Matchmakers in Hell
Borscht Bowl Club, April 17, 2019 9:30 pm
"We're so late for the party!" Franziska cried in dismay, checking her reflection in the passenger visor of Miles' sports car for the millionth time. "This is beyond terrible, liebling! Bad enough to spring me on them without having given any prior warning I'd be attending, and now we're over half an hour late showing up! It is a severe etiquette breach even if they are more your friends than mine! As if they need yet another reason to dislike me!"
Miles shrugged. While he deplored tardiness as much as his fiancée, it couldn't have been helped in this instance. And he didn't have the heart to tell the woman he loved in her current agitated state that perhaps their friends would like her more and fear her/loathe her less if she stopped talking down to them and whipping them at every drop of a hat!
"You're the one who insisted she needed to change her clothes, meine dame," he reminded her. "I for one, thought the little denim dress you had initially picked would have been the perfect ensemble for the evening!"
"Miles, there was no way I could have worn anything that showed off any skin from neck to chest since my fiancé decided to channel his inner vampire and leave hickeys on all over me!" She grumbled, folding down the turtleneck collar of her turquoise sweater dress to ensure all love bites were properly hidden before finally getting out the vehicle and unenthusiastically following him to the bar entrance.
He flashed her a sexy grin. "I didn't hear you complaining about my overly zealous excitement at seeing you in that seductive dress an hour earlier!"
"You're right," she snickered. "It's as much my fault as yours. It's the excitement of being properly engaged, it still hasn't worn off! Otherwise I'd have found some way to resist your amorous advances, exactly an hour before we were to leave the house, Herr Irresistible!"
The cold blast of Siberian air hit them the minute they walked into the tavern, and Franziska shivered, suddenly thankful she'd changed into more suitably covering clothing as protection from frostbite! She'd have caught her death if she'd worn the strapless denim mini-dress out that night, even if the form-fitting nature of it did happen to drive her fiancé wild with desire!
She wondered what Maya would be wearing that night, and how she looked now. It had been ages since they'd seen her. Miles was fond of the birthday girl, and while she and Franziska had never been close, despite being the same age, she didn't feel any sort of ill-will towards the spirit medium and hoped that the evening wouldn't be completely catastrophic.
Miles was halfway through the bar when Franziska realized she'd forgotten something in the car.
"Liebling, your key please!" She gasped, grabbing his arm. "I left my whip under the seat, and I need to go fetch it!"
He looked at her with amused exasperation. "You promised me you were going to be nice to everyone and that you weren't going to whip anyone tonight, Franziska! I know you think they're all fools, but they're my fools. Our fools. And need I remind you two of those fools got us together?"
"Please Miles," Franziska begged. "I promise I shall try to be on my best behavior, but I feel positively naked without it!"
With a sigh, he reluctantly handed her the keys and she blew him a kiss, telling him to go and find their group and she'd catch up with him.
Besides, as much as you tell me to forsake my trusty sidekick, you never know when it may come in handy, she thought to herself as she hurried out to the car. Better safe than sorry right?
Franziska caught up to Miles at their friends' table just in time to hear him reprimand that mother of all fools, Larry Butz for his leery, inappropriate conduct towards Maya - and right in front of her (presumably still unofficial) boyfriend, Phoenix Wright, too! She was surprised the defense attorney himself hadn't torn the ever-lecherous Larry a new one! Before she could say a word to praise her fiancé for his chivalry, he seemed to have sensed her presence behind him and pulled her to his side.
Miles then graciously inclined his head towards Maya. "Please accept my sincere apologies for being tardy on this festive occasion, Miss Fey. My companion this evening had a last minute overseas conference call she needed to tend to. Might I add that you look most fetching this evening."
He gave a slight grandeur bow, which would have looked ridiculous if done by any other man, yet on the stylish and debonair Miles Edgeworth, just seemed swoon-worthily gallant. "To atone for this however unintentional faux pas, do allow Franziska and me to buy the first round of drinks for everyone."
If she'd taken a drink at that moment, Franziska would have done a spit-take upon hearing Miles' smooth and convincing bluff about the cause of their lateness. Well, it was a better alternative than telling them the truth, which would have probably made them all be spluttering instead! After all, with the exception of Phoenix and Maya, the other two had no idea that she and Miles were even dating, let alone betrothed lovers!
Well done my love, she thought admiringly. You may be a truth-seeking man as a whole, but when it comes right down to it, ultimately, you're still a shit-talking lawyer!
She was about to say something to further bolster Miles' kind words to Maya, who looked very grown up and quite beautiful indeed in a stunning red sequined dress – Phoenix Wright was a lucky man indeed if he ever managed to be successful in wooing her – but the looks she caught on the birthday girl's face, along with those of the rest of the group, stopped her cold.
All of them, Larry, the scruffy detective, but most obviously, Phoenix and Maya themselves, were staring at her, slack-jawed and eyes bulging, in not so much surprise, but shock. And with, she was mortified to note, complete horror by her very presence!
Oh she just knew it had been a mistake to have Miles simply thrust her upon them all, impromptu like this! Franziska had never felt like a more unwelcome intrusion in her entire life, and felt her cheeks burning with humiliation. Why had she listened to her fiancé and not just emailed Phoenix herself to let him know she'd be attending the party, and spared them all this awkward moment? For such a so-called genius, Miles wasn't exactly always exempt from the fool category himself, especially when it came to social conventions!
She didn't have too long to dwell about this, however, as Larry had surprisingly been the first one to regain a sense of decorum and now, having ceased his overly enthusiastic greeting to Miles, turned to her, and hollered, "Franzy! Looking good as usual!" and then suddenly locked his spindly arms around her in the world's most suffocating bear hug!
Franziska visibly cringed at the unexpected and unwanted contact. "Unhand me, you fool!" She hissed, as she struggled to breathe – for such a scrawny man the fool was misleadingly strong - and wished she hadn't made that foolish promise to her fiancé to withhold whipping!
Miles Edgeworth, you're lucky I love you a much as I do!
She caught her fiancé's eye and saw the grateful look on his face that she had refrained from unleashing her matchless fury upon his dummkopf friend.
Maya was next to recover from her astonishment and came to the rescue, purposely squishing herself between Miles and Larry so she could give the former a hug, the act which had forced the latter to loosen his grip on her so she could mercifully, break free. Franziska shot her a grateful smile when she finally was able to breathe again.
You're alright after all, Maya Fey.
The young woman, while having no poker-face to speak of and being prone to emotional outbursts at times, was still better at playing the part of gracious hostess than her co-host, who still hadn't recovered from his foolish gawping stare at Franziska. That was, until Maya pointedly said, "While this is the most pleasant of, ah, surprises, we've always believed in 'the more, the merrier' concept. Haven't we, Nick?"
The gentle prod had the desired outcome of Phoenix finally snapping out of his gaping stupor and looking sheepishly at the two prosecutors.
"Absolutely," he agreed heartily, shaking Miles' hand and flashing Franziska his most shit-eating grin. "Welcome, guys. It's been awhile, huh? We were just getting ready to order. You look lovely tonight, Ms. Von Karma. Is that a new dress?"
Franziska barely suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. While she knew Phoenix had been the main Cupid mastermind behind her and Miles getting together, he still was a complete fool who had extended the discomfiture of her unannounced arrival the longest. To top it all off, he appeared completely oblivious to the somewhat wounded look that flashed across Maya's face upon hearing his asinine compliment, which she wasn't quick enough to hide.
Looks like the foolish fool attorney has been playing dumb at noticing how much his former assistant has blossomed, Franziska noted, torn between amused annoyance at the defense attorney and pity for the obviously love-struck girl at his side. Who am I kidding? Play? Phoenix Wright could manage the team!
"Danke, Phoenix Wright," she replied coolly. "It is something new that I picked up in Germany a sennight ago. While it is also spring over there, the weather is still chillier than here in Los Angeles this time of year. Although, considering the arctic temperature of this place…" she added pointedly. "I am most glad to be covered up somewhat, unlike your poor companion there, who is practically nude in comparison and appears to be morphing into a Smurf before our very eyes. Did you not think to tell her she may need a cover-up in this kind of environment?"
From the mortified look on Maya's face, and the flustered look on Phoenix's, Franziska realized, too late, that her comment had been misconstrued. She hadn't really been trying to embarrass anyone, she'd only wanted the foolish man to actually look at his lovely 'nearly nude' companion, and take note of her killer outfit, as Maya's forlorn eyes were obviously pleading him to do, but to her chagrin, she realized her efforts had been entirely in vain.
OK, and so maybe she'd also wanted to break his balls just a bit for choosing such a sub-Arctic place for his wannabe girlfriend's birthday party! But come now! How foolish could he be? Maya's lips were almost literally turning blue, so Franziska knew she wasn't alone in her discomfort.
Phoenix looked flustered, although it was uncertain if it was due to the unsubtle complaint about his choice of venue, or the reference to said semi-scantily clad companion next to him, whom he was still avoiding looking at. "I-I, well, um, I offered her one…" he stammered.
Thankfully, Miles gallantly saved them from further embarrassment by cutting in.
"Wright is not her keeper, Franziska," he admonished lightly. "Miss Fey is a grown woman now and can wear what she likes. I can certainly understand her wanting to be in her element on her special day and not be cloaked like a nun. And while it is a tad cool in here, it is nothing that will not be remedied by some warming liquor. I shall flag down a waitress to get that first round I promised everyone."
He stood up and signaled to a server in the distance, waving her over to them.
The arrival of the pneumatic blonde bombshell waitress at their table was when things started to go downhill. Apparently the hyper-sexual harlot knew Phoenix from his frequent visits to the saloon last year. Franziska was surprised Maya hadn't appeared to have taken note of that particular gem of information, which was that as soon as she'd gone back to her village, her former employer had made a beeline for the bar to attempt to drown his sorrows. It wouldn't have been the first time, Franziska knew, that Phoenix had fallen apart without Maya at his side.
Perhaps even if Maya had been somewhat cheered by that little bit of trivia, it was completely obliterated by the blatant flirtations of the waitress with Phoenix, who while too polite and awkward to fully thwart her advances or rebuke them, was certainly doing nothing to discourage them either!
The grotesque display was obviously eating Maya alive, and Franziska, as a woman, felt her heart ache for the other girl. It was heart-breaking to see the pained, jealous look in her dark eyes while she was forced to endure another woman trying to steal the man she loved away from her.
Of course, as sympathetic as Franziska was, she was also frustrated as hell at the foolishness of both Phoenix and Maya. It was really hard to take sides when they were both completely foolish fools! Maya herself wasn't exactly innocent either, making barbed remarks the whole night to a confused Phoenix without further elaborating, and then trying to make him jealous by threatening to go out with Larry Butz!
Complete exasperated at one point, Franziska leaned over and whispered to her fiancé. "Miles, what can we do? This whole evening is going right down the tubes! I know we owe them, but they're both completely impossible!"
"I well aware!" He hissed back in her ear. "Why do you think I was ribbing Wright about his idiotic BRO CODE and telling him that since Maya wasn't his current or former flame, those rules weren't applicable as a deterrent for Butz not dating her! I was trying to force him to admit that he doesn't want Butz to date her is because he himself is so desperately in love with her! But the damn cowardly idiot just…folded like a bad hand of cards in a poker game!"
Franziska could see how deflated Phoenix was from that lost battle of wits with Miles, whom he probably thought had been just acting like an insufferable know-it-all, instead of realizing his friend had merely been trying to force him to man the hell up!
She sighed silently.
Liebling, we've got our work cut out for us.
Miles watched Franziska fume on Maya's behalf every time the flirtatious waitress came by and fawned all over the clueless, spiky-haired attorney. He could tell under her seemingly snide remarks and lofty demeanor, Franziska felt as helpless and distressed about the situation as he did. At least he could give Wright some tough love and speak candidly to him if need be. But Maya and Franziska weren't friends at all, so any aid from her to Maya would probably result in the birthday girl demanding to know why his fiancée was getting involved in a situation that was none of her business, or say something even worse!
So Franziska's hands were tied, and he could see her literally grinding her teeth as Tiffany pushed her heaving bosom in Phoenix's face at one point.
OK, I may have thought Franziska overreacted a tad to the waitress's innocuous flirty comment to me, Miles admitted to himself. But the way Tiffany's practically sitting in Wright's lap - while on the clock! – is completely unprofessional and …just wrong on so many different levels! Why is he allowing this? Is he purposely trying to torture Maya? The poor girl looks like she's going to burst into tears any moment! And she tossed back that double shot Dead Lawyer drink I got her like it was water. Angry woman + copious alcohol+ daft defense attorney = disaster doomed to happen any time now... in five, four, three, two…
"You porcupine-headed prick!" Maya hissed and without further warning, promptly tossed her Cosmopolitan right into Phoenix's astonished face before storming away from the table.
Phoenix sat there, spluttering, while droplets of icy vodka and fruity mixture dribbled down his face from his hair and onto his shirt. He gratefully accepted the handful of paper napkins Gumshoe hastily handed him and tried to dry himself off as best as he could with the flimsy material.
Miles didn't know if he should laugh at how ridiculous his martini-drenched friend looked, or give Wright the smack upside the head he so desperately deserved.
"Oh well," Phoenix smiled weakly, attempting humor to diffuse the apprehensive atmosphere. "At least it wasn't hot coffee this time, right?"
None of his friends returned the smile, just continued to gaze at him silently.
"W-what?" he finally asked, looking genuinely bewildered. "What are you all looking at me like that for? As if I'm the bad guy here!"
Gumshoe wordlessly busied himself wiping the wet areas on the table left over from Maya's drink-flinging.
Larry, still slumped low in his chair, let out a barely audible grunt.
Miles crossed his
arms and tapped his finger, staring soundlessly at the clueless Phoenix.
Really? How could you have thought it was alright what you did, Wright?! What the hell were you thinking?!
"Are you serious, you fool?" Franziska finally snapped, rising from her seat and, discarding her earlier promise to Miles, cracking her whip against the defense attorney's forearm with a rapid sharp flick. Phoenix cried out in surprised pain, and she glared at him before turning to face her fiancé, who was seated next to her. "Excuse me, Little Brother," she said sweetly. "But could you please move aside? I need to use the restroom."
Miles raised a well-groomed eyebrow. "Are you seriously still going to call me that even though we're now engaged?"
A cheeky smile flickered across her normally stern features. "Forgive me, Miles. Force of habit, you see. It's hard to undo decades of custom within just a week."
"Uh huh," he smirked, a teasing spark in his eyes. "And you just happen to suddenly need to use the facilities at this particular moment, do you?"
"What can I say?" Franziska gave a little shrug, feigning insouciance. "When a lady has got to go, she's got to go, right?" She squeezed past Miles, and once out of sight from her table, hastened her steps to the ladies' room.
The minute she was gone, Larry let out a long whistle of amazement and shook his head.
"Edgy, man that is one firecracker dame you've got there!" He exclaimed. "Good luck trying to control that spitfire for the rest of your life!"
Miles looked at his friend with a knowing smirk but stayed silent. How little the Butz, or any of them, truly knew him or Franziska.
He was the only one at that table who knew the real reason his secret softy of a fiancée had suddenly decided to use the facilities just as Maya had run there in a fit of angry tears, just as much as he knew that there would be no taming of the shrew for him.
It wasn't needed.
Because his fiery tigress, when it came to him, was naught but a playful, purring kitten behind closed doors.
Their friends would never know the sentimental, idealistic, romance-loving girl that Miles knew. The one that wept both times when she thought she'd lose him, and then because she'd thought that he didn't want her to be the mother of his children. The complete angel whose heart he had nearly broken with his utter stupidity, and who had just as readily forgiven him, because she loved him so unequivocally. The warm, kind-hearted, mush-ball of a girl who had fallen in love at first sight with their puppy and cooed to her in baby-talk, and nearly cried earlier that evening because they'd had to leave her home with Hendricks for the night.
To the rest of the world, she was still the whip-wielding, bitch prosecutor with an anger management problem. To them, just as much as they would ever deem him as some sort of automaton, and as a stern, ruthless, unsmiling Prosecutor, she would forever be seen as the same old tempestuous, volatile Franziska Von Karma.
Miles wouldn't have it any other way.