In truth, Adrian had no real idea what this celebration was supposed to be about.
She had gathered that something of significance had happened in the months since she had last seen Phoenix, from the excited chatter between Maya Fey and her younger cousin, but the specifics of the occasion were lost upon her. Adrian thought she had heard something about the caffeine addicted walking dead involved, assumed she needed a hearing check, and then on further reflection decided it might be best if she just not ask unnecessary questions.
Still, she had been touched by the gesture of invitation extended to her.
She only recognized roughly half of the people who had shown at the hotel. Miles Edgeworth was engaged in conversation with Phoenix, who was nodding his agreement to their topic of conversation while physically restraining Maya from creating a massacre of the food table. It seemed a responsibility he had grown used to over years of her company. Dick Gumshoe, meanwhile, appeared slightly inebriated and was clumsily dancing with a bespectacled girl who was trying her hardest to keep smiling through each time he managed to step on her foot or knock her elbows against a piece of furniture.
She didn't really know anybody else, but that was all right; she was content to simply be here and soak in the relaxed atmosphere, enjoying her fond thoughts towards the people around her. She lingered in the corner by herself, on her third or fourth glass of wine, feeling the warmth of the alcohol beginning to spread through her stomach. Learning to smile had come so much more easily in the year since Matt's trial, and at times such at this is was actually hard to stop.
The serenity and contentment of the mood was momentarily disrupted from a brief outbreak of hysteria on the part of Phoenix Wright upon learning he was expected to foot the bill for the expenses of the party. Miles Edgeworth snidely replied with something about his financial situation being appropriately proportioned to his professional capabilities that apparently left Phoenix flabbergasted into silence--long enough for Maya to drown out any lingering protests he had with a demand that everyone join in together to dance. Even the unwilling were systematically pulled from their chairs and shoved onto the floor by the combined forces of she and Pearl.
Adrian had learned to formally dance, once; it was more or less a necessity when working with someone like Matt Engarde, who plunged into every chance at publicity that he could get. Celeste had taught her personally, in what she remembered as one of the best times in her life. But it had been a long time since then, and her face flushed as she felt herself stumbling under a series of unpracticed missteps and the influence of the earlier wine. Nobody seemed to notice, especially with the younger girls jumping and making a spectacle of themselves in the middle of the floor--but it was embarrassing all the same.
She thought that no one had noticed.
Five minutes and one song later, she felt gloved hands seize her own, and found herself spinning to face Franziska von Karma, who afforded her no time to stare or even greet her as she forcibly rearranged Adrian's limbs into proper position, willing or not. Adrian staggered, taken aback. She had no idea Franziska would be here; the last she had heard, she was still carrying on her work in Germany. Her composure somehow worse than before at this brisk, unexpected attempt at instruction, she failed to notice her attacks upon Franziska's feet until she began kicking back.
As she yelped in pain and alarm--Franziska shot her a glare that promised death by fire and Adrian thought she could see Miles Edgeworth casting her a sympathetic glance from the corner of her eye--along with the throbbing searing across her ankle, or perhaps because of it, the sensation of her hands gripped in Franziska's abruptly came into sharp focus. Cool leather, worn smooth over years of use; tightened around her palms in a way that promised there would be no compromise until she relearned to do this thing properly.
The grip and the strength behind it were familiar; a renewal of an old memory twelve months past. She hadn't changed. Not in any of the ways that had mattered. Not in any of the ways that had left Adrian lingering for so long on the image of her retreating back.
And then, dwelling on this, there also came a strange, abrupt awareness of the other things that had stayed constant about her: the glint of her lipstick in the dimming lights; the way her hair was tucked neatly behind her ear; the curve of her dress against her waist. Even though they had kept contact through phone calls and text messages--Adrian often waiting anxiously with her cell phone lying in front of her through her meal breaks and leisure times, not caring how strange the sheer consistency would seem to her co-workers--it had been a long time since she had actually seen Franziska in person. Nearly a year.
After that kind of distance, it was easy to for certain things to become blurred in her memory. Important things, she thought, fairly fuzzily, things like the grace with which she moved, the way that particular smoky hue in her eyes reflected light a certain way nobody else's did The way she focused the force of her grip into her fingertips, whether pressed against skin or handling a whip.
Yes. These were things of utmost importance. She would have to take care not to forget them again; she would have to take measures to ensure such important details as these were to be engraved in her mind from this point on, in the place she usually reserved for longing.
As Franziska's arms guided her, firm, unyielding, commanding the same essence of purpose and all the things Adrian painted under dreamy fingertips as she had moved from day to day, she could already feel herself drowning. She was back in the empty studios, learning to dance through step by awkward step under the careful instruction of Celeste. Learning to live again. Learning to love again.
Her thoughts were disrupted as Franziska made a noise of keen disapproval--Adrian had not realized her eyes had fallen shut--and then had kicked her once again for good measure, effectively snapping her out of her trance. The hotel scenery settled back around her, Franziska's grip pulling her forcibly back towards the ground of reality.
She inhaled, sharply.
"Foolishly foolish fool," Franziska hissed between grit teeth, adjusting her grip against Adrian for the next song and not quite meeting her eyes, "from a land of incompetent, culturally challenged fools."
She blinked. And then, hair strewn in her face, unable to bite back a peal of joyous laughter, Adrian thought that it was the most romantic thing she had ever heard.