasping for air. It was as if I was trapped underwater for a long time and reached the surface in time.
One hand was over mine, the other one around my forearm.
"Look at me." His voice echoed calmly. "Your ok." When his skin made contact with mine, I felt like I was being charged.
"Why wouldn't I wake up?" I wheezed.
"Because there was still some time on the clock and you can't wake up in a dream unless you die."
"She'll need a totem." Said Cobb.
"What!" I snapped. I wanted to kick his ass at that moment. "That's sound subconscious you've got on you, Cobb! She's a real charmer!"
"Oh, I see you've met Mrs. Cobb." Said Arthur. He started to talk about totems after that sentence but I was still traumatized from having a knife jabbed inside of me.
"I-I don't know if you can't see what's going on or if you don't want too, but Cobb has some serious problems he's trying to bury in there, and I'm not just going to open my mind to someone like that."
To my surprise, Arthur had a confused expression on his face. I thought he didn't have the confusion emotion.
I picked up my jacket and left doubting that I'd see him again.
I never liked Nash. From the start I always believed he was going to make a big mistake that would get us in deeper trouble. It was when he used too much memory to build Saito's apartment in the first dream level. The Japanese businessman noticed that the rug in the dream was the same one he had in reality.
"I always hated this carpet." He laughed. I looked up to Nash right away and could see clearly that he knew he was finished. His excuse?
"I didn't know he was gonna rub his damn cheek on it!"
When I saw him last, he was being dragged away by Saito's people. His fate was in Cobal's hands. I don't know what they did to him but whatever Cobal does is worse than death. After Nash's departure, Saito immediately mentions Inception. In my mind, I could not believe what this man was requesting.
An extraction is dangerous and complicated. An inception is ten times worse. I tried to persuade Cobb to refuse the job, but Saito offered him an opportunity to return to his kids.
"If you had children, you'd understand." Cobb said to me. As nice as the idea of having a daughter sounded, I would never have time for her. She would always be with her mother or nanny while I was out breaking the law. I would almost never see her. Every time children were mentioned, I imagined having a daughter I could spend years with. But I decided to be a Point Man over a father so I had to force her out of my head.
We flew to Paris to find a new architect. While Cobb was at the college to see his father-in-law, I was setting up everything in the warehouse.
I pictured the new architect as a man around twenty-three with faded jeans and a brown sweatshirt. He would be curious about everything he see's. If there were a red button that said 'Do not press', he'd push it. He'd be down soon, just like Nash. Nash wasn't our only architect; a few men before had worked with us but they all failed to design unfamiliar mazes.
I heard a feminine voice on the other side of the room say, "How is this illegal?"
I faced the new architect too see a woman who couldn't be more than twenty-four. This surprised me because women aren't usually involved in the dreaming business. The only other woman was Mal.
"Ariadne, this is Arthur. Arthur works with me."
Ariadne. I studied mythology when I was younger. Ariadne was in only a few books I read. She was the daughter of King Minos and wife of Dionysus.
The Ariadne in front of me was no taller than five foot two but her appearance was striking to me. Her hair was only a shade lighter than mine but I'd run a hand through it if she'd let me. Those brown eyes seemed to brighten up the room through those thick eyelashes.
What I liked was her taste in clothing, mainly her scarf. Most women I see bare too much and dress distastefully, especially women around her age. Often I would see women walking around with long shirts, no pants and fishnets. Most women were only looking for attention. Ariadne did not look like she'd ever intend to act or look different over a man.
That's what attracted me to her automatically.
She brought her hand out politely "Nice to meet you." Her tone was sheepish as if she was afraid of me.
"Ariadne. I haven't heard name in a long time." I stated.
"My parents were a little obsessed with Greek mythology." She told me. As was I at one point in my life before my parents threw all my books away. They only wanted me to believe in one god who they thought was real; Jesus.
Cobb told Ariadne to sit on the lawn chair. I went to get the PASIV ready for them. With the needles on the end of the tubes, I went over to Ariadne to clean her wrist.
"You are a doctor, right?" She asked me uneasily.
"I've done this many times before. Just relax for a moment."
"What are you giving me?" Ariadne still looked worried.
"Some drugs that will make you sleep." I said to her. She was tense as I slipped the needle in her wrist, her arm wobbling like cardboard in a gust.
The first trial was normal. During the second trial, I was straitening my tie when I heard distressed moaning. When I turned around, I saw Ariadne stirring in her sleep. The timer had three minutes left on it but she woke early, breathing deeply as if she was running from someone.
I rushed over to her side to see if she wasn't too frightened. "Look at me. Your ok." I assured her. My words didn't work very well as she started to yell at Cobb.
"That's sound subconscious you've got on you, Cobb! She's a real charmer!"
"I see you met Mrs. Cobb." I sighed quietly.
"She's his wife?" Obviously, she didn't believe me. "So a totem; you need a small object, potentially heavy, that you can have on you at all times."
"L-like a coin?" she stuttered.
"Needs to be more unique than that." I said to her. I showed her my loaded die but the fire in her came back.
"I-I don't know if you can't see what's going on or if you don't want too, but Cobb has some serious problems he's trying to bury in there, and I'm not just going to open my mind to someone like that." Ariadne scorned. I watched as she picked up her jacket and left.
"She'll be back." He said. "I've never seen someone pick it up that quickly. Reality's not gonna be enough for her when she comes back. When she comes back, your gonna have her building mazes."
He was right. Cobb went off to Mombasa to find Eames, leaving me alone in the warehouse. As I was inspecting the PASIV, faint footsteps entered the room. There she was wearing that same red jacket but a different scarf.
"Cobb said you'd be back."
"I tried not to come, but
" Ariadne stopped in the middle of the sentence as if she had nothing else to say.
"But there's nothing quite like it." I finished for her.