Turnabout Lawful Love

Turnabout Forever Fools

The Borscht Bowl Club, April 18, 2019 12:35 a.m

“I have so much more to be sorry for than just being a completely clueless moron with Tiffany tonight.”

Phoenix took a step away from Maya and hung his head in shame.

“I am so sorry that it had to be resorted to Edgeworth confronting me with that card and Franziska whipping sense into me, literally, to make me see what everyone, from your baby cousin to Larry Butz, could see. Looking at your beautiful face right now, I feel every bit the fool that German woman has always accused me of being. I have no idea how all this time, I could have missed it.”

“Missed what?” Maya breathed.

“The love in your eyes.” Tentatively, he reached for her hand, which she gave him willingly, pleasantly surprised by how good it felt as he traced circles on top of it with his thumb before raising her fingertips and softly brushing each of them with his lips.

“Historically, I’ve never been brightest bulb in the drawer when it came to the ladies, but with you I’m ultra-embarrassed that I’ve been so dumb, Maya, and so damn blind. We’re both pretty unconventional, and I guess I used to think we were friends mostly out of self-protection than anything else. But how could I ever ask for someone more loyal to me than you? You’ve always been around whenever I’ve needed you, from channeling Mia, to supporting me in court to taking a Taser for me while trying to gather evidence. You did it expecting nothing in return, except maybe a little friendship. I’d be lost without it. I’d be lost without you. You brighten up my whole world, Maya.”

He lightly traced her lips with his fingertips, staring at her in wonder before he went on.

“That beautiful, contagious smile of yours, that irrepressible youthful spirit, that overall effervescent disposition…it’s all brought so much joy and fun and cheer into this boring lawyer’s life. I know it’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally come to realize where my heart lies. I’m telling you now that in spite of the fear that my feelings were unrequited, which may have kept me from showing it sooner, there’s a little part of my heart that always belonged to you, Maya Fey. I’m ready to give it all to you, if you’re willing to accept it.”

Maya nodded, her heart in her eyes. “I accept all of you, and all you have to give, Nick.”

Phoenix leaned down and softly pressed a kiss to her forehead. Then he flashed her a wicked grin. “That was a kiss of friendship. Now I’ll show you the kiss I’ve been wanting to give you for far too long.”

His eyes locked on hers. Sapphire against topaz. He leaned forward and kissed her, slowly, reverently, no longer quite so surprised that this was happening, that he needed her so badly. She responded in kind, letting him know now in all certainty that his ardor was most definitely not one-sided.

They molded together, fitted against one another with stunning perfection. Maya had never felt as she did now, exploring the taste of him. Feeling the strength of his arms around her. Inhaling his musky, masculine scent. She felt as though she’d found a moment of forever. Like this was how they should’ve always been.

When they finally parted, both were breathless and panting. Phoenix rested his forehead against Maya’s, pulling her so tightly against him she could feel his rapid heartbeat against hers.

"I love you,” she whispered against his chest.

“What was that? I didn’t hear you.”

“Don’t push me.”

“I love you, too,” he said. He put his cheek against hers. “So much.”

Maya’s throat was aching with unshed tears. “I always wondered what it would take to make you realize you loved me. One near-death experience? Two? A cross-state move? A killer red dress?” She managed a watery smile even as two teardrops rolled down her cheeks.

A boot to the head?” Phoenix gently brushed the tears off her face with his fingers, then left his hand resting on her cheek. She nestled into it, turning her head slightly and softly kissing his palm as he continued. “Nah, just a martini to the face!”

“I was so mad at you at that point!” Maya cried. “All I wanted was for you to finally tell me you thought I looked attractive and sophisticated, yet it seemed like you preferred that cheap, trampy waitress to me! I so desperately yearned for at least a second look from you…and it hurt so much when you couldn’t even give me that and were saving all your appreciation for that jezebel! I was so jealous I couldn’t even see straight!”

Objection! For the record, Miss Fey, you obviously failed to see it, but I did look at you. As much I thought was wise. Otherwise, I’d never have been able to look away again!” Phoenix gave her a sly wink. “I’m sorry that I was so damn stupid that I couldn’t figure out what your problem was when you were acting all catty and weird tonight. Or that you were trying to get my goat by threatening to go out with Larry Butz!” His cheeks turned pink. “But you’d always called me ‘old man’. It honestly never occurred to me that you may have been jealous, that you saw me that way.”

Maya stared at him, dumbfounded. “I was just kidding around with you, Nick! Of course I don’t literally see you as an old man! You’re gorgeous! I mean, hello, have you seen you? You’re a freakin’ hunk! Especially in those ass-hugging jeans! There’s a reason Slutzilla was all over you tonight!”

“You really think I’m attractive, Maya? Even with these spikes?” Phoenix’s face turned a deeper shade of crimson. “I was thinking of maybe cutting them off, you know. This beautiful girl I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with called me a porcupine headed prick earlier tonight…”

“I swear, I didn’t mean it! Don’t you dare! I will hurt you so bad if you touch that hair, Phoenix Wright!” Maya threw her arms around his neck, protectively covering said spikes with her hands. The thick jet-black hair that reached his collar was silkier and softer than it looked, and she threaded her fingers through it, and over each peak, noticing it sprang back up no matter how hard she flattened her palm against it. “Oh my God,” she gasped. “They’re real.”

“I kept telling you they were, Maya. You just never believed me! Sure, I use a dab of gel and all but yes, they’re absolutely real.”

“I love them, Nick. I really do. I love everything about you. They’re part of what makes you, you! Give me your absolute word that you won’t cut them.”

“You have my word, my fair lady. I shall shun the shears for you.” Phoenix drew her close and dropped a kiss on top of her head. He rested his chin there, while marveling how perfectly Maya fit against his body, like a jigsaw puzzle piece customized just for him. He pulled back a bit and cupped her face in his hands, running his finger along her jawline as he looked into her eyes. “And you already know I would break every law for you.”

“You’ve been saying I love you with your actions for the past four years, Nick.” Maya caught his hand and pressed it against her cheek. “I swear to you that I will doubt that the tide rises by the moon before I ever question your love again. Just…promise me you’ll stop with the near-dear experiences on my behalf, you brave, reckless jerk! Don’t you dare die on me, Phoenix Wright! I’ll kill you if you do! Then I will have Pearly channel you back, and then kill you some more!”

“I’m not going anywhere.” Phoenix couldn’t help but laugh at this sincerely passionate but still so Maya proclamation. “I guess this means I’ll have to provide you with some other sort of tangible, non-life threatening proof of my love?”

Maya shot him a confused dark-eyed look. “I thought that’s what the song was for?”

“Consider it more of a loving birthday gift for my girl then.” Phoenix was already digging into his jeans pocket.

“Nick, you can’t possibly give me another present! You already arranged my birthday gathering, and got me this outfit…” She looked up at him through her eyelashes with a coquettish smile. “Most importantly, you gave me your heart. What more could I ever ask for?”

“This gift is something I bought two years ago, Maya,” Phoenix explained. “It was after the Engarde case, when you were kidnapped. I vowed to myself that if you ever came back to me, I’d give this you to prove to you how much I’d missed you, and how much you meant to me. But then the whole Hazakura Temple incident happened right after, so then I figured that that would be an even better opportunity to show you how much I cared…”

“So why didn’t you?”

“I could give you a million excuses, Maya, but each would be more pathetic than the next. The timing was never right…you thought I was confused about Iris at the time…you were grieving over losing your mother… Ultimately, the truth is, I’m a complete wuss that would give the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz a run for his money, OK?” Phoenix’s face was once again the same shade as Maya’s dress. “That’s why I bought you the dress as a ‘backup’ gift of sorts. I figured if I still couldn't get the guts to give you this, at least your best friend wouldn't be empty handed on your milestone birthday, right?”

Maya giggled. “For the longest time I thought you were a sissy-boy because of your fear of heights! You do realize your irrational fear of little ol’ me is ten times worse, don’t you?”

Phoenix grimaced. “I do.”

“You also realize I’m going to break your balls over this until you’re 100, right? And tell all future generations of Fey-Wrights as well?”

“Hopefully, you’ll also be telling our grandchildren and great-grandchildren all of my romantic heroics as well while you besmirch my name!” Phoenix produced a small gold colored box then, and pressed it into her palm. “And you better be wearing this still when you tell it!”

“There better not be an engagement ring in there, Nick! As much as we both know I’d marry you in a New York minute if you asked, I refuse to have to tell the tale of how Grandpa Nick proposed to Grandma Maya in the dark alley of a hole-in-the-wall bar!”

“Just open it already!” Phoenix bit back a sigh of exasperation. Now that he’d finally plucked up the courage to give his soul mate her long overdue gift, he was dying to see her reaction to it.

Maya flipped open the velvet lined jeweler’s box, looked at the exquisite, shiny heart-shaped gold pendant on a braided gold necklace inside, and gasped in delight.

“Oh my God, Nick, it’s beautiful!”

“It’s a locket,” Phoenix explained, smiling lovingly at her. “I always hoped that if and when I finally grew a pair up and gave this to you, I’d have already been told that I had your heart. Now, I give you mine in exchange, as well as a part of me to have with you to keep close to your heart, always.”

Maya carefully opened up the delicate locket, and tears filled her eyes.

Phoenix had placed a tiny photo of Mia on one side of the locket, and group one of him, her and Pearly on the other. Everyone that she’d ever known and loved, with every fiber of her being, all together now. In one place. To be worn by her heart, now and always. It was the most wonderful birthday present in the world.

Maya looked up at the man she’d loved for so long, her eyes sparkling with joyful tears. “I love it. It’s the most perfect, amazing gift I’ve ever been given in my life. I swear to you I’ll never take it off.”

Phoenix took the locket from her and closed it, turned it over in her palm, then clasped his hand over hers. “It has an inscription in the back, too. I’m not very good with words, outside the courtroom…but it’s honestly how I feel about you, Maya. How I’ve felt about you for some time. And how I’ll feel about you for the rest of my life.”

Maya read the engraving on the back, and the tears in her eyes now flowed freely. She grabbed Phoenix by the shirt and brought his head down to hers, looking deeply into his eyes. She placed one hand on his chest, feeling his undying love with every heartbeat.

“I will never love anybody the way I love you, Nick,” she whispered. Then, with her free hand, she placed it behind his head and drew his lips to hers.

They kissed again, and this time, it felt familiar. They each knew exactly how they fit together, his arm around her waist, her hand on his chest, the pressure of his lips on hers. They had each other memorized. In that moment, neither of them moved. Neither of them breathed. They just . . . existed together. The tension melted away. And the kiss was still artless, still desperate – but only because it was real. The most honest, truthful moment they’d ever shared.

Dangling from Maya’s fingertips, momentarily forgotten, was her new most prized possession, the locket the love of her life had given to her, with promise of love everlasting engraved on it, and in her heart, forever.

I love you madly, without question or reason, and care naught if it’s for a lifetime, or a season.


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