One of Every Color
The morning after Ayame's visit,
His first interview of the
day was with Angel Starr, who had been lead detective on the arson. He hadn't really seen her since his case
defending Lana Skye, but had heard rumors of her being accepted back into the
police force. A brief talk with Mike Meekins at the station confirmed it, and with a little
Finding Angel in the mess,
however, was trickier. She wasn't in the
"I'm afraid I have no time for defense attorneys," Angel interrupted. She turned purposefully away, monitoring the progress of her officers.
Well, I didn't think it was going to be easy.
Angel poked him hard in the chest with two fingers, startling him into taking a step back. "I'm very sorry, Mr. Wright, but I'm not as soft as Gumshoe," she told him coolly. New attire or no, she didn’t seem to have changed in personality. "I'm not about to spill any information or evidence on…."
Angel trailed off, glancing
"It's not about this
Angel stared at him for a long moment without response--at least he had managed to get her attention. He was just working up to continuing when she took him firmly by the elbow and tugged him away from the other officers. "Miss Starr--?"
"Keep your voice down," Angel hushed, continuing to pull him along until they were out of earshot of her colleagues. "Now. Say that again?"
The seriousness in her tone
impressed itself on
"Yes, I heard you. I should have known she would get to someone like you."
Angel tilted her chin up. "Never mind. Just be careful who you mention that case to. You can't just go around shouting about the mafia in this town, you know. It can be dangerous to your health."
"I wasn't shouting…"
"Anyway, if you're bringing it up at all," Angel continued, "it must mean you're taking the case." She was watching him closely, but all he could discern from her expression was wariness. "Are you going to try and get that mob girl set free?"
"It's not like
Angel narrowed her eyes at him, and he considered it a victory that she appeared to honestly process what he was saying. She glanced past him back at the other officers before speaking again. "So you really plan on appealing the case. You realize who prosecuted it last time, don't you?" Her frown deepened. "And you think you have evidence he hasn't seen?"
"Well yeah…." He had the clinic papers with him, but he had a feeling it would be best not to show them off, not with Angel glaring at him like she was. "An alibi, in fact. I thought maybe you'd know why it wasn't in the original police report."
Angel tensed visibly. "You think he had it suppressed again?"
I should have known she'd think that. If Angel hates anything it's prosecutors.
"Just one more
"Oh my gawd. You interrupted my mid-morning mocha break for this? As if."
April shot him a
long-suffering look. He had managed to catch
her on a short break from her job as K.B. Security's
daytime secretary, which was not so different from the last position she had
held at Blue Corp - from what
"That's, uh, why I'm
April snorted. "Creepy little thing. I recognized her immediately, you know." She rested her chin on the back of her hand. "It pays to know people in your same line of work. Not that I know anything about the mob, mind you." She giggled, shoulders lifting childishly.
"Through the window," April confirmed. "Crawled right in like a common thief! Very unprofessional, if you ask me." He hadn't, but she continued anyway. "She's such a tiny little thing, and with Jackie inside I didn't figure she could do any harm. Shows what I know, huh?"
April nodded. "Yeah, that's him. Just moved in with Mel's sister Ann next door. Poor things." She shook her head, but it was an exaggerated gesture that conveyed no heartfelt sympathy. "Poor little baby."
"So Mr. Hoff and Ann
were living together with their infant in one half of the duplex,"
"Not very well," April said carelessly. She leaned back once more, tugging idly at the tips of her hair. If she gave any care to the loss of life years ago, she certainly didn't show it. "But he was fun enough at a party. He invited Libby and me over that night for drinks. That's when I saw that freaky vampire chick crawl in. We were getting some fresh air outside."
"Sure was. Now are you done with me, Sweetie? You're using up my whole break."
"Uh, sorry." Sweetie? "Just one more thing," he persisted. "You were at the scene of the crime, but you left before the fire, right? When was that?"
April tilted her head to the side, contemplating. "Um…I think it was around ." She giggled again. "We were pretty trashed by then, especially Mel. So we took a bunch of embarrassing pictures of him and then I took off."
"Pictures?" That perked
"Baby, keeping records is my life," April drawled. "I've got mounds of pictures. Not that I think they'll do you any good." She winked, elbows drawing together slightly to enhance her cleavage in an all too familiar tactic. "Won't come cheap, either."
Nothing ever does. …Did she call me "baby"?
April's grin vanished, and
her eye twitched as she sat up straight.
Her change in demeanor was so abrupt
"I'll give you five thousand dollars."
"Of course not! I'm not that naïve." His response made her glare wicked, and he quickly went on. "Half when you get me the pictures, half after your testimony--if you haven't lied. All right?" Did I just offer to pay her off? Urami's having a bad influence on me.
He didn’t know April particularly well, but he could tell she was surprised; when they first met almost three years ago he would have never been so bold. A battle of pride versus greed played out across her face. "All right," she agreed. Her expression softened back into childishly flirty. "Five grand it is. You're quite the businessman, Feeny. Just don't hold it against me when my testimony doesn't help your client any."
April adjusted her uniform top as she stood as well. "Yes, well, part of the business and all. Just don't think I've forgotten." Hostility gleamed in her eyes as she turned away, but she still added an extra sway to her hips as she walked off which Phoenix was fairly certain was for his benefit.
Old habits maybe.
Urami got plenty of looks from the guards when she entered the prison. She always did. Her family had warned her of being so careless when around the police but she paid them no notice. It wasn't as if any of them would dare touch her.
The guard staff was used to her visits by now, and she barely had to say a word for them to bring Chassie to the visitation room. They faced each other across the glass as they had done many times over the past few years. Some would say they could have been sisters, not because of any resemblances in their faces, but because of the dull, despondent air both seemed to project. Even as far as prison visits went, it appeared an eerie and depressing affair.
"He came to see me yesterday," Chassie reported in monotone. "He was just what you said he would be. Not like the others, at least." Her thin fingers wrapped around each other anxiously. "But he has not filed the appeal…?"
"Not yet," Urami admitted. "I figured he would take his time…. He's very careful about picking his cases." She had looked into several of his cases since their first meeting, and by now believed she knew at least something of Phoenix Wright's business habits. "But I sent him to Hotta Clinic. By now he'll know you couldn't have set that fire."
Chassie lowered her head, nearly becoming lost in her long, thick hair. "Is it worth this risk?" she asked softly. "If Phoenix Wright is as honest as you say he is, he might--"
"It's worth the risk," Urami insisted. Her voice rose a bit above its own usually steady murmur as she leaned forward. "You don't have to worry about me, Chassie….there's nothing he can do to me. Either he'll do just enough and you'll be free, or…" She smiled grimly. "We say our goodbyes."
Chassie lifted her gaze to meet Urami's, and slowly smiled back. "You've always looked out for me."
Urami's eyes thinned. "Not well enough…. I'll get you out of this. None of this was your fault."
"Even if they kill me," Chassie went on as if not hearing, "I will not regret being your friend. Please say the same."
"Good." Chassie took in a long, slow breath, and finished exhaling before she continued. "Then for now I will trust your Phoenix Wright. And hope he does not pry too far."
It's not like I told April to testify she "didn't" see Chassie, he reasoned as he poured over his collected evidence. I'm just motivating her to tell the truth. If Chassie's really innocent, that's all I can hope anyone will do. And at least I have an idea of what April will say before she takes the stand. Either April mistook Urami for Chassie and I'll be able to find a contradiction in her testimony, or…she really did see her, and I'll have to get an explanation from Chassie on what she was doing there.
Either way it meant a trip
back to the prison. But
"Chassie entered the building around two," he spoke aloud, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "She was admitted to the Hotta clinic just before three, at least fifteen minutes before police say the fire was started…." He checked a city map he kept on hand. "If she was at the duplex she would have had to leave by to make it to the clinic by …she was nowhere near the building when it caught on fire."
Edgeworth will have a hard time arguing his way out of that.
Explaining away Chassie's presence at the crime scene and the cuts on her hands would be easy after that. And the supposed motive was no problem at all--Mel Arky may have been a Blue Corp employee and a bother to the Shikabane, but there was no proof Chassie had anything to do with that at all. Not to the point that she would need to kill four other people with him.
"This one'll be a snap, Nick!"
It really is quiet.
It was a lot easier when someone was around to drag you out.
His phone rang. He rolled over, and crawled back to his lumpy sofa to retrieve it from the pocket of his suit coat. A quick check of the screen showed a familiar number, and he answered. "Larry?"
"Hey Nick," came the bright response. "Yeah, it's me. Are you busy?"
"I guess not."
"I just got off
work," Larry explained.
"Oh come on, Nick, you're the one who was so excited about him coming back," Larry reminded. "'It'll be like old times' - 'we got along great as kids' - is this ringing any bells?"
"Besides, you need to bring the beer," Larry added.
Larry laughed. "It's the beginning of the week, Nick, I know you at least have a six pack."
"I won't, I won't. Seeya there."
Larry hung up, and