That Freelance Kid

Chapter 14

The Mask de Masque party was all the buzz in Los Angeles. Anybody who was anybody would be at this party, and Ema did not want to be grouped in with that "anybody." Yet here she was, in the ballroom of the Gatewater Hotel, at Mask de Masque ball's. Ema reached into her purse to reach for a bag of her favorite comfort food, only to remember she had left her bag of Snackoo's at home. She sighed.

Phoenix gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "You really do look beautiful tonight, Ema. Black, I think, is a really good color on you."

"Thanks, Phoenix." She replied with a tired smile. Despite the compliment he gave her, she felt under dressed, wearing only long, plain black dress with a simple silver pin to put up her hair, while everyone else was wearing something that looked as if it they had poured their life savings into it. She sighed, realizing that once again she was out-of-place; but Phoenix basically begged her to come. A 'friendly date', he had called it. Ema trusted Phoenix enough to know he wouldn't try anything fishy, but it didn't make any sense why he wanted her to come so badly.

The hour passed quickly for Ema. She stood around, feeling as awkward as she believed she looked. She made the occasional small talk with Phoenix and watched the circus perform, but it didn't take long for her to get bored. As soon as the circus had finished with their last act for the night and patrons headed back to the floor, Phoenix announced that he had to go.

"Go?" Ema asked worriedly. She really didn't want to be left here alone. "Are you leaving?"

"No, no." Phoenix assured her. "It's just another friend of mine is supposed to be here tonight, and I haven't seen him."

"Mr. Edgeworth?"

"No, not Edgeworth. Another friend of mine." Phoenix paused for a moment, looking as if he was lost in thought. Suddenly he laughed. "I think our friendship might be a bit one-sided though."

"Huh?

"It's nothing Ema, I'll be right back." He said , then entered into the crowd of people, looking for his mysterious friend.

Ema sat down at one of the set-up tables, and began to drum her fingers restlessly. She wasn't feeling so hot tonight, but despite her protests Phoenix still pushed her to come; when she asked why, he had just smirked and told her it'd be worth it. "He's so cryptic now a days, but I guess his heart is still in the right place." Ema thought, a small smile tugging at her lips. He probably wanted to cheer her up, after the debacle with Klavier, and everything else that had happened in the short time since then. But big events like this just really weren't her thing.

After about twenty minutes of sitting restless at the table, she noticed that Phoenix still hadn't come back. Ema couldn't help but feel a little irritated. She thought about waiting bit longer, but thought better of it as she stood up. She had just grabbed her purse, ready to leave, when the lights suddenly dimmed. All the music had stopped, and a hush fell over the entire dining hall. Suddenly a voice came over the speakers.

"Ladies and Gentleman, we apologize for the interruption, but someone in the audience has requested time for a very special dance."

Ema looked around, confused. A special dance? She had a sinking feeling that this had something to do with Phoenix.

Everything began to move quickly. People began to shuffle, picking up this and that before moving away to leave a complete clearing in the middle of the hall. Ema was about to walk out the large ballroom, when suddenly the spotlight fell directly on her. She froze.

She could feel every eye on her, waiting for her next move. Slowly, she turned around, putting a hand on her chest to hopefully somehow calm her racing heart. However, what she saw facing her only caused her heart to beat even faster.

It was Klavier Gavin, standing in the clearing, arm outstretched toward her, inviting her towards him for that very special dance.

"Ema?" He asked softly. His eyes looked into hers pleadingly, waiting for a response. Ema hesitated, but decided to reach out her hand towards him. She realized her hands were trembling, but Klavier smiled reassuringly, pulling her close to him, their bodies pressed again each other.

When the music started up again, they immediately fell into the rhythm. He glided her across the dance floor gracefully, gently, as if nothing between them had changed. She became tense as the song played on, remembering suddenly the anger Klavier had shown that night no more than a few weeks ago. Ema slowed her movements, attempting to pull away without making a scene, but Klavier only held her tighter.

"Ema," he whispered "I really am sorry, meie liebe. I didn't mean to hurt you."

Ema looked down, unable to look him in the eyes. "I want to forgive you, Klavier, I do. But I don't think I can trust you until you tell me the truth. What made you explode that night? What are you hiding?"

Klavier continued to guide her on the dance floor, but left her question unanswered.

"Klavier." Ema said more firmly. She gained enough resolve to look at his face. She expected to see anger in his eyes again, but she only saw sadness that shattered her heart.

"Why are you keeping secrets?" Ema asked frantically. "Just when It thought maybe we can go back to normal, you …I…" Ema tried to blink away the tears in her eyes. "I just want you to trust me, I want you to tell me what's bothering you, I-"

She paused as she felt hot tears streaking down her face. She took a deep, shaky breath, then continued. "I love you more than anything in the world. So why?" She asked, her voice faltering. "Why don't you trust me?"

"Ema," Klavier said gently, shaking his head sadly, "I…I think it's you who does not trust me. I want to protect you."

Ema jerked away from his grasp, her eyes wide in disbelief. The music had stopped, and she heard the mumbling of the curious onlookers in the crowd. Ema shivered slightly. The lights, the music, the furtive glances and whispering-it all reminded her of that night, the night that had started this whole thing. She bit her lip, trying to stifle a sob, and wiped futilely at her cheeks to stop the tears from falling.

Klavier looked at her apologetically, concern in his eyes. He took a step forward towards her, and without even thinking she took an involuntary step back. The muttering in the crowd was getting louder, and suddenly Ema felt claustrophobic and dizzy, even in the large ball room. She looked around at the faces surrounding her, all of them blurred through her tears. Ema dashed out of the hotel, running so fast that one of her heels nearly broke, the silver pin in her hair clattering on the ground.

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