Disclaimer: Inception does not belong to me. Neither does Jules, she belongs to Celtic Lioness.
Jules looked up as Robert entered the kitchen. His face was flushed, causing her to frown slightly. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine," Robert replied, a little stiffly. He swallowed and walked over to the sink. "Is there anything I can do?"
Jules nodded. "The dishes?" She couldn't help but smirk as a look of almost horror crossed across Robert's face. "You've never done them before?"
"Well, I, uh-" he began, and then shook his head. "No. Not really."
"Well, its a good time to learn." Jules wiped her hands on her apron, and walked across to him. "All you need to do is turn the water on, then add detergent. OK?"
Robert nodded. "No problem." Setting his jaw, he gently squeezed the plastic bottle, letting the thick liquid dribble down the plates. Picking up the washcloth, he began to work on the stack of plates.
Jules looked over at him, and couldn't resist smiling. Robert looked up, and caught her eye. "What is it?" he asked.
"Oh, nothing," Jules responded. "Its just I love to see a man work."
Robert scowled slightly. "I do work. I did work."
"Would you really call it work?" Jules challenged. "Getting made up, dressed up, paraded around like a show dog?"
Robert bit his lip. "I guess not. But then, I'm no good for anything else." He bowed his head down and began scrubbing the plates, vigorously.
"Who told you that?" Jules demanded, a wave of protectiveness for Robert spreading over her. He swallowed and continued to wash.
Suddenly, Josef walked into the kitchen, and grabbed two plates that were ready to go. He cast a quick glance at Robert and Jules, his lip curling as he left.
"Your order," Josef muttered. He gently sat two plates down in front of Arthur and Ariadne. Arthur smiled. "Thank you."
"Looks great," Ariadne said, smiling appreciatively. She picked up her fork, and looked at Arthur, who was carefully cutting his french toast. "So, how are you going to re-introduce Summer to food?"
Arthur took a bite, chewed, and swallowed. "Well, I have ideas. Maybe get her photographed from her bad side so she sees how ill she is. And maybe do the same thing for Jared." He cast a quick look over his shoulder at the other patrons. "He's as sick as she is."
"This all sounds very noble," Ariadne said carefully, dipping her fork into her Eggs Benedict, "but it won't do any good. I mean, you can't just invite them round to dinner!"
Arthur shrugged. "Why not? Might be an opportunity to build some bridges. Try and restore some better relations."
She smiled. "I think you're crazy."
Arthur raised an eyebrow. "Possibly."
"What do you think it would do to Robert?"
Arthur took a sip of coffee. "He'll be on our turf. They can't do anything."
Ariadne smiled. "You do have the craziest ideas."
"I know. But..." he said, smiling and leaning forward, "who said anything about them actually eating anything?"
"Who said that to you?"
"Who...oh, sorry, I think I've used too much detergent-"
"Never mind that, we can get another bottle." Jules faced him. "Stop avoiding the question. Who told you you were no good for anything?"
Robert sighed. "Browning. He used to be a business partner with my father. And told me I'd never understand it, so to use my face and body to earn money instead."
She shook her head. "You always let people make decisions for you? You really do need to start taking back control of your life." She checked her watch. "Oh, its my break time. See you in a bit."
She untied her apron, and carefully placed it on its hook. Grabbing a bottle of water out of the fridge, she hurried to to the main restaurant area.
Robert stood at the sink, carefully rinsing the plates. He'd created a clean stack, and settled them gently on the side, letting them drain. He reached for the towel, and dried his hands.
"So, did you enjoy the croissant?"
Robert turned. Josef stood behind him, his arms folded. Robert swallowed and nodded. "I did."
"Well, if you don't mind me saying, you looked a little green after eating it," the other man commented. "Sure there's nothing you're not telling us?"
Robert shook his head. "No, there isn't." His tone was guarded. Josef shrugged his shoulders, and left.
"So, you think its a good idea?"
Jules shook her head. "Arthur, its an insane idea. But it could be...amazing."
He smiled. "I'm glad you think so. Hopefully it might make them both realise that there's more to life than how they look."
Jules took a swallow of water. "Hopefully." She began to get up. "I've got to head back to the kitchen."
Josef stood outside, smoking. He cast a quick glance through the window, taking in the pale man who seemed completely engrossed in the washing of plates. He stubbed his cigarette out, and flicked the butt into the bushes. Turning, he began to walk back into the restaurant through the back door.
As he walked back out through the door, he encountered Jules.
"Can I have a word?" Josef asked, his tone pleasant. Jules nodded, and followed him. They walked into a small back office, and Josef pulled the door closed.
"What is it?" Jules asked.
Josef swallowed, and looked at her. "What's up with Robert?"
"Nothing." Jules shook her head. "Why?"
"Well, earlier, he and I ate together," Josef continued, carefully watching her reaction, "and he seemed a little...discomfitted."
"He doesn't know you," Jules pointed out. "Not like I do."
Josef nodded. "Of course. But, in the bathroom-"
"Josef, leave it. I don't want to hear this."
Josef leaned forward, and whispered softly.
"I think he was going to make himself vomit."
Smiling, he turned and began to walk out, leaving Jules staring after him.
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