"I can't believe Snackoos could ever go out of business with the way Ema buys them," Apollo said.
"I know! I would've thought so as well, but apparently the CEO was really something. Gold toilets and wild parties every night. Not even Ema could keep them afloat," Athena said.
Ema let out a zombie-like groan. She slowly chewed on her favorite snack. Each bite brought her closer to her last bag of beloved treats. "Don't remind me."
Athena, Trucy, and Phoenix were in Khura'in on another visit. Technically, it was business, given that Chief Prosecutor Edgeworth was along as well. For exactly what reason, Ema didn't quite catch, given how miserable she was. However, their presence did little to cheer her up. She was still too caught up in the rain cloud of the imminent disappearance of her favorite snack, and bottom of her personal food pyramid.
She stared sadly at her dear Snackoos. They'd gotten her through failing the forensics test over and over, through the years she'd worked with Prosecutor Gavin, and the jetlag before she finally settled down in Khura'in. But now, she was gearing up to have to say goodbye.
Ema couldn't bring herself to open that last bag. It could be the very last in existence. Well, that was a lie. Somewhere on ebay, somebody had probably hoarded bags just so the could put them at a thousand dollars minimum price. Opportunists always came out at the scene of a tragedy.
But like hell she was ever going to make that much money. Okay, Nahyuta paid her plenty. But not enough to drop a thousand for every bag of Snackoos. Especially as she always went through sometimes five or more if the case was particularly stressful.
She didn't want to let go. Sure, she'd told Apollo and Athena she'd kicked the habit, but she still figured she'd be able to have them whenever she wanted. Now every bite was one closer to her last. Then it'd just be memories. And all the memories she had with Snackoos were painful.
Her sister being led off in handcuffs, failing, failing again, even the news of her parents had the sweet taste of an after school snack--cookies and milk, all broken on the plate. The imminent countdown to her one way of coping with stress being gone forever had left her in a murky funk.
Even worse, Nahyuta was super busy on some project. She was used to him getting completely immersed in studies prior to a case, but she wanted him now. She wanted to crawl into his lap and have him pet her hair as she complained.
He wasn't even answering her texts.
Athena and Apollo were still talking, but Ema didn't stay to hear the news from L.A. She needed something to take the edge off, even if she knew this would be some of the last time she'd ever taste that sweetness.
The whole L.A. crew didn't stay long. Not that she'd been much in the mood to spend much time with them. If anything, she was sort of like the Prosecutor Gavin era, but maybe with a side of more grumpiness. At least then she'd had her damn snackoos.
Rains poured down in Khura'in, leaving the ground a complete trek of muck. She had to trade her cute heels for thick fur-lined rubber boots. They were like Uggs meets farm couture.
All this slimy mire really summed up how she felt. No Nahyuta, no Snackoos. All that was left for her tech to suddenly die and her forensics degree to be suddenly revoked to take everything which brought her happiness out from this world.
She still checked her phone constantly, just to see that empty inbox. He still hadn't responded to a single text. As much as she kept reminding herself, negative thoughts lurked under the surface. If he wanted to break up, he'd tell me. He wouldn't just run away. He's not like that.
This isn't the end, right?
But when she opened up her phone, there was no reply.
Another long, horrible week later, Nahyuta was back in Khura'in. She was tempted to give him a piece of her mind. But he was her boss--and also the Prince Regent of the country.
Which meant she'd have to tone it down a little. After all, she hated when he was sad. Even worse when she was the cause of that sadness.
But when she was called into his office, she still gave him a glare. Stupid handsome Nahyuta, with that halo-like glow on his long silvery hair, with his intense green eyes, the way he filled out that white and gold suit in a way that made her want to pull it off him, and his incredible prowess and composure in and out of the courtroom. Her grumpiness took a distinct flavor of sexual frustration. Which just made her grumpier, because damn it'd been a long time since she'd seen him.
He smiled gently. "I am gladdened to see you again, Ema."
Ema rolled her eyes. "Happy to see me? Really? You don't say? But apparently not happy enough to say goodbye! We never even got to talk before you closed the case and took that flight. And you never responded to my texts. I haven't heard from you in ages, Nahyuta. I didn't even know if you, if we were even still--"
He held up his hand and cut off her tirade. "My deepest apologies. I forgot my charger in the hurry to catch the plane, and had no time to buy a new one. It was an emergency of the highest order."
It had to be a first. Nahyuta was immaculate, and always impeccable in his packing. And since they'd gotten together, he'd never forgotten to kiss her good morning and goodnight.
"And I would never abandon you. I am sorry I caused worry."
"So... you really had to go that urgently? You couldn't even wait to say goodbye?"
"Yes... I had to save what was most important to me. No matter what it took."
She let out a sigh. Another big Khura'in meeting. It's only a couple years she reminded herself. Still, it sucked to be second best.
"Oh, all right. I'll forgive you this time. But don't do it next time! The last couple of weeks has been miserable," she said.
"Perhaps this will help," he said. He held out a bag to her, as he had so many times.
"You got me some Snackoos? That's really sweet of you. They're going out of business... I'm still really devastated by the news."
Nahyuta smiled enigmatically. "Are they?"
Wait. She knew that smile. The same way he'd looked when he'd told her how Khura'in had such top tier forensics. And when he told her that the Gingihl wasn't that spicy.
(He hadn't even been lying. The Divination Seance was top tier something, though it sure damn well wasn't forensics. And Gingihl was more stinky than spicy.)
He smiled like that when it was a half-truth, a joke somewhere hidden deep within as he waited for her reaction.
Ema narrowed her eyes. "You're up to something."
He closed his eyes serenely. "Am I, now?"
She glanced behind him. "I'm sure you are, and I'll figure it out."
He chuckled. "That shouldn't take long. After all, you are quite the detective."
Flirting as distraction was some power move. He ended it with such a stunning smile. Damn, he had to know her weaknesses.
His office was certainly a lot more...cluttered. Usually Nahyuta detested any mess, and would give her a sound sermon for leaving her crumbs all over. She could barely walk in here, with all these boxes all over his big prosecutor's desk, and up to the ceiling, completely obscuring his bookcase.
He moved his chair to watch her as she started towards the boxes. She studied them closer, and caught sight of a very familiar logo. Wait, those were Snackoo boxes?
She turned back to him. She couldn't tell what he was thinking. "You bought up some of the last Snackoos ever made for me?" Ema said hopefully.
This was maybe a month's supply at most. She'd just have to learn how to ration it. And accept that one day, she wouldn't have them in her life. But Nahyuta had bought her so many more happy days.
"This? I technically did not buy them; they are a sample."
"A sample?" Ema said.
"I am surprised you haven't found the joyous news yet. After all, you are the one who is always informing me of things which happened online."
He lifted his eyebrows, with a little smile. "The answer is right before you. Or I should say, beside you."
He was the one right before her. Beside her were boxes. Lots and lots of boxes of Snackoos. Ema didn't damn well see anything joyous in the situation, but Nahyuta definitely knew something. Ema quickly googled Snackoos on her phone. She quickly read across the new headlines. Snackoos Saved, company bought out by Prince Regent of Khura'in... She clutched tight to her phone is disbelief.
"You what?!Y-you bought the company? Are you sure? I mean that had to sink some serious money to save them after how hard that CEO partied."
"It's a good investment. But any price would be worth it to ensure your happiness."
Ema threw her arms about him, and caught him a kiss so hard the chair was pushed back hard against the desk. But that wasn't enough, she climbed up into the chair with him and kissed him deeply.
He stroked her cheek as she came up for air. "Ahh... I missed that. You always taste so sweet. And that smile of yours...it's so lovely."
She kissed him again, this time on the cheek, and wrapped her arms about him tight. "Ugh, I can't believe you went out and did this. All I got for your birthday were some lingerie and a bow on my stomach and a book over my chest," she said.
"It was exactly what I wanted," he said.
"Though, that is not all. You haven't even taken a look at the bag."
Ema had dropped the bag on the desk in her hurry to embrace him. It was only now that she turned it over. The logo had changed. It said Ema's Favorite Snackoos. An artistic rendition of her smiling face greeted her.
"Buying the trademark proved mired in red tape, and we wanted to get them back into production as soon as possible. So there was a little change. The product, however, is unchanged. It will still take while before it hits stores, but I was able to get the first sample batch with me. Though bringing it through customs...was a journey into the deepest hells."
The news had just broken two weeks ago. For him to get it done this quickly, he must've completely cleared out his schedule--and argued hard. The dark circles under his eyes spoke of many sleepless nights. Now, not only were her snacks back, but now each bag was a testament to how much Nahyuta loved her.
"Jeez, you're absolutely incredible. What am I going to do with you? I can never pay you back for something like this."
"You already have, simply by being happy again. I would buy as many companies as it took to secure your happiness."
She scrunched up her nose. "You're going to ruin me for anybody else and it'll be all your fault. Then you'll be stuck with me forever and ever."
He chuckled. His green eyes were so piercing, as he traced his thumb across her chin. "Ema, dear, you say that like it wasn't my plan all along."
And really, how was could she not fall deeply in love with him all over again?