Author’s Note: Please keep in mind that scenes taking place in the past are not necessarily in chronological order.
Satan City, Present
Everything was a blur. She peeped around the hood of the dark, black car, peering through the darkness in the garage. The silence was so intense that every tiny noise echoed throughout the large space.
Her heart pounded in her ears. It was so loud she wondered that none of the others could hear it.
Even though she feared for her life should she be caught, she couldn’t run away, not now.
A small squeak drew her attention away from the men to the large, brown rat sitting beside her, sniffing at her legs.
Her first instinct was to scream; she hated rats. But if she made even a small sound or movement, they would find her here, and that could cause danger for the one she had come to protect.
She had come here because of him. His back faced towards her, and all she could see of him was the neatly tailored pinstriped suit and the gray felt hat covering his dark, upthrust hair. He stood with his arms crossed, his stance casual, as though he had not a single nerve in him.
The man across from him had a face that would make little children cry. Dark, slanted eyes that spoke of half a million evil deeds, a purplish face mottled with rage, and a small, tense body. He looked as though he wanted to strike out at something, to cause physical pain to someone, anyone.
Her breath caught in her throat; if that man hurt him, if he hurt him …
He couldn’t hurt him. He couldn’t.
She wouldn’t let him.
She’d do anything she had to … anything to prevent him harm.
She remained quiet as they talked, slowly and deliberately, her hands clamped over her mouth in order to prevent any noise as she felt the rat’s cold, wet nose press lightly against her leg. She couldn’t hear what they were saying; all she could hear was the rush of blood in her ears. Her fingers clenched and she shook her head slightly; she had to focus. She was here because he was in danger; she had to keep her mind on that.
Why hadn’t he told her he was coming here?
She gritted her teeth, trying to force out the unpleasant thoughts. Why, indeed. She had come here out of curiosity, but stayed when she smelled danger.
Danger reeked like the rat that had just scurried past her legs.
A sudden movement caught the corner of her eye; she let out a cry of fear as a tall, fat, pinkish man beside the other one pulled out a Tommy gun. Her vision went blank; all she could see was that gun, pointing at him.
She had to save him.
Her cry had gained the attention of the men; they all turned to her, surprised to see a woman eavesdropping on their confidential proceedings. But as she stood from her crouching position and raced to him, everything still seemed blurry. She couldn’t see his face; the face that she knew and loved, the face that she kissed every night before she went to sleep. The face that haunted her dreams, the face that hovered above her when they made love. She couldn’t quite see it. She knew it was him, but for some reason she just couldn’t see his face.
As she drew nearer, she saw him pull a gun from the inside pocket of his tailored pinstripe suit. Was it pointing at her? She couldn’t tell; everything was a haze. All she could think of was reaching him, saving him from the man with the gun. Were his lips moving? She still couldn’t see his face; the pounding of her heart echoed over the silence in her ears, so she couldn’t hear whatever he was saying, if he was in fact saying anything at all.
She opened her mouth; to say something, to cry out, she didn’t know.
And she would never find out.
A sharp pain ripped across her abdomen, burning through her flesh. She clutched the wound, wincing as her vision grew even blurrier than before. She tried to focus her eyes, but the images before her blurred against her will. She thought she heard a voice crying out her name, but she was deaf as well as blind; everything was blurry, sights, sounds, and feels.
The last thing she saw before she collapsed to the ground was his gun, pointing straight towards her fresh wound. She closed her eyes, struggling not to believe it. But when she opened them again, the blurriness had gone; everything around her faded into a milky white haze. She couldn’t even see his face, the face she had loved so well and so long …
As her legs gave out and her body collapsed into his arms, moments away from death, she spoke but a single word to sum up all the fears and dreams and longings she had never been able to express in life:
Bulma’s hand clutched the edge of the desk and she stumbled into it, knocking off a large pile of books that spilled onto the floor with a resounding crash. Her other hand held her head as she let out a choked sob, asking the same question again: "Why?"
The assembled grad students stared at her in horror as her body collapsed over the desk, seizures wracking her thin body mercilessly as her arms and legs flailed wildly about. Throughout it all, she continued to sob and repeat a single word:
The students sat still, horrified, watching their teacher’s body convulse in half a million different ways. None of them could believe that this woman, one of the strongest, most intelligent women that any of them had ever known, could collapse so suddenly and so violently.
After several shock-filled moments, they sprang into action.
"Someone call 911!" cried out one of the students, Marron, a fresh-faced blond girl with a love for the sciences, as she leaped from her chair and rushed towards her fallen professor. "Hurry!"
The other students quickly disbursed, frantically pouring into the hall in order to find someone who could possibly help their fallen teacher.
Marron turned Bulma over and felt for her pulse; it was erratic, jumping quickly. She frowned, cradling the blue-haired woman against her chest, stroking her teacher’s hair and murmuring soothing words, trying to calm her down.
She hoped Dr. Briefs would be alright.
"You’re very lucky my daughter acted as quickly as she did, Bulma" Dr. Juuhachigou Gero, resident psychologist of Satan City University, told her old friend hours later as Bulma sat quietly on the comfortable sofa in her brown-and-white office, "or else you might not have made it."
A lock of hair came loose from Bulma’s tidy bun, falling over her eyes. She brushed it back uncomfortably. She didn’t enjoy the thought that she had just had a serious mental and physical breakdown in front of her students. It had been hard enough to convince the hospital staff that she was fine and it was perfectly alright for her to leave; convincing her students that she wasn’t crazy would be another task altogether. She wondered vaguely if her reputation as a stern, take-no-prisoners-or-dog-ate-my-homework-excuses professor would suffer greatly from this incident.
"I know what you must be thinking: Why did you suddenly collapse right in the middle of the day, in the middle of class, in front of all your students?"
Dr. Gero paced back and forth in front of Bulma, but the scientist didn’t even notice. Her blue eyes were glazed over as she stared downward, and she thought about the sudden onslaught of the daydream that had caused this.
It came back. It’s that same dream again. The one where I—
Bulma shuddered; had she been alone or under different circumstances, her reaction would have been much more volatile; but in front of Dr. Gero, having just suffered from a near mental breakdown, she had to keep her emotions bottled up; she couldn’t let a simple memory disturb her, unless it was her fondest wish to be locked up in a mental institution for the rest of her life.
All because of that dream.
She hated that dream. It always disturbed her; even when she awoke afterwards, she could still feel the searing heat of the bullet ripping through her insides. She could still see his eyes staring down at her, lacking any emotion whatsoever. She could still feel the pain of her breaking heart as the realization overwhelmed her that the man she loved had just killed her. It all felt so real.
But that was impossible—the mere idea was absolutely absurd! Those dreams could not possibly be real. And that surety in the natural order of things, in what was real and what wasn’t, reassured her. It made her sigh with relief and overcome the tremors that took over her body whenever she woke up from one of those dreams.
But she’d never had one in the middle of the day before, when other people were around.
Her head snapped up as she realized that the doctor was speaking to her.
"It is my professional opinion," Juuhachigou began, in the same bland tone that marked all her words, "that this sudden attack was caused by stress." She shook her head. "You’ve just been working too hard lately, Bulma. What with teaching your grad students and doing all those experiments, you hardly have any time for yourself anymore, do you?"
Bulma blushed. "I guess your right," she mumbled. She couldn’t very well tell Juuhachigou about the dream. With her Ph.D in psychology, the überprofessional blond doctor would have a field day with such odd dreams.
"I recommend that you take some time off for some much needed R&R. Take a sabbatical. Without it, I can assure you that this won’t be the last time you have to come and see me."
Bulma nodded and stood up—she had to leave as soon as possible. If she stayed any longer, she knew that she would lose control right here in front of her old friend.
That was something she could never allow to happen.
"You’re right," she said with a confidence that she certainly did not feel, "I’ll just take an extended vacation. It will soothe my nerves, and when I come back I’ll be better than ever and fully recovered." She smiled at the doctor. "Thanks, Juu."
Satan City, 1927
The girl closed her powder compact with a purposeful snap as she eyed the man she had sworn to conquer.
"Vegeta," she said playfully as she marched resolutely toward him, one hand patting down the stylish black bob she wore as the other slid the compact discreetly into her purse. "Where have you been? I’ve been looking posilutely everywhere for you!" she declared flirtatiously as she hopped up onto his desk. She crossed her legs in the most calculated manner, allowing her pleated red skirt to ride up to the very tops of her rolled-down stockings, leaving her perfectly rouged knees in plain sight.
Vegeta Ouji, often referred to as "Prince Vegeta" by the men who feared him, grunted and ignored her blatant display, walking around her and collapsing with a sinuous masculine grace into the leather chair behind his desk.
Pan frowned, angry that he had ignored her advances once again. What was it with this goof, anyway? She kept making it perfectly obvious to him that she was available—for necking, petting, or even more if he wanted—and yet he kept giving her the icy mitt! She couldn’t understand it—it wasn’t as though she were unattractive or anything. In her own personal opinion, she was quite the choice bit of calico. Other men had no trouble noticing her when she went out at night. She could stay out all night dancing, and never once run out of willing male partners.
So why did Vegeta continue to treat her like a kid sister?
She gritted her teeth and uncrossed her legs, swinging them to and fro in front of the desk. She could hear the rustle of papers behind her—he must be checking the books again, she thought indignantly. Checking up on her work, as though he didn’t trust her! Sure, she wasn’t exactly good with math, but wasn’t it her job as his girl Friday to keep the books for him? And wasn’t it his job as her boss to trust her to do her job?
As her eyes darted around his office, a sudden idea hit her. The perfect idea.
Pan grinned. She would completely redecorate his office until it became unrecognizable. He’d have to notice her then—and she would vamp him until he finally succumbed to her womanly wiles.
The room in which Vegeta spent most of his time was lifeless, drab, and dull. Pan absolutely hated coming in here—this wasn’t the kind of room where things happened, it was the kind of room where things didn’t happen, and she couldn’t stand it. The boring beige walls screamed out to her for repainting. The entire furnishing of the room consisted of the desk upon which she sat and three other chairs, including Vegeta’s favorite leather piece. The horrid vomit-green rugs made her want to, well, vomit. In a word, her boss’s office was just plain ugly.
However, thought the cunning young woman, if she were to completely redecorate the room, giving it color and life, Vegeta couldn’t just continue to ignore her. He’d have to take notice then—plus, he’d see what great taste she had, and he’d know right then that she deserved to be more than just his girl Friday—she deserved to be his flapper.
"I have to go see a man about a dog," Pan declared abruptly as she hopped off the desk.
Vegeta glared at her. "Where are you going?" he barked.
Pan stiffened her spine and stared him down. The only time he ever deigned to speak a word to her was when he was angry at her or ordering her around. Well, that would soon change! Soon, she told herself, he would be crying out her name in passion. She felt a pleasurable tingling sensation shoot through her body at the thought. She had to set her plan into motion; she couldn’t let him go even one more day without noticing her.
"To iron my shoelaces," she told him indignantly as she turned on her heel and walked towards the bare wooden door.
"Pan!" she heard him shout. He could see right through her lie, and she knew it. Her heart fluttered at the concern she thought she heard in his voice. Vegeta, concerned? About her? She turned around, the longing she felt for him evident in her eyes.
Vegeta’s face, however, remained as stony as usual, bearing his favorite expression, the scowl. "Be careful," he said softly. "I have no doubt that the Cold Gang knows exactly who you are, and if they see you alone, you won’t stand a chance against them." Although the words cut down her wild fantasies of her boss declaring his undying lust for her and taking her on top of his desk right then, the raw pain in his voice created a resonating pang within her heart.
Like Vegeta, she couldn’t help but remember the events of last week, when she had discovered a large, heavy package addressed to Vegeta sitting on the front steps of his home, and had opened it only to find within her cousin Raditz’s disembodied head.
She had fainted at the sight, but later her cousin Goku, Raditz’s younger brother, had told her that a note inside the box had accompanied the head. It had read only "Cold, 1; Ouji, 0." Everyone associated with the Ouji Family knew what this meant; Frieza, the head of the Cold Gang, was gearing up for a gang war that wouldn’t end until either he or Vegeta—quite possibly even both—turned up dead. And in the meantime, everyone associated with either gang had to keep up a close guard, or else it could be his—or, in Pan’s case, her—head next.
"Don’t worry about me," she told Vegeta softly, looking into his eyes. "No man, member of the ruthless Cold gang or not, would harm a woman."
She whirled around and ran from the room before she could hear Vegeta’s angry roar of disagreement.
She sat on a bench in the little white gazebo at the heart of Satan City Park.
She stared down at the small bushes encircling the gazebo. They were so beautiful when the roses were blooming; but now, weeks before the springtime bloom, they were lifeless, dead. She couldn’t wait until the roses came out in full force; but for now, she had to content herself with plain little shrubs.
As her mind continued to wander, her fingers played with the hem of her short, pleated skirt. Even after a month of dressing like a flapper, she still hadn’t gotten used to how short the skirts were. Why, if a breeze came along and blew against her skirt, her knees would be showing! She pulled the skirt down a little, but it was no use; Bulma Briefs had made the decision to renounce her strict heritage and her traditional ways in order to become a modern woman, a member of the flaming youth. She couldn’t keep on acting like this; Juu and Chi teased her all the time about how she "looks like a flapper, acts like a Gibson girl."
But there were so many things that flappers did that she didn’t want to do; she didn’t want to smoke, or drink, or pet. Juu had stared at her, amazed, wondering why anyone wouldn’t want to do any of those things. Afterwards, however, her friend had assured her that there were plenty of semi-flappers, women who looked and dressed the part but abstained from some of the wilder practices of the modern woman.
Bulma simply had to content herself with the fact that she couldn’t change who she was, or how she had been raised; she’d simply have to content herself with being a semi-flapper, a mere shadow of a flapper.
"You can take a good Catholic girl and dress her up as a flapper," she murmured to herself, "but you can never rid her of her good Catholic sensibilities." She sighed, wondering once again if this lifestyle had been worth the sacrifice.
She could still remember that day three months ago that had begun all this.
Walking down the street one day she had seen Yamcha—or rather, the back of his head. She had been absolutely thrilled to see him. He had been her beau for nearly a year, and she had grown quite fond of him. Her father approved of the relationship, as long as there was no more than simple handholding or a peck on the cheek. He had liked Yamcha very much; it had been her father, in fact, who had introduced the two.
Mr. Briefs had hired Yamcha a few months before to work alongside him in his butcher shop. He was a fine young man of good breeding, a devout Catholic, and most importantly, he was Irish. The most important criteria for a man in Mr. Brief’s eyes were that he be an Irish Catholic like himself. After all, he didn’t want his beloved daughter marrying a heathen; nor did he want her marrying outside of her own nationality. Especially not in a country where the general populace despised the Irish.
Thus, when Yamcha came along, Mr. Brief’s mind began calculating. Bulma was of the age when a girl ought to be getting married, and Yamcha was exactly the right age for a girl her age. So the two had been duly introduced by her proud papa, and shortly afterwards Yamcha, like every other man who saw her, became seduced by her beauty, and asked her father if he could take her out. Old Mr. Briefs had jumped at the chance, and grinned as he watched his beloved daughter and the man he had groomed to be his son-in-law take a liking to one another.
Her father was a very old-fashioned man, and wouldn’t even let his daughter step out with a man without a proper chaperone. Her mother, on the other hand, was a bit of a romantic; she would often volunteer to be her daughter’s chaperone, and then wink at the girl and leave the young couple alone for a few minutes. Bulma herself, however, had been raised very strictly. She was a good Catholic girl, with a sense of womanly decorum, and even when her mother left her alone with Yamcha, she adamantly refused to give him more than a chaste kiss on the cheek.
In spite of her reticence, however, their relationship continued, and became serious to the point where Yamcha had told her that he planned to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Bulma had been so happy and so proud; this was the moment her entire family had been waiting for for a whole year!
And so, when she saw Yamcha on the street one day while walking home, she decided to say hello.
As she drew closer, however, she realized that he was not alone.
In his arms he held a woman. Not just any woman; a true, honest-to-goodness flapper!
And he was kissing her! Right there in broad daylight!
Bulma stopped and stared, unable to take her eyes off the sight of Yamcha and that—that—that trollop, locked in a passionate embrace, unaware of anything going on around them.
"Hey mac," a policeman said as he tapped Yamcha on the shoulder, "Get a move on. Bank’s closed."
Yamcha reluctantly pulled away from the woman and murmured something to the police officer, who just smirked and said, "Yeah, don’t we all," then walked off, whistling.
Bulma continued to watch as Yamcha put his arm around the woman and walked away with her.
She continued to stand in one spot and watch until she could no longer see their happy, swaying forms in the distance.
Then she stiffened her spine, straightened her shoulders, and headed straight for her friend Juuhachigou’s house.
She knocked on the door to the large, white house, and a maid answered. She marched straight up to Juuhachigou’s room and knocked on the door.
The young flapper with the bobbed blond hair had opened her door and looked with some surprise at the dowdy girl standing in front of her. Chi Chi, the third member of their trio of best friends, peered over the taller girl’s shoulder.
"Juu, Chi," Bulma said with every ounce of passion within her, "I want you to turn me into a flapper."
And so her transformation had begun. It had taken two months of careful planning and secrecy—she couldn’t let her father catch on to her idea, lest he beat her within an inch of her life and lock her in her room until she was safely married. No, she could never let her father know—and once the transformation was complete and she had finally crossed the threshold and become a true flapper, he would probably want nothing more to do with her, ever again.
The very thought brought tears to her eyes, but nonetheless Bulma jumped into her new plan, heedless of the consequences.
"I wish I had such a water-proof face," Juu mused as she inspected the young woman sitting on her bed. "I can be such a flour lover sometimes."
Chi Chi giggled. "And how!"
Juu glared at the other girl. "Do you want to be here or not? You can just walk out that door right now if you plan to keep on with those snide remarks, Chi Chi."
"I’m not using snide remarks," Chi Chi huffed, pouting. "I’m just agreeing with you! Besides, I want to help, too." She picked up Bulma’s skirt in between her thumb and forefinger, holding it as though it were a dead rat. "Where did you get these awful dresses? They should be burned after we’ve got your new wardrobe!" She let out a long-suffering sigh. "Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us, Juu, what do you think?"
"I think right now we should see what colors look best with her complexion and that hair." Juu shuddered with the last words.
Before Bulma could stop her, Juuhachigou reached out and pulled all the pins from Bulma’s long, blue tresses, letting her mass of hair cascade down her back in a molten waterfall.
"Ugh, so much hair!" Chi Chi exclaimed. "It has to go. I’m surprised you didn’t get it cut years ago!"
Bulma blushed and turned her face to her lap, where her fingers twiddled nervously. "My father wouldn’t approve."
Juu sighed melodramatically. "I don’t know what’s wrong with the old birds; they should all be like my dapper. He lets me do whatever I want, no matter how ‘scandalous’ it might seem to men like your father."
Chi Chi giggled. "Oh, not mine! My dapper is much too respectable. He’ll let me do whatever I want, as long as I don’t disgrace him and ruin his chances for reelection." Chi Chi was the daughter of Satan City’s mayor, known as ‘the Ox,’ a large man with few morals and even less common sense. Chi Chi had that man wrapped around her little finger, and everyone knew it. She winked at the other girls. "That’s why Goku and I have to be very careful about where we do it. If someone caught us having nookie in his fivver, my dapper would never let me out of the house again!"
Bulma’s eyes widened as a blush flamed up her cheeks. "Chi Chi!" she exclaimed, speechless.
Chi Chi shrugged. "If you want to be a flapper," she commented, "you can’t let talk like that shock you!" Quickly changing the subject, she turned once more to Bulma’s dress. "You know, I think I know the perfect color for her, Juu. Bright, scarlet red!"
Bulma stared at her friends in horror as the two women nodded in agreement.
"Um, how about light blue?" Bulma asked quickly, in hopes of averting their attention from Chi Chi’s previous observation.
Juuhachigou tilted her head to the side. "You know," she said with a contemplative air, "That just might work."
Pan frowned as she drove down the street in her mother’s fivver. She’d been driving for half an hour already, and she hadn’t passed one store that would sell what she was looking for!
She groaned in frustration and parked her car by a dimly lit alley. She reached into her purse to pull out the small, neatly folded piece of paper that contained the directions to the store she was looking for.
"It’s located at the corner of Fifth and Mason," she murmured to herself, reading her own neat shorthand. She looked up, examining her surroundings. "Well, I just passed Fifth and Mason!" she exclaimed to herself in a huff, crossing her arms over her fashionably boyish chest. "And it wasn’t there!"
Only child of an incredibly wealthy family, Pan Son was used to getting what she wanted, whether it be new clothes, a man, or the correct directions to a store. Although her father, Gohan Son, came from a poor Italian family with Mafia connections—his brother, Bardock, had been married to the sister of King Vegeta Ouji’s wife—her mother, Videl Satan Son, was one of the most respected women in Satan city. Her ancestor, Hercule Satan, had been a valiant and courageous man who had founded Satan City several centuries ago, and had passed down considerable wealth to his descendents. It had created a huge scandal when, twenty-five years ago, Videl Satan had chosen to marry the no-good Gohan over her other, wealthier suitors. Videl herself, however, had never regretted the marriage.
In fact, the only reason Vegeta had reluctantly let Pan take her position as his girl Friday was due to her parentage. She was a cousin to his only blood cousins, Goku "Kakkarot" Son and Raditz Son. She had managed to get her father to ask Vegeta, as a personal favor, to let her work for him. She’d been in love with the flame-haired capo de tutti capi ever since she could remember, although he had never returned her affections.
But that would soon change.
Just as soon as I can find the damn store! She fumed.
Just as she was about to start up the automobile again and turn it around, the door flew open.
Pan gasped as a man placed the barrel of a chopper up against her throat.
"W-what do you want?" she asked in a high-pitched, panicked voice. The man on the other end of the gun chuckled.
The door on the other side of the car flew open and another man stepped in and grabbed her, jumping out of the fivver and shoving her into a dark alleyway between two tall brick buildings.
Pan cowered in the shadows, fearing for her life.
"D-do you know who I am?" she exclaimed, hoping that her famous heritage might be able to get her out of this sticky situation.
No such luck.
"Yes," said the man with the machine gun, a tall, fat pinkish man with an eerie, fiendish grin. "We know exactly who you are … Pan Son!"
Pan gasped. "You .. you’re Dodoria! One of Frieza’s men!"
Dodoria laughed—it sounded like tin cans grating along the street to Pan’s sensitive ears. "Very clever, little girl," he wheezed. His gaze darted to the man standing beside him, the one who had grabbed her from the car. "What do you say, Zarbon … should we have a little fun with her first?"
Zarbon shrugged and yawned, his stance and demeanor casual. "Do whatever you want, Dodoria. Let’s just get this over with."
Dodoria cackled as his hands reached down to unfasten his trousers. "You hold her down, Zarbon, while I do the honors."
Pan stared, unable to move, as the men came towards her, her only remaining hope that they would kill her quickly and be done with it.
Unfortunately for her, Dodoria had other ideas.
After two months of hard work and many preparations, Bulma had finally taken the largest step of all and told her father that she had chosen, of her own free will, to become a flapper, and that her relationship with Yamcha was finished.
It had been over within minutes; amidst a flurry of "But, Papa"s and a flurry of choked screams from said papa, Bulma had ended up out on the street, thrown out of her own home.
She could still see his face clearly, red and bloated with anger, as he screamed at her, "Get out!"
He had called her a disgrace to their family and to their great, Irish heritage. She would be excommunicated, he told her. He’d see to it himself.
She was never to come back again; if he saw her anywhere near their home, he would kill her with his own two hands.
She had gone straight to Juu’s house and cried herself silly in her friend’s arms. Even though she’d half expected this reaction, she had still held out some naïve hope that her father would miraculously learn to accept his daughter’s choice. But he hadn’t; instead, he had thrown her out as though she meant nothing to him, as though he hadn’t once loved her, as much as any man has ever loved his precious daughter. How could he? How could he have done that to her?
The next few weeks passed in a haze. Juu let her stay at her house in her brother’s old room, since her twin brother, Juunanagou, had left Satan City several months ago to go out west and work in Hollywood. He wanted to be a famous actor; in fact, he had already rubbed elbows with a few famous actors and actresses, such as Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and even Clara Bow, the "It" girl. He sent his twin sister a letter every month telling her all about his zany misadventures on the road to becoming a star. She let Bulma read them, too, and the two girls had a great time imagining what it must be like out there amidst all the glamorous movie stars. Juu was quite jealous of her brother sometimes, angry that he could go off to Hollywood while she had to stay in little old Satan City, necking with Krillin, a short, bald, genial man, instead of with some young, tall, handsome movie star with a headful of hair. Bulma knew her friend didn’t mean it—Juuhachigou loved Krillin more than anything in the world, although her lackluster demeanor belied it. Chi Chi, meanwhile, had her steady beau, Goku. He was a bit of a goof, but Bulma could tell that Chi Chi was utterly stuck on him.
Bulma, however, didn’t have a boyfriend; although she was grateful that Juu let her stay with her, it was incredibly depressing to hear her friend leaving the house to go out dancing or to a petting party with Krillin. Bulma felt so lonely. Even though she hadn’t stepped foot inside a church since she had left home, she still prayed every day. Unlike before, however, God was unable to fill the huge emptiness that clung to her heart.
So one day, after she had been living in Juu’s house for several weeks, she told her friend that she needed a job.
Juuhachigou blinked. "A job?" she asked, puzzled.
Bulma nodded. "Yes, I need a job. I can’t stay here forever; I’ll have to eventually move out and go to live on my own. To do that, I need money."
Juuhachigou pursed her lips. "Well," she said after a moment of reflection, "I might know a job that you could take, but—"
"What is it?" Bulma asked. "Juu?"
"Well, you know how my father gets all of his money from the speakeasies he owns?"
Bulma nodded. She’d known from the very start that Juu’s father ran several popular speakeasies in Satan City. That was how he could afford such a nice house, a maid, and all his daughter’s beautiful clothes.
"Well, he doesn’t work alone. He has … an agreement with the Ouji Gang. They are the sole suppliers for his speakeasy and offer him protection, and in return he gives them a big, fat share of the profits. And Krillin is a member of the Ouji Gang. So is Chi Chi’s sheik, Goku."
Bulma nodded eagerly.
"I’ve heard it said that Mr. Ouji, the big cheese in charge of the Ouji Gang, is looking for a new girl Friday." Juu raised an eyebrow. "You interested?"
The man in question looked up as his right-hand man, Goku "Kakkarot" Son ran into his office, panting as though he’d just run a mile.
"Vegeta," Goku said in between pants, "You’ve … you’ve got to come—it’s Pan!"
Vegeta was on his feet in seconds, following the other man out of his office. He’d never liked Pan—the only reason he’d given her a job was because she was family, even if not related to him by blood—but he knew how cold and ruthless Frieza could be. The man would stop at nothing to destroy the family run by his arch-enemy—the man who had killed his father, King Cold.
Pan lay on the floor inside the door of Vegeta’s building, several members of the Ouji gang surrounding her lifeless form.
Krillin had taken off his felt hat and was mopping his bald head with a handkerchief. He looked up when he saw Vegeta.
"Boss," he began, "Sir … she’s dead."
Vegeta gritted his teeth. Dammit! I knew something like this would happen! Why didn’t I stop her?
As he looked down on her body, his face blanched and a new realization dawned on him. Her short dress had been ripped, exposing her body. Only mere scraps covered her nakedness.
Vegeta clenched his fists, a magnificent rage unlike anything he’d felt before boiling within him. "No—" he choked out. "No, even Frieza wouldn’t—he didn’t—" He was at a loss for words.
Piccolo, who had also been kneeling beside the body, stood and stared his boss in the face. "He would," the tall man replied emotionlessly. "He would, and he did." He spat on the floor. "Frieza is a disgusting man without even a shred of honor."
With a great cry of rage, Vegeta slammed his fist into the wall, making the very foundation of the building shake with his fury.
"He won’t get away with this," Vegeta breathed, his voice calm and malicious. "I will have revenge for the deaths of my cousins. And for the death of my father." His voice lowered until the other men had to strain to hear it. "I swear it."
Ouji Island Resort, Present
Bulma peered out the window as the plane descended to the tropical paradise below.
Her breath caught for a moment as she stared at the sheer beauty of the island beneath her. Crystalline blue water sparkled beneath the sun, surrounding an island that burst with color and life. Several large, modern buildings were grouped in the center of the island, surrounded by tropical greenery and, further out, wide expanses of shimmering golden beaches. Even from her first-class seat high above, Bulma could see the waves of the ocean lapping at the sand, and the giggling children making lopsided sandcastles mere inches away from the tide.
Bulma smiled and leaned back in her seat, closing her eyes. Maybe she had made the right decision in coming here, taking a much needed vacation. Maybe all she needed to get rid of the dreams that plagued her every sleeping hour was to relax. Maybe she could finally find the peace that she had been longing for since she’d first dreamt of her own death.
Too bad she’d chosen the one place in the world where her volatile destiny eagerly awaited her; "peace" was not a word the stars had written in her immediate future.
* * * * *
Author’s Note: Please forgive any anachronisms and inaccuracies; I did a lot of research, but some things are pretty hard to find information on. I also play a little fast and loose with the class issue here. And instead of making Bulma a flapper, her character in this story is based on the concept of the ‘semi-flapper’ as described in the first paragraph of this article:
Questions? Comments? Flames? Please send any feedback toAtomicAcid06@hotmail.com.