This is going to be a different sort of chapter. It's going to be almost entirely flashbacks. And only two or three characters are in this one. Enjoy!
Chapter 21 – Flashbacks
Apollo was the first one to arrive to the courthouse the next day. He had barely slept the night before and when morning came he was unable to lay in bed doing nothing anymore so he got up, got dressed, and went to the courthouse early. As he sat in the defendant's lobby, he thought about Kristoph. What was he doing right now?
Sighing, Apollo closed his eyes, thinking back on his time working for Mr. Gavin. It actually wasn't a bad experience. He had loved his time in Gavin Law Offices. He could even remember some of the best moments with Mr. Gavin…
"Mr. Justice, would you care to accompany me to the opening of a new art gallery?" Kristoph had asked Apollo one day at work, "Normally I would ask my friend to go but unfortunately he has fallen ill."
Apollo felt his heart speed up and his face heat up. "Y-Yeah! Of course, Mr. Gavin! I would love to!" he responded. Kristoph smiled gently at him.
"Excellent," he said, "It is tomorrow after work."
As he walked away, Apollo couldn't help but notice his co-worker Lus Tafter silently glaring from across the room.
He couldn't sleep that night. Apollo was too nervous and excited about the gallery the next day. He still couldn't believe that Mr. Gavin had asked him to go with him! He had only been working at the firm for a few months and he didn't think Kristoph had noticed him that much. Perhaps this was his boss's way of getting to know him better?
The next day Apollo worked hard to finish all of his assigned chores quickly and efficiently to impress Kristoph. He didn't know if it worked, but by the end of the day at least he felt good about his work. He tried not to tense up when Kristoph approached him.
"Ready to go, Mr. Justice?" he asked.
Apollo immediately hopped to his feet. "Yes, sir!" he responded eagerly. He grabbed his coat and followed Kristoph out the door. They took a taxi across town to where the gallery was and during the ride Kristoph explained a little more about it.
"The owner of the gallery is a friend of mine," he told Apollo, "He wanted to showcase local up and coming artists to give them a chance to shine."
"That's cool!" Apollo said smiling a little, "It's nice that he's doing something nice for the community."
"Indeed," Kristoph agreed, "I can't wait to see it."
They arrived at the gallery a few minutes later. There was quite a crowd of well-dressed people outside, waiting to get in. Apollo suddenly felt severely underdressed in his work clothes, but Kristoph didn't seem to care or notice. He escorted Apollo past the crowd and through the front doors.
The inside of the building where the gallery was being held was exquisite. Grand chandeliers hung from the ceiling, casting the place in a soft glow. Each artwork was encased in glass or protected behind velvet rope to keep patrons back. Apollo was awestruck.
"Wow, this is really nice!" he commented, "Look how much art there is! I never knew there was so much talent in our city!"
"Neither did I," Kristoph said, "I always thought LA was just full of hipsters and gangsters and homeless people. And an unusual amount of lawyers for some reason."
Apollo couldn't help but let out a light laugh. He hadn't heard Mr. Gavin try to crack a joke before and it was nice to see he wasn't as scary as he thought he was. Not that Gavin was mean or angry, but he was always quite professional when they were at work.
Kristoph led Apollo over to where the art started so they could start observing. Apollo made sure to keep to Kristoph's side the entire time, not wanting to lose him. The two walked slowly through the place, carefully looking at every piece of work there was.
"What do you think of this work, Justice?" Kristoph asked when they came across a peculiar painting. Apollo tilted his head and squinted at it.
"I think the artist was trying too hard to copy someone else's style instead of trying to find his own," he decided.
Kristoph nodded. "I agree," he said, "And what of that one?" He gestured to the painting next to it. Apollo blinked at it.
"It looks like a big frog," he decided. Immediately, Kristoph burst out laughing, startling Apollo. He had never heard his boss laugh before! He had heard him snicker and even chuckle, but never laugh. It was quite a surprise.
As they continued, Kristoph would further ask Apollo's opinion on pieces and he would give them, causing his mentor to laugh at his sillier suggestions. Many of the more formal and uptight patrons of the gallery pointedly glared at them, but they didn't care in the slightest.
By the end of the day, the two of them were a mess of giggles, barely able to hold themselves upright.
Apollo blinked in fondness at the memory. That had been the first time he had really spent time with Kristoph, had really gotten to know him.
The courthouse was starting to become a bit busier as people started arriving. No one Apollo knew, though. Although, there was Winston Payne, looking smug as if he had already won whatever case he was on.
Laying on his back, Apollo decided to think of another memory with Kristoph as he waited for the others to arrive.
Apollo had been getting more jobs around the office recently, and though he was up to the task it made life at the office somewhat harder. Kristoph wanted him to write reports of his cases, file those reports, take calls, and sometimes even go with Kristoph when he had a case. That was his favorite part: when Mr. Gavin brought him along to see a client or to a crime scene. It gave him valuable experience for when it was his turn in court.
He was filing away Mr. Gavin's case files when the boss came to him.
"Mr. Justice," he said, "I need you to write up a report about my latest trial. It needs to be done by the end of the day." He placed a bunch of papers and files on Apollo's desk. "Here are the relevant documents you'll need."
"Um, yes, Mr. Gavin!" Apollo assured him, "I'll get it done! You can count on me!"
Kristoph nodded. "Good. I expect perfection, Mr. Justice," he told him. Then he turned and walked back to his office.
Taking a deep breath, Apollo opened his documents and opened the first file. He felt his heart sink a little. This was going to take forever! Would he even manage to get this done by the end of the day?
I just have to focus, Apollo told himself, I told Mr. Gavin that I would get it done, and I'll get it done!
Hours later, Apollo was only halfway through and he had fallen fast asleep.
When Apollo woke up he was rather confused. The office was darker and his computer had went to sleep. Suddenly realizing what happened, Apollo sat up and felt something fall off his shoulders. Shocked, he looked and saw Kristoph's jacket laid gently on his back. What-?
Apollo stood, taking the jacket with him, and quietly walked over to where Mr. Gavin's office door was cracked open slightly. He peered inside and saw Kristoph asleep at his desk, his head resting in his arms. Apollo couldn't help but smile when looking at him. He went back to his desk, determined to finish that report.
Apollo kept glancing at the clock as it got closer and closer to closing time. He was hoping to get out of the office before the snowstorm made it impossible to get home. He glanced out the window and bit his lip.
That's a lot of snow, he thought. Everyone else had already left except for himself and Mr. Gavin. He knew he didn't have to stay so late, but the office closed at 8:30pm, so he didn't leave until 8:30pm.
When it was time, he stood up and went over to Mr. Gavin's office, knocking gently on the door. He heard a soft "come in" and entered.
"It's closing time, Mr. Gavin," Apollo told him. Kristoph looked up and gave him a small smile.
"Ah! So it is!" Kristoph said, "You know, I'm pretty sure I would stay here all night if I didn't have you to remind me what time it is."
Apollo blushed slightly. "That's not true, sir," he murmured, "You just get wrapped up in your work."
Kristoph huffed with laughter. "That's the truth," he replied, "All right, let's get out of here." He packed up the files on his desk and put them in his bag before joining Apollo at the door.
They made their way to the front door, but when Kristoph tried to open it, it was stuck tight. It wouldn't budge at all. Apollo looked out the window and his heart dropped.
"Uh-oh," he muttered, "I don't think we're getting out of the office tonight."
Kristoph went over to the window and took a hissing breath. Snow had piled up high and was pushing up against the window. There was snow covering the door, preventing them from leaving. They were trapped. Kristoph sighed.
"Don't worry, Apollo, it will be all right," he soothed, "I keep some blankets and pillows in my office in case of emergencies. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll be going hungry tonight, but hopefully this will be cleared up by tomorrow."
Apollo gulped. He hoped his boss was right. He didn't relish the thought of freezing or starving to death in here.
It didn't take long for Kristoph to locate the pillows and blankets in his wardrobe and set them out on the couch. Apollo nervously shuffled over to the couch and sat down next to Kristoph who handed him a blanket and a pillow.
"Try to get some sleep, Apollo," he advised, "And don't worry too much. It's bad for your health."
"Yes, Mr. Gavin," Apollo murmured, settling down and trying not to touch his boss.
"Good night, Apollo."
"Good night, Mr. Gavin."
When Apollo woke later it was still night. It was mostly quiet except for the distant sound of snowplows going down the streets. He sighed with relief. Maybe that meant they would be able to leave in the morning.
He suddenly became aware of someone's arms around him and he looked to see that he had somehow worked his way to sleeping on Kristoph, and his boss had his arms wrapped around him. He let out a tiny squeak. How did that happen? He wanted to wake Kristoph up and apologize, but then he realized how silly that would be. So instead, he simply rested his head back on Kristoph's chest and went back to sleep.
In the morning, the snow had been cleared from the door and Kristoph didn't say anything about the position they were in. He simply smiled and told Apollo to be careful going home. Apollo blushed and thanked him.
Apollo blushed at that memory. Kristoph had always been good about taking care of him. Sometimes he still had trouble believing he was a murderer and wondered if he and Phoenix had made a mistake somewhere. Especially thinking back to the time when Kristoph had asked him to dinner shortly before that infamous trial…
Apollo shivered in the cool air as he trotted after Kristoph, trying to keep up with his long strides. He had to practically run to keep pace with him. This wasn't the first time he had been invited to dinner, but it was the first time he had been invited out of the blue. Usually Kristoph would invite him after a trial but as far as Apollo knew there had been no trial. What was the special occasion, then?
"Um, Mr. Gavin?" Apollo said, still struggling to keep up with him, "May I ask you something?"
"Apollo, please, how many times do I have to tell you?" Kristoph asked, smiling gently at him, "When we're not at work you can call me Kristoph."
"O-Of course, Mr. Gavin sir," Apollo stuttered. Kristoph sighed and shook his head, but the small smile never left his face.
"You wanted to ask me something?" he reminded his apprentice.
"R-Right! Um, is there any special reason you're taking me to dinner tonight?" Apollo wondered. Kristoph glanced down at him from the corner of his eyes.
"Not really," he replied, "Do I need a reason to dine with my favorite employee? Or do you think I'm stepping out of line by asking you?"
"N-No! No, of course not!" Apollo exclaimed, "I-I was just wondering, that's all. Um, I'm really flattered th-that I'm your favorite." He could feel his face turning red.
Kristoph smiled gently at him. "Of course," he said, "You're definitely the hardest working of any of my other employees, even though you've been with me the shortest amount of time. I really value you and your work."
The blush on Apollo's face grew deeper.
They walked into the fancy Italian restaurant together where Kristoph asked the waiter for the reserved table. He led them over to a private table which was quite a bit away from the rest of the patrons. He handed them drink menus before leaving.
Apollo looked over his menu, trying not to look over at his boss. His heart was thundering in his chest with nervousness as he tried to comprehend the menu. He didn't want to embarrass himself in front of his beloved mentor.
"Apollo," Kristoph said, drawing his attention away from the menu, "Please don't be nervous around me. I just wanted to take you out for a relaxing evening. There's no reason to be anxious."
Letting out a small breath, Apollo nodded. "Sorry," he said, "I just didn't want to embarrass you or anything."
Kristoph tossed his head back and laughed lightly. "Apollo, you're not embarrassing me!" he told him, "And I don't care what people think of me outside the courthouse. As long as they know I'm still to be feared behind the bench, let them think what they want!"
With a sigh, Apollo smiled and relaxed. For the rest of the evening, the two chatted about this or that and had an enjoyable time. Apollo found that Kristoph had a lot to say about pretty much everything. He wasn't as scary and unapproachable as Apollo thought. Sure they had socialized before, but never in such a relaxing environment.
Before the evening was out, Apollo had even calmed down enough to call his boss Kristoph like he wanted. The food was excellent and Apollo tried a little wine, exclaiming that it was disgusting, causing Kristoph to laugh.
"Oh dear! I've heard people say they don't like it, but I've never heard anyone shout out their disgust before!" he grinned. Apollo blushed.
"Sorry," he said, "I've never really liked the taste of alcohol."
"It's all right," Kristoph assured him, "It doesn't agree with everyone. Sometimes I forget that because my friend likes to guzzle wine and calls it grape juice."
Apollo couldn't help but snort with laughter. "He must do that to try to feel less guilty about his bad habit," he snickered.
Apollo flinched when he thought back to that, realizing now that Kristoph's friend was Phoenix. It's a good thing Mr. Wright didn't know he made that comment…
Even though they had finished eating, Kristoph and Apollo stayed at the restaurant a good thirty minutes more. Just talking and laughing and enjoying each other's company. They ordered an Italian chocolate dessert to share, to give themselves more reason to stay and talk.
"Apollo," Kristoph chuckled at some point, "You have chocolate on your lip."
"Do I?" Apollo asked, running his tongue over his lips to try to get it off. Kristoph gave him a small smile.
"Here, let me get it," Kristoph offered. He reached out and gently took Apollo's lip between two fingers, softly rubbing at it. "There," he murmured. He lowered his hand and that's when his and Apollo's eyes met.
Apollo had no idea what was happening to him, but he suddenly found himself slowly leaning forward. He could swear Kristoph was doing the same. Where they about to-? Somehow, Apollo was completely fine with this. He started to close his eyes, his heart racing in anticipation.
"Hey guys!" a loud, peppy, and cheerful voice greeted, snapping the two out of it, startling them and causing them to fly apart, "Funny seeing my boss and co-worker here in a place like this!"
Panting, Apollo looked over to see his co-worker and fellow apprentice lawyer Lus Tafter standing beside their table, grinning wildly at them. But his smile looked forced and fake for some reason. Apollo tried not to frown.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. Lus shrugged.
"Oh just here for dinner," he replied, "I like to treat myself from time to time. It's nice that I can afford it, thanks to Mr. Gavin's generous pay!" His eyes sparkled as he looked at Kristoph.
"Well, it's good to see you, Mr. Tafter," Kristoph murmured, "Come Apollo. We should leave before we're kicked out."
Apollo thought that Kristoph looked rather annoyed as they left the restaurant.
Apollo sat up suddenly, eyes wide. Now that he thought about it again, after all this time, what was going through Kristoph's mind during that dinner? Were they really about to-?
"Hello, Mr. Justice," a smooth voice greeted him, tearing him from his thoughts. Apollo screamed in fright and jumped from his seat. He looked over to see Kristoph smiling pleasantly at him. He was flanked by two guards.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you," he said.
"N-No, that's my fault. I was just too wrapped up in my thoughts," Apollo explained, "Um, you guys don't have to hover around him. He's safe with me."
"If you say so," one of the guards grunted. They released Kristoph and sauntered off.
That left Apollo alone with his former mentor and boss. And Kristoph just smiled pleasantly at him all the same.
"Well, Apollo. The trial is going to start soon. My life is in your hands," Kristoph said lightly. And Apollo swallowed nervously.
This chapter man, it killed me. I was going to have more flashbacks, but this already way too long and way too overdue. Sorry for the long wait. Hopefully, the next chapter won't take several months to come out. And I hope you enjoyed this unusual chapter. If you want updates on which stories I'm working on, follow my Twitter account, White Thunder ThunderingWhite. I basically just tweet about which stories I'm working on and how much progress I'm making on them. Anyway, leave a comment and look forward to the next chapter!