Chapter One

Disclaimer: TORIYAMA-san is the owner of DBZ…not I. I’m merely borrowing his characters for a moment…and I promise I’ll consider giving them back when I’m done.

1920’s slang: definitions/translations can be found at the end of this chapter.

**************** ******* *******


Chapter One


*Buffalo, New York; within the shady recluse known as Doug’s*

As the door slowly opened, chimes announced the arrival of a tall, mysterious man dressed too well to be one of Doug’s frequent customers.

Doug who was—surprisingly—the owner of Doug’s, slowly exhaled, his relief evident. The man who’d just shown up wasn’t one of those damned cops out to ruin him. It was only another one of those bootlegging gangsters. He continued to clean tables, determined to keep his ‘restaurant’ from the suspicions of the Feds…but keeping an eye on the stranger nonetheless.

The new arrival didn’t pay any heed to anyone in the poorly-lit room…except for a lone figure, sitting erectly in a wooden chair, an empty Coca-Cola bottle before him and an aura of anxiety about him. The handsome man, carefully made his way in that direction and silently sat in a chair before the lone figure, recognizing him even in the poor light, due to his keen vision. "What’s the word from Anthony?"

Marco lowered his head, his white hat hiding his face from view. His voice was low, and full of urgency. "I can’t say. Not here."

Kakkarot lifted his brows as he looked around the shady speakeasy and the flat tires either sitting in chairs at the front of ‘restaurant’ or smoking as they leaned against the walls. The only person there who looked conscious of both Marco and his existence was the owner, who was still eyeing them suspiciously as if he suspected they were contemplating robbing him. Kakkarot nodded once curtly at him, and stood up. "All right, let’s take a walk."

Marco stood up also, both ducking their heads to avoid hitting the low ceiling as they proceeded to march outside. He muttered his thanks as Kakkarot held the door open for him, and pulled his trench-coat more tightly about himself. It was yet another chilly night in Buffalo. The streets of the city were relatively empty, except for the occasional Model T cruising toward Doug’s speakeasy. He glanced at Kakkarot, silently admiring the man’s finely tailored suit. "Cigarette?" he asked into the silence.

Kakkarot shook his head, an old memory of the last time he’d smoked almost making him smile. "I’ll pass thanks." He stopped on the corner of 5th and 4th street, the dim streetlight he was standing under made him look sinister. The young man put his hands in his pockets, gazing up at the sky as he tried to remember exactly what he’d wanted to do with the money he’d made last week.

The shorter man shrugged and lit his cigarette, taking long deep drags to settle his nerves. He’d seen and heard a lot of scary stuff during his first week on the job, but nothing like the stuff he’d heard from Anthony just the other day. He pushed his hat back on his head so that he too could look up at the stars. Exhaling slowly, he took a deep breath before he began to speak. "Anthony says his boss has control of the whole East Side of town, not to mention the West Side. He’s been bumping people off—well, I should say having people bumped off by some of his torpedoes. The Feds have no idea as to what he’s been up to, so in other words, he’s completely in the clear with them."

Marco dropped his cigarette and put it out with the toe of his shoe as he remembered what Anthony had told him about how his boss had those men killed. ‘…And if he finds out you’ve been squealing on him, ah, hell, he has your tongue cut out of your damn mouth…and then he slits your throat. I just keep thinking that could be me; I could be the next one…’.

Kakkarot laughed humorlessly. "He was always better than me at this kind of thing. I’ve never been that good at tactical planning and whatnot. Thank goodness for you Marco." He took his hand out of the pocket of his pants and held it out to his advisor. "Thank you. And tell Anthony to watch his back. His boss will figure out sooner or later that he’s been selling out to me."

The advisor wearily shook Kakkarot’s hand, his handsome face full of exhaustion. "I’m glad to do it boss. Can’t let that guy take over the whole of Buffalo."

"That’s the spirit."

****** ***


*Briefs Residence, Buffalo, New York*

"Damned cake-eater," Bulma cursed, brushing out her long hair. "Who the hell climbs a rickety old tree to try to get onto a girl’s balcony?"

Chichi laughed as she sat on her friend’s bed, twirling a strand of black hair around her finger. "The poor darling. He broke his leg during the fall, didn’t he?"

Bulma nodded, setting her brush down, and turning to face Chichi, her beautiful face displaying her annoyance. "Serves him right. I told him I didn’t want to see him anyway."

"You’d treat your beau like that? I hate to see what you’d do with a husband."

The blue haired female laughed scornfully. "Yamcha is NOT my beau. I saw him flirting with some more of those damned flappers."

Chichi sighed in exasperation at her friend’s idiosyncrasies. "If it wasn’t for your hair Bulma you would be considered one of the ultimate flappers! Well, I suppose the same could be said for me," she admitted cheerfully.

Bulma smiled and opened her mouth to speak, but before she could the door opened. "Mother!" she said, putting up her façade of innocence.

Mrs. Briefs shook her head sadly, having overheard Chichi. "She’s right you know, daughter. In short time, you’ll become one of those dreadful ‘vamps’." Her whole persona radiated elegance and—as her daughter would be quick to inform you—of the ‘old fashioned ways’, back in the ages where women wore long respectable dresses and cotton stockings, instead of the tight short dresses and silk stockings the ‘Jazz Babies’ were wearing before her. Mrs. Briefs looked disapprovingly on Bulma and her friend; both dressed in the new ‘craziness’ popular among the Flaming Youth.

Wickedness shone in the eyes of the Briefs’ only child for a moment as she felt her impatience with her mother growing. "Ish Kabibble, Mother! Don’t be such a blue nose. Twenty-three skidoo will you?"

Her blonde mother sniffed delicately at her daughter’s use of slang, ignoring the stifled giggle she heard in the black-haired girl’s direction. "I don’t care to know what all that means. Just be ready to come down to dinner soon." And with a swish of her skirts, she was gone, closing the door behind her.

Chichi burst into laughter, clapping her hands delightedly. "Oh Bulma! That was really giving her the high hat! I don’t even know what that all meant."

Her friend sniffed delicately quite by habit, unaware that she’d picked it up from her mother. "I just said ‘What do I care Mother, don’t be such a prude, get lost, etc’." She rolled her stockings down a little lower and pulled a stray string from her blue dress before looking at the now silent female on her bed. "You should have got that Chichi! Jeepers, won’t you paying any attention when those spiffs came here that one day?"

Chichi blushed, pushing her hair behind her shoulders. "I guess not…I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of that sheik…he was definitely not one of those usual…flat tires that hang around here." She rose off the bed, blushing again as she adjusted her short purple dress. "I feel so silly in this dress," she murmured, glancing critically into Bulma’s mirror.

The older girl rolled her eyes, giving the mirror a parting glance before opening her bedroom door. "You look swell. Now come on. I’m getting hungry."

********* ********


*Within Sovereign Industries*

"Check this out boss, this order is definitely all wet."

Vegeta scowled as he snatched it from Anthony’s hands. "Give me that." He read it quickly and silently to himself, his scowl only growing deeper as he realized Anthony was right. Something was wrong. The order said he was going to be selling to 18 speakeasies and to 36 private buyers…yet he’d only received enough hooch for 15 speakeasies and 25 private buyers. "This smells like Fed work," the big shot muttered, giving Anthony back the paper. "Rush the remaining orders here. And I want you to find the rat we were talking about earlier…and get rid of it," he said, his insinuation quite clear.

Anthony gulped, taking the paper from his boss. "Whatever you say, Boss."

Vegeta nodded coolly to him, dismissing him from his office. He waited a long moment, and then pulled a piece of paper out of his desk. It was a report informing all about anxious Anthony’s adverse and appalling antics. {Kakkarot will pay for this undermining of my workers.} His black eyes rested on the report one more time before he crumpled it up and tossed it in the direction of his trashcan. He made it. As usual. Leaning back in his chair, he propped his feet—adorned in expensive black shoes—on his desk and tossed his black pinstripe hat in the direction of the coat rack, not really caring if he made it or not.

Vegeta—or as he was known on the streets, the Dark Prince or just simply the Prince—was definitely among the more successful Syndicate Gangsters out there…and he was also one of the younger ones out there. While he was only 28 years in age, he had a following comparable to some of the activity stirring around in Chicago. It’d taken him a while to earn his first $500,000 but after that, the money just kept pouring in. In the beginning, he’d turned to the Syndicate to get away from poverty, from ordinariness. Since he was 14, he’d worked for a crooked little man named Truman Villas who’d introduced him to all the ‘right’ people. The fast life had given him a rush at first…but as he was growing older, he found himself growing tired of this life…

A knock on the door jerked him out of his reverie, and he grunted an ‘enter’ placing a mild frown on his face to greet the intruder. "What is it Thompson?"

The young boy handed him a slip of paper, and sniffled loudly, as was his habit. "I don’t know sir, I can’t read."

The Prince quickly read the piece of paper and put it aside immediately, an odd look of both disgust and indecision on his face. "As if I have time for some party," he mumbled, absently trying to remember the last time he’d gone out for entertainment purposes only. {I’ve been too busy…}

The messenger boy’s face lit up in an instant smile. "That’s ab-si-tive-ly pos-i-lute-ly copacetic!" He raised his brows at his boss, undaunted by the man who intimidated most. Vegeta—the boy liked to think—was the father he never had. "You goin’ Boss?"

Vegeta snorted disdainfully. "I’m no lounge lizard or some cake-eater. I don’t make it my business to be seen at every party with every woman this city has to offer."

Tim shrugged, adjusting his cap, and sniffled again. "I only know there’s goin’ to be some beauts there, sir." He grinned at Vegeta, whose expression was unreadable. "Recognized the seal on the letter. It’s from the Briefs’ mansion."

The big cheese slowly slid his feet onto the floor. "Briefs…I’m unfamiliar with that name. They’re obviously not one of our buyers."

"Briefs has dough enough to buy all of Canada’s booze. AND he has a daughter. She’s younger than you, but you should check out the gams on that vamp!"

Vegeta quickly changed his expression to a scowl to hide the grin that was threatening to take over his facial features. "Scram, kid. Get back to work."

Tim grinned as he started walking toward the door, holding it open as he spoke. "Don’t be such a high hat, boss and maybe you’ll get It once in a while." He let the door close after this, not wanting to be there when Vegeta fully processed what he’d just said.

The boss only chuckled to himself, used to the younger boy’s capers. {Maybe the brat is right. Perhaps I should check the party out…maybe I can interest this Briefs guy in some sales.}

******* *****


*Buffalo, New York; Briefs Residence*

"Oh no," Bulma said to herself, as she eventually began to notice the odd looks she kept receiving from the servants and anyone else who happened to see her in the house. Finally, fed up with wondering, she cornered Becky. "Becky, are my parents throwing me a surprise party?"

The servant girl’s eyes widened considerably. "Whatever gave you that idea, miss?"

The birthday girl folded her eyes and eyed the girl sternly. "Don’t give me that shit, Becky. I know something’s up. Why don’t you just tell me already?"

Becky quivered. She’d always been afraid of Bulma Briefs. Not because of her infamous explosive temper, but because she was somehow able to sense that this girl had the potential to do great things; either disastrous or benevolent. The servant girl cleared her throat and decided the Mistress’ order to ‘not tell Bulma a thing. Don’t even acknowledge her birthday in anyway’ was going to have to be put to rest. "Yes, miss. The party is scheduled for eight o’clock." She raised a dark eyebrow. "Will you be attending miss? There are a lot of interesting people attending and there’s supposed to be dancing."

Bulma made no reply, instead going to her room. Glancing at the clock on her way up, she realized that the time was 5 minutes after five o’clock. Sighing in anticipation, irritation, and weariness, she began to search for something to wear to the party. How wise of her mother to know that she could never run from a dance.

******** *****


Kakkarot quickly filled his mouth with food, giving the impression that he hadn’t eaten in days, when really it had only been minutes. His followers ignored it, having grown as used to it as humanly possible. In their minds, their boss’ peculiarities were worth overlooking due to his more than fair treatment of all who worked in his small, yet close-knit family.

Jonan cleared his throat. "Uh, boss. I got a question for ya."

The ravenous boss hesitantly put his eating utensils down and swallowed. "Go ahead; shoot."

The uneducated man, who’d pledged his allegiance to Kakkarot’s crime family 4 years ago cleared his throat and gazed uneasily at his boss’ other men before proceeding to speak. "One a the boys heard a story—er a rumor that’s a saying that The Prince has been invited to the party. I were just wandering if that’s true."

Kakkarot cracked his knuckles loudly at mention of his former friend and co-worker. He absently began to spin a fork between his fingers. "Parties aren’t Vegeta’s scene. If he’s going, he’s going to be trying to get a hooch sale to Briefs." He glanced at his men for a second and cleared his own throat a little uncomfortably, trying to think of the best way to ask the question he’d been thinking for a long while now.

As if reading his mind, Jonan grinned, traces of his former good looks showing beneath the wrinkles of age. "Miss Chichi accepted your letter, and her reply is, ‘yes’."

Nodding brusquely, and acting as though he didn’t give a damn one way or another, the young Syndicate leader made a dismissive noise. "Enough jawing. All of you go help Ted." As soon as his men vacated the premises, Kakkarot exhaled loudly in relief. The twenty-five year old was determined to maintain the respect of his men, which he felt he could not do getting worked up over some Jane he’d met at a party long ago. He went back to eating, content with the fact that he’d see her again in a few short hours.

*********** *******


*Bulma’s Room*

Bulma pinched her cheeks, putting a particular pink in them that she felt no amount of warpaint could create. The front door had opened many times, beginning around seven o’clock. If she stood at the top of the carpeted staircase and gazed down, she could faintly make out the sound of her parents’ muted voices and someone else’s… {Chichi!} she thought, her face full of both delight and annoyance. {Of anyone, Chichi should know how much I dislike birthday parties.}

Now that she gave it more thought, she realized just exactly why her birthday had become a dreaded occasion, rather than a celebrated and eagerly anticipated event. Each passing birthday marked one more year of her maidenhood—that is to say, her bachelor-hood. {Do men find my company and my appearance so adverse?} she wondered, quietly going back to her bedroom, and closing the door, her face morose as she walked past her four poster canopy bed.

Sitting on her window seat, she gazed unseeingly out into the darkness, where a crescent moon hung, a pale dreary yellow. {Am I just another Dumb Dora? Will I grow to become a spinster like Aunt Mary?} Bulma grimaced at the thought; a colorful image of her eccentric aunt and her 20 meowing cats coming to mind. Her mind whirled as an odd idea came to mind. {What if I start acting docile and stop being so domineering? I can’t help but think that men would find meekness attractive…that and my money.}

A soft knock sounded on her door, which was opened to reveal her mother, a tiny smile on her usually expressionless face. "Bulma, dear, I know how I told you earlier that you were to stay in your room and not leave it…but I’ve decided that you may come down now, and perhaps read a while with your father and I."

Bulma hid a smile, well aware as to what her mother was up to. Feigning lack of knowledge as to what was going on, she followed her mother down the carpeted stairs slowly. Much to her surprise, she saw no one. Every other time her parents had thrown her a surprise party, the guests had always been waiting at the bottom of the stairs, smiles on their faces and the words ‘happy birthday’ on their lips. But it was painfully obvious that no one was there. "Mother, where—" she started to ask, and then cutting herself off as she remembered she wasn’t supposed to know about this party. She glanced at her mother, who watched her with a smug look on her face.

"What was that dear?"

The young woman blushed. "Nothing. Where’s Father?" she asked, embarrassed for her mistake, and mad at Becky for lying to her. {I could have sworn I heard Chichi though…}

Mrs. Briefs patted her blonde bun and led the way through the large parlor. "In his study." She sighed and gazed at one of the fingers on her hand. "Oh darn," she said mildly. "I’ve broken a nail. Open the door for me, will you dear?"

Bulma rolled her eyes opening the door to her father’s study…which was eerily dark…except for tiny pinpricks of light. The over head light came on to reveal the guests and her friend, Chichi, holding the cake with the candles on it. The guests shouted ‘Surprise’ giving Bulma a start. After the laughter died down, and Bulma’s heart rate returned to normal, she carefully made her way through the crowd to her friend, acknowledging ‘happy birthdays’ along the way.

"Happy Birthday," Chichi said, giving the cake to Mrs. Briefs, who once again smirked at her daughter, before bustling out of the room.

The 23 year old smiled slightly. "Let me guess; you and my mother are responsible for this?"

The brunette nodded, moving out of the way of a servant with a large platter of what appeared to be shrimp cocktails. "Yes," she admitted, toying with the long strand of pearls that was around her neck. "I made the cake and made up the guest list, and your mother’s responsible for everything else."

The blue haired beauty raised her brows in question, looking at the familiar and unfamiliar faces around her. "Who all did you invite?"

"Only the people who live in this part of the city…and out of those, only those who are rolling in the dough like you are," Chichi said lightly, trying not to let her jealousy show through her voice.

Bulma tensed slightly, as she sensed someone watching her from across the room. Quickly looking in that direction, she caught Yamcha’s surprised glance, and just as quickly looked away, her face full of disgust. "Him?!" she exclaimed, her voice exasperated.

"I didn’t invite him…I suppose someone else brought him…it says on the invitations your mother made to bring a friend." She shrugged, unconcernedly. "He’s here in a wheelchair so he’s harmless today. I guess you were right about his leg being broken."

The two women stood for a while in companionable silence watching the other guests drinking spiked-punch and socializing. For a while at least, the two Jazz Babies were content to just be standing there. Bulma’s thoughts on her little experiment, and the wrinkle in her new blue-green dress, and Chichi’s on the handsome man she’d met at the last party she’d gone to…the one so unlike all others, with his boyish smile, and love of food. He’d written her a note, asking her if she’d speak with him at the party tonight, and she’d instantly replied, ‘yes’ without taking the time to think. Now she was beginning to wish she had.

A momentary lull in the guests’ conversation caught Bulma’s attention, and she noticed that in the doorway stood a tall man, with wide shoulders, dark eyes, beautiful black hair, and a dark blue suit on. She also noticed how his eyes quickly passed over her…as if she was nothing. She felt a sob rise in her throat, {so it’s true! I AM some unattractive Jane}. She glanced at her friend to see if the twenty-one year old woman had noticed, but it was obvious that she hadn’t.

Chichi’s face flushed as she looked on him again. Her eyes seemed to feast on his very presence. It didn’t take him long to spot her, and once they’d locked eyes, any other notion in their minds had long since dissipated. As if pulled by some mystical force, the two met and walked away together, out of the study and through the door which led to the patio.

Bulma bit her lip and was somehow able to keep herself from cursing, trying to keep up with the experiment she’d set up. Dutifully, she went from guest to guest—paying extra attention to all unattached male guests except for Yamcha—keeping up her obligations as one of the hostesses. A servant bustled in and informed her that if everyone would move into the Briefs’ very own ball room, they could begin dancing.

She clapped her hands together, gaining everyone’s attention. "Excuse me, I have a quick announcement to make. Dancing space is in the ballroom…if you’ll follow James." The Briefs beauty waited patiently, until every last person had cleared the room, including Yamcha who was wheeled out with at least four cooing beautiful women at his side. Her face filled with rage and she thought about finding Chichi, and forcing her to come to the dance room with her just so she could vent her fears and insecurities to her best friend, but at the last moment, opted not to.

"That lucky Jane," she said to herself, ignoring the jealousy she felt growing inside her as she remembered where Chichi had gone and who with. She took her sweet time walking to the ball room; wanting to be alone with her thoughts for a while. {If I just relax for a while and have a more positive outlook on things, I’m sure things will go much better tonight}. Taking a deep breath, she began walking more quickly toward the ball room.

Bulma eventually made it there, signaled for the band to start playing, and glanced down at her dance card. {Appears as though it’s almost completely full}. Bulma smiled, feeling a little better about herself. "Who’s first?" she asked aloud, trying to read the scrawled name. "Anthony?"

The 33 year old grinned, eager to start laying his irresistible charms on this well-to-do young woman..

After several nearly crippling mistakes made by her first dancing partner, Bulma found herself completely unimpressed by Tony’s dancing ‘expertise’. "Let’s sit down," she said taking a seat, glad that her feet could take a break from the abuse Anthony had seemed intent on giving.

Anthony grinned again as he sat beside her, putting an arm around her shoulders a little hesitantly. She could sense that he was trying not to tick her off, and that was ticking her off even more; for some reason, this guy seemed to be rubbing her the wrong way. "What do you do for a living, Tony?" she asked, her voice sugary sweet, not belying the hostility she had for this blonde, handsome man..

"I’m a upright businessman," he said, and for some reason, that answer seemed to amuse him immensely. He quickly sobered, straightening imaginary wrinkles from his high-priced suit. "As you can see, I can quite unmistakably afford to keep a family."

Bulma lowered her head slightly, as if she was hiding a blush, when she was really hiding the disgusted look on her face. "How very clever of you." She let an appropriate amount of time lapse before voicing her next question, making her voice that of the stereotypical meek, blushing virgin. "Have you anyone in mind to help you start that family?"

Tony ‘The Tiger’ Villas lowered his voice, going into his ‘Sexy Mode’. "I do now," he purred, pulling her closer to him. "How about heading down the middle aisle with me, Sheba?"

Bulma opened her mouth to reply, but stopped when she made out the striking shadow of a figure against the wall beside her. Pulling from Anthony, she found the maker of that shadow and she felt her heart skip a beat. The man was at least six feet tall with the most extraordinary build she’d ever seen. His shoulders were wide, and to Bulma, he seemed to radiate a kind of passionate and animalistic heat. His face was that of a young man, but his eyes were those of someone with infinite wisdom. His hair was jet black and though it was cut short, it still stood straight up. "Who—who is that?" she asked the Tiger, her voice shaking.

Anthony frowned, upset that she’d missed the usually very effective lowering of his voice. Turning his head, he found who the 23 year old was so fascinated by, and was immediately struck with terror. "It’s—that’s—Vegeta. He’s involved in illegal trafficking and that kind of stuff. Why is he here?" He said the last sentence almost to himself, standing up quickly. "Excuse me." And with that, he was gone, disappearing quickly into the crowd.

Bulma only barely heard him and didn’t even notice when he left, so taken aback by this handsome man.

The Prince smirked as he felt all eyes on him. Some of the people there knew him and possessed hatred and fear for everything he stood for, more knew him and respected his influential power, while few knew him and liked him. Vegeta only felt a certain amused repugnance for them all.

Among the minority that liked him were the mothers of unwed daughters they’d love to see with their hands on the Prince’s fortune—with no care as to how he made it—so it was no surprise to any of the other guests when all of these women quickly sprang to his side, their starry-eyed daughters in tow. Knowing some of the women through business, Vegeta was forced to at least be civil to all the zealous mamas who handed him their daughter’s dance cards eagerly. "I am terribly sorry ladies, but I am here for a short time only, so I will be unable to dance with all of your lovely daughters tonight."

Mrs. Briefs, who’d walked into the ballroom in order to determine what all the frenzy was about, gasped when she saw the man who had some of Buffalo’s most distinguished women in a tizzy. {He’s surely someone of importance then! And they’re trying to nab them for their horse-faced daughters. Well, he’ll definitely change his mind when he sees MY daughter.} Straightening her wedding ring on her finger—as if to remind herself that she was happily married—she seemingly glided in the direction of the suitable bachelor, who seemed to be growing a little ennuyé by all the attention he was receiving.

"I beg your pardon sir," she said loudly in her beautifully refined voice, making her way through all the disgruntled mothers there. "I am Mrs. Briefs, the hostess tonight. I’m holding this party in celebration of my daughter’s birthday. Perhaps you’d like to meet her…?"

Vegeta’s eyes quickly gleamed with something unreadable for ½ a second as he realized who this woman is. {So this is Briefs’ wife, huh? I’m getting closer to him, I see}. He smiled at her in a way that women found sexy and irresistible while his enemies found it to be both predatory and bone-chilling. "I would be thrilled to meet her. I hope she is only half as beautiful as you are," he said, the lines coming easily to him.

Mrs. Briefs turned quickly to hide her blush, and walked toward where she could see her daughter sitting alone. It was obvious that the young woman had been watching the whole thing. {Good,} thought her mother {I just hope she knows better than to ruin this fortuitous occasion}. "Bulma dearest," she began as they reached her daughter. "This is…" she trailed off, allowing the man to introduce himself.

"Vegeta," the Prince said, a little surprised to see how beautiful this Briefs girl was. {Thompson was right} he thought, gazing at her appreciatively. He quickly dismissed those thoughts. {I’ve no time for someone who’s going to want more from me than a short-term relationship, and her kind is always wanting to walk the middle aisle}.

Bulma felt her heart rate rapidly increasing inside her chest, and from the strange way in which this Vegeta was looking at her, she felt that he too could hear the pounding of her heart. "Pleased to meet you," she said automatically, unsure as to what exactly was expected from her.

Vegeta raised his eyebrows. "Is that all you’re going to say?" he asked, placing his hands in his pockets.

The 23 year old could feel herself growing a little impatient, but decided to keep up the ‘Docile Bulma’ act for a while. "Need I say more?"

"It’s your turn to introduce yourself," he supplied, his tone slightly mocking, yet ultimately sexy in Bulma’s opinion.

"You already know who I am," Bulma snapped, finally losing her temper "my mother told you that." She frowned as she noticed her mother had left them alone there sometime during this conversation. {How bizarre…} she thought, not letting her discomfort show.

The irritating man merely smirked, sitting beside her and gazing deeply into her furious blue eyes. "Maybe I just want to hear your name from your own lips," he said, his voice low.

Blushing, Bulma kept her eyes locked on his, unused to being led about like this. "Oh," she said softly.

{Got her,} Vegeta thought, trying to keep the triumphant look from his eyes. He didn’t want to spoil things by letting her find out that he was merely using her for now. He eyed her meaningfully. "Well, are you going to say it?" he implored her in his most winning voice.

Melting at the low sexy tones, Bulma found herself nodding dumbly, entranced by his eyes, his voice…everything about him. {Oh God…he’s definitely the cat’s meow…what is it he wants me to do…? Oh yes}. She opened her mouth, her brows furrowed slightly. "Bulma…".

Vegeta allowed his leg to brush against hers and he leaned closer toward her. "Such a divine name," he murmured, cupping her chin in his rough palm.

Bulma absently thought how odd it was that his hands were rough when his voice was so smooth. {He must work or ride horses or something…}Her eyes widened slightly as she remembered just what exactly Anthony had told her before he’d run off, afraid for his life. She stood up, putting some distance between them. "You’re a-a no good criminal," she professed, her eyes full of anger and self-disgust.

{So close. It’s a damn shame that I’m going to have to leave her} the Prince thought, standing as well. "Whatever gave you such an idea?" he asked lightly, putting just the right amount of incredulity in his voice and in his face.

The young woman stood as proudly and elegantly as her own mother, lowering her voice in her ire. "I don’t know what you’re up to, but Anthony told me all about you and I won’t let you pull one over on me, you…palooka!"

Shaking his head in what appeared to be partly despondency and disappointment, Vegeta answered her. "You shouldn’t believe everything you hear…especially from someone like Anthony. Good evening," he said, bowing to her cordially, then leaving.

Bulma watched him go, her anger still intact for the moment, but she was painfully aware that underlying her wrath was both desire and regret. {He’s just another Yamcha} she thought, angrily quickly drinking a glass of the champagne that her father had taken out of the attic in honor of her birthday. "Damn all men straight to hell," she grumbled, looking for something to refill her glass.

******* ***

*Out on the patio*

"You do?" he repeated incredulously.

Chichi smiled, her cheeks flushed. "Yes, I do."

Kakkarot hugged the woman tightly, his love for her moving him to actions he’d once considered ‘downright sickening’. "You’ve just made me the happiest man alive," he murmured, kissing the top of her head.

The 21 year old looked up at him, her face full of love. "You are going to talk to my father first…aren’t you?"

His smile only wavered a second. {Can I really get her father to approve of me?} he wondered silently. He started as he realized the love of his life was still waiting his reply. "Yes, of course."

Chichi kissed him on the cheek. "You promise?" she teased.

Kakkarot nodded, dismissing his uneasiness. "You know I couldn’t deny you anything. I’d promise you the world if I knew you wanted it."

The brunette laughed. "I’m not that demanding." She shivered a little as the night air seemed to break through their loving embrace. "Let’s go back inside." Her face shone as she thought of something. "I should tell Bulma the good news!"

***** ****

*In Dr. Briefs’ Study*

"…his name was Vegeta."

Dr. Briefs’ head snapped up as the name met his ears. "Vegeta did you say?" He frowned as he tried to remember where he’d heard that name before.

"Yes, I’m sure that was it," his wife replied, her long skirt making a slight swishing sound as she walked across the study to sit beside her husband. "Do you think anything will come of them?"

Her husband shrugged, lighting a cigarette. "It all depends on Bulma. If she seemed as—"

A rapping on the door interrupted him. The couple gazed at each other, wondering who could be knocking.

"Come in," the doctor said, standing and taking a few steps toward the door.

Vegeta walked in, his face inexpressive. "I hope I’m not interrupting anything important…"

Briefs put out his cigarette and extended his hand. "No, no. You must be Vegeta. The name’s Briefs. Pleasure to meet you, young man."

The organized crime leader took the older man’s hand and shook it firmly, taking it for granted that the doctor knew his name. "Same here," he said, setting up a course of business in his mind. "I couldn’t help but notice the presence of alcohol in your home," he said nonchalantly.

He hadn’t noticed Mrs. Briefs’ presence until she stood up and walked to her husband’s side. "It’s only in honor of Bulma’s birthday," she said quickly. "We didn’t make it or anything."

The Doctor watched Vegeta’s face, trying to figure out what this man’s angle could possibly be. "What of it?" he asked, his eyes full of heedfulness. "You’re not one of the Feds…are you?"

Vegeta chuckled, pleased that this was going as he liked. "No, no. Of course not. I’m just in contact with someone who could supply you with more in the future if you so desire."

Briefs raised his brows. "What makes you so sure we’re interested?"

This caught the dark haired man by surprise. Vegeta frowned. "Who are you buying from then?" he asked, instantly suspecting Kakkarot had beaten him to this sale.

"No one," Mrs. Briefs replied, back to her former calm. "It’s alcohol from years ago, dear. We’ve been saving it ever since we got married. I’m afraid we used the last of it tonight, though."

Her husband nodded in agreement with everything she just said. "So, as you can see, we’re not really breaking any laws here."

{If they’re not buying from anyone, then there may still be a chance…}. Vegeta’s frown disappeared quickly. "Forgive me for jumping to conclusions," he stated, his tone grave.

Dr. Briefs nodded in acceptance, his wise old eyes watching this boy from behind his glasses. "Are you one of those bootleggers son?"

He’d had years of practice in answering this question, but for some reason, he found that he couldn’t think of one that he found to be feasible. So, instead he asked a question of his own. "Do I look like one?"

Mrs. Briefs blushed. "Well, Briefs, I’d have to say he doesn’t quite look like your typical racketeer."

Her husband took what she said in stride. "True. But he avoided answering my question."

{There’s no fooling this old man} Vegeta thought, not seeing any harm in replying ‘yes’ to this man’s question, but before he could even open his mouth, the door was thrown open and a beautiful, enraged woman flounced in.

"That’s it Father! I’ve had it! This is so totally IT! I—" Bulma quieted herself once she realized who her father was talking to. "You," she hissed reproachfully, her eyes on Vegeta. She turned back to her father, who was watching her with an expression of both amusement and exasperation on his face. "What is HE doing here?" she demanded stabbing a thin finger in Vegeta’s direction, her voice thicker than usual.

Vegeta grinned, partly in relief of the interruption and at the look on her face. "Ah, so we meet again."

Dr. Briefs glanced at his wife for a moment before returning his attention to his enraged offspring. "Bulma, dearest, what ails you child?"

Bulma instinctively withdrew a cigarette from her purse, but then threw it on the floor as she realized what she was about to do. "It’s Chichi! She’s engaged to be married!"

"Really?" her mother drawled, her tone dry.

Bulma’s body shook in rage as her imagination paired with the alcohol she’d had worked together for worse rather than for better. "I know what you’re all thinking," she raged "you’re wondering why SHE’S got someone and I haven’t. And you’re laughing at me!" She swayed slightly on her feet as she spoke her accusation, holding up her hand when she noticed her father and Vegeta take a step in her direction. "I’ll have you know that I am perfect husband material. I-I just haven’t found the perfect husband yet." She lost her equipoise then and would have fallen to the floor if Vegeta hadn’t caught her. She shook slightly in his arms as she looked up into his dark eyes from behind her drunken haze. "Why can’t anyone love me?" she asked so softly that only Vegeta’s superior hearing was able to pick it up. Her cloudy blue eyes closed as the alcohol finally claimed her fully.

Vegeta felt his chest tightening as he looked down at the unconscious child-like beauty. His nose was able to pick up the scent of something strong on her breath. "Whiskey?" he said, raising his brows at her parents, his disapproval evident.

Mrs. Briefs frowned when she heard this, taking a step toward the two and then thinking better of it. "Whiskey? Bulma only drinks the occasional glass of champagne or wine. She’s always said she hates the stronger stuff." Her voice belied her concern for her daughter more than she probably would have liked. "Excuse me," she said, leaving to get blankets and other necessities for her unconscious child.

The Doctor looked into Vegeta’s eyes silently for a moment and then nodded, as if he found something there he’d been looking for. "She’ll be all right. If you don’t mind just putting her on the sofa here..."

The younger man nodded, lifting the girl easily in his arms and carefully placing her where her father had requested. "It’s late. I’d better take my leave," he said, turning his back to the sleeping woman in an effort to forget her.

"Oh, yes. My apologies for keeping you here." He paused a moment, stroking his gray mustache contemplatively. "If you ever get sick of the life you’re living right now son, I will be here to help you to the best of my abilities."

Vegeta tried to keep himself from laughing aloud. {If only I could…} he thought ruefully. "I’ll keep that in mind," he said, seeing himself out.

******** *******

He descended the steps slowly, deep in thought, his hands plunged deep in his pockets. {I’ve accomplished nothing at all today.} Contrary to what Vegeta expected, he felt no qualms about his ‘waste of time’. He shrugged, as he finally finished descending the final flight of stairs, entering the dance floor again.

Vegeta began to walk a little faster as he remembered that those eager mothers were lurking about somewhere…maybe trying to sneak up on him to try and convince him to marry their daughters. {I don’t think I could be very civil to them just now} he thought, his face full of wry amusement.

He paused during his escape as he got an odd yet somehow familiar sensation…from something or someone in this room. A sense of…similarity. {But I thought Kakkarot was the only one…}. He cleared his face of all emotions as his eyes finally came to rest on his former companion, who was shaking hands of those around him and accepting their ‘Congratulations’ with smiles and ‘thanks’.

He tensed as he was shaking Yamcha’s hand and muttered his ‘thanks’ lowly as he turned to meet Vegeta’s eyes. "Vegeta," he said so softly, that not even the woman by his side heard him.

The Prince stood aloofly, off in the shadows of the room, his eyes unreadable as Kakkarot began walking toward him, seemingly unafraid. {The sap} Vegeta thought, feeling his anger toward this man growing as the distance between them decreased. {I should kill him and that ugly bitch clinging to his arm}.

Kakkarot seemed to sense this thought and he tried to get Chichi to let him go alone, but she was having none of it. He couldn’t just leave without talking to Vegeta though, so he kept going, his face full of conviction. "Vegeta," he said finally upon reaching him.

Chichi looked from Vegeta to Kakkarot, her eyes full of confusion. "You know this man?"

Kakkarot nodded, his eyes still locked with Vegeta’s. "A long time ago…yeah."

"Ten years," the silent man finally said, crossing his arms over his chest.

The younger man winced at the acid tone. "You haven’t changed."

"Nor have you," Vegeta said, his eyes lethal.

Chichi shivered at the tension between the two. Something told her not to trust or like this Vegeta character, and she’d be damned if she’d let him keep being unkind to her Kakkarot. "Why do you dislike him so?" she demanded. "What has Kakkarot done to you?"

Barely controlled rage filled Vegeta’s face for a brief moment, and then it was gone; snuffed as quickly as a candle. "I’ll let him be the one to enlighten you. Now if you’ll excuse me," he said brusquely, leaving.

"Wait," Kakkarot said, leaving Chichi’s side and following him to the Briefs’ front door where his old friend finally stopped, turning to glare at him.

"I should kill you where you stand," Vegeta growled angrily, his voice low.

"Just listen," the younger man said. "I’m out of the game now. I’m seceding to you all my workers, resources and my customers…" he trailed off, his kindly dark eyes full of profound honesty. "I’m getting married. I don’t have room for trafficking anymore. And it’s not—" He stopped, not wanting to say the ‘fun anymore’ part.

Vegeta frowned. "You were never fit to be in the business anyway Kakkarot. You don’t fit in there. If I hadn’t shown you everything I’d learned, you’d never have gotten as far as you did." He placed his white hat with the black band on his head and opened the door. "Keep your eyes on that female, Kakkarot. There may be men crazy enough to find her attractive," he said gruffly.

The newly engaged man grinned eagerly as—in his own way—Vegeta forgave him…at least to some extent. "Thanks Vegeta, I will. Are we friends again?" he asked, his voice hopeful.

The trafficker laughed humorlessly, opening the door and letting in a strong gust of cold night air. "There is no room for friends in the life I lead. Even you should know that by now Kakkarot." He walked out into the darkness of the night, a little less hate in his heart.

***** ***

*Dr. Briefs’ Study*

(After the party)

"Oh for Goodness’ sakes," Mrs. Briefs said lowly, tucking the blanket more snugly around her daughter. She gazed at her the unconscious girl in a rare show of love.

The doctor sighed as he watched his wife. "Come dear. Bulma will be fine there for one night."

Reluctantly, the blonde woman left Bulma’s side, turning off the lamp in the study. "I can’t help thinking how bizarre it is that Bulma actually drank Whiskey. I could have sworn—"

"Let’s not think about that right now," her husband interrupted, gently steering her from the study and up the next flight of stairs to their bedroom. "What did you think of that Vegeta fellow?"

"Oh," the woman said, blushing a bit. "I-I suppose he was nice enough. And he certainly seemed wealthy, but I think he and Bulma got along terribly…judging from her reaction to seeing him."

Briefs nodded. "That’s what I originally thought. But did you see the way he held her?"

"Yes…but that doesn’t…I mean. Oh for Goodness’ sakes," Mrs. Briefs said, her eyes widening in surprise. "You don’t think that--"

"That he loves her?" The doctor supplied. "No but he might learn to over time. Our Bulma has a lot of growing up to do still."

"Growing up?" his wife said, putting a hand on her husband’s arm. "She’s 23 years old! How much older must she be?"

Dr. Briefs opened their bedroom door and steered his wife in, closing it behind them. "Age is just a number. I’m talking about her maturity level."

Mrs. Briefs removed her shoes and sat down in her husband’s favorite chair. "Well, that may be true. But do you know how lucky she is!? How many women can say that they have husbands that actually love them?"

"You can," her husband said tenderly, putting an arm around her shoulders.

She blushed, leaning into his embrace. "I only hope I can have the same for our daughter…"

******** *******

(Exactly Two Months Later)

*Bulma’s room*

"It’s no nice of your parents to let us have our wedding here," Chichi said for the fifth time.

Bulma smiled wanly, patting her friend stiffly on the back. "You’re my friend Chichi. I just want the best for you," she said, her voice flat.

The brunette turned from the mirror she’d been looking into, and scrutinized her friend. "Bulma, what’s wrong?"

The Maid of Honor laughed nervously. "No-nothing…I’m-I’m…" She burst into tears. "Oh, Chichi, why can’t I be as happy as you? I’m glad you’re getting married, but now I’m going to be so alone."

Her friend’s eyes widened in surprise and she grabbed Bulma’s shoulders and shook her, desperately wanting her friend to return to her senses. "Bulma! For Goodness’ sakes! You can’t cry! You’ll make me cry and it took us both forever to get my makeup just right!"

Bulma laughed weakly at Chichi’s usage of her mother’s favorite exclamation, using a handkerchief to dry her eyes. "I don’t know what came over me. I’m sorry."

"You’ve been acting funny for the past couple of months, Bulma. Are you trying to tell me that…that my marriage is what’s making you unhappy?" Chichi asked, feeling a little guilty.

"No…well, partly. Just forget it, okay Chichi? I guess I just had a Spinster Spell or something." Bulma smiled bravely, trying to make her friend forget it.

Chichi hugged her fiercely and swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat when she’d seen Bulma crying. "You’re a beautiful person inside and out Bulma. You’ll find a man who’ll appreciate you, I know you will. Until then, just enjoy being single, okay? Promise me!"

"Okay, okay," the blue haired woman said, feeling a little better. She pulled away from Chichi, dusting one of her tears from her friend’s white dress. "I want your day to be perfect, so I’ll promise you anything." She laughed a little. "Let’s get you ready to go before your groom changes his mind," she teased.

******* *****

*Downstairs, in the Briefs Residence*

(30 Minutes Later)

Kakkarot—who’d changed his name to Goku to go along with his changed, new lifestyle—was more than just a little nervous. He had stayed up all night, listening to Chichi’s father drunkenly lament about his loss of a wife and quietly severing his ties with his former crime family.

He straightened his tie, feeling as though he had two hands full of thumbs. He only wished he had a best man. He’d sent an invitation to Vegeta…not really expecting him to come, but half-hoping that the sullen man might make an appearance. If for nothing more than to rib Goku for walking the middle aisle. ‘Kakkarot’ his friend had always said ‘if you walk the middle aisle, you’re ensuring that you’ll soon be taking a trip down another aisle…only the second time you do it, it’ll be in a pine box.’ Goku had always laughed at this comment and had replied, ‘Vegeta, you’re going to get hitched before I do. And when you do, I’ll be there to see it and remind you of what you told me’. The two had laughed at that. They both knew how Vegeta had felt about women then; ‘Sex ‘em and leave ‘em’.

Goku smiled, as he pictured the love of his life in his mind’s eye. {I’d do anything for her} he told himself, feeling much encouraged.

He stood at the ‘altar’ alongside of the preacher, a quiet, balding man with a booming voice and inhaled sharply when he heard the ‘Wedding March’ begin. ‘The Death March’ Vegeta had sniggered one day to him as they’d walked past a chapel. {Here it goes. The beginning of the rest of my life,} Goku thought as he saw Chichi standing at the top of the stairs.

From then on, the rest of the ceremony was a blur in his mind…until after they’d kissed and were walking to the Ballroom where tables were set up for the Reception…he sensed someone. Chichi, who was snuggled closely to him felt his body tense. "What is it?" she asked, her voice breathless from all the excitement.

Goku hid a smile as he caught a glimpse of someone brooding in the shadows. "One of the guests just surprised me."

******* ****

(The next morning)

*Briefs Residence*

Bulma yawned as she descended the stairs. "Good morning, Mother," she mumbled as she slid into her chair.

"Good morning, dear," her mother said, smiling. "How are you this morning?"

"Fine, thank you," the young woman said, downing a cup of coffee and quickly pouring another one.

Mrs. Briefs cleared her throat. "I heard you caught the bouquet last night."

Bulma blushed slightly, hesitating a bit before she took a bite from her onion bagel. "Chichi must have cheated. Either that or the other girls felt sorry for me and let me have it," she grumbled.

Her mother laughed. "Oh Bulma, DO stop wallowing in self-pity for a moment won’t you? That’s a good girl. After you finish your breakfast, you can open this mysterious looking parcel that was sent here for you last night." She slid a white envelope with a small lump in it toward her daughter, raising her blonde brows as she sipped some coffee from her own cup.

The blue-haired girl—who thanks to the miracle that is caffeine—was much more awake now, and she gingerly picked up the envelope and opened it. Inside was a beautiful silver tennis bracelet and a sheet of folded paper.

Bulma opened the paper, letting her mother take a look at the silver bracelet. The letter read:

Dear Bulma,

This is so hard for me! I never imagined what it’d be like to go on without you! You and I…we’re like sisters! Oh, enough of my being a Dumb Dora. I wish to tell you how much I appreciate your generosity and your friendship all these years. I know this bracelet is nothing compared to how very much debt I am in toward you, but I hope you can keep it as a sort of memory of me.

Don’t think that just because I am married we’re no longer friends! As soon as Goku and I get back from honeymooning in White Plains, I’m hoping that you’ll come stay with us for a while in our house in the country and that we can swap stories just like old times. Don’t forget what I told you Bulma!

Yours truly,


She folded the piece of paper closed again and silently took the bracelet from her mother. {I won’t forget} Bulma thought, walking up the stairs to her room, leaving her concerned mother behind her. {I AM beautiful and I AM desirable. Chichi’s right. I’ll get married one day…but until then, I’ll just enjoy myself}.

***** *****

*111 Liege Lane, Buffalo, New York*

(That Same Day)

Vegeta never knew what to do when he was completely alone in his house. Sometimes, he’d brought women over for a night and even listening to their silly prattle was better than when he was alone with his own thoughts. When there was nothing for him to concentrate on…he was only left with his memories.

Vegeta cursed silently, as he realized that now that Kakkarot was ‘out of the game’ and had left him in charge of all of his business dealings, he would have twice as much work. "Which will make it twice as hard to leave, damn it," he said aloud, his voice echoing in his empty kitchen.

His eyes rested on a small white box and he frowned as he felt his stomach growling. {I can’t believe I actually went to that fool’s wedding} he thought, eating the piece of cake some huge man had pushed on him as he was leaving. He’d only stayed long enough to let his presence be known to Kakkarot and then he was gone.

"What a waste of time," the bachelor grumbled, tossing the empty box into a nearby trashcan. {Oh yeah? What else could you have been doing?} a part of his mind mocked him.

Vegeta scowled darkly as he considered an answer to that question. "I could have been working. I’ve been away too many days." For some reason, he wasn’t feeling that anxious to go back to his office and deal with all of the stresses of the bootlegging business.

Not even the prospect of earning large amounts of money appealed to him now. He’d checked his safe the other day—he never had and probably never would trust a bank with any large amount of his money—and found over $10 million dollars. {I could just back out now and live comfortably for the rest of my life}. The thought appealed to him; he could easily do it because he owned numerous homes across the East Coast. {But what about Franco Marquee?} a small voice at the back of his mind asked.

Vegeta frowned. The cold-hearted business man—who was known as Freeza—was indeed a force to be reckoned with. He’d worked with Marquee during the years after Villas’ unfortunate death…and to this day, he still harbored a certain resentment for the man who was much more like a monster in his opinion. "I will destroy Freeza," he vowed aloud to himself.

Freeza was a pale, short man, quick to sneer and quicker still to lose his temper. He was known as a sadist, and as a merciless, bastard. If you crossed Freeza’s empire—for his following was FAR too large to be considered a family anymore—you were guaranteed an audience with Freeza himself. During this meeting, he would gain your trust, allow you to relax, and let you feel for a glorious moment that maybe you’d make it out of there alive…only to betray you in the end.

He was known as Freeza because of his method of killing those who ultimately pissed him off or wronged him some way. After the cozy chat, he would have one of his many attendants inject you with a mild sedative which made you so weak that you could not fight…but still left you fully conscious of everything going on around you. He’d then have them escort you to his ‘Kitchen’ where the only appliance was a giant freezer which stayed at a constant temperature of 30 degrees below zero. There, you stayed, until eventually all of your body systems shut down and you died from hypothermia.

His methods were what kept so many from opposing his tyranny which bordered along the lines of insanity. Freeza and Vegeta rarely clashed since the pale-faced man chose to stay on the southern end of the city, while Vegeta, Kakkarot, and others stayed north. But on the rare occasion that they did encounter one another, it was certain to be an occurrence filled with tension, barbed insults, and thinly veiled contempt…

~*~*~*~* Flashback ~*~*~*~*

(Three years ago)

*Marshall Weaver’s party*

Vegeta smirked as the gorgeous young flapper sat with him, fanning herself with one hand. "Jeepers, Vegeta, I’ve never been with someone who can dance as well as you." She grinned coyly, placing her hand on his knee. "How ‘bout me and you go somewhere and you can show me what else you do well," she whispered, giggling.

"Ah, so it is you then," a slightly feminine voice said coldly from behind them.

Vegeta felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as he turned to face the intruder. "Freeza," he said lowly, his visage completely devoid of expression.

Franco laughed humorlessly, one of his nearly translucent hands wrapped around a long-stemmed glass full of some kind of wine. "I see my reputation precedes me, as usual." He spared the beautiful blonde Vegeta had been with a lethal glance that made her quickly leave them. Freeza almost casually held out his hand to the expressionless man sitting. "And you are Vegeta." It wasn’t a question.

The youth nodded once curtly, but pointedly ignored the hand being held out to him.

"Yes," Franco said softly, dropping his hand to his side, an almost woeful smile on his face. "We’ve met before, haven’t we?"

Vegeta felt his anger stirring within his chest and a scowl adorned his features. "Good of you to remember," he said, his tone contemptuous.

Freeza merely tsked. "No need to be nasty, young one. I was merely attempting to figure out whether you remember me." He smiled in the same way he was said to do after he’d gained the trust of those he was about to send to the ‘Kitchen’. "The last time I saw you, young one, you were a little shorter and I believe your hair was longer."

He grimaced as a mental image of himself during the time that he was poor came to mind. "That was ten years ago."

"And how well I remember it," the pale man said, his tone light and seemingly that of someone with a fond memory.

The Prince, feeling very uncomfortable, cleared his throat. "I have somewhere else to be." He stood up, saying farewell to Marshall and was just leaving when a peculiar sound made him stop in his tracks.

Franco was laughing. "I apologize if I frightened you, little Prince. Until we meet again."

~*~*~*~* End of Flashback ~*~*~*~*

While that hadn’t been their most potent encounter, it was the one he remembered best.

His stomach growled again and he got up, checking his refrigerator. {Nothing} he thought as he closed the door again, his face almost comical in its shock. "Damn it," he said aloud, anticipating a trip to the local market; one of the places he’d learned to dread over the years. The appetizing smells of fresh produce drove his stomach crazy and he usually ended up buying a lot more than he’d planned. Vegeta’s stomach growled again in anticipation and he cursed his unnatural appetite even as he hastily got ready to shop.

***** *****

(Two Days Later)

*South side; Buffalo, New York*

"So the two have allied, have they?"

Dustan cleared his throat. "Uh, not exactly sir. It seems that Kakkarot has seceded completely to Vegeta."

Franco waved his hand at his own minor mistake. "So now the arrogant little Prince has almost twice as much influence as he used to…is that correct?"

{I wish,} Dustan thought absently. He quickly snapped out of it as he met his boss’ hard suspicious gaze. "Right sir. However, Kakkarot’s family influence was nowhere near as large as Vegeta’s. But he did have more people, so I suppose that sort of amounts to twice as big."

Freeza cracked his knuckles in the silence that followed that announcement, his face devoid of emotion as he considered this. {So the little son of Vegeta has actually become a force to reckon with has he? Well, I won’t worry about him too much yet. He isn’t stupid or reckless enough to try to take me on.} "That’ll be all Dustan," he said aloud.

The young man quickly exited, relieved to be out of his master’s presence, if at least for a second. There was only so much a man can stand…

The pale man sipped from the glass he had in his hand, crossing his legs as he sank into his own memories.

~*~*~*~* Flashback ~*~*~*~*


"Damn it Kakkarot, you weren’t supposed to fucking touch anything! Remember!?" Vegeta shouted at the younger, yet taller boy.

Kakkarot’s shoulders slumped. "Oh yeah. I guess I forgot."

Vegeta sighed as he looked around. "Here," he said, tossing the boy a towel. "Use this to clean that mess up," he ordered.

Freeza watched the whole thing, his face blank. "And just what exactly happened here?" he asked quietly, his tone deadly.

The two young men were surprised to see him, but neither spoke a word as Franco seemingly glided into the room to inspect the mess. "My best Chardonnay," Freeza said, his voice getting softer still. "Which one of you did this?"

Kakkarot winced and tried to open his mouth to confess, but words didn’t come to him.

"It was an accident," the sullen shorter boy said.

Freeza focused his gaze on Vegeta. "Are you admitting that you did it then?" he asked, softly, waiting to see what the boy would do.

Vegeta said nothing, but met his gaze squarely, never wavering. {That alone puts him ahead of many of the men twice his age} Freeza thought to himself, feeling a certain respect for this boy.

"I-I did it Mr. Marquee," the younger boy admitted finally.

The 36 year old merely nodded. "It took you long enough to admit that boy." He turned his gaze to Kakkarot, his eyes hardening with anger. "Did you ever think that I might have blamed it on your little friend here and had him killed?" He neither waited for, nor did he wish to hear a response. Freeza’s cold eyes came to rest on the eighteen year old again, his tone still the deadly calm he usually reserved for those he dubbed ‘The Condemned’. "Why didn’t you just tell me who did it?" he demanded.

Vegeta raised his chin haughtily. "I am not a rat…sir," he added almost as an afterthought.

Franco’s respect for this boy doubled, but he kept his features controlled. "That much may be true, but you could only be seen as a moron if you think that you would have lived through this if it’d been anyone else’s merchandise your friend had broken." His eyes narrowed angrily and he rose his voice for the first time that day. "Consider yourselves lucky this time, dumb shits." And with that, he turned on his heel and walked from the room. A smirk alit his face as he sensed the older boy’s indignation. {You’ll never get away with anything around me, young one. I’m afraid that once I grow tired of you, I’m going to have to get rid of you.}

~*~*~*~ End of* Flashback ~*~*~*~*

{Have I reached that time finally? Does Vegeta no longer amuse me?} he wondered idly to himself, examining his recently manicured nails. Freeza sighed. "I’ll give him a while longer…but if he pisses me off again, I’m afraid he’s going to get to visit my Kitchen," he said, a maniacal smile on his face.


*********** **


Ages (at the end)

Vegeta: 28

Bulma: 23

Chichi: 21

Goku: 25

1920’s Slang 411

Okay, so there is all the important information you need to know to understand this chapter! =) YAY! Well…I’m hoping this fic goes over well…hopefully it’s WAY different from anyone else’s…I’ve been working on it for so long!! I will update as soon as I can, but some encouragement has always been known to speed things along! Chapter Two is partly done…so here’s a sneak preview:

******* ****

Vegeta’s vision blurred as he saw her lying there…dead, a smile on her face. Hot tears of fury fell onto his cheeks and he found himself on the ground beside her, screaming in anguish. The loss of this woman left a wound on his heart larger than any other pain he had felt in his life.

****** ***

Oh no! Poor Vegeta-san. =(

*~*~*~*~* Stay tuned into Buffalo Gals! And if you like, you review! If you no like, you still review! Comments, questions, suggestions, etc., everything is welcome…except for Spam. X_x yuck!!

Ciao for now folks!

*~* Claire-chan (BULMA16)n

Chapter 2