Bulma awoke to her father's angry yelling downstairs. Worried that something horrible had happened, she jumped out of bed and put on her clothes. As she descended the stairs, she heard her name mentioned several times. Slowly, she peeked her head into the living room and saw both of her parents. They turned to look at her.
"Just the young lady I want to talk to," her father growled. "Come in and have a seat."
Bulma entered the living room. She noticed her mother's worried expression as she sat down next to her on the sofa. "What is it father?" Bulma asked, concerned.
"Police Chief Yamcha called this morning. He had the most interesting story to tell me. Do you know what the story might be?" Bulma's father asked.
"I have no idea, Father," Bulma replied nervously.
"Baloney! Don't tell me you have no idea what this is about!" Mr. Briefs bellowed. "Chief Yamcha has informed me that you were seen last night with a member of the Cosa Nostra!"
"The Cosa Nostra? What's that?" Bulma asked nonchalantly.
"Don't play stupid with me young lady! You know very well that I'm talking about the Mafia!" Mr. Briefs shouted. "Chief Yamcha saw you with a 'made' member of the Mafia! He saw you two walking downtown last night! Do you deny this?"
"Are you talking about Vegeta?" Bulma replied sweetly. "He isn't a member of the Mafia. He works at an establishment downtown," she explained to her father. "He was just escorting me home, that's all. He's a swell fella."
"Vegeta!" Mr. Briefs yelled. That was the name Yamcha told me! This 'Vegeta' hood works directly for the Capo Di Tutti Capi, the Boss of Bosses, a horrible monster who kills for pleasure!" Mr. Briefs walked toward Bulma. "Did you just meet Vegeta last night, or have you known him for longer?"
"I've seen him on many occasions, Father. He's not a hoodlum OR a member of the Mafia. He works downtown, that's all. He's very nice, and I'm quite fond of him," Bulma replied matter-of-factly.
"Yeah, I just BET he works downtown!" Mr. Briefs sneered. "Exactly which establishment is he employed at?"
"Uh, well..." Bulma hesitated. Smooth move, Bulma. Now you got yourself into trouble! "Before I tell you, I want to remind you, I AM a grown woman, and I'm capable of making my own choices!" She took a deep breath before continuing, "I met Vegeta at a speakeasy downtown. He works there! It's really not that big of a deal!"
"It's not that big of a deal?" Mr. Briefs repeated. "My only daughter is fraternizing with a member of the Mafia at an illegal speakeasy, and IT"S NO BIG DEAL!" he scoffed. "I am a well-respected member of the community and the MAYOR of this fine city! I can't have a daughter that disrespects me publicly by behaving in this manner! You are to NEVER go there again, do you understand?" Mr. Briefs glared at her.
"But Father! I love him! I love Vegeta! You CAN'T make me stay away from there...EVER!" Bulma stood up and tears streamed down her face.
"WHAT?" her father screamed. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently. "YOU LOVE HIM? My beloved daughter, in love with a member of the Cosa Nostra? This is too ridiculous to comprehend! My daughter is no Moll! You hear me? My daughter is NO girlfriend to a gangster!" He shook Bulma until Mrs. Briefs frantically pried her from Mr. Briefs' grip.
Bulma ran up the stairs to her room. She slammed her door behind her and quickly packed some of her clothes into a bag. She heard her father's muffled voice coming from downstairs. "I've been patient with this 'Flapper' phase of hers, but this time she's GONE TOO FAR!"
Bulma sniffed and wiped the tears from her face. She was a grown woman, she didn't have to listen to her father any more. All he cares about is 'public opinion'! Bulma climbed out her window with her bag of belongings. She was going to find Vegeta, and see what was going on.
Bulma arrived at the speakeasy a short time later. It was eerily quiet during the day. Only a few people were out on the streets. She pulled out her compact and looked in the mirror. It was obvious that she'd been crying, but maybe Vegeta wouldn't notice.
She walked to the door and gently knocked. She waited for someone to answer. Impatiently, she tried the door and it opened. She peered into the dim, vacant room. This place gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's so quiet during the day. "Vegeta?" she called out, looking around nervously. There was no reply. She made her way to the back of the room. "Vegeta?" she waited for a reply, but still there wasn't one. She heard a shuffling noise behind the door at the back of the room. Cautiously, she crept toward the door. She startled when she heard another sound from behind the door.
Bulma slowly reached her hand out and grasped the doorknob. She carefully turned it, and cracked the door open just slightly. Not able to see anything into the darkness, she opened the door halfway. She squinted to see anything in the pitch black room. She guessed it to be a store room, and started to close the door, but stopped when she heard a muffled noise. "Who's there?" she demanded into the darkness.
She opened her bag and pulled out her lighter. She lit it and held it high in front of the doorway to see if there was a string hanging inside the door that would turn on a light. She didn't see one, so she started to put her lighter away. The shuffling sound startled her again. "Who's there?' she pressed. "Vegeta, quit playing! You're scaring me!" She heard the muffled sound come from the floor of the dark room. Forcing herself to be brave, she knelt down and held the lighter inside the room as far as she dared extend it. On the count of three, I'll light it. One...two...three! Bulma lit the lighter and gasped at what she saw.
A man's bloody face was there! Fearful eyes open wide, staring into hers. Right below her hand! His face was so close to her hand, he could have bitten her if his mouth weren't gagged with something. Her adrenaline rushed as she jerked her hand away. She scrambled backward on her hands. She stood up and slammed the door. She stood in shock for a moment, but heard approaching voices. Bulma dived to hide behind the bar area. Her body trembled with fear as the voices got louder.
The voices were so loud that Bulma knew they were only about 10 feet from where she hid. She distinctly recognized one of the voices to be Vegeta's. The other, she was unsure about. She heard the door open that she'd just closed. Shutting her eyes tightly, she tried to calm herself as she listened.
"Have you had a change of heart yet, Mr. Yajirobe?" Bulma recognized Vegeta's voice. "We're ready to ask you one more time. This is your last chance, so don't blow it. It shouldn't be this difficult. We only want to offer you our personal protection for a small percentage of your business profits. It's hardly worth getting yourself killed over, don't you agree?" Vegeta chuckled. "Grab his legs, Kakkarot!"
Bulma listened as the men left. So my father was right? How's Vegeta capable of something like this? And Goku? I can't believe they're the bad guys. I trusted Vegeta. I loved him. How could he do this? Tears stung Bulma's eyes. How could those same hands that touched her so gently be capable of hurting someone else so badly? She shuddered when she thought of that man's bloody, terrified face. She was too frightened of being discovered to move from her hiding place.
After what seemed like forever, Bulma still hadn't heard Vegeta and Goku return. Her muscles ached from crouching for such a long period of time. She decided she'd have to take a chance and make a run for it. She didn't want to be discovered like this. She didn't want anyone to know she'd seen anything, or she'd surely be killed. She strained to listen, and heard nothing. Feeling brave, she crawled out from her hiding spot and dashed for the front door. Throwing it wide open, she darted out and right smack into Goku.
"Whoa there!" he chuckled as he staggered back from the impact. "What's the rush? Are you looking for Vegeta?" he asked.
Bulma opened her mouth, but no words came out. She stared at him, terrified.
"Vegeta had to leave, but he'll be back soon. Why don't you come inside for a drink?" Goku insisted.
Bulma didn't know what to do. If I act too frightened, he'll know I saw something. She reluctantly nodded at his offer. She silently followed him back into the establishment.
As they sat at the table having a drink, Goku observed Bulma's bizarre behavior. "You know, Bulma, I'm no genius, but I can tell that something's really eating at you. Is everything alright?" he asked, concerned.
Bulma stared silently at him and hoped he didn't sense how nervous she was.
"You weren't by any chance here earlier, were you?" Goku asked.
Bulma continued to sit in silence.
The fear in her face answered his question. "Just nod your head if you were." he coaxed her.
Bulma slowly nodded, then closed her eyes. She waited to be assaulted, but nothing happened. She opened her eyes slightly to see Goku put his hand to his forehead.
Goku sighed. "I'm sorry, Bulma. What a terrible thing to have to see. Please let me explain." Goku reached out to grasp her hand. "I want to tell you something. I know right now, you're thinking that Vegeta and I are monsters, but I assure you we're not."
Bulma jerked her hand away instinctively.
"It's okay," Goku continued. He looked around the room nervously. "I think it's safe to talk here. Did Vegeta ever explain to you that he isn't from this country?"
"Okay, let me elaborate. Vegeta's father was a Capo Di Tutti Capi in the old country. Boss of Bosses, Vegeta Sr. ran a large organization and possessed far-reaching power. His extensive domination produced many enemies. When Vegeta was still a small boy, his father was assassinated. Not only was his father murdered, but his father's entire crew and organization was destroyed as well. Then the man kidnaped Vegeta to pay off a debt of $500,000 that his father supposedly owed. Vegeta had no choice but to go. The horrible man that committed these atrocities is none other than this country's own Capo Di Tutti Capi," Goku took a sip of his drink and glanced around the room again before leaning close to Bulma to continue the story. "Vegeta's spent from his childhood up until now working for the man to pay off the debt. There's no way Vegeta owes this money. If this asshole has his way, he'll put the bite on Vegeta forever. If he can get away with it. Vegeta comes from a long blood-line of the best trained assassins in the world. To the Boss, Vegeta's strength, skill, and bloodline are irreplaceable. However, Vegeta's strength is still no match for the Boss's. Should Vegeta ever try to leave the organization, he will surely suffer the same fate as his father." Goku pulled out a cigarette and lit it. "Despite that fact, I believe Vegeta's planning to take out his revenge, which will be difficult. The Capo Di Tutti Capi is always heavily guarded." Goku puffed on his cigarette. "Does this help to clear things up for you?" Goku asked.
"Why can't he just call the police?" Bulma asked.
Goku laughed. "That's funny!"
"Okay. Where do you fit into all of this?" Bulma asked. "How do you have so much knowledge of the operations?"
"Two reasons really," Goku took a drag from his cigarette. "The first reason is that I'm from the same place as Vegeta. We're both from the Old Country, Vegetasai. Reason number two; I'm an FBI agent. I shouldn't be disclosing this to you, but I didn't need you running to the cops to report what you saw, and have them interfere with my undercover operation. I'm so close to taking this organization down that I can't afford the meddling city cops interfering right now. There is one problem though. I haven't found out exactly WHO the Boss is. Although Vegeta told me the story I just told you, he wouldn't give me the man's name. And despite my infiltrating this organization, the Capo Di Tutti Capi is so elusive, that it has been impossible for me to learn his identity."
Bulma gave him a surprised look. "I see." Goku is a Fed? "Thanks for clarifying the situation for me, but I really must get going." She stood up and grabbed her bag off the table.
"Wait, where are you going?" Goku asked.
"I'm not sure," she replied sadly. "I can't go home, that much I DO know. I've told my father that I'm in love with Vegeta. He warned me that Vegeta was a Gangster, but I didn't believe him." Bulma sighed. "I don't know what to do. Regardless of what I learned today, I still love Vegeta. I think I need to get out of town for awhile, maybe north to Maine. I hear it's nice there."
"Here," Goku threw a key to Bulma. "You can take my car. It would be best for you to leave town anyway while this raid goes down. It could get ugly. Return the car to me in a couple of weeks, okay?" Goku smiled.
"Okay," Bulma replied. She walked to the door and opened it to leave. "Goku?" she asked. "What will become of Vegeta? Will he go to prison too? Or will he be shown leniency due to his circumstances?"
"I'm sorry, Bulma. I really don't know," Goku replied quietly.
Bulma nodded sadly in understanding. "Goodbye, Goku," Bulma walked out the door. She found Goku's car, got in, and drove away.
* * * * *