Chapter 3


*Upper Manhattan*

( The Next Day)

"Seven hundred…seven hundred one, seven hundred two, seven hundred three--"


"Shit," Vegeta muttered, sweat dripping down his body and down into his hair. He adroitly got off his hands and threw a towel over his sweaty shoulders as he walked into his main room to answer the phone.

"Yeah," he said, drying his face.

A pause on the other end and then the sound of someone exhaling loudly. "Vegeta…this is Marian. I’m—I’m having a party at the house tonight. Would you like to attend?"

{Marian} he thought, his face full of both disgust and amusement. He took his time answering, his voice full of barely hidden mockery. "Will Perry be there? I hope so. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him in a while." He chuckled lowly, a cruel smirk on his face. "Who else will be there, Marian?"

The married woman trembled on the other end, imagining the mysterious man in her presence. "Every-everyone in Manhattan."

Vegeta’s eyes widened a bit in surprise. He’d expected the licentious woman to have been fabricating a reason to get him over to her house just so that she could give another attempt to seduce him. "I’ll consider going."

Marian’s heart skipped a beat as she sensed that the Manhattan newcomer would probably not attend. "There will be all kinds of food there," she said slowly, holding the telephone so tightly her knuckles turned white.

Silence from that end of the phone and then a muttered reply. "I’ll think about it." Vegeta hung up, cursing that female for exploiting his weakness. For all the time he’d been living in his upper Manhattan home, without a cook, he’d been forced to cook for himself. That wasn’t a real problem for him, since he favored beef while it was warm—somewhere between medium-rare and rare—and with plenty of salt. But after a time, he found himself wanting to eat other foods cooked…well, better than he could do in his microwave.

He grunted, getting back into his handstand position. {Damned manipulative female…}. "Seven hundred four, seven hundred five, seven hundred six…"

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

*Opulence House; Manhattan*

(Fifteen minutes later)

"Refined…yet subdued…" Bulma said aloud to herself as she shuffled through her clothes. It was the first party she’d been invited to and she was about as excited as a six year old in a candy store. Not only that, but it was a party by Marian Miller—the woman with the disgustingly adoring husband—the so-called wealthiest woman in Manhattan.

Alicia Marie called her about five minutes later. "Are you going?" she asked right away with no preamble.

"I may," Bulma said, masking her excitement.

"You know," Alicia said, her usually excited voice slightly subdued. "This is the first time I’ve even been invited to one of that woman’s parties."

Bulma made her voice slightly more cheerful. "Is that so? Well, this should be an exciting night for both of us."

Alicia sighed. "Yeah,"

"Hey, I just thought of something Alicia," she said, disliking the depressed tone of her friend "there will be a lot of spiffs there…since she’s inviting ‘all’ of Manhattan."

"Oh!" was the startled reply. "I-I just realized that." "Gee, I guess I’d better find something to wear and get out of my nightclothes…" she muttered.

Bulma sighed with relief. "Right…well, I’ll see you at the party then Alicia. Oh, wait! Is Amy going?"

Alicia giggled . "No! She hates Marian more than any of us ever could! Her sister has always been nothing but horrid to her."

"Her sister?" Bulma repeated, her voice full of surprise.

"Jeepers Bulma, I thought everybody knew that!"

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

* Somewhere in Manhattan *

(That same day)

Samuel "Zarbon" Matthews blew a ring of smoke up into the night sky, his face pensive. It would only be a matter of time until the cops found the next body. After the incident with the blonde…he’d found a fiery little red-haired prostitute who had promised she could satisfy him. Thirty minutes later, in a back alley, he’d killed her. She lied. Sam had coolly zipped his pants, straightened his clothes and tossed a dollar bill onto her dead body, wiping his hands clean on his handkerchief. Caroline lay there dead, her neck broken as her killer stepped out of the alley and proceeded on his way home like every other person out that night.

Zarbon opened the heavy wood door to his temporary living place and slammed it shut behind him, not bothering to lock it, relying on his outstanding strength.


He shrugged his jacket off of his shoulders and loosened his tie with one hand, pushing the play button on his answering machine with the other.

The air crackled with static for a good while and then a woman’s voice filled the silence of the house. "Hello Sam, this is Marian Miller. Remember how I promised to deliver him to you? Well, if you come to the party at my house tonight, you won’t be disappointed. Goodbye lover." CLICK.

Zarbon smirked as he hit delete, fixing his tie, and preparing to go to Marian’s house. {So the little whore wasn’t kidding when she said that}.

"Can’t wait to see you again, Vegeta," he chuckled.

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

*Miller Mansion; Manhattan*

(Party time)

"Allow me to take your coat, Madam," the butler said in nasal tones.

Bulma handed the item to the well-dressed man and smiled. "Thank you." Following the crowd of people, she made her way into Marian’s ballroom which was every bit as refined as hers in Buffalo. She glanced around the room, her face cool, calm and collected. Most of the people at the party seemed to know each other and were conversing in medium sized groups around the room. Couples stood or sat at the refreshment tables with their arms about each other speaking to other couples. Bulma took a glass of Chardonnay from a passing servant with a tray and cradled the glass in her hand as she noticed that the older people seemed to be isolating themselves from the younger people. Bulma sipped from her glass, a smile on her face as she imagined her mother there amongst these people. {She’d probably try to get them all to stand together} she thought, walking to another beautiful woman who looked just as alone as she did. {Thanks to Alicia…well, at least she called and told me she wouldn’t be coming}.

Bulma smiled and held out a gloved hand to the bashful woman. "Hi, my name’s Bulma Briefs. And you are…?"

"Stacey Stephens," the brunette said, shaking Bulma’s hand, a grateful smile on her face. "I-I don’t know anyone here and I just couldn’t find the nerve to approach anyone."

{I know what you mean} the blue-haired woman thought, a grim expression on her face. "Don’t let these old fuddy-duddies scare you." She cupped her other hand about her glass of barely touched Chardonnay. "Just watch what you say, do, and think."

Stacey smiled. "I’ll try to remember that. Shall we find a place to sit?"

Bulma sat down in one of the chairs, crossing her legs. "Here’s good."

The shy woman chuckled nervously, her blue eyes darting around as she sat down. "So," she said, returning her attention to Bulma. "Are you married?"

"Where did that question come from?" the Buffalo Gal asked, her face incredulous.

Stacey blushed. "It’s just that…well, I figured someone like you must have a million men at your beck and call and that you’re probably happily married with some man who lives for you," she sighed at the romantic thought, her pretty face wistful.

Bulma laughed, her blue eyes sparkling. "A nice thought, Stacey, a very nice one. However, I am single with no plans to ever marry."

The youthful woman’s eyes filled with sadness. "But…what if the right man came along?"

"Then I will eat your very nice hat," the heiress quipped, standing up. "Would you like to mingle along with me?"

Stacey smiled, shaking her head. "No, thank you. I’ll just stay here."

Bulma set her Chardonnay down on the table and walked amongst the medium sized groups, introducing herself to everyone she met. As an hour passed and she found herself at least vaguely familiar with almost everyone in the room, she heard a woman’s voice.

"Whoever heard of a woman with blue hair? Perhaps she had a bad accident one day when trying to color it," Marian said loudly, a sneer on her face.

Bulma Briefs’ cheeks burned red with anger and she turned to face the rude woman whom she knew at once to be the blond bombshell she’d heard so much about. "You have some nerve," she hissed, clenching her fists angrily at her side.

Marian handed her glass of Chardonnay to one of her lapdogs and advanced on the woman, her green eyes full of animosity. "Is that all you have to say?" she asked, smirking as she heard a few titters from her drunken lapdogs.

"No! As I was saying," Bulma began, her own face taking on an expression of smug amusement. "You have some nerve attempting to insult me when I could easily remark on how your bedroom knows more traffic than the Brooklyn Bridge."

The blonde woman’s green eyes sparkled angrily, matching the green dress she was wearing on this day. "What are you trying to say?" she said slowly, a little surprised that this ‘lower-classed filth’ had the ability to stand up to her taunts.

"I’m quite obviously calling you a tramp," the blue haired woman stated plainly, a smirk on her face.

Marian Miller saw only red as she lunged at the insulting woman. "Why you—"

One of her lapdogs stopped her. "She’s making you look bad Marian! Just cool off."

The blonde bombshell quickly composed herself, as she remembered she had an audience and took her glass of Chardonnay back. She quickly gulped some down, swallowing with difficulty. All were silent as the hostess finally re-acknowledged Bulma’s presence and sniffed disdainfully. "Enjoy the party," she said, walking away.

People patted Bulma supportively on the shoulder. "Atta girl."

The Buffalo gal waved away the congratulations, instead attempting to forget about the whole thing. {I hope I don’t regret what I just did} she thought as she re-told the story to a starry-eyed Stacey. {Because it was pretty damn funny.}

"Well, well. Making trouble are you?" a familiar masculine voice said suavely from behind her.

For one wild moment, Bulma’s face filled with unbridled terror, but she quickly hid that as she turned to meet the eyes of the man behind her. "What are you doing here?" she asked, her blue eyes showing both the dislike and distrust she had for this man.

Sam chuckled. "Talking to you, Beautiful. I see that you remember me," he said, running a finger down her arm sensually, completely ignoring the frightened and confused Stacey..

Bulma shivered involuntarily, and scowled into his amused face. "I know what you did to Patsy, you ass," she hissed in low tones so that her new friend wouldn’t hear.

The Syndicate Gangster quickly acquired a pained look. "I-I let’s talk on the balcony upstairs where we can have some privacy."

The blue-haired genius eyed him warily, commonsense telling her that it wouldn’t be the best of decisions on her part to comply with his request. "I don’t think that’s a good idea…"

Sam managed to make his eyes water ever so slightly and he held a hand out to her pleadingly. "Please…if I can only tell you my side of the story."

"All-all right," she conceded against her best judgement, looking away from his captivating gaze. "I’ll be back soon," she said to Stacey. Bulma turned back to Sam, smoothing her blue gray dress with one white-gloved hand. "Let’s get this over with."

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

*Third Story Balcony of Miller Residence; Manhattan*

(Eight minutes later)

"Isn’t it a nice night?" Sam commented, leaning against the balcony and gazing up at the full moon.

Bulma felt a sense of premonition as she gazed at the moon, and she looked away, pulling her shawl more closely about her body. "Just tell me what you were going to say so that I can go back inside," she ordered, shivering slightly.

Sam turned to face her, a handsome smile on his face. "Oh come on, at least come look at the sky with me." When Bulma made no move to join him, he grinned fiendishly. "You know, I don’t bite."

"All right, all right!" She stood as close to this man as she dared and allowed herself to gaze at the moon again. It was a large yellow moon that seemed so close that she could touch it if she wanted to…it was beautiful yet somehow daunting in its presence. It was giving her the heebie-jeebies. At that very moment, a cold wind swept past, blowing her hair from her face and stirring the leaves of a nearby tree. Bulma shivered slightly, feeling lost as to what to do.

"Isn’t this nice," the muscular man murmured soothingly, lending her his body heat as he wrapped his arms about her.

"Sam--" Bulma began automatically, even as she felt her body begin to respond ever so slightly to this Sam guy.

"Shush." He held her a little more tightly, nuzzling the nape of her neck teasingly. "Where did you get that ridiculous idea about what I supposedly did to Patsy?"

Bulma closed her eyes melting in his arms. {It’s been so long} she thought. "It was…my own," she admitted.

Samuel sighed and gazed back up at the moon as it began to drizzle ever so slightly. "We went on a long walk, up and down the beach. We didn’t talk much and after a while, I realized I’d just been using Patsy to make you jealous." He paused after this confession as if to gauge her reaction.

"Go on," Bulma said, opening her eyes again.

"Well," Sam said, massaging her shoulders as he spoke. "She found some skinny blonde kid back where I found you gals earlier and she ran off with him."

Bulma’s eyes closed from the man’s skilled ministrations. "And that’s it?" she asked, as she remembered the skinny youth they had seen there that afternoon. {Maybe he’s the one who killed Patsy. I should call the police…}.

"And that’s it," he repeated, resting his hands heavily on her shoulders as it began to sprinkle. "Except for one thing."

"And what’s that?" she asked, her voice sounding far-away to her own ears.

Sam’s fingers dug sharply into her skin causing her eyes to snap open in shock. "I lied." With inhuman speed, he had the woman held high over his head and tossed her over the balcony.

Most women would have screamed the whole way down…but the Briefs heiress merely closed her eyes and berated herself for falling for Sam’s false charms and his lies. {Whatever I get I deserve} she thought in those brief seconds, stiffening her body in anticipation of impact.

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


Vegeta scowled as he looked up. It was beginning to rain. {Fuck this…I’m going back home} he thought, glaring at the Miller Residence. He was walking from the Mansion when he sensed something coming toward him…fast. His eyes quickly determined that there was something falling from the rooftop and he instinctively held his arms out in just enough time to catch it.

"You!" he said, his face incredulous as he gazed down at the trembling woman.

She opened her eyes and looked up into his face, bursting into very uncharacteristic hysterics. "Oh my God! I almost died! If you hadn’t been here…and it all happened so fast…Sam he…Oh my God! Thank you and if you hadn’t been here I would have--"

Vegeta…who had never been ‘fortunate’ enough to have to deal with a woman in hysterics was temporarily at a loss for words. He shook the woman twice sharply, ending her blabbering. "What the hell happened?" he demanded, setting her on her feet.

Bulma’s knees buckled and she would have been kissing the pavement if Vegeta hadn’t caught her. "It was…Sam…a guy at…the party. He…he was trying to keep me from talking about a murder…" she trailed off, her blue eyes regaining some of their usual calm manner.

"What’s Sam’s last name?"

"I-I don’t know," the blue-eyed woman admitted, blushing slightly as she realized how close she was to this man. "I-I think I can stand now, thank you," she said lowly, not looking into his piercing eyes.

Vegeta removed his support. "As you wish, just tell me what Sam looks like so I can have him arrested for what he did."

Bulma managed to stand on her own, looking as collected as always only with a slight tremble. "He’s big…and he’s really tall," she glanced at Vegeta. "Taller than you, and he has hazel eyes and dark brownish-blonde hair…and that’s all I can remember now."

The handsome man sighed deeply as he realized what would have to be done. "Do you think you’re up to going back in there and pointing him out to me?"

Her blue eyes filled with fear. "But what if he sees that I’m not dead? What if he tries again and next time…" she trailed off, not willing to finish that sentence with ‘he succeeds’.

Vegeta scowled determinedly. "He won’t. Now stop being a coward and let’s go," he snapped impatiently.

Bulma scowled at him a moment, but found she couldn’t really get mad at the man who’d just saved her life. "All right. I’m ready." She took his arm and let him lead her back into the mansion she was sure she would never voluntarily enter again. No one seemed surprised to see that she was still alive but everyone seemed surprised to see the man with her.

In the distance, she heard Marian’s voice and she quivered with anger. Vegeta, who had assumed it was fear that had caused her trembling, smirked slightly to see her anger, not really sure why he did so.

It didn’t take long for them to find Sam who was drinking heavily. "That’s him," Bulma said, her voice steely.

Vegeta nodded once curtly and walked up to Sam. "Matthews," he said, his voice full of loathing as he recognized the perpetrator. "I think you have something to say to this woman here."

Zarbon did a double take once he realized who it was Vegeta was with. "Ah shit," he slurred, already drunk. "That was an accident Bulma, you know I didn’t mean to do that."

Bulma’s blue eyes flashed with anger. "That’s a load of applesauce and you know it, Sam! You were trying to shut me up."

"I was doing no such thing," the monster denied, his hazel eyes pleading for her to understand. He turned to Vegeta standing up and feeling a bit woozy. "I was supposed to tell you something…oh yeah. Franco wants to talk to you."

"Freeza? I have nothing to say to him," the former mob boss said scornfully, a scowl on his face. "Now, you’re going to pay for what you’ve done Zarbon. A pity Franco will be without his right hand man."

Bulma’s eyes had widened at the mention of Franco and she nearly fainted as she realized that the man who had touched her actually worked with that monster. "Oh my God," she said beneath her breath.

Sam ignored her. "Sorry Vegeta, but I’m not going nowhere." He scowled angrily at Vegeta. "The only way you can get any damned justice for what you think I’ve done is by fighting me, man to man, hand to hand."

"Fine," Vegeta said, his tone decisive. He shrugged Bulma off. "Where shall we do this?"

Zarbon shrugged. "Wherever."

"Outside; about a mile away from the house."


The two men walked outside one after the other, grim expressions on their faces. Bulma watched them go, her mouth agape. {For mercy’s sakes! What the hell is going on here?!} She began to follow them at an almost leisurely pace. {I’ve got to make sure Vegeta doesn’t lose…it’s not a fair fight, the poor guy is so much smaller…}.

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

*Buffalo, New York*

(That same night)

"Yamcha, dear, I’ve already told you that I don’t expect Bulma back for quite some time."

Yamcha sighed and he closed his eyes, preparing himself for the worst of news. "Is she pregnant?"

Mrs. Briefs gasped. "Good Gracious no! You should know better than that Yamcha! And anyway," she began, calming herself. "I thought Bulma severed all ties between the two of you."

"Not the tie that binds her heart to mine," the dandy sighed dramatically.

Bulma’s mother coughed daintily in her lacey handkerchief to keep from laughing aloud. "I will let her know you came to visit, dear."

Yamcha bowed. "Thank you."

Mrs. Briefs giggled as the door closed behind him and began writing a letter to her daughter.

Dear Bulma,

You will never guess who I just shooed out of the house! That’s right, Yamcha. That poor young man is so in love with you dear…perhaps you should give him another chance? How are things in Manhattan? I heard there was a girl murdered in Belleville and I don’t know why, but for some reason I immediately thought it was you. I really am becoming an old fuddy-duddy aren’t I?

How are the men in Manhattan dear? Have you any beaus yet? I’ve heard nothing but good things about all men in Manhattan.

Your father asked me to inquire about a girl by the name of either Mary Ann or Marian Miller. What kind of person is she? It seems that—like us—she and her family remain unaffected by that terrible stock market crash a while back. If anything, their family seems to be earning money. Anyway, your father dislikes the girl. Seems as though she once claimed to be ‘carrying a torch’ for him or something. Isn’t that funny?

Well, that’s enough for now, until the next time I see you dearest.


Your Adoring Mother

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

*Miller Mansion; Manhattan*

(At the same time)

Vegeta removed his tail coat and rolled up the sleeves to his starched white shirt carefully, his eyes never leaving Samuel Matthews.

"Whenever you’re ready, Princess," Zarbon mocked, not in the least concerned by the smaller man.

The Saiyan Prince smirked as he sensed this overconfidence and beckoned for Sam to approach him. "Try and hit me," he dared.

Samuel charged him, moving quickly throwing a wild punch in the vicinity of Vegeta’s stomach and missing.

"You’ve got to move faster than that," Vegeta jeered from behind him.

Zarbon’s eyes widened and he turned to face Vegeta. "What the fuck—"

Vegeta punched him squarely in the face, knocking the bigger man to the ground.

Bulma, who’d been watching the whole thing from behind a tree gasped inaudibly. {He’s winning! Mercy, he’s fast!} she thought, furtively peeking through the branches.

Zarbon growled angrily and dealt a kick to the Saiyan’s shin that had been meant to break it. At the last moment, Vegeta moved his leg, and it ended up only giving him a bruise. Zarbon cursed, doing a sloppy flip and getting onto his feet.

The two foes glared at each other for a moment, the stillness of the night affecting even them for a short moment. The only witnesses to their act was the large yellow moon and the silent blue-haired woman hiding behind an oak tree not far off.

Vegeta grinned at Zarbon and seemed to disappear for a minute. "What the--" he whipped around, looking behind him for the cocky Saiyan, but there was no one. "Coward!" he howled angrily. Out of nowhere, a black patent-leather shoe dealt him a sharp blow to the ribs, breaking them on contact. Zarbon winced at the pain and attempted to find the smaller man.

The Dark Prince suddenly appeared before him, his arms crossed and an arrogant smirk on his face. "Not so certain of victory now, are you Matthews?"

"Just-just wait until-‘til Free-Freeza finds out a-about this."

"Freeza is nothing. I will crush him just as I will crush you now," Vegeta stated, his face devoid of emotion. He stood over the fallen man and placed one of his expensive shoes on Zarbon’s throat with the intent to kill.

Samuel Matthews closed his eyes, pulling together a sufficient amount of ki. With a mighty thrust, he was able to push the Saiyan from him.

Vegeta did a one handed flip adroitly and landed right in front of the gasping man, a sneer on his face. "Give up, Matthews, you’re no match for me."

"How…how did you become so…"

Vegeta smirked arrogantly. "So strong? I’ve been training my body since…since I was 17 years old," he finished, a slight frown coming to his face as old memories resurfaced. With determination in his face, he placed his shoe back on the man’s throat.

Zarbon closed his eyes and quickly accessed his link with his master. "Lord Freeza…it’s Vegeta…he’s about to…finish me."

Freeza’s voice came back into his mind, as cold and unfeeling as the look in Vegeta’s eyes at that moment in time. "And you deserve to die at his hands you fool." He broke their link from his end leaving Zarbon alone, afraid, dying.

"No! Vegeta please don’t!" Bulma shouted, running across the lawn to them, nearly tripping once due to her constraining outfit.

Vegeta didn’t even turn to look at her. He’d known all along she was there. "Stay out of my way woman, this man owes me a life."

Bulma stopped, about 4 yards from him, her face pale. "He owes you a-a life?"

Zarbon chuckled, ignoring the perplexed female. "How-how’d you know it was me?"

"A neighbor told me afterwards who you were. Since then it’s only been a matter of time."

"I didn’t mean to kill her. She-she surprised me, that’s all."

"Vegeta! Please don’t! You don’t want to go to prison for this asshole," Bulma said, clutching at his arm, her eyes pleading.

The Saiyan finally looked at her, relieving some of the pressure on Zarbon’s neck. "As if they could keep me there," he said almost to himself, his eyes filling with resolution.

{Perfect,} Zarbon thought, closing his eyes. {I’d rather kill myself than allow this idiot to take me down. And…Freeza, I just hope he gets something for what he’s done to me.} He quickly gathered his remaining ki and concentrated deeply.

Vegeta’s attention returned to Zarbon as he sensed the sudden crackling change in Sam’s energy. {Oh shit} he thought as he realized what was happening. He shoved Bulma away from Zarbon. "Go! Get out of here," he shouted.

Bulma stumbled and fell with a curse. "What-what’s happening?" she screamed, the tiny hairs on the back of her neck sticking up as she saw what seemed to be an odd light display. Sam’s body glowed strangely in the night, and small bolts of lightning seemed to crackle about him

"He’s self-destructing!" Vegeta answered, relieved that they were at least a good mile away from the house. He yanked her onto her feet and dragged her after him, about 50 yards from where Samuel Matthews lay. "Stand behind me," he ordered, his voice grim.

She did as he said, closing her eyes, afraid to see what was going on, but trusting that Vegeta would keep her safe. She felt an intense heat for one short moment and could feel a bright light burning at her eyelids…and then it was gone. The bewildered female opened one blue eye experimentally and then the other. "Is…is everything okay?" she asked, her voice wavering slightly.

The Dark Prince sighed as he turned to face her. "There went my best tail coat," he murmured, rolling down the sleeves to his dress shirt.

Bulma jabbed him sharply in the chest with one finger and left it there, her fiery blue eyes burning into his. "You ass! How dare you worry about a damned coat when I-well, I mean we’ve-been through such weird--"

Vegeta grabbed her wrist firmly, but not enough to hurt her. "You talk too much," he commented.

She tried to yank her wrist free and scowled when she found she could not. "You would have killed him…wouldn’t you?" she inquired softly.

The Saiyan’s eyes burned with ire for a brief moment, but it was quickly lost in the ebony depths. "Yes, as easily as he killed another long ago..."

"They-that person must have been important to you," Bulma said, her voice sympathetic.

Vegeta released her wrist and turned on his heel, rapidly walking in the direction of the mansion, refusing to acknowledge what she said.

{Damn it, Bulma}. She ran after him, not wanting to be alone on Marian Miller’s vast land. "Wait! I…Oh my gosh," Bulma gasped as she stepped into a huge crater that hadn’t been there before.

Vegeta hesitated at her exclamation but continued walking.

Bulma ran to catch up, not used to all this exercise, panting a bit. "He-he really did blow up, didn’t he?"

"No shit," was the dry response.

{At least he’s talking to me…} "So what now?" she asked, her blue eyes full of questions.

"I’m going home," he said, unconsciously slowing down as they drew nearer to the house.

Bulma’s face filled with sympathy. "All the way back to Buffalo, huh?"

Vegeta frowned. "No. Just a few miles from here."

The blue haired woman’s eyes filled with shock. "What? You mean you moved here too?"

The Saiyan Prince raised his brows as surprised as she was but much better at hiding it. "You live in Manhattan also? Interesting coincidence…"

Bulma laughter came out a bit strained. "Very." {More like creepy if you ask me.} She gazed at the moon and shuddered involuntarily. The Mansion came into full view and she scowled in the direction of loud drunken laughing, an expression of disgust on her face. "I’m going to go home also. Would you walk me to my car? I guess I’m still a little on edge about the whole Sam thing," she asked, her face pleading.

{No! That’s the worst idea in the history of bad ideas Vegeta! Don’t do it!} "All right," Vegeta heard himself say, despite the warnings his mind had furiously sent him.

The striking beauty smiled at him; that same smile that had haunted Vegeta every time he’d thought of a woman since the last time he’d seen her. "Thank you."

They walked together in a silence that wasn’t particularly comfortable or uncomfortable, nor could it be called companionable. It was merely the silence of that night accompanied by the occasional sound of a twig or branch breaking beneath someone’s foot.

"Damn it," Bulma muttered. "I guess I’m going to have to go home and cook."

Vegeta had been thinking the same thing and he briefly grinned at her. "I gather from your lament that you can’t cook."

"I can cook," she said, her face full of conviction. "I just prefer not to." She glanced at Vegeta. "Can you cook?"

The Dark Prince frowned, not looking at her. "I prefer not to," he replied, using her answer.

Bulma smiled at him. "How’s this: as a sort of thank you for what you did for me tonight, I’ll cook dinner for you. Where shall we go? Your place or mine? No, let’s make that my place. Now, since I’m cooking, I’ll expect you to wash the dishes."

Vegeta’s face filled with wry amusement. This woman was no shrinking daisy, nor was she one of those women who’d attempt to use this opportunity to fulfill some hidden agenda of her own, and for that reason, he had a certain begrudging respect for the female. "If it pleases you," he said absently.

"Ooh! I’m so excited about this!"

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

*Opulence House*

(30 minutes later)

"This will only take a second, see I mix the egg and the milk and…would you like some ice water?"

Vegeta, who’d been staring at a framed black and white photograph of Bulma, glanced up at her and shrugged. "Whatever."

Bulma’s smile wavered slightly and she quickly walked back into her kitchen, poured up a tall glass of water and dropped in a couple of ice cubes. "Here you go." She handed it to him and glanced at the picture that had captivated his attention. She blushed slightly. "Oh, that’s why…". It was the portrait of her that she had shown Chichi, the one she felt made her look like a cold inanimate object. "It-it’s a really old, really bad picture of me."

"It’s the old you," Vegeta commented, quickly downing the water. "You’re different now." {Why the hell am I here again?}

Bulma didn’t notice his step out of character as she thought about what he’d said. "Am-am I different now? I don’t feel any different…"

The Saiyan merely shrugged, leaning back in the black leather couch, setting his glass on the glass coffee table in front of the photograph and glancing meaningfully in the direction of the kitchen.

"Anyway…I guess I better get back to cooking dinner." She took his glass, refilled it and handed it back to him, along with the pitcher.

{Now…if I can only remember what Mom told me about meatloaf…}.

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


"That was SO good!" Bulma gushed, after swallowing her last mouthful. "It usually doesn’t turn out like that whenever I try it…".

Vegeta—who was on his fourth serving of dessert—said nothing.

"What did you think?" the cook asked, her eyes boring into his excitedly.

The Saiyan Prince found himself in a very uncomfortable position. He could tell her that everything was great, or tell her that her meatloaf had been a little dry and the pie a little too sweet. Thanks to his time in the Syndicate, he found he could very easily play the nonchalant card. "It was all right," he said neutrally, taking another bite of apple pie.

The grandfather clock struck eleven and her sapphire eyes met his again. "It’s getting late."

He polished off another slice. "I noticed."

"So…it’s about time…that people go to bed." She glanced meaningfully in the direction of the front door.

Vegeta raised a dark brow, as he wiped his hands clean. "Is that a hint?"

Bulma blushed. "Well, my neighbors will start to think that--"

"Who cares what they think?" he growled.

The female sighed, pushing her dessert away from her. "I don’t really, but well, I don’t have much to go on here except for my reputation."

"Which will take a definite beating if people think the two of us are shacked up in here," Vegeta supplied, his tone dry.

"No! I mean, well yes! But it’s not you. It could be any man and they’d talk," Bulma said quickly, feeling more foolish than she’d ever felt in her whole life.

Vegeta grinned humorlessly. "Don’t worry about it. I can see that I’ve worn out my welcome." He got up to leave, and was at the front door when Bulma stopped him.

"Wait! Just wait a second. Vegeta, can’t we talk about this like normal human beings?" she pleaded.

He laughed unexpectedly at this statement, pulling open the door. "Someday, I may tell you why I find that statement amusing." He stepped outside and down the steps that went up to her front door.

Bulma followed him and grabbed onto the sleeve of his white starched shirt. "Vegeta, don’t run away from me!"

The Saiyan’s eyes widened at this statement and he turned to face her. "I run from no one," he said lowly, his dark eyes full of tumultuous emotions.

"Then stay…for a while longer…or hell, as long as you want," she said, tears welling up in her eyes.

He watched two roll down her face and held her chin between his thumb and index finger. "Now, why are you crying you silly woman?" he asked, his voice low, almost compassionate.

"You-you make me feel so-so strongly. I’m either furious, worried and scared to death, or bawling my eyes out whenever I’m around you," Bulma admitted, not ashamed of her tears.

Vegeta was glad she couldn’t tell how her tears affected him and he swallowed with some difficulty. "Dry your eyes. I’m many things, but I am not a man who delights in the unhappiness of females."

The blue haired female felt her heart beating ever faster as she gazed into his fathomless eyes. "I want to know what type of man you are, Vegeta." Unconsciously, she licked her dry lips, gaining Vegeta’s attention.

He gazed into her eyes feeling as though he was drawn to this woman as she stood there in the moonlight, looking like some mythological goddess. His lips lowered ever closer to her mouth…

{He’s going to kiss me!} Bulma’s mind thought in genuine amazement. Everything seemed to be going so slow…it seemed as though his kiss would never reach her. {But why is he kissing you, Bulma? Is it because he knows what kind of tramp you were?} a malicious voice asked her {No, of course not. You conveniently forgot to tell him about that part of your life}. The blue-haired woman found herself turning her face so that his lips brushed her cheek.

Vegeta straightened up, his face unreadable. "I’ll be seeing you, Bulma," he said lowly, leaving her to stand alone in the cold.

Bulma wrapped her arms around herself for warmth, and watched him drive off into the night, the moon casting odd shadows all around her. She walked slowly back into the Opulence House, her vision blurred by tears and closed the door, automatically locking it. {I’m sorry Vegeta, but you deserve better…I’m-I’m} She slumped to the floor, her body racked with sobs.

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

*Letter from: Albany, New York *

(Written 12 days later)

Dear Bulma,

I am still in shock from what I read in your letter the other day. My goodness, you poor thing! To think that asshole tried to kill you! Thank goodness for that man you told me about. You never did mention his name, which is odd since the two of you apparently went to your house for dinner afterwards. I think you owe me some more details Bulma. So, did you kiss that guy…your little guardian angel? I’m curious, how on earth did he catch you if you fell from a three story balcony!? Even Goku wants to know the answer to that one. And he wants to know more details about the fighting and he said he wants to know more about your hero.

I think it’s a good sign that the two of you found each other on the night of the full moon. It’s so very romantic! This should cheer you up Bulma; I got Gohan to write you something. Don’t mind the sloppiness or the spelling, we’re still working on that.



Isn’t that just the cutest thing!? I told him you’re his Auntie and he worries about you as much as I do. Goku sends his love.

Yours truly,


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

*Letter from: Opulence House*

(Received 8 days later)

Dear Chichi

Tell Gohan I’m fine now and tell him I said ‘thank you’ for his note; it really cheered me up. I haven’t much to say so I’m going to keep this letter short. The guy who saved me from Samuel/the guy who came home with me to eat dinner/the guy who tried to kiss me/the guy I find myself attracted to is some guy I knew back when we lived in Buffalo. His name’s Vegeta. I just feel terrible about what I did to him and I swear that I am through with men for good! I don’t think we could have worked well together as husband and wife but while I was with him something told me that we could click together as something else entirely. Weird, huh? Anyway, I’ve forgotten all about that night, except for when I see that damned picture of me or a meatloaf, or the moon outside (though none have been full since then) and I’m sort of relieved we decided to go our separate ways. It was probably for the best. I must go shopping, so I will end this short, cramped letter here. Farewell, Bulma.

****** *****

(About a Week later)

TELEGRAM: to Ms. Bulma Briefs

Opulence House

Manhattan, NY

Coming to visit STOP Goku says important STOP Chichi

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

*Upper Manhattan*

(A day later)

It was 0900 and he was still in bed. Something he’d dreamed of last night that was just at the edge of his consciousness was bothering…but he couldn’t grasp the gist of it. {Big fucking deal} he thought crankily, sitting up in bed, movement in the direction of his open window attracting attention. On his windowsill perched a cheerful blue-jay, filled with all the gaiety and joys of early morning. He hopped up and down the sill, sharing his joyful song with the bedraggled Saiyan.

Vegeta instinctively reached a hand out in the direction of the bird and a ball of blue energy chased the bird from his window, singeing its feathers a bit, but not killing it.

"Missed," he muttered, stretching. Over the past few days, he worked to a whole new level of his abilities and he had a feeling that before too long, his increase in strength would work to his benefit.

He hadn’t had a real meal in at least three weeks…and he was hungrier than he cared to admit. After all of his snack foods had run out, he’d started hunting at night and roasting his meat on a spit, which was good, because it was food. But something seemed to be missing to his life. A very important element. And it didn’t take him very long to figure out what it was. "When’s the last time I had sex?" he asked himself aloud, getting into a pair of comfortable pants.

{God…I don’t remember. And that…woman, is having such a strong effect on me because of that}. He got on the floor beside his bed and began doing his one-handed pushups, dismissing the woman as quickly and readily as she had dismissed him.

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

*Opulence House*

(The next Day)


Bulma rolled her eyes as she recognized the tune of ‘Jingle Bells’. She opened the door and immediately took a step back in surprise. A small bundle of clothes hugged her fiercely, nearly squeezing the air from her.

"Hi Auntie!" Gohan said, stepping inside, leaving his parents on the steps.

Bulma opened the door wider, letting in Chichi and Goku who were both wrapped up from head to toe. "Let me guess," she began, closing the door behind them, a smirk on her face. "Chichi’s responsible for this."

"Mommy said it’d be cold," Gohan piped up, plopping down on Bulma’s black couch and silently marveling at how large Auntie’s house was in comparison to his own.

"Careful with the furniture, Gohan," Chichi scolded, removing her scarf and mittens and taking off her coat. "I thought it’d be cold. And there’s no room in the cases for all this stuff so…" she trailed off, helping Goku out of all his coats, all the while observing Bulma’s house.

The blue haired woman silently thanked her lucky stars that she had had the insight to dust every nook and cranny of her house. "How are you guys?" she inquired pointing them in the direction of her dining room. "Anybody hungry?"


"I am!"

Gohan and Goku said respectively. They grinned at her, their black eyes innocent. Bulma smiled and looked at Chichi, who was still sitting in her parlor, glancing at a broken picture frame with cracked glass.

Bulma felt unhappiness settling back over her for a moment as she remembered that night again.

Chichi set the picture face down and followed Bulma into the kitchen. "Well?" she said gently, washing her hands.

"There’s nothing to tell," Bulma said, removing cold-cuts from her refrigerator. "Could you hand me that bread?"

The brunette woman handed her the bread, and quickly made herself familiar in the kitchen with all the ease of a real homemaker. Silence reigned for a long moment until Bulma finally spoke.

"Everything was going so great. I made dinner perfectly that night and all the stuff that had happened earlier…well, for some reason it was miles from my mind. My only thoughts were of him and everything that was going on then. And then…I said something about the time and I guess he took it as me telling him to get lost," her voice was the steady monotone of someone particularly bored by a much repeated subject.

"Well, he started to leave and-and I found myself trying to stop him. As he got outside, I-I can’t really remember what happened then. But the next thing I knew, he was about to kiss me, and God Chichi, a part of me wanted it so bad, but a-a part of me told me that-that I shouldn’t do it. And I basically gave him the brush-off and he left," she started pouring glasses of milk, her tone more heavy. "And, that’s it."

"Do you love him?" Chichi asked slowly, watching Bulma’s face carefully.

"No," she replied immediately, her expression never wavering. "How could I? I barely knew him."

The brunette woman took the plates from Bulma and hesitated for a moment at the kitchen door. "Then why can’t you forget about him?" She left Bulma alone there with glasses of milk in her hands, contemplating the answer to that question.

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

*Opulence House*

(Twenty sandwiches and ½ an apple pie later)

"Thanks for the food, Bulma."

The owner of the house chuckled nervously. "No problem, Goku." {I wonder if Chichi knows that the guy she married is not normal…}.

Goku’s grin disappeared and was replaced by a look of absolute seriousness. "Chichi told me all about Vegeta and--"

Bulma forced a smile as she turned to Gohan. "You look sleepy, sweetheart. There’s a bed right through there that you can sleep in."

"Okay." The tired youth hopped off his mother’s lap and trotted off in that direction, dragging his discarded coat and small bag with him.

Chichi sighed. "I hope you’re not upset about that, Bulma. Goku says he came down here to help you." The look on her face begged her to just trust the tall man.

The heiress crossed her legs lazily and gazed up at the ceiling as if searching for the answer there. "All right, go ahead."

The former mob boss glanced at his wife before continuing, his expression grave. "I know Vegeta from long ago and I haven’t seen him in years." His eyes rested meaningfully on his wife for a moment as he sensed she had been about to interrupt. "Perhaps…you could tell me where to find him?"

Bulma’s eyes narrowed in suspicion as she looked into Goku’s youthful face. "How exactly do you know him?"

Goku visibly flinched at the question. "From when we were just kids…I guess you could say we grew up together."

"All right, fine. I’ll take you there," she conceded, glancing at the grandfather clock. "It should only take 25 minutes or so." Bulma stood and looked at Chichi, her eyes pleading. "Will…will you come too?"

Her friend slowly shook her head, her expression remorseful. "I have to stay here in case Gohan wakes up."

{But I don’t want to see him without some kind of support from you,} she thought, nodding reluctantly. "All right. We’ll be back soon."

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

*Upper Manhattan*

(20 minutes later}

Yes, the Charleston is definitely the favorite dance among the Flaming Youth, much to the shock of the people of—CLICK.

Vegeta scowled at the radio angrily, as if it was to blame for his boredom. His immaculately clean home was beginning to bore him. The Saiyan Prince had visited the Park early in the morning, only to find that there was a church picnic of some kind going on there.

"Won’t you be joining in on the fun laddie?" a kindly Irishman had asked.

Vegeta had snorted disdainfully. "Maybe some other time."

{Like never} Vegeta thought scornfully, beginning to do crunches. It’d become a habit for him to start physical activities of some kind whenever he was confronted with something he’d rather not think about. {Yeah, like that woman} his mind mocked him. {You’re afraid of her, you Coward}.

"No!" he said hoarsely, lying flat on the ground for a moment. "I’m afraid of no one." {Maybe you’re not afraid of her. Maybe you’re afraid of the power she has over you}.

Vegeta went back to his crunches, getting all the way up to 503 when his doorbell rang.

He got up, not bothering to put on a shirt as he went to answer it. {No don’t open it} part of his mind warned. Vegeta’s hand hesitated on the doorknob for a moment.


He pulled it open.

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

"All right, all right! So I don’t know where he lives exactly, but for goodness’ sakes, it can’t be that hard to find him," Bulma rationalized to her passenger.

Goku was grinning as the wind whipped through his hair.{It’s like flying} he thought.

Bulma rolled her eyes, lowering her foot on the gas.{If only everyone I knew was as easy to amuse as this guy} she thought, smiling in spite of herself as she caught a glance of herself with her hair flying behind her.

Her eyes narrowed as she remembered what Vegeta had told her…that he lived only a few minutes from Marian’s mansion. She made a U-turn, glad that no one was around to condone her for missing the big house. {I guess my mind’s on other things} she thought ruefully, glancing at Goku. "Hey! We’ll be there soon!" she shouted into the wind.

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

*Upper Manhattan*

"Would you like to buy some cookies, mister?"

Vegeta’s stomach growled hungrily as he looked over the large variety of cookies the kids were selling. "All right, how much for one box of each?" he asked, removing his wallet from the pocket of his plus tens.

The young boys—who’d come with their mothers—quickly did the math. "Five dollars and five cents, right mom?" little Billy asked innocently.

His mother and all the other females there goggled at Vegeta’s sculpted chest. "Uh huh."

Vegeta ignored them, handing the kid the money, taking his cookies and slamming the door shut. He tore the boxes open and quickly polished off half the box using the manners his mother had taught him long ago and that he’d retained over the years.


{Answer it,} his instincts urged him. He thought about putting on a shirt, but again opted not to. He opened the door. Once he did, he had a vague desire to slam it shut again. But that wasn’t Vegeta’s style.

Bulma grinned at him wanly. "Hi Vegeta. How have you been?"

"Good, and you Bulma?"

The blue eyed beauty sighed, not seeming to notice that he was only ½ dressed. "I’m all right I guess."

There was a long moment of awkward silence between them in which they both waited for the other to make the first move. Bulma sighed. "Vegeta, about that night…" her eyes filled with tears as she met his unwavering gaze. "It-it was all my fault--"


Bulma jumped at the noise and turned in the direction of her car. "Damn it, would you get over here already? You’re the one who wanted to see him!" she shouted, drying her tears before she allowed the silent man behind her to see her face again.

Goku loped up the stairs and clasped the startled Vegeta’s shoulders, grinning from ear to ear. "Long time no see."

The Buffalo gal had to stifle a giggle when she saw the surprised look on the shorter man’s face. She felt a certain compassion for him. It must be hard to have to confront a man you’d thought you’d escaped long ago.

"What the hell are you doing here, Kakkarot?" he demanded, brushing off Goku’s hands and quickly composing himself.

Goku quickly grew serious. "Let’s go inside."

Vegeta scowled, opening the door to let them in. "Fine," he growled. He closed the door after Bulma finally entered. "Make it fast, Kakkarot.’

His two unwelcome guests had made themselves at home; sitting on the Prince’s leather couch.

"You and I need to talk, Vegeta. It’s important."

The proud Saiyan snorted disdainfully, leaning against a wall, his arms crossed over his bare-chest. "About what?"

Goku hesitated as he glanced at Bulma, but then continued when he noticed she was busy looking around the downstairs room. "Your powers."

Vegeta’s eyes flashed with something for a quick second and then it disappeared. "Go on."

Bulma feigned disinterest, trying to determine what the two men were discussing.

"Well actually," Chichi’s husband said slowly, gazing down at his hands. "Over the years, I haven’t gotten to train myself as much as I’m sure you have, but I learned something that may help you out. And…I’m thinking you could help me out."

The Prince of Saiyans was temporarily speechless. {Help Kakkarot? And have him help me? If that isn’t a load of applesauce, I don’t know what is} he thought, a doubtful expression on his face. "And how could you help me?"

Goku grinned. "I met this hermit who taught me martial arts."

"Martial arts?" Vegeta repeated, his interest growing a bit.

"Yeah," the younger man confirmed. "I’ll show you. I’ll be here for a while with my family."

Vegeta’s expression changed to one of disgust. "Don’t tell me that you have offspring…"

Goku chuckled. "Just one kid. His name’s Gohan."

"After that ‘grandfather’ of yours."


It was silent for a moment until Goku cleared his throat, glancing at Bulma meaningfully. "I guess it’s time to go. I’ll wait in the car."

Bulma’s eyes followed Goku, surprised at what he had just done; left her alone with the one man she didn’t want to be left alone with. She gulped slightly, wishing that Chichi had come along to insure that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen. The female turned to look at Vegeta, who looked slightly annoyed at the prospect of being with her.

The Saiyan inwardly cursed Kakkarot, but would not let the female see how uncomfortable she made him. {The only way out of this is to make her uncomfortable first}. "Why don’t you finish what you were saying earlier," he suggested, his tone icy.

She shivered a bit, not looking at him as she felt her eyes begin to water again. "I-I was saying that that night was my fault."

Vegeta nodded, not wanting to make things easy for her. "Go on."

Bulma sighed, gazing down at her bare hands, her long blue hair hiding her face. "It had nothing to do with my feelings for you it’s just that…a part of me…I just couldn’t go through with it."

He said nothing, letting silence fill the room for a moment.

She continued, almost as if she felt as though she was obligated to talk. "Please-please for-forgive me," she whispered, looking back up at him, her hair framing her face and making her look like a teary eyed child.

Vegeta swallowed with some difficulty, a part of him feeling her pain and he made himself look away from her. "Dry your tears, woman. I’m many things, but I--"

Bulma sniffed tearfully, drying her eyes with a handkerchief. "‘You’re not a man who delights in the unhappiness of females," she finished for him.

The Prince said nothing as he turned to face her again, his eyes unreadable.

"Would-would you like to come to dinner at my house? Chichi, Goku, and Gohan will be there as chaperones if you’re afraid of a repeat of that last night," she said on a whim, a slight smile on her face.

Vegeta frowned at the ‘A’ word. "I’ll be there," he said gruffly, glad he wouldn’t need to hunt that night.

Bulma got up from the couch. "Thanks. See you around six." She left, closing the door gently behind her.

The former mob boss cursed himself for allowing himself to be led about by that woman, but his stomach growled, reminding him that some good was coming out of this.

He walked to his window and watched her Corvette speed off.

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

*Upper Manhattan*

(Later that day)

{Will this arrangement between Kakkarot and I work out? Hmmm.. it might very well. But I don’t have to teach him everything I know.} Vegeta turned over onto his stomach and began doing pushups. He counted as he did them aloud but his thoughts were elsewhere. {Bizarre to imagine the two of us working together again} he unconsciously began to scowl. {Ever since that incident a while back…}

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

*VK Industries*


"Don’t be stupid, Kakkarot," Vegeta said angrily, slamming his fist on the desk. "How the fuck do you get 49 from 4 multiplied by 9?"

The younger lad winced and shrugged. "Hey, I didn’t get to go to school like you did. I had to stay at home with Grandpa and--"

"Whatever Kakkarot; you can keep your bullshit excuses to yourself." Vegeta shook his head in disappointment, not looking at his coworker. "It’s thirty-six, you idiot. If we do this right, we’ll get 9 grand for each of the four liters we’re sending to Jay’s, all right?"


Vegeta glanced at him briefly, his dark eyes suspicious. "But, we can’t let anyone else know about it or else they could sell to Jay for cheaper, all right?"

Kakkarot nodded absently, his eyes on the detailed report laying in front of his partner. "Right, right."

The nineteen year old sighed wearily. "Good. We’ve got some time before the deal goes down. Why don’t you go run home to your ‘Grandpa’ for a while?"

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

*VK Industries*

(Late that night)

"Nine months…" Vegeta said thoughtfully, ceasing his pacing in front of his captive. His voice bit sharply into the silence of the warehouse, and the captive winced at the harshness. "You would ruin what we had for greed?"

The younger man looked Vegeta squarely in the eye as he tugged on the ropes that bound him to the chair. "No."

"No," Vegeta repeated, his ire growing. "Then what—pray tell—drove you to betray me Kakkarot?"

"I wanted to prove to you that I’m not stupid! That I can do whatever you can…and I can probably do it better!" the taller man said loudly.

Vegeta laughed humorlessly, looking away from his former confidant. "So…is that how it is between us now?"

Kakkarot sighed. "Yeah, that’s how it is."

"Let him go," the Dark Prince ordered. He watched silently as two men cut the ropes from the tall Saiyan, his face emotionless.

"It doesn’t have to be this way, Vegeta," Kakkarot said, his dark eyes pleading. "I just want to be my own boss. We can still work together!"

A low laugh escaped the hardened youth’s lips. "Get the fuck out of my sight you traitor. Don’t let me find you in my path, or I’ll treat you as I treat the others that oppose me," he said in a soft yet lethal voice.

Kakkarot gave him no parting glance as he walked out of his life…hopefully for good.

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

Vegeta continued counting aloud, a scowl on his face. "Five hundred and forty six…five hundred and forty seven…". Now, more than ever, he was going to have to remember that he wasn’t invulnerable…and that if he didn’t keep his guard up, once again, someone could hurt him. {As you found out that night with that woman} a part of his mind told him. {I won’t even worry about her; she’s of no threat to me. She’s made her feelings blatantly obvious and I am only too happy to remain as unaffected by her as she is by me} he thought, getting on his feet and toweling sweat from his face.

He glanced at the time and began walking into his bedroom, getting his clothes ready for a quick shower. He frowned slightly as he stripped from his clothes and stepped into the hot jets of liquid. {I’m sure it won’t be a dull night} he thought, a smirk on his handsome face.

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

*Opulence House*

(A few minutes later)

"He isn’t coming."

"Of course he is!"

Bulma threw up her hands in desperation. "Why should he!? He apparently hates every person here…especially me!"

Goku grinned, speaking before Chichi had a chance to. "He’ll be here, Bulma."

The blue eyed heiress eyed him doubtfully. "How can you be so sure?"

"You told him we were eating right?"

She frowned as she remembered. "Yeah…so?"

Gohan’s father nodded. "So he’ll be here."

Chichi met her eyes and shrugged as if to say ‘don’t ask me’. Bulma sighed, adding another place at the table for the fifth time…she’d kept deciding he would come and then deciding he wouldn’t.

Gohan finished his food and pouted up at his mom. "Why can’t I eat with everyone else?" he asked as he scooted off of the chair.

His mother licked her finger and wiped a stain from the corner of his mouth. "Because someone has some studying to be doing, that’s why."

"But, mom!" he whined.

"You can save your buts for when you’re learning about conjunctions young man," she said gently shoving him in the direction of their room. "Now scoot."

Gohan slowly dragged his feet in the direction his mother had sent him, trying to get his father to save him.

Goku shook his head when he met his son’s eyes. He wouldn’t be getting him out of studying this night. There were other things to worry about. Mainly the irate Saiyan who would be coming to visit soon. {He wouldn’t try anything out here…would he?} he wondered, his normally merry black eyes serious.

Bulma jumped up from her spot on the couch as she heard something at the door. "Maybe that’s him," she said, her face pale.

Chichi rolled her eyes. "For Goodness’ sakes Bulma! One would think by your actions that you actually are in l—"

"Don’t say it, Chichi," Bulma interrupted, her tone steely. "I thought about what you were about to say…and I’ve determined it to be false."

"Whatever you say," the 25 year old said in an unconvinced tone, patiently knitting a sweater which she planned on finishing soon and giving to Bulma as a present.

Goku looked up from the magazine he’d been looking at. "He’s here," he said matter-of-factly.

Bulma fixed her hair and walked calmly and composedly to the door where Vegeta was standing, hand raised to knock. "Come on in," she said hurriedly, not noticing the surprise that briefly flitted across his face. She closed the door behind him, taking his coat and hanging it up next those of her guests’.

Vegeta spared her a fleeting glance before putting his hands in the pockets of his plus tens and walking into the parlor where he knew everyone else was.

"So you decided to come," Chichi said absently, not paying him much attention.

Goku grinned. "I told you he would."

The Dark Prince frowned at the casual discussion of himself. "Who’s this Kakkarot?" he demanded, jerking his head in Chichi’s direction.

The younger Saiyan scratched the back of his head. "That’s my wife; Chichi. You met her at the--"

"She looks about 30 years older. I didn’t recognize her."

Chichi looked up at the insulting man, her black eyes full of fire. "Why you atrocious beast, I should--"

Bulma entered the room upon hearing the intentional provocation of her long-time friend a panicked expression on her normally composed features. "Time to eat!"

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

*Opulence House; Dining Room*

(20 minutes later)

"Are there any more rolls, Bulma?"

"Here you go, Goku."

"Mmm.. thanks!"

Bulma grinned wanly, having lost her appetite long ago. She glanced at her friend, who was eating normally, as if nothing was wrong and at Vegeta, who was pointedly ignoring everyone present. {Chichi must be used to this or something…my gosh, I’ve never seen a man eat so…wildly before.} On the other hand, Vegeta was also eating massive amounts of food—just like the other man at the table—only he was using proper manners in contrast.

{Thank Goodness I won’t ever have to cook like I did today ever again} she thought, relieved. Her heart sank a little as she thought of the enormous load of dishes waiting for her back in the kitchen and she sighed slightly, catching Chichi’s attention. She smiled and shook her head, making sure the brunette understood that there was nothing to worry about.

Chichi smiled in understanding. She’d seen the surprise on Bulma’s face when she’d fed her husband and son, and when the experienced mother had instructed her to cook enough for 20 for their dinner that night. "This is all new to you isn’t it?"

"Yeah…I never knew men ate so much! I guess my father was a light eater or something," the heiress mused, shrugging her shoulders.

"No, I wouldn’t say it was men exactly. It’s just all Saiyans in general."

Bulma arched her brows. "Say what?"

"Saiyans…they’re from a whole other planet. Didn’t you know--"

Vegeta interrupted her. "Obviously not, you empty-headed wench!"

Chichi glared at him. "Do you ever shut up?" She turned back to Bulma, a confused look on her face. "Didn’t I tell you that?"

Bulma shook her head, her eyes widening in realization. {From another planet…shit, I guess that explains a lot}.

Her friend glanced at the two men, who were carefully watching the hostess’ face. "Goku and Vegeta are Saiyans…and--"

"So that means Gohan is a ½ Saiyan…" the older woman finished, her eyes as large as saucers. "My gosh…I never knew…I mean, I should have…but…wow."

Vegeta frowned at her. {What if she uses what she knows against me…?} he wondered. In the next moment, he dismissed that idea. {She wouldn’t} he concluded, not even sure as to how he was so certain she wouldn’t. "Just make sure you keep your mouth shut about it," he said gruffly.

Bulma looked at him as if really seeing him for the first time. "That explains why you’re so fast," she said absently, unconsciously leaning in closer to him from across the table. "And why you’re so…different."

Vegeta met her gaze for a long moment and then looked away, irritated by her staring. "I hope you’re happy," he snarled angrily to Chichi.

The young mother glared at him. "I thought she already knew! And besides, Bulma won’t tell anyone…right Bulma? "

"Right." The Buffalo gal finally got a hold of herself and she turned to face Chichi. "How exactly are Saiyans different from humans?"

Chichi cleared her throat uneasily, looking to her silent husband for help. "Well…they’re taller, stronger, faster, and they heal faster than humans." She decided to leave the tail part out of her comparison. "I found this out when Goku started his martial arts training. He’d come home with bruises and cuts and by dinner they’d be gone."

"Wow…" Bulma said lowly, in awe. She’d always been a science-oriented person—thanks to her father—and these sort of things interested her. "Does-does Gohan know what he is?"

"Not yet," Goku said reluctantly, not looking at Vegeta.

"Does anyone else know about you two?"

Vegeta scowled darkly. "Franco Marquee does."

"Freeza." Goku frowned. "How does he know?"

Bulma shuddered at the mention of the Buffalo Gangster. "Franco? How do you two know him?"

"Damned if I know," the Prince said in answer to Goku’s question, ignoring the sapphire eyed beauty. {But I have the feeling that’s what he wants to talk to me about…}.

The clock struck 9 and Vegeta got up from the table. "It’s late. I’d better leave."

Bulma got up as well, following him through the parlor and silently retrieving his coat. "You know…I never would have guessed that you, of all people, would be an alien."

Vegeta shrugged the coat onto his shoulders and opened the door to leave. He paused a moment as he remembered something, and then frowned as evidently changed his mind.

"Goodbye, thanks for coming."

The Saiyan Prince chuckled dryly. "Tell the truth woman; did you really want me to come here…after what happened the last time?"

Bulma met his gaze squarely. "Yes. Yes, Vegeta, I truly did."

Vegeta searched her eyes for a moment and then nodded at something he saw there. "I’d better leave before the neighbors see me," he said sarcastically.

"Screw the neighbors," she said angrily. "They don’t matter to me."

{What is she up to?} he was thinking to himself. "I’d still better leave," he said, his voice low.

"Bye," Bulma said in almost a whisper, her blue eyes so full of emotion at that moment, that they were unreadable.

"Hey! Sorry for the interruption but I gotta talk to Vegeta."

The two turned to see Kakkarot, a sheepish look on his face.

Vegeta frowned, irritated. "What the hell is it?" he demanded impatiently.

"Let’s start training tomorrow morning. Here at Bulma’s house."

The Prince’s face sported a wary expression for a half second and then his scowl returned. "Whatever," he grumbled, leaving.

Bulma closed the door, staying by the front door until she heard his car drive away. She sighed deeply in relief, glad that this night was over. {But he’s going to be back tomorrow, Bulma. And who knows how many other days after that} a part of her mind mocked.

She groaned theatrically, ignoring Goku’s puzzled stare. {I think I’m going to need to go shopping again already…first thing tomorrow I guess.}

The Buffalo Gal sighed and walked back into the parlor, where Chichi was sitting down.

"Don’t bother going into the kitchen, I cleaned the dishes and have everything put away," the brunette said, retrieving her knitting.

"Thanks, Chichi."

Chichi raised her voice significantly. "So…You-Know-Who is finally gone?"

"Yes, thank goodness."

"Good riddance to bad company?"


Chichi shook her head. "Liar."

Bulma put her head in her hands. "I know, I know," she said mournfully. {Why does that jerk have so much power over me?}

******* ****


Ages (at the end):

Vegeta: 32
Bulma: 27
Goku: 29
Chichi: 25
Gohan: 4 ½

--- --- ---

Franco: 47

Lots of things happened in this chapter. I’m hoping you notice some character developments or how the character has changed. Vegeta for example…he’s much milder nowadays. Also, I know there’s a little of what some would like to call OOC on Goku’s part…the whole traitor thing. I don’t know…I think Goku might really do that…he’s not a big hiding in the wings type of guy. Thanks so much for reading my fic! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Ciao for now!


Chapter 2
Chapter 4