"...and then, since you're both madly in love, you'll finally get married and Trucy will be my unofficial sister!" the teen dreamily looked at an extremely mortified spirit medium and a red-faced lawyer.
"Pearly, for the last time, enough with that 'true love' talk. You're embarrasing me, and Nick is as red as a lobster!" the older spirit medium expressed in exasperation.
The sound of her voice seemed to wake Nick from his stupor and he cleared his throat in embarrassment, then went forth to scratch the back of his head for good measure.
"Yeah," he sheepishly said, drawing quizzical looks from both girls around him.
Instantly feeling very self-conscious, he cleared his throat yet again.
"I mean," he began, drifted off and found something to say in another flimsy trail of thought. "It sure sounds like an interesting theory, Pearls. Sure does."
An awkward silence ensued, in which Nick and Maya still tried to comprehend what they had just listened to and Pearl tried to understand what Nick and Maya were behaving so strangely for.
"What's wrong?" she finally asked when she couldn't stand the silence anymore.
Again Nick seemed to wake from a deep slumber, startled at the sound of the little girl's voice.
"Oh, uh… well, you see," he clumsily began talking before thinking about what he wanted to say. "It's just that… how can I say it? Maya? You know what I mean?"
She looked at him with a befuddled expression, brows furrowed and eyes narrowed, moving her head in a motion of indecision between nodding and shaking.
"Of course," she chose to confirm a statement that was never made. "Yeah, sure."
Pearl observed them attentively, her eyes squinted suspiciously.
"What's the matter?" she virtually repeated her previous question.
The persons in question turned back to her.
"Well," Maya spoke first, carefully choosing her words. "It's just that... Pearly, it's been years since you've started telling us that we're 'special someones', be it interesting as it may. Can you just give it a rest? Isn't that right, Nick? Can I say that?"
Nick was surprised to find Maya looking at him with what he could only interpret as worry. There was trouble in her eyes he did not fully understand.
He cleared his throat yet again, even if there was nothing left to clear by now.
"Totally," he agreed, looking at her intently for a second and then nodding his head at Pearl, who was still watching them disturbingly closely. "You have very unusual ideas. Very, uh… alternative ideas."
"One might even call it avant-garde," Maya added.
"Yes," Nick agreed as a matter of course. "That's exactly it."
Pearl looked outright sulky by now, her dainty hands clenched into tight fists.
"What are you talking about?" she exclaimed angrily, surprising both Nick and Maya and disrupting their charade. "Are you trying to tell me the two of you are just friends, after everything that has happened? Don't look at me like that! I'm not stupid!"
"Pearly, no one in their right mind would get that idea…" Maya tried to soothe the teenage girl's rising temper, being completely honest nevertheless. This was most clearly not a stupid girl…
"So are you?" Pearl challenged them both, unwilling to let them off the hook.
"Are we what?" Nick asked, and he wasn't consciously teasing her. He simply didn't know where his head was anymore. Intentional or not, though, they had now officially surpassed the girl's boiling point.
"Now you two listen to me," she said determinedly, and somehow seemed to be much older than she actually was. "And listen closely, 'cause I'm not just making this up here. If the two of you are just friends; if you look at your relationship as something casual; if you even so much as dare to take it for granted; if you don't treasure each other more than anything else in the world; if you don't need each other; if you don't depend on each other; if you don't trust in each other; if you don't find completion and comfort in each other; if you don't see what you truly ought to be; if you don't want to spend the rest of your lives at each other's side; if you can imagine something else, someone better, someplace nicer; if you are blind and deaf and stupid; if you, of all people, are just friends, then there truly is no more to be had than friendship in this world. If Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey are not in love, are not a manifestation of love itself, then there is no hope for all the rest of us who dream of it and yearn for it. The two of you are what we believe in, what we look up to. And if you are telling us that it's all just one big delusion, well… then to hell with you!"
And with that, eighteen year old Pearl Fey stomped off along the hallway with angry tears in her bloodshot eyes, pushing past an ecstatic magician and a surpised lawyer, leaving behind the unheard echoes of her words in a pervading silence.
"I'm scared of Pearl!" Widget unexpectedly announced, displaying a yellow face.
Seconds passed uncounted. Nothing seemed to move in a world only shared by Nick and Maya. Sounds from other places seemed to drop to hollow noises. Time might as well have stood still, for there was nothing to account for its passing. There was nothing.
And then there was something.
Slowly but surely, Nick and Maya simultaneously turned to face each other, every inch seemingly taking an eternity to happen. When the motion of their bodies finally came to a gentle halt, they raised their eyes to look upon each other. And when their piercing gazes through eyes unveiled locked, they truly beheld one another completely and utterly for the very first time, for only now were their eyes wide open.