Flavors of Happiness
“Okay Miles, I’ll see you tonight.”
Phoenix tightened his fingers around the hand clasped against his palm. The past hour had flown by, a whirl of food and lighthearted conversation at one of Edgeworth’s favorite cafés. There was something exhilarating about getting the Chief Prosecutor to escape his office for a lunchtime rendezvous. It reminded him of the earlier days of their relationship, when they scrambled to catch a free moment together amidst their hectic schedules.
He shifted his box of leftovers to one hand and pressed a swift kiss to his partner’s cheek, reveling in the fleeting sensation of smooth skin and the heady scent of cologne.
Edgeworth immediately ducked his head, a pink tinge coloring the parts of his cheeks still visible behind his bangs. Phoenix felt his heartbeat quicken; there was a part of him that simmered with delight to see his partner flustered. After all this time, Miles could still become embarrassed by public displays of affection.
Even if those acts occurred in the empty hallway outside his Agency.
Emboldened by that flush, Phoenix placed his palm against Edgeworth’s face and turned it back up, moving in for a more proper farewell – and a more intimate kiss – before any protest could escape the other man.
He would never tire of those thin lips, brushing against his with a rough sort of gentleness, slow and precise. Phoenix let his fingers drift into soft, silky bangs, careful not to muss them too terribly. Wondering just how far he could goad the prosecutor, he let his jaw drop open, knowing Edgeworth could not resist the invitation. The hesitant touch of their tongues sent electrifying currents through his veins. So close, it was impossible to miss the rumble of Edgeworth’s low, barely voiced groan.
He pulled away just enough to smile against Edgeworth’s lips, delighting in the quick pants of breath that ghosted over his face. “Maybe we shouldn’t wait for tonight.”
Preoccupied with this little victory, Phoenix was caught off guard when Edgeworth suddenly drew in a deep breath and pushed forward, crowding him against the office door’s frosted glass. He nearly dropped his leftovers in surprise as Edgeworth removed his glasses and tucked them into his jacket pocket, those grey eyes dark and intense and wholly focused on him. Edgeworth wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling them flush, and resumed their kiss with fervor.
How easily they could turn the tables on one another.
Miles slipped his tongue along the inside of Phoenix’s lower lip, tracing with deliciously agonizing heat, probably enjoying the way Phoenix’s knees threatened to give way beneath them. His knee had slid in between Phoenix’s thighs, pinning him in place and allowing him no room to shift or to hide how much he enjoyed Edgeworth’s attention. Phoenix could barely suppress a shudder when those teeth grazed teasingly against his kiss-swollen lip.
His thoughts froze completely, whited-out in a pleasant shock, when Edgeworth dipped low and left a final, brazen nip beneath his earlobe.
Well. That plan had backfired in the most wonderful manner.
Edgeworth cleared his throat, leaning away with a sly smirk.
“Enjoy the rest of your day, Wright.”
The gaze that met him was strong, almost smug. That magnificent bastard. Phoenix was going to have a difficult time waiting until they could be alone again tonight, with thoughts of that kiss distracting him. He knew it; more importantly, he knew that Edgeworth knew it.
Edgeworth nodded once, sharply, and headed back toward the stairwell, fingers already fishing his car keys out of his trouser pocket. He moved purposefully, all authority and confidence, the strong line of his back receding down the hall. Without turning around, he lifted a hand and tilted it.
How did Edgeworth manage to make a parting wave seem suave?
Phoenix took a few long, deep breaths and shook his head, attempting to clear the pleasantly fuzzy thoughts from it, and chuckled to himself. With a lingering echo of warmth against his lips, he unlocked the door and headed inside.
“Welcome back,” Athena greeted, startling the daylights out of Phoenix. He’d thought she had left the office for lunch as he did. Instead, she was leaning back in her desk chair, munching on a meager-looking sandwich with the crumbs leaving a light trail across her paperwork.
His heart nearly leapt into his throat; it was entirely possible she had heard the two of them in their less-than-professional moment outside.
She raised one eyebrow, concerned. “Boss? Did you have a good lunch?”
“Y-Yeah,” he answered, desperately trying not to dwell on the impromptu make-out, feeling like a teenager. He rubbed his palm at the back of his neck before he could stop himself, heart still pounding.
Her mouth split into a knowing grin.
“Yes, it was nice,” he said more definitively, letting his tone close the topic before she could glean any lurid details. He deposited the take-away container on the corner of her desk. “Here, you can have the rest.”
His gambit worked; she immediately abandoned her sandwich, and her imminent teasing, and lunged for the box.
“Thanks!” Widget lit up in a bright green shade around her neck. She opened the container, inhaled the tasty aroma, and pulled the plastic silverware out with relish. “This is gonna be tasty!”
Sometimes it seemed the only use his wallet ever got was to feed young women. Memories of dinners with Maya and Pearl years ago flit through his head, along with all the times he’d unwittingly footed the bill. And there was Trucy, of course, he could never deny her a treat. And Ema, he bought her the occasional snack. Athena, too.
…How often had he ever bought food for Apollo?
Perhaps he should start letting others buy him a meal or two. At least this time the food came at Edgeworth’s expense.
“You know, I’m glad you started sharing more lunches with the Chief Prosecutor.”
His attention snapped back, a little astounded Athena dared to mock him even after such a generous culinary bribe. He had hoped he was at a point in his life where he could live without his subordinates ridiculing him all the time. But there were no suggestive winks or eyebrow wiggles; she just enthusiastically dove into the food. Her words were genuine – heartfelt, even.
“That’s because you like getting the scraps afterwards,” he finally chided, more bemused than reprimanding.
“Well, that is a nice bonus,” she agreed, a gleam in her eyes reminiscent of Maya. “But that’s not the only reason. It’s because of the tone I hear in your heart, afterwards.”
Now it was his turn to lift an eyebrow, curious. “What kind of tone?”
“Oh, you know. A happy one.”
He cocked his head, waiting for her to elaborate.
She paused, fork halfway to her mouth, and gulped down her current bite. “When we first met I could hear a lot of unhappy emotions from you. There was so much sadness and anger, you know?”
At his flat look, she hurried on.
“For good reason! Because you were – um.” She wisely cut herself off, choosing not to spoil their afternoon with discussion of Phoenix’s previous disbarment. “Yeah. Anyway. But ever since I’ve been here, those currents of negative emotion have ebbed away, replaced more and more with positive feelings.”
“I don’t see what that has to do with lunch.”
She took a more thoughtful nibble, searching for the right words to explain her meaning.
“When you watch Trucy, your heart fills with a doting kind of happiness. When you get a call from Apollo there’s a note of pride in your voice, and you sound like an exuberant kid when you talk with Maya Fey.”
He scoffed; she had clearly never had the pleasure of trading gossip with the Kurain leader.
She forged ahead, undeterred. “I hear this satisfied relief from you after a good trial. And whenever you’re around the Chief Prosecutor, well, your heart practically sings.”
“It’s incredibly sappy!” Widget suddenly shouted, its face a bright pink.
Athena fidgeted with the medallion, a slight flush crossing her face, while Phoenix brought his hand to his chin, considering.
She gestured at her abandoned food. “It’s like this sandwich,” she said, valiantly ignoring her gadget’s interjection. “Yeah, it does the job, but it could be better. But this–” She pointed at the gourmet leftovers. “–This is all kinds of scrumptious.”
She swept away the sandwich and triumphantly planted the fork in her new meal.
“Your heart’s gone from dull to delicious, Boss, full of the flavors of happiness.”
“…Whatever you say, Athena.” Phoenix gave her an indulgent laugh, and in return she shooed him away to eat in peace.
Back at his own desk, he was utterly unable to concentrate on his work, just as he’d suspected. However, his distraction was not entirely due to Edgeworth. Instead, he found himself mulling over Athena’s words, reflecting on how much his life had changed in the past few years and the contentment he had gained.
Maybe it was because of the taste of Miles still on his lips, but his thoughts latched onto her flavor metaphor. He trusted Athena’s gift for listening to feelings, for hearing the subtle changes in a person’s emotions. He had grown accustomed to her discussing the sounds of the heart.
But the flavors?
What exactly were the flavors of happiness?