"Nick?" a voice called gently, the door knob turning, door opening slightly. Phoenix gulped.
"...Maya?" he somehow managed to respond.
"Oh, Nick!" Maya ran into the room and threw her arms around his neck, squeezing tightly. It had been well over a year since she'd seen him last, and she'd longed for this moment. Immediately, old memories came flooding back to other times they'd hugged like this, and she smiled and kissed his cheek.
"I'm glad you were able to make it," Phoenix responded, leaning back slightly. Their faces were inches from one another, and Phoenix considered kissing her. Something held him back however, and he closed his eyes and pulled himself away. "How was... how was your train ride?" he asked, trying not to sound dejected.
"It was good," Maya responded, refusing to let him pull away this time. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly, resting the side of her face on his chest. "I've missed you."
Phoenix softened. "I've missed you too..." He allowed himself to gently place his lips on the top of her head, wrapping his arms around her shoulders. It was good to have her back, but it was also incredibly painful. A reminder of what he could never have...
Maya shifted her weight and looked up at Phoenix, their faces close once again. "How are things?" she whispered, smiling. She could tell something was bothering him, and she had an idea of what, but she didn't want to talk about that right now. Maya had a feeling he didn't, either.
"Oh, you know," Phoenix whispered. "Apollo's doing a great job as a defense attorney, and he's happy with Clay, who you should meet. I think you guys would get along." He rested his forehead on hers, feeling his guard fall further down, dissipating into nothing. "Athena... went on a date with the prosecutor I was telling you about."
"Simon? The sulky bird guy?" Maya squinted a bit, laughing.
"I have no idea how it's going--"
"--they're on the date now?--" she asked, with widened eyes.
Phoenix laughed. "At this very moment, I believe." He glanced at the clock. It was 9:36pm. "Yeah, they should be eating still, I think, or maybe doing whatever else. For all I know, they went to the circus."
Maya's eyes widened further. "Is the circus in town?" she asked, louder than she anticipated.
Phoenix laughed again, a bit harder. "No, no. I just mean I don't know what they had planned after. A movie, maybe." He returned to leaning his forehead against hers.
"How is Pearly adjusting?" Maya leaned in a bit closer, her lips brushing against his.
Phoenix held his breath for a moment, jolted by the contact. "She's... fine. She and Trucy are attached at the lips--I mean, at the hips. Hips." He felt his face going hot, and Maya gave him a demure smile in return.
"I'm glad she's fitting in so well. I almost didn't believe her emails... You know how she likes to pretend everything's okay, even when it's not." Like someone else I know. She pressed her lips against his and could feel his body tense. A hand went to hold the side of her face, fingers gently tangling in her hair. Maya moved her hands to Phoenix's chest and gripped his suit lapels tightly. Over a year without physical contact, only letters, because Phoenix was surprisingly old fashioned for such a forward-thinking individual. Over a year of knowing he was holding back on her, not wanting to make things harder than they were... which surprisingly, made it even harder to focus on her training... Maya pulled away, slowly, enjoying watching Phoenix's lips follow hers. "I'm... a little tired, from the train ride," she said, looking into his eyes. "Could we maybe..."
"Yeah," Phoenix responded, pulling away and coughing awkwardly. "Let me grab the stuff I was working on, and we can go." Well, the stuff I was trying to focus on. He quickly gathered up the court documents Miles had given him earlier that day and shoved them into a suitcase. I know what I'm not getting to this weekend, he mused.
Phoenix called a taxi to get them to his house. Maya giggled. "Still don't have a license?" she asked, and Phoenix shook his head. The taxi ride itself was fairly quiet, with Maya taking in the sights she had missed so much. Kurain Village was nice, but very simple. There were no bright lights, no fantastic shows or really even fests, no cars or trains or planes flying overhead. There were no cosplayers or street performers or musicians. There was a lot she missed about Los Angeles, other than Phoenix.
Phoenix's apartment was surprisingly humble for his paycheck, but Maya knew where at least some of his money went each month. Every month, on the 15th, a check would come in the mail: an anonymous donation from someone in Los Angeles who was interested in helping maintain the "historical beauty" of the village. On entrance to Phoenix's apartment, Maya immediately headed over to his work desk, an old fashioned cherry wood desk with a small amp
"What are you--"
"I just want to see if you're still drawing, like I told you to," she said, flipping through papers on his desk. Phoenix made a move to stop her, but she gave him that look he knew so well, that knowing, flirtatious smile that made her somehow look completely innocent and devilish, all wrapped up in a lilac dress and purple coat. "You have been drawing, haven't you, Nick? That art school training can't go down the drain!" She turned to rummage more. Maya gasped as she pulled out one from under a stack of chibi Edgeworths yelling at various people.
"No, not that one, it's not done--"
"Nick..." She stared at the sketch of her, dressed in white, surrounded by cherry blossom trees, a mountain in the background. He had begun to paint it, but hadn't gotten very far. "Is this... the garden in Kurain Village?" she finally managed. "The one I took you to a couple years ago when you visited?"
"...Yeah, I think that's how I remember it, anyway." He took the drawing from her. "You weren't supposed to see it yet. Then again, I had hoped to finish it by the time you visited again..." Phoenix sighed, looking almost sad. Maya felt a little bad for ruining the surprise.
Maya took the sketch back and let it sit on his desk. "Well, I think it's your best work so far. I'm glad you still think of me..." She grabbed his jacket lapels again and pulled him to her, firmly kissing him this time, mouth slightly open. Phoenix took her in his arms and returned the kiss, pressing his body into hers.
"Of course I still think of you," he responded before urgently reclaiming his place on her mouth, his tongue finding hers. In the back of his brain, Phoenix knew he shouldn't be doing this, he shouldn't be kissing her, reattaching himself to her emotionally, but he couldn't help it. Maya was his anchor, even when she wasn't around.
He could have dated other women, and had tried, but it always came back to Maya. No one knew him the way she did. No one laughed at his jokes quite like she did, no one put up with his self-pity the way she did, no one comforted him the way she could. Phoenix didn't believe in true love, but if he did, she'd be the one. But they could never be together. Life kept pulling them apart.
"What's wrong?" Maya asked, and finally Phoenix snapped back into reality.
"I just... I can't do this again," Phoenix said, pulling away, his hands lingering in hers. "I can't get close to you again, I can't feel this way again, and then..."
"...And then I leave." Maya dropped her hands, listless, to her side. "I thought when you mentioned that Athena liked that Simon guy, you'd finally understand. People can be apart and still love one another." Her face was downcast, sullen. They were going to have this conversation again. They'd had it a few times, and it had never ended well. Who was I kidding, thinking this wouldn't come up?
"I... It's not like that," Phoenix responded. "They weren't a couple until just now, and though they were apart for a really long time, they're together now. If and when their relationship gets to be like ours was, they'll still be in the same area, more than likely. You and I... I can't quit being a lawyer and come up to Kurain Village..."
"And I won't drop being a spirit medium. I get it... You don't have to remind me all the time..." Maya was full on pouting now, tears welling up in her eyes.
Phoenix sighed. "I'm sorry. I love you, Maya. Maya," he repeated, reaching for her hands again. "I love you. I can't be with anyone else. It just... tears me apart to feel this happy and then be devastated when you leave again."
Maya continued to stare at the ground. "So... where does this leave us?" A pause. "Should I leave?"
"No!" Phoenix exclaimed instinctively. "No. I..." Phoenix sighed. "...I don't know where this leaves us." Silence fell between them, with only a ticking clock filling up the empty air around them. A few awkward moments pass, before he finally said, "I... I'll do it."
Maya looked at him, tears freely streaming down her face. "...Do what?"
Phoenix closed the space between them, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I, Phoenix Wright, will be torn apart. Each time we meet, I can't help but feel like I'm alive again. Like I'm born anew." He laughed. "I know that sounds stupid, but I... I don't feel like myself until you're around. I can't say no to you." He kissed her nose. "I can take it... I'd rather be happy a few weekends every couple of years with you than to never see you again."
Maya stifled a sob as Phoenix pressed his lips against hers one more time. She selfishly accepted the kisses, her arms wrapping around his neck as Phoenix lifted her up, wrapping her legs around his waist, and led her to his bedroom. They could be together, happily, as a couple, if only for a few nights. Since it would be all that they could have, they'd have to convince themselves that it was all that they would need.