Say the Word
"It's not worth it, boy," Radditz grunted, running the smooth cloth through yet another glass then carefully placing it on the shelf with its kind. Goku nodded emphatically, taking that same glass off the shelf and filling it with water. He took a sip, before turning to Vejita.
"Girls like that bring all kinds of trouble, Vejita. I don't want you to get hurt," Goku said, his voice filled with concern.
"I have to agree with my brother. Even if his head is empty most of the time--"
"Hey!" Goku interjected, reaching for a clean plate and a dinner roll. His older brother grabbed his wrist tightly.
"What I was saying is that Goku has a point, but if he doesn't stop making a mess, I'm going to lop off his hands and serve them as entrees," Radditz threatened. Goku just laughed, sitting back in his chair.
"Baloney! Besides, I don't think anyone would order hands, Radditz," Goku joked. The older man rolled his eyes, throwing the dish cloth onto his shoulder.
"What we're saying, fella, is that the mob is not exactly what you want to get mixed up in, you hear?"
"I hear you loud and clear, old man," Vejita said wryly.
"This isn't funny, especially not if the Red Ribbon Gang is involved."
"But Radditz, he wasn't laughing at all---ouch!" Goku cried as the dish towel whipped through the air, hitting the back of his head. "What where you swing that thing!"
"Funny, it landed just where I wanted it to---"
"You're just being sour---"
"And you're always a dimwit--"
"Hey, fellas!" Vejita said, interrupting their bickering. "Thanks for your words. It's nice to know you guys care and all. But I'm not some toddler; I think I can handle my own life."
"And if the coppers keep looking for you?"
"They won't find us because we're leaving."
"What?!" Both of the brothers shouted in unison. "Gosh..." Goku whispered, rubbing the back of his neck thoughtfully. Radditz scanned Vejita's calm countenance shrewdly.
"All right. You have my blessing for whatever that's worth."
"I'm leaving tonight." Goku's eyes widened even further.
"You can't leave me here, Vejita!"
"Don't be a moron," Radditz snapped. "Of course he can. We'll be in touch, right?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Po-so-lute-ly," Vejita replied with a grin.
"Let me at least give you a lift to wherever you're going next," Radditz offered. Vejita paled, unnoticeable in the dim lighting.
"Nah, it's all Jake, man. I can walk---"
"Nonsense," Radditz said breezily, moving towards the door. Vejita folded his arms over his head as Radditz head out the door. The next thing he heard was a booming voice. "CRIPES!" Radditz rushed back in. "Someone stole my futzin' car!" he declared.
Bulma rushed around her room, throwing random articles of clothing in a large valise case. Her breathing remained rapid and her heart felt like it was trying to escape through her throat.
"Bulma! Your father needs to see you!" a large voice boomed from down the hall. Bulma swore to herself, throwing a few other vanity accessories into the leather bag before straightening her appearance before the standing mirror. She steadied her breathing while trying to calm the flurry in her mind.
"Coming!" she shouted back. "I'm coming, I'm coming... Don't loose your head," she muttered. She talked quickly down the hall to her father's temporary room in the farthest corner of the house, away from the noise.
"Rick! Keep that damn cat out of the kitchen!" the housekeeper yelled from below. 'So much for quiet rest,' Bulma groaned to herself. She knocked lightly on the door and was surprised when Yamucha opened it, stepping back to allow her inside. Usually the handsome young Italian rogue was lingering in the shadows of the Dragon Gang leader, as should the appointed right hand of the most notorious gang in all of New York City.
"My father wanted to see me?" Dr. Briefs grunted from his bed.
"Don't about me as if I wasn't here, girl. Of course, I wanted to see you," he said sternly. Bulma shook her head.
"Father, the doctor said to take it easy."
"Eh? I'm a doctor myself, Bulma. I know what my limits are," he replied in a cantankerous tone. 'Grumpy old man,' Bulma thought affectionately.
"Then don't push those limits, Father. I don't want to see you fall ill again." He nodded a few nods then rested his head on the pillow.
"I understand, child. I have also learned from Yamucha here about what you did yesterday," he reported in a harsh tone.
"Yesterday?" she replied meekly.
"At the bank," he reminded her none too gently. "I thought I told you not to get involved."
"I didn't want---"
"Never mind all that," he said gruffly. "What was I saying? Oh yes, your mother made me promise you wouldn't be involved ever. I mean to keep my promise, Bulma."
"I am part of the Family, Father," she whispered.
"Not if I don't say so. You will lead a clean life---"
"How can I if I am already guilty?"
"If I may interrupt, Dr. Briefs," Yamucha said, speaking up, "Bulma is right. She's already involved this far. There's nothing--"
"Yamucha, leave," the older Briefs ordered in a hard whisper. Yamucha turned a cold shoulder and talked out of the room. Bulma released a sigh. "I don't want you to live this way, Bulma..."
"Neither do I, but---" She ran a hand through her hair. "I cannot help but remember... how fragile is the human life. And how can I just walk away?" she whispered to herself. She shook her head. "I was foolish to think--- I will not leave you here, Father."
"Where were you going, Bulma?" he asked with innocent curiousity.
"I thought... I was convinced that there was another way. But my place is here, with you," she pleaded with tears welling in her eyes.
"Come here, child," Dr. Briefs commanded while beckoning to her. "It's in this light... and my old age. Sometimes my heart aches and it becomes too much..."
"...and I can see her looking out through your eyes." Bulma let out a sob and sank to her knees at her father's bedside.
"I love you, Papā," she vowed with all her child-like heart
"I love you too, my little nina."
"She is looking in down on us, I am sure. And she loves us both very much." The somber silence was broken with the rough opening of the door. Yamucha burst through, sweat glistening on his forehead. "Yamucha?" Dr. Briefs inquired weakly.
"It's the Red Ribbon Gang. We got the tip off that they're gonna try to beat us to the Ontario run. We've got to go now."
"My father is not going anywhere, Yamucha."
" 'The Ox' is calling everyone together---"
"Can't you see he's still ill, you idiot? I will go--"
"Bulma," her father said, alarmed.
"I will go in his place."
Vejita looked down at the watch in his hand. He was early but he couldn't help himself. After Goku had solemnly helped him pack, he had hopped a cable car down the mainline, past the tiny wharf and the equally tiny shops all closed in the dead of the night. The street numbers grew as he passed into the heart of the city. He yanked on the cord, signaling to the conductor that he wished to get off at the next stop.
He had chosen the place where they would meet. It was quite out of the way but he wanted to her to know. Vejita shifted the duffel bag over his shoulder, a relic of his past holding all of his future. The heavy bell tolled high up in the steeple. She should have been here by now. Vejita looked at his watch once more before pocketing it.
The sun had yet to rise from the depths of the horizon and the city still lay in the lull of sleep. Yet a lone man stood looking very much out of place on the abandoned sidewalk, in front of the church.
Vejita glanced over his shoulder at the reassuring light that glowed from within the building, making the stained glass glow as well. At least someone else was up at this unusual hour. Vejita's eyes softened from their piercing stare. He was not a religious man by any means, but had been raised in a God-fearing family of the southern culture. However, war takes away any respect for God when a piece of machinery gives you the right to take another man's life. And when good, honest men who did not deserve to die were torn from their lives and their families much before their time. But this church was not just any house of worship; it was where God had given him his life back... had given him a reason to live: Bulma.
Vejita rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. The gentle tapping of the soles of his shoes and the ticking of his watch were the only sounds on the empty street. The silence. The cool rush of air against his brow. It was then that he realized; she wasn't coming.
Bulma sank back in the backseat of the car as it rushed through the deserted streets. The meeting had started rough and simply gone down hill from there. Bulma set her teeth on edge. It was do or die. Her Uncle, 'The Ox', was completely out of control. Chi Chi had hid behind Bulma, truly afraid of the irrational manner in which her father was acting, and that fact scared Bulma even more.
The decision was made to act then. The Gang split, packing into different cars and within minutes the area around the King Manor was empty. All the cars headed North, up through the glades, taking different routes to avoid to arousing suspicion. Bulma sat in the model Ford T, behind Yamucha with Krillin in the seat beside him. Yamucha's hands gripped the wheel tightly as he concentrated on remembering the assigned route to the Northland dock. Krillin turned in his seat to look at her.
"If it gets rough, Bulma, I don't want you to hang around," he said cautiously.
"I'm a big girl, Krillin--"
"Though I don't know why Boss put you in charge of the defense," Yamucha muttered bitterly.
"I don't know why either," Bulma commented cooly, glaring at the back of his head.
"Boss wasn't thinking too clear tonight," Krillin said perceptively, but he was never prepared for the backhand that he received.
"Don't talk about the boss like that!" Yamucha shouted, bubbling with anger.
"Yamucha, calm down!" Bulma shouted back, reaching over to check on Krillin.
"He'll be all right, Bulma. He ain't a woman." Bulma grit her teeth and settled back into her seat, inwardly seething.
They reached the docks on the edge of Lake Erie, the humid mists rising off the water like an ominous cloud. Bulma shuddered, pulling her fur coat tighter.
"Bulma?" She was shaken out of her concentration on the cold and looked up to find Yamucha staring hard at her.
"Were you listening?"
"It's awful cold," she mumbled. He sighed roughly and rolled his eyes at her.
"I told you: We'll move when you give the word."
"Move?" she asked, half in a daze.
"Yes, we'll---" He threw his hands up and defeated and jumped out of the car. "Just get out, woman." Bulma harrumphed and stepped daintly out of the car, her heels kicking up gravel and causing it to skitter.
"So I give the word?" He nodded in a seriousness and stomped off to make contact with the other gang members, with Krillin on his tail. Bulma walked cautiously, noticing the precariousness of walking on the slippery rocks in her heels. With a begrudging sigh, she took her heels off anf held them above her head as she used her hands to steady her as she walked.
The frigid water of the lake kissed and withdrew the rocky shore in a seductive dance. She smiled whimsically, leaning over to brush her fingertips against the frothy surface. The water was icey to the touch and every inch of it still sheathed in darkness, hiding the secrets of its depths. Bulma looked to her right, noticing thr group of men milling around the cars like ants--- though more disorganized. Yamucha stood at the head of them, loading his gun with ammunition, checking the barrel to make sure it was clean, then tucking it into the waist of his pants, in a position for easy drawing. She sighed and looked back to the vast stretch of water.
So this was her life. What she had chosen. And why not? They were her Family; living, providing, dying for each other. That was a hard thing to turn away from. And as Yamucha said, she was already involved this far.
Still... She shook her head. She could not imagine ever abandoning her father. How cowardly! ...Yet a part of her wished to be more selfish, to take what was offered to her, even on a tarnished plate. Could another path to her future give her more happiness than this life? She shook her head once more.
It was all a fantasy as easily discarded as it was dreamed up. She could never be what he needed: the perfect wife. She could pretend to have womanly innocence but her heart would know that it was black.
But was there anyway to say no? To any of it---- to it all? Could life just stand still as she was now? Eternally staring at this ocean and all its placid grace with all the calm it brought to her heart? The ocean... but to be faced with it in every waking moment would be a constant reminder of what she had sacrificed.
A perfect dream sacrificed for this life and what repercussions it would bring. Would she be running from the authorities forever? Would people look upon her with fear...and perhaps disgust, knowing what she stood for? Shielding their children's eyes so they would not see her, making up scary tales in which she would snatch them from their cradles if they were not good and did as their mothers and fathers said... Would she be a monster?
Bulma returned her gaze to the cutthroat group of men, some of which were scaling a small boat that would take them across the lake. The others would remain here under her leadership. Bulma's heart grew tight. 'Is this monster strong enough?' she asked herself.
A half an hour... then an hour passed as she stood on the shores and they all waited for the boat to return. The defense group stood edgy on land, waiting for disaster to strike as well.
That's when they heard it. Several gun shots pierced the deadly calm of the air, followed by gutteral shouts, then more gun shots. Yamucha and the others quickly untied a skiff from the dock, preparing to go after the boat and confront the saboteurs. Yamucha threw the rope onto the dock when he was violently nudged by Krillin who then pointed to Bulma standing frozen on the shore.
"Bulma! Bulma!" She turned her head slowly to see him with her eyes. "Just stay on land!" Yamucha yelled at her. "But we need to you to give the word!" She looked at him slightly confused, seemingly aloof. Yamucha made an exasperated motion with his hands. "Say the word, Bulma! SAY THE WORD!"
* * * * *
the next chapter is the epilogue. i hope you are all enjoying the suspense. the last chapter ties in with the first. what will happen? @_@ LOL. when i started writing this, this next chapter is the first thing i wanted to write. screw everything in the middle. the whole story has been building up to this one point, to this one scene. i hope you are as thrilled as i am to finally find out the conclusion to: "A Regular Bonnie and Clyde" it was orginally going to be called 'Say the Word' but i changed that to this chapter's title.
i would really like to thank BUNNI GIRL, the author. who beta-ed most of the story and helped me through my writer's block. but most of all, she's the one that convinced me that this was worth continuing. this story would never have been finished if not for her. we've lost contact over the past couple of weeks... but BG if you are reading this, THANK YOU!!!! ^_~