Chapter 1: Chapter 1
"Myrtle. Wait. You can't leave like this."
"I'll do whatever the hell I want!" She took a messy sip from her martini before saying something unintelligible, and probably even more vulgar, at him.
He tried to keep her from leaving the dark kitchen by talking, but it wasn't working. When she ran for the door again, he picked up whatever was on the counter next to him - a knife - before getting quickly in front of her. More words were exchanged, until she said that one, unforgivable thing.
The world flashed black as he surged forward, and when his vision cleared he could see blood covering the knife, which was still in his hand, buried in her chest.
Sunday, June 1st
A teenage boy walked confidently down the street; after all, acting like you had authority was the surest way to obtain it. He’d read that somewhere, so it had to be true. Even if it was probably from a fiction book.
He was only imagining the dirty glares people gave him as he swept along. That was it. He was nothing out of the ordinary. All he needed to do was keep walking.
No, he told his brain. That guy didn’t just shout at me. It’s not like I’ve got a scarlet letter on my chest or anything.
When he walked by someone else and he thought he heard more yelling, it was a little harder to believe.
Or do I? Just call me Chase Pryne instead of Chase Key.
He scowled and drummed on his leg -- not with his fingers, but rather a drumstick pulled from his pocket -- as he scanned every business he passed. The number he was looking for was the year the Civil War started… right? What was it, again? Oh, yeah. 1861.
After walking another few blocks and hearing -- imagining -- another few jeers, he finally saw it. The building was two stories, the outside painted navy with a cherry red door and bright yellow accents. Chase sighed. If only his dad had told him how ostentatious the building was instead of just telling him the address. He ignored the little voice in his head saying that maybe, had he been less stubborn and not insisted he knew his way around perfectly, he wouldn't have had to slowly walk fifteen blocks because he didn't know the cross street.
He shrugged to himself as he walked up the drive, adjusting the black strap on his shoulder and the hard case on his back. He was used to the weight, but during the long walk it had cut into his skin. On the bright side, no one had thrown things at him this time, so at least there wasn't a fresh bruise on his back that was being irritated.
Maybe he should be Chase Pryne.
When he knocked on the door with the same false confidence, he heard a voice shout, "Apollo, I choose you!" from inside.
"...I'm not a Pokémon, Athena." The knob turned and then there was a man in a red suit with his bangs flopping over his face. He put on a half smile and said, grumbling, "Welcome to the Wright and Co. Law Offices, technically called the 'Wright Anything Agency'."
"Where you've always come to the Wright place!" a girl shouted from somewhere behind. "Come on, Polly! If you're going to say the wrong name at least do the slogan!" She shoved 'Polly' aside and joined him in the doorway. "Hey, Chase! What's up!"
The boy smiled softly as the man half started and said, "You know him?"
"Yup!" said Trucy cheerfully. "This is Chase Key. We worked on that big science project together."
The other two shook hands. "I'm Apollo Justice, attorney. Nice to meet you."
"You as well."
There was an awkward pause as all of them stared at each other. Then the girl piped up; "So, what did you need?"
His mouth tightened as he remembered, a sinking feeling filling his stomach, and he sighed through his nose. "My dad.” He looked away. “He needs a defense attorney. A very good one."
Trucy smiled softly. "Well then, you're definitely at the Wright place." She hugged his shoulder before saying, "Come on in."
He followed her and Apollo through the hall, which was as brightly colored as the outside. He had forgotten that Trucy’s family ran a law office, but was extremely glad. If he had to trust anyone, he supposed it would be her, and by extension, anyone she trusted so much. As he walked, he pulled his silver trumpet mouthpiece out of the pouch around his neck and began to fiddle with it.
When they got to the main room of the office, the girl lounging on the red sofa flipped her head over its back. Her long, orange ponytail hung to the ground. "Hey!" she said, grinning. She then flipped the rest of her body over the couch and, startled, Chase stepped back.
Now that she was in front of him, he saw her modern suit and blue hair ribbon as she stuck her hand out to him. "My name's Athena Cykes!" That did it. She looked and sounded so much like her… It felt like forever ago and yet he remembered her perfectly. The same broad grin, orange hair, and even, it seemed, carefree nature. Damn he missed her.
His heart began to race, and he tried to rapidly think of a way to make this feeling stop. Fight or flight?
He panicked, and picked fight.
He closed his eyes, contorting his face into what he hoped was a disgusted look. "Who are you?" he said, pointedly ignoring her hand. Instead, he started to throw his mouthpiece a few inches into the air and catching it as it fell.
She huffed. "I'm a lawyer at this office, thank you very much!"
When he opened his eyes, having calmed down enough to be sure of his expression of appraisal, he saw that she had started and that her necklace, which he hadn't noticed before, was yellow with a shocked look that matched her face. "You?" He snorted. "If they're letting toddlers take the Bar then maybe."
He didn't really think that. In fact, he was quite impressed that someone as young as her had done it. However, his comment had the intended effect: she balled up her fists in anger and, he was slightly disconcerted to notice, her necklace had turned a deep red.
"Hey! I finished high school at 14 and I've already graduated college. I think I'm more than qualified."
He huffed. "Well, I don't. In fact, I think I'll talk to just the two of them, thanks."
Apollo was about to jump in, probably to stop him, but his coworker, flustered and furious, cut him off. "Fine! I wouldn't want to defend someone like you anyway." She stomped away into the other room, though she made a point to shut the door carefully.
There was a moment of awkward silence as the pain and panic settled. He winced. That… hadn't been the best idea in retrospect, especially looking at how Trucy felt about the whole thing. She was downcast, with a betrayed expression.
Apollo's face, however, had hardened. "I know you didn't mean what you said," he began.
"Don't ask. But whatever your circumstances, I'm not going to defend anyone who talks to my co-workers as such. If this happens again, I won't be taking this case.”
His heart was thumping again as he looked down and murmured, "Alright." Yep. Definitely a bad idea.
By the time they were all seated on the twin red sofas, Trucy's face had considerably brightened, though Chase could tell it wasn't back to its usual sheen. "So, what do you need us for?" she said.
He sighed again. "I'm surprised you haven't heard. It's been all over the news."
She shrugged. "Our ancient TV broke last week."
"I'd almost be able to say it's been quiet around here without Miss Maya coming to watch Steel Samurai everyday," Apollo muttered almost sulkily.
Not missing the subtle jab, Trucy made a rose pop up between the spikes on his head, which flopped in annoyance.
"Daddy's trying to save up to get a flat screen, but that might take a while. We're relying on Athena's car radio for now." She winced slightly as Chase turned and looked away at the reminder of his earlier behavior. "But tell us what happened."
He looked at his hands and began the story. "Friday night there was a party to celebrate the premiere of the new movie 'Night of the Kutsu’s Return'. My dad… kinda knows the guy who plays the villain, so he was invited. Th--"
"Wait a second." Trucy's eyes were wide as she interrupted him. "Your dad knows Arthur Foley? Well enough to be invited to his premiere party?!"
"And I thought we were cool for knowing the inspiration for the Pink Princess!"
Chase realized that most people weren't family friends of famous actors, even in LA, but this was the reaction he got every time and it wasn't like it was all that amazing. "Can I keep going?" he said, blushing a bit and staring at his feet.
Now Trucy was blushing, too. "Yeah, sorry."
After another awkward pause he continued. "But during the party, the lead actor's wife was found dead."
"You mean Tom Marshall? He must be so torn up! They were the celebrity couple." She turned to Apollo. "We have to catch the real killer!"
He raised an eyebrow and said, "Since when have you been into celebrity couples?"
"Come on, Polly! It's what everyone's been talking about! What kind of a teenage girl would I be if I wasn't?"
Though her hands were on her hips, the look on her partner's face clearly screamed something along the lines of, "A sane one."
She, however, was already standing and pulling him towards the door. "Let's go!"
Chase chuckled. Trucy was back to her normal self, now. He hoped.