It all began rather suddenly, with Gumshoe barging into the office and telling Phoenix that he and Maggey were getting married next Saturday, less than a week away, and he would be honored if he came.
“Wait, why are you getting married so quick?”
“Well, pal, I’ve wanted to marry her for a while now, and we don’t have much money for a big fancy wedding, so we decided to just get it done right away. Maggey says that as long as she’s wearing a white dress she doesn’t care about anything else.”
“Well, then, congratulations, Detective Gumshoe. Maybe I can get Maya and Pearls down too.”
“That’ll be great, pal. I haven’t seen your assistant in a while now.” Gumshoe looked about as happy as Phoenix had ever seen him. “The whole thing is going to be held in defense lobby three, seeing as there’s no major court cases Saturday.”
“Wait, how did that happen?”
“Prosecutor Edgeworth and even Prosecutor von Karma helped me out a lot with that. I owe them big, pal.”
“I see.” Phoenix didn’t even know Miles had that kind of sway.
“Well, I have to go invite everyone else on my list, see you there, pal!” With a huge grin Gumshoe left the office, leaving Phoenix to wonder what just happened.
Might as well call the person who seemed to be running everything.
“So, I hear you’re planning weddings now,” Phoenix said once Miles answered the phone.
Miles actually let out a gentle laugh. “So you’ve heard Gumshoe’s invitation I gather?”
“Yep. How did you manage to get them a defense lobby for their wedding?”
“It wasn’t that hard, really. I simply asked our good friend the Judge and he thought it was very fitting, considering who was getting married. He was the one who made it all happen, really.”
Good ol’ Miles, pulling the strings as usual. “Yeah, but, why a defense lobby?”
“That’s where Gumshoe asked Ms. Byrde to marry her, actually. Ms. Byrd is working as a court bailiff now, and then last week while I was prosecuting a case, Gumshoe made the proposal.”
“That’s…oddly romantic, really.”
“If you say so, I never thought the courtroom to be particularly conductive to romance.”
Phoenix laughed. “Are you kidding? You realize all those times I was standing across from you in court I was actually desperately trying to flirt with you.” The best part was, it was actually the truth in a strange, weird way.
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me at all. You certainly got my attention, at least.”
“Yep, and the rest is history. See how romantic a courtroom can be?”
There was another soft laugh. “It seems you have defeated me once again.”
“Then take me out to dinner tonight.”
“Fine, but I chose the place. Whenever we go to someplace you like it’s fast food.”
“Hey, Denny’s is not fast food.”
“It’s not regular food, that’s for sure.”
Phoenix gave the phone a dirty look. “Fine, did you want to pick me up or meet me there?”
“I’ll just pick you up when I’m done. See you then.”
After Phoenix hung up the phone, he turned his attention to Gumshoe’s surprise upcoming wedding. If they were getting married at the courthouse, perhaps he could get away with just wearing his usual suit. It would fit the theme, after all. Then there was a wedding present. Maybe just giving them cash would be good enough. They seemed like they needed it. Oh yeah, he should hurry and call Maya, hopefully she and Pearls could be spared for a few hours anyway.
Before that, however, Phoenix looked out his office window and sighed. Truth be told, he had thinking about marriage off and on for a while now. More specifically, daydreaming about marrying Miles. He knew he was being sappy and cliche, but he didn’t especially care. That was what he ultimately wanted, wasn’t it? To spend the rest of his life with him?
That was far, far away from now, however, and right now he had to hurry and make plans about more pressing weddings. It really was like Gumshoe to spring a surprise wedding on everyone. Oh well, at least all he had to do was arrive with Maya and Pearls and wish the happy couple good luck.
The wedding was a mostly informal affair, as Phoenix predicted. There were a bunch of other detectives and officers there, people he remembered from the precinct. There were also some people he’d never met before, including Gumshoe’s father. Turns out Gumshoe’s dad had also been a detective, now retired. Phoenix figured that was probably why Gumshoe wanted to be a detective so much. Like father, like son.
Miles walked up to him, holding a glass of champagne. “I suppose you haven’t heard the news? Gumshoe will be taking a different job next week. This wedding is also doubling as his farewell party.”
Phoenix’s jaw dropped open in shock. “You’re kidding. I thought he would never leave the force.”
“Well, a few weeks ago a certain employee at Boeing was a witness in a case Gumshoe was working on.”
“Boeing? Like the airplanes?”
“Airplanes and about a thousand other things, yes. Anyway, by chance, this employee saw some of the useless gadgets Gumshoe keeps on making. Now, this certain employee at Boeing just happened to be a big research and development manager, and once he saw what Gumshoe could make, and how he made them, he became very interested in him. Gumshoe said the guy almost begged him to come work for them.”
“Oh wow, that’s incredible.”
Miles nodded. “What’s more incredible is that Gumshoe turned him down. In fact, he wasn’t going to say anything about it to anyone, but I just happened to find out about it because Gumshoe left the business card lying around. Once I confronted him about it, he said he would never stop being a detective, it was his dream job.”
“Yeah, that’s what he always says.”
“I asked him which he actually liked doing better, making gadgets or being a detective, and he started wavering. He would’ve rambled about it forever before I finally cut him off and told him to just take the job. If he didn’t like it he could always come back.”
Phoenix smiled. “So you basically had to beg him, huh? I didn’t know you wanted to get rid of him that badly.”
Miles let out a sigh. “To be blunt he’s almost useless as a detective. More than anything he’s my personal assistant, and I’d much rather have a competent detective working with me than someone who cleans my office and picks things up for me.”
Phoenix nodded. It would certainly make Miles’ job easier if he didn’t have to do all the investigating himself. Still, it was hard to imagine Gumshoe not being at a crime scene. “Yeah, but who’s going to clean your office now?”
Miles looked at him funny. “The building has a cleaning staff, you know. Gumshoe was doing that just to feel useful. Anyway, starting Monday I’ll be working with a Detective Adams, and I hear she’s quite good. I’ll be sure to tell her to go easy on you if you ever need to investigate her crime scene.”
“Um, thanks.” Phoenix took a sip of champagne before continuing. “That reminds me, did Franziska ever get a permanent detective?”
“Yes, a Detective Bryant. She has no complaints, so I guess it’s going well for her.”
“Well, that’s good.”
“She also has a new office, finally on the same floor as me.”
“Does it matter what floor she’s on?”
“Generally speaking, yes. The higher the floor, the higher the status in the Prosecutor’s office. That’s why Franziska and I are called ‘High Prosecutors.’ We take the most important cases because of our high status. Besides, this way it’s easier for me to see her.”
“Yeah, not so many stairs to go up and down.”
Miles simply frowned at him.
“Hey, I finally got over my fear of driving, maybe it’s time to get over your fear of elevators?”
“I’ve been tackling enough fears as it is, let me have some peace for now.”
Phoenix sighed. “I guess you’re right.” He took a drink of champagne and switched to a less delicate subject. “So Gumshoe is getting a new job and a new wife. I wonder why he decided to do both at the same time.”
“Personally, I think agreeing to the new job gave Gumshoe enough courage to finally propose to the new Mrs. Gumshoe. Once he realized they wouldn’t be working together anymore, he knew what he needed to do to keep their relationship going. He actually proposed on one of the last cases he worked on. Why he decided to get married right away is beyond my understanding, however. My only guess is that he couldn’t afford both a wedding and a farewell party.”
Phoenix frowned. “Poor Gumshoe. With any luck this new job will pay more.”
“Yes, I do wish him future economic security, if only for his new wife’s sake.”
As if they heard their names, Mr. and Mrs. Gumshoe came over.
Gumshoe shook both their hands. “Thanks everything you’ve done, Prosecutor Edgeworth! It really means the world to me.”
“And thank you for defending me all those times, Mr. Wright! It seemed like the only time we saw each other was in the detention center.”
“Well, congratulations to the both of you. I’m sure you’ll both do well in the future.”
“Yeah, I’m sure all your bad luck will be gone from now on. It’ll be the turning point in your lives.”
The newlyweds thanked them again, and moved on to the next group of guests.
“You really think their luck will change?”
Phoenix smiled as he looked at the Gumshoes greeting their guests. “Of course, with the new job and getting married, they’re already on the right path.”
As the festivities wore on, Phoenix saw Franziska talking with both Maya and Pearls. Surprisingly enough, all three seemed to be enjoying themselves. Suddenly Franziska’s face was a deep red, and Phoenix just had to see what that was about.
“Hey Nick!” Maya said as he walked up to her. “I was just telling Franziska here that her and Miles are a lot like me and Pearly!”
Phoenix managed to stifle his laughter. Even Miles blushed to that comparison.
Franziska adjusted her vest in an attempt to regain her composure. “Yes, we do try to be there for each other.”
“I can’t wait to see one of your trials now that you’re after the truth like Miles! Is it true that you don’t whip people in court anymore?”
“I gave up my whip when I gave up my desire to be perfect. Although I still have plenty of other weapons at my disposal if I need them.”
“Ooh, like Miles’ death glare?”
Franziska smirked. “His glare is nothing compared to mine, and he knows it. I should teach it to you sometime.”
“Oh, wow, really?” Maya turned to Phoenix. “Hey Nick, I’ll be able to give you a death glare if you don’t keep the office running smoothly!”
“Uh, that’s, uh, great.” Phoenix realized too late how much trouble those two could cause him. Suddenly he was very glad Maya was too busy training in the mountains.
“Great timing, too, because I’ll be able to take some serious time off training soon. I’ll be there to make sure you aren’t slacking!”
Phoenix could feel the sweat form on his forehead. “Oh that’s wonderful.” He had to find Miles fast and warn him that their sisters were plotting against them.
Phoenix found Miles standing next to the food table, looking disapprovingly at the selections. “I have to warn you, Miles, Franziska and Maya are teaming up and plotting against us.”
Miles merely looked up and smirked. “Don’t you mean they’re plotting against you? Besides, I’m glad Franziska is getting along with Maya. I’m sure they’ll be good for each other.”
“Yeah, well, you don’t have to share an office with them. Maya says she’s coming down for an extended visit.”
“Well, then, it’ll be like old times, won’t it? Although I suppose this means we shouldn’t use your office for dates anymore.”
Phoenix’s shoulders slumped even more. He forgot about that part. The best part of an empty office was that any time could be make-out time with his boyfriend. So much for that.
“Don’t you like having her around?”
“Yeah, but it’ll take some time getting used to it, just like it took some time getting used to working alone.”
Miles let out a soft laugh. “I doubt it. It’ll be like she never left.”
Phoenix knew Miles was right. He had to admit the office was a whole lot more lively and fun when Maya was around. Besides, if Maya was bent on plotting against him, he’d just have to plot right back. Wasn’t that what assistants were for?
“I don’t understand why we didn’t take the Juice Jones case. I thought you liked high-profile cases?” Maya said as she was reading the paper. It was near the end of another not busy day at Wright and Co. Law Offices, and Maya already finished the crossword, sudoku, and word search puzzles and was finally getting around to the rest of the paper.
“No, you like high-profile cases because you can meet all the celebrities you like. Besides, he seemed kinda guilty, didn’t he?” Phoenix replied as he flipped through the TV.
“We’ve won cases that looked worse. You didn’t even bother to see Juice Jones in the detention center to ask if he was guilty or not.”
The truth was, Miles had called Phoenix even before the news broke that legendary sports star Juice Jones had been arrested for murder. Miles had warned him to stay far, far away from the whole thing. It was a total mess of a case, one that was stressing Miles out, and he was just helping out with the investigation.
“Yeah, but the whole thing smelled fishy from the start. I mean, if he wasn’t guilty, why did he lead the police on a car chase across the city?”
Maya sighed. “I suppose you’re right. But what else are we going to do for clients? We’ve been sitting here on our butts all week.”
“Actually, I just finished a case yesterday.”
“What?! How did this happen?”
“It was a copyright case, and I submitted everything to the court after we closed early yesterday.”
Maya frowned. “Since when do you do copyright cases?”
“I usually don’t, but Adrian Andrews asked me to help out. Something about catch phrases being too similar or something. It was so boring I think my brain melted and dribbled out of my ears.” It also didn’t help that he had to seriously brush up on his intellectual property law. He had no idea why Adrian didn’t just get an intellectual property lawyer, either. Maybe Franziska was getting back at him for something. That could be it. He’d have to ask Miles later and ask what he did wrong.
“So that’s why you’ve been at your desk looking like someone kicked you in the shins the past few days. Here I was thinking it was because your last date with Miles was nothing but a Steel Samurai marathon and he hated it.”
Phoenix nearly fell out of his chair. This was bad. “Wait, how do you know that?” ha asked, slightly panicked.
Maya rolled her eyes. “I can overhear you on the phone just fine when the door’s open, duh. Besides, I thought you weren’t much of a fan of that show, anyway. You hardly paid attention to it when I watched it in the office.”
Sweat was starting to form on Phoenix’s brow. Really, really bad. “Well, I thought I would try it since we keep on getting cases involving it, you know. And then it was so good I wanted to show it to Miles.”
“And then what happened?”
“Um, he said it would be an okay show if he were in grade school. Then he made me turn it off and we watched a French movie instead.”
Maya gave him her patented disapproving look. “Wow, you’ve actually gotten worse at lying since I left. I didn’t know that was possible.”
Phoenix collapsed on the desk in defeat. Miles was going to kill him.
“Spill it, Nick, why are you and Miles marathoning Steel Samurai? Is he the one who likes it?”
“Um, I promised not to tell anyone. You can ask Miles when he’s done disowning me,” he mumbled, his face still on the desk.
“I thought so. Why else would he keep that Steel Samurai figure in his office after all these years. Come to think about it, didn’t he ask for Will Power’s autograph that one time we all had dinner together?”
“You know you can’t tell anyone, right? Not even Pearls.” He really hoped Maya would simply pretend this conversation never took place.
“My lips are sealed! Pearly doesn’t even like that show anyway. Oh, I can’t wait to ask Miles how he likes the Iron Infant so far. It’ll be like our secret Samurai club!”
Phoenix sighed. He wondered how hard it would be to get smuggled into Mexico without anyone knowing. Wait, Mexico wasn’t far enough away. He wondered how hard it would be to get smuggled onto Mars without anyone knowing.
Suddenly he heard Maya talking.
“Hey Miles, could you come over by the office when you’re done over there?”
Phoenix looked up and saw Maya talking on the phone. His heart sunk even lower. Maybe if he pinched himself he would wake up and this would all be a bad dream.
“Nah, nothing’s really going on, I just wanted to chat with you. See you later!” Maya hung up the phone and turned to Phoenix. “Great, he’s coming over soon! I should write down a list of questions I want to ask him.”
Wonderful, he would have plenty of time to write his own obituary.
Phoenix was still slumped on his desk when Miles finally arrived, but he could overhear the conversation in the front office much better than he wanted to.
“Hey Miles! You’ve been holding out on me all this time. I had no idea you were a fan of the Steel Samurai.”
Phoenix could actually hear Miles frowning. “Where did you hear that from?”
“I overheard Phoenix talking about Steel Samurai dates, and when I asked about it, he flailed about as usual before finally admitting defeat.”
“I see. Excuse me one moment, I have to talk to Phoenix about…lawyerly things.”
Phoenix cringed when he heard the door close.
“Didn’t you say, and I quote, ‘your secret is safe with me?’”
Miles’ voice sounded just as annoyed as Phoenix imagined it would. This was going to suck. Finally he sat straight in his chair and faced Miles, who looked just as annoyed as he sounded. “I’m sorry, I should’ve been more careful with Maya around. You know I wouldn’t tell anyone on purpose.”
“You realize Franziska doesn’t even know. She thinks it’s mindless children’s entertainment.”
“I feel absolutely horrible that I wasn’t able to keep my promise, if that helps.”
“A little. But how am I to know you won’t slip up again?”
Phoenix cringed. That was what hurt the most, losing Miles’ trust. “I swear I will never mention it unless we are completely alone together in the same room. No more phone talk, no text messages, no notes, nothing.”
Miles let out a sigh and uncrossed his arms. “Fine. Although I think this will mark the end of our so-called Steel Samurai dates. Then there won’t be an excuse for you to talk about it at all.”
Phoenix’s mouth dropped open. An actual punch in the gut would’ve been kinder. “But those are my favorite dates! I love watching Steel Samurai with you. You always enjoy it so much.”
Miles began to blush. “You’re just saying that.”
“I’m not.” Phoenix stood up and moved next to Miles. “You look so happy when we’re watching it, and seeing you happy is my favorite thing in the world,” he said softly. “I know I messed up badly, but I know you like those dates too.”
There was silence, and Miles’ face was now almost the color of his suit. “The worst part is I know you’re completely sincere,” he finally said. “It’s just like you to be more concerned with my happiness than with your own.” There was another pause before Miles spoke. “We’ll continue them, but not until Maya goes back to her training. I want you all to myself when we watch Steel Samurai.”
Phoenix smiled as relief washed over him. “Deal.” He leaned over and gave Miles a rather long kiss.
“How can I stay mad at you when you care about me so much?” Miles asked when they parted.
“But that’s why you love me.”
“True.” Miles leaned in for another kiss, but was interrupted by a loud noise outside the office.
“Hey, I’m still out here, you know! I don’t want to be hearing you two go at it!”
Phoenix frowned. “Way to ruin the moment, Maya.”
“She’s right, however. If you want we can finish this later, but right now you have an assistant to deal with.”
“Um, actually, aren’t you the one she wanted to talk to? Discussing Steel Samurai with her can’t be the worst thing in the world, right?”
Miles sighed. “Fine, I’ll talk with her for a while.”
“That’s the spirit.” He opened the door and saw Maya looking more than a little annoyed.
“Finally,” she said. “You two were taking so long I thought for sure you would be wearing each other’s clothes when you got out.”
Phoenix shot her a dirty look before speaking. “Come on, Miles is joining us for burgers. After that we can all go over to my place and talk Steel Samurai.”
Maya gave her usual burger cheer, while Miles looked like he was about to say something disapproving. He stopped, however, and gave a weak smile instead.
“We can use my car if you want,” Miles said. “You can even ride up front with me, Maya.”
Phoenix was about to complain about the back seat, but then realized Miles was trying to be nice to Maya. He smiled. Miles was so cute when he was trying to be friendly. Maybe Maya finding out that Miles was a fellow Steel Samurai fan wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
The night before Maya was due back in Kurian Village, Phoenix threw her a “burger party” in his office. Miles would be there, as well as Franziska and Adrian, and even Pearls came down to spend the night before going back with her cousin.
Franziska was looking warily at her burger. “You’ve had these before, Miles?”
“Yes I have, and they’re not as bad as they look.”
Phoenix leaned over and whispered to Miles, “Is this her first time with fast food burgers?”
“I believe this is her first time with fast food anything.”
“Oh wow, not even with Adrian?”
Miles smirked. “Do you honestly think Franziska would agree to a fast food lunch?”
Phoenix frowned. He had a point there.
“I suppose it isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be.” Franziska said once she finished a bite. “I suppose if one needed to eat quickly this would be acceptable.”
Miles leaned over to Maya. “That means she likes it.”
“Told you I had impeccable burger taste,” Maya replied, nodding sagely. She took a huge bite before changing the topic. “Hey Nick, too bad we didn’t get any good cases while I was here”
“Um, what about the murder trial that just wrapped up yesterday? For a while there I had no idea how we were going to win it.”
Maya waved her hand dismissively. “That was hardly any good. It was a bunch of people I’ve never heard of arguing about some kind of banking thing. Even that accountant that helped us out was the world’s most boring person.”
Phoenix shrugged. “Sorry, not every case we get is headline worthy.”
“You got to be Mr. Nick’s assistant again, right?” Pearls asked.
“Yeah, I suppose you’re right Pearly. I won’t be able to do that again for a while. Which reminds me, Nick, are you getting a new assistant?”
“Nah, that costs too much money.”
“You know, Phoenix, about a year and a half or so ago I had a self-described assistant for a few days. She was a young woman much like Maya, by the name of Kay Faraday. If she ever visits me again I’ll be sure to send her your way.”
“Wow, you with a hyperactive assistant of your own? I bet that went well.”
“I guess it was all right for a change of pace. Although being responsible for the actions and safety of a civilian while trying to investigate a crime is something I would prefer not to do again.”
“That reminds me, how is it working out with Detective Adams? You two must be doing okay because you seem a lot less tired lately.”
“Better than I could’ve hoped for, actually. She’s so unbelievably competent that I barely visit the crime scene anymore. Now that I don’t have to worry about throughly investigating everything myself, my workload has been cut down considerably.”
“That’s great! Does this mean more dates?”
Miles revealed a surprisingly coy smile. “Perhaps.”
Phoenix made a mental note to personally thank Detective Adams for all her hard work.
Once everyone was done with their burgers, Phoenix got a chance to ask Adrian about that case she wanted help with. “Hey Adrian, I was wondering, why did you ask me to help you out with that copyright case?”
“Oh, that’s because my client was full of crap when he made that claim. I tried pointing it out that it was ridiculous lawsuit, but he insisted. So I got you to argue the case because you had no idea what you were doing. That way, it could get dismissed quicker and I’d be done with the whole thing. It worked, and the lawsuit was thrown out so fast even I was surprised.”
Phoenix slumped over as he felt his self-worth slip away. “Um, so I was hired because I was incompetent?”
“Yeah, but don’t take it personally. Besides, you weren’t doing anything anyway.” Adrian gave him a smile. “Thanks a bunch, by the way.”
“Um, yeah, no problem. Excuse me a minute while I go throw my badge away.” He slinked away, wondering if Adrian was always this ruthless at her job, or if it was a side-effect of being around Franziska.
“So, when are you coming up for a visit, Nick?” Maya asked almost as soon as Phoenix landed on the couch.
“Uh, I don’t know. Why?”
“Well, I was thinking it would be fun if you and Miles stayed with me in Kurain Village for a few days or so!”
Phoenix promptly coughed up the soda he was drinking. “What?! I mean, do you even have electricity up there?”
Maya rolled her eyes. “You know we do. And, might I add, our TV reception is actually great because we’re near all the antennas.”
“Wait, you have a TV up there?”
“Of course. How else would I keep up with the Iron Infant?”
“Let me guess, you also have excellent cell phone coverage, too.”
“Naturally. See, there’s no excuse not to go.”
Phoenix rolled his eyes. “Except for these things we call jobs. There’s no way Miles would be able to take a week off just to sit up in the mountains. And I’ve got, uh, potential clients.”
“Aww, not even a weekend?”
“I’ll tell you what. I’ll talk to Miles about it and we’ll see what happens. No promises, though.”
“Tell him it’ll be like a vacation!”
“Sure thing.” Phoenix was pretty sure being stranded in Kurian Village was not his idea of a vacation.
The next morning Phoenix drove Maya and Pearls back to Kurian village.
“So, um, how long are you going to be up here training?” Phoenix asked when they all were out of the car.
“Yeah, I mean, there’s only so much training you can do, right?”
“Well, yes and no. The intense training shouldn’t last that much longer, but even then I still have to stay here and be the head of the village. I mean, the goal is to get me to channel dead people on a fairly regular basis, right? And I have to be here to do that. Plus, I’ll always have to do some training to keep up my spiritual power.”
Phoenix could feel his face drop. He was hoping Maya would be able to visit more once she was done training. Things really weren’t the same without her around.
“However, once I’m done with the intense training, I really should be able to come down and visit more, like on weekends and stuff. I don’t live that far away, after all.”
“But you probably won’t be able to be my assistant anymore, right?”
Maya looked rather bummed. “Probably not.”
Pearls broke in just then. “Mystic Maya, I can help you with the channeling if you want!”
“What do you mean, Pearly?”
“Well, if you ever want to be Mr. Nick’s assistant, I can take over the channeling duties while you’re gone!”
“Oh Pearly, thanks so much, but I’m the Master now and it’s my duty to be the one to do all that stuff.”
Phoenix leaned over to Maya and started whispering. “Take it from someone who’s been there before. She knows how much you’ve been there for her and supported her through everything. Now she’s desperately trying to repay your kindness by helping you out the only way she can.”
“Like with you and Miles?”
“Yep. Besides, we both know she can handle channeling just fine, right?”
Maya smiled and nodded. “Okay, Pearly, whenever Phoenix gets a huge, dynamite case that he can’t handle by himself, you’ll be in charge while I go down and make sure he doesn’t screw it up!”
Pearls was ecstatic. “Yay!”
“Well, then, I better get some big cases soon. The office isn’t the same without you.”
“Aww, thanks Nick, you know how to make a girl feel wanted.” Maya gave him a little half hug and continued. “Come on Pearly, we should get going. I’ll see you later!” Maya waved and the two of them entered the manor.
Phoenix smiled as he got back in his car and headed home. He couldn’t wait for the next bombshell murder case to somehow fall into his lap.
Franziska didn’t really know how long she had been crying. Not even just a few tears, either, but full fledged sobbing. She got up from the couch and went to the bathroom to splash some water on her face.
Adrian had left her. No, that wasn’t true, Adrian was simply “taking a break” in their relationship. She was going to New York on some business trip, and wouldn’t be back for a few weeks. She said she needed some time to herself.
Adrian had said they were getting too dependent on each other. She was losing her sense of self, her boundaries were all but gone, and whatever else she said. Franziska really didn’t understand what Adrian was talking about, just that apparently she was becoming co-dependent again. Then came the real surprise. Adrian said the reverse was also happening, Franziska was becoming co-dependent on her.
Franziska had no idea what Adrian was talking about. Her being co-dependent? But she didn’t rely on Adrian telling her what to do. Then again, maybe she did. She did go to Adrian whenever she had a problem, no matter how small, and Adrian made her feel better. She always wanted to be around Adrian, and they did everything together. Franziska thought that’s what couples did.
After calming herself down, Franziska sent a text message to Miles telling him to come over immediately. She didn’t want to talk over the phone, not when she was afraid she would start crying any second. Within a minute she got a response. Her little brother would be over shortly.
“Franziska, what’s wrong?” Miles asked in a concerned tone when she opened the front door.
“Let’s sit down first.”
They sat down on the couch in the living room. “It’s Adrian. She, um, she said she needed time alone.”
Miles frowned. “Does this mean you’re breaking up?”
“I don’t know. She said she would be back in a few weeks, that this was just a break in our relationship.”
“Tell me what happened.”
Franziska nodded. “We were having a little trouble about living together. I wanted her to move in with me, and she said it was too soon. Of course I was disappointed, but I managed to get over it, or at least I thought I did.”
“Then tonight she came over, saying we needed to talk. It sounded serious. She brought up her co-dependency again, that it’s been a long and hard process for her. I told her that I would always be there for her, whatever she needed. But then she said that was the problem. That she could feel herself relapsing back into co-dependency.”
Franziska nodded. “Yes. She said she was losing herself, that she was relying on me for too much. All her decisions and actions were starting to revolve around me.”
“Well, she would know, she’s been there before.”
“Yes, but then she said that I was relying too much on her. That I was coming to her for all my problems, and depended on her to make me feel better.”
Miles frowned. “Is that true?”
“I don’t know! I thought that was how it worked. She always made me feel better, no matter how bad I felt.”
“And since it always worked, you kept on going to her when you had problems.”
Franziska nodded again.
“Did she say anything else?”
“She suggested I try therapy to help me deal with my problems, since it worked so well for her.”
“Well, that’s up to you if you want to try it or not.”
Franziska sighed. “I know.” She had been thinking about it, but the last thing she wanted was for word to get out she was seeing a therapist. That would all but ruin her prosecuting career.
“If you’re worried about confidentiality, I can find you one with the strictest of privacy policies.”
There was silence as Franziska made up her mind. She would go to therapy because Adrian thought it would help their relationship. Everything else was irrelevant. “Yes, I would like to try therapy. As soon as possible, in fact.”
Miles nodded. “That’s fine, I’ll get you a list of recommendations. I promise you no one else will know about this.”
Miles leaned over and gave her a hug. “I know very well how much courage is needed to sustain a relationship, and I know you have more than enough to overcome this obstacle. Don’t give up just yet.”
“You know how hard I fight, Miles, there’s no way I would ever give up on Adrian.”
“I’m glad to hear that. Of course, if she ever fails to appreciate you, you know I’ll have to crush her.”
“Absolutely. I wouldn’t expect anything less.” Knowing her brother was behind her would make this fight just a little bit easier.