One of Every Color
Miles paused as soon as he left his car, and cast his gaze upwards--the sky had been overcast all weekend, but it looked especially foreboding that morning. The clouds were thick and low, and not a breath of wind stirred, as if the sky were waiting to implode. Thankful that he wasn’t a particularly superstitious person, he braced himself for the impending onslaught of reporters.
They were out in droves that
day. Miles had expected as much, but
what he hadn't anticipated was spotting
"So how much is she paying you, Mr. Wright?" one
of the reporters was asking. The others
were buzzing, looking too pleased for Miles' taste--
Of all the naïve-- Miles pushed through the swarm
of bodies, and was finally able to grab hold of
"Gag order," Miles
replied quickly. "You can't talk to
these people." He gave
The reporters shouted their
As soon as they were inside
the building, safe from the press behind closed doors,
"I'm looking out for you," Miles retorted, crossing his arms. "What were you telling them out there? You don't know how to deal with these people. You're going to--"
"Why do you care?"
Miles frowned after him;
"Just leave me
Miles stopped again, and this
time he didn't continue his pursuit. He
shoulders fell slack as he watched
Miles shook his head, determined not to think about it until after the trial.
Pull it together, Phoenix. He passed a hand over his hair as he stepped further into the room, trying to reassure the guard with a thin smile. You're frustrated, sure. But you can't take it out on Edgeworth now. Just concentrate on the case, for a little longer.
"I asked her to watch from the gallery today," Chassie explained. "I know you two…don't get along. It was better that she not stand with you again."
"I appreciate it,"
Chassie reached out, giving his necktie a tug that quieted him. "Mr. Wright. I am sorry, for the trouble she has caused you," she told him seriously. "But she is only acting for my sake. I hope that you can forgive her for that."
"I knew she was a
murderer long before this case,"
Chassie's eyes thinned, and she drew her hand back. "In that case, I am sorry that you got involved in this. Though…I am grateful." She lowered her eyes. "Whatever happens today, thank you. For believing in me."
Her sincerity won him over--
Chassie blinked slowly. "I will certainly try."
He knew it was the best answer she could offer him. He thanked her, and just then the bailiff came to call them in to court.
Miles looked away. It was a kind of retreat
They entered the courtroom
together, and it was almost like stepping into some bizarre sporting
event. The gallery was packed to
overflowing with curious spectators.
Their excited chattering filled the hall, making any individual voice or
Chassie took her seat,
looking as calm as ever.
And all I get is a mob boss' granddaughter,
The Judge entered and took his seat amidst more anxious murmurs. It took several pounds of his gavel to quiet the gallery down enough for him to be able to speak. "Order, order! This court will have order, or I will have the gallery cleared!"
That got their attention. The audience gradually quieted, though there were still faint whispers spreading up and down the rows of people. The Judge cleared his throat, still not entirely pleased but willing to continue. "This court is now in session once more for the case of The People vs. Chassie Gander. Is council prepared?"
"The Prosecution is
ready, Your Honor," Miles replied precisely. Whatever uncertainty
"The Defense is ready, Your Honor."
"Very good." The Judge looked to Miles. "I take it the Prosecution has results to share with the court?"
"Yes, Your Honor."
"Our forensics lab performed several tests on the Hotta Clinic report the Defense presented on Friday," Miles related. "We were unable to prove that it was forged or tampered with in any way."
"You mean…the report was real?" the Judge said with surprise. "That would mean Chassie Gander has an alibi for the night of the fire."
The gallery buzzed with mixed
reactions, and the Judge was so amazed himself that he didn't think to quiet
them for a few moments. But as they
murmured and speculated,
"Order!" The Judge finally got everyone under control once more, and cleared his throat before looking again to Miles. "Mr. Edgeworth, you have no objection to the Defense's statement?" he questioned, clearly puzzled by his silence.
"None whatsoever," Miles replied crisply. "It is as the Defense has said--the Hotta Clinic report proves that Chassie Gander could not have started that fire."
"And…?" The Judge frowned in confusion. "Does that mean…the Prosecution rests? You do realize what verdict I'm about to give, don't you?"
A slow, smug grin curled
Miles' lips--the appearance of that expression set
What's he getting at? "Chassie
was convicted of arson,"
"And that is where you're wrong," Miles retorted smartly, uncrossing his arms. "For you see, Mr. Wright, Miss Gander was not merely convicted of arson." He pounded his hand abruptly on his desk, transitioning swiftly into aggression. "She was convicted on five counts of first degree murder!"
His sudden change in demeanor
"Your Honor!" Miles turned his attention to the Judge, who stiffened as if expecting to be accused himself. "It is at this time that the Prosecution requests that the charges against Chassie Gander be modified to fit new evidence!"
"What!?" For all his planning and rehearsing the night
"Of course I can," Miles said with a shrug. "The Prosecution has every right to reevaluate its position, given new evidence. It's not any different than when you filed an appeal for a case that had already been decided, is it not?"
"Mr. Edgeworth," the Judge cut in, still looking rather baffled. "Exactly what do you intend to charge Miss Gander with, then?"
Miles brushed invisible dust off his cravat. "Nothing remarkably different, Your Honor. The Prosecution would merely like to reduce the five counts of murder down to three. It carries the same sentence--not a terrible inconvenience, by any means."
The murmur from the crowd
this time sounded mostly mystified. They
didn't follow what Miles was implying any more than
Miles' hand came down on his
bench with greater force than usual, creating a startling percussion that made
Unless he was lying Saturday night, when he acted like
he'd given up,
"That's enough," The Judge intervened. "Mr. Edgeworth, if you indeed have new evidence, you're of course entitled to present it."
Miles grinned triumphantly. "Thank you, Your Honor. But in order to do so, I'll need some help from a witness."
Stop smiling like that.
"The Prosecution would like to call Chassie Gander to the stand."
Chassie stood up from her
Chassie looked at him. Though he was still unsuccessful in gauging her demeanor, he thought he understood what she was asking him. Tell the truth, he tried to convey by look alone. I'll protect you.
"Witness," Miles said, drawing both their attentions. "I think it's about time we heard from you just what occurred the morning of October 2nd."
The Judge nodded. "The witness may begin her testimony."
Chassie curled her fingers
over the polished wood of the witness stand.
"What Mr. Wright said last Friday is the truth," she said, her
voice measured and almost mechanical, like the first time
Again, curious murmurs began to spread through the crowd. The Judge was quick to speak before they could get out of hand again. "A child?" he repeated. "Is that true?"
"It is, Your Honor," Miles assured, holding up his evidence to be retrieved by the bailiff. "After court on Friday, we were able to recover this birth certificate from Hotta Clinic, which proves the defendant did indeed give birth to Mr. Hoff's son."
"William," Chassie interrupted coldly, "was my son."
Miles lifted an eyebrow. "Of course. Please continue."
Chassie was still staring at him as she went on with her testimony. "After William was born, Jackie decided…that is, Mr. Hoff decided, that he no longer desired to be with me. He was in love with someone else. We fought. One night, he took my baby away from me and went to live with Miss Arky, in the same building as her brother, Mr. Mel Arky."
"Why didn't you go to
the police for help?"
Chassie shook her head, her long hair batting back and forth. "I kept the birth a secret. I did not want anyone to know I had a son. I was afraid…someone would harm him, because of my connections. The law could not help me."
Miles snorted lightly with disdain. "Perhaps you would have been better off not associating with criminals in the first place, then."
Miles smirked, but he relented and didn't comment again. The Judge frowned between them. "So, this baby," he deduced. "Are you saying this 'William' is really the young victim from the fire?"
"Yes," Miles confirmed. He handed off another report to be entered into the court record. "Our lab completed a DNA test this weekend, and proved just what you've supposed. The baby that died that night was none other than Chassie's own son."
"That might be true, if this was all the evidence I had to present," Miles retorted easily. "Why don't you wait until the witness' testimony is over before rushing to judgment?"
"Then…then get on with
"Mr. Wright," said the Judge. "Would you like to cross examine any of the witness' testimony thus far?"
Miles hmphed again, and they
glared at each other for a moment across the court. I'm
done with your games, Edgeworth,
"Very well. Witness, please continue with your testimony of the day of the incident."
Chassie nodded. "That night, I decided to take William back," she resumed. "I went to the duplex, late at night, thinking I could steal William back while Jackie slept." Her fingers tightened on the rail. "As he had done to me. I broke in through a window."
"Which is when April May
"Yes. I had not seen her--the apartment next door was playing music very loudly, so I assumed they were too busy to notice me. I'll admit I was not very careful."
"So you went inside," Miles prompted. "What then?"
Chassie lowered her eyes a bit. "I looked for my son. I did not suspect that Jackie might be awake. He caught me, and we argued about William. Ann watched us from the bed." She shuddered, for a moment her voice growing thin. "She was laughing at me."
"I was angry. I grabbed a wine bottle from the dresser--they were everywhere--and hit Jackie in the head. The bottle broke. It spilled wine everywhere, on my hair and clothes. As you can see, I am not a strong woman. He wrestled the bottle away from me." She turned her hands over, uncurling her fingers like spider legs to reveal the old scars. "The glass cut my hands. He dragged me to the door, and threw me out." She covered her palms once more. "I called a friend from the payphone. I was picked up and taken to the Hotta Clinic."
"And you stayed
"Yes…that is right. Not that I knew it, at the time."
The court fell silent. Even the Judge looked mystified by the collection of quiet, compassionate faces. He cleared his throat. "What a terrible story…."
They're all on her side.
But he couldn't let himself
get too optimistic. Behind the
Prosecution Bench, Miles' expression was unmoved. He hadn't objected to anything in Chassie's
testimony, and yet he still had not caved to defeat. It's
not over yet.
"Is that the conclusion of your testimony?" Miles asked. His voice was a bit more reserved in light of the attention being paid him by the gallery. "You quarreled with Mr. Hoff, and were removed."
"Yes," Chassie replied precisely, offering him no more or less.
"At the time, did you observe where your son was?"
Miles waited, expecting her to elaborate, but she didn't. It only seemed to encourage him. "And Miss Arky," he went on. "You had no exchanges with her?"
"No. Other than her mocking me," Chassie said coldly.
Chassie blinked slowly. By now
Miles grinned. It was a trap, but
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