Von Karma Estate, April 10, 2019
Franziska thought she would nearly burst with joy. "I have been dreaming of this for so long," she whispered, her eyes shining with happiness as she looked at Miles. "There is nothing in the world I could ever want more, liebling."
"I was hoping you would say that." Miles smiled lovingly at her. "I've wanted one for the longest time, although I wasn't too certain about your reaction. But now that I know we're on the same page, I am so delighted that you share my excitement. I even have the name picked out."
Franziska was surprised. He'd even gone as far as to pick out names? Without discussing them with her first? She'd liked the name Gregory for a boy in honor of his late father, and for a girl she'd thought Mila was beautiful as a female variation of Miles' name, while Manfrieda could have been a nice secondary name to commemorate her Papa, assuming Miles wasn't opposed to that idea. But she was trying to be more open-minded and flexible now, and saw nothing as set in stone. If he had his heart set on a name, she could certainly at least hear him out.
"Go on," she urged softly. "I'd love to hear it."
"What do you think of then name Pess?"
"Pess?" Franziska blinked. "What kind of name is that?"
"It's the perfect name! Believe me, when you meet her, you'll fall in love with her as much as I have, and agree that it was made for her, meine dame."
"Her?" she echoed blankly.
"Pess, this absolutely beautiful golden retriever I found from a top breeder in Los Angeles when I was over there," he told her excitedly. "I'm in the process of ensuring she has all her shots and purebred papers together right now even as we speak. We just took to each other immediately. I can't wait for you to meet her. I just know you'll fall in love with her as much as I have!"
Franziska sat there, her smile still frozen on her lips even as she felt her heart sinking down into her shoes, which were brand new Louboutin pumps, purchased to match the new white Halston dress she was wearing as part of her painstakingly chosen attire for the evening.
A dog. All this time she had been day dreaming about being the mother of his children and thinking of meaningful names for them. Had been giddy at the notion that he shared the same aspirations… and this entire time, he been thinking about them becoming parents…to a dog ? In Los Angeles, no less!
"You do like golden retrievers, don't you meine dame?" Miles was looking at her expectantly, noting she still hadn't spoken since he'd made his revelation. "I was hoping you wouldn't mind that I picked her out already and you didn't already have your heart set on some sort of smaller breed?"
Oh yes, she'd had her heart set on a much smaller breed. One of the approximate six to nine pounds at birth variety that would eventually grow up and know how use the toilet instead of using it as a drinking bowl!
Struggling to maintain a leveled tone, Franziska finally spoke. "I hope it won't be a lot of trouble to arrange all the certifications and papers in order to bring her over here?"
"That's the other thing I wanted to discuss with you." Miles cleared his throat. "Pess is going to stay in LA."
"How did you plan on keeping and taking care of a pet in American when you are residing in Germany?" As soon as she'd spoken the words, Franziska held her breath afterwards, already knowing the answer.
"Here's the thing, meine dame. After much thought and consideration, I've decided, as my investigative partners are all in the States and most of my investigations seem to be around there anyway, that it would probably be best if I moved back to California."
Even though she'd anticipated the response , Franziska still felt as if she had been sucker-punched.
He was going to get a dog and move back to LA. And had decided both without even speaking to her first, while she had been foolishly fantasizing about their future together like a naïve, idealistic simpleton.
"I know this may come somewhat as a surprise," Miles said quickly, looking uneasily at her stoical expression upon hearing his news. "But while my relocation may seem sudden, I'd hoped the news of a pet would be welcome and less unexpected. After all, you've been dropping hints about it for months now."
"I'm sorry?" Franziska couldn't even feign composure anymore as she looked him in wide-eyed shock. "I have been hinting about this?"
"Of course! Remember all those times we'd go to the park and see the delightful tots playing with their pups and you repeatedly commenting about how you would love to see one of them running afoot someday?"
Franziska frantically rewound the memories all those times she'd happily been pointing out the objects of her desire to Miles. She thought she'd been completely obvious about what she'd meant, without being so overtly to the point where he would have gotten skittish. All this time she'd been saying she'd wanted one of those running afoot someday…
The big foolish fool of a man had thought she'd been referring to dogs?
It was so completely and utterly ludicrous, it was almost comical. She would have actually burst into laughter if she wasn't so certain that it would be accompanied by tears of hysteria.
Luckily for Miles, her trusty whip, which she'd mostly forsaken for his sake, was tucked upstairs in her bedside table and nowhere near her at the moment!
It wasn't that Franziska minded having a pet. She had just assumed that a dog would later complete her picturesque vision of being married, and having a home with 2.3 children, and then a dog. Not have it be first and foremost on the list. And certainly not when getting one meant that her beloved would be trotting off across the globe, without her!
Tears stung her eyes and she immediately looked down at the remains of her dessert plate so he wouldn't see them. Unfortunately, she didn't do so fast enough.
"Franziska?" Miles looked at her with loving concern. "Meine dame, why are you so upset? I certainly wasn't planning on moving back to Los Angeles without you. I want you to come with me. You and I…and Pess…we can be a family together there."
She shook her head, unable to speak. It wasn't that simple. She didn't just want to keep shuffling locations, having them follow each other across the globe on a whim anymore. She didn't just want to play mommy and daddy to a dog, however dear it may be. She wanted…more.
"Excuse me," she mumbled, pushing back her chair and rising. "I need to…I'll be right back."
"Wait!" He exclaimed, placing a hand on her shoulder as she went to pass him. "Meine dame, please! I need to understand why you're so sad. What have I done wrong? You can certainly still work for Interpol while living in LA, and Gumshoe said our old office space is still available. You could even still work in the one right next to mine! I was hoping you'd be pleased."
"This isn't the way I want it to be anymore, Miles!" She cried, no longer able to hold back the dam of tears that had kept threatening to burst.
"You can't just expect me to be picking up and reshuffling my whole life and career again just because you've precipitously come down with a case of puppy love and wanderlust. I know you did it for me over a year ago when I came here, but things have changed. They're different now. We're different now. I need something more permanent if you're going to expect me to just follow you around like the obedient canine you suddenly seem to crave in your life now. I need something more secure, more real…I need more, Miles. I thought I'd made it so obvious…how you can just not understand…" Her words trailed off as she shrugged off his hand and ran out of the dining hall, nearly blinded by her tears.
Miles stared after her, completely dumbfounded. He realized he'd been holding his breath in his chest during her unexpected outburst and he released it slowly, trying to steady his nerves. He turned from the table and headed to Franziska's study. It had formerly belonged to Manfred Von Karma, and contained the large mahogany cabinet where he had kept his prized collection of vintage wines and best liquors.
And at that precise moment, more than anything in the world, Miles Edgeworth desperately needed a drink.
Miles poured himself a stiff brandy and paced the room. He walked over to the desk and perched his hip against the edge of it, taking a large gulp of the amber liquid, relishing its warmth as it seared a path down his throat. He mulled over the event that had just transpired.
She wanted something more? All this time he'd thought she was so happy with him, with the way things were. He remembered his realization a few months ago at Très Bien, that she was the woman he could genuinely see himself spending the rest of his life with. He had thought it was too soon to say such things, and hadn't wanted her to think he was trying to mimic the whirlwind romance of Gumshoe and Maggey, who were married and expecting all within a year after not even a year of courtship. Plus, she was still so young, and in the height of her career. He truly hadn't thought she'd want to settle down at this point in her life.
The dog had been an impulsive decision, but he'd honestly thought she liked them, after repeatedly pointing them out to him in the parks. Miles and had hoped it would sort of be a trial run of how she'd be in 'parenting'. As much as he loved Franziska, he would be the first to admit she didn't exactly exude domestic or maternal instinct!
At the detective's wedding, she had looked aghast at the weeping antics of Maya and teary state of Phoenix, which had hardly seemed encouraging! All the while, Miles had been thinking of how delicately pretty she had looked in her lacy pink bridesmaid gown, and how resplendent a bride she'd be someday.
Why was that word nagging him so much at that moment?
Shaking his head, Miles took another large swig of his drink and looked thoughtfully at the floor in deep consternation. That was when he saw it.
A loose piece of cream colored stationery, sticking out of one of the drawers of the otherwise spotless desk, as if Franziska had hastily shut it without ensuring it was properly tucked in, which was untypical for a woman of her fastidious nature. Which meant that it was possibly something that she had tried to hide in swiftness, because she didn't want anyone to see its contents.
Which made him all the more inquisitive to read it.
It wasn't as if he was snooping, Miles tried to justify to himself, while his hand slowly moved towards the paper as if on its own volition. After all, it was there in plain sight and not fully hidden. And Franziska had once said that they were a couple and should have no secrets from each other, hadn't she?
Stop the lollygagging already, Edgeworth!
Miles' eyes widened in surprise as he looked at the sheet in his hand, covered with his lover's elegant penmanship.
Franziska Von Karma-Edgeworth
Franziska Hildeberta Edgeworth
Hildeberta? Miles grimaced. He knew that had been the name of Manfred's mother, but it seemed too archaic, too traditional, too hideous a name for the old man to have bequeathed his lovely young daughter! No wonder Franziska had kept mum all these years about what her full name was!
Miles also couldn't suppress a small cocky smirk from blooming on his face as he noted that she'd put tiny hearts around the names and over the I's instead of a dot. After all this time, he'd had no idea that his tough as nails lover could have fallen in love like a schoolgirl. Then he reminded himself how young she'd been when they'd gotten together, how she was only just 20 now, so it was to be expected. Still, it offered him a great deal of amusement and satisfaction. It was reassuring and heart-warming to know what her true heart's desires were and he hadn't been alone in his visions of a long-term future.
Franziska and Miles were dancing at the Gumshoe's wedding reception. They were both incredible dancers, skilled in everything from ballroom to tango. A small circle of admiring spectators had formed around the graceful couple who were pure poetry in motion to watch on the dance floor. Thanks to the dance lessons Manfred had forced them to endure as children, the end result was the two of them together were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire reincarnated. He spun her around, the skirt of her dress twirling gracefully around her shapely legs before he caught her again and pulled her against his muscular chest. She wrapped her slender arms around his neck as the music tempo slowed down. Celine Dion's The Power of Love began to play. Miles held her tightly against him, loving the way her body melded perfectly against his as they swayed to the lilting lyrics of the songbird singer.
Cause I am your lady
And you are my man
Franziska gently brushed a slightly damp lock of hair off his face, still flushed from the exertion of the tango they had just performed. "I think we may have stolen the spotlight from the bride and groom," she giggled. "If nobody knew we were a couple before, I'm sure they most definitely now have their suspicions that indeed, I am your lady. And you are my man."
"Well, it doesn't help that you nearly trampled over Miss Fey in your haste to catch the bridal bouquet!" He laughed. "Not suspect behavior at all!"
"Please! They all know how competitive I am," she scoffed. "Besides, if they are curious, let them be! You're holding me so tightly right now, we're surely giving them something to talk about." The concept didn't seem to faze her in the least.
Whenever you reach for me
I'll do all that I can
"Can I help it if I want to keep myself as close as possible to the most beautiful woman here?" He asked tenderly. "You are a vision tonight, meine dame. Nobody can take their eyes off of you."
"They're not looking at me, they're looking at you, liebling!" She insisted. "You look even more dashing than the groom. Although the scruffy detective cleaned up quite well today, I have no doubt you would still be the ever more handsome one when it is your turn to wear a bridegroom tuxedo…someday."
Miles was taken aback by the statement. He wasn't sure if they were still engaged in mutual flattery at this point, or if Franziska was seriously making a reference to them getting married down the line. Either way, further discussion on the topic at a friend's wedding reception was neither the time nor place, so he just rested his chin atop her head and murmured, 'danke, meine dame."
We're heading for something
Somewhere I've never been
Sometimes I am frightened
But I'm ready to learn
Of the power of love
Miles smiled at the poignant memory, one of the happiest ones he'd ever had of the two of them. He realized in retrospect that their brief conversation had indeed been a more profound one than he'd initially realized. Why, oh why was hindsight always 20/20?
He looked down at the paper again and was confounded with amazement at what else he saw written there.
Gregory Franz Edgeworth
Mila Manfreida Edgeworth
Miles closed his eyes and crumpled the paper against his chest as a quiet, distressed moan emitted from him. A simultaneous inundation of self-loathing, coupled with the full realization of everything, hit him with the force of a tidal wave.
Only just now. At that exact moment.
When it may already have been too late.
Miles Gregory Edgeworth, reigning undefeated Fool Prosecutor Extraordinaire.