I'll tell you girl, you do a number on me,
With those eyes I swear you stole from the sky.
Ema Skye was thoroughly enjoying herself.
She had been investigating a case all afternoon, and despite the fact that he had been assigned to prosecute the case, there had been no sign of him that day. In fact, the crime scene was utterly deserted. Ema fished the wrinkled pages of case data out of her shoulder bag and scanned them over. … Victim: Lionel Trudeau, male, age 25 … Suspect: Olivia Moore, female, age 23 … Prosecutor: Klavier Gavin. She wasn't surprised, really. As brilliant as he could be in court, Klavier took very few things seriously. Blowing off investigations was just another reason why he deserved to be called a glimmerous fop.
Even without the prosecuting attorney there, the investigation wasn't going badly. Ema had spent the entire morning dusting for fingerprints and searching for wiped blood stains. She had found plenty of evidence, which was reason enough to be happy, but her cheeriness stemmed mostly from the fact that she had been doing what she loved best all day – science.
Her shoulder bag stuffed with papers and glass vials, she was just about to walk around the abandoned factory one more time when the first few bars of She Blinded Me With Science broke through the silence. Ema jumped straight into the air, and her hand flew to her pocket to pull out her ringing cell phone.
"H-hello?" she said, gingerly pressing the fingers of her free hand to her wrist. Her pulse was still beating hard from the unexpected noise.
"Hey pal!" boomed the voice on the other end. "Sorry if I startled you or anything. They just told me I should call you …"
"That's right, pal! Look at this – they've got me makin' these phone calls now, like a secretary or somethin'! I should be out there, searchin' for clues, huntin' down evidence …" Detective Gumshoe trailed off into silence for a few moments. "Oh, but listen pal. You've been at that crime scene all day, right? I'm down at the police station, and they said you're free to go now." There was a pause, as if the detective was checking for any potential eavesdroppers. "If you ask me, pal, it just sounds like they forgot about you!" He chuckled.
"Hmm. Yes, well, thanks for the call, Detective," Ema said, her tone virtually unreadable. There was another moment of silence.
"Ah, um … I don't suppose anyone else stopped by the scene?"
"Not a soul."
"Are you sure, pal? The trial's tomorrow, you know … you definitely didn't see anyone? Not even, say, Prosecutor Gavin?"
It was the one name she didn't want to hear. Ema could almost feel her blood pressure rising.
"There was no one at the crime scene today, besides me. Especially glimmerous prosecutors who ride motorcycles and have better things to do than investigate their own trials!" She spat out those last words like poison.
"Er … alright then, pal. Good luck with the trial." There was a click as the flustered detective on the other end of the line hurried to hang up the phone.
Ema sighed and patted the brick wall of the factory almost affectionately. This is why I like science so much. There's never anything glimmerous about it. She snapped a few last-minute pictures of the crime scene – the tattered Trudeau's Truffles sign, the heavy wooden door, half rotted and hanging on with rusted hinges, the white tape outlining the shape of the victim's body after he fell seven stories to his death – and then bent down to pick up the empty bottles of luminol fluid scattered across the ground.
A low whistle echoed across the factory's parking lot.
"Hey, Fraulein! You know if I were you I'd check to see who's around before bending over like that – you're lucky we're at an abandoned factory, nein?"
Ema spun around so fast it made her dizzy. "A simple 'hello' works for most people," she growled at the purple-clad prosecutor walking towards her, "but perhaps prosecutors are an exception?" Her lips were curled in a smirk, but there was no echo of that smile in her eyes. The rest of her face looked downright grumpy.
"Bad day, Fraulein?" Klavier Gavin asked, raising an eyebrow. His tone was patronizing at best.
It was quite fine until you showed up. "Ready for the trial tomorrow?"
"Have I ever been unprepared for a trial?"
Ema laughed sourly. "So did you come and investigate the crime scene before I got here, or have you just been invisible all day?" Let's see him argue with THAT logic!
"Nein, Fraulein. You forgot the third choice – the one where you fill me in on all the details of the case," Klavier said, smiling like a child who just answered a challenging math problem.
"You're delusional, Mr. Gavin," Ema said, "if you think I'm staying here any later to talk to you about the case." Her icy tone seemed to surprise Klavier, as the smile quickly faded off his face. "I've already been given permission to go home, and that's exactly what I plan to do."
"Ah, but did you forget? You work for me, Ms. Skye." Klavier seemed to take the icy chill in Ema's words and throw it back tenfold. "… Ja?"
Ema was cornered. It was true; she worked for Klavier and if he wanted her to search the factory building ten more times before going home, she'd probably have to comply.
"Now," Klavier said, glancing at his watch, "it's almost 3:00." He waved his hand at a large brick building across the street; the smile had returned to his face. "See that restaurant? Ja, of course you do. There's nothing wrong with your eyesight, I assume. I'll meet you outside at 5:00 –"
"We're discussing a murder case – it's not a date, Klavier!"
"– nein, better make that 5:30. Sound ok to you, Fraulein?"
Ema was glaring daggers at Klavier; if looks could kill, he'd be a dead man. "If you expect me to go out to dinner with you to discuss a murder case you're sorely mistaken! Think of another place." Ema paused. "Now."
"If you insist, Fraulein. Another place? Well I hear my bedroom is quite nice this time of the year," said Klavier with a wink.
Ema exploded. An indignant cry of "KLAVIER GAVIN!" echoed across the empty parking lot.
"Hey now, you wanted an alternative!" Klavier glanced smugly at Ema. Of course he hadn't expected her to accept his second proposal, but it was worth it to see the look on her face. "Dinner, then? 5:30 on the dot – don't be late, Fraulein!"
Ema's mouth opened but no words came out. Klavier tapped his watch once more for emphasis, flashed Ema one of his winning smiles, and walked away.
Score one for the glimmerous fop!
The digital clock in Ema's apartment read 5:15. It was at least a fifteen minute walk from her apartment to the restaurant across the street from the crime scene, but Ema made no efforts to get up from her couch. She had spent the past two hours flipping through channels on the TV and grumbling to herself about Klavier.
How would sis handle this?
Of course Ema didn't really need to ask herself that. She knew what Lana would do in this situation – she would go to the dinner, handle herself perfectly, and probably walk away from it all with a promotion or two.
Ema was amazed by Lana's composure. Being offered a job from a high-ranking European prosecution agency after being the prime suspect in a murder trial was something that could not be accomplished without high levels of composure. It was just one of the things about Lana that impressed Ema so much.
When the clock read 5:25, the part of Ema that took after her older sister forced her to get up from the couch, shuffle over to the bathroom, and peer at her reflection in the mirror. Deeming it satisfactory, she slung her bag over her shoulder, and paused for a second in front of her apartment door.
She knew she couldn't afford to lose this job – that was the other thing about Lana's current employment in Europe. It meant Ema was all alone in Los Angeles. She had friends, of course, but she couldn't rely on them the way she used to rely on Lana. Her friends couldn't – or wouldn't – pay the bills if Klavier fired her.
Nothing other than this worry could have made her leave her apartment that night.
Ema felt suddenly hopeful when she approached the restaurant almost fifteen minutes late and didn't see anyone around. She smiled to herself as she waited at the crosswalk, her eyes scanning the sidewalk for any sign of the prosecutor. He probably had a meeting … or a rehearsal.
Then a red car pulled out of its parking spot along the side of the road and Ema could see a purple figure leaning against the building across the street.
She saw him before he saw her, and she made a point of wasting as much time as she could as she stepped across the crosswalk, partially to delay their inevitable meeting and partially to annoy the prosecutor. Despite Ema's best efforts, it was only a few seconds before she was standing outside the Eclipse Bar and Grill, face to face with Klavier himself.
"Hello, fraulein," Klavier said with a smile, offering the stunned detective his arm. For a moment Ema stared at him, trying to detect the odd tone he had just used … was that a hint of tenderness? Then she wrapped her arm around his lightly, as if touching him with more than an inch of skin would be deadly. She had come to the conclusion that his attitude was the same as ever.
The inside of the restaurant was decorated in shades of brown and soft yellow, with high elegant windows stretching across the wall opposite from the entrance. The floors were tiled with some sort of rich dark wood, and the tables, which mostly sat two, were covered in long, white tablecloths which looked dangerously easy to stain. It was exactly the type of restaurant Ema would have expected Klavier to choose.
At the sound of the front doors closing behind them, the girl standing behind the hostess desk began to turn around.
"Welcome to the Eclipse Bar and Grill, do you have a reserva–" She cut off mid sentence, and Ema had a feeling that her sudden screech was directed towards her companion, and not her. "Klavier! I had no idea you'd be coming back so soon!" Klavier grinned back at her.
"I had a bit of a change of plans, Sarah." He tugged on Ema's arm, pulling her along as he followed the hostess towards their table. "Where else could I go on such short notice?" Sarah stopped near a table in a corner of the restaurant that was relatively empty, placed the menus down, and turned back to the two diners.
"April will be right with you, sir," she said, smiling at Klavier. "And don't worry," Sarah said as she saw Klavier begin to open his mouth. "You know nobody gets past me without a reservation." The prosecutor seemed satisfied with this response, and as Sarah began to walk away he looked up at Ema.
"What was that all about?" Ema glanced at Sarah's retreating back.
"Sarah? She's been the hostess ever since the first night I ate here. She does a good job of keeping the screaming fans at bay, ja?" Klavier's eyes twinkled. "But fraulein, please sit down. You can't eat standing up."
Ema shot Klavier a chilling glare before sitting down at the table. She was about to pull out her case files when another beaming girl approached the table.
"Let me guess, fraulein. April?" Klavier asked, his voice smooth. The waitress's smile widened.
"At your service!" She was grinning at Klavier as if they had known each other for years. "And does the famous Mr. Gavin come here often?"
"Fairly, yes. But I'd come here more often if all the waitresses were as pretty as you, fraulein." April blushed and shook her head gently, as if she didn't think she deserved such praise.
"You girlfriend is very pretty, sir," she said, pulling out a notepad to take their orders.
"I'm not –" Ema tried to protest, but Klavier cut her off.
"What are your specials tonight?"
Ema rolled her eyes and reached down into her bag to find some of the case documents, fragments of Klavier's conversation with the waitress drifting towards her. Half under the table, Ema wasn't paying too much attention to what was going on around her until a loud voice called her name.
Shocked, Ema sat up quickly and banged her head on the bottom of the table.
"Ow! What do you want?" She was looking back and forth from the waitress to Klavier, trying to figure out who it was who had shouted her name. Reaching up, she touched the top of her head where she had banged it. "Ow!"
"We just wanted to know what you wanted to order, fraulein," Klavier said, his eyes bright with laughter. Ema glanced down at the menu; she hadn't looked through it much.
"Um … w-well," Ema stammered, her cheeks burning. "I'll just have what he's having," she replied, gesturing towards Klavier. April scribbled something down on her notepad and hurried off.
"Thanks a lot," Ema growled, gingerly feeling the bump on her head. It was still throbbing.
"I fail to see how this is my fault, fraulein," Klavier said. "Unless you're implying that my handsome looks distracted you while you were trying to read the menu." He winked in Ema's direction.
Ignoring him, Ema pulled a pile of papers out from her bag.
"Here's the autopsy report -" she shoved a rather full-looking manila folder across the table "- along with the victim's health report, criminal records, birth certificate -"
"Is the birth certificate really necessary?" asked Klavier, faking curiosity as he pulled the document in question from the folder.
"I like to be thorough."
"Of course," the prosecutor replied, gently replacing the certificate and folding his hands over the folder. "Anything of importance in here?"
"It's all important, Klavier! I spent all morning compiling those records. There's some good information about our suspect at the bottom."
Klavier thumbed through the papers again. "Ex-lovers? It's almost too easy," he mumbled to himself, then looked up at Ema. "I'm assuming the suspect – her name was Moore, wasn't it? Ja, I'm assuming you've deduced that the breakup was Miss Moore's motive, fraulein?"
"The victim apparently broke off the relationship with Miss Moore in order to follow through with an engagement to another woman. I spoke to the other woman this morning – she'll be our first witness tomorrow." Ema took a sip of water. "She promised to bring some violent letters she received from our suspect, as well."
"I see you're well-prepared, fraulein. Does Miss Moore have an alibi?"
"Her defense attorney claims she had a manicure appointment at the time of the murder, but the receptionist at the salon told me she had seen a lady fitting Miss Moore's description rushing out the door a few minutes before the murder was committed."
"So her alibi doesn't check out. See if you can get the receptionist as a witness, fraulein. She'll help, but we need decisive evidence if we want to link her directly to the crime. Something of hers found at the crime scene … a footprint … anything?"
"I checked the clinic records – they apparently keep track of what products are used on each customer to keep tabs on their inventory. The particular type of nail polish that Miss Moore was scheduled to use was found on the back of the victim's jacket." Ema gingerly pulled a small piece of cloth and handed it to Klavier. "I tested it myself. It's a perfect match."
"Well done, fraulein," Klavier said with a smile, looking over the piece of fabric Ema handed him. It was navy blue, with suspicious streaks of red down the middle. He seemed ready to say something else when April returned, carrying two plates of Salisbury steak and wearing a huge grin.
"Here you are!" she chirped, pushing the piles of papers aside to set down the two plates. "Enjoy!" She looked as though she wanted to stay, but Klavier dismissed her with a nod and went back to studying the evidence.
"Of course, one could deduce that when Miss Moore pushed our victim off the roof of his factory," Klavier mused as soon as April had left, "some of her wet nail polish from the salon rubbed off on his jacket." He handed the piece of cloth back to Ema as if to say 'My theory is right, discussion over, ja?' and began cutting his steak. "Is that not was you were thinking, fraulein?"
"It is," Ema replied, packing up her files and surveying her dining companion. Klavier has what he needs for a win tomorrow, she thought, so I really should leave now. … Still, it would be a waste to leave all this food here. Deciding it would be alright to finish her steak before leaving, she began to slice through the meat, keeping her eyes glued on the table. The two diners sat without talking, until Klavier valiantly attempted to break the silence.
"It should be an easy case, tomorrow, ja?" he asked, and Ema glanced quickly up at him.
"Yes," she replied, not bothering to humor Klavier's attempts at conversation. The pair fell back into silence, with Ema staring at the table, until a thought occurred to her, a thought so surprising that she couldn't help but blurt it out.
"You know, this case reminds me a little of one of Mr. Wright's cases!" As soon as the words left her mouth, she was sure she had said the wrong thing. "… You know, back when he was a lawyer." Ema snuck a glance at Klavier – he had dropped his eyes to his plate and was making a point of not looking up. "It wasn't that long after he helped me with a case, actually. The defendant was accused of pushing a man off of a cliff."
"And Herr Wright got her off?" Klavier asked, his voice concealing a hint of bitterness.
"But she was innocent, Klavier!" Ema looked at him curiously. "Surely you wouldn't want to send an innocent girl to jail?"
"Nein, of course not," Klavier said, in a strange voice that Ema couldn't even begin to read.
"Anyway," Ema continued, "Mr. Wright had a brilliant defense. My sister told me all about it. She said he got a confession from the real murderer and discovered an underground crime chain all at once." She lowered her voice. "And, some people claim he had amnesia during the trial."
"Fraulein, even Herr Wright couldn't pull off a successful defense while suffering from amnesia," Klavier scoffed. "No one's that good, and Herr Wright certainly isn't."
"I believe him, though … I've always believed him," Ema shot back, her eyes dancing with a delicious anger. "Mr. Wright is not a liar."
"I never accused him of anything of the sort," Klavier replied, his voice noticeably colder.
"I'm just saying it was an impressive defense. Mr. Wright fought right to the very end–"
"– by bluffing his way through the trial, as usual."
"Klavier!" Ema's exclamation was almost a shout, and if she had been paying any attention to what was going on in the rest of the restaurant, she probably would have noticed several other diners watching her argument. "You're – you're acting like your brother!"
There was silence as Klavier digested this new accusation.
"All Mr. Wright ever cared about was the truth," Ema continued, too upset to realize she was touching a nerve. "He just wanted to fight for justice and save innocent people and you two went and got him disbarred!" If she wasn't already shouting, she was by the end of her sentence. She opened her mouth to say something else, but Klavier cut her off.
"You don't know anything about my brother! Or – or me!" He leapt up from the table. "Don't you ever – ever – compare us again!" Ema felt tears welling up in her eyes, and Klavier turned his back on her and walked away from the table to conceal the drops forming in his own eyes.
Ema sat alone at her table for a few seconds, watching Klavier's retreating back until he reached the entrance, wrenched the doors open, and slammed them behind him. Then she glanced down at the table, wracking her brain for any idea of what to do next and fighting the feeling of guilt welling up in her stomach.
Her eyes lit upon something shiny sticking out from under Klavier's napkin – she reached towards it, and as her fingers brushed cool metal, she realized they were Klavier's motorcycle keys. Deciding instantly that she needed to clear her conscience, she dropped a pile of money on the table (way more than she'd ever pay for dinner, but probably just barely enough to cover a Klavier-priced meal) and dashed out of the restaurant after the prosecutor.
Ema found him just as he got to the parking lot, digging in his pockets for his keys. She called his name, and he stopped walking so she could catch up to him, his back still towards her.
"You, uh, forgot your keys …" she started, all desire to talk to him now gone. Klavier didn't look at her, and didn't reach for the keys that she held out to him. "Look – I'm sorry for what I said in there. I wasn't thinking – I should have been more considerate. I know you probably don't want to talk about your brother right now … I'm sorry, ok?" Ema stepped in front of Klavier so he couldn't help but look at her. His face looked strained, and he didn't look happy to finally look her in the eyes.
"Come on, Ema," he said after a time, "surely you know what it's like to almost lose a sibling?" Ema stared at him for a moment, shocked by the truth of it. How she had felt when Lana was almost convicted … she hated to remember those feelings, and they must be infinitely worse for Klavier.
"Yeah," Ema said, reaching for Klavier's hand, "I didn't think of it that way." She placed the motorcycle keys in his palm, pressing his fingers down over them. "Thanks … for reminding me." She dropped his hand, taking a few steps backwards towards the sidewalk. "Goodnight, Klavier."
"Goodnight, fraulein," he replied – and this time, Ema smiled at his German.
As the motorcycle's engine growled to a start behind her, Ema started to walk towards her apartment, resolving to maybe possibly be a tiny little bit more sensitive to Klavier's feelings the next time she saw him.