Sins of the Father
"Bulma? ...Bulma?" Bulma's eyelids fluttered open, squinting instantly as the harsh light hit her eyes. Bulma immediately shielded her eyes with a hand.
"W-wha?" she asked, sitting up, her penny novel sliding neatly off her lap to plop onto the floor. Chi Chi King leaned over and caringly picked the book up off the ground.
"You should go home and get cleaned up, honey. You look an awful mess," Chi Chi said demurely, glancing away. Bulma's hands went straight to her hair, raking through it feverishly. Suddenly, she dropped them and slouched back in the couch.
"Who am I kidding, Chi Chi?" she whispered.
"You've been a real trooper staying here like this Bulma, but it ain't gonna help." Bulma sighed and shifted in her seat. Chi Chi sat down next to her, compassionately rubbing her hands against Bulma's.
"I should've done something. I knew better," she whispered angrily.
"But would he have listened?" Bulma shook her head, not upsetting the mass of tangles her hair had settled into one bit.
"Probably not, the old coot." A stern voice cleared above them. They looked up at the same time. A middle-aged, well-grayed man in starched white coat stood before them, holding his clipboard like it was his lifeline. He cleared his throat once more.
"Miss Briefs?" he inquired.
"Yes, Doctor. Please tell me....how is he--my father?" The Doctor stood a minutes flipping through the charts on the clipboard, grunting now and then.
"Looks to be all right. The tourniquet staunched the bleeding...probably saved his life." Bulma bit back a gasp of joy. Blinking rapidly, she flung away the newborn tears from her eyes.
"God... God... thank you so much," she choked out. The Doctor smiled wanly, nodding a few times, his hips bobbing in rhythm--- like the pendulum of a clock. He adjusted the glasses on the bridge of his nose. He cleared his throat once more to catch the attention of the ecstatic ladies. Bulma turned to him, clasping Chi Chi's hands in her own joyously.
"The only thing that disturbed my attention was," he stated, looking sharply at Bulma," how did he get that bullet in his side in the first place?"
"We are here, on behalf of the family, to offer our sincerest condolences for the accident with your father. "The Ox" sends his deepest regards and says that the continued good health of the Doctor will be in his--all of our---prayers," the man said, his thick Italian accent ruling his words. She sat her mouth in a stiff smile.
"Of course, and I thank you for it, gentlemen." She bid them farewell, closing the door firmly behind them. A calm hand descended on her shoulder.
"You must be strong, Bulma... for your father's sake." Bulma nodded with determination.
"I know that, Chi Chi. But it's the way... They make it seem like he fell down the stairs," she started angrily, clenching her fists till they were white in the knuckles. Chi Chi gently put her hands over Bulma's loosening the furious grip.
"Shh... shh... They don't think that--"
"Then why are they acting like--"
"They don't want to make you upset, Bulma," Chi Chi said in a soothing voice.
"Me upset?!" she echoed in an angry tone. "What about my father who's lying upstairs..." She let out a big sigh, collapsing her head in her hands. "It's just not fair, Chi Chi..." Chi Chi led Bulma over to sit on the bottom steps of the staircase. She rubbed her friend's back soothingly.
"I know... I know... And there's nothing we can do," Chi Chi mused sorrowfully. Bulma froze, her shoulders stiff and back arched erect. Her cold, calculating blue eyes stared menacingly at the space in front of her.
"But there is..." she replied coolly. Chi Chi turned inquisitive eyes upon her dear friend.
"What are you talking about Bulma?" she asked. Bulma looked down upon her friend...cold revenge blatant in her eyes like the icey burn of rage, that it made Chi Chi shiver unconsciously.
"We will find the one who did this... and make them pay," she said stonily before getting up and walking upstairs. Chi Chi watched her friend's back, puzzled by her decree and puzzled by her limitless anger. But only one question surfaced in her mind.
"Get hot! Get hot! Get hot!" the crowds chanted as couples shimmied and spun their way around the dance floor. The room was stifling with heat and the smell of bodies, sweaty and closely pressed together. However, no one paied attention to the humid, somewhat putrid stench, not a one took notice of the jamming and jostling of bodies in every crevice of the small space that was The Blue Note. No, there was only the uproar--the calamitous noise that filled the air--a chant like some cult-given oath... binding and impelling.
"Get hot! Get Hot! Get HOT!" the voices chorused, mesmerized by the fluidity of the dancers. A couple in the middle, perspiration thick on their skin, continued to twist and twirl to the hip beat of the jazz band, hitting all the high notes in the corner of the room. Their feet moved faster and faster under the encouragement of their audience.
Her hand absently brushed away her hair as it clung to her cheek. The heat was overwhelming... but so was the desire to keep moving. The fervent pounding of passion was in her ears...pushing her on. Her partner pulled her closer, causing their hips to grind in unison, causing the crowds to cheer louder. She giggled, leaning forward near his ear.
"Let's bunnyhug, baby." He grinned in reply, spinning her to press her back against his chest, his arms wrapped possessively around her narrow waist. She let out another high pitch giggle, resting her head in the nook of her partner's neck, breathing in his scent. A slight moment in the crowd caught her sharp green eyes.
Vejita sighed and leaned his head against the glass of the car, watching as the lights of the city passed him by, just flitting images of the life going on around him. He sighed once more, grunting irritatedly at Goku, who was in the driver's seat, whistling happily. He knocked Goku on the arm, pulling his friend out of his thoughts. The car swerved a little as Goku regained control.
"What was that for, Vejita? You could have caused us an accident!" Goku grumbled. Vejita scowled at him.
"I was trying to get you to pay more attention to road, nitwit. Where is this place anyway?" Violet squealed in the back.
"Turn right here, baby!" Goku spun the wheel, careening around the corner into a narrow alley, just barely avoiding running into the opposite flow of traffic.
"Jesus, Goku! Where'd you get your license, Sears and Roebucks?" Vejita cursed, gripping the sides of the car. Goku spared him a questioning glance.
Vejita pulled on the cuffs of his shirt, unwrinkling the fabric. Then he ran a hand absently through his hair.
"Remind me never to let him drive again," he muttered. Violet beamed a brilliant smile, looping her arms through both Vejita's and Goku's.
"Shall we, gentlemen?" she inquired with a nod of her head towards the front door. Both nodded seriously and she skipped ahead, dragging them behind. And together they entered The Blue Note.
Her heels danced lightly on the pavement as she sauntered towards the front of the building. She rearranged the stylish hat on her head, pressing it over her full aqua wave of hair. Her clutch was firmly tucked under her other arm and her tight-waisted coat was buttoned securely, accentuating her full figure. Her skirt swept back and forth just below her knees, following the lines of her finely shaped legs which ended in tiny kitten heeled pumps, glossy and new. Her bright blue eyes darted about, extremely alert, with a hint of irritation. She twisted her full lips into a pout, looking back over her shoulder.
"Time stops for no woman, Chi Chi. So sometime day, please." Chi Chi scowled at her friend, rewrapping the rabbit fur shawl around her shoulders.
"I don't know why you insisted I come with you, Bulma dear," Chi Chi said hotly. "Never having been south of Bryner St.--" Bulma flashed her a saucy grin.
"Oh, Chi Chi! Where's your sense of adventure?" She turned around and continued to walk primly and with much elegance up the walk towards the front of the club, The Blue Note, with Chi Chi begrudgingly following behind her.
"Hey, Doll? Blue?" Lillian Vanessa Bluefield turned to look up through her thick lashes at her dance partner. He grinned down at her and she felt her body heat up with his radiance. She nuzzled the crook of his neck lovingly.
"Hmm?" she murmured.
"What was you looking at, Blue? You know I gets lonely when you ain't looking at me," he complained in mock lower-class brogue. She grinned, leaning in further to brush her lips lightly against his deeply tanned skin.
"I'm so sorry, Rupert. It was just something... I saw."
"Does it bother you? Whatever it is, I'll get rid of it," he promised huskily in her ear. She giggled in reply, landing another kiss on his hot skin.
"Nothing I can't take care of, Rup darling," she said confidently while slipping out of his grasp. "I won't be very long."
Lillian Vanessa Bluefield slipped through the crowd nodding to a few familiar faces, the dampness of their bodies mingling with her own. Reaching the outer edge of the circle of people, "Blue" made her way to the small bar, motioning to the bartender.
"Something to take away the thirst, Mac," she pleaded. He handed her a glass of water, which she glared at hatefully. He shrugged and walked away. She took her water and drink it straight, lifting the glass bottom up in the air, then slammed it back down on the bar. Blue kept her cat-like green eyes trained on the narrow expanse of the doorway... searching for the thing--what she had just seen. She blinked rapidly, clearing the sweat from her eyes. She shifted on her stool as someone took a seat next to her.
"You look hot. Can I buy you a drink?" She grit her teeth, throwing a glare at the man next to her.
"Try reeling the rod and throw me another line because that one sure didn't work," she muttered sarcastically. The man gave a moan and slapped his forehead.
"Geez... I wasn't trying to--- I was just offering to buy you a drink, Miss," he said, raking his hand through his thick black hair. "You look like you could use it." Blue rearranged herself on the stool, daintily crossing her thighs.
"Why... that's mighty swell of you...err... Mister..."
"Vejita... just Vejita," he said, offering his hand. Blue placed her smaller hand in his.
"And I'm Lillian Bluefield--but just call me "Blue." Vejita smirked, unknowingly making Blue flush.
"All right, Blue. What'll it be," he asked while motioning to the bar. She gave him a pouty little smile, putting a finger to her lips.
"Oh... I don't know..." A slight finger tapped her on the shoulder.
"Lillian Bluefield?" Blue winked at Vejita and turned her head to look at the person who had interuppted.
An intense pain caught her by surprise--some momentous force pushing into the tender flesh of her eye. She let out a strangled cry as the force drove her back over the counter of the bar, her back plowing into the hard wood surface. One last rush of force sent Lillian Bluefield over the opposite edge of the counter, flipped heels over head and landing on the bartender.
Vejita stood stock-still, dumbfounded. Slowly, he turned his head to view the attacker. Her flushed pink face was breathing heavily. The hat on her head leaning slightly forward as if ready to abandon its perch. Quickly she stood up straight, glancing back and forth quickly then choosing a path through the startled crowd with a black-haired woman hot on her heels. Vejita blinked slowly. Could it be? His blue-haired angel?
Bulma jostled her way out the front door, almost losing one of her heels. She growled at the overall ungentlemanliness of this unsavory group of hooligans and underdogs of society. Primping herself once she was within a good distance from the entrance of the club, Bulma waited patiently for her comrad, tapping her heel lightly on the pavement. Chi Chi emerged seconds later, resembling a peacock with plummage ruffled. She had a blatant look of indignation on her face and she silently fumed as she walked over to Bulma.
"Well, that was short-lived. May we leave now?" she asked in a voice that could not mask her anger. Bulma nodded her head towards the waiting car that would take them Uptown. Bulma looked behind her, irritated, when she heard the sound of heavy footfalls approach from behind.
"Yes?" she asked harshly to the 'intruder.'
"Are you all right?" he asked. Bulma's eyes widended slightly. She had seen him before...a day or two ago, in fact...somewhere. Vejita reached out his hand empathetically while she drew back. He sighed heavily. "Show me your hand-- the one you used. It's probably busted up." Bulma unwrapped her hand from the now-damp kercheif she had unconsciously wound around her knuckles. The skin was broken and cracked with bright blood shining in the light of the street lamps. "That cloth isn't gonna help any." Bulma looked up at him with an amused look in her eyes. He was stuck by their startling color. A smile appeared on her lips.
"And what do you suggest, Doctor?" she asked.
"You have anywhere we can go that's not so...umm..," he began while looking around, "public maybe?" Bulma stared hard at him a few seconds before nodding and telling him to follow her. Chi Chi kept throwing Bulma questioning glances as they all loaded into the car. Bulma ordered the driver to the King Manor, taking Cliffton road as to avoid traffic. Chi Chi looked at her friend purposefully.
"Are you sure you don't want me to stay the night at your house, Bulma? I really don't mind--"
"Baloney, Chi Chi," Bulma said with a slight smile. "I'm a big girl. And besides," she added. "I'm sure our new friend with provide me plenty of protection, won't you?" Bulma said, winking. Vejita smiled. He noticed he liked this light and playful side of her just as much as he adored the sad and burning passion smoldering beneath.
"Of course, I won't let a thing happen to her; you have my promise," he said sincerely. Chi Chi glared at him coldly, glancing back and forth between the dark stranger and her friend who was nonchalantly staring out the car window. She huffed lightly and settled back in her seat.
"Ish kabibble," Chi Chi retorted, shirking off the belief that she really cared what happened to her young friend. The car slowed to a stop in front of a giant five-story home, designed in the early Victorian style. The chauffer opened the back door for Chi Chi. She spared a glance to Bulma before stepping out. She motioned for the man to keep the door open a moment longer. She ducked her head back in.
"If anything does happen to her, I'll have you bumped off and make it like you never existed." She looked him over with disgust. "I doubt anyone would miss you anyway," she said haughtily, sniffing. She pulled the fur wrap tighter around her shoulders and sauntered up the stairs to the front door of the mansion. The driver shut the door and re-entered the driver's seat.
"Miss Briefs?" he asked, looking at her in the rearview mirror. She spared him a tight-lipped smile.
"Yes, Miss Briefs," he replied, smoothly pulling the car back into the flow of traffic.
In a matter of twenty minutes of silence, the car rocked to a stop in front of a quaint colonial style with small colonades marking the boundaries of the porch and well-crafted moldings accentuating very window frame. It was painted a muted blue, like the color of fresh slate, with light yellow and white trimmings. Bulma nudged him forward slightly with wide-eyed amusement at his awe of the dwelling.
The butler unbolted the door, receiving his mistress and her guest with evening tidings and taking their coats. Bulma led the way to the kitchen, setting down her purse on the large island in the middle. She turned to look at him, breaking the silence.
"So, Doctor," she mused. "What do you suggest for a hand that has just recently assailed someone?" she asked with a tilt of her head. Vejita tilted his own head in turn.
"Ice?" Bulma threw him an amused laugh.
"Now that's the best idea I've heard all night." She took some ice out of the freezer, bundling it up in a small hand towel. Vejit secured it closed with a rubberband he had found in a drawer. Gently he held her hand and pressed the cool ice pack on her burning red knuckles. She winced gingerly and bit her lip.
"You got a medicine cabinet?" he asked, looking up at her. She nodded and pointed out the bathroom--just outside the kitchen in the hall. He told her to keep the ice firmly on her knuckles while he set off for the bathroom. He rummaged through a few cabinets and under the sink and found a small brown bottle, bringing it back to his waiting 'patient.' He took the ice pack from her hand and pulled her over to the sink, ordering her to hold her hand out over it. She looked at him questioningly but did as he told. He uncapped the bottle and held it near her hand.
"Now, this may sting a little, but I promise it'll clean that right up." Bulma's eyes watered slightly and she nodded, choosing to keep silent. She closed her eyes tightly, awaiting the pain to come. Vejita gently tipped the bottle and watched as a small stream off clear liquid trickled out to splatter on her blood-stained knuckles. She cried out, startled, and pulled her hand away.
"That hurts, you goof!" Vejita winced at her sharp shriek and pointedly glared at her.
"Of course it hurts. I warned you, didn't I? Now hold still. This is the only way to clean those wounds out," he grumbled while seizing her hand. She struggled weakly as he trapped her arm between his arm and his body, pulling so that she was effectively pressed against his back.
"What are you going to do?" she whined weakly into his back. Vejita rolled his eyes and grabbed the bottle of peroxide.
"Don't be a baby and hold still," he ordered. He tipped the bottle slower, letting the liquid drip out in short bursts, cleansing her knuckles. Bulma bit her lips and fisted her other hand in the clean linen of his shirt. After a few moments filled with the drip-drip of liquid and Bulma's whimpers, Vejita pulled away from the sink and released her hand. She snatched it back, cuddling it to her chest.
"Just what the heck was that?" she said in a hurt voice.
"Hydrogen peroxide, I believe. Or at least, that's what the label says," he said while smirking. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the sink. Bulma brushed a few pieces of hair from her face.
"Oooooh," she growled. "You're just like my father--- torturing people for the sake of science," she cried. Vejita shook his head.
"Believe that all you like. But I know it works...because I've seen it first hand."
"Are you really a doctor?" she asked demurely.
"Ab-so-lute-ly not," he said emphatically. Bulma brushed the topic out of the air just as quickly as it had come up. She reapplied the ice pack to her hair, noticing that the redness had dissipated just a bit.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" she asked, turning to walk to the refrigerator. Vejita declined, choosing inside to watch her as she hummed and made her way about the kitchen. "If you don't mind, I'm famished." Vejita grinned.
"Be my guest," he said with a sweep of his hand. Bulma smiled and curtsied lightly.
"Why thank you, kind sir," she purred with sarcasm, grabbing her hastily made sandwich and waltzing out of the room. Vejita shook his head at her whimsicality and followed her. She stepped soundlessly through the backdoors, waiting for Vejita to emerge on the back porch before closing the door soundly behind them. "I'd like to eat out here, if you don't mind. I'd rather not wake up the house." Vejita nodded, strolling over to sit in a wingback wicker chair that gave a little as he lay his weight on it. Bulma's eyes softened as she watched him.
"That's where my father always sits," she murmured. Vejita turned red with embarassment and stood up quickly, excusing himself. Bulma shook her head furiously and pushed him back down in the chair. "I didn't mean you had to get up. You look good sitting there," she commented. Vejita blushed once more, turning to stare out into the well-kept backyard with small orchard and sculpted shrubbery.
"It's a nice night," he appraised, running his eyes over the skyline and the sprinkling of stars in the sky. Bulma murmured an ascent and walked over to lay on a divan made of the same wicker. She slowly chewed on her sandwich, looking very much pensive. Vejita studied her profile---from her fine gently sloping nose, to her full yet dainty lips to her high cheekbones accentuated with the moonlight...to her lustrous hair falling like the flow of a gently river... she was indeed the very picture of a goddess, a Greek goddess, such as only told of in legends.
"What is it?" Vejita was brokenly abruptly in his thoughts.
"You just kept staring...it's not very polite," she said, her eyes narrowing just the slightest. Vejita cocked his head, his lips turning up in amusement.
"Well, it's not very nice just to walk up and punch someone either," he retorted calmly. Bulma's eyes flashed angrily.
"That's none of your beeswax," she grated out between clenched teeth.
"Oh, isn't it? I was just about to buy that lovely woman a drink." Bulma said up immediately, the look on her face, indignant.
"Were you? It just so happens that there isn't anything lovely about her at all!"
"Care to explain?" he goaded, sitting back in the wicker wingback. Bulma gave a rough sigh and flopped back on the divan.
"Lillian Bluefield... a very lowly sort of woman... the kind I would never associate with you see?" she began. Vejita perked forward with interest. "She...she is the reason why my father is... I don't want to get into details. All you need know is that in my rules it is 'An eye for an eye'--"
"And 'An eye for an eye' makes the whole world blind," Vejita pointed out. Bulma scowled at him darkly.
"You wouldn't understand. After all, it isn't your father who was in the hospital---or--or," Bulma cut herself off with a choked sob. "No... you wouldn't understand at all." Vejita narrowed his eyes, pensive.
"Oh, wouldn't I?" he asked, his voice surly. "Try this. Two years behind enemy lines watching as day by day those you have come to depend on... don't come back..ever. Life is too precious, you realize, but too late as your best friend never survives an attack... because of a faulty gas mask. Amazingly you survive, and return home, home to a country that has turned upside down and inside out--" Vejita sucked on his breath, staring out into the darkness of the orchard. His tirade had been in but a whisper yet his voice felt hoarse.
"Surely your family was very glad to have you home," Bulma surmised in a gentle voice. Her eyes had turned soft and glowed with an ethereal light, shining the rays of the moon. Vejita shook his head just the tiniest.
"Believe me. I wouldn't be here if they were. But then it was probably my fault to begin with---"
"But you couldn't have known about the war--"
"It doesn't matter. They are better off without me...and they believe it too." Bulma had moved slowly across the short area of the porch to stand in front of Vejita. With great care, she settled herself in his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling his head to rest on her chest. Vejita gave a submissive sigh and wrapped his own strong arms around her lithe figure. They sat there for full moments in thoughtful silence.
"My father works for the Dragon Gang; selling hooch that they run from across the lake. Chi Chi's father is the master of the Gang, "The Ox" King... and my father was his righthand man." Vejita remained silent but tightened his hold on the shivering Bulma. "It's not that... easy... like some folks think it is. Always telling off the coppers, always having people point and stare--or worse, be afraid of us. But I was born into it and there is no escaping it... not if you're part of the Family." She swallowed nervously before continuing, "Lillian Bluefield is one of the moll's of a Red." Vejita looked at her about to question when she put a finger to his lips. "A 'Red' is a member of the Red Ribbon Gang, run by...God, I forget who... But they've been at war with our Family for years, encrouching on our turf and trying to steal our runs. They're a bunch of yellow-bellied snakes," she hissed, pulling herself closer to Vejita. "There was a shoot out more than a week ago at one of the run-down docks, down by the old warehouses on the lake. Bluefield hit my father with a slugger in his side... He refused to go see a doctor for little less than a week...until he stopped breathing." Bulma tried to fight back the tears, burying her face into the side of Vejita's neck. He began to rock them back and forth rhythmically, soothingly rubbing the small of her back as she fought the racking sobs.
"Is he all right?" Vejita asked with concern. Bulma nodded into his neck. Vejita rocked them back and forth...back and forth and as the minutes passed, Bulma's silent cries became fewer and far between. He murmured gently into the soft skin behind her ear. Breathing in deeply, he was accosted with the sweet scent of lavender and fruits--fresh and sweet. He breathed in again, his lips brushing her skin just barely. Bulma moaned lightly, pressing forward, causing Vejita's lips to settle on her skin. He breathed once more, his hot breath travelling over her skin--making her shiver. Vejita felt a light hand on the side of his face pulling at him. Begrudgingly, he lifted his lips, following where the hand would take him. Passionate lips found his, capturing them in a soulful kiss...meant to conquer. However, Vejita wasn't one to allow himself to be manhandled, no. Vejita wound his hand around her hair, crushing her lips to his and seductively, he ran his tongue over the seam of her lips. She opened them tentatively, fully taken by surprise as his tongue invaded her mouth, taking control of their passionate play. Bulma grinned into the kiss, pushing back, her tongue dancing with his. She was the first to pull away after the seering kiss. She blushed and put a hand daintily to her swollen lips.
"Do you want me to go?" Vejita asked, suddenly alarmed that he had been too forward. Bulm smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning into his embrace.
"No, I don't want you to go. In fact," she whispered to his lips, "I never want you to let me go." Vejita gave her strong kiss, pulling back suddenly, leaving her feeling very bereaved.
"Your wish is my command, my lady."
The sun was pale and virgin over the sleeping city, the overwhelming silence strengthened only by forceful wind. A words carrying the eternal weight of their bearing, breathed by two souls never surrendering to the night.
"I do believe I love you."
"And I have no doubt that I do."
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