The pile of paperwork on Franziska's desk would have given many a panic attack, but the young prosecutor continued to work steadily, slowly reducing its gargantuan size. By her own estimation -- which was certain to be accurate -- she would be finished by eight o'clock that evening, which was an acceptable time and left room for additional last-minute paperwork or unforeseen interruption.
As if responding to that very thought, her phone began to ring. Irritated, she set down her pen and picked up the receiver. "Franziska von Karma."
"Hi, Franziska, it's Maya! I was wondering if you'd want to go see a movie tonight; Nick's being a spoilsport, and Pearly's not around, and I don't want to go alone..."
"...And why are you calling me?"
"Well, we're about the same age, and you don't ever take any time to relax and enjoy yourself! And maybe I just randomly flipped to your number in Nick's address book -- but I have to see this movie; it's the best thing coming out all year! So, will you go?"
No. Absolutely not. Maya Fey was annoying and childish, and spending several hours with her would be akin to some form of painful nightmare. Besides, Franziska von Karma did not "relax and enjoy herself," and if on some occasion she did choose to indulge she would not spend her time on such proletarian activities as going to the movies. There was no possible way Franziska could be convinced to do so.
"Great! I'll meet you at the theater at seven. See you then!" The line went dead.
Franziska hung up her phone and spent several moments staring at it as though it had somehow betrayed her. Then, still not entirely sure what had just happened, she returned to her paperwork, grudgingly increasing her pace in order to meet her new deadline.
Franziska eyed the movie poster with a mixture of distaste and growing irritation. An action/horror film of some sort -- bad enough to be seeing a movie at all, but this looked like one of the basest, most mindless films to ever cheapen the world with its existence. She had no idea what she was doing here. The moment Maya arrived Franziska would tell her in no uncertain terms that she was going home and Maya could just watch the vile thing by herself.
Just then Franziska spotted the other girl running up the street. "Sorry I'm late," Maya gasped, doubled over and breathless from the exertion. Very late, Franziska noted with annoyance, waiting for Maya to catch her wind. Finally the girl straightened up, smiled sweetly at Franziska, and said, "Shall we go in?"
Franziska found herself sitting next to Maya in the darkness of the movie theater, yet again with no clear answer as to precisely why she was putting up with this. The movie was a ludicrous piece of foolishness: terrible acting and no plot to speak of drenched in special effects with no regard for physical law. There were marines and a time-traveling samurai and several giant (poorly designed) lobster-like space creatures and a talking tennis ball and Franziska had no idea what in hell was going on.
The film, however, seemed to be taking Maya on an emotional rollercoaster ride Franziska could not even begin to fathom. She gasped, cried out, and laughed at what Franziska could only assume was a plot of her own fabrication, as the movie certainly contained nothing to merit such reactions. It was a fascinating thing to watch her, eyes wide, face glowing with the reflected light of the screen. It was almost... endearing, in an odd way...
Suddenly Maya shrieked and flung herself at Franziska, gripping her arm almost painfully and burying her face in her shoulder. Franziska looked back at the screen, wincing in disgust as one of the alien/lobster/whatevers ripped another pedestrian in two and devoured his entrails. Tasteless and vulgar. Franziska took a moment to wonder why the foolish creatures had decided to start eating people now when they could easily have done so half an hour earlier, but she quickly clamped down on that thought before the movie's logical black hole could relieve her of her remaining sanity.
After a few moments -- and the end of the aliens' onscreen brutality -- Maya's grip on her arm relaxed and her eyes returned to the screen. However, to Franziska's surprise and aggravation, the other girl did not let go of her entirely and instead remained wrapped around Franziska's arm, leaning against her. When it became clear after a few moments that Maya had no intention of releasing her, Franziska resigned herself to enduring it.
Actually, she found herself thinking as the movie dragged on, it was rather... pleasant. Maya was warm and solid against her, and she was positioned such that Franziska wasn't particularly uncomfortable. Certainly, it was reassuring to have that grounding presence during the movie's climax, wherein the hero scaled the Eiffel Tower with a jetpack to rescue the recently introduced (tacked-on) love interest whilst the lobster-things pulled down the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background before being annihilated with what appeared to be a nuclear bomb. The final line of the film came from the sage tennis ball -- "There, but for the grace of God, go I."
As the credits began to roll, Maya extricated herself from Franziska and stretched. "What a great movie!" she said enthusiastically. "Really makes you think, doesn't it?"
They made their way out into the lobby while Franziska recovered her mental equilibrium. "Thanks for seeing this with me," Maya said, smiling. "It's no fun watching a movie alone."
Franziska grunted in response.
Suddenly Maya's stomach rumbled loudly. Grinning sheepishly, Maya said, "I guess I'm a little hungry. I was in such a hurry to get here, and I was already running late, so I skipped dinner." Another rumble. With an embarrassed laugh, she amended, "Okay, maybe I'm really hungry."
Well, Franziska was not taking Maya to dinner. That movie was quite enough of an ordeal for one night, and, in addition, it was already quite late. Maya could fix something for herself at home, and Franziska could return to looking over the case files she had neglected in favor of this unfortunate outing.
Maya tucked a lock of hair behind her ear -- and blushed as her stomach rumbled a third time.
"...Let's find a place to eat."
Maya's eyes widened. "Oh no, I couldn't," she said apologetically. "I don't have any money left; I only brought enough for the ticket!"
This whole situation was thoroughly vexing, thought Franziska, sitting across from Maya in a booth at the local burger joint. Perhaps it was just that horrible movie scrambling her brain, but she was beginning to suspect Maya of employing some supernatural power to coerce her. Certainly Franziska would never have entered such a tacky place under her own power; the bright orange and yellow color scheme was giving her a headache. She sighed. At least it was clean.
A plump, matronly waitress bustled over. "What can I get you girls?" she asked pleasantly.
Maya looked up from the plastic menu she had been perusing. "I'd like a deluxe burger with everything on it – except pickles on the side and no mustard – fries with ketchup and a root beer!"
The waitress quickly jotted this down. "And you, miss?" she inquired, turning to Franziska.
The waitress made a note and hurried away.
The silence that followed quickly became uncomfortable for Franziska, particularly because of the way Maya was just looking at her – not an especially scrutinizing or penetrating gaze, but all the same it made Franziska feel extremely awkward. She searched for a conversation topic.
"Has Phoenix Wright acquired any new cases?" That would do.
Maya shook her head. "It's been kind of a slow month," she admitted. "But something will turn up eventually. Murders kind of follow Nick around."
That was probably not the best way to phrase it, in Franziska's opinion, but there was some truth to the statement. "I see."
"What about you?" Maya asked, smiling brightly. "How's work?"
"Adequate. I'll be prosecuting five cases in the next week; I doubt there will be any complications."
Maya's jaw dropped. "F-five cases!" she stammered, disbelieving. "Wow, Franziska, that's a lot."
"I've managed a heavier workload in the past."
The other girl frowned. "Franziska…you really ought to enjoy yourself more. It can't be healthy to work that hard all the time, right?"
Franziska bristled. "I do my job well, and I am in perfect health. It would be foolish to change the lifestyle that has brought me so far."
"I know, Franziska," Maya said, apologetic, "just…it would be nice to do this again sometime, that's all. When you're not so busy."
The waitress chose that moment to return with the food. Maya brightened immediately, and Franziska felt her ire drain away as she watched the other girl dig in enthusiastically. She sat back in the booth, sipping her coffee and marveling, bewildered, at how quickly – and how much – Maya could eat. She had barely finished half the cup when Maya leaned back with a satisfied sigh, plate empty save a small ketchup stain. She set her coffee down, unfinished, and went to pay the bill at the counter.
She rejoined Maya outside, where the other girl stood looking at the sky. The night was dark and clear, and a handful of stars shone brightly enough to be seen through the glow of the city.
"I suppose this is where we part ways," said Franziska, breaking Maya out of her reverie. And good riddance. The prosecutor could finally return home and get some work done.
"Er, Franziska?" Maya said hesitantly. "I know it's late, but…well, would you walk me home? I'd feel better about walking around in the dark if you were with me."
No, no, no. This frivolous outing had gone on long enough. The way back to Phoenix Wright's apartment was well-lit and posed no danger whatsoever, and Maya would be perfectly safe walking alone. Franziska had work to do, and supernatural powers or not, Maya would not persuade her again. Franziska was going home.
Maya looked at her through her bangs, a hopeful smile settling on her face.
The two girls walked under the light of the streetlamps, nearing Phoenix's apartment. Maya was humming a little tune, her arm wrapped loosely around Franziska's. For her part, Franziska wondered – yet again – what had happened. How did Maya keep doing this? How did she keep convincing Franziska von Karma, prosecuting prodigy, to go along with whatever foolish activity took her fancy?
"You're a witch."
"What was that?" Maya asked, looking over at Franziska with a puzzled expression on her face.
That was, without a doubt, the most foolish thing Franziska had ever said, and she whipped herself mentally – hard – for allowing the thought to escape. "Nothing," she lied quickly. "Look, we've arrived."
They had indeed reached the entrance to the apartment building. Maya turned to Franziska and smiled sweetly. "Thank you so much, Franziska," she said. "I had a really good time."
"Think nothing of it," Franziska grumbled.
"No, really." Maya stepped forward, bringing her face surprisingly close to Franziska's.
"I-it was my pleasure," the prosecutor responded, feeling her cheeks grow warm.
"It took me weeks to ask you," Maya admitted, "and tonight turned out so much better than I could have hoped for…"
And then her lips met Franziska's, soft and sweet, and the prosecutor found herself kissing back, an arm slipping around Maya's waist to hold the other girl against her, and it was warm and gentle and perfect, and Franziska wanted to hold on to that feeling forever.
When she finally pulled back, Franziska found Maya looking at her with eyes shining with happiness. "Goodnight, Franziska," she said, slowly removing herself from the embrace and moving toward the door.
"Wait." Something was clawing its way to the front of Franziska's foggy mind. Maya looked back at her inquisitively. "I thought you said picked my number randomly out of Phoenix Wright's address book."
Maya grinned sheepishly. "Well," she admitted, "I might have fibbed, just a little." Her grin transformed into an affectionate smile. "I hope we can do this again soon."
"I…I hope for that as well." Maya disappeared into the apartment building.
Franziska began the trek home – smiling foolishly, she was sure, but she couldn't bring herself to care. Maya's power to turn every "no" into "yes" remained a mystery, but she was looking forward to the opportunity for further inquiry.