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Of Fake Fairytales and Faux Amour
- Chapter 14 -
A Spoonful of Oblivion
Phoenix opened his eyes as the Steel Samurai theme started playing. Groaning, he turned over to look at his alarm clock. 9:08. Who was calling him so early on a Sunday morning?
He reached over to grab his cellphone and considered turning it off for a second, before deciding to answer it. He cleared his throat in an attempt to sound at least somewhat awake.
There was a sigh on the other end of the line. "I knew I should have called later."
Phoenix blinked. "…Edgeworth?"
"I'll let you go back to sleep."
"N-no… it's fine," Phoenix replied, rubbing at his eyes. "What's going on?"
"I was just… I was wondering if you could meet me somewhere." There was something off in Edgeworth's voice. He sounded preoccupied.
Phoenix sat up. "Did something happen?"
"What do you mean 'not exactly'?"
"Nothing bad happened if that's what you're asking."
Phoenix sighed with relief and flopped back down onto the bed. "Geez… don't scare me like that."
"…I don't recall saying anything to make you believe there was something to worry about."
"Well, no, but…" Phoenix switched the phone to his other ear. "It's nine in the morning," he said through a yawn. "What's so important that you needed to wake me up?"
"As I said, I can call back later."
"A bit late for that," Phoenix replied, stretching his back. "I'm kind of awake now."
Miles scoffed. "You don't sound very awake."
"Yeah, I wonder whose fault that is." Phoenix rolled his eyes. "So, are you gonna tell me why you called?"
"I already told you," Miles replied flatly.
Phoenix frowned. "Err… so you want me to meet you somewhere? But… why?"
"I don't remember you ever having a reason for calling me during work hours."
"Hey! That's not true!" Phoenix protested. "Being bored is a perfectly valid reason, I'll have you kn-"
"Edgeworth… Did you just…"
There's no way…
"Did you just call me to hang out?"
There was a pause.
"…I suppose you could put it that way."
Phoenix blinked a few times, then smiled. "Wow, Edgeworth, that's, um… wow." He laughed.
"What's so amusing?" Miles asked, sounding slightly offended.
"Nothing. It's just…" Phoenix laughed again. "Only you could call a friend to hang out and manage to make it sound like someone died."
"Like someone…" Miles trailed off. "What made you think that?"
"I don't know… You sounded… weird?"
"…Weird?" Miles repeated.
"Well, yeah." Phoenix sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "I mean, I thought you sounded worried or something, but I must have imagined it."
"I'm just… tired."
"Go back to sleep, then."
"It's nine," Miles retorted, as if Phoenix's suggestion was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard.
Phoenix chuckled. "Exactly."
"How can you sleep so late?"
"It's Sunday. That's what normal people do."
"Hey, it's okay," Phoenix said, getting up from the bed. "At least it makes you more interesting."
Phoenix shrugged. "I don't know. Normal people are boring and all that."
"I see." Miles paused. "I don't… I don't think you're boring."
Phoenix raised an eyebrow. "Uh…" He laughed. "Thanks, I guess?" He walked out of the bedroom and made his way to the kitchen. "So… what did you want to do?"
"I'm… not too sure."
"Well…" Phoenix opened the pantry and grabbed the jar of Nescafé from the top shelf. "We could meet somewhere first and figure it out from there."
"Hmm. I suppose you could meet me at Third Cup."
"Third Cup? Is that the café we went to the last couple times?"
"Yes…" Miles replied incredulously. "Is your memory that bad?"
Phoenix chuckled. "It's not that," he said, putting the coffee back on the shelf. "I never really paid attention to the name. You told me where it was and what it looked like and I knew which place you were talking about."
"I did tell you what it was called, Wright."
"Yeah, like, ages ago."
"You mean two weeks ago."
"Hey! There's like a billion coffee shops with the word 'cup' in it! How am I supposed to remember?"
Miles snorted. "Fair enough."
Phoenix closed the pantry and walked over to the sink. "So, what time should I meet you?" He turned on the tap and put his hand under the water to make sure it was cold.
"Okay," Phoenix mumbled, grabbing his usual glass from the counter. "What time is it?" He turned around to glance at the stove. "Nine twelve," he read out loud, answering his own question. "Hey, that means I can go back to sleep for a bit."
"…Are you serious?"
"Well, yeah," Phoenix replied, filling his glass with water. "Why not?"
Miles sighed. "Never mind. Just… don't be late."
Phoenix shook his head. "Don't worry." He took a sip of his water. "I'll be there at eleven."
"Alright. I'll see you then."
"Bye." Phoenix hung up and took another sip of water, before dumping the rest in the sink. He put the glass down and turned off the tap, then made his way back into his bedroom.
Yawning, he sat down on the bed and put his cellphone on the night table. He set his alarm for 10:25 and smiled to himself.
I still can't believe Edgeworth called me to hang out. The world is clearly ending.
Familiar décor and music greeted Phoenix as he entered the café. With a quick glance around the room, Miles was easy to spot over by the far window, gazing out at the street with a newspaper on the table in front of him. There was no line at the counter so, without managing to catch Miles' eye, Phoenix went straight over to order his drink.
It'll only take a second, after all…
"Can I get a regular latte, please?"
The barista stopped cleaning the coffee machine and turned around – Phoenix noticed that it was the same girl who had served him the last time he'd visited. "No problem. Anything else?" she asked, pulling the filter out of the machine and adding the ground coffee.
"That's it." Phoenix paused a second to glance back over at Miles and saw no drink on the table. "…Actually, what kind of tea do you sell?"
Whirring noises started up from the machine as the espresso shot poured out and the barista turned her attention back to Phoenix. "What kind of base are you looking for? We have all different flavours of black, herbal, oolong and green teas."
…Is oolong even a word?
"Erm… black?" Phoenix answered cautiously, not having a clue what a 'base' of a tea even was.
She smiled at him and started to prepare a tea bag. "He does look like a Lapsang Souchong sort of guy."
Phoenix grinned sheepishly. "Alright, I'll take your word for it."
After topping the latte with froth and filling a small teapot, the barista set the drinks down on a tray. "Don't worry. If he asks, I'll say you chose it," she added with a tap of the nose, before getting back to wiping down the milk frother.
Is she insinuating what I think she's insinuating…?
Phoenix went to say something, but stopped himself.
There's no point. It's not like she listened the last time I told her we weren't actually going out.
Shaking his head, he picked up the tray and walked over to the table. He slid the tray onto the surface and greeted Miles with a smile. "Tea, Edgeworth?"
Miles glanced up at him, then picked up the tag hanging down the side of the teapot. He quirked an eyebrow. "Lapsang Souchong?"
"It has a black base," Phoenix stated with confidence, sitting down and taking his latte off the tray.
"I know what type of tea it is, Wright," Miles replied, picking up the teapot. "I'm just… bemused that you thought to buy it for me."
I'll take that as a surprised reaction and give myself ten Edgeworth points while I'm at it.
"Well, it reminds me of you."
That's what the barista tells me, anyway…
Miles paused as he was about to pour the tea. "I see." He filled the cup and took it to his nose to smell, before taking a sip.
"Do you… not like it?" Phoenix asked tentatively, taking a sip of his own drink.
"Completely the contrary." Miles took another drink then placed the cup back down. "It's actually one of my favourites. Thank you."
Phoenix grinned. "Phew! I thought you were about to spit it out for a second there!" He laughed and slumped back in his chair. "They have so many different kinds! I see why you come here now."
"They actually don't have the most varied range I've come across," Miles stated. "But I'm always impressed by the quality of the ones they do have in stock."
I wonder how many cupboards in his kitchen are dedicated to the stuff.
"To be honest, I think tea is a bit like wine," Phoenix mused, giving his latte a stir. "I can tell there's a couple of distinct differences between red and white, but I honestly can't tell the difference between a 'Chargonay' and a 'Pinut Grigio'."
Miles smiled slightly and took another drink of his tea. "It's a 'Chardonnay', and the other is pronounced 'Pinot Grigio'. But well done on knowing that they're both white wines."
Phoenix waved a hand. "Yeah, well… My point is, there's so little taste variation between all the grapes. Why not just ask for red or white wine?"
"So you also know that wine is made from grapes!" Miles smirked. "You are on fire today, Wright."
He's such a know-it-all.
"I think you'll find there's no end to my knowledge," he replied. "For instance, I also know that tea is made of leaves."
Miles chuckled. "Each leaf or grape has a different upbringing. Naturally, they contain different substances and, in turn, have different tastes and aromas." He pointed at his teapot. "This one also happens to be produced differently; it is smoked as it dries to give it a smoky flavour."
Phoenix picked up Miles' cup and took a sip, then washed the tea around his mouth before swallowing it. It was as bitter as he remembered.
"Yes, of course you can taste some of my tea," Miles said sarcastically. "Thank you for asking so politely."
"Don't be so grumpy," Phoenix retorted. "I was the one who got it for you."
Miles rolled his eyes, but didn't press it any further. "So what's your verdict?"
"Tastes like tea to me."
"I guess the subtle differences aren't everyone's cup of tea," Miles said, taking the cup back from him.
Phoenix laughed and shook his head. "Oh dear, that was cringeworthy!"
"But good enough to make you laugh, apparently."
"Only out of sympathy," Phoenix assured him. He looked down at Miles' newspaper. It was open on the puzzle page, but nothing had been filled in. "I see you haven't even started the crossword."
"True." Miles folded the paper back up. "I had it out in preparation of your late arrival, which surprisingly didn't happen."
Oh, come on, I'm not late for everything.
"Anything interesting?" Phoenix asked, deciding to ignore the jibe.
"Not unless you enjoy reading the government's latest law reforms."
Shaking his head, Phoenix reached over to take the paper and opened it up, before flicking through to the arts section. Past all the gushing praise for the latest Warhol exhibition, there was an article about a Broadway adaptation for a play's hundredth anniversary.
"I was in a show of that," Phoenix said happily, showing Miles the page. "Well, kind of. It ended up being a bit chaotic when this one guy kept forgetting his lines." He paused. "And when the set fell on top of us."
Miles chuckled. "I can believe that. It seems as though your performances are always doomed, even when it's not in the courtroom."
I guess we won't be mentioning the fact that you can never get a witness to state their name and profession.
Phoenix pulled a face. "I can always move the crowd with my amazing cross-examinations." He scanned the list of actors and frowned. "Wow, I didn't realise how out of the scene I was; I don't recognise any of these people! But I guess it's been a while since I was in performing arts at Ivy."
"I remember you mentioning that," Miles said, pouring more tea into his cup. "I hear that theatre acting is a fast-changing career, so it's no wonder that you don't know any of them."
"True." Phoenix flicked through a couple more pages and noticed that a few popular Shakespeare and Miller plays were also currently in production, as usual. "A View from the Bridge isn't too bad," Phoenix thought aloud, "but Macbeth is so overdone."
"You sound quite passionate about theatre," Miles commented.
"I guess you could say that. I'm not going to lie; I was good at the performance side of things."
That was modest…
"Well, people used to tell me that I was talented, anyway," Phoenix backtracked, a sheepish smile on his face. "It was also a lot of fun!" He set the paper aside and took a drink. "It wasn't as easy as some people had told me it would be, though."
Miles crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. "The question is, then, why did you not graduate in performing arts?"
Phoenix snorted. "Is that a serious question? You already know it was because of you, Edgeworth."
"I still don't understand," Miles said, frowning. "If you loved theatre that much, surely you wouldn't change your whole career because of one person?"
Phoenix smiled and stirred his coffee, the memories of his decision coming back to him. "Well, you see, Mia was a huge inspiration. When I met her, she made me realise that I could help the innocent as a defence attorney, just as you'd shown me all those years ago." He picked up the mug and placed his elbows on the table. "You left quite an impression on me, defending me in that class trial. I'd also read the newspapers." He gestured over at the paper on the table. "You wouldn't reply to my letters, so I had to find some way to help you, didn't I?"
Miles looked at him, his expression not quite emotionless but still unreadable to Phoenix.
Did I… say something wrong?
After a small pause, Miles leaned forward. "I see." He picked up his cup and nudged the teapot over to place his elbows down in mimicry of Phoenix's pose. "I suppose I should be glad that Mia Fey inspired you so."
"You suppose?" Phoenix scoffed. "Some thanks I get for saving your ass."
Miles chuckled, but suddenly stopped himself, his gaze moving slowly over Phoenix's shoulder. "Hmm…"
Edgeworth drifting off into thought? What a shock.
"Hey, you," Phoenix waved a hand in front of Miles' face. "I'm not letting you get away with your usual five minutes of space exploration."
Miles blinked, then turned his attention back to Phoenix. "…Space exploration?" He frowned. "I was merely pondering."
Right. It just so happened that you were 'pondering' in a completely different realm from us human beings…
"Yesterday, Miss Fey mentioned something to me…" Miles trailed off again, but didn't look away.
"Oh, yeah, that." Phoenix jokingly glared at him. "You were both making fun of me, weren't you?"
"Actually, she told me that you have a girlfriend," Miles corrected, resting a finger on his temple.
Phoenix rolled his eyes. "God, not that again…"
How on Earth do I explain this one?
"Ah, well…" Phoenix laughed nervously. "I don't know where Maya got it from, but she randomly brought it up one time when… err… we were on the phone." He gestured between the two of them. "I guess she just jumped to conclusions as to why I've been spending less time with her… Heh." He rubbed the back of his neck.
"I see," Miles replied, before taking a drink. "There's no need to restrict your time with Miss Fey on my behalf."
Shrugging, Phoenix took a large gulp of coffee. "We get to see each other a lot, anyway. With you, though, I should probably take any excuse I can find."
"I'll take that compliment and store it for the next rainy day."
Phoenix laughed and gestured outwards with his hands. "Take it, by all means. It's free, after all!"
The brief smile on Miles' face was something Phoenix had been getting accustomed to over the past couple of weeks, but it still gave him a warm feeling. Knowing that it was his doing also made him somewhat proud of himself.
Miles Edgeworth, simply enjoying life? Who'd have thought it?
Taking a glance at Miles' cup, Phoenix noticed that he had run out of tea, so he downed his own last dregs to keep up. Normally, he would have used his finger to scoop out the last of the froth, but after sparing a thought about his company, he decided to use a spoon instead. Miles looked mildly amused, but didn't comment.
"So, any ideas what you want to do this afternoon?" Phoenix asked, putting their empty drinks back onto the tray.
Miles shook his head. "I'm afraid I haven't thought that far ahead." He crossed his arms and glanced out the window. "But it's a very nice day, so I am partial to anything."
"I guess we could… go for a walk?"
…That didn't sound lame at all.
We're in the teeming city of L.A. and the first thing I come up with is 'go for a walk'?
"Sounds good," Miles replied, much to Phoenix's surprise. "We could always think of something on the way."
"Ah, yes, we could!" Phoenix agreed, not bothering to point out that they wouldn't really be 'on the way' to anywhere. "I'll just go pay, then."
"Wright, I can pay fo-"
"Not this again," Phoenix cut across with a laugh, picking up the tray. "I'm not as broke as you think I am, you know."
Note to self: Stop lying about funds.
I might start believing that I actually have money…
Miles frowned. "That's not what I-"
Phoenix held up a hand as he got up and made his way over to the counter, deciding he wasn't going to let Miles convince him any other way. He had another stroke of luck with the line as the barista had just finished serving another customer when he arrived.
"Can I get you something else?" she asked politely, wiping her hands on a cloth.
"No, thank you. Just the bill." Phoenix set the tray down on the counter as he fished out his wallet with his other hand.
"You are so bloody stubborn," Miles commented after making his way over. "I could at least pay for my own."
Phoenix raised an amused eyebrow. "I'm the one being stubborn?"
"That's $9.50," the barista cut in.
Phoenix took out a note and handed it to her. "Keep the change."
"Thank you." She turned to Miles. "I hope you enjoyed your tea, sir. He picked it specially for you."
"Yes, I did. Thank you," Miles replied, before turning to Phoenix. "I'm surprised, Wright. I thought you were bluffing when you said you'd chosen it."
"As soon as I described the taste and body, he knew exactly what to pick," the barista added, sending a wink Phoenix's way.
A little overkill, but I can work it…
Phoenix shrugged. "Well, you know, it just sounded like something you'd enjoy."
Miles looked at him for a second, before turning to set off. Phoenix took this chance to mime a small 'thank you' to the barista, not really caring that she'd completely got the wrong end of the stick. He caught up to Miles and they exited the café together.
After a bit of deliberation, they headed left down the street. Not for any particular reason – they simply needed adirection to start with.
"Enlighten me, Wright," Miles said after a few minutes of walking. "Did that barista seem to… well… insinuate what I think she was insinuating?"
Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled. "So even you picked up on that."
Miles scowled. "I do have the ability to decipher the actions of other people, even if you seem to think it's from a telescope on Mars."
Try Pluto, Edgeworth, and it'll be more accurate.
…Probably shouldn't hurt his little ego with that one, though.
"If I remember rightly," Miles continued, "you told her we were not together last time, did you not?"
"Yeah," Phoenix confirmed with a nod. "I don't think she believed me, though. Probably put too much faith in Larry's scene the week before and refused to change her mind."
Miles' scowl seemed to deepen at this comment. "So it's true; when something smells, it is always the Butz."
Phoenix laughed and nudged him with his elbow. "Hey, it's not all bad; she helped me get your order right."
"And her reason for that doesn't bother you?"
"Not particularly," Phoenix answered truthfully. "But only because you're good-looking. I would totally object if she saw me with some ugly guy."
Miles gave him a sideways glance, his lips curved into a noticeable smirk. "I didn't know you were so shallow, Wright."
"Yeah, it's a good thing she doesn't know your personality."
"Your words could hurt someone if pointed in the wrong direction," Miles replied, though he seemed unaffected by the comment.
Phoenix grinned in response. "Good thing you're immune then, huh?"
"After observing how you treat witnesses in the courtroom, it's hard to take anything you say seriously."
I'd like to see Edgeworth cross-examine just one of those witnesses I get lumped with!
The parrot alone would have given him a friggin' coronary.
"Kinda your fault," Phoenix countered. "I'm sure you deliberately choose all the weirdest people to make me look like an idiot."
Miles chuckled lightly. "How did you work it out? I thought my plan was foolproof."
"I knew it! Guilty as charged!" Phoenix pointed at him dramatically. "I sentence you to nine months of sorting my paperwork!"
"Harsh words coming from the defence attorney."
I'd be an awesome judge.
'Phoenix Wright and his gavel of justice, hammering fear into the souls of all criminals! Let no crime go unpunished and no innocent be unavenged!'
"If you're going to commit a crime, Edgeworth, then you should be prepared for the repercussions."
There was a small growling noise after his comment, soon followed by a louder sort of gurgle. It took Phoenix a few seconds to realise the noises were coming from his stomach.
"Hey, do you want to grab something to eat?" Phoenix's question was followed by another stomach rumble. He clasped his abdomen and smiled sheepishly. "I think my stomach is about to eat itself."
With a quick look at his watch, Miles nodded. "Lunch does sound good, but I don't really know of any places that serve food around here."
Phoenix stopped and glanced around, trying to decide which way would be best. There was a noodle place he knew on the way to the Courthouse, but it was their day off, so that probably wasn't a wise choice. Other than Maya's usual fast food joints – which were definitely off the cards – he could only really think of one place in the area.
"If we head down this street, there's a small sandwich shop I think you'll like."
"Alright, lead the way." Miles gestured down the street in question. "Try not to get us both lost this time."
Cheap shot! And he thinks he's so witty…
Phoenix pointed at him. "You've definitely just increased your sentence to a year with that comment."
Miles simply smirked in response.
They set off towards the shop and, after a couple of minutes, Phoenix started double-checking that he recognised each store as they went past, just in case. Thankfully, he was just being paranoid and they finally found the place. Phoenix smiled and opened the door for Miles to go in first.
The delicatessen had a large counter on the left like in a cafeteria, with a couple of small counters and shelves opposite. Large cuts of meat were stored behind the big counter, and cheese and pastries filled up the majority of the glass case in the front. The smaller counters had jars of chutneys, relishes and crackers, with the shelves holding vinaigrettes and dressings. Fresh bread and olives were the overpowering smells, making Phoenix breathe through his nose that little bit deeper. He looked up to read the menu, which had been handwritten in chalk on the wall, taking the time to admire the little doodles that had been drawn around the board.
"Not a fryer in sight," Miles commented, sounding somewhat relieved.
Phoenix laughed. "Oh, ye of little faith!" He rubbed his chin. "If I remember correctly, I think their Honey Roast Ham and Cheddar sandwich was one of the tastiest things I've ever tried."
"That's my decision made, then," Miles said, giving up on the menu to look at the selection in the glass case instead. "What are you having?"
"Hmm… I guess the Ham, Brie and Relish one deserves a try."
Miles signalled the man behind the counter and ordered their food.
"I hope you like it," Phoenix said, reaching into his back pocket.
"Don't be ridiculous, I am not having you pay for this as well," Miles replied, taking out his own wallet. "I wouldn't be able to show my face at the Prosecutor's Office if they ever found out."
Actually, I was just going to buy my own, but seeing as he's offering…
It didn't take long till their sandwiches were ready and, once Miles had paid up, they exited and started walking again.
Phoenix unwrapped his food and took a hearty bite out of one half. "This is so good!" he exclaimed, his mouth still full.
Miles opted for a more sophisticated approach and his first bite was more of an exploratory nibble. He chewed a few times, swallowed and seemed to nod to himself before taking another bite.
Boom! Ten more Edgeworth points, please!
They walked in silence for a few minutes as they ate their food.
"That place didn't seem like somewhere you'd normally frequent," Miles commented after he'd eaten most of his sandwich. "How did you come by it?"
"Ah, well," Phoenix swallowed his last mouthful before continuing, "I've only ever been there a couple of times. I used to go with Mia. Her food preferences were slightly different from her sister's." He chuckled. "I only really remembered it because she was brought up before in our conversation."
Miles nodded, finishing off the last of his crust. "She had good taste. It's very charming, especially for somewhere so central."
"Yeah, she knows loads of great places!" Phoenix paused, realising what he'd just said. He looked down at the floor and started folding up his sandwich paper. "Well…"
It appeared Miles had chosen not to correct him, as he replied with a simple, "You'll have to show me more sometime."
Phoenix smiled at him. "Definitely."
They walked a bit further along, until Phoenix noticed a trash can. "Here, pass me your paper." He ditched the two wrappers as they went past and rubbed his hands together. "Ahh, I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better after that."
"It certainly hit the spot," Miles agreed. "Do you-" He suddenly flinched and spun around.
Phoenix glanced behind him and noticed a female living statue atop a pedestal, not moving an inch.
"That's… You just… Mmmph!" Miles pointed a finger at the busker, who was conveniently looking off to the side. "Did you just grab my…?"
Phoenix burst out laughing. "E-Edgeworth," he managed to get out, "you really need to start wearing baggier jeans!"
After a flurry of hand gestures, Miles started to regain his speech. "It was you, wasn't it!?" He crossed his arms. "Well, I don't know what you were expecting, but I'm not about to give you money."
Phoenix snickered and took out his wallet. Pulling out some coins, he crouched down by the busker's hat and threw them in.
Phoenix looked up at him. "What? I think she deserved at least a dollar for that. It was pretty brave."
The living statue made a small curtsey, before repositioning herself in a rather precarious one-legged pose, which she held amazingly still. Impressed, Phoenix reached to grab more coins, but was pulled away before he could.
"You should know better than to encourage that sort of behaviour," Miles scolded, letting go of his arm.
"You're right," Phoenix said, a smile still plastered on his face. "How dare she go for your ass and not mine!"
Miles rolled his eyes. "I think it was just down to convenience, seeing as you were on the other side."
"Pff. More like it was down to your fancy designer jeans."
"What are you talking about? My jeans are perfectly-" Miles cut himself off. "I'm not going to argue about something so inane with you."
Phoenix chuckled. "Only because you know I'm right."
Miles didn't rise to the bait and merely sent him a disapproving look as a reply.
They walked in silence for a moment. Phoenix then realised that they'd been walking for a lot longer than he thought. The scenery around them had changed; lines of trees and flowers demonstrated that they were now in the park area of the city. It was all very familiar.
Realising where they were, Phoenix stopped and turned to Miles. "Why did you bring us out here?"
"If by 'here' you mean Gourd Lake, then I can assure you that I was, in fact, following you."
"Huh." Phoenix rubbed the back of his neck. "Guess we were following each other."
"Indeed," Miles said, crossing his arms.
"Well… Now that we're here, want to go chillax by the lake?"
"Good idea, seeing as the weather is so agreeable," Miles replied, leading the way around to the entrance. "But I object to you using the word 'chillax' in front of me ever again."
I totally pulled it off! I'm down with the kids, yo!
"You're such a word snob."
"I'd rather be a snob than resort to crudely mashing up words in an attempt to sound youthful, which just ends up producing the opposite effect."
That… was the most articulate burn I've ever heard.
…Yeah, I've got nothing.
On the walk down to the benches near the lake, there were friends, couples and families camped around the grassy areas. Most of them were having picnics, with the odd few taking pictures or sunbathing. As it was just past midday, the sun was peaking at its highest and the temperature, even though it had been warm all day, had increased.
They were in luck as one of the benches facing the lake was free, and upon closer inspection, it was dry and didn't have any bird crap on it.
"This brings back memories," Phoenix commented as he sat down next to Miles.
"Yes, it does." Miles stared out at the open water. "Whether they're good or bad, though, I can't decide."
Phoenix made a small noise of agreement. It was the events here that had led to finding out the truth about Miles' past, but getting there hadn't been easy.
Beams of light were shining through the trees and reflecting back off the rippling lake. Phoenix couldn't help but compare it to the time he'd visited in winter, and this picturesque view won in every respect. The weather was beautiful, and the heat of the sun made him thankful that he'd chosen to wear his polo t-shirt this morning. Miles, however, had not made the same good decision and was wearing a long-sleeved, striped, brown button-down. It looked as though the temperature was now getting to him, though, as he started to unbutton his cuffs, before rolling the sleeves up past his elbows.
Skin exposure was something Miles had obviously not had much of lately, going by the paleness of his forearms. Phoenix wasn't exactly surprised by this revelation, though; when trying to remember the last time he'd seen Miles in short sleeves, he failed to think of any instance after fourth grade.
"Careful, you might blind someone with those arms," Phoenix joked, shading his eyes with his hand.
Miles frowned. "Some people actually have work to do during the daytime."
So, basically, you didn't know how hot it would get because you're a workaholic who never goes outside.
"You know, you really need to learn to relax." Phoenix stretched out his arms, fingers interlocked so that they made a cracking sound.
Miles flinched. "That's disgusting."
"But it feels great," Phoenix replied, rolling his shoulders. At Miles' sceptical look, he added, "How do you know if you haven't tried it?"
Miles raised an eyebrow. "It's a stupid idea. Doesn't it give you arthritis?"
"Actually, no. I looked that up," Phoenix countered, not mentioning that when he did, it was because he was bored at the office and had run out of funny cat pictures. "Apparently, some guy cracked all his fingers every day and didn't develop anything."
"It looks painful," Miles reiterated, glancing at Phoenix's hands, possibly looking for signs of bruising.
Phoenix rolled his eyes. "Alright, I'm not going to make you crack your fingers, Edgeworth. I'm just saying that you need to learn how to relax."
"We're sitting by a lake on a beautiful sunny day; I don't think I need any lectures, Wright."
Is he kidding? He's more wound up than a yo-yo.
"Didn't we just establish that you never do this?" Phoenix said with a grin.
Miles sighed and crossed his arms. "I'm not particularly interested in the stupid things you do in order to dodge work."
"Hey! Hearts is a logical, mind-strengthening game I use when I'm thinking."
"I wasn't even referring to that, but thank you for proving my point." Miles smirked. "And a game of cards is hardly comparable to a game of skill such as chess."
"There's nothing wrong with turning your brain off once in a while," Phoenix said defensively.
Their discussion was suddenly cut short as Miles' cellphone started to ring.
Miles took his phone out of his pocket and looked at the caller ID. "Excuse me, I have to take this." At Phoenix's nod, he turned away slightly and placed the phone to his ear. "Detective. You found it? No, it's fine. I'll be right there."
Work calling just as we were talking about relaxing… How ironic!
"I apologise." Miles put his phone away and turned back to Phoenix. "I need to go and check on some evidence for my latest case."
Phoenix waved a hand. "Don't worry about it. How long do you think it'll take?"
"I'm unsure. It depends on the contents."
"I could hang around," Phoenix suggested. "All I've got waiting for me at home is laundry, anyway."
Miles seemed to ponder for a moment, looking off to the side, before turning back to him. "If you're sure, then I have no objections."
"Let's go, then!" Phoenix grinned. "I can finally see those elite investigating skills of yours."
Miles smirked. "You do need some help in that department, if your preparation in court is anything to go by."
…Don't make me regret spending more time with you, Edgeworth.
It didn't take them very long to get to the Criminal Affairs Department with Miles leading the way. When they entered, Phoenix found the smiles aimed in their direction quite nice, though he figured they were probably due to Edgeworth's presence and not to his own popularity increasing.
Gumshoe was sitting at his usual desk on the other side of the room. He turned around to wave them over. "Hey, sir!"
"Good afternoon, Detec-" Miles cut himself off, his facial expression turning sour. "What is that horrendous smell?"
Phoenix took a deep breath through his nose and almost gagged, resorting to pinching his nose. "Ugh! That's foul!"
The happy expression on Gumshoe's face fell. "Oh, yeah… That would be me."
Glancing around the surrounding desks, Phoenix noticed that most of the detectives had moved away, and that some had clothespins on their noses.
"Has your landlord cut off your water supply again?" Miles asked, somehow retaining his composure without holding a hand to his nose – though his eyes did seem a bit twitchy.
"No, sir. In fact, I've had all my utility bills up to date for the last three months!" Gumshoe demonstrated a flash of undeserved pride at this, before his expression turned gloomy again. "It's actually because I've been at the landfill site all morning – specifically in the landfill, sir."
"In the landfill!?" Phoenix exclaimed.
Is this some kind of new detective hobby I don't know about?
"Well, pal, the casino had its trash taken away just after the murder and the actual container they used for the casino was impossible to find." Gumshoe punched a fist into his other hand. "But that wasn't going to stop me! No, sirree! I went to the site and rummaged through every garbage truck from the area and found the crucial evidence!"
I've got to hand it to him; he makes trash can diving sound a lot more noble than I ever thought possible.
"Indeed," Miles commented dryly, probably still struggling with the stench surrounding them. "I'm eager to see the results of your labour. Please play the footage."
"Yes, sir!" Gumshoe boomed, turning around to pick up a small disc. "As you can see, sir, this is a top-notch, high-definition disc! Anything on this baby is gonna be conclusive!" He smiled broadly and went to slot the disc into his desktop, before stopping himself. "Wait…" He turned around in his chair and pointed at Phoenix. "Why are you here, pal? You spying on the opposition? Trying to scam our evidence?"
"Wha-no! N-no, of course not!" Phoenix stammered, holding out his hands in defence.
Gumshoe narrowed his eyes. "That sure sounded suspicious to me, pal."
"Don't worry, Detective, he's here with me," Miles intervened. "The defendant is not his client."
Wondering how he'd managed to get scared by Gumshoe, of all people, Phoenix felt his heartbeat go back down to a normal level. "Yeah, I don't even know what's going on!"
"Alright, sir, if you say so. I can always get security on him if he's bothering you."
Geez, why does he always think I'm up to no good?
"I'll bear that in mind, Detective."
Gumshoe popped the disc in the computer and the footage started automatically. The picture seemed to be from a casino security camera which rotated slowly between two different positions. On the right side, Phoenix could make out a few rows of slot machines, and when it switched over to the left, there was a floor of poker tables. Gumshoe sped up the footage so it was running at x4 speed. After a moment, the camera suddenly stopped rotating, focusing on just the poker tables.
Miles reached over and fast forwarded the footage even more, but the camera didn't budge. "What is going on here? We've lost the crime scene!"
Gumshoe scratched his cheek, a solemn look on his face. "It looks like the security camera jammed, sir."
Massaging his temple, Miles glared down at the computer screen. "I should have known this wouldn't be the end of it…" He sighed. "We shall have to make do with what we have."
The disc continued to play at high speed for another ten minutes or so, until Miles suddenly reached over to pause the footage, making Phoenix jump in the process. "There!" He straightened back up and crossed his arms. "So that's how she did it…"
Phoenix stared at the screen for a moment. "I don't see it," he said, scanning the picture for any signs of a dead body.
"Neither do I, sir," Gumshoe concurred. "I'm pretty sure he was killed next to the slot machines."
"Do keep up. We have already established that we don't have the footage of the murder. But we can spot any difference in the periphery." Miles pointed at the lone security guard standing next to the closest poker table. "This guard looks like she's been here the whole time. However, if I rewind slightly…" He shifted back a minute or so. "Can you see it?"
Phoenix scrutinised the picture. Gumshoe was right; the video quality was pretty good. Not quite good enough to make out the guard's face, but something about her seemed different…
"There's two different guards!" Phoenix exclaimed. "The other one was wearing gloves."
Phoenix grabbed the mouse and fast forwarded to where Miles had first paused the footage. "And this new one has a file in her pocket as well." He got closer to the screen to read the top line of the document. "'HDCriminals'. Huh."
Gumshoe suddenly looked thoughtful. "That sounds familiar, pal."
"Detective, I need a request for a search warrant as soon as possible!" Miles stated, obviously still two steps ahead of both Phoenix and Gumshoe.
I can't believe I'm basically on the same wavelength as Gumshoe. God help me.
"I'll get one drawn up straight away, sir!" Gumshoe almost shouted, the excitement of having a lead seeming to kick-start him. "I can also drop it off at the Courthouse for you as soon as it's printed."
Miles wrinkled his nose slightly. "I strongly advise you take your lunch hour to head home for a shower and a change of clothes. Don't worry, I'll drop off the warrant request and have it approved. We can meet at HDCriminals when I have it."
Gumshoe gave him a sheepish look. "Y-yes, sir." He turned his attention back to the computer and started preparing the warrant request.
"So, err, I'm guessing this means something, then?" Phoenix asked, feeling like he'd fallen behind Gumshoe at this moment and not liking it.
"HDCriminals is the company owned by the defendant," Miles replied, turning to face Phoenix. "I apologise again, Wright. It appears this is going to take a bit longer to investigate. You don't have to hang around if you don't want to."
Phoenix smiled. "Like I said, don't worry. You're giving me a better reason to dodge my chores than I could ever think up."
Miles regarded him scrutinisingly, before finally accepting his choice with a nod.
Once Gumshoe's document had printed, the three of them left and Miles and Phoenix headed straight to the Courthouse for the warrant.
Acquiring the warrant from the Judge was a lot faster than Phoenix thought it would be. In fact, he was quite impressed by how Edgeworth's mere presence seemed to speed up the process. He had hardly said anything in order to get the warrant approved and, before Phoenix could blink more than a couple of times, everything was ready for them to head over to HDCriminals.
After retrieving Miles' car from the café, they made their way to the building in question and waited for Gumshoe and the officers in the lobby. When they arrived, they asked the receptionist for directions, and it turned out that the floor they needed was ten stories up. Phoenix didn't let Miles convince him to take the elevator with Gumshoe, but deeply regretted his decision after what felt like hundreds of steps.
"I wish they'd label these floors," Phoenix grumbled as they walked up, slightly out of breath.
"They do," Miles replied. Phoenix suspected he deliberately kept his response brief so as not to show that he was out of breath as well. "That door was fourth."
"Fourth!? I could have sworn we were near the friggin' top by now!"
Miles rolled his eyes. "Don't be so dramatic."
Phoenix smirked. "But it might get to the point where 'we cannot hold mortality's strong hand'!"
Miles frowned, before it seemed to click. "Very witty, Wright."
Come on, it was a bit more than just witty… I bet he hasn't even seen a performance of King John.
"I think I'm going to pass out."
"I didn't ask you to come with me," Miles said sternly.
Phoenix looked up as they reached the top of the steps and noticed that they were only halfway to the fifth floor. "Okay, I'm definitely going to die."
"Well, that escalated quickly," Miles muttered in response.
They finally reached the tenth floor, both obviously struggling to breathe no matter how much Miles tried to hide it, and made a beeline for the CEO's office to meet with Gumshoe.
The room was moderately sized; bigger than Phoenix's office, but probably smaller than Edgeworth's. There were a few bookshelves along the walls, and a large wooden cabinet that looked slightly out of place. Some of the shelves had statues on them, and a small Hindu tapestry was hanging on the back wall. There was an especially ornate statue of Shiva with the deity's many arms coated in white gold and blue gems, but Phoenix couldn't name the rest of them, which made him feel slightly uncultured. The majority of the books appeared to be on engineering, and a diploma for some degree in electronics hung on the wall.
Gumshoe and the two officers had busied themselves with the bookshelves, checking every book and ornament. Not wasting any time, Miles walked over to the cabinet and inspected every corner, before opening the doors and looking through the contents.
"What are you looking for?" Phoenix asked.
"Something incriminating," Miles replied dryly.
I guess that was a stupid question…
"Hey, pal," Gumshoe called, grabbing Phoenix's pointed a finger at him, a fierce look on his face. "Don't you go rearranging anything or messing with important evidence! Your client is guilty as charged this time, pal!"
How many times…!?
"I don't have a client!" Phoenix repeated. "I'm just an innocent, clientless defence attorney!"
Yelling out his profession might not have been the smartest thing to do as it seemed to earn him some evil looks from the police officers helping Gumshoe.
"Whatever, pal! Just don't touch anything! I'm watching you."
Sighing, Phoenix leaned against the desk and decided to keep his mouth shut to avoid further embarrassment. After a while, he shifted slightly and felt something pressed against the back of his lower thigh. He looked down and noticed a small section of wood sticking out from the edge of the desk. As he pressed against it with a bit more force, the edge receded back into line with the desk. Turning around, he picked at the area with his nails, which revealed a very thin concealed drawer just below the surface. Inside it was a single photo of a man with his arm around a woman as they sat on a beach towel near the ocean. Phoenix picked up the photo and took a look at the back. A sequence of numbers and letters were written in what resembled some sort of code.
"Hey, Edgeworth," Phoenix called out, inspecting the writing. "I found something hidden. Hidden normally means incriminating, right?"
Miles came to stand next to him, a small bottle in his hand. "They don't always have to be hidden." He presented the bottle to Phoenix, who looked at it dumbly.
"Ipecac syrup? That sounds like it would be tasty on pancakes."
"It's an emetic," Miles informed him. "Trust me, you don't want it on your pancakes."
As if it wasn't already obvious enough that I have no clue what's happening…
Phoenix handed over his find, indicating the concealed drawer he had obtained it from.
"It's already been made clear that these two were involved in the past," Miles said, sounding a little disappointed.
"There's also some nonsense written on the back, if that helps."
Miles flipped the picture over and scowled. "Ah, yes, I can always trust you to provide me with a load of nonsense, Wright."
And I can always trust you to be a complete jerk, Edgeworth.
"Hey, watch that statue!" Gumshoe boomed, making both Phoenix and Miles turn to witness one of the policemen propping the Shiva statue back on the shelf from where it had toppled slightly. "One wrong move and the criminal could get away with everything!" He threw his arms out to emphasize his statement and knocked another statue off a shelf near him. "Yeah, I… meant to do that."
Miles strode over to where Gumshoe was standing, having apparently noticed something where the statue had been. He pulled out a piece of paper and frowned. "It's the company's credit report. They've lost a fair amount of money recently."
The investigation went on for a while longer. Phoenix felt slightly out of place, sitting around and not really doing much.
Well, it's my own fault. I should have known this would take a while.
After searching just about everywhere in the office, Miles turned on the computer. Looking through the defendant's emails, he found some messages between her and the victim. They seemed fairly benign, but Miles still ordered for them to be copied, showing that even prosecutors clung to tiny bits of potential evidence.
Gumshoe's team finally packed up their equipment and were ready to go by around six o'clock. After they left, Miles took one last look around, probably to make sure nothing had been overlooked, before walking back over to Phoenix.
"I believe I should apologise for spending the rest of the afternoon investigating," Miles said, checking his watch.
"How many times do I have to tell you that it's cool?" Phoenix replied, following Miles out of the office. "Besides, it's not like we wasted the whole day."
Miles raised an eyebrow. "What are you insinuating?"
"Well, I don't have any plans now, and I know you're done with your investigation till court, so…" Phoenix shrugged.
"I would have thought you'd be bored of me by now, Wright."
"Normally, I would be, of course," Phoenix agreed with a cheeky grin, "but I haven't exactly been talking to you for the last couple of hours."
Miles seemed to ponder for a few seconds. "…I suppose I could put up with you for a bit longer. Where do you propose we go?"
"You could come over to my place for coffee," Phoenix suggested as they started walking down the stairs. "Actually, I have tea. I saw it last time I went grocery shopping and thought of you." He smiled. "And you'll be heading there to drop me off, anyway."
Miles nodded slowly. "Well, it looks as though you'll get the chance to show me some of your relaxation techniques, after all."
Phoenix blinked a few times, before bursting into fits of laughter.
"What's so funny?" Miles asked, a confused look on his face.
Did he not just hear himself!?
"You… That sounded so wrong, Edgeworth! I mean… 'relaxation techniques'?" He bit his lip to stop himself from laughing again.
"Don't make me change my mind," Miles said, turning away, clearly trying to hide his embarrassment.
Glad he wasn't the one looking stupid for once, Phoenix simply grinned in response.
Phoenix kicked off his shoes as he entered the apartment and walked over to the coffee table. Picking up the remote, he turned the TV on and recognised the character on the screen as Doctor Manhattan.
"Oh, look, Watchmen is on." Phoenix looked over at Miles, who was standing near the door. "Come sit. You can watch TV while I make the tea."
Miles glanced at the TV, then gave Phoenix a blank look.
"Right, that's not your kind of movie, is it?" Phoenix said, remembering it was Edgeworth he was talking to. "You can change it if you want."
Miles shook his head. "It's fine." He made his way to the couch and sat down, before looking up at Phoenix. "Can't be worse than what we had to sit through yesterday."
"Oh God, don't remind me. I don't think anything could ever compete with that." Phoenix smirked. "Well… except maybe that stupid Samurai show you're so obsessed with."
Miles sent him a disapproving look. "It's not-" He cut himself off, his eyes widening as he seemed to realise what he'd come this close to admitting. "I'm not obsessed with it," he amended, trying to cover his slip of the tongue.
Phoenix burst out laughing.
"It's not funny," Miles muttered, crossing his arms.
"Oh man," Phoenix said, wiping a tear from the corner of his eye. "You should have seen your face."
Miles' gaze turned into a glare.
"Aww, come on." Phoenix sat down next to Miles and smiled. "Look, there's no point in hiding it. I won't make fun of you."
"You just did."
"I was laughing at how stupid you're being about it, not at the fact that you're the biggest Steel Samur-"
"You're doing it again!" Miles interrupted, failing to hide the amusement in his voice.
Phoenix chuckled. "Only because you're so fun to annoy. But like I said, there's no need to hide it; it's just me."
Miles narrowed his eyes, then seemed to hesitate before answering, "I suppose."
"Hey, we could go see that movie on Friday if you want," Phoenix suggested, remembering the poster from last night. "I'll probably hate it, but I don't mind going with you."
"…The movie?" Miles studied his face for a moment. "You're serious."
"Well, I did say we had to go see a movie not chosen by Kath."
"Yes, but I didn't realise that you meant…" Miles shook his head. "Never mind."
Phoenix raised an eyebrow. "So, you wanna go?"
"I'll have to see how much paperwork I get this week," Miles replied. "I'll let you know."
"Alright." Phoenix glanced at the TV, then down at the remote in his hand. "Here," he said, offering it to Miles. "I'll go make the tea."
Miles took the remote and Phoenix got up from the couch. He made his way into the kitchen and picked up the kettle. After spilling the old water in the sink, he rinsed it and filled it up, before putting it back on its base and flicking the switch.
He grabbed two cups from the cupboard and placed them down on the counter, then walked over to the pantry to get the box of tea. Opening the box, he took out two tea bags and put them in the cups, then waited for the water to finish boiling. When the switch finally clicked, he quickly poured the water and made his way back to the living room.
"You like yours black, right?" Phoenix asked, putting the cups down on the coffee table.
Miles nodded, then looked down at the cups. "No coasters?"
Phoenix shrugged and sat down. "It's okay, it's an old table."
"If you say so," Miles said, picking up his cup. He looked at the tea for a few seconds, then pulled the tea bag halfway out. "Where do I put this?"
"Oh!" Phoenix looked at the coffee table and noticed a bowl he'd forgotten to pick up the other night. "Here," he said, grabbing it and holding it in front of Miles.
Miles raised an eyebrow, but still proceeded to put the tea bag in it.
Phoenix did the same for his, then put the bowl back on the table. "Sorry about that. I'm so used to making coffee."
"Coffee is bad for you," Miles commented with a smirk.
Phoenix smiled. "Yeah, well, it keeps me awake." He picked up his cup and took a sip, before grimacing at the bitterness. "And it tastes better."
Miles snorted. "You're just not used to the taste. Why are you drinking it black?"
"I dunno. I figured I'd take it the same way you do."
"I see…" Miles said, before taking a drink. He then glanced at the TV and seemed to do a double take.
Phoenix turned to see what had caused Miles' reaction and saw Doctor Manhattan floating in the air, naked.
Phoenix burst out laughing.
Miles rolled his eyes. "Don't tell me you're laughing becau-"
"Because of the giant blue dick?" Phoenix cut in through chuckles. "Yes."
Miles gave him a patronising look but was unable to stop a smile from forming on his lips. "Why do you always have to be so immature?"
Phoenix snorted. "Why do you always have to be so mature?"
"Because, unlike you, I know how to act my age."
Phoenix raised an eyebrow. "You're twenty-five, not fifty."
"And you're acting like a five-year-old."
"Psh… you just don't have any sense of humour."
Miles frowned. "That's not true."
Phoenix gave him an unimpressed look. "Oh yeah? What do you find funny, then?"
"A lot of things," Miles replied dryly, turning to the TV.
Nice try, Edgeworth.
Miles sighed. "I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
Miles took a sip of his tea and turned back to him. "I can't think of anything right now, but it's not as if nothing ever amuses me."
Phoenix smiled. "I bet I can make you laugh." He put his cup down on the coffee table and twisted sideways on the couch, folding his left leg under him.
"Should I be scared?" Miles asked, a sceptical look on his face.
"When ducks fly," Phoenix began in a serious voice, "why is one side of the 'V' longer than the other?"
"I don't think one side is always longer than the other, Wright," Miles criticised.
"Well, for the sake of the joke, let's say it is."
"I don't know, then."
Phoenix grinned. "'Cause it has more ducks."
Miles rolled his eyes. "I should have seen that coming."
"Oh, come on! It was funny!" Phoenix said, nudging Miles on the arm.
Miles glanced down at Phoenix's hand, then back up at him. "Not really."
"Okay, I have a better one." Phoenix snickered. "What kind of dog can jump higher than a building?"
"I don't know," Miles replied in a bored voice.
"Any kind," Phoenix stated. "Buildings can't jump!"
Miles blinked, then his expression changed to one Phoenix had never seen before – or, at least, never to that extent. He quickly turned away, but not before Phoenix had time to notice the wide smile on his face.
"Aha! You're laughing!"
When Miles didn't respond, Phoenix scooted closer to him and leaned forward to try and look at his face.
Miles suddenly turned to him, startled. "What are you doing?"
Oops… I guess I invaded his personal space.
"Just proving that I'm right," Phoenix replied, sitting back straight.
Miles stared at him for a moment, then smirked. "Actually, you just proved that I have a sense of humour."
"So my joke was funny?" Phoenix asked, sounding a bit too proud of himself.
"It was… clever."
Phoenix smiled and picked up his tea. "You know, you used to laugh a lot when we were kids. Larry kept making up all these stupid jokes and it was so funny."
Miles looked down at his cup. "I remember."
"I miss that," Phoenix commented. He unconsciously took a sip of tea and nearly gagged at the taste.
Miles chuckled. "You don't have to force yourself to drink it. I won't think any less of you."
"Yeah, you know what? I think I'll stick to coffee," Phoenix stated, placing his cup back down on the table. "You can have the whole box."
"I think it'll get stale before I have time to drink even half of it."
Phoenix shrugged. "Come over more often, then."
Miles seemed to ponder for a moment, before saying, "I don't usually drink cheap tea but I'd feel bad letting it go to waste, considering you probably spent half of your paycheck on it."
"Hey!" Phoenix protested, failing to sound offended. "Is that the thanks I get for thinking of you?"
Miles merely smirked and turned to the TV.
Phoenix shook his head and decided not to retaliate. He propped his feet up on the coffee table and turned his attention to the movie. Silk Spectre and Nite Owl were walking out of a diner.
I should rewatch the whole movie sometime. I haven't seen it in ages…
He looked at Miles.
I wonder if he ever watches anything besides the Steel Samurai.
Maybe he likes other superhero movies?
I don't think he's ever seen this one, though…
"Interesting," Miles commented suddenly.
Phoenix glanced at the TV but failed to see what Miles was referring to. "What is?"
"Oh. Yeah, he's pretty badass."
Miles turned to him. "No, I meant that he's named after the inkblot test."
"Well, yeah…" Phoenix replied, not sure what was so interesting about that fact. "That's why he wears that mask."
Miles nodded absently before putting his cup down on the table and turning back to the TV.
Wow, he's actually interested in the movie?
…Well, I guess the inkblot test is kind of work-related.
Phoenix studied Miles' face for a moment and smiled to himself.
He looks like a completely different person.
I guess he's finally comfortable enough around me to let his guard down?
He's really come a long way…
If someone had told me two years ago that I'd be spending time with Edgeworth like this, I wouldn't have believed them.
I mean, I was hoping we could be friends again, but I never imagined we could be this close. Not with the way he was.
Phoenix took his feet off the table and shifted a bit in his seat. He turned his attention back to the movie and watched for a while, but his eyes kept darting back to Miles. Seeing him so relaxed was kind of strange – in a good way.
And to think this would have been so awkward just a few weeks ago…
Yawning, he grabbed a cushion from the couch and started fiddling with it.
How am I tired? It's only seven something.
I guess that was a lot of walking for one day.
That thought suddenly gave Phoenix the urge to stretch his limbs, but as he did so, he felt his left hand brush against something. He looked over, only to realise that he had accidentally touched Miles' back, and that Miles was now staring at him with a strange expression on his face.
Phoenix felt his cheeks flush slightly. "Sorry, I didn't mean to…"
Great. So much for this not being awkward.
Miles shook his head. "It's fine." His eyes moved around the room for a few seconds, before focusing back on Phoenix. "Look, I-"
The song that was playing in the background suddenly got louder as a choir started singing 'Hallelujah'.
Phoenix looked at the TV.
Oh, you've got to be fucking kidding me.
The most awkward sex scene in the history of all movies had chosen this moment to start playing. Unable to look at Miles, Phoenix watched the scene until Silk Spectre hit the fire button, causing the Owlship to shoot a burst of flames.
I think this thing gets worse every time I watch it…
After the scene was over, Phoenix risked a glance in Miles' direction and noticed that he was looking at him. He quickly turned away and cleared his throat. "Sorry… that was weird." He waited a few seconds, then turned to Miles again. "I keep forgetting about that scene."
Miles gave him an odd look, his eyes flickering downwards.
Phoenix raised an eyebrow, then looked down, only to realise that the cushion was on his lap, making it look like he was trying to hide something. "Oh! It's not…" He picked up the cushion and threw it back on the couch next to him. "I wasn't…" Realising that words were failing him, he tried to gesture something, before dropping his hands and sighing resignedly.
Miles frowned. "What was that about?"
Phoenix blinked. "I thought you…" He trailed off as he realised that Miles looked genuinely confused. "Never mind…"
I swear I have a talent for making myself look like an idiot.
"Listen," Miles said, a serious tone to his voice. "I'm not sure how to say this, but… It's been two weeks since this all started, and I-"
"Oh!" Phoenix exclaimed, before noticing the frown on Miles' face. He smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, didn't mean to cut you off. I just remembered we're supposed to plan that breakup for next week. Totally forgot about that." He chuckled. "Anyways… What were you saying?"
Miles stared at him for a few seconds. "I-I was…" He stared a bit more then suddenly got up. "Sorry, I… I just remembered… there's something… something I have to do." He stepped around the coffee table and started walking towards the door.
"W-wait!" Phoenix called out, getting up from his seat. "Where are you going?"
Miles reached the door and opened it, then paused. "I'll see you later," he said weakly, before disappearing behind the door.
Phoenix stood there for a moment, dumbfounded.
Well, that was sudden.
Did he just remember something about the case he's working on?
He shook his head and sat back down.
I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
As he turned to look at the TV, a knock was heard at the door.
Or right now.
Smiling, he got up again and went to open the door. "Why'd you leave so sudd-"
Phoenix blinked. In front of him stood a beaming Maya.
"Hi, Mr. Nick!"
And an equally cheerful Pearl.
What's going on?
"Hey…" Phoenix said uncertainly. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Pearly just got here from Kurain," Maya replied. "I told you she was coming to visit, remember?"
Phoenix frowned. "Uh… yeah… I remember."
He poked his head in the doorway and looked down the hall, half hoping to see Edgeworth there, but wasn't exactly surprised when he saw no one.
Of course he's not there. Why did I even check?
"Something wrong?" Maya asked.
Phoenix looked at her. "N-no… nothing's wrong. It's just…" He shook his head. "Never mind."
Maya raised an eyebrow. "Whatever you say." There was a pause. "Can we come in?"
"Oh! Yeah, sorry…" Phoenix quickly moved aside to let the girls in.
Maya walked past him, then turned around and gave him an accusatory look. "You know, I thought you'd be happier to see us, considering Pearly hasn't visited sin-"
"I am happy to see you," Phoenix protested, closing the door behind him. "I'm just a bit tired, is all."
"It's not even eight," Maya said incredulously.
"Yeah, well… I've had a long day."
"On a Sunday?"
What is this? An interrogation?
"Yes…" Phoenix replied cautiously.
"So what did you do all day?" Maya asked, walking over to the couch.
"Stuff people normally do on Sundays," Phoenix said, trying to sound convincing. "Grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry. You know, boring stuff."
"That's not very tiring," Maya commented, sitting down next to Pearl. "But I guess that's what happens when you get old."
Phoenix rolled his eyes.
I'm not even going to bother…
"You guys want anything to drink?" he asked, seeing an opportunity to change the subject.
Maya looked at Pearl, then back at Phoenix. "Do you have hot chocolate?"
"Uh… yes, I do, actually." Phoenix nodded to himself. "I'll be right back."
He made his way into the kitchen and breathed a sigh of relief.
Why do I feel so weird? It's just Maya and Pearls.
Shaking his head, he picked up the kettle and gave it a small shake. There was more than enough water left for two drinks, so he put it back down and flicked the switch. He leaned on the counter and looked out the window. The sun was starting to go down.
It's nothing to do with them; it was just really bad timing.
Edgeworth left so suddenly, and then…
What was so urgent that he needed to leave so fast?
Phoenix jumped at the voice and quickly turned around.
Maya was standing next to him, holding two cups in her hands. "I guess you forgot to clean the coffee table."
"Oh… thanks," Phoenix said, gesturing towards the sink. "Those have been sitting there for ages."
"I guess that explains why they're still warm," Maya replied with a smirk.
…Damn you and your detective skills.
"Look, Nick, there's no point in even trying to hide it anymore," Maya stated, putting the cups down in the sink. "So, what's her name?"
Phoenix sighed. "I don't have a girlfriend, Maya."
Maya scowled and put her hands on her hips. "I can't believe you're still denying it! Why would you drink two cups of tea at the same time?"
Think, Phoenix. Think.
"I… left the tea bag in for too long and had to make another one."
Maya raised an eyebrow. "Right. Since when do you even drink tea?"
Phoenix shrugged. "I guess Edgeworth is rubbing off on me."
Why didn't I just tell her that Edgeworth was here? It's not like she'd find it suspicious; Larry comes over all the time.
Oh well. Too late now.
"Speaking of Mr. Edgeworth," Maya said, a smile suddenly appearing on her face, "that was really nice of him to buy me food last night."
"Yeah… It was."
My wallet was especially thankful.
Maya clapped her hands together. "Can you order a pizza?"
Phoenix blinked. "What? Why?"
"What do you mean 'why'? I'm starving!"
Thanks a lot, Edgeworth. Now Maya has an excuse to get inside my wallet.