"Sometimes even stuff you expect can still hurt." - Jennifer Brown
As the song comes to an end, Yamcha and I walked towards the back of the room, where we claimed an empty booth outside of the crowd of other guests. We each sat on either side of the curve so that we were slightly facing one another.
"So," he began, waving for a server. "What have you been up to the last few days?"
I leaned forward on my forearms on the black metal table. "Nothing much,"
"What is nothing much?" he asked, loosening his black silk tie.
"Just had to take care of a few things that was involved with work over the weekend,"
"Is that why you ditched me?"
I looked at him, confusedly thinking over his words, when it dawned on me. I hid my eyes beneath my left hand with an embarrassed sigh. "Yamcha, I am so sorry," I looked back over at him. "Everything just sorta got away from me and I completely forgot,"
"What happened?" he asked with a raised brow.
"I don't know if anyone else has heard about this or not, but a few of the company's warehouses were burglarized Friday."
"Was it bad?" he asked, turning to tell the server what kind of drink he wanted. He gave me look that asked if I wanted anything.
I shook my head from side to side and the server left to get his order. "No, not really. It was just a petty theft once you look at everything that was stolen,"
He leaned back against the leather seat. "I guess you were dealing with a lot. Sorry that I assumed something else,"
I looked upon him in confusion. "What exactly did you assume?" I asked with a humorous tone.
"That you just didn't wanna hang out with me," he sheepishly confessed. "And because of Vegeta,"
I looked down at the table in annoyance. "I will have to say no to that. No to all you just said," I said, looking back at him, slightly offended. "You know that I'm not the type to string someone along. Either I want your company or I don't, it's very simple. And I told you that I would try but could make no promises, remember? Vegeta had nothing to do with it," I confidently reassured.
"I know, I know. I just heard how bad that sounded coming from my mouth,"
"I can't really blame you for feeling that way though," I said, understanding that he was referring to how he must have sounded like a jealous boyfriend. "The role Vegeta has in my life does tend to affect some of my more personal decisions, especially when it comes to Trunks. But he does not actively try to control the things I do. He didn't even know that I was planning to meet with you,"
He waved his hand. "Just forget I said anything. We're out together right now, so let's just enjoy ourselves, okay?"
"Okay," I agreed. The server returned with his drink, a scotch on the rocks, and placed it on a coaster along with a napkin before leaving. I raised an eyebrow at this. "Is something wrong?"
"Hmm?" he sounded, taking a large gulp of the amber liquid.
I leaned back against the booth. "Scotch is more my thing after a really tough week." In all the years I had known him, Yamcha had never been much of a heavy drinker. Despite what most would assume about him, he usually preferred something with a lower proof. "You're more of a spritzer or martini kinda guy."
He shrugged. "Maybe I just felt like cutting loose tonight."
I wasn't buying this. He had been acting weird since that day he called me. "Yamcha, what was that thing you called me about last week?"
He downed his entire drink and waved his hand for the server to bring over two more drinks.
"Yamcha, don't try and change the subject," I told him.
"I'm not. Just have a drink with me first, then I'll tell you."
I stared in to his already unfocused eyes and, against my better judgement, agreed. "Fine. But just one drink,"
"Who are you?" the boy asked me as I approached him.
I stopped and looked down at him. He was below my waist and now looking almost straight up due to my height. I studied his face. He had light hair and big bright eyes, very similar to his mother's, but his face was almost exactly the same as his father's. It gave me pause just being near him.
"My name is Nuru," I told him.
"Are you looking for my momma?"
I shook my head. "Not at the moment."
"Are you a friend of my momma?"
I tilted my head in consideration. "Something like that, I suppose. I was actually looking for you." I crouched down in front of him. "I have wanted to meet you for a little while now,"
"Why?" he asked.
My face was absolutely neutral as I answered, showing him no kindness as well as no threat. "I am not entirely sure of the reason quite yet,"
This was the truth. I didn't know what the plan was for when I actually came face to face with the little hybrid. All I knew was that I had to get a closer look, to see what sort of savage traits the spawn of Vegeta would show. Looking back on it now, I realized that I was only looking for a reason to hate the little boy, a reason to justify my actions.
"Woah! Your eyes are so cool!" he excitedly said.
I promptly ignored his exclamation to ask a more important question. "Where is your...father, little one?"
"Well, my daddy is busy doing something downstairs right now. I wanted to play some more but my grandma says that I have to get ready for bed now,"
My eyebrows rose in surprise at this. "You have a grandmother?" If my memories were correct, the queen should have perished a little less than a year, a month after her youngest son was exiled, before the destruction of the planet and the attempted extermination of the Saiyan race.
"Yeah. She's pretty cool, too."
"Paternal or maternal?" he stared in confusion at my choice of words, most likely unaware of the meaning of said words. "Is she your father's mother or your mother's mother?"
"My mom's," he answered.
I closed my eyes. It was in that moment that my resolve was set. I would fulfill my plans and make everything as it should have always been.
I opened my eyes to find the boy staring at me. Before I could say anything, I felt the not so distant echo of approaching footsteps coming our way. I looked back to him. "Trunks, can you keep a secret?"
He nodded enthusiastically. "Of course!"
"Good. I have to go now and I need you to keep this little conversation between us," I hurriedly said, feeling the footsteps getting closer.
"Because I want to come back to see you again, but I can't do that unless you keep it a secret, understand?" he nodded obediently. "That's very good." I felt the footsteps right outside the door. "Now, quickly, close your eyes," he does so without protest. I leaned closer to his ear and whispered. "Remember, tell no one about me," I quickly dashed to his open window and quietly sat on the ledge towards the side of it.
I heard someone enter the room.
"Trunks, what're you doing in here?" It was the voice of a young man.
I chanced a look inside. It was a teenage boy with shaggy black hair and pale skin.
"Your grandma wanted me to see what was taking so long,"
Trunks peered around the room, in search of me no less. His face lit up in realization. "I was... uh... just done picking up everything. That's all." I smirked. He really was clever for his age.
"Well come on, let's go before she comes looking for both of us," he ushered Trunks from the room and turned around to shut off the light.
My brow furrowed in thought upon seeing his face. He looked so familiar, but I just could not place him at that moment. They exited the room and I shrugged it off. A thought for another time I supposed.
I did know one thing. I was definitely coming back for another visit.
I remember that night out with Bulma as if it were yesterday.
I had every intention of staying beside Bulma all night during her obvious time of need, but then Nathan showed up and she practically threw me in to his awaiting arms. I knew that she just wanted me to have a little fun that night, but I also knew that she wanted some time to herself, so I gave it to her.
I followed behind him as he guided me to the dance floor. Initially, everything felt so awkward for me. I just stood there, not really sure how I was expected to dance to the poppy nonsense that was playing. The only saving grace were the masks we both wore that hid my awkward expression. But then a favorite tune of mine came on and something inside of me just came to life.
I began swaying back and forth, rhythmically moving my shoulders to the sultry sounds of Bobby Caldwell. "Oh, I love this song!"
"I can see that," he said through a smile. He moved closer to me and gently grabbed my right hand. "I like this song, too. Mind if I join you?"
I slowed my movements at his touch. "Um... Not at all," I said, but went absolutely stiff when he placed his other hand on my waist. We began moving together, with me awkwardly trying not to get too close while also trying not to run away. I ended up stepping on his foot. "I'm so sorry!" I apologized, pulling away.
"It's alright. There's no need to be sorry," he told me.
"I haven't really done this in a while,"
He raised an eyebrow at me. "Done what?"
"Danced, or even just gone out with other adults," I told him, looking away, feeling my face becoming warm with embarrassment. I felt him grab my hand again and I looked up at him.
He was giving me a gentle smile as he spoke. "Do you mind if I change that?" He pulled me back to him, even closer than before, and I just went stiff again. "What's wrong?"
"I think I'm just nervous about stepping on your toes again,"
"My toes will be fine, so just relax and follow my lead." We danced through the remainder of the song without another incident and he pulled back slightly to look down at me. "See? We made it through and no toes were harmed in the process."
I looked down with a laugh and then back up. "I guess you were right,"
He rubbed the scruff on his jaw in contemplation. "I know that you said one song only, but would it be too much if I asked for one more?"
I smiled at him. "I think one more song wouldn't hurt,"
We wound up dancing for a few more songs. By now, he had his arms wrapped around my waist and I had my hands on his shoulders. We were so close that I could smell his cologne and even feel the muscular body beneath his tailored suit. I didn't even notice how close we had gotten until Nathan said something in to my ear.
"Do you want me to get you a drink?"
The simple question sent a shiver up my spine, and I hoped that he hadn't felt me shudder.
"Sure," I responded, almost disappointed when he pulled away, but then he took my hand and led me to the bar. I looked around for Bulma, thinking that she would still be sitting there, and spotted her across the room at a booth with...Yamcha? "I guess they'll let anybody in this place," I said under my breath.
"What was that?" Nathan asked me, offering me a seat and taking his own beside me.
I shook my head. "Nothing,"
"So, what would you like to drink?"
I hummed in thought. "I don't know."
"Well, what do you like?"
"I'm usually just a wine kind of girl,"
"Not a big fan of liquor?"
"Occasionally yes, but not really," I answered.
"Neither am I, though I do enjoy a good bourbon on the rocks every now and then." He turned to the bartender. "Can I get two glasses of '85 Potel, please?"
"Coming right up," the young man behind the bar said, going to the back to get it.
"I didn't think I would find a selection of chardonnay like that around here," I said.
"You've had it before?" he asked me.
"Yes, but it's been a while. My father was a bit of a collector of wines back in the day, so I have him to thank for my predilection for wine," I explained.
"Your father sounds like my kind of man," he mused. The bartender returned with the vintage bottle and poured two glasses. Nathan handed me a glass and took one for himself "So, would it be too invasive of me to ask why a woman as young and beautiful as yourself doesn't go out very often?"
I sighed. "That's complicated,"
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I didn't mean to pry," he quickly said.
I took a sip of the fruity wine. "No, that's alright. It's just a long story,"
"I don't have anywhere to be."
I giggled at his sincerity. "That's a story for another time," I told him.
A smile came to his lips. "Does that mean that I can see you again after tonight?"
"We'll see how the rest of tonight goes first," I said to him, giving a playful smirk.
It was now close to midnight, and Yamcha and I were on our third round of drinks, having removed our masks long ago.
"...I was being forced to wear that ridiculous bunny costume because all of my clothes were dirty, idiot. That wasn't exactly a part of my wardrobe back then," I told him after he had brought up that awful time I had to go around dressed like a Playboy Bunny.
He took a long sip of his drink. "But that was one hot look on you," he commented, obviously drunk by now.
"Hey, I said that I didn't like it, but that didn't mean I wasn't looking good in it," I boasted, slightly drunk myself. I was always able to hold my liquor better than people gave me credit for.
"You always look good, B."
I saw where this was going, so I decided to change the subject. "So. What was this thing you wanted to see me about?"
He sighed heavily, putting the glass to his lips. "It doesn't matter anymore," he said as he took a big gulp.
I raised an eyebrow. "Why? Did something happen?"
"Yeah, you could say that."
"Well, what happened?"
He looked at me with unfocused eyes. "Vegeta happened."
I was more than confused by his answer. "Wait, what? What's that supposed to mean?"
"It's all his fault. If it wasn't for him and his brooding attitude I wouldn't be the way I am right now, I wouldn't be..."
"That's enough!" I cut him off. "I suggest you stop before you say something you'll regret." I stood up, walked around the table. He had attempted to take another swig of his drink but I took it from him and dragged him up by his arm. "I think you've had enough for tonight. Come with me."
"Where're we goin'?" he slurred as I dragged him along.
"Just be quiet." I searched the crowd until I spotted Chi Chi with Nathan. "Hey"
She turned to us. "What is it?" She looked at Yamcha. "And what's wrong with him?"
"Too much scotch. I need to get him out of here."
"Oh." She looked at Nathan for a second and then back to me. "Does it have to be right now?"
I looked between them and had to keep from smiling. "No, no. Chi Chi, you stay. I'll take him back to his hotel room and I'll leave you with the jet."
She laughed a little. "Bulma, you know that I can't drive one of those things,"
"I'm not asking you to drive it. My address is programmed into the autopilot, so just tell it to take you back home." I looked over at her gentleman friend. "It was nice meeting you, Nathan." We shook hands before I grabbed hold of Yamcha once more. "You two have a nice night,"
After I had left them alone, I gathered Yamcha into his car and drove away.
A little while later and we were pulling up to his hotel. Before I got to the front of the entrance, I saw a group paparazzi camped outside, waiting to greet the all-star player who had just led his team to the last victory they needed to be in the playoffs.
"Shit." I stopped the car and reversed as quickly as I could and went back in the opposite direction.
It was no secret that Yamcha and I were once in a, as the media dubbed it, "a whirlwind romance." Me being called the future of engineering and he a record setter in his first few seasons and a destined future Hall of Fame baseball player, we were bound to be in the spotlight. Every public outing, every argument, every misunderstanding, every woman that shamelessly threw herself at him, not even caring about his relationship. Hell, he didn't even care about his relationship.
After our last breakup, the media put out articles that basically were a countdown to the next time we would get back together. You couldn't imagine the collective gasp of shock that traveled through the talk shows, magazines and blogs the day it came out that I had a child, and it wasn't Yamcha's. We hadn't really spent a lot of time alone in public, so as far as they knew we weren't on good terms.
So try to imagine what would've happened if we had been photographed together that night. Me bringing him to a hotel after a night of drinking. Not the most innocent mental picture.
So, like the genius that I like to call myself sometimes, I decided that it was best to take him back to the compound to sleep it off until the next morning. I most definitely did not anticipate the consequences of this fateful decision.
A little while later, we arrived at my place.
I pulled all the way in to the garage to avoid any possibility of someone spotting his car and shut it off. A visit was one thing, but spending the night over was something else entirely.
I looked over at him where he was slumped over in the passenger seat with his face against the window. I shook my head and got out of the car and walked around to the other side. I opened the door and he fell face first on the concrete floor.
"Oh for the love of-" I reached down and grabbed his arm. "Yamcha, get up."
"Why should I?" he said with his face mashed to the ground.
"Because," I grunted out trying to help him up. "I don't want my son to wake up in the morning to you passed out on the floor. Now get up."
He let out a frustrated breath. "Fine." He looked up at me before clumsily pushing himself off the cold concrete.
I helped him the rest of the way to his feet and allowed him to drape his arm over my shoulders for support as I led him through the compound.
I wish that I had just gone to bed early that night.
After Bulma's little outburst, yet again, I found myself in a terrible mood, but also at an impasse with myself. Even though this woman was seemingly trying her best to tear me down, I still could not find it within myself to leave. To retreat back to the comfort of my solitude. That was always my first response when things got a bit too complicated for me, but this was not so easy a decision for me that time around.
It wasn't because I needed to stay, or that I owed her for her all that she had done for me up until that point, or that I couldn't survive on my own, or even for our child's sake. None of these were the case. I stayed simply because I was afraid of what would happen if I left again. That she could and would be perfectly fine without me.
That was the reason why this night stayed with me for so long afterwards; it was one of my worst nightmares come true.
I had come inside from the backyard upon hearing the sound of a vehicle approach. It was fairly late so I assumed that Bulma had finally returned. I had no intentions of speaking to her, but I simply wanted to be sure of her presence.
I listened for a sign since I had been having a difficult time sensing her. As I entered the house, I could hear that she was already upstairs. I heard her mumbling something which gave me definitive proof that it was in fact her, but, because my first instinct was to sense her ki, I also found out that she was not alone.
I quietly rushed upstairs upon realizing whom it was that she was with. I reached the top of the stairs and rounded the corner just in time to see something I wish I hadn't.
There, leaning against one of the guest room doors, was Bulma. She was being held around the waist and head as she was kissed fiercely by none other than Yamcha.
When they fell into the room, my eyes widened to the size of dinner plates before I whipped back around the corner, placed an unsteady hand over my erratic heart, and then left as quickly as possible.
To this day a part of me is glad I left when I did. Bulma would have never fully forgiven me for what I wanted to do, and I think that Yamcha was especially relieved about it as well.