Bulma held on to the sides of the sink tightly, taking in huge gasps of air. She turned on the gold handles of the faucet to rinse the porcelain clean. She had just vomited for the second time that morning. Her nausea was getting the best of her, often times waking her up from a deep slumber and this day was no exception. She slowly trekked back to comfort of the king-sized mattress of the room she and Vegeta shared in the Ritz. Its tenant had gone off to train in a new gym, under a new manager to prepare for the heavyweight championship, which will be held the next day. The flapper lay flat on her back, immersing herself in deep thought. A lot has happened in just a week, Joe Winslowís death and the announcement of her pregnancy among them. In a fit of rage, her beau had submitted the death threat to the police as evidence against the Seven Dragons and giving them all the information he can about the group. Because of this, the cops had to put a tight security around the boxer, dispatching two bodyguards for him. He had also, understandably, forbidden his sheba to leave the hotel without his knowledge.
Joe was laid to rest in beside his wife Michelle, and their stillborn child three days after the attack. The news of his death made headlines among the local newspapers and as expected, the media appeared at the funeral, constantly piling the late manís top student with questions; yet, Vegeta kept his lips sealed, his eyes never shedding a tear. Bulma knew he was crying inside, for she felt it in the way he had grasped her hand. Precious, the black manís beloved cat seemed to sense her masterís departure, frequently meowing mournfully in the Germanís arms.
Bulma shook her head of these sad thoughts and focused on more important things: telling her sheik about her pregnancy. She had been putting it off for several days and now, she felt that it was the right time to do so. When her nausea left her, she quickly prepared herself, putting on a simple loose white dress and throwing on her fur coat for warmth. She grabbed the paper containing the address of Vegetaís new training gym and put it inside her purse. She was about to step out of the room when she remembered something.
Rummaging through her suitcase, she pulled out a small wooden box, lightly brushing her fingers along the surface. She opened the lid, revealing a very old envelope, which had gone yellow through time. This was the letter Veldock had wanted the Unterhosen family to send to his family. It had been impossible then, but now, fourteen years later, it will only take a simple taxi ride to give it to the only living relative he has: Vegeta. Perhaps it was fate, that of all the men in the world, she had to end up with the son of her familyís savior.
Something smooth began circling around her ankles. She set her blue eyes on Precious, who looked back at her with those same enchanting golden eyes. Bulma had adopted the tabby as her own, being that her sheik didnít seem to mind as much.
"Iíll be back soon with a treat, kitty," she cooed, scratching the catís chin. Gently, she slipped the box in her purse and hurried to the elevator. When she arrived on the ground floor, she quickened her steps, eager to bring the news to her lover before all the courage she had stored up drains from her form. She reached the sidewalk, raising her arm to hail a cab but before she could do that, she was spun around by a strong grip on her arm. An unexpected face met her vision, her jaw dropping.
"Oh, Bulma," the scarred man was quick to give the performer a tight embrace. "Iíve been looking all over for you. Iím so happy to see you again!"
"Good for you, Ďcoz Iím not!" the flapper pressed her hands against her former beauís chest, pushing him away. "Do you think Iíve forgotten what you did?!"
"Iím really sorry," Yamcha apologized. "Iím not expecting you to forgive me for that, but Iím asking you to," he held her small hands in his own. "Iíve been miserable without you, Bulma. Those other women just donít satisfy me as much as you do. Please come back to me. Iíll have a new and better apartment for you. Iím earning more money than ever before now. Please Bulma," he lifted her hand to press his lips against it.
Somehow, it just didnít feel right for the singer. Her ex-boyfriendís simple kiss never excited her the way it did whenever Vegeta does the same. Immediately, she snatched her palm away.
"Youíre pitiful," she spat. "Iím never going back to you again! I have someone else now so please just let me be!"
The businessman fell silent for a moment, the corners of her lips twitching indecisively. Finally, he sighed.
"Can I at least invite you to breakfast? Please? I just want to know how youíve been and after we eat, I promise to leave you alone. Honest."
Bulma looked at him then, considering his offer. Much as sheíd hate to admit it, she was ravenously hungry. Perhaps itís because sheís eating for two this time. Besides, Yamcha did sound sincere.
"Jake!" the man declared, guiding the blue-eyed lass to his car before she could even say yes.
"Itís just breakfast. Whatís so bad about that?" the lady thought, the car speeding away from where it was parked.
"That was some nice fightiní there, boy. Joe really did a good job on you," Borris Conner, Vegetaís new trainer and one of Joeís closest friends declared while the boxer wiped his sweat-covered temples with a face towel. Vegeta stayed silent, unable to communicate with this black man like he had with his late friend, though he knew this man since he was a teenager.
"Iím sure youíd have no trouble at all winning the championship belt tomorra. You can rest for a while now and get back to punchiní later. You need to save your strength," the trainer hastened out of the locker room, uncomfortable with his new traineeís behavior.
The Prince of Knock Outs began flexing his bandage wrapped fingers. His forehead was covered in the same material, as with the other parts of his body, which was wounded during the grenade explosion. He stretched, his muscles rippling through his sando, the gold trim of his shorts sparkling in the light. The doctor had told him to take it easy but he knew he had to finish the fight. The sooner he does, the sooner he can leave New York.
"Mr. Vegeta," one of his bodyguards called from the door. "A couple here wants to see you."
"Who is it?!"
"My partner and I are positive theyíre not from that syndicate," the bodyguard seemed quite excited.
"Send them in."
At that moment, both bodyguards came inside the room and stood beside the door like two sentinels. Then, the couple entered. One was a petite woman with milky white skin, her hair as dark as her eyes. She wore a purple dress with a sable fur collar and fur cuffs, a cap of the same color on her head. The tall man she was holding on to was a face Vegeta would recognize anywhere.
"Hi!" the man greeted, shaking his wild, frizzy black hair to rid it of the snowflakes. He patted his brown suit and straightened his red silk tie. He then held out his gloved hand to shake. "I donít know if you know me, but Iím Goku Son. Iílló"
"I know exactly who you are," the prince interjected. Turning to his bodyguards, he stormed, "You two. Screw! And lock the door!"
The guards jumped at the tone of their bossís voice, hastily leaving the room with a sour look on both their faces. When the door slammed shut, the wounded man turned back to his visitors.
"What are you doing here?!" he snapped.
"Sorry if we disturbed you in anyway," Goku smiled nervously. "By the way, this is my wife, Chichi."
"Youíre not answering my question," Vegeta snarled. "I know who you work forÖthat damned Frieza! Tell him Iím not losing the tournament at any cost! And tell him his days are numbered! Iím going to make sure he pays for what he did."
"Well thatís a relief," Chichi breathed and beamed at her husband.
"Relief?!" Vegeta asked, puzzlement in his voice. "What do you mean relief?!"
"Look," the frizzy haired boxer started. "Frieza is my financer but it doesnít mean that I like him. Heís the one who turned me into what I am now and I have to pay him back by winning all my matches," he bent his head down. "But I know that most, if not all of my wins were made possible because he bribes or threatens my opponents to losing. And the money I win mostly goes to his speakeasies and other bootleg businesses."
"So what exactly are you saying?" the bandaged boxer crossed his arms across his chest.
"Iím saying I want to break free from his crummy fingers. The only way I can do that is if I lose my match with you," he looked at his wife and tenderly put his hand over hers. "Weíve saved enough money to move to another state with our little son. We came here to ask that you win the tournament. I know Frieza has threatened you andó"
"Yeah, he did and heís killed Joe so thereís definitely no reason why I should purposely lose the tournament but donít think Iíll be losing to you!" Vegeta turned his back on the couple. "And donít try to lose purposely either. I hate pushovers!"
"You can count on me! Iím definitely no Palooka," Goku smiled from ear to ear, happy with his opponentís answer. "Good luck for tomorrow and thanks."
"Iím not doing you a favor, okay?!"
"Okay, okay," and with that, the Son couple left with a lighter demeanor.
"What a Palooka!" Vegeta thought to himself while bringing a jug of water to his dry lips.
"Why are we stopping here?" Bulma asked, looking around a line of buildings, which wasnít too far from the Ritz. "I donít see any restaurants anywhere."
"Sorry, baby. I have to go see a man about a dog. You know, businesses and all," Yamcha hurriedly went out of the car.
"Donít call me baby!" the flapper fumed. "Iím just going for some breakfast! Iím not yours anymore!"
"Alright, alright! Iím sorry," he held his hands up. "Iíll be back in a jiff," he walked across the street and went inside one of the newer buildings, leaving his former girlfriend to sulk in the vehicle.
"Mr. Vegeta, thereís someone here to see you."
"For crying out loud! Who is it this time?!" Vegeta asked irritably, holding the pair of boxing gloves he was about to have someone put on him.
"We donít know," the bodyguard shot a look at the new visitor a few feet away from him and whispered, "Heís kind of a suspicious character. We checked but he was unarmed. Should we send him in?"
The boxer walked over to the door and peeked. Seeing the man wearing a black striped suit that was all too familiar made his blood boil. The ring on the manís finger convinced him that he had to talk to this stranger.
"Are you sure heís unarmed?"
"Yes, sir. We double checked."
"Send him in."
At that same moment, Bulma slumped back in the car, constantly looking at her watch. She knew she had to get to Vegeta as soon as possible. Biting her lip in exasperation, she decided to check the address to her beauís training gym. She took out the small piece of paper from her purse. When she read it, her eyes widened with surprise. The gym was not far from where she was. In fact, it was located right across the street. Forgetting her hunger, she left the car and hurried to the gym.
The bodyguards reluctantly sent their bossís latest visitor in the room. The prince immediately locked the door and ran to the well-dressed man, grabbing him roughly by the collar.
"Iíve been waiting for one of you people to come here," he hissed, readying a closed fist. "I saw your ring with the seal of the Seven Dragons. Youíre all despicable!!"
"H-hey! Easy! Donít get in a lather! I-Iím just a messenger!" the man defended.
Vegeta was hesitant to let him go, but he did, using all his strength to suppress the rage flowing in his veins. The visitor breathed a sigh of relief, running his hand over his inky streaks. He then straightened his tie and collar, making himself more presentable.
"My nameís Yamcha Jones," he held out his hand. "As Iíve said before, Iím the messenger and the manager of Lord Friezaís wineó"
"Donít you mean bootleg?!" the boxer scoffed.
"óbootleg businesses," Yamcha finished, his extended hand dropping to his side. "I just want you to know that Iím not a torpedoó"
"I donít give a damn! All of you are nothiní but plain criminals!"
"I didnít come here to argue. I have other things to attend to so Iíll make this message short."
Before the scarred man was able to say another word, the door behind him opened.
"Vegeta, Ió" Bulma stopped in mid-sentence. She swiveled her head back and forth to the two men in the room. Never, in her wildest dreams, did she expect to see both of them together in one place. The two men stared at her with the same look of surprise in their faces but the businessman quickly regained his composure.
"By the way, Vegeta," he smiled, snaking his fingers around the womanís shoulder, pulling her towards him. "This is my moll, Bulma Briefs."
"Moll?" Vegeta repeated, his voice riddled with shock and uncertainty.
"Thatís right. You know, gangster girlfriend," the gang member continued. The flapper was at a loss for words. She tried to open her mouth to say something but nothing came out.
"But sheís mine!" the prince finally retorted, recovering from his moment of disbelief. Bulma wouldíve kissed him for saying that, but her ex-beau put a tighter grip on both her shoulders.
"Oh, so this is your new daddy," Yamcha nodded to himself. "Small world, eh? Iíll give you two lovebirds a few moments alone. Iíll talk to you later, Vegeta," he did a mock salute and left the room, closing the door behind him.
The silence that surrounded the couple was so thick, it couldíve been sliced by a knife. Both pairs of wide eyes held on to each other, their mouths slightly opened, their nostrils flaring as they breathe. Then, the boxerís fingers curled into tight fists, his eyes narrowing into deadly slits.
"You whore!" he snarled, pointing a finger at the damsel before him. "You vamp! You cheated on me!"
"I didnít! Youíve got to believe me, Vegeta!" the singer pleaded, almost close to tears. "I wasnít cheating on you! Ió"
"Youíre seeing someone else while youíre with me!" he allowed his face to get as ugly as the words he spat out. "And I saw no one but you! Only you!!"
"I never saw him again after I agreed to become your mistress!"
"How do you explain that youíre with him now?! For all I know, you couldíve been seeing him while I was out training!"
"Please, Vegeta! Iíve already broken up with him! Ió"
"Oh, yeah right!" Vegeta turned sharply away, refusing to acknowledge the tears that had begun its trail down his mistressís cheeks. "Now, leave!!"
"Didnít you hear what I just said?!!"
"Iím pregnant," Bulma finally blurted out. "Iím carrying your child inside me."
The silence that had left them a while ago came back with a vengeance, thicker than ever before. Both people in the room were as still as statues, each trying to guess what the other will say next. Then, the prince faced the nightclub singer. What she saw in his eyes sent chills down her spine.
"My child?" he asked solemnly; too solemnly; like a tiger ready to pounce on its prey.
"Iíve known this since the night of the explosion," the flapper continued. "I waited for the right moment to tell you. The doctor who checked me said the babyís about a month old now."
"How could I be sure that the child is mine?!" he stormed. "How could I even be sure youíre with child, huh?! You destroyed all the trust I have in you! Go!"
His attack caught Bulma by surprise, her shoulders rocketing with sobs. His cruel words were like sharp daggers piercing her heart. No. She couldnít take any more of this verbal abuse. She had to get away from it.
"Fine! Donít believe me even if I speak the truth! Your jealousy has blinded youÖjust as your career has! You couldíve agreed to the Seven Dragonsí offer! Or perhaps forfeited the match or quitted the sport! Maybe then you couldíve saved Joeís life!"
"Donít blame me for his death!"
"Why shouldnít I?! Deny it all you want but it was your selfishness that killed him!"
Vegeta raised his hand, causing the jade-haired woman to close her eyes and cringe, waiting for the pain from his open palm. Nothing happened. Panting heavily, the boxer set his hand down and faced away from her.
"Donít make me hit you," he gruffed. "As little feelings I have left for you now, I still respect the fact that youíre a defenseless woman. Iím not going to say this again. Leave."
"Iím not leaving without giving you this," Bulma sniffled, taking the wooden box from her purse and handing it to the rich man. Hesitantly, he took it from her and opened the lid, staring down at an old envelope.
"What is this?!"
"A letter from your father."
The boxerís head shot up at her, the creases in the middle of his brows made more visible through his mixed emotions.
"You truly are desperate arenít you? How many of your lies are still left in that headó"
"My real name is Bulma Unterhosen," the damsel cut him off. "I was in Dresden, Germany with my parents on December 23rd 1914, to attend the funeral of my grandmother. On December 25th, we were forced to evacuate due to the attack of the Russian forces. We rode on an army truck headed for the ports of Bremen to return back to America. It was there that we met Veldock, the man who is unmistakably your father. He saved my family by shielding us from Russian gunfire. He asked us to give that letter to his family but he died before he even had the chance to tell us his family name. The stains of brown on that envelope are actually his blood. I owed him my life so I kept that letter, hoping to give it to any relative of hisÖand now I have."
Vegeta was left speechless. It seemed farfetched; yet, it was possible. Slowly, he picked up the old piece of paper, inspecting the dark stains, which clearly showed the pattern of fingers holding on to it. Without a word, Bulma hastened out of the locker room, clutching a handkerchief to her tear-streaked face. The boxer didnít seem to notice he was alone once more, his eyes fixed on the envelope. Gently, he took the fourteen-year-old letter from its enclosure, afraid it might crumble if he held it too tightly. The handwriting, as he can remember it, was undeniably his fatherís. He squinted, struggling to read the blurry yet legible message.
December 23, 1914
To my ever dearest wife and son,
I donít know what made me do this, but I knew I had to write this letter to you. James was killed today in a bomb explosion near the inn we were staying in. Our trip didnít turn out as productive as we hoped it would be, due to the animosity between the Germans and Russians.
Now, I feel that my death will come sooner than I thought. I know you hate it when I speak of these things, Rosicheena, but for the past few days, I felt it. Iíve always known that I wouldnít be coming back the day I left you two in New York.
Rosicheena, you tried to become the perfect wife for me but you neednít do so, for you have always been the perfect wife from the day you said, "I do." It may be too late, but I just want to tell you that I love you. I always have and forever will. Please take care of our little boy. Raise him well and continue to be the perfect mother for him.
Vegeta, my son, I want you to know that Iíve always been proud of you. You donít have to be a boxer like I was. You have to be whatever you want to be. But if in case you do follow in my footsteps, remember that thereís nothing more important than family. Donít make the same mistake that I did. My desire for my German opponentís belt prevented me from being cautious even if I knew the country was in the height of war with Russia.
Please forgive me for all the times I wasnít there, for all the mistakes I made, for all that should have been. I love you both and Iíll never forget you.
Something fell down upon the lower part of the letter. Vegeta dragged his palm across his eyes to dry them. Carefully returning the letter to its rightful place, he changed quickly into his clothes. It was then that he realized that he could survive without the championship belt. But now, he couldnít imagine a life without the one woman who had the most influence to him: Bulma. He cursed himself for doubting her, stuffing the wooden box containing the envelope in his bag.
"Vegeta? Where are you going?!"
"Later, Borris!" he jumped on his Rolls Royce.
"But you havenít finished your training! Tomorraís the big day!"
"There are things bigger than that," he stepped on the gas and sped away from the neighborhood.
* * * * *
Baby = sweetheart
Bootleg = illegal liquor
Daddy = a young womanís boyfriend or lover, esp. if heís rich
For crying out loud! = same usage as today
Get in a lather = get worked up; angry
I have to see a man about a dog = Iíve got to leave now
Jake = great
Moll = a gangsterís girl
Oh yeah! = I doubt it!
Palooka = a below-average or average boxer/ may also mean simpleton or idiot
Sap = a fool/idiot
Screw = get lost
Speakeasy = a bar selling illegal liquor
Spill = to talk
Torpedo = hired gun or hitman
Vamp = an aggressive flirt