"So, I was thinking we could pay a visit to the victim's wife first. She might know something."
You took a sip of your coffee and watched Apollo's face for a reaction. Approval was written on his features.
"Yeah, that's a good idea." He smiled at you, and you felt your own lips curving up into a grin of your own. "Shame I didn't think of it first."
"Silly Apollo," you joked. "Didn't you know? All the good ideas are mine."
"Is that right?"
"Yes, it is."
Apollo was trying to put on a serious face, but it was painfully obvious that he had no comeback. He was pouting like a little kid who had just been told he can't have another cookie.
It was so adorable that you couldn't help but laugh. Trucy, who was sitting next to you, joined in. Apollo attempted a glare, but it only made you laugh harder.
The three of you were sitting in a quiet little café, discussing what your next move should be over coffee (or, in Trucy's case, a strawberry milkshake, since Big-Daddy Phoenix had adamantly protested the idea of Trucy drinking coffee).
You had come straight from the courthouse, and although you had managed to get the trial extended another day, your client somehow looked even more guilty than before. You needed a lead, and fast.
But Trucy had complained of thirst and practically dragged the two of you to the café, and so there you were.
You couldn't bring yourself to protest too much.
It had been a few months since you had joined the Wright Anything Agency as its newest recruit, and you had come to think of Trucy as the little sister you never had. She was so outgoing and friendly that it had just kind of happened on its own.
In the short time you had spent as a lawyer at the Agency, you had also become quickly enamoured with the fiery young man who had been more than happy to help you become accustomed to the many quirks of the Agency and its occupants: Apollo Justice.
He was somewhat reserved, but kind. As his name suggested, Apollo held so much passion for ensuring that justice was achieved for all his clients that he could even rival Phoenix Wright. He was loud, and cynical, but he was always honest and hardworking.
In court, he often fumbled and made mistakes, but you couldn't help but admire his skill in staring down the witnesses and the confidence and determination he displayed when presenting his case.
And, well, that face. He was handsome at times, but his blushing face, which you had the pleasure of seeing quite frequently, was much cuter. Not to mention that he was surprisingly built underneath that suit of his (okay, so you had been staring a lot). He didn't seem like the type to work out, but who knows?
A high-pitched squeal from Trucy snapped you out of your thoughts and back into your increasingly-depressing reality.
You winced. She could be as loud as Apollo sometimes.
"You guys are so close!" Trucy exclaimed, beaming. "Isn't it great?"
Not that close, you thought bitterly, but tried to keep your thoughts from showing on your face. Trucy was looking at you expectantly, and you realised she was waiting for a response from you.
"Oh, yeah, of course. I'm happy you're my friend, Apollo."
You glanced at Apollo and somehow managed to crack a smile.
You wanted more than friendship from Apollo, but it wasn't as though you could just come out and say it. Ever. What would he think of you then? There was no way he would be interested in someone as plain as you. Not to mention that breaching the awkward topic would only serve as a roadblock in your professional relationship.
Lost in cynical thought, you failed to notice the way Apollo's eyes were trained on the subtle movement of your finger as you absently twirled a lock of hair around it. Nor did you notice that he was lightly gripping his bracelet with his right hand as he stared.
In fact, you only noticed Apollo after he had downed the rest of his coffee and stood, crumpling the paper cup in his hand.
"We should get moving, then."
His voice was too flat, and his face practically had ‘something's wrong!' plastered all over it. He deposited the crumpled paper cup in a nearby trash can and made his way to the exit without looking back.
You and Trucy exchanged confused glances before following him out the door.
"Aw, Polly, are you still upset about us laughing at you? You're more of a kid than me sometimes!"
You expected some kind of reaction from Apollo, but you were surprised to see that his expression remained uncharacteristically serious.
"No, it's not that, Truce. I'm fine. I'm just a little tired."
Trucy stared at him for a moment longer before she smiled, apparently accepting his explanation. But you didn't.
I'm fine, he had said. It was his pet saying, but it lacked all of his usual intensity.
You didn't need a bracelet to know that he was lying.
After investigating the victim's wife, you were so much more confident about your case. She was definitely suspicious.
When you had arrived, she had been with another man, and it was obvious they were intimately involved. So, bingo. Motive.
Not only that, she didn't seem at all depressed about her husband's murder. In fact, she was overly cheerful and seemed eager to make a good impression on them.
And they had another reason to suspect her, too: according to Apollo's bracelet, she was lying about what she had been doing the night of the murder.
None of that was any kind of proof, but it definitely made her a suspect. It was just the lead you had been hoping for.
But even after learning that the prosecution was already planning to call her in as a witness in tomorrow's trial, you just couldn't manage to feel happy about it. Not when it had been hours since the incident at the café and Apollo still looked depressed - angry, even - despite his attempts to force his smiles. And it seemed to be you that he had an issue with.
Whenever you talked to him, he was quick to end the conversation. And when you had caught him staring at you a few times, his expression was even darker.
By the end of the day, the situation hadn't improved at all, and you wondered if you had somehow done something to cause this drastic change in mood without realising it.
On your way home, you thought back to the morning's events. When exactly did you first notice that Apollo was acting differently?
The last thing you said before that was...
"I'm happy you're my friend, Apollo."
And his mood had been sour from then onward.
You were confused. Why would telling him that make him upset? Didn't most people like it when their friends appreciated them?
...Wait. Friends. Maybe it hadn't been what you said, but the idea of being your friend that bothered Apollo...?
You tried to put the idea out of your mind and convince yourself that it would all make sense eventually.
It didn't work.
Another day and another trial later, you were standing in the courtroom with Apollo beside you while confetti rained down from the ceiling.
Your shared client had just been declared not guilty.
That should have put you both in a celebrating mood, but Apollo's bad attitude had carried over from the previous day, and you weren't feeling too cheerful yourself.
For once, you actually wished Trucy were here so you didn't have to be alone with Apollo. Just thinking that was strange and foreign to you. Usually, you jumped at the chance to spend time with him, just the two of you. What a difference a single day had managed to make.
You followed Apollo out of the courtroom in silence. When you arrived in the defendant lobby, you decided to put the idea that had been circulating in your mind for some time into action.
You clamped a hand onto his shoulder to stop him from leaving. He promptly turned around, fixing you with an inquiring look. You stared back at him with what you imagined was a neutral expression.
"Apollo, we need to talk, and now is as good a time as any."
You were relieved to hear that your voice was steadier than your wavering resolve.
His eyes narrowed. "About what?"
That did it. Your will was iron-clad now. If he didn't want you to think of him as a friend, he should just come out and say it instead of tiptoeing around the issue and ignoring you. You thought he was better than that.
"I'm not leaving you alone until you tell me what's up. You've been avoiding me all day today, and yesterday, and I want to know why."
Apollo's eyes widened just a little, but his surprised expression quickly returned to being serious.
"Trust me, you don't want to hear it."
"But I do. Please, just tell me."
Say it. Tell me the truth. Tell me you hate me if you have to. I just need to know.
You watched as he swallowed, blinked once, twice, before speaking in a low, choked murmur.
You didn't know what you had been expecting, but the words that tumbled out of his mouth were far from it.
"I know you were lying yesterday."
For a moment, you were stunned into silence, mouth a silent ‘o'.
He was refusing to look at you now, gaze flitting to the side, an expression you couldn't quite place etched into his features.
"Yesterday morning, in the café. You said you were happy I was your friend. But you were lying." His voice went up an octave or two, and he waved his left arm in what was probably supposed to be a casual gesture, but the tension in his movements was practically palpable.
And you suddenly realised what the look on his face was. He was hurt. He felt pained and betrayed and it was all because of you.
You felt like you had been sucker-punched in the stomach. You had experienced many things in your lifetime, but having your own argument thrown back in your face was not one of them.
As you felt guilt creeping into your chest, making you feel like you could hardly breathe, you realised that you were backed into a corner. You didn't want to admit your undoubtedly one-sided feelings, but any consequences you would have to deal with would be better than this, you concluded. Anything would be better than Apollo thinking you didn't even want to be his friend.
So you put aside your emotions, put aside any logical part of your brain that might try to come up with the right words, and just said it.
"I'm in love with you."
It was Apollo's turn to look shocked. He stared at you unblinkingly, eyes wide with surprise for almost a full minute. You just wanted to crawl under a rock, far away from his heavy gaze, and die of embarrassment.
"So, that's why I lied...I want you to be more than my friend. And now you know, so, um, I should leave now..."
The words had barely left your lips before you made a beeline for the exit, feeling like a shy, lovesick grade schooler. If the heat you knew was high on your cheeks was any indication, you probably looked like one, too.
Your hand had only just made contact with the door handle when Apollo spoke up again.
Your name left his lips in a hushed whisper, so quiet that you almost didn't hear it. But you did, and stopped dead. You didn't turn around.
"Why didn't you say it earlier? I thought you didn't want anything to do with me..." His voice held so much pain.
You whirled around, eyes already filled with tears, only to find that he looked like he might start crying himself.
"I'm sorry," you murmured softly. "I didn't want to make things awkward between us. But I want you in my life, Apollo, even if we're just friends, so we can just forget this ever happened..."
"I don't want to forget it."
You froze. "Huh?"
"I don't want to forget what just happened. ‘Cause, um..." He shuffled awkwardly for a moment before continuing, the latter part of his sentence much quieter, "I'm in love with you, too."
For a moment, you forgot to breathe. How often had you imagined him saying those exact words? You couldn't believe what you had just heard.
While you were standing in stunned silence, Apollo made his way over to you slowly, shoulders hunched with embarrassment.
"I love you." His voice came from right in front of you, and you jumped slightly. "I'll say it as many times as you need me to."
You cautiously looked up at Apollo, as though he might disappear at any moment.
He was smiling, a clearly embarrassed smile, and he was blushing even more than you, but the pure emotion on his face filled your chest with warmth. Your responding smile was just as wide. You couldn't remember the last time you had felt this happy. Maybe it was never.
You weren't sure who moved first, but the next thing you knew you were in his arms and you were both clutching at each other for dear life, murmuring proclamations of your love over and over again.
At some point your lips met his, tentatively, and the kiss was awkward and inexperienced on both ends but it was so sweet that you felt your heart might burst.
How long it lasted, you had no way of knowing, but suddenly there was the sound of someone clearing their throat startlingly close to your ear.
The two of you sprang apart as though you were on fire, only to find Trucy standing there with a huge grin on her face.
"Hiya, lovebirds!" she said in her best sing-song voice, and you both started blushing all over again.
She glanced over her shoulder, toward the door. "Looks like I win, Daddy!"
Sure enough, none other than Phoenix Wright himself appeared in the doorway, looking disappointed.
"Oh, damn. I thought it would take you two way longer than that."
"Hee hee. Too bad! I was right, and you were wrong~ Time to pay up!" Trucy held her hand out expectantly toward Phoenix, who reluctantly shoved a crumpled note into her hand. You couldn't believe what you were seeing.
It was Apollo who voiced your thoughts.
"Did you...were you betting on how long it would take us to...to...?"
Trucy giggled and playfully tapped Apollo on the shoulder. "Yup! We all knew it was gonna happen-I mean, c'mon, it was so obvious-so we decided to make a bet! Whoever guesses how long it takes for you guys to kiss wins! My bet was three months, by the way. Oh, and I have some money-hunting to do, now..."
You didn't think it were possible, but you somehow managed to feel even more mortified.
Trucy was still verbally daydreaming about her earnings, and you (somewhat reluctantly) interrupted her.
"'We all'...? Who else...?"
You weren't sure you wanted to know the answer.
"Hmm..." Trucy looked like she was considering it for a moment, which was not a good sign, before listing some names off her fingers.
"Well, there's the Judge, Mr. Edgeworth, Mr. Gavin, Detective Skye, Maya, Pearl, the other Mr. Gavin, Wocky, Little Plum, Lamiroir, Vera, Machi, your client's mother, that guy at the supermarket down the street-"
"Stop. Please." You covered your ears and shut your eyes tight, trying not to think of how just how many people knew about (or at least suspected) your new relationship with Apollo.
Trucy just giggled again.
"Now, Trucy, that's enough," Phoenix interjected, flicking her top hat so that it fell down over her eyes (much to her frustration).
You practically sighed with relief. At least one of those two is partially sane...
"...After all, it'll be even more fun to tease them about it later."
You and Apollo traded horrified glances. The misunderstandings may have been over, but you now understood the new predicament you had fallen into.