Popping The Question
A Dragonball Z Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Note: This story contains adult themes and strong language.
Hundreds of people gathered on a warm, clear, summer day at the Capsule Corporation grounds. The annual company picnic was a big hit as usual, but most people seemed to stay away from the barbecue. Vegeta flipped ribs of flintstone proportions wearing an apron that read “Kiss the Cook”. His son held a plate up expectantly.
“Dad?” Trunks asked impatiently.
He speared the ribs and waved them in front of his face. “Do they look done yet?”
“No...” The twelve-year-old turned and rolled his eyes.
Bulma chatted with various employees. She excused herself and slithered her way through the crowd toward the grill. She came up behind her husband.
“Try keeping the meat on the grill, it cooks better that way.” She chided, having seen him shake the ribs at Trunks.
“The boy was pestering me. Since he couldn’t see them, I brought them down to his level.” He grumbled.
“Well, try to be a little more polite. In case you haven’t noticed, we have guests: a couple hundred of them!”
“Do you want this meat cooked or not? You may have forgotten, but I’d be perfectly happy eating hundreds of pounds of beef raw!”
Bulma shuddered a bit. Before she could select one of three or four jibes that popped into her head having to do with the fact that Vegeta would soon not be able to look down on his growing son, someone tapped her on the shoulder. Chi-Chi stood smiling nervously behind her.
“Chi-Chi!” Bulma smiled at her friend. “I’m so glad you could make it!”
The woman was obviously relieved to hear this. “Thank you for inviting us!” Her son Goten stood at her side, not taking his eyes off the ribs. She jabbed him in the side.
“Ow,” he murmured with his mouth slightly agape. His mother glared at him. “Oh! Yeah! Thanks Bulma!”
“No problem! Trunks was hoping you’d show up. He hates these things.”
“Why don’t you run along and find him, Goten?”
“Kay!” He was gone.
Vegeta cursed in Saiyan as a flare up threatened his hair. Bulma chuckled lightly.
“Bulma, can we have a woman to woman chat?”
She looked at Chi-Chi, puzzled. “Er, sure.”
She led her friend into the privacy of the house. Bulma poured two glasses of water and invited her to sit at the kitchen table.
“So where’s Goku today? I didn’t think anything would keep him from this.”
“Oh, he’s coming. He wanted to finish his workout first.”
Bulma swallowed deep. ‘Good thing I told the caterers we were having a thousand people!’
Chi-Chi continued, “I don’t mean to pry, but, Goku and I were talking about you last night and he raised an interesting subject. It’s come to my attention that you and Vegeta aren’t married.”
Bulma choked on a sip of water and tried not to laugh out loud unsuccessfully. Chi-Chi looked a little hurt.
“Oh! I’m not laughing at you! It’s just...” she was about to say that the idea of her and Vegeta married was laughable, but stopped. ‘Oh, wait. That’s not funny.’ “It’s just it’s never crossed my mind. I mean, can you imagine how would he ever…?” She shook her head.
“You’ve never discussed it?”
“Oh hell no!” That made her laugh. Vegeta DISCUSSING something, ha! She rolled the half-full glass between her hands. “Thanks for being concerned, but, I guess I’m just glad he sticks around. I can’t even think how an idea like that would get in his head!”
Chi-Chi blushed slightly. “Well...” She stared at her own glass. “What if someone PUT it in..?”
“I pity the poor bastard who even mentions the subject to him!”
Chi-Chi looked a little panicked. “Then I think we should get to him before Goku does.”
The women bolted through the throng of happy Capsule employees. They ran into Goten and Trunks.
“Goten! Has your father shown up yet?”
“Er, Yeah. I think he’s headed for the barbecue.”
They ran at top speed towards the grill.
“What’s up with that?” Trunks asked. Goten munched some potato salad and shrugged.
Chi-Chi slammed into Bulma as she stopped suddenly. The grill was in plain view. Goku was gesturing as he spoke, but they were too far away to hear what he was saying. He obviously didn’t see them. His eyes weren’t on Vegeta either; they were on the meat which was almost done. The women hid at the corner of a yellow and white-striped tent and watched their men. Goku stopped talking for a moment then shrugged. He took a huge section of ribs and walked towards the tent.
“Damn it. What did he say?!” Bulma was pale.
“Let’s ask Goku.” Chi-Chi waved her husband down.
“Hey, hun. Check these ribs out! Boy, Vegeta sure knows how to grill.” He smacked his lips and opened his mouth to take a bite. Chi-Chi snatched the gargantuan ribs away from him.
“Goku! First of all you can at least say hello to your hostess!”
“Oh yeah. Hey Bulma! Great party!”
“What did he say?!” She grabbed his shirt and tried to shake him.
“Vegeta? I know what you asked him! What did he say!?”
“Oh!” Goku furrowed his brows and attempted his best Vegeta impersonation. “He said: ‘mind your own damn business, Kakarott!’” He shrugged again and looked pleadingly at his wife for her to give him his meat back. Bulma released him and looking pale she turned her attention to her hundreds of guests. Chi-Chi practically threw the ribs at Goku. Too happy to have them back, he didn’t notice her frustration.
After the Capsule Corp. employee appreciation picnic, Vegeta withdrew a bit from his already limited contact with his family. He worked out almost constantly. Bulma saw him at night and in passing in the kitchen. She could hardly get an insult in before he was off to the gravity chamber or a distant shore to train himself. She tried to nag him for not spending more time with her and Trunks, but the benefits of his constant exercise outweighed her emotional needs for the meantime.
One afternoon, after she had finished making a couple hundred thousand more dollars for the company her father had started, she lounged in the living room with her feet up. She watched a rerun of Dark Shadows and laughed at the so-called special effects.
“God. This is terrible!” She held the remote in her hand, but didn’t change the channel. Soon she felt that someone was watching her. She looked over her left shoulder to see Vegeta scrutinizing the set. She had a feeling he had just looked away from staring at her. He was wearing a simple white tee shirt and blue-jeans. His muscles drew the shirt tight over his chest. She bit her lip secretly.
“Where are you going all dressed up?” She noted that he was not in his usual sweats ensemble. He glanced at her briefly before leaving and made a grunt which communicated many things to her, but certainly not his destination. Bulma sighed curtly and turned her attention back to the TV. She cocked her head to the side and mumbled, “That’s supposed to be a vampire?”
Vegeta started his car. Although he hated not being able to fly in the city, having an Aston-Martin for basic transportation softened the indignity a bit. He let the corner of his lip curl as the engine purred under his foot.
He pulled up a few minutes later in front of the largest video store in the city. The chain store was packed with bored urbanites, casually perusing the titles. Vegeta had no patience for their lollygagging usually, but he really had no idea what he was looking for himself.
He had no idea why humans did what they did, when they did, or how they went about doing it. Everything he had ever learned about them, he had learned through his family’s friends, and they were such a bunch of freaks, he had decided that they were not exactly a representative sample of the human race. Hell, most of them had alien blood anyway. The only other place Vegeta could turn to that wouldn’t try to condescend to him or make him look foolish was the anonymous media. Movies, TV and radio had supplied him with invaluable information, especially when it came to the ridiculous things his woman did that he didn’t understand. He had been searching for weeks now for a solution to his latest dilemma but had been avoiding the inevitable trip to the video store. He cruised the aisles scanning the graphics, titles and write-ups for pictures and the few words and phrases he had identified with being related to the topic in question: Bells, Wedding, Aisle, Marriage, Tying the Knot, and the like. He quickly amassed a stack of DVDs and brought them to the counter.
“The Graduate, Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman, Four Weddings and a Funeral, My Best Freind’s Wedding, The Wedding Singer...” the clerk read off the titles as he rang them up, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?” The teenager raised a dubious eyebrow.
Vegeta gave him a withering look and he continued in silence. That happened to be one of his favorite movies. No one made fun of his taste in humor, especially not this pathetic zit-faced imbecile. He would have rearranged his face, if it weren’t for the fact that he was trying to go about this as inconspicuously as possible. The way Vegeta saw it, if he had to subject himself to possible HOURS of terrible cinema, he might as well have something to look forward to. As it was the middle of the summer, he knew that Christmas Vacation wouldn’t be on any of the hundreds of channels they received at Capsule. ‘Five hundred channels and not a god damn thing on’, he thought.
“Ok, sir,” the clerk tried to make up for his previous tone, “can I see your card?”
Vegeta gritted his teeth. “What card?”
“Your renter’s card…?” the youth prompted him.
“I don’t have one.” The prince tried to quell the rising desire to choke the living shit out of the clerk.
“Well, do you have your driver’s license?”
“No. I do not have a driver’s license. “
The clerk slowly turned his head in the direction of the parking lot and looked at the deep blue roadster. “Oh kaaaay...” He was getting frustrated. “I’m gonna need SOME form of identification if you want to rent these titles, sir.” The decorum had slipped away from his voice. He decided that the short, unpleasant man in front of him was trying to pull a fast one on him.
Vegeta placed both hands on the counter and gave the clerk a thin, fake smile. He threatened him in the quietest, slowest tone he could muster. “Don’t call me sir in that tone of voice again. Put these films under Bulma Briefs and shut up about it or I will rip all of your teeth from your head one a time.”
The movies were placed hurriedly in a bag for the prince. Vegeta continued to smile, evilly.
“Th- thank you,” The clerk stammered.
“No. Thank YOU.”
Bulma was just making dinner when Vegeta got back. He used the entrance closest to the den and locked himself in. He inserted the first movie and didn’t get through two minutes of it before become so nauseated and enraged by it that he plunged his hand into the machine and tore the still spinning disc out. He hurled the remains of the destroyed player in the trash and crumpled the disc into a little ball. This made him feel better, but he still had a whole stack of titles he had not yet viewed and no answers.
Trunks heard his mother call him for dinner and came running down the stairs from his room. He caught a glimpse of his father ducking into the den trailing the power cord to the DVD player from the living room. He stopped in his tracks and rolled his eyes. The door slammed behind him. “Dad, you are SO weird,” he mumbled.
Vegeta emerged from the den more confused than ever. After skipping through the scenes which made him especially uncomfortable he gleaned very little USEFUL knowledge regarding the marriage process. Rather, he had come away with a greater dread of having to “pop the question”, as one film had referred to asking another to wed. The films taught him that human females were happier when their men went through with this ritual, and that most men were terrified of it. He knew Bulma. He knew that she wanted this. All he had wanted to do for the last thirteen years was to protect her and make her happy. He still had no idea how he would go about it. He scarfed down some leftovers late that night and mulled over his position.
‘I’ll find a way to wed the woman without completely humiliating myself… somehow... First thing’s first, I suppose I have to ask her’, he thought as he gnawed on a pork chop. ‘This is ridiculous! If she’s the one who wants to get married, why doesn’t she do the asking?!’
Bulma sat up in bed, sketching schematics. She erased a mistake vigorously then slammed the pencil down in frustration. “Fuck,” she spat at the notebook.
“If you say so.”
Bulma let out a short shriek. “Ah! You scared the crap out of me!” Vegeta stood, arms folded, in the doorway. She looked at him, exasperated. He waited for her to calm down. She recovered and pursed her lips to suppress a smile. He raised his eyebrows. She let him suffer for a moment then tossed her head in the direction the right and vacant side of the bed. Vegeta grinned and flicked off the lights.
After the third go, Vegeta’s mind wandered back to the issue which had been plaguing him. He sighed deeply which got Bulma’s attention. She had been nodding off, sprawled across his chest, but now stirred slightly. Sighing with a hum, she snuggled her cheek against him.
The prince summoned his courage, which he had previously thought was constant.
“Do you..?” The words caught in his throat.
“Do I what?” Bulma mumbled sleepily.
“Do you... want me to marry you?”
Vegeta held his breath.
Bulma felt this and woke up. “What?” She pushed away from him and, although it was pitch dark in the room, she tried to stare at him. He was silent. “Well, Vegeta... I... I don’t know..”
His suddenly realized that he had been afraid, deathly afraid of being rejected. Now his woman said ‘I don’t know’?! ‘What the hell kind of crap is that?’
“I thought that’s what you wanted!” he barked at her.
“Well, I didn’t say no... it’s just...”
“It’s just what?” he demanded.
“There’s a lot more to getting married than you’re probably aware of. It’s not just paperwork, you know...” Part of her wanted to scream YES! But part of her hesitated. ‘I’m sorry, Vegeta, I can’t say yes, not yet...’ Her ideas of what marriage meant to her flitted through her head. She searched for the right words.
“It’s about trust... and vows... and forever and...” Bulma stuttered as she spoke, but he didn’t let her finish. Vegeta rolled out of bed and put his clothes back on in the dark. He went to a window and opened it.
“Where are you going?” She knew he wasn’t going to listen to her, but she had to explain.
He didn’t answer her. The sky was just beginning to lighten. Vegeta’s silhouette lingered for a moment in the tall frame. Bulma’s jaw hung open loosely.
He was in the sky before she could finish her call.
.x. .x. .x.
Several days of little sleep wore at Bulma till she was a wreck. Vegeta had not returned. She had no idea where he went or when he was coming back, if he was coming back. She sat at the kitchen table, drank some tea and pushed her scrambled eggs around with a wedge of toast. Trunks stared across the table at the bags under his mother’s eyes. He was completely used to his parent’s arguing, heck, even Chi-Chi screamed at Goku at least once a day, but this was different. He had a way of knowing the degree to which the fights reached. This must have been a big one, the biggest one, perhaps. He hadn’t seen his father for days. The gravity chamber was free for him to use all by himself anytime he wanted. He had liked that until he saw how it affected Bulma. The phone rang and shook him from his thoughts. Bulma continued to push her toast. A total of six rings sounded before Trunks pushed away from the table and answered it himself. As usual, he left the video phone screen off.
“Hello? Oh, hi Grandma. Yeah, uh, hold on a sec?” He put the receiver to his chest. “It’s Grandma, Mom. You wanna talk to her?”
Bulma looked up at him slowly, sighed and nodded. She pushed the plate away from her as she stood and took the portable handset with her upstairs.
“Mom...?” her voice wavered. “No...” As Bulma climbed the stairs she began to cry.
Trunks watched her go and cursed Vegeta.
“What did he do now?” Her mother’s usual, bubbly tone disappeared when she heard the despair in Bulma’s voice.
“It’s not what he did for once!” she wailed. “It’s my fault!”
“What’s your fault honey?” Mrs. Briefs listened to her daughter pour out the story from the beginning.
“I should have just said yes! I wanted to, god, I wanted to!”
“But you didn’t. You must have thought it wasn’t right.”
“But... but...” she hiccupped.
“Shh... think about it. There must be something lacking in your relationship with Vegeta if you didn’t say yes... He doesn’t hit you does he?”
“Mom! No! For the umpteen-millionth time! He’s never laid a hand on me! It’s his mouth he uses as a weapon.”
“Oh, well, you’re certainly a match for any man in that department.”
Bulma couldn’t help a chuckle. That was very true.
“That’s better. Now, what is it you need from him that he isn’t giving you?”
“I don’t know..!” Bulma started getting hysterical again.
“Ok, ok, how bout we start with what he DOES give?”
“Well... he protects me...”
“How bout the love life?”
“Oh, that is no problem.”
“All right. Sorry. Continue.”
“He gave me Trunks...” Bulma sighed. “I know what it is.”
“Yeah. Mom. We’ve been together for about thirteen years! I fell in love with him a long time ago. I still love him. I will most probably always love him.” Bulma sank down into a plush chair and held her head with her free hand. “I have no idea if he actually loves me!!”
Vegeta sighed and crossed his arms. The last words Bulma had said to him before he left played over in his mind for the thousandth time: “Trust, Vows, Forever...” She was trying to get at something she found lacking. It had finally come to him. He wanted more time, but how much more time would it take before he was ready? He couldn't just blurt it out, that just wasn't him. He couldn’t believe how difficult saying simple words could be. He wouldn’t just be admitting it to Bulma; he’d be admitting it to himself. He could hardly say it in his own head. The words flitted in an out and never in the right order. They made him nauseous; made him feel weak and pathetic. What if she laughed at him?! What if....no. Don’t think about it. He had to do it. This shouldn't be a problem for a Saiyan prince. Something so simple should be a breeze. Even that idiot Kakarott did it! Although he probably meant “I’m hungry!”
This thought cheered the prince, very briefly.
‘Why is this so fucking difficult?!?!’
Bulma sighed, wiping sweat from her brow as she finished an invention. She wondered if her father would've liked it. ‘Probably,’ she thought, ‘he always liked everything I did.’ She wondered how her father was doing in the great beyond. Having just spoken to her mother, she wondered if Dr. Briefs was looking down at her. She still missed him at times like these, when she was working late in the lab. She’d half expect him to come around the corner…
Trunks suddenly came bursting into her lab. "Mom! Mom!" the boy cried jumping up and down to get her attention.
"Ahh!" she cried in shock. “Oh you scared the crap outta me!”
"Can I stay with Goten tonight? Please? I won’t blow up Chi-Chi's flower garden again." He ignored her fright. “I promise I’ll be good! Pleeeeease!”
Bulma smiled and remembered the flower incident. ‘Chi-Chi was so pissed..!’
"Did she say it was okay for you to stay?" Bulma asked.
"Then it's okay with me. Remember, you gotta be back early tomorrow to go shopping.”
"Aw... I hate shopping!” Trunks sulked then had an idea. “Wait, can Goten come too?"
“Cool.” Trunks ran out of the room. Bulma thought she heard Goten's high pitched voice echoing somewhere in the halls. ‘Oh well, on to more important matters: taking a shower and going to sleep.’ She sighed and left the lab.
‘Where the hell are you Vegeta?’ Bulma thought to herself as she climbed the steps to the bathroom. She knitted her brows tightly and slipped her clothes off. As the water poured down over her, she worried about her relationship.
‘I hope I didn’t royally mess up. How was I supposed to know he was gonna pop the question?! And he and Trunks were just starting to bond… in some odd way.’ She started to get mad at herself. ‘Now that you’ve got a kid, he’s probably the only guy who’s not out for your money that will ever ask you to marry him! God you are so stupid, Bulma! But, I have no idea how he feels!!!’ She continued to argue with herself and made little ground for an hour or more.
Tonight. Tonight he would face the music. He had to. If he didn't, he would never be at peace. What else could he do, leave? Leave her and Trunks? He’s go insane with out... He shuddered. ‘The sex, I mean without the sex... Aaaahhhhh!!’ If he left, it would haunt him until he went completely and utterly mad! He was already miserable and he’d only been without her for under a month! He uncrossed his arms, flew into the air and headed for Capsule. This was going to be pure torture.
Bulma dried her hair with a towel. She had argued herself to tears. Puffy-eyed and tired, she trudged over to her vanity, sat down and looked into the mirror. ‘Damn, I'm pale,’ she thought. ‘When did I get this pale? Maybe I should get a tan. I haven't been to the beach in ages, and it would get my mind off of... Vegeta.’ Bulma winced. She forced a picture of herself walking on the beach into her head, the guys looking at her the way they always did. ‘Never mind. That’s exactly why I stopped going to the beach. If Vegeta ever saw the way the guys stared at me there’d be hell to pay. Ugh! I'm trying to get my mind off Vegeta. Off, off, off!!’
‘Going to the beach might help...’ (She certainly couldn’t picture him there!) Bulma began to brush her hair. ‘Vegeta would never go to the beach to attract girls to keep his mind off ME. Although with his body, he could probably get ANY woman into bed with him.’ She sighed pitifully. ‘Gahhhh!!!!’ The man drove her up the wall even when he wasn't there! She slammed the hairbrush down. Bulma got in bed, pulled the sheets over her, closed her eyes and tried to sleep.
Vegeta opened the window and gracefully jumped into the room without a sound. Walking over to Bulma's bed, he looked down at her. Her hair was down and a few of the light aqua strands were lying across her face. With the softest touch he brushed them back with his fingers. He stared at her for a moment. Her beauty struck him. No matter how old she got, she was radiant. His head hurt, his heart palpitated. ‘It’s taken me a month to come to you; to be able to do this.’ He placed his hand on her shoulder and paused. It was now or never. He gently shook her. She stirred, opened her eyes and looked sleepily at him.
"Vegeta?" she asked. "Is that you? What are you doing here?"
"Last time I checked I live here. Come on, we're leaving."
"Huh?" she asked, sitting up. "Leaving? Where? Where have you been for the last month?"
Vegeta grimaced. The longer they dillydallied, the harder it would be for him to say what he had to say. "That's not important, woman," he growled in annoyance. "Come on."
"Where are we going?" she demanded as he picked her up.
"Somewhere." He pulled her into his arms and stepped onto the window sill.
"Wait Vegeta! I'm in my nightgown!"
"And? What does that have to do with anything? I'm not taking you out in public."
"You'll see when we get there." Making sure she wouldn’t ask anymore questions he jumped from the sill and flew into the air. She clung to him and buried her head in his chest in fear. The first few moments of flight were always frightening to her; whether it was an airplane or a Saiyan carrying her. As they flew on, she eventually looked down. Cities and towns; groups of lights far below them whizzed by. She looked up at Vegeta. His usual scowl was spread across his face, but this time it was different; he had a purpose. This was important. What Bulma wanted to know was what was so damn important that he had to wake her up at three in the morning, drag her out of bed, scare her out of her wits, and keep her wondering if he had finally lost his mind? It just didn't make sense. ‘He asks me to marry him, then takes off for a month only to pull this stunt?!’ If she wasn’t so concentrated on the fact that she was a mile above mother earth, she’d chew his ass out! There was also a part of her that was trying very hard to trust Vegeta and she knew for some reason (Kami only knows why) that he'd keep her safe.
As they neared a forest, Bulma noticed Vegeta started slowing down and lost altitude.
"We’re going into the forest?" she asked.
"Does it look like we're going into the forest?" he asked back.
"Don't you answer a question with a question! Why do you always have to give me crap?"
"Maybe you shouldn't ask shitty questions. I've lowered in elevation, and I'm slowing down. Where do you think I'm going, woman?"
"And would you stop calling me “woman”? My parents gave me a name, use it. Why do you have to be so damned mean all the time? Why the hell did you bring me out here anyway, to insult me? It's common courtesy to answer someone's question. But you probably wouldn't know the meaning of the words."
Vegeta was surprisingly quiet for a moment.
"All right Bulma. I'll answer your stupid question. Yes, we are going into the forest since you can't see that yourself. And I'm mean because I'm evil. I have been since I got to this sorry little primitive planet! You should know that by now, you've called me evil often enough. And I did not bring you all the way out here just to insult you. Satisfied?"
"A little.” Bulma was cowed by his tirade. ‘He did come back. Maybe I should go easy on him.’ She paused. “You're not evil."
Vegeta gave her an evil grin. "Oh, really?" he asked, and let her go.
She screamed at the top of her lungs. Vegeta thought he would die laughing at the look Bulma gave him as he dropped her. Still laughing, he swooped down and caught her before she reached the canopy. She cursed and hit him with all she had, trying in vain to wound him in some way.
"You total jerk!! You dropped me!" she panted as she yelled.
"And you're laughing about it?! You have no feelings! You just care about yourself! If I had died you would still be hanging in the air laughing like an idiot!"
Vegeta scowled at her. "You actually think I would've let you fall? After all the shit I went through to bring you here?!" he snapped. "Ever think that if I wanted you dead I would have killed you a long time ago!? I wouldn't go through the trouble of dropping you fifty feet out of the sky more than thirteen years later.”
She stopped hitting him. Her heart ran the gamut from bitterness to sympathy. ‘He remembers how long it’s been?’
He became nervous as she stopped, then remembered the look on her face. He snickered. “Even if I had let you drop, the trees would've broken your fall! And don't tell me what I have and don't have. I asked you to marry me didn't I? Don't judge me if you don't know me."
"How could I know you?" she snapped. "You keep this barrier around yourself that no one can get through. You've said about two kind words to me since we've met and even those had an insult in it. The only thing we seem to agree on is we both like a good roll in the hay! I can't judge you any other way because you've given me nothing I can judge you by."
Vegeta stared at her. ‘Perhaps... perhaps this is a mistake.’ She seemed to be holding something back, but he wasn’t sure. He started to feel warm. What if she didn't believe him? He should just take her home and leave for good. He could handle a life-time of... heart ache. ‘Ugh.’ But that would mean he had failed, and failing was something Vegeta hated to do. Failing was not an option. He had to go through with it; even if it cost him his pride. So instead of snapping back, he said nothing and lowered himself into the forest. It was around here somewhere, he knew it. As he neared the place, he heard the sound of running water and felt the mist that came from the early morning. It cooled him down a little, both in temperature and mind.
"Vegeta," Bulma piped up after a few moments of silence. "This fog is making it hard to see. Where exactly are we going?"
"You'll see. It's a surprise," he said quietly.
Bulma’s anticipation was sickening. ‘What the hell is he up to?’
The closer they got to their destination, the easier it was to see. As they neared it, Vegeta saw the waterfall and the light spray coming off it and smiled. This was the place. He gently put Bulma feet first on the ground. She looked around in wonder and amazement.
"This place is so beautiful!" she exclaimed and twirled around like a child playing in the rain.
Vegeta watched her silently. She stopped twirling and looked at him. At first she felt like she was dreaming. She must have been. He was smiling at her. ‘If this is a dream…’ she thought. She smiled.
"Aren't you going to twirl with me?" she asked.
He shook his head "That's not my thing. I'll leave it to you. You do it better, anyway."
‘This has got to be a dream! Don’t think about it, just go with it!’ She twirled toward Vegeta. "Why?” she inquired again. “Why did you bring me here? This place is so beautiful and amazing. I just… don't understand."
“To face reality.” His smile faded. He swallowed hard. “For the last month, I’ve been thinking a lot, something you probably don’t believe I do very much of...”
“That’s not true...” she began.
“Please. Don’t interrupt me. This is all Kakarott’s fault. He’s the one who brought up marriage in the first place. If he hadn’t said anything, we could have just gone along with our lives...” He shook his head. “There’s something I have to tell you.” ‘Steady now.’ He felt light-headed. He took a deep breath.
‘What the hell is he getting at…?’ she thought.
“You've probably wanted to... to find someone new thinking I'd never care for you or Trunks. Or, maybe, getting married to me would make you feel that you had a stable family life...”
Bulma started to turn paler than she already was. ‘Oh please, just get on with it!!!’
“Well, I’ve thought about this marriage thing for a while now and... I think I’ve gone about it all wrong. I... need to let you know that...” The volume of Vegeta’s voice dropped as he spoke. He was having trouble keeping his stomach calm. ‘Damn. Damn, damn, damn. Women. Women and fools.’ His mouth went from dry to over-flowing. ‘I’m not actually going to throw up am I?’
Bulma panicked. “Vegeta! Please stop!”
He sighed heavily, allowing her to interrupt. “I’m sorry, I... I... shouldn’t…
“No. Please!” Tears vaulted from her eyes. “Don’t leave me.”
“Huh?” His eyes bulged. “You think that...” He reached out to her quickly. Her tears drove him crazy. He could not bear to see her upset. “I am so bad at this! I’m not going to leave you, I just needed some time to think about... to figure out... to... to...” Vegeta wrapped his arms around her and squeezed.
“To what?” Bulma tried to push away from him. She had to look into his eyes. Again, for the second time that night, she saw them like she had never seen them before. He was struggling. He looked like he was going to... cry?
“To tell you that…” ‘Deep breath!’ “..I love you.”
She stared at him blankly. ‘I am dreaming.’
“Please trust me. I have never loved anyone before in my entire life, let alone, admitted it to anyone,” the prince gritted his teeth, “and I don’t care at this point if you feel the same way, I need to get this the fuck off my chest because it’s driving me insane!”
She blinked a few times, tears rolling down her face. She started to laugh through her tears and fell against him. He was shocked and stood with his arms hovering inches from her body for a moment.
“Oh! Vegeta! I don’t believe it! You’re serious!” she wailed. “I love you too!!!”
He flung his arms around her again and buried his face in her hair.
“I’ll marry you! I want you with me, always!” Bulma prattled on into his shirt.
Vegeta took her face in his hand and kissed her. He whispered something inscrutable to her in the growling Saiyan tongue, a language which she had only ever heard Vegeta curse in. Bulma knew this was no curse. She received his kiss passionately. They stood next to the waterfall, relieved; neither one able to release the other. For a long while they didn't move. The only sound audible was that of their breathing. All Vegeta wanted to do was hold her, to make her feel cherished like she must have wanted to be all these years.
Bulma stared at her fiancé. She was sure she would never get an emotional outpouring from him again, but she knew him. She knew that he would always feel this way about her. She was on cloud nine. He had said it. After so many years, after all the arguments, all the doubts. This night (or rather this morning) made up for it all. The man she loved loved her back.
After a long while, Vegeta spoke.
"You know, that wasn’t the only reason I brought you all the way out here," he said, a grin forming on his face.
Bulma blinked. "Not...the only reason?”
He slowly shook his head, the grin getting wider. “Nope. Here’s another." He fell on the grass, taking her with him.
Vegeta woke with the dawn as always, just a few hours after bringing Bulma home. He lifted her arm off him and slid out of bed. Before he got up, she reached over and stopped him.
“Wait,” she whispered, “tell me I wasn’t dreaming.”
“More with the telling,” he grumbled.
She put her fingers to his lips and smiled. That was enough for her. He took her hand away and replaced it with her lips. He kissed her softly and got up. Bulma went back to sleep.
In the gravity chamber Vegeta began his workout as if he hadn’t been away for a month. It felt good: the strain of the g’s against his muscles. In his absence, he knew he had gotten weak, but for some reason he felt as strong as ever; invigorated even. ‘Maybe this love thing isn’t enfeebling after all.’ He let his mind dwell on his future wife as he did push-ups with his legs bent back over his head. Suddenly his stomach turned and he lowered himself to the ground. “Oh, god...” He sat on the floor and hunched his shoulders. “What the hell do I do from here?!”
Bulma woke at nine and took Trunks and Goten to the mall as promised. Her son was astounded at her demeanor. She glowed with an energy he hadn’t seen in a while. Although he noted her state, he kept quiet. She seemed to be in another world. She hardly made him try anything on. He even convinced her to let him and Goten go to the arcade. She would usually claim that it was a waste of time because he could play all the same games (if not better ones) at home.
“Wow! I can’t believe she let us go!” Goten exclaimed as they walked to the arcade.
“Yeah, something’s up. She’s been down for a while, but today she’s happy. I think she’s on Valium or Prozak or something!”
When they returned from the mall, Vegeta was still working out. Trunks and Goten changed for their own workout. When Trunks opened the door to the gravity room, he was shocked to see his father. He scowled at him.
“Oh. Sorry. I didn’t know YOU were in here.”
“I’m almost done. Give me ten minutes.” The Saiyan had his back to his son. Trunks turned to leave and rolled his eyes at Goten. “Wait, Trunks,” he stopped him, “I’d like to have a word with you.” He saw Goten standing next to him and scowled himself. “Alone.”
Goten shrugged and went back into the house.
“What do you want?”
“Don’t take that tone with your father, boy.”
“Were have you been?” Trunks crossed his arms.
“You’re driving Mom nuts, you know that?”
Vegeta’s anger at his son’s rudeness subsided. He was HIS son for sure. He smirked at his protectiveness. “Your mother and I are getting married.”
Trunks’ eyes popped slightly. Vegeta said no more. He put a towel around his neck and walked out of the room.
Trunks shook his head. “You are so weird.”
Bulma sat down at her workbench and held her chin in her hands. Her latest project sat unnoticed in front of her. She sighed and let her thoughts wander to her future husband. She snorted at the thought that it took him a month to come to her like that. ‘The poor guy!’ she thought. ‘He has no idea what to do! How can I coach him into the next step without embarrassing him? He won’t discuss it so what can I do? Leave him a note? He can’t read!’
She slapped her hands on the counter and jumped up. “That’s it!” She began rummaging through boxes of stuff, looking for a particular piece of equipment. “Where’d I stash that relic? This’ll solve a lot of problems!” She tossed parts and gizmos at random and finally unearthed what she was searching for.
“Aha!” she declared as she held up the remains of a Freeza-issued scouter. “I hope I can get this thing to work!”
Vegeta came downstairs after taking his shower looking for food. Trunks and Goten were already helping themselves.
“Where’s your mother?”
“Lab.” Trunks managed to say between mouthfuls.
“Congratulations, Vegeta!” Goten blurted out, also with his mouth full. Trunks choked on sandwich number four.
“Trunks! I do not want the entire planet knowing my business!” his father barked.
He just knew telling Goten was a bad idea, but, who else could he tell!?
Goten hunkered down a little until Vegeta got his food and left the room.
“Yeah. Oops.” Trunks rolled his eyes.
Bulma didn’t come to bed until late and slept soundly that night. She had worked for more than fourteen hours on the scouter. Vegeta worried about having to deal with the next step in this torturous process, but as he watched her sleep his anxiety ebbed significantly. ‘I’ll deal with it tomorrow’, he thought.
In the morning, Vegeta rose and left his still sleeping fiancé for his early morning routine. He was confronted with a note hanging in his closet that at first glance made his blood run hot. It was type-written in his native tongue. He gasped briefly before realizing that there was no possible way that it could be sinister. He ripped it down and read it.
V - Use this bit of money to buy us rings. Try Zimmer Brothers Jewelry Store. -B
Paper-clipped to the back of the note was a check made out to the aforementioned store with several zeros, signed and endorsed by Bulma. ‘Whew. Thank you, you brilliant woman!’
When Bulma came downstairs, she too found a note written in Saiyan. All remnants of sleep were discarded as she excitedly took it into her lab. Still in her bathrobe, Bulma scanned the words in to her computer and used the program she wrote yesterday to translate it.
B - Thank you. I’ll be back later - V
“What the..?” She tried to process the last line again. It still came up with no translation. She couldn’t even pronounce the Saiyan symbols and there wasn’t another living being in the universe who could. “Well, I hope it’s not important!”
The clerk was expecting him. Vegeta could tell. Just like the way Kakarott’s monk friend acted around him, this man looked cool on the outside but was shaking like a rabbit on the inside. He flashed the check just to be certain.
“I believe these are the lady’s selections.” He indicated to a set of simple white-gold rings. The rock on the woman’s ring was big enough to let anyone know that it belonged to the richest woman on earth. Although Bulma’s taste was not the best, Vegeta thought, the rings were tolerable. The attendant began to make the transaction when his well-dressed co-worker sashayed up to see what was going on.
“Ooh... you’re the lucky guy who’s marrying Bulma Briefs!”
Vegeta remained silent.
“What’s your name?”
“Ooh, the strong and silent type, huh?” He snatched an appointment book away from the first attendant before he could stop him. “Vehjitah?”
“Vuh gee tah,” the prince snarled. No one got his name wrong.
“That your last name?”
“It’s my only name.”
“Ooooh... Are you a rock star?” Vegeta thought about punching the man’s head into his stomach, but his sincerity and a witness prevented him from doing so. The first attendant turned pale.
“Oh.” The man seemed to want to say more. Because he had been so brutally honest thus far, Vegeta wondered why he stopped there.
“Honey,” he looked him up and down for emphasis, “you sure look like one.” Vegeta’s wild hair and simple 50’s greaser look did kind of give him that quality. The attendant finished the sale and quickly handed the Saiyan his boxes.
“Here. Get a trim for the big day. Ask for Ozzy.” He handed him a card.
The prince glared at him for a moment, but he was unfazed. The man stood with one hand on his hip, the other extending the card, his eyes never moving from Vegeta’s. It’ll be over soon, this is for her. This will make her happy for years... he repeated over and over in his head. He took the card, turned and left without an incident.
“Have a nice day!” the man called out. “He wasn’t scary. I don’t know what you were talking about...” he said to his co-worker. “Where’d you go?” He emerged from behind the counter.
“Is he gone?”
He clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes.
Vegeta came home with a flat-top. He no longer looked like a rock-star. Instead, he looked slightly punk rock-ish.
“I take it you got my note.” Bulma said quietly, not looking up from her trade magazine.
“Mm.” He sank down into his favorite chair. “D’j get mine?”
He flicked on the TV and surfed around.
“Oh, by the way, due to legal crapola, I took the liberty of officially registering you as a citizen. You now have a birth certificate, driver’s license and all the other stuff that’s important enough for you to need.” She indicated to a pile of paper work on the coffee table.
He picked up the forms and examined his identity. The license fortunately did not have a picture on it.
“I also had to pick out a surname for you. They wouldn’t process the info without one.”
He noticed a strange word next to what he knew to be ‘Vegeta’. “What the hell is this?” He pointed to the word and thrust the card in her face.
“Your surname,” she glanced up and announced.
“What does it say?” he demanded.
“Oujisama.” She looked up at him and smirked.
He was satisfied by her choice. It certainly fit. ‘Vegeta Oujisama…’ he repeated to himself. ‘Nice ring to it.’ Mr. Oujisama flipped to the Canadian channel.
“…We’re gonna discus those three little words that men find so hard to say.” A man holding what looked like a keyboard on crack wearing red and green suspenders announced. Bulma looked bug-eyes up at the screen. “I don’t know!” shouted the studio audience. Vegeta and Bulma both laughed out loud. She looked over at him, but his attention was on the program.
“Did you get a hair cut?” she asked, astounded.
“Does it look like I got a hair cut?” he replied.
‘Sheesh.’ She snorted and looked back to her magazine.
“I like it.”
He glanced at her and smirked before turning back to Red Green.
The telephone rang. Trunks picked it up in his room.
“Yeah? Oh! Sorry, Grandma! I was expecting Goten. Yeah, Goku’s son.” He got up and walked downstairs with the phone. “I’m great. Well, I think she’s doing a lot better. Yup. Well, here she is. Bye!” He came into the living room and handed the handset to his mother. “Grandma.”
“Mom!” Bulma jumped up and took the phone back upstairs.
Trunks took her seat in front of the TV.
“Nope!” Bulma closed her bedroom door. “I’m getting married!!!” There was a long pause. Too long. “Mom? Mom!?” She ran over to the screen on the wall and switched it on. There was so one in the frame. She toggled the buttons so that it switched views and swiveled around till she found her mother lying on the floor.
“Mom!!! Are you ok?!”
Mrs. Briefs was an elderly woman, but she bounced right back up again. “Yes! Oh Bulma! I’m so happy for you! When’s the big day? I’ll be there as soon as possible! Oh! Have you picked out a dress? Where’s the ceremony gonna be? I think you should hold it at Capsule, that’s where we had ours, oh it was so lovely...”
“Whoa, slow down mom! It’s still early yet and we want to keep it small.”
“Small?” Mrs. Briefs looked hurt.
“Well, uh, we haven’t planned anything yet...”
“Oh good! I’ll be there tomorrow! See ya then! Byeeee!!”
“Mom..!” It was too late. Bulma freaked slightly. “Oh dear.”
Vegeta had changed the channel.
“...spend three-thousand dollars on dress she’s gonna wear once...” One of two men on the screen advised the men in the audience.
“Good thing we’re loaded, huh dad?”
“And now, a feature on The Man Show, household hints from adult film stars..!” A woman wearing a wedding dress offered her advice on how to store the gown as she slowly removed it.
Bulma came back downstairs slowly and stood in the doorway of the living room.
“Trunks,” she said in a flat tone, “should you be watching this?”
“Nope,” he admitted and bolted out of the room.
“Weddings blow, but they don’t have to...” the host continued.
“Vegeta. My mother’s coming.”
“Mm.” Vegeta furrowed his brows, but kept watching his show.
“Hnnn...” Bulma grumbled and went back upstairs.
The host went on, “…and the mother-in-law, you’ll never be quite good enough for her...”
“...who doesn’t love a wedding?” he concluded.
“I don’t!” his co-host piped in.
With the arrival of Mrs. Briefs, the main house at Capsule turned into wedding planning central. Bulma managed to convince her mother that they should wait at least a week so the announcements and invitations could reach everyone. Mrs. Briefs had “helped” her daughter amass a list of close to twenty of her friends. If Bulma hadn’t argued that the press should be left out of her big day, her mother would have invited hundreds of guests. It wasn’t too difficult to keep Vegeta from knowing the extent of the plans; he had taken to camping out in the gravity room to avoid his psychotic mother-in-law. The old woman was everywhere. She tied up the phone all day calling caterers, decorators, entertainers and dress-makers. Every other word out of her mouth had to do with the event. After day three, Bulma was stressed to the breaking point.
“Mother, I think I’ve seen enough dresses today,” she suggested as politely as she could.
“But honey, you haven’t found one you like yet.”
“That’s because my eyes started to cross after the fiftieth one...” She slumped down into a chair and blew her bangs out of her eyes.
“What about Vegeta? Has he found a tux yet? I’ve hardly seen him since I got here...”
Bulma shuddered. ‘Has he found a tux yet...?’ “You know, Mom, he’s not really into the planning part. If he had to deal with all this craziness I'd consider it a miracle he’d show up at all.”
“Craziness?” Bulma’s mother sat down next to her. “Is this too much for you, sweetie?”
“You could say that.”
“I thought you always wanted a big wedding!”
“I do! I mean, I did... oh...” she attempted to explain to her mother that the simpler this was the less painful it would be for Vegeta. He’d bent over backwards thus far. She owed it to Vegeta to take it easy on him. Her mother looked dejected.
“You know, our wedding was touted as being the biggest, most impressive event in the social history of the civilized world! Even surpassing the weddings of most royalty.”
“That’s because royalty don’t have as much money,” she murmured.
“That may be, but... I guess I just want you to have the same...”
Mrs. Briefs got up and smoothed her hand over dress number fifty-one. Bulma sighed and rose. She took the dress off the rack and walked into the dressing room.
Trunks, Bulma, Mrs. Briefs Chi-Chi, Goten and the Pastor gathered for the rehearsal. They waited for a half an hour. Then Bulma started screaming. Vegeta didn’t show. They went through the motions anyway, Bulma insisted. She was ardent. She hadn’t spent the last week going nuts to plan this thing just to have him ruin it.
“But, if Dad doesn’t show up tomorrow... isn’t this kinda pointless?” Trunks asked fairly innocently.
“If he stands me up tomorrow, it’s his funeral,” she fumed. The week had strained her to the point of insanity. She now wanted this thing over just as bad as he did. They finished the practice run and Bulma stormed out, closely followed by her mother who yammered into her ear as she went.
.x. .x. .x.
People started arriving at eleven in the morning. All the guests were gathered and seated by one. Twenty some odd people sat in the audience. Flowers burst from vases and every post of the tent on the Capsule green. The press loomed outside, but ten foot walls and armed guards kept them at bay.
Miles from the complex, Vegeta cursed and pounded on the horn. A line of traffic spiraled in front of his car as far as his keen eyes could see. “What the hell is the hold up!?!” he screamed.
“Hey, take it easy, buddy! There’s the Briefs wedding today, don’t cha know?!” the man in the car next to his screamed back.
“No, really?!” the Saiyan looked sadly down at his precious car and sighed before abandoning it for the sky.
Trunks stood stiffly in his grey tuxedo and looked out the living room window at the open air tent. “He’s still not here.” The boy was furious with his father, but not nearly as furious as his mother.
“Told ya this’d happen. That guy is unreliable,” Dr. Briefs murmured to his wife. He leaned against the wall, a cigarette hanging from his lip, his cat on his shoulder; halos above both their heads. Mrs. Briefs, who had been crying constantly all morning, hit her husband’s arm with the back of her hand.
“Can you go look around for me please?” Bulma asked Trunks rapidly. He obeyed and went on reconnaissance.
Trunks flew around to the gravity chamber which was fortunately empty. He levitated above the complex and checked from the air. There was no sign of the prince anywhere. ‘Damn him,’ Trunks thought. ‘If she doesn’t kill him, I will.’ Then he noticed the Aston Martin was missing.
“He took the car somewhere,” the boy reported.
Bulma grabbed his lapels. “Where!?!”
“I don’t know.”
She started to hyperventilate. “That’s it. That’s it!” She grabbed her bouquet and stormed towards the door. Trunks, Chi-Chi, Videl, Goten, Dr. and Mrs. Briefs held her back.
“No! Bulma! What are you gonna do?” Chi-Chi pleaded with her friend.
“I’m gonna tell EVERY body what a...” she stopped short. Through the window, she saw Vegeta touch down. He was in his tux.
Everyone sighed and let her go. She was calmer, but still mad. Her heart raced with apprehension. The Pastor popped inside and organized the wedding party. He looked at the strange man standing next to Bulma.
“Dr... Briefs?” the young man stammered. “I thought you were...”
Chi-Chi ushered them outside to avoid having to explain the mysterious powers of Uranai Baba to the startled Pastor. Trunks and the Pastor emerged from the house. The boy tried to scowl at Vegeta, but was in fact thrilled that this day had come and that his father had made it. Besides, he looked like he was going to be sick.
They took their places in front and turned to watch. Mrs. Briefs, bawling her eyes out, was guided to her seat by Gohan’s wife. The music started to play. Everyone rose to see the procession. Goten carried a red, quilted pillow on which the rings were nestled. Trunks and Chi-Chi marched down and took their places as best man and matron of honor. Vegeta couldn’t swallow. His temperature skyrocketed. His vision blurred. He panicked. ‘Oh shit, now I KNOW I’m going to throw up. I could just shoot up through the roof of the tent and be long gone before she even sees me...’ he thought to himself. Then he saw her.
He thought he saw her grimace just before she got out the door, but her expression softened as her eyes locked on his. She glowed. Her gown, her hair; everything was perfect. Her father had put out his cigarette and actually looked dignified in his tux. The tell-tale halo explained his presence to the prince. Vegeta stared at Bulma as she inched towards him. His heart hammered his blood through his regal veins. Finally they were face to face. In his mind’s eye the crowd that made him want to flee disappeared. He could hear the words the Pastor spoke and somehow managed responses at the right times (he had learned as much from the films which he had gotten part-way through watching). He was in a trance.
Bulma’s hands shook, so she clutched her bouquet tightly. For the third time, she saw his eyes as she had never seen them before. His brows weren’t quite so pitched downwards, his mouth hardly scowled at all. Vegeta finished his vows flawlessly. Her heart palpitated. ‘Ohmygod, this is actually happening.’ She heard herself recite her own vows as if she was somewhere distant, lost in his dark eyes. He took her hand and slipped the ring on her finger. She blindly did the same. He held her hands.
“Do you, Vegeta Oujisama, Prince of Vegeta-sei, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded bride?”
There was no hesitation but the words came out slightly hushed. “I do.”
“And do you, Bulma Briefs, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
Her voice wavered a little with a stifled sob. “I... I do.”
“Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you, husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” The Pastor took a step backwards.
Vegeta slipped his right arm around her waist, pulled her to him and kissed her in front of everyone. Suddenly the reality of the moment kicked back in and he heard applause. Everyone was back on their feet and clapping, most smiling ear to ear. The women had tears in their eyes. Mrs. Briefs bawled loudly. He held his wife’s hand and his chin up high. They recessed out of the tent and into the afternoon sunshine.
.x. .x. .x.
Later that evening, after the last of the guests had left, Vegeta followed Bulma upstairs. Before they hit the bed, she held him close to her and thanked him for putting up with her.
“Putting up with you?” he frowned. “Bulma,” he sighed and touched his forehead to hers. Vegeta whispered in Saiyan.
She leaned back and stared into his eyes. “Those words, are they the same as the ones you said to me that night by the waterfall?”
He nodded and grasped her left hand. She looked a bit puzzled as he slipped her ring off her finger. He held it up to her and she caught the light glinting off an inscription inside.
“This was on the note…” she looked to him, pleadingly. “What does it mean, Vegeta?”
He put the ring back on and kissed her hand. “It’s something very hard for Saiyans to say, but they only have to say it once. ‘I can’t do without you. You are my queen. My life. Forever.’”
Things returned to relative normal in the Capsule household. Dr. Briefs returned to the great beyond and Mrs. Briefs went back to Florida. Trunks noticed that although they still bickered about the stupidest things, he knew his mother and father had been bonded by this experience in a way he would probably never fully comprehend.
He came into the kitchen one day with the mail. ‘They’re so weird’, he thought, watching them snap at each other about who finished the milk and didn’t tell anybody. They never seemed to bring him into it. He tossed the mail on the table and sat down, smiling. ‘I’m not telling them I finished it!’ When they were done and Vegeta had gone off to the gravity chamber, Bulma blew her bangs up with a sigh and rummaged through the mail.
“I swear, you’d think if you finished the milk, you’d at least tell a person...”
Trunks suddenly felt guilty. “Uh, Mom... I finished the milk.”
His mother did not respond. She poured over a bill she had just opened. Suddenly registering what he had admitted she said, “YOU did!? Did you do this too?” She flashed the statement in front of him. Trunks grabbed it and raised an eyebrow at the total.
“Seven hundred forty-two Zeni? No!”
“Are you sure? You weren’t exactly Mr. Honesty about the milk...”
“Yeah. I’m sure. I didn’t rent these.”
Bulma reexamined the bill. “…for late fees on The Wedding Singer, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Graduate, Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wed...” she read of the titles, perplexed. ‘Who could have possibly…? Oh Kami…’ “…National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?!?”