Aroma

--

Cool winds shifted beneath a dazzling diamond-studded sky.

A solitary figure stood atop a small bridge that perched above a steady stream.

Lucrative shimmers of the bold moonlight rippled in reflective brilliance across the water.

"Phoenix..." the whisper of his name with a beauty that mirrored the fantasy of the illusionary surroundings echoed into the crisp night. "Phoenix..."

As intrigued as he was intimidated, the surprised attorney gasped.

He suddenly found himself engulfed within a scene taken straight from one of pure somnolent conception.

' I...I have to be dreaming...!' his feverish thoughts wavered beside him, ' ...I just have to be!'

"Phoenix..."

Again, he heard the call of his name spoken in such a soothing and haunting tone.

'?!! Who is that?!' he pondered, then he realized the silhouette before him atop the bridge.

Its form was distinctly female.

And quite voluptuous.

Almost immediately, he recognized the woman; the light flow of her telltale scarf only confirming his assumptions.

"Mia?" he candidly questioned, then quickly corrected himself. " I mean...chief??"

'Alright... who did it? Who spiked my coffee this morning....?!' he disdainfully thought to himself.

Hearing the name spoken, the woman turned with an air of elegance towards him. Dark wispy locks of her lengthy hair cascaded over her shoulders; stray strands drizzling across her comforting features.

"Finally, you made it," she spoke, her words dappled with a hint of allure.

Phoenix was puzzled.

"Finally?"

'...Great, I've lost it. Its bad enough I'm dreaming about the chief like this but to imagine her speaking in riddles?? How ironic that only in my dreams Mia wouldn't make any sense...'

Seemingly amused in knowing he was deliberating to himself, Mia smiled warmly at him.

Gentle petals of cherry blossoms sprinkled beautifully around her, enhancing her inviting features with slivers of a pale glow.

Even in his wildest dreams, Phoenix found himself speechless.

He rarely ever dreamed about his mentor, even after the days she spent extensively helping him, in and out of the courtroom.

But when his sub-conscious fluttered away into the uncharted thoughts even he was surprised to find out about, Mia was the first to pop into his mind.

Off and on, he wondered if that meant anything specific to him. However, that possible confirmation could wait.

"Chief, what is it?" he asked when he received no verbal answer.

Gentleness softened her features yet again and she smiled to him, slightly tilting her head to the side. "Silly, how could you forget?"

Figuratively, Phoenix began to sweat.

'How could I forget something I know nothing about?!'

She chuckled lightly in her throat. " Come here already, would you?"

"Huh? Why?" he inquired, automatically moving towards her.

Soon, they were a shoulder's-length apart.

Obviously nervous, Phoenix began to fidget anxiously. Controlling a faint blooming blush, he managed to give the woman respectful eye contact.

With the touch of a delicate summer breeze, Mia rested her palm on the side of his arm then gave it a firm squeeze.

Dark chocolate eyes searched between his for any type of reaction.

Heightened uncertainty reflected back at her. But a twinge of trust and interest glistened in his orbs of blue.

And at this, she smirked knowingly.

He gulped.

'W-what kind of dream is this?!' he inwardly exclaimed. '...Not...that I'm really complaining but....this is weird!'

He blinked and adverted his gaze in distant thought. 'M-maybe I should try to wake up...?'

She snickered. "What's wrong? Thinking of leaving me already, Wright?"

Caught guilty, Phoenix poorly attempted to light-heartedly play it off. "N-no, of course not! I'm all yours, chief."

"Oh really..."

"Yes!" he added, then mentally slapped himself. "I...I mean-!"

"Hmm?" she questioned, feigning innocent ignorance.

"Uh n-nothing. Nevermind!"

'Yep...' he mentally griped, ' I should be waking up aaany minute now! Come on, Phoenix!'

"You know..." Mia began with a distinctly inviting curve to her voice. It caught Phoenix's divided attention instantly. "There's something I'd like to give you."

Butterflies filled his stomach and he caught his breath as the sensation intensified.

"S-something to give me?"

"Mmhmm," she purred, closing the space between them a bit more.

They were no more than a nose-length apart.

Phoenix's body suddenly became perfectly straight and he froze in place when he felt the soft brush of her tight clothing against the chest of his suit.

The luscious and intoxicating scent of a warm sweetness was consumed by each intake of breath he took.

That aroma... it was familiar to him yet he couldn't place its name. It was a rich smell; a rich and very desirable smell.

"M-mia...?" he managed just above a whisper.

The woman chuckled. He sounded so unsure and yet so welcoming at the same time.

Just like a boy.

Phoenix didn't care about the fact he was dreaming now. If he had dreamt up a scenario as inviting as this, he may as well finish it.

"What is it?" he asked, lifting a hesitating hand to sift through her silken strands. A breathy sound of approval drifted from her lips as she closed her eyes; basking in the comfort of his touch.

"Phoenix..." she continued, allowing his name to drop alluringly from her lips. "I have some whipped cream. Do you want some?"

'Can I give you mine, first?' Was the first thought that came to his mind, but he wouldn't dare say it.

"Boy, do I..." he truthfully uttered, resting his palm against her cheek.

Although he seemed more relaxed, his thoughts were racing.

'Still, whipped cream?! Where did that come from?! If she means what I think she means....oh please, don't wake up!'

Mia smiled tauntingly and nuzzled her cheek into his hand.

Lightly, she slid her hands up the sides of his arms and cupped his face.

"Get up."

Her placid words struck a taut chord within Phoenix as a blooming warmth spread across his shocked features, as well as elsewhere.

"M-mia...? Wait...what?"

"I said get up. Or else I'll get you up, myself."

"Huh?!" Phoenix feebly questioned from her behavior. First she was leading him on playfully, but now she was being demanding?

He didn't know whether to be excited or afraid.

Unwaveringly, Mia continued on. Her eyes glistened with the hint of mischief. "I'll give you until the count of 3. ...1...."

'I've got a bad feeling about this.'

"2..."

'....Can't she tell?! Oh right... this is just a dream.'

"3!!"

--

" --nix? Phoenix?" a gentle voice littered with perplexity wavered throughout the room.

Warm eyes curiously fluttered over her understudy's stirring form.

He had been mumbling odd words in his sleep while having small bouts of writhing on the office couch.

He may as well had been speaking another language; his drowsy banter nothing but gibberish to her ears.

"Mmph...chief... " his muffled reply caused her to raise an eyebrow.

She nudged him in the shoulder once more.

"Phoenix?"

"...whip....whipped..."

"Huh? Whipped?" 'I-is he into that or something...?' she thought briskly.

"N-no... chief, it doesn't bend that way..."

'What the-! Is... is he dreaming about me...?'

The surprised woman strongly suppressed the sudden overbearing urge to slap him awake and instead decked him in the jaw.

"Gyah! Huh--wh-what?" he stammered, opening his eyes a bit.

Aimlessly, they trailed upto a beautiful face, then closed again.

"Zzzz"

Losing patience, the woman actually did slap him this time.

Phoenix frowned, then began to show signs of waking up.

With a sigh, she flicked her yellow muffler over her shoulder as well as a few locks of her lengthly locks. Her previous burst of frustration melted into tufts of genuine concern.

"Are you up, now?"

Keen to the woman's velvety voice, the rookie attorney roused from his sleep.

'Am I up? More than you know...'

"Mia..."

Without realizing, he began to rub the side of his face.

"Why does my jaw feel a little..."

"You overslept." She fibbed quickly and walked to small counter behind him.

'That's the last time I ever ask what he wants in his drink!' she thought to herself while arranging two large mugs atop the counter.

The perplexed male said nothing at first, but closed his eyes as a familiar scent drifted past his nose and stimulated his senses.

"Is that coffee?" he asked, turning in Mia's direction.

"Hot chocolate." She corrected, her back turned to him.

'So that's what I smelled' he thought to himself, instantly remembering his dream.

Then he shuddered. If Mia ever came onto him like that, he wouldn't know how to act.

"Hmmmm" he grunted lowly, but it sounded more like a groan.

Finally finished with her preparations, Mia walked over to the couch and placed their mugs down on the coffee table.

Phoenix had such an oddly serene look on his face, it almost made her not want to know where it came from.

But she decided to use it as tinder to strike up conversation.

" You seem happy, Wright."

"Oh yeah? I guess you can say that. " 'Until training starts again.' He groused silently while feigning a light smile.

And Mia farced one right back. "Training will begin shortly..."

Phoenix cringed and gave her a pleading look.

"...after this little break." She finished, and chuckled a bit when she saw the relief wash over his features.

She had to admit, he looked rather cute. Even if he was a bit strange at times.

"Whew. I better drink slowly then..." he muttered under his breath and went to pick up a mug when she snatched it up before he did.

Confusion littered his features as he looked at her. "Uh chief?"

Indulged in her own little hot chocolate world for a few moments, Mia smiled broadly and brought the cup to her lips. With a mild sigh, she savored the delight.

"Sorry Wright. This one is mine."

'What?' he thought to himself, 'Is...is the other one poisoned or something?' he quietly wondered, trailing his questioning eyes to the remaining mug.

Mia laughed and took a small sip. "Don't worry, I didn't spike your drink. It's much too early in the day for that!"

A bit nervous, Phoenix shared in her laughter, but it was obviously forced, and picked up the warm mug.

The delicious aroma from it caused him to close his eyes and relax while the warmth of it softened his hands.

They both took a well deserved swig of their respective beverages and exchanged sounds of relief.

"This is delicious, chief." Phoenix grinned, taking another long drink.

"Of course it is, I made it!"

"Thank heaven for instant hot chocolate!"

"And ice cream."

"Huh? Ice cream? "

"That's right, Wright. Did you clean out your ears this morning before arriving to work?" she mused with mock innocence.

Curiously, the spiky haired male peered over at the contents in her cup. "It IS ice cream! And marshmallows? Chief...what did you make yourself?" Phoenix wondered, clearly amazed. He never saw the chief as someone that held such elegance to also have an almost childish love for something like marshmallows.

An amused and almost bashful smile graced her lips, raising the small mole on her face. "Iced hot chocolate, Phoenix."

He raised an immediate brow at the oxymoron. "Iced?! Why would anyone want to drink something that's hot, cold??"

"Excuse me, but don't you like iced coffee, Mr. Hypocrite?"

"W-well, see that's different!"

"And how is it different?"

"B-because... uh...I like to drink mine while it's still a little warm...!"

Mia rolled her eyes and popped a marshmallow into her mouth. "Yes, that makes all the difference in the world..."

He nodded and took a long sip. "It does!!"

"Uh huh..." she smiled warmly. Her eyelids began to lower a bit as she reached inside her cup and pulled out another marshmallow A big fluffy one this time in the shape of a star.

Tasting it with the tip of her tongue, complete satisfaction washed over her exquisite features and her eyes slowly closed.

"Mmmm"

And for a whole second, Phoenix felt his heart stop. And just as certain thoughts began to plague his mind, he quickly brought his cup to his mouth and gulped down the rest of the hot beverage as fast as he could.

Seeing him do this, she took a long drink from her cup as well. But casually.

Still holding the mug upto his face, Phoenix discreetly peered from around the side of it and nearly dropped the cup from his hands when he saw a small rivulet of her drink slide under her chin and dribble onto her exposed collarbone.

Slightly embarrassed, she reached for a napkin off the coffee table and lightly wiped the liquid from her skin.

Setting it aside, she reached for another marshmallow from inside her cup.

Phoenix forced his rigid arm to lower so he'd stop appearing so suspicious, but he couldn't stop his face from warming up.

Completely appeased by the taste of her beverage, Mia slowly rolled her tongue over her ruby lips not once, but twice. She brought the soft squishy puff to her lips and enticingly parted them.

Then, suddenly she stopped.

Her dark chocolate eyes darted over to Phoenix who was blushing wildly and staring straight at her.

Blinking, the obvious reason crossed her mind and she instead thought something was amiss.

Mia leaned forward towards her comrade in curiosity and concern.

Phoenix felt his body tense up and didn't bother to stop his eyes from venturing in-between the valley of her ample cleavage.

"Phoenix...? I'm sorry..." she spoke with a breathy tenderness that caused him to tense up even more than before.

Somehow he managed to find his voice. "Y...Yes...Mia?"

She blinked, then smiled politely. "Did you want some...?"

"Yes." he responded, a bit too promptly.

"You do?" she wondered, leaning in closer, "How much would you want me to give you?"

"Everything. I... I mean...!" Phoenix stammered, starting to break out into cold sweat.

'Way to go, Phoenix!' he silently scolded himself.

But instead of recoiling in disgust, the woman's features brightened with a warm daring smile.

Pulling back slightly, she held up the mug between them. "Help yourself."

Bewildered, Phoenix looked to her, then at the item in her hand.

He gulped, finding his gaze fluttering back down into the inviting hollow crevice within her bosom.

'Think fast!' he panicked and dared to open his mouth to comment.

"Uh...um that's ok, Chief. I don't want to go shoving my fingers into your—um that cup."

Her eyes widened in an unreadable interest, but she clearly caught his folly.

She just simply chose to ignore it.

"Oh? I don't mind, Wright. Go ahead. Help yourself."

Phoenix tensed suddenly, staring hard at the cup. The tone in her voice could be taken two different ways and Phoenix couldn't tell if she were referring to herself or the marshmallows.

Seeing the younger man's obvious nervousness, Mia chuckled while giving him an odd expression. "The marshmallows, Wright. Did you want any?"

He jumped in his seat. "Wh-what?!"

She smiled playfully. "My, aren't you jumpy today... If you don't want any from me, just say so, Wright."

Phoenix frowned in a poor attempt to control his nervousness. It wasn't working.

'Just take one!' he shouted in his mind, 'Just take a marshmallow and eat it!'

Mia watched him with allure lingering in her eyes and a triumphant smirk about her lips while he reached into the cup, grabbed a handful of marshmallows and stuffed them into his mouth.

She had him now.

Chewing vigorously, Phoenix clasped a hand over his mouth to make sure none of the treats escaped and swallowed.

Chuckling lightly Mia rested the mug in her lap and scooted closer to Phoenix on the couch.

"Good..." she smiled, protruding her chest a bit and lifting her chin. "Now, do me."

Phoenix winced and nearly choked on a marshmallow.

Looking up at her with racing eyes, he searched her chocolate orbs for truth. "C-Come again...?!"

"Hmm? Is there a problem?"

He coughed.

Mia snickered inwardly to herself and pointed to her lips when he returned his attention to her.

"My mouth, Wright."

"P-Pardon?!" he stammered, gaining another small laugh from her.

Did she mean what he thought she meant?

Smirking, she held up the cup. "I meant for you to feed me the marshmallow, Wright."

He blinked. 'Can't she do it herself?'

Mia took his silence as a no. "You don't want to? Sorry, that was a bit forward of me." she apologized, reaching in her cup and pulling out a marshmallow tipped with a hint of ice cream.

With a small sigh, she started to lift it to her lips when Phoenix stopped her.

Awed, she glanced up at him, witnessing one of the most serious expressions she had ever seen on him.

Yet, he was still terribly nervous.

Gently, as best as he could muster, Phoenix took Mia's hand and led the fluffy puff to his mouth.

He let it brush against his lips before they parted and he slipped the marshmallow, as well as a hint of her fingertips, into his mouth.

She tasted of rich dark chocolate.

A shiver ran through him from the realization of his action and he bashfully looked to her.

Surprise littered her composed features. But then, her expression softened.

She brought her tasted fingertips to her lips and sampled the flavor.

Neither of them took their eyes off the other.

But Phoenix couldn't bare to watch her anymore.

The sound of her mug being placed on the table shot into the air as the two of them became encircled within the other's embrace.

The initial awkwardness swiftly melted away. Titles no longer held meaning. They were just a man and a woman expression their emotions.

Phoenix was pure passion; leading his hands to cup Mia's face while he kissed her strongly.

Mia was gentle guidance; steadying his unbridled affections and pacing him.

Before long, their suit coats were removed .

"Mia..." Phoenix murmured,eying her dark corset. He lifted a hand to it when Mia placed her hand over his.

"Not here. Not in the room the clients use." she urged, "Someplace else."

"But what about the office?" he stupidly asked, yet was given a soft kiss in response.

"No one has called. If either of us do get a call, we'll come back to the office."

"I don't want us to be interrupted, Mia..."

Hearing this, the older woman couldn't help but give him a warm smile. "Cute. Alight then, Wright. Let's wait until tonight. I'll take you out for dinner." she offered, beginning to stand to her feet.

Exhaling heavily in slight relief, Phoenix followed suit. "Shouldn't I offer to treat you to dinner?"

She snickered, heading back over to her desk to check the time. "Aren't you broke?"

He sulked. "Yeah..."

"Don't worry. You can return the favor afterwards..." she smirked, hoping he'd catch her hint.

He was a few years younger than her but he certainly didn't seem that innocent.

A bit unexperienced, but not innocent.

His eyes widened and a lopsided smile spread across his lips. "I...I'd be looking forward to that, chief."

"Good." she smiled, turning to look at him while picking up their tossed aside clothing.

She had just handed Phoenix his suit coat when the office door was suddenly thrust open.

"NICK!! NICK, man you GOTTA help me out!!" a familiar irritating voice rang out as a certain someone barged into the room.

Startled, Phoenix lost his balance and fell into Mia, knocking her down onto her desk back first.

"Niiick!" Larry continued to call, until he realized his imposing. "Oh, sorry 'bout that, Nick...!" he trailed off and hid behind a wall out of sight.

Then he peeked back in the room Mia and Phoenix were in, snickering to himself.

Phoenix had his hands on either sides of Mia while settled between her legs, which were laced around his waist.

Widened blue peered into deep chocolate in utter surprise.

For a moment, the two forgot about Larry's presence.

But his chortles slithered remembrance into their ears.

Embarrassed, Phoenix pulled away from Mia's embrace and charged for Larry.

"Can't you KNOCK?" the flustered attorney sputtered.

Recoiling, Larry grimaced in fear his childhood friend would strike him. And Phoenix very well should have.

"Nah man! I called your phone like 5 times and you didn't answer! So I figured I'd drop by! Please don't hurt me, Nick!"

"But I will...!" Mia addressed, fully clothed, stepping towards Larry.

But instead of punching him, she leaned forward to whisper something into his ear.

At first Phoenix had become a tad jealous seeing Mia be so close to Larry like that, but his envy soon melted into a dark smile from the agonizing look that formed on Larry's face.

After Mia had said her piece, she pointed fiercely towards the door.

Blushing wildly, and also wincing in pain, Larry stuffed his hands in his pockets and sulked out the door.

Then he popped his head back in. "H-hey Nick! Call me later alright?!"

"OUT!" Mia vociferated.

Once the pest left, she flicked her yellow scarf behind her and turned to Phoenix.

He had taken out his cell phone and muttered about leaving it on silent once he reached the office.

He appeared extremely relieved that Larry was gone. "Whew, thank you." he sighed, looking over to Mia.

A soft smile painted her lips and she took his hands in hers.

"Do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into?"

He blinked. "Wh-what?"

"Being with an older woman. I could just be using you, you know..." she purred against his cheek.

Phoenix shivered and let a low sound slip.

The familiar scent he acknowledged from his dreams returned to him; the same sweet scent.

So it wasn't the hot chocolate after all.

It was her.

"I don't care." he responded without thinking, "But I doubt you have it in you to do that."

"Hmmm" Mia pondered with a dark grin that was unseen by Phoenix

Yet, it was then that he realized he had spoke too soon; the sudden thwacking of the bokken she kept snapped into his mind.

His body shuddered at the memory and a light blush spread across his cheeks. In the back of his mind, he pictured Mia clad in all black with a riding crop and tight piercing heels digging into his back.

'Just what exactly have I gotten myself into?!' he cried in his mind

"I suppose we'll both find out, now won't we? But first..." she trailed off, pulling away from him.

When the warmth of her presence faded from him, his calm expression followed suit. "What is it?"

With a mischievous smile, Mia went towards a hidden shelf only she and Phoenix knew about and claimed the bamboo bokken that was there.

Phoenix cringed. 'I...I knew it...!'

"Time for your training, Wright!" she chirped eagerly, then tilted her head to the side. "Thought I forgot, didn't you?"

'Yes...' "...Er well..."

Snickering lightly, Mia strode over to him and placed a tiny kiss on his lips.

Phoenix blushed and gazed meekly into her eyes.

Reassurance looked back at him.

"Do your best." she encouraged, then turned to head back towards her office desk.

Phoenix watched her thick hair spill over her shoulders and cascade down her back as she left; the soft yellow of her muffler a lively entity as it swayed about behind her.

The beautiful and enticing aroma lingered where she once stood and beckoned a hesitant Phoenix to follow along after her.

-Mel