Turnabout Lawful Love

Phoenix Wright, Idiot Attorney

The Borscht Bowl Club, April 17, 2019 10:30 p.m.

Back at the men’s table, a mostly dry Phoenix was still trying to make sense of everything.

“What exactly did I do to deserve that, guys? That waitress, she was flirting with me. I was hardly encouraging her!”

“Well, Pal…” Gumshoe looked uncomfortable. “You weren’t exactly discouraging her either.”

“Even if I wasn’t, so what? Maybe I kind of liked having a pretty girl actually be genuinely attracted to me for once! Not just see a patsy to take the fall for her, or some stuffy old man, but finally just see me as an attractive, available guy.”

“And you chose tonight of all nights to try to showcase your desirability to the opposite sex, Wright?” Edgeworth looked at him in disgust. “Right in front of Miss Fey. On her birthday.”

Phoenix reddened at the tongue-lash, and his old friend went on. “Moreover, Wright, you very well know, hell, everyone at this damned table knows, except for Miss Fey apparently, that while it’s true you may not actually be her boyfriend, you haven’t been available, at least emotionally, for the past four years!

“Don’t even think about trying to get an objection in,” Edgeworth added darkly, glowering at Phoenix until he finally closed the mouth he’d opened to interject. “You know that I know that you know that I know it’s the truth, Wright. Despite how you may actually feel about her, you’ve obviously never let her have any clue of it, which is the reason Miss Fey at last blew up at you. It had less to do with your idiotic, unnecessary comment on her…monthly cycle moods, and more to do with your dismissive actions all night! Which is a shame, because all the birthday girl obviously wanted was for you to see her as a grown up now, not as the young girl she once was. You neither gave her a coveted second glance or any sort of compliment all night. That hair, that dress, that makeup…surely you’re not daft enough to think it was for my sake?”

“I’m married,” Gumshoe reminded them unnecessarily. “So it sure wasn’t for me.”

“I wish it was for my sake,” Larry groused. “Because that is one smokin’ body that babe is rocking now! But even I’m not stupid enough to think I’m the reason she got all decked out tonight. You’re wrong about one thing though, Edgy. I totally saw the way Nick’s been eye-banging Maya all night! I don’t know how she missed it!”

Hold it!” Phoenix groaned. “Larry, please stop! With you as my defense council, I’d probably get sent to the electric chair!”

“Seems you’ve already fried things beyond repair with Miss Fey, Wright.” Edgeworth had never been one to mince words, and saw no point in it now. “You love that girl so much you’ve lied for her, cried for her, and nearly died for her – and don’t even try to deny the allegation. I’ve seen you bend and break every ethical, moral and legal code in the book; from trying to keep a guilty man out of prison so that her life would be spared, to literally risking your life trying to run across a fiery bridge to rescue her. All these things you’ve done, because you love her madly.”

Edgeworth was in full courtroom mode now, slamming his hand down on the table and staring steadily at Phoenix.

“Yet you couldn’t throw a dog a bone? The girl looks like a supermodel tonight. As much as we all praised her beauty, it obviously meant nothing unless it had come from you. Tell me why you were able to gift the woman you love her dream dress, yet you couldn’t give her that?”

“Because there would be no point, OK, Edgeworth?” Phoenix blurted out, slamming his own hands down on the table with such force that all the glasses rattled and poor Larry jumped slightly. “Yes I love her. More than the air that I breathe. I have for some time now. I realized how much she meant to me when she got kidnapped by De Killer. But she was…and still is, so damn young!”

He looked sadly at his childhood friend.

“She sees me as an ‘old man’. As her brother, hero, even savior. But not in that way at all. At least by keeping her at arm’s length I still have her friendship. If she found out, she’d just think of me as some…perverted, dirty old man. Or worse, pity me. I couldn’t bare that.”

While Gumshoe and Larry’s expressions were identical masks of sympathy upon hearing this declaration of ardor, Edgeworth’s was as unscrutinizing as one of the stone faces of Mount Rushmore. When he finally did speak, however, it wasn’t with compassion, but anger.

Wright,” he growled, his aristocratic features contorted into the raging zombie appearance Phoenix was all too familiar with in court. He leaned across the table and spoke through gritted teeth.

“I have defended your sorry behind, literally, and figuratively, in and out of court since childhood now, and I simply cannot do it anymore. There is nothing more pitiful than the blind who refuse to see. My fiancée has been right about you all along. You truly are a pathetic, foolish fool of a man.”

“Hey, way to kick a man while he’s down, Edgy,” Larry protested weakly but Edgeworth held up his famous prosecutor pointer finger and waggled it, effectively muzzling him, while he reached into the breast pocket of his suit and pulled out a business card. He slid it across the table to Phoenix. “From Franziska.”

Phoenix took it wordlessly. His eyes widened.

It was the “fourth missing piece of evidence” from the Matt Engarde case, when Maya had been kidnapped. He still vividly recalled the joyous reunion he and Pearls had had with her when they’d finally gotten her back, as well as the mysterious, compelling exchange between the two cousins about how Maya had managed to endure her hellacious ordeal.

Pearls: being shut away for two days, weren’t you scared?

Maya: Yeah, it was really scary. I felt so hopeless. So to keep my mind off of things, I drew a picture!

Now the solution to that enigmatic mystery was sitting in his palm on a 3.5 by 2 inch format.

It was a calling card for Shelley De Killer, professional assassin. A very simple light pink shell, his logo, was on it. However, a girl the same age as Franziska, kidnapped by the man, had drawn a picture of Phoenix Wright’s head with the shell. “Nick” was written on the card.

Nick. The only person in the world, save for Larry, who called him that. The only girl. The only girl in the world who mattered. The one who had been terrified, starved, and subjected to God only knew what other horrors, never knowing when she’d see the light of day again. And in her darkest hour, she’d thought of him.

Phoenix squeezed his eyes shut as he felt a stinging sensation behind his lids. Edgeworth was right. He was indeed a pitiful, foolish fool. One who had so been convicted of his own baseless fears and unsubstantiated conjectures that he had made himself willfully blind to the glaring contradicting evidence that the entire world had been able to see. Except for him.

Right up until that moment.

He was more than just a fool. Despite being known as a genius in the courtroom, when it came to matters of the heart, he was a complete and utter imbecile.

Phoenix Wright, idiot attorney.

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