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Chip on My Shoulder

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It is a lovely day in Los Angeles, and Maya Fey is a girl on a mission.  

You see, there’s this grocery store down the road from Wright & Co Law Offices. Maya can never remember the name off the top of her head, but she knows it’s some big chain, it starts with a P and it rhymes with Phoenix, so for the sake of her nefarious plans she’s going to temporarily dub it the Phoenix Store.

As for said nefarious plans… 

Well, they aren’t actually that nefarious, per say, she just likes the sound of nefarious plans . In fact, Maya doesn’t think she’d be going out on a limb to say her plans aren’t even illegal. Since when, after all, has it been a crime to lie about who your legal guardian is?

“Um,” Nick says, “I’m pretty sure that’s been a crime since… forever.”

“Pssh,” Maya waves a hand dismissively. “I won’t even be lying, really. All I’ll be doing is pointing to you when they ask me where my parents are, because apparently even though I am seventeen I’m not old enough to get free samples without parental permission.”

“Still a minor.” Nick leans back against the office couch, staring up at the ceiling with a defeated sigh. “Run this by me again?”

“This grocery store,” Maya says firmly, “won’t give me their free samples, because apparently I’m not adult enough. So I need you to come with me, pretend you’re actually going to buy something, and nod and smile when the sample people look at you.”

“...Maya, no.”

He makes the mistake of closing his eyes. Maya counts to three under her breath, then launches herself onto the couch and her feet into his lap. Hard.

“Maya, yes!”

“Hey! Ow,” Nick complains, shoving her legs to the side. “Fine, sure, I’ll do it.”

“You will?”

Nick sighs. “Do you have to sound that surprised that I’m saying yes?”

“Good point.” Maya clears her throat and says, somewhat more firmly, “You will! Thanks, Nick!”

“Anytime. I just…” 

“Mhm?” Maya, undeterred, kicks her legs back and forth.

“Why?”

“Well, why not?”

“Okay, fair,” Nick concedes, “but why? When did I become the impulse control in this office? Wait, shit, am I the impulse control in this office?”

“That’s a scary thought.” 

“Wh— hey! Maya!” 

Maya giggles. “Anyway, why do I want to scam a random store out of free samples?”

“I mean… yeah.”  

“Because I’m hungry, dummy!” Maya punches his arm. “And I know you’re cheap and this’ll hit your wallet less hard, so you’ll complain about it less.”

“Okay… that’s… surprisingly thoughtful of you.”

“I’ll be able to get more samples if I say I’m grabbing one for my dad too and if you don’t like them, I’ll get double. Also, they called me a little kid wearing a costume! I am not a little kid, and I am not wearing a costume!”

“And there it is.” Nick yawns, chuckles to himself, and in one quick motion, he’s up on his feet. “Well, what are we waiting for, then?”

“Huh?” Maya blinks. “Wait, you can’t go like that, Nick! That’s… no. Just no. Who goes grocery shopping in a suit, Nick? Who?”

“I don’t know, maybe Edgeworth?”

Maya, getting up off the couch herself, pauses mid-rise to consider this. “I mean… you’re right, he would. But does he even go grocery shopping? Like, does he have to eat?”

“I’d assume? He would? Prosecutors are people too, Maya.”

“Are they though?” Maya asks. “Because honestly I’m not actually sure. I mean, that frilly napkin he wears…”

“I think it’s called a cravat?”

“It looks really uncomfortable. Like, I’d be so itchy if I was wearing one of those!”

“Maya… you are literally wearing that huge necklace.”

“Oh.” Maya looks down at it. “Good point. Except hey, wait. Wait! I wear this over my clothes, that is a contradiction, Nick, and you know it.”

“Yeah… okay, I got nothing there.” Nick shrugs. “He probably still has to eat though.”

“Maybe he photosynthesizes!”

“Photo—you win, that’s hilarious.”  

“Course it is, I’m hilarious, and that means you can’t wear a suit to go grocery shopping.” Maya jabs a finger into Nick’s chest. “Come on, you’ve got to have another outfit somewhere.”

“Yeah, at my apartment,” Nick complains. “Maybe I’ve got an old t-shirt somewhere. Can I at least wear suit pants?”

“Better than no pants, nobody wants to see that. I’ll wait for you outside.” And Maya’s off like a shot, though she pauses at the office door and yells back, “Don’t take too long, Nick!”


 

“I’m starving, Nick. Took you long enough—” Maya pauses. 

She stares at Nick.

Nick stares back. He thumbs at the attorney’s badge pinned to his sleeve nervously. 

“Uh, Nick?”

“Listen,” Nick says defensively. “I feel more secure with it on, even if I’m not really acting as an attorney exactly. Okay?”

“Okaaaay. Nick. Nick, Nick, Nick, that was so not what I was talking about.”

“Oh. The shirt?”

“No, the mustache you drew on your face.”

“There’s a mustache—?”

“No, there’s not a mustache on your face, yes, of course I mean the shirt! Nick, I have exactly two questions for you. You know what they are?”

“Why and… why?”

“Close! How did you get that, and where can I get one?”

“That’s… that’s basically the same question twice, Maya.” Nick runs a hand over his hair. “Uh… Mia got it for me. Congrats on surviving law school present. Lost it that day, of course. Didn’t find it again until like a week ago.”

“Oh. That… makes sense. No idea where she got it?”

“eBay? Maybe?” 

“Maybe. Ask her next time we have a big case?”

“Will do. So… do I look enough like your dad now?”

“Pfft, absolutely not! Ahaha!” Maya snickers. “Dumb older brother, maybe!”

“Hey! I—” Nick sighs. “Do I at least look like I’m over eighteen?”

“...maybe we should draw some stubble on you to make sure!”

“No. I’ve had enough of that for a lifetime.” Nick sighs deeper this time. “Come on. Let’s get your free samples.”

“Okay!” Maya starts to skip down the hall, then stops so fast she nearly falls over. “Wait, what do you mean, you’ve had enough stubble drawn on you to last a lifetime?”

“High school drama club. For some reason I always got cast as people’s dads.”

“O… kay. Talk and walk! Store closes at five and we need to be there!”

Nick sighs deep enough to put the Grand Canyon to shame, but he follows her anyway, down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk below.

“Uh, there’s not really that much to talk about. There was Mr. McAfee, MacDuff, Prospero, Ladislav… uh, my senior year the girl playing Elle and her understudy in Legally Blonde both caught a cold on closing night and I was the only one left who knew all Elle’s lines so I put on a wig and we just played it completely straight. Well, gay. No explanation for why Elle Woods suddenly became Elliott Woods and it was honestly funnier that way.”

“Uh… I have no idea who any of those people are but that sounds cool?”

“It was. And the guy playing Warner was really…” Nick coughs into his fist. “Anyway! Uh, where’s the place?”

“It’s…” Maya frowns, and looks further down the road. “...I think we went the wrong way, Nick.”


 

Two people walk into a Publix in Los Angeles. One is clad in ceremonial robes, practically bouncing on her feet, and dragging along the other.

The other, of course—maybe her brother, maybe her father—appears to have been wearing a bright blue suit, and is still wearing the dress pants and shoes. However, he’s apparently ditched the jacket in favor of a t-shirt slightly too big for him.

The t-shirt, of course, is black with bold red letters. Those letters read, plainly for everyone to see, GOD LET ME LIVE ANOTHER DAY AND I’M ABOUT TO MAKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE’S PROBLEM.

One particular customer, making his usual weekly grocery run, takes one look at them and very nearly trips over his own feet. He doesn’t, instead ducking into the nearest aisle and yanking his cart with him.

“Wright,” he mutters. “Why are you here?”

Of course, he isn’t going to actually talk to either of the other customers he recognizes like a normal person. Instead, he puts the box of tea he’d intended to purchase back on the shelf he’d taken it from, and flees like the cowardly man he is.

(Unlike Wright, he is wearing a suit, and would be quite recognizable.)