Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonballz nor am I making any money off this story., I’m just having a wee bit of fun (and hope you will too.)
Finally, it was Saturday and as Bulma woke up and glanced out her window into the sunshine, she decided it was going to be a perfect day. Her last project was finally completed and the next was not scheduled to begin until late next week, so she literally had the whole day to anything she liked. With a beautiful day like today, she could do anything.
After all the sun was shining… the birds were singing… Vegeta was at the breakfast table.
Damn! Bulma thought. Vegeta must have run out of food again in his apartment.
After the old gravity room was destroyed Bulma had a small apartment built into the new one, the plan being to reduce the amount of contact she’d have to have with Vegeta. Unfortunately Bulma’s mother conveniently "forgot" to have food delivered there so Vegeta would have to come to the main house.
Bulma looked around the kitchen for her mother and found her pouring herself a cup of coffee.
"Morning, dear," her mother said, but she sounded terrible.
"Mom, you sound awful. Are you getting sick?" Bulma asked.
"I’m hoping it’s just my sinuses acting up again, but my head feels like it’s going to explode."
"I’m sorry, Mom. Can I get you something?"
"Thank you dear, but I’ve already taken something. I’ll probably sleep most of the day. You’ll
need to fix our boys their lunch."
"Our boys," was how her mother referred to her father and Vegeta. The more violent details of Vegeta’s arrival at Bulma’s home had blissfully been kept from her mother, so her mother treated him like a long lost family member, and Vegeta (to his credit) never showed his true nature to her mother. While not exactly polite, he was never exactly rude to her mother either.
"Bulma honey, I really need you to do something for me today since I can’t."
"Sure, Mom, what?"
"Tonight’s the Symphony Gala and they’re honoring the underwriters of this season. I really need you to go for me and represent Capsule Corporation."
"Aww, Mom, you know I don’t like doing those things. I’m so out of place."
"Well, they’re honoring Capsule Corp. for ten years of platinum level support, so someone really must go and it should be a member of the family. And you’re a lovely young woman, so I don’t know why you think you’re out of place."
"Because I just am, Mother," Bulma said, mentally shivering at the thought of spending time with the sycophants that attended these functions. "Anyway, I can’t go by myself and I don’t have time to find someone to go with me."
"Mother, I broke up with Yamcha weeks ago, thank you for noticing. I can hardly call him up and ask him to do this without having to break up with him all over again."
Vegeta stopped eating and began to listen to the exchange with interest. So Bulma had broken up with that weakling, eh? About time! Bulma was a mouthy bitch, but Yamcha! What an idiot. It was a miracle he was still alive to be killed!
"I know!" Bulma’s mother said. "Vegeta can escort you!"
"Are you out of your freaking mind!" Bulma exclaimed. At her mother’s shocked stare, Bulma realized she’d responded way too strongly to the suggestion. "I mean," she said "Vegeta is so busy and I really don’t think the symphony is anything---"
"Of course, Mrs. Briefs. I’d be happy help."
Bulma turned and stared at Vegeta, jaw open. He met her dumbfounded gaze gave the slightest smirk. The smirk was invisible to her mother, but to Bulma, who had passed ‘Vegeta Name-Calling 101’ and moved on to the more advanced section of ‘Unbelievably Rude Sarcasm’ it was clear as day. Bulma tried to regroup.
"Mother, he can’t go! He doesn’t have a tuxedo and isn’t the gala a formal affair?"
"Bulma, it’s 8:30 in the morning. Surely a daughter of mine can manage a simple tuxedo by nightfall? If not, I’ve definitely failed you somewhere. Now I’m going to go lie down before my medicine really makes me loopy." And with that she turned and left the room.
Oh Mom, it already has, Bulma thought. Then she turned to Vegeta.
"I know what you’re doing and you won’t get away with it!" She hissed.
"Woman, you could not possibly comprehend my plans and even if you could," he grinned through bared teeth, "I would still get away with it."
Bulma ground her teeth. "Fine. I want you down here in an hour and a half, dressed in real clothes. No jumpsuits, no armor, no gloves. If I have to take you into public you will wear what I say and do as I say." She spun to leave the kitchen.
"Fine." Vegeta said.
Bulma spun back around at the complacent tone of his voice. "You’re not going to get away with this!" She left the room.
Stupid woman, he thought, I already have.
An hour and a half later Bulma was by her air-car waiting for Vegeta. "This is such a bad idea", she said to herself. "I’d rather go by myself, but then that asshole would win. Oh! Who am I kidding? I back out, and he wins. I take him, and he wins. I should have just agreed to call Yamcha."
"They say talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity." Vegeta said from behind her. Bulma turned in surprise and glared.
"No, the first sign of insanity is inviting dispossessed Saiyan princes to stay in your home! Honestly, do you have to sneak up on people all the time?"
"I wasn’t sneaking. I was doing exactly as I was told." He waggled his eyebrows. "Aren’t you surprised?"
"Well, it’s certainly a first. Get in so we can get this over with."
They arrived at the department store just as it was opening, which was exactly as Bulma wanted it. The fewer people in the store, the better as far as she was concerned. She’d been out in public with Vegeta exactly twice, a grocery store (with Yamcha in tow too) and a small sporting goods store to get Vegeta some more clothes to train in. Both times had gone off without incident (incident being defined as "large scale destruction with possible loss of life"), but Bulma was still nervous. Vegeta was so unpredictable and she was sure that somehow she’d wind up embarrassed, at the least.
Determined to get this over with as quickly as possibly, Bulma went immediately to the Men’s Department where she was greeted (much to her surprise and pleasure) by Andre, by whom she’d been helped many times before.
"Miss Briefs! What a distinct pleasure! And how can I help you today? Another gift for your father, or perhaps your young man?"
"Good Morning, Andre. No, nothing for my father today and I no longer have a "young man". I do however, have a bit of an emergency and only you can help."
"But of course, Miss Briefs! Anything! How can I help?"
"I need a tuxedo by tonight. For him." Bulma indicated Vegeta with a slight nod of her head. "I know it’s extremely short notice, so I will definitely understand if you can’t…"
"It will be my pleasure to help you in your time of need! I will do the alterations myself if I must." He walked around Vegeta, muttering to himself. "Let’s see... definitely need the athletic cut, but that won’t be a problem. Please come this way sir."
"Andre, how long will this take?" Bulma asked, seeing no need to stand there gawking while Andre wrapped a tape measure around Vegeta’s chest. "I have some other shopping I like to take care of."
"Not long, Miss Briefs. Say, twenty minutes? Oh, and did you have a particular color in mind?"
"Black." Bulma said. "Definitely black. And Vegeta? Stay here until I get back."
Bulma wandered aimlessly around the store, expecting to hear screaming and loud explosions any minute. She wound up at the perfume counter where an energetic sales lady insisted she try the newest fragrance. "Forbidden" the sales lady said. "It’s simply divine!"
Bulma placated the sales lady and smelled the scent. It did smell good, very different than her usual cologne, which she’d worn since college. She decided to buy some on impulse. As the sales lady gave her the bag, Bulma checked her watch and decided Vegeta should be about done. She returned to the Men’s Department, feeling better in the wake or her purchase. Shopping always made her feel better.
Vegeta waited with his arms crossed over his chest.
"You took long enough, woman," he growled. "I shouldn’t have to wait for you."
Bulma refused to be drawn in. "Oh Vegeta! You’ve been waiting for me your entire life!" she trilled, and walked off laughing toward the store exit. Vegeta scowled, but could think of no rejoinder to lob at her back, and followed her out of the door.
When they returned to her home, Vegeta went off to the gravity room to train and Bulma went to the small office she kept at home to find something to distract her from the upcoming evening.
Vegeta’s tuxedo was delivered at 3 pm. Bulma walked over to the gravity room building with it, but rather than interrupt his training she attached a note: "Be ready at 6:30 waiting in the foyer." She hung the suit on a doorknob and left.
Vegeta heard someone enter the building, but waited until they’d left before he went to investigate. He saw the tuxedo on the door. "Why did I ever agree to do this?" he wondered.
Oh, it’d seemed like the perfect opportunity to annoy the woman, she’d been so against his going. The look on her face when he volunteered to go…! But her buttons were easy enough to push without exerting himself this much. He might admit to a mild curiosity about the evening. Since he’d been on the planet he’d only left the Capsule Corp. grounds to look for remote areas to train. Other than what he had gleaned from television broadcasts, "human civilization" was still mostly a mystery to him. Well, he couldn’t back our now without giving her a victory. She’d probably think he was too afraid to go out into society… and him a prince! He decided to be on his best behavior, which would probably unnerve her more than anything.
Bulma knocked off work about 4:30 and went upstairs to get ready. It’d been a very long time since she’d gone to one of her mother’s functions and was actually a bit nervous. She knew how to carry herself in society and at one time believed that was her role in life… she certainly had the genes and the money to succeed. But then Goku had entered her life again and somehow high society began to pale against the excitement of saving the world. Of course, she might just be nervous because her date was a recovering genocidal maniac, but she wouldn’t think about that. The thought of actually trusting Vegeta was too terrifying to comprehend. She could only hope he found the evening so beneath him that he would not deign to speak!
She didn’t have anything new to wear (since she never attended these functions anymore she’d stopped buying clothes for them,) but she did have one dress she’d worn only once before. It was a lovely strapless gown in midnight blue silk crepe. It was a classically simple style, so she didn’t worry about looking to out of date. She took extra pains with her appearance, carefully applying makeup and pinning up her hair. After all, she was technically ‘back on the market’ since she’d broken up with Yamcha and who knew who’d be there tonight? She would love to be the object of a lot of male attention since she’d have Vegeta in tow. Not that she was trying to make him jealous, no sir, but he treated her like she had no worth except for fulfilling whatever his needs were at the moment, insufferable wretch, and she’d like to teach him otherwise.
Vegeta was downstairs waiting when Bulma descended the stairs. His first thought as she came down was "she looks...regal." He caught himself… where had that thought come from?
"Well, Andre sure knows how to fit a tux!" she said as she walked over. She walked behind and ran her hands over the shoulders. "Does it feel alright?"
"It feels ridiculous!"
"Feel free to back out anytime." Bulma offered sweetly.
"Not likely. Andre neglected to show me what to do with this." Vegeta held out the bow tie.
"Oh, I can do that." Bulma said, taking the tie. She wrapped it around his neck and started tying.
Vegeta kept his eyes straight ahead, not daring to glance down. What was she wearing anyway? Her shoulders and neck were completely bare. Suddenly words that had never been connected before in Vegeta’s mind joined… words like "attractive" and "Bulma." He’d never denied that she was a beautiful human, (he’d never really admitted it either) but he always looked on her beauty the way some might admire a painting or sculpture, at least until she opened her mouth.
Her pinned-up hair exposed her long smooth neck. That creamy expanse of skin was unbelievably enticing. Oh gods! He could see her back in the mirror. Watching her shoulders move as she struggled to tie that blasted tie was mesmerizing.
He snapped out of it.
"Can you lean a little this way please? I’ll never get this done if you don’t cooperate a wee bit."
Vegeta obediently leaned a little closer to Bulma. Her scent had changed. He knew humans put scent on themselves as a part of their mating rituals, but whatever it was Bulma had worn before was too sweet and cloying. This however... he breathed it in. This had possibilities.
"You smell different." Vegeta said.
"Yeah, I bought a new cologne while you were being fitted today. Like it?"
"It’s... different," he replied noncommittally.
"Why Prince Vegeta, I swear if you don’t watch that smooth tongue of yours you’re going to turn my head!" Bulma said in her best southern drawl. At his blank stare she added, "Come on, let’s get this over with."
The ride to the symphony hall was short, but tense. At first Bulma tried pointing out various landmarks of the city to Vegeta, but he merely shot her a glance, raised an eyebrow and said nothing.
By the time they reached the symphony hall Bulma was a nervous wreck. In one hysterical fantasy on the ride over Vegeta blew up the orchestra pit screaming "No b-flats ever!"
After she encapsulated the car she turned to Vegeta and pointed her finger in his face, whispering furiously.
"Now listen here, I know you only wanted to come tonight because it gives you an entirely new venue for your favorite pastime of picking on me, embarrassing me, infuriating me and otherwise making my like a living hell. But before you get too carried away, let me remind you we’re here representing Capsule Corporation; that wildly successful company whose disposable income pays for your gravity room and toys, not to mention all the food you consume. So, please, you can pick on me all day tomorrow, just behave tonight?"
Vegeta actually had the nerve to look offended. "Believe it or not, woman, I do know how to behave myself."
"I’m sure you do, Vegeta. The trouble is, I just can’t imagine any circumstances under which you’d trouble yourself to do so."
Vegeta thought on that a second. "Point taken."
"Well, come on. It’s probably almost time to start," she said, turning and walking toward the hall.
The sound of a throat clearing stopped her. She looked around.
Vegeta stood there and held out his arm.
Bulma, slightly embarrassed walked back and took his arm.
"Where’d you learn this?" she asked.
"All My Children."
Bulma stopped dead in her tracks, staring at him with her mouth open. A soap opera?
"Your mother leaves the television on during lunch. " He offered by way of explanation. Seeing she still hadn’t recovered, he added wickedly "I think Erica is going to try and get back together with Jack." Then he walked on, almost dragging the still stunned Bulma behind him.
Fortunately the lobby was mostly cleared by the time they arrived. Bulma directed Vegeta in the direction of Capsule Corp.’s box. They almost made it.
"Bulma, darling! There you are! Your mother said you’d be here tonight."
Bulma stiffened, pasted a big smile on her face and turned around.
"Mrs. Radcliff-Smith! How nice to see you."
Vegeta turned and saw what was quite possible the largest Earth woman he’d ever seen. She was as tall as Kakarrot and just as wide—only she was wide all over. She was elaborately dressed and wore a lot of jewelry. Everything about her screamed "Important!"
"It’s so good to see you again, dear. It’s been ages. Why don’t you ever come out any more?"
"Well, I am very busy with Capsule Corporation. I’m Vice President of Project Research now and it’s... "
"So you’re not married yet are you?" Mrs. Radcliff-Smith pressed.
"No need to worry yet dear. You’re still young."
"Oh, I’m not wo..." but Bulma didn’t get to finish.
"And who is your young man, Bulma? Introduce us," she commanded.
"Mrs. Radcliff-Smith, may I present Vegeta..." She paused briefly. Oh geez, I can’t use his title-she’ll think I’m out of my mind. So instead she plunged onward. "Vegeta, this is Mrs. Radcliff-Smith, one of the City Symphony’s chief supporters." Then she winced, waiting to see if Vegeta would correct her omission.
"So nice to meet you Mr. Vegeta" Mrs. Radcliff Smith said, extending her hand for the handshake.
"The pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Radcliff-Smith." Vegeta replied smoothly, taking her hand. But instead of merely gripping it for a handshake, he bent over and brushed it with his lips.
Mrs. Radcliff-Smith was over the moon. "Oh, Bulma, watch out! This one’s a charmer!"
"Yes, I know." Bulma said through her fake smile. "He’s always making me feel so special!"
"Now, Bulma, before I forget, you simply must join my party for dinner after the performance. Nothing fancy, we’re going to Francesca’s for dinner. I simply insist you come and bring Mr. Vegeta too."
"Oh, that’s so kind of you, Mrs. Radcliff-Smith, but I’m afraid we won’t… "
"You’re not about to turn down my invitation are you, Bulma?"
Bulma forced a smile. "Oh course not. We’ll be happy to join you."
"Excellent! Just meet us in the lobby after the concert!" And with that, she left.
Bulma sighed. Dinner with Mrs. Radcliffe-Smith’s party was NOT her idea of a good time—with or without Vegeta.
"Come on." She said going back up the aisle to her box.
"What a dragon!" Vegeta said. "Why didn’t you just tell her to go to hell?"
"One does not tell Mrs. Radcliff-Smith anything. She knows it all. Or couldn’t you tell? If it was just me I would’ve told her to go tell hell, but she runs a lot of social events in town and she could make things unpleasant for my mother. So I hope you like Italian. By the way, where did you learn that?" she said, referring to the hand kissing. "More All My Children?"
"No. I learned that being a prince."
Their eyes met, and for one moment Bulma saw him as he saw himself, a sovereign prince of royal blood. She gave a slight smile. "Point taken" she said. Then they were at the box and spoke no more.
The concert was beautiful. They always chose "crowd pleasers" on gala nights since it was a great way to garner new support. Bulma stole glances at Vegeta during the concert, but as usual his expression gave nothing away. She couldn’t tell if he was having the time of his life or bored to tears.
Intermission came. Bulma was tempted to just stay in the box, but since everyone else was heading toward the lobby area, it would have looked strange had they stayed and the last thing she wanted was to draw attention to herself and Vegeta. Fortunately, the lobby area was extremely crowed. Bulma steered Vegeta toward a dark corner and said "Stay here and don’t talk to anyone. I’m going to get us something to drink."
Bulma was accosted at the bar.
"So Bulma, looks like you’ve traded up."
Bulma gave a startled glance over her shoulder to see Courtney Radcliffe-Smith, the dragon’s daughter. Courtney and Bulma had been friends for a while in college… at least Bulma thought they were friends. Courtney was entirely too competitive to ever really be friends with another woman. Bulma learned that lesson the hard way.
"I’m sorry? What do you mean?" Bulma asked, a little bewildered.
"Your date. Mother said he was to die for and I can see for once Mother and I are in total agreement. So who is he?"
Bulma collected her drinks from the bar. "He’s nobody you need to know, Courtney. And he’s not my date. He’s a houseguest and Mother asked me to bring him."
"He’s staying in your house? God, Bulma, you have all the luck. So if he’s not your date, then I suppose I need to meet him. See you at dinner later." She smiled slyly and was gone.
Bulma got back to the corner where she’d left Vegeta to find three women crowded around him, chatting happily.
"OK, girls, break it up. He’s with me." Bulma shooed the interlopers away. "Vegeta, I told you not to talk to anyone."
"Please, it’s not like you actually have to participate in a conversation to keep these human women’s mouths running. All I did was say the occasional "Really?’ or "You don’t say?" and they just kept flapping their lips."
"Yes! All I had to do was make some maudlin response and---" Vegeta stopped and clamped his lips together, realizing he’d been tricked. He glared at Bulma. "You", he said softly," should not be allowed out of doors."
"Whereas you are the soul of discretion? You might be fooling everyone else with this veneer of polite behavior you’ve put on, but I know the real you. Hmmpf! ‘Charmer’, indeed!" Bulma said, remembering Mrs. Radcliff-Smith’s comment. "So, what do you think of the performance so far?"
Vegeta checked the program and checked off the first four selections. "Boring, boring, boring. This didn’t totally suck."
Bulma looked at that last one. "Beethoven. Why doesn’t it surprise me that you’d like Beethoven?"
"I didn’t say I liked it, woman, I said it didn’t totally suck."
"High praise indeed." But the lobby lights were blinking, signaling the end to the intermission. "Time to go back. I can’t wait to hear the second half. They’ve actually gotten Kathleen Revenant to sing. She’s like the world’s most sought after soprano. I can’t imagine how they convinced her to come for this, particularly for just one piece."
Vegeta made no comment and mentally ticked off the next four selections. Boring, boring, boring, boring...
But when the soprano came onstage, Vegeta sat up and didn’t look bored at all. As a matter of fact, he looked downright...interested.
Bulma looked at the woman onstage. She was young (for an opera diva), with very pale skin and red hair. Literally red hair. Not auburn, not copper, not strawberry blonde. It was like someone had taken a red marker out of a kid’s schoolbox and colored her hair. She was also very beautiful. But Vegeta had never really seemed to notice beautiful women before (after all, he lived with one!) so Bulma couldn’t imagine why Vegeta seemed to be holding his breath.
Then she began to sing.
Her voice was beautiful, clear and pure, without any of the shrillness that some sopranos have. It was easy to see why she was so sought after by the large metropolitan opera companies.
"Kiara," Vegeta breathed.
"What?" Bulma asked.
"I know her," Vegeta said.
"Vegeta you don’t know her. She’s never even been to Capsule Corp. Where on earth would you have met her?"
Vegeta looked at Bulma. "It wasn’t on Earth." He got up to leave the box. "I’ll be back."
"What? Vegeta get back here!" Bulma hissed, but Vegeta was gone.
Bulma left the box as well, intent on stopping Vegeta. Like I need him harassing Kathleen Revenant. He’ll probably get arrested trying to get backstage. Visions of security officers trying to subdue Vegeta filled her head. Oh shit. I don’t think anyone will survive to actually arrest him. She hurried toward the backstage area.
Possessing both the power of flight and super speed made getting backstage, then into Kathleen Revenant’s dressing room absurdly simple. Vegeta selected a spot near the door, where someone coming through the door couldn’t immediately see him.
Kathleen Revenant finished the aria, and gratefully accepted the praise of the adoring audience. Earth might be a backwater planet in an as yet unclaimed portion of the galaxy, but they knew an excellent voice when they heard it. Her escape from Frieza five years ago had been worth the danger.
In her dressing room, Kathleen had just begun removing pins from her hair when she heard the voice.
She spun around and stared open-mouthed at the man leaning negligently on the wall, his arms crossed. "Prince Vegeta... I... "
"You didn’t really think Frieza would just forget about you did you?"
"No," she said, "but so much time had passed... "
He pushed off from the wall and walked towards her. "We spent three months looking for you in that godforsaken system. It was not pleasant. And our failure to find you… well… let’s just say Frieza’s response to our failure wasn’t pleasant either. I spent two weeks in a regen tank thanks to you."
Kiara backed against her dressing room table. "Prince Vegeta, I’m sorry, but the opportunity to escape came... I had to take it...you understand, you hate him too!"
Vegeta said nothing, just stared at her.
"Have you come to take me back?" she asked in a small voice.
"Kiara, the tyrant is dead."
"Dead. I saw it happen myself."
"Dead. You saw it? You mean, you didn’t do it?" Kiara sounded confused.
"No, I was not afforded that honor. But it was at Saiyan hands, I assure you."
Kiara paced her dressing room, taking in the news. "Dead. Then I can go home! Wait…does Niron-sei still exist?"
"You mean, ’did Frieza destroy it in a fit of revenge for your escape?’ He might have, but we were on the other side of the galaxy at the time. Luckily for Niron-sei, another matter took his attention before he could reach striking distance."
"Home! Did you hear Pegur?"
A chair in a corner suddenly began to move, blurring to take a new shape. A piece of clothing that had been carelessly thrown over the chair fell from the shoulder of the alien being as it regained its true humanoid form.
"I heard. Hello, Vegeta."
"Disrespectful as ever, I see." Vegeta murmured. "Now why am I not surprised to see you, I wonder? I told Frieza you weren’t dead. Lucky for you he was too busy believing Ginyu’s lies to pay attention to me."
"You never wanted Frieza’s attention, Vegeta, so don’t expect my apology," the shape-shifter said. "I wasn’t surprised to see you on the news broadcasts a while back, but I am surprised to see you here now. Why are you back on Earth?"
"Let’s just say I have some unfinished business and leave it at that shall we?" Vegeta said, just as an out of breath Bulma Briefs came through the door. She looked directly at Vegeta then at Kiara. She didn’t notice Pegur, but who would take note of a chair?
"I am so sorry about Vegeta, Ms. Revenant. Has he been behaving himself?"
"Don’t distress yourself, Ms. Briefs. Vegeta was merely conveying his appreciation for my performance," Kiara said.
"So he hasn’t . . .you know who I am?" Bulma was momentarily stunned and absurdly pleased the diva knew who she was.
"Capsule Corp.’s generosity to the fine arts is well-known, as are your own accomplishments," Kiara said.
"Oh. Vegeta we really should get back to the concert," Bulma said.
"If it isn’t too much trouble, I did have another matter to discuss with Vegeta if I may?" Kiara asked sweetly. "He will rejoin you in your box in a matter of moments, I assure you."
"Uh... well, sure," Bulma said, leaving the dressing room with a backward glance at Vegeta.
"Bulma Briefs. Very nice, Vegeta. Is she your "unfinished business?" Pegur asked when he was no longer a chair.
"Hardly. She is a means to an end. Nothing more."
"Interesting," Pegur said. "Kiara, how soon did you wish to leave? Remember, it will take forty days for the ship to get here."
"You have to ask? Let’s go home as soon as possible."
"You have a ship?" Vegeta asked.
"Insidian Class IV Cruiser. You didn’t think we escaped in pods did you?"
"No..." A ship!
"Did you want to come with us, Vegeta? We can drop you off at any system on our route to Niron-sei," Kiara asked.
Vegeta thought a moment. Travelling in a ship… a real space cruiser, not some pod or Briefs capsule was tempting. He was strong enough now to do some real damage with Frieza gone; but he’d sworn he wouldn’t go back until he’d become a Super Saiyan and defeated Kakarrot. An empire couldn’t be truly enjoyed if you knew someone could show up anytime and take it from you. You were really a sitting duck. Vegeta inwardly winced as the Earth expression turned up in his thoughts. He really needed off this planet. . . .
"No. Like I said, I have unfinished business."
"Well, if you change you mind, here’s my phone number. Leave me a message there if you change your mind in the next forty days."
Vegeta surprised Bulma by asking her a question in the air-car on the way to the restaurant.
"So do many women have blue hair like yours?" he asked.
Bulma glanced at Vegeta to check his expression. He seemed to want a real answer, not pick a fight.
"Natural blue hair like mine is very rare, yes. When it became apparent that I was going to be beautiful as well as inherit my father’s genius, I became something of a pop culture celebrity and several companies began manufacturing blue hair dye. Most of the women with blue hair you meet are actually dye jobs.
But when I was younger I was the only one and I was teased mercilessly about it when I was a little girl. And when I was older all the boys demanded I prove to them my hair was naturally blue in the only proof-positive way…"
Bulma’s stopped speaking abruptly and blushed, embarrassed at the topic she’d just wandered into.
"And what way is that?" Vegeta asked innocently. He knew perfectly well the method by which the human boys expected Bulma to provide proof, but the blush across her cheeks looked so charming he couldn’t help but press a bit.
"Uh, I forget." Bulma said.
Liar, Vegeta thought and rode the rest of the way in silence.
Dinner at Francesca’s didn’t go downhill until coffee and dessert were served. That’s when Courtney managed to relocate down to Vegeta and Bulma’s end of the table.
"So Bulma, introduce me to your date."
Bulma put down her pen and looked up. She’d long since given up on "polite conversation" with those seated next to her; especially Vegeta, who’d never grasped the meaning of either "polite" or "conversation". Instead she’d grabbed the paper napkin from under her drink and began designing a new math puzzle for Gohan. It was easier to think, however, before she’d had that second glass of wine. . .
"Courtney Radcliffe-Smith, this is Vegeta. Vegeta, this is Courtney. And I told you, he’s not my date."
"Oh that’s right," Courtney said. "Vegeta, Bulma tells me you’re staying at Capsule Corporation."
"That is correct," Vegeta answered.
Courtney waited a moment for Vegeta to elaborate and when he didn’t she decided to pry. "So what are you doing there?"
Vegeta glanced at Bulma, then back at Courtney. "I’m not sure I can tell you exactly what I do at Capsule Corporation."
"Oooh, is it top secret stuff?" Courtney leaned toward Vegeta, her arms strategically positioned to press her breasts forward for maximum cleavage.
At this blatant attempt at seduction, Vegeta actually blushed and looked at Bulma helplessly. For some unknown reason, Bulma took pity on Vegeta.
"Vegeta is a consultant for a project my father is working on. Gravity simulation. And yes, any other information is definitely secret." Bulma hoped her tone would convey to Courtney that Vegeta was off-limits for discussion.
Unfortunately for Bulma, Courtney took the hint and decided on another topic for Vegeta, Bulma herself.
"So Vegeta, how long have you known Bulma? I’ve been friends with her since college…" and proceeded to launch into several anecdotes designed to show Bulma in an unflattering light. Bulma rolled her eyes and asked for a third glass of wine. Dulling the senses seemed like a good plan with Courtney on the offensive.
". . .and then Bulma turns around and says "Cop? What cop?" Courtney laughed softly at her own story.
Vegeta’s lips quirked at the end of another story. He could tell immediately the kind of "friend" Courtney was; he grew up amongst them in Frieza’s court. Friends like Courtney were exactly why he no longer needed friends. He decided he’d had enough.
"Bulma, I believe it’s time we returned to your home."
"Hmmm?" Bulma looked up from her napkin. "Yeah, we can leave. Just let me say goodnight to Mrs. Radcliffe-Smith."
"You know, Vegeta" Courtney said, looking at Bulma’s departing back, "I could stop by Capsule Corp. some night and we could resume our conversation?"
"That won’t be necessary. Your conversation is trite and your looks are below average. Tell Bulma I chose to wait for her outside." He turned his back on her and left.
Courtney was still fuming when Bulma came back to collect her bag.
"Where’s Vegeta?" she asked.
"The asshole is waiting for you outside," Courtney snapped.
"Turned you down, did he? Trust me Courtney, this is one time you wanted to be turned down." Bulma laughed and left the restaurant.
Bulma popped her air-car when she got outside. Some weather-front seemed to have moved in during dinner, because the air felt close and thick, making Bulma feel light-headed. Then she remembered that third glass of wine and realized the light-headedness was probably more a side effect of the wine than the weather.
"Vegeta, can you drive us home? That wine has gone to my head," Bulma asked.
"Well, there’s certainly plenty of empty space for it there," Vegeta said.
"Hey!" Bulma tried to raise her voice, but her head wouldn’t allow her to finish. Maybe the weather was partly to blame for her head. "Will you do it or not?"
"Fine," Vegeta growled and walked around to the driver’s side of the vehicle. Bulma got in on the passenger side and promptly fell asleep.
Vegeta stopped the vehicle once they’d reached Capsule Corp. and looked at Bulma. Sleeping like that she reminded him of a small kitten. He thought about various ways of waking her up. Shouting in her ear would be fun, but she’d probably shout back and in this closed vehicle it could damage his sensitive hearing. Instead he got up and walked around to her side and opened her car door. He squatted down to her level and poked her shoulder with one finger.
She didn’t budge. He poked again.
Finally her poked her hard enough to push her towards the middle of the vehicle.
Bulma started, opened her eyes and looked around.
"We have returned." Vegeta said.
"Oh." Bulma gave a sheepish smile. "Too much wine makes me sleepy."
Bulma got out and encapsulated the vehicle. She turned to Vegeta, suddenly uncertain of what to say.
"Well, thanks for not blowing up the symphony, "she said. "Good night."
Vegeta watched as she gave a soft smile and turned to enter the house, walking slowly and smoothly, like she was...
Happy? Content? No… LIKE SHE’D WON.
And she HAD, hadn’t she? He had behaved himself all evening, letting every opportunity to irritate her pass by. He had believed his good behavior would unnerve her, keep her in suspense, wondering when he was going to strike, but instead... he’d done just what she wanted.
Hell, she probably thought her little warning outside the symphony hall had frightened him into submission. Well, the evening wasn’t over yet. A plan was quickly formed.
Vegeta called out "Don’t I get a ‘good-night kiss’?"
Bulma stopped in her tracks, then turned slowly to face him.
"I rue the day I gave you access to television, Vegeta," she said.
"What’s the problem? It is the custom among your people, is it not?"
"Yes, but it’s only when two people go out together on a date, a real date. This was not a real date."
"I fail to see the difference. It is nighttime, we have spent the evening together, worn appropriate clothing." Luring her into the appropriate position was harder than Vegeta had thought it was going to be. He was certain that once he’d requested the kiss her vanity would bring her around. So he pulled out the one weapon he knew would make her give in.
"Ah. I see. You are afraid."
"I am NOT afraid to kiss you."
"Well, it certainly looks that way to me."
"Oh fine. I am not going to stand out here and debate this with you." Bulma snapped, stalking towards him. "Besides, you’ve been a good little prince tonight so I guess you deserve some reward." She tilted her head to the side and smiled. "A kiss from a beautiful woman isn’t too much to ask."
Bulma tipped her head up slightly, closed her eyes and puckered her lips.
Vegeta looked into her face. Perfect. . . .
"I’ve changed my mind. You’re much too ugly with your face screwed up like that. I might lose my dinner." He laughed and turned on his heel to go to the gravity room.
"Why you. . .!" Nobody asks Bulma Briefs for a kiss and laughs in her face. She grabbed his arm, swung him around, grabbed the lapels of his jacket and kissed him full on the mouth.
Vegeta was too stunned to move. He simply stood there with his arms at his side, Bulma Briefs’s lips pressed against his.
Bulma felt Vegeta’s shock. Whatever he was expecting, I guess it wasn’t this. He has no idea what to do. Suddenly she realized that, for once, she was in total control of Vegeta. Giddy with her new power, she slid her arms around his neck and parted her lips, brushing his lips with her tongue.
He stiffened further, and for a moment Bulma thought he might bolt, but he surprised her by parting his own lips and caressing her tongue with his own. Bulma felt a shiver run through her and when she felt his hands on her waist, sliding up her back, all thought fled.
When Vegeta felt Bulma’s tongue on his mouth, it took him a moment to realize what it was. His shock was fading and his brain began to function again and his mind was telling him this was a kiss… this was the way Earthlings kissed. And whether it was instinct or curiosity, he felt his own lips part to greet her tongue and taste her lips.
His last coherent thought was it doesn’t feel as disgusting as it looks on television… far from it. It was warm and soft and wet. Her tongue was velvet on his and his hands could press softness and slimness against his body. It felt close and warm and. . . .
The kiss ended abruptly. They stared at each other, breathing hard, confused by what had just happened.
"Oh my," Bulma said softly. "That was..."
Then they were kissing again, almost devouring each other. Bulma’s hands crept up Vegeta’s neck to curl through his hair, then back down to slide under his jacket to grip his shoulders through his shirt. Vegeta’s hands were everywhere it seemed, pressing her closer. Bulma’s hair came loose from her pins, but she didn’t notice. It wasn’t until Vegeta’s hands skimmed around her ribs toward her breasts that some part of her brain woke up and wondered what the hell was going on?
Bulma broke off the kiss and pushed out of Vegeta’s arms. She was totally embarrassed by her behavior and suddenly found the concrete pavement much more interesting to look at than the eyes of the man she’d just been kissing.
"Uh... good night," she said and all but ran into the building.
Leaving Vegeta, who had long since thought he had lost the capacity to be surprised, very surprised indeed.
Special thanks to Nakia Shay , SSJPan and Ember for pre-reading the story.
Extra special thanks and hugs to Ember for beta-ing.
Feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org