November soon made room for the yuletide air of December. People walked to and fro, passing the snow-covered buildings, giving warm greetings to everyone they met along the way. For Vegeta, it was just another day of training before the upcoming heavyweight championship. He didn’t think of this month as anything special; in fact, he loathed it. It was that same month fourteen years ago when the terrible news of his father’s death had arrived. After that, each Christmas for him became a day of mourning. With only few weeks to go before that day, he became more upset.
The night sky had already blanketed the city when the ebony haired tenant returned to his hotel room. Hanging his snowflake covered coat and scarf onto the coat rack, he stepped out of the sitting room and into his bedroom, opening the doors wide as if to announce his arrival to the world. Bulma swerved her jade crown towards his direction. She was sprawled on a brass chaise with purple velvet cover, wearing the long, pearly-white silk nightgown her new beau had given her a few days ago.
"My…don’t you look tasty…" Vegeta commented huskily, sensuality dripping from his words. He leaned down and nestled his head at the nook of his sheba’s neck, planting his kisses there.
"H-how was your day?" Bulma asked, shaking at the feel of her beau’s hand on her breast. She was answered only by his moans of pleasure as he continued exploring the hills and crevices of her body with his hands and mouth.
"You’re not listening to me, Vegeta," the flapper stated sternly but her lover’s actions didn’t cease. When his hand started to invade the insides of her gown, she sat up.
"Didn’t you hear what I just said?!" she shrieked.
"I had a fine day, so there! Come on!" scowling, the prince reached out to pull his mistress to him but she slapped his hand away.
"What’s wrong with you, woman?!" he complained.
"What’s wrong is you barely talk to me!" the singer’s face screwed up in anger. "All I get from you is static! We’ve been together for almost a month now, but I still know very little about you! We have breakfast together, lunch together, and then you leave for a few hours or so to train, then come back at night either to make love with me or sleep your head off! Even after having sex you’d rather sleep than talk!"
"Why? Is there a need to?" Vegeta raised an eyebrow.
"This isn’t a one night stand anymore! Relationships need communication!"
"I’ve already told you that all I wanted is a sexual affair. I don’t want any of that romantic crap! What were you thinking when you agreed to be with me anyway?!"
"There’s nothing mushy about talking and getting to know somebody you’re having an affair with! Besides, you don’t even treat me like a sex partner! You treat me like a sex slave!" the German’s azure eyes narrowed into deadly slits. "You keep me here like some caged animal! I’m bored here, Vegeta! If you don’t want to talk to me, at least take me out to dinner or something!"
"Don’t accuse me of imprisoning you!" her beau flared back. "Didn’t I just take you to dinner and shopping two days ago?!"
"Yes, but all that happened in the restaurant and store downstairs! You told me to never leave the hotel unless I tell you where I’m going. How could I do that if you’re always in that little gym of yours and only come back after dark, huh?!"
"So what exactly are you asking for?! That I take you out more or that I talk to you more!?"
"Both!" Bulma’s voice bounced of the walls, echoing into the night. The couple glared at each other with daggers. Finally, Vegeta strode towards the door.
"I don’t have time to deal with your tantrums now, woman!" he snapped, stepping into the sitting room and putting on his coat and scarf.
"Where do you think you’re going!?" the emerald haired lass demanded to know.
"None of your damned business!"
"None of my damned business?! I have the right to know! I’m your mistre—wait!!!"
The familiar noise of the door slam brought back bad memories from her previous relationship; but this time, she didn’t sink to the floor and cry as she had before. She turned the knob and poked her head into the hallway.
"Fine!!! Go on!! Screw!! Get fried with some slut! I don’t give a damn!!!"
She stood firm, a steel rod embedded in her spine. Moving back to the bedroom, she poured herself a glass of bourbon and lit a cigarette. She lay on the mattress, listening to the harmonies of holiday music being played on the radio. As the grayish mist spiraled away from the tip of her cigarette, she began to wonder how long this affair would last. But for now, it really doesn’t matter. She hasn’t come to care for Vegeta too much anyway so breaking up with him won’t be much of a strain as it was with Yamcha.
"He could go to hell for all I care!" the flapper thought, anger still flickering in her sky blue iris.
The freezing air that circulated within the four walls of a room in the Ritz Carlton hotel woke Bulma up from her deep slumber. It wasn’t unusual, being that she was only in her sheer nightgown. The grandfather clock announced the arrival of the second hour after midnight with its constant clamoring. She rose to take out a thicker winter comforter from the closet. When her vision turned to the window, she gasped. A very intense snowstorm had hit the city. She pressed her face against the glass, but all she could see was a blur of white flakes. Putting on a thick robe, she hugged herself and flopped down on the floor to bask under the warm glow of the fire. A sudden surge of dread gripped her whole form as a realization occurred to her. Vegeta still hasn’t returned.
"Oh God! What if something happened to him?!" she breathed heavily, laying a hand on her chest. She ran out of the room, not caring about what she wore. Her heart was pounding so hard, she thought it would break her ribs. She ran along the empty hallways, the coldness of the marble floor piercing the skin of her bare feet; but she could care less of that. It was Vegeta’s name that resounded in her head.
"C’mon…Come on!!" she pressed the elevator button impatiently, looking up at the dial above the closed door. When it finally opened, her bad premonition was confirmed. Vegeta sagged limply with both arms slung on the shoulders of two bellhops for support, a blanket of snowflakes on his coat.
"Miss Bulma," one bellhop started. "We found him across the street at the sidewalk near Central Park. Seems he got caught in the blizzard."
"Is he okay? How long has he been out there? Can he walk? Why didn’t you take him to the hospital?!" questions flowed uncontrollably from Bulma’s mouth, her turquoise eyes shimmering with trapped tears.
"We would have but the snow’s blocked the roads. Visibility is awfully low too," the other bellhop said as he and his partner struggled to get their burden back to his room. When they did, they carefully laid him on the king-sized mattress.
"What should I do?! W-what will happen to him now?!" the flapper’s body began shaking with the beginning of sobs.
"We know of a doctor who’s staying here for a few days. We’re not sure if he’s still here but…" the first bellhop looked at the boxer. "You just change his clothes and make sure he’s covered with a lotta blankets," and with that, the two hotel servicemen left.
"Vegeta?" Bulma hovered over her sheik, gasping when she cupped his cheek with her palm. He was extremely cold to the touch. His lids were shut tight as if he were in pain; his mouth open, breathing in and breathing out air. The woman hastily took off the rich man’s clothes, which were drenched from the melted snow that had clung to the fabric. She managed to clothe him in his pajamas before throwing two winter comforters over his stiff body. She then reached for the telephone and began fumbling with the numbers.
"Hotel Management. How may I help you?"
"Hello, Waldo? This is Bulma Briefs."
"Ah, yes Miss Briefs. The bellhops who assisted Mister Vegeta just left. We’re sorry, but Dr. Nelson has left the hotel yesterday. We’re still looking for another one here in the list."
"What should I do? What should I do?!"
"Just try your best to keep him warm. We’ll send a doctor as soon as possible."
Bulma listened to the silence at the other end of the line before slowly cradling the receiver. She paced on the carpeted floor, wringing her fingers together with worry, a look of apprehension visible on her panic-stricken face. Ten long minutes have passed but still, no doctor. Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, she heard a strange gurgling noise coming from the bed. She turned to see what it was, only to witness a horrifying sight. Vegeta was starting to have severe convulsions. The noise she heard had come from deep in his throat: an agonized sound caused by his labored breathing.
"No!" she cried, jumping on the bed and flinging her arms around the boxer’s muscled form. He was shivering so hard that the whole mattress shook; his face pale, his skin cold and clammy. Instincts took over the white girl. She slipped under the layers of blankets, lay on top of the prince, and wrapped her arms around his freezing masculine body, giving him the warmth from her own. The coldness of his skin stung, but Bulma was oblivious to it. She started raining kisses on his face. It was like kissing a block of ice.
"Vegeta…wake up," she pleaded, smothering her warm cherry lips on the prince’s frozen purplish ones. He continued to convulse violently, causing the flapper to give him a tighter embrace. She pressed her ear against his heaving chest, listening to his heart. It was beating fast…too fast.
"Wake up, damn you!" she shouted, tears flowing freely from her ocean blue eyes. Her body rocked with her sobs along with Vegeta’s intense shivering. She continued to cry until sleep mercifully brought itself upon her.
Morning light shot down from the still dismal skies as it sprinkled white specks down to the New Yorkers below. The snow from last night’s blizzard has been cleared from the streets ever since its departure at dawn, though some remained at the sidewalks in small pockets. At the 18th floor of the prominent Ritz hotel, a loud gasp for air came out from one of its tenants. Vegeta opened his eyes, his dark pupils silently greeting the morning. The scene before him was still quite blurry but after a few moments of squinting, he was able to focus. Inch by inch, he moved his head to have a better look of what was putting pressure on his chest. Emerald curls met his vision. As the numbness in his body slowly left him, he felt the arms of his mistress that had encircled around his broad shoulders. She was sprawled over him with her head set sideways. He tried to move his arms but only succeeded in twitching his fingers. A sudden jolt of pain invaded his joints, making him groan loudly. That was enough to wake the flapper up.
"Oh, Vegeta! Thank God!" Bulma made a grab for the man’s still pale face and planted kiss after kiss on both his cheeks before bringing her lips to his.
"Wha…wha…?" Vegeta croaked, barely strong enough to speak. The singer suddenly began to bawl out loud, putting her arms around her beau’s neck. The prince’s eyes widened when he felt her tears warming his cold skin. Someone coughed. The couple turned to the door, where a short, bald man stood together with a waiter.
"Looks like everything’s Jake around here," the old man chuckled, his white uniform and stethoscope revealing his identity. The German-blooded woman quickly lifted herself from the bed, her face flushing to a shade of red. Using the back of her hand, she hastily wiped her tears away.
"What took you so long?!" she asked sternly, looking at the waiter.
"We’re really sorry, ma’am," the tuxedo-clad serviceman answered, setting the dishes from the food cart to the dresser. "We weren’t able to find another doctor in the hotel so we had to wait for daybreak to get Dr. Fergurson from the hospital and as you can see, he’s already here."
"Let’s take your temperature now, shall we?" Dr. Fergurson stuck a thermometer in between Vegeta’s full lips. After around five minutes, he took it out and raised it above his glasses.
"Mhmm. You’re lacking a few degrees. That’s not too alarming," the doctor swerved his shiny, bald head to the curly haired waiter. "How cold did those bellhops say he was?"
"He was extremely cold, doctor," Bulma interjected before the waiter could answer. "I felt him. He was convulsing a lot last night."
"Severe convulsions, huh? Classic sign of hypothermia," the doctor began taking the boxer’s blood pressure. A few moments later, he let out a grunt of surprise.
"Blood pressure seems normal. What did you do? Bathe him in warm water?"
"No," forest green streaks moved from side to side as its owner shook her head. "I just…" she laid her blue eyes at the man that lay on the bed. "I just hugged him."
"Just hugged him?"
"I threw two winter comforters over him before I slipped under it…and just hugged him."
"You didn’t do…anything else?"
"No! Of course not!" the white girl blushed. "He was sick! Why would I—"
"I don’t mean that kind of thing miss," the old man smiled, holding up his hand. "You didn’t put a hot water bag on him or intensified the fire?"
"No," the flapper repeated, impatient with all the questions. "I just embraced and kissed him."
All three men looked at her as she clamped her hand over her mouth, realizing too late what she had just said. She shamefully bent her head down, hiding her beet-red face.
"Well, now," the doctor broke the silence, feasting his eyes on his silver pocket watch. "I better get a wiggle on. You just give him lots of fluids and by tomorrow, or the day after that, he should be okay. Here’s the prescription," he handed over a piece of paper. "I highly recommend chicken soup. Have a good day," he took his hat from the waiter and shielded his shiny crown with it. He then left with the serviceman, who wheeled the food cart along. When they had closed the door, the couple tilted their heads to each other.
"Uhm…look! They brought you chicken soup," Bulma took the silver tray containing the bowl of hot soup from the dresser and carried it towards the bedside table. "Good. They saved me the trouble of having to make one for you. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to cook. I do a mean chicken soup and—"
"Why were you crying?" Vegeta interrupted, his hoarse voice barely above a whisper. The woman silently blinked at him. She pulled a chair for herself by the bedside. Tearstains were still visible on both her cheeks.
"Let’s have you sit up now, shall we?" she helped her lover to a sitting position, putting a pillow behind his back. "Comfy?"
"You didn’t answer my question," the prince persisted, grasping his mistress’s hand with what little strength he had until all her resistance faded away.
"You were awfully cold and sickly pale last night!" she shrieked. "Y-you’re lips were so blue and—and—and y-you were shaking like a leaf! And…and…"
"I thought you said you didn’t care."
"Well, I do! Do you think I’m just a cold hear—" the nightclub performer swallowed her words, biting her lower lip to prevent herself from saying anything more. She shifted her eyes away, deeply embarrassed. Try as she might, she couldn’t deny that she was beginning to care for this man. She only realized it when she thought she had lost him; but of course, she wasn’t about to tell him that.
"Could you get me some soup?" the boxer whispered.
Bulma helped Vegeta finish the soup, feeding him spoon after spoon since he wasn’t strong enough yet. They did so in pure silence. Once in a while, they would catch each other’s gaze but would immediately break away.
"So…" the dark haired man spoke. "Aren’t you going to have breakfast?"
"I’ll be calling for room service later on and have them bring the medicine Dr. Fergurson prescribed for you as well," the flapper set the empty bowl back on the tray before wiping the boxer’s mouth and chin with a napkin. Then, the couple’s eyes met and held. The butterflies in Bulma’s stomach started flapping their wings frantically as she manages to find her voice.
"Vegeta I…I’m really sorry about yelling like that last night. It’s just that—"
"You don’t have to apologize…I should be—"
At that moment, both people shared a special unexplainable silence, their eyes still locked together. Little by little, their faces closed in on the gap between them, as if they were both magnetized. A knock on the door shattered them from that brief period of reverie. The lady hurried to the sitting room, leaving the boxer to listen to her answer the door.
"Good day, miss," he heard a man say, whom he recognized to be one of the bellhops. "This letter came for Mr. Vegeta."
"I’ll take it. He’s still resting. Oh, and can you please get me a light breakfast? And I need this medicine for Vegeta too."
"Right away ma’am."
Bulma returned, holding an envelope, which she immediately handed to its recipient. The prince raised a thick eyebrow when he didn’t see a return address. He opened it, revealing a paper with a typewritten message. The message was short; only one sentence in fact:
If you don’t lose the championship, something bad will happen to you.
At the bottom of the letter, was a red dragon shaped into what looked to be the number seven. Vegeta’s eyes widened. There was only one group he could associate the signature with.
"Vegeta, what’s eating you?"
"Nothing. This letter’s full of baloney," he folded the paper, slipped it back inside the envelope and put it inside the drawer of the bedside table.
* * * * *