Pick your favorite room to be in, the voice said in the back of his mind.

                He didn’t want to pick a favorite, he couldn’t. He had been in too many unpleasant rooms. Like the large rooms full of crowds and corrupt prosecutors. Like his own office, where he lost a good friend and promptly gained another in her place. Like the one he stood in right now, staring down at the empty space where a body used to be. These rooms always felt uncomfortable. A presence still lingered in this room. Something hung in the air and clung to his skin. It was the same every time.

                Without warning, something touched him on the shoulder. He jumped up and spun around. Maya stood behind him with a surprised look on her face.

                “Calm down, Nick. You’re acting like I’m a ghost or something,” she said.

                Phoenix almost wished it had been a ghost. Often he wished it wasn’t Maya. She could be a pest but he kept her around. Correction, she kept herself around, but he knew her company was better than none. Granted, he didn’t want her to be around. He felt almost guilty dragging her to these crime scenes.

                “What were you looking at?” she peered around him to look down at the floor.

                He stepped to the side so she could see, “Nothing. I was hoping something would appear.”

                “So you were looking for a ghost!” she accused

                “Ghosts don’t exist. I was looking for clues,” he said in his defense.

                “You’ll never find anything staring at the floor.”

                Phoenix shrugged, “It’s happened before.”

                “Hey, pal!” What are you doing here?” Maya and Phoenix turned to see the detective rush into the room.

                “My job,” Nick mumbled.

                “Hello, Detective Gumshoe,” Maya greeted.

                “I was given strict orders not to let you in here,” Gumshoe said.

                Gee, seems to happen every time someone dies in this town, Phoenix thought. Maybe someone else should try to do their job properly.

                “Please. You two should leave. I’m about to lose my job. I can’t afford it,” the detective pleaded.

                Maya looked sad. Phoenix knew what was coming next and he didn’t have to wait long for it. “Come on, Nick. We should go,” she pulled on his arm.

                He did feel for Gumshoe. He knew what it was like just scraping by to live. He nodded twice, “We’re not leaving, but let’s step into the hall.”

                The three of them filed out and Phoenix shut the door. He wasn’t ready to go. He had a job to do. What he didn’t want was to stand in that room if they weren’t discussing the case. It felt wrong.

                “We are not leaving. We are going back into that room to look for clues because we have a case to make. Now, which prosecutor sent you here?”

                “That would be me,” Miles Edgeworth said joining the small group.

                Phoenix was even less happy now. He should’ve known it would be his arch enemy. Gumshoe would climb a mountain with his bare hands if Edgeworth told him to.

                “You are not going back in there. You have seen enough,” Edgeworth said.

                Phoenix shook his head, “We have not seen any of the scene. We are entitled to go in there and look around.”

                “Lying is not your strong point, Wright. How you get away with is in court is beyond me.”

                “He’s not lying,” Maya said. “He just stood there and stared at the ground.”

                Slowly, Phoenix shut his eyes. Maya had said the wrong thing once again. Now Edgeworth would never let them in. He took a couple of breaths to clear his head. He would have to approach this like he was in the courtroom, except there was no judge or audience. He opened his eyes believing he could do it.

                “Edgeworth, you can’t keep me out of that room. The defense is allowed to gather evidence, just like the prosecution.”

                The prosecutor shook his head, “You were in there already. I’m sure you’ve gathered enough.” He turned to Gumshoe, “Let the forensic team go in. I want to see the room myself. Also, get extra policemen up here to keep these two out. You can personally escort them outside.” Edgeworth smiled at Phoenix, “See you in court, Wright.” With those final words Edgeworth walked down the hall.

                Gumshoe seized Phoenix’s arm, “C’mon, pal. We need to get you two out of here.”

                Phoenix didn’t fight. Maya began to protest and he raised a hand to silence her, “Not now. We will figure this out later.” He shook his arm out of Gumshoe’s grip.

                Gumshoe left them alone on the sidewalk in front of the apartment building where the crime scene was located. Phoenix placed one hand under his chin. He needed a plan.

                “Nick! How could you let them throw us out like that? You’ll lose for sure tomorrow,” Maya said.

                Good to know you believe in me, Phoenix thought. Out loud he declared, “We’ll get back in there. I just need to come up with something.”

                “While you think, let’s go get some burgers. There’s a good place up the street,” she looked hopeful.

                He shook his head, “Not now. It could be too late by the time we finish eating.”

                Maya pouted. He tried to ignore her. A person’s life was at stake, a person Phoenix believed was innocent. A person who was relying on him to get a ‘not guilty’ verdict sometime within the next few days.

                He stared up at the building. There had to be something they could do to get past the extra security. If they were lucky, Edgeworth and Gumshoe wouldn’t be there and they could lie their way in. Now he had to hope Maya would work with him.

                He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He took out some money and handed it to her, “Here. Go get a burger if you’re hungry.”

                She greedily took the money. As she put it in her pocket she looked up at him. Guilt seemed to be the underlying emotion she was fighting off, “You’re not coming with me?”

                He shook his head, “Save me something if you can. I have something else I need to do.”

                Maya nodded and bowed slightly in thanks. She turned and bolted down the street. Phoenix watched her go until she was gone. She would be out of the way for a while although his wallet felt light now. It was a sacrifice he needed to take.

                He turned back to the building. He took a deep breath then walked back inside. No one stopped him in the lobby. He decided to avoid the elevator. The sounds could attract attention. So, he took the stairs up to the fourth floor.

                There was a single officer by the apartment he needed to get into. He didn’t recognize this guy and decided to try something. Casually, Phoenix walked up to the officer. The officer looked at him and straightened up.

                “Can I help you?” he asked as the defense attorney approached him.

                “Is anybody in that room right now?” he pointed to the room, its door wide open.

                The officer’s eyes wandered down and spotted the badge on Phoenix’s lapel, “No, there is not.”

                Oops, missed something, he fought not to touch his jacket. “Is there any way I can get into that room?” he pressed on.

                The officer shook his head, “I cannot let you in without permission.”

                Phoenix looked around the hall. No one was around, “Can you get someone who can get me into that room?”

                “I don’t think I can do that. You’ll have to wait downstairs for someone to get back.”

                Phoenix was thinking of something to say in return when a familiar voice cut through the hall, “But sir!”

                “Enough, Detective. We will not discuss this matter any further.”

                 Phoenix’s mind began racing. He panicked and ran toward the crime scene. He slammed the door shut and locked it.

                “Hey!” the officer posted outside protested. He banged on the door.

                Nick could hear Edgeworth and Gumshoe run up. “What happened?” the prosecutor asked.

                “That man just ran inside and locked the door!”

                Still sounding calm Edgeworth continued, “Then use the key and unlock the door.”

Phoenix moved away from the door. If he was lucky, he could collect evidence or there would be a fire escape on the window he could use to climb down. If he were unlucky he would get caught. He looked around the room. Carefully, he tip-toed around the blood on the floor.

                “Who gave you the key?” Edgeworth asked.

                “The manager. He gave me his copy and we weren’t able to find the tenant’s copy. We think the murderer took it,” Gumshoe said.

                The anger was beginning to rise in Edgeworth’s voice, “So, we can’t get in unless we break the door or find the key you lost?”

                “Sounds about right, sir.”

                “Then use your head and get this door open!”

                Quickly, Phoenix darted around the room. He noticed a fire escape outside the bedroom window. Now, it was his time to look for evidence before the door was broken down.

                In the short time he had, he was able to shove a few things that could possibly help him in his pockets. Then the first crack sounded from the front door. Phoenix practically jumped out of his skin. He ran for the bedroom. With as little noise as possible he shut the bedroom door. He slid the window open and then climbed out. As he shut the window, he could hear voices in the living room.

                It seems they were able to get in, he thought as he closed the window.

                He didn’t wait to hear what they had to say and he bolted down the fire escape. He jumped the final rail and landed on the street. Nick went to run but couldn’t go anywhere. “Damnit!” he hissed. It turned out his jacket got caught on a part of the ladder. He pulled on his blue jacket to get it loose. It ripped a little, but he was free.

                He finally took off and made it to the main street where he ran right into somebody. He let out a yelp then clamped a hand over his mouth. It was Maya. He fought an urge to hug her.

                She had both of her hands over her heart, “Nick! You nearly scared me to death. What have you been doing?”

                “Exercising. C’mon. Less talking, more running.”

                “What? Where are we going?” Phoenix began to run. Maya started jogging after him. “Wait for me!”

He didn’t turn around or stop. Instead, he kept running and hoped the only place he saw Edgeworth was in court the next day with no proof he had been in that room.