Vegeta glared at the girl below him—he’d called her a woman, but she wasn’t more than a teenager. A child. Her blue eyes were wide with panic. "I—what—"
He supported himself with one hand and pressed the dagger against her throat with the other hand. "I hope you have a good explanation for this nasty little thing. It could have done considerable damage to me, had I been unaware of it."
She didn’t move beneath him. "Look at where I work. I need protection."
His eyes narrowed further. "Don’t lie." And she was—she had been lying since they’d come into the room and she hadn’t stopped. "Remember, I have your little toy now."
She was silent for a moment. "You’ll use it no matter what I say, you know."
"Oh really? You’ll kill me if I lie, and you’ll kill me if I tell the truth." He smirked. She was probably right—he would kill her.
"I’ll wait till I know the truth to do anything." Truthful enough.
She glared at him, but made no move to do anything, what with the knife pressed up against her throat the way it was. "All right, think about it. Frieza runs this place, or he financially keeps us afloat. You think Zarbon can afford half the girls he’s got out there? Hell no. He’s in business because of Frieza; it’s kind of tradeoff. He keeps us running, and gives publicity out through the galaxy. We get all kinds in here—we’ve got some of his soldiers on leave, sometimes we get the political refugees . . . hell, sometimes we get some of your kind. You know, the ones who have bounties on their heads to make Coola go broke. When we get them . . . well, we have a deal with Frieza. In exchange for what he does for us, we deal with the ones he wants dead."
Considering her dress was falling off and she had next to nothing on, she was confident and in control. Instead of looking afraid, she looked downright angry.
"So you’re an assassin," Vegeta guessed coldly.
Bulma actually looked haughty. "I am an actress with more than one talent. And don’t forget it."
He growled low in his throat. "You have the audacity to speak to me like that?"
"Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m half-naked and trapped under an equally half-naked Saiyan prince with a knife to my throat. Forgive me, your highness. I spoke out of line." The scorn was evident in her voice.
A white line appeared along the blade of the dagger, before blossoming into red. She didn’t even flinch.
"When I get out of this, I’ll kill you," she told him plainly. "Don’t think I won’t." A fine line of blood trickled down her neck.
"Let me walk out of here alive, and you’ll never see me again," he murmured. "Let me walk right past security, past Zarbon, out of this place."
"Are you asking me nicely?" she demanded, no louder than him.
The dagger pulled away from her neck, and Vegeta pressed himself against her. "As nice as I’ll be."
For the first time, her breath faltered. "You’re a bastard. That’s not very nice at all."
"Think of a better deal."
"I kill you and my rent isn’t such a big deal."
"Honest to the last," he taunted. "At least you’re not ashamed of your intentions." His hand released the knife and tossed it out of both their reaches, and pushed her dress all the way off. She shivered as cool air touched her skin, but the chill faded at the overwhelming heat of his body.
A new shot of nerves shot through her for the second time since the doors had closed on them. She wasn’t afraid of him killing her anymore—that wasn’t an issue. Now she was losing the professional edge she’d had the whole time. All of the sudden, pinned beneath him, she no longer felt like she was a courtesan paid to do this every damn day. Her heart pounded against her chest as Vegeta leaned down and kissed her gingerly, as though afraid that she would bolt.
Oh hell. None of this was expected when she got this job—might as well run with it. "I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into, Prince Vegeta," she warned, narrowing her eyes when she could talk again.
He growled softly, his chest vibrating against her. "Not tonight," he murmured. "Tonight . . . I am no prince. And tonight, you are no lying showgirl."
Bulma faltered. "You . . ." She fell short as he covered her mouth with his own and lay down beside her, his hands stroking her whole body gently. She shuddered again and pulled away from him, almost subconsciously slipping into the mask she wore behind these doors and sliding down him, tossing the loose pants aside absently and drawing her lips down his stomach. Her tongue darted out to tease him as she went further down.
"Well," she purred with a small smile. "Seems you get your kicks out of interrogating scantily clad women, doesn’t it?"
He growled, but said nothing. She ran her tongue down him, drawing a shudder through his body. Her hand traced the muscles in his stomach, taut with the control he was holding onto so tightly. She drew her hands down low on his stomach, her nails a whisper across his skin, and he growled again, softer. Her lips drew down the length of him, her tongue brushing his tip, the only warning he had as she took him in her mouth.
The Saiyan prince was now at her mercy; he couldn’t have even considered stopping her if his life depended on it. He tightened every muscle in his body, realizing distantly that he would lose control if she kept her mouth on him, around him—perfect heat burning into his flesh, all around him as her hands reached back to play with his tail. His growl deepened into a purr and he fought the urge to drive himself farther into her mouth, to immerse himself in her completely. The heat of her mouth, Goddess, even her tongue . . . he was straining against himself as she took in more of him, her tongue working magic that he’d never felt before. A hand came around the front to draw down his stomach again, as she pushed him farther to the edge of losing control, and suddenly his senses were overloaded. Her mouth tightened around him, as her hand mimicked her mouth across his tail, and her other hand went below her mouth and wrapped around his sac, her fingers light and torturous as . . . as . . . coherent thought died as his power level jumped skyward and he exploded . . .
Vegeta fought for control of his ragged breathing, shaking as the final loss of control began to recede. He trembled faintly with the exertion of keeping himself from release—which hadn’t worked anyway, it never did. He took a few deep breaths as the girl—he’d never even caught her name—rested her head on his stomach, rising and falling as he breathed. He ran his fingers through her hair, almost an absent gesture between people who cared for each other. But he was forgetting—she was a showgirl, a courtesan. Not a person to care for, nor a person who would return such feelings. He knew better.
And then came the role reversal: not so much a shift in power, as he was still relatively winded. Cool metal bit into the hollow of his throat, and Vegeta locked his obsidian eyes on her smoky blue. Not a dagger now—a sword, and not his, either. She seemed as confident out of her clothes as she’d been in them, her jaw set defiantly and the sword extended in front of her with a professional grip.
"I’ll tell you once, and you’d better listen to me," she whispered, the tight grip on the sword shaky. "I don’t care if you’re a prince or a pauper, I think the story was called. I have a job I’m supposed to do, and damned if I don’t do something about it." Her blue eyes were no softer than the cold sword digging into his skin, but from the minute he’d locked eyes with her, she’d been uncertain in her words. Her posture and face betrayed nothing. "I don’t know what it is about you, but I like you. I don’t want to kill you. So I’m going to give you one chance to get out of this room and out of this club unnoticed. If someone catches you, I won’t help you out. If you’re stupid and get yourself caught, I wont’ help you out. But I swear I won’t be the one to kill you tonight. So get up—and get your goddamn clothes on, I don’t know if anyone has this room reserved tonight and I don’t know when someone will be in here again. If I see you again after tonight—I’ll kill you. Don’t think I won’t do it, either." But the uncertainty in her voice was enough to make him think it.
He glowered at her as he stepped into his clothes, his feet still a bit unsteady. "So be it, girl. I hardly think a slight little thing like you could make a scratch on me—"
The sword in her hand, still raised at him, came closer.
"But if you feel it so important, you’ll never see the likes of me again in this place."
"Good," she snapped.
"I have yet to pay you, however. So if you’ll give me a moment—"
"Consider it a favor. This one’s on me," the girl told him thinly. "I told you to get out of here, you stupid bastard, and insulting my dignity isn’t giving me a desire to do that."
"I hope you don’t do this kind of favor every night," he taunted coldly, making his way to the door. "I expect it leaves you with poor income."
"I do fine without that payment," she told him haughtily.
"But it pays the rent."
The words hurled back up in her face reminded her again that she was supposed to kill him, and then the new realization that she didn’t want to kill him. She remembered others like him—hunted by Frieza and sent to her the way Vegeta had been. They had all been horrified in the moments before they’d died—but somehow, she didn’t think he’d feel any kindling of horror had she taken him by surprise. He had instead trusted her, let her give him some kind of pleasure. Why? His black eyes held hers for a moment before he said anything else as he walked out the door.
"I didn’t catch your name in all this mess," he said over his shoulder, his voice still cold and now a bit taunting again.
She ground her teeth at the tone. "Sorry son of a bitch. It’s Bulma, for all it’s worth."
"Bulma," he repeated. "Well, Bulma, I do hate to take up your time . . . I don’t suppose it’s politically correct to say ‘See you around.’"
"I’d hope you wouldn’t say it anyway," she muttered. "Now get the hell out, before something else goes wrong."
He didn’t even bid her farewell as his back disappeared out the door and it clicked shut behind him. She didn’t suppose she’d see him again, though . . .
* * * * * *
Author’s note: You think I’m ending it there? Hell no. One more chapter, one more twist and one more resolution. They haven’t seen the last of each other yet! And will Bulma suddenly realize that she’d have been better off killing him—for the sake of her sanity?