Taken out of hiatus by Reader demand! Please enjoy, and be warned that this chapter has some darker elements in it involving drug abuse and childhood neglect.
The morning light radiated throughout the corridors as Kakarot walked down the hallway with a rolling cart, whistling cheerfully. He had some fresh coffee along with some day-old bread and donuts from Gine's bakery to drop off. On his walk he came across Grant Gohan, who was already headed to the community room.
While they made their way down the hall, they chatted about their previous nights.
"Then when we were playing cards, Baba pulled out the queen of hearts and stole the game! Hehe, that was a good game…" Gohan mused, not noticing how Kakarot stopped suddenly at Mister Roshi's door.
"Don't you dare!" A woman screamed. Kakarot reached for the knob and swung open the door, anticipating the scene before him. A young nurse was covering her eyes as an old man opened his robe and flashed her, cackling deviantly.
"Mister Roshi! That's enough!" Kakarot shouted, standing in front of him to block the poor girl's view.
"Hey! She asked to see me naked first, not you!" Mister Roshi crowed as he scrambled to get the broad shouldered man out of his way, but Kakarot didn't budge one bit. The nurse slowly uncovered her eyes, revealing large, chocolate brown colored irises sparkling with tears.
"You didn't ask to see that, did you?" Kakarot asked her, baffled. He'd never seen the nurse before, but if he had he was sure he would've remembered her. The way the sunlight shone on her black hair made it glow with a chestnut hue, her pale skin contrasting beautifully.
"Of course not! He just flashed me out of nowhere!" She exclaimed angrily, pulling up her sleeves. Kakarot stepped aside to block her path.
"Move out of the way, I'll show him what happens to perverts!"
Kakarot saw the fire in her eyes, and upon hearing the way his elderly friend whimpered behind him, he decided he needed to end this before it got out of hand.
"Hey, I've got some coffee and baked goods on my cart out there, why don't we all just go sit down and relax?" Kakarot attempted to placate them, holding both hands up in surrender. The nurse crossed her arms haughtily and huffed, leaving the room. Kakarot waited until she was safely outside to step away and let Mister Roshi cover himself.
"Now, why don't you put some clothes on Mister Roshi? You're going to scare the nurse away and then I'll have to take care of you." He said, seeing how this made the old man frown and tie his robe around himself.
"How was I supposed to know she was a prude in that cute little dress she wears? A tease, that's what she is." He grumbled, walking over to his dresser. Kakarot took that as his reluctant agreement and walked out of the room.
"See ya soon!" He said as he closed the door, the amusing image of the flustered nurse fresh in his mind as Kakarot chuckled and pushed the cart toward the communal living area.
The robust scent of coffee filled the air as Kakarot filled the residents cups with a kind smile, not noticing the nurse in the background watching with a curious gaze. Chi-Chi hadn't been informed of another aide being on her shift, but Kakarot seemed to be very well acquainted with everyone. She was puzzled by this because the overalls he wore read Bardock & Son's on the back, the front with a small label reading 'Kakarot'. By the look of him, he was a maintenance man of some sort, not a healthcare worker.
She walked over and picked up the decaf pitcher, hesitantly approaching a table. Chi-Chi began pouring coffee but was quickly stopped by the person yanking their cup out from underneath. She quickly stopped the stream before it could scald anyone, gasping.
"I don't want decaf, I want tea!" The old lady with pink hair huffed, disgusted.
"I want regular coffee! Kakarot!" Another lady cried out, attempting to catch his attention.
"Who are you anyways? We don't need a nurse!" The small woman waiting for her tea scowled, looking cantankerous.
Chi-Chi took note of all their requests, nodding. She turned back to the cart and searched for the tea, finding a few packets. Only now, she needed hot water.
"Can you make that black tea?" Baba shouted, making Chi-Chi jump, nearly spilling her coffee.
"Where's the decaf?"
The incessant shouts went on, Chi-Chi scrambling to fulfill all their requests at once. She ran to the sink and filled up a kettle, quickly putting it on the stove before running back to serve the decaf. Afterwards, Chi-Chi turned back around to do something else, but it was as if the thought was snatched from her mind in a second as she saw the maintenance man snickering at her.
"What's so funny? Shouldn't you be helpi–?" She froze upon hearing a sharp whistling sound at her back.
"My hearing aids' gonna blow!"
"Turn that racket off!" They all complained as Chi-Chi ran to take the kettle off the stove, Kakarot shushing the residents and attempting to quell their alarm. He chuckled and walked over to turn on the radio preset to a station that played the oldies.
Gradually, the room quieted and Chi-Chi glanced at him in question. Kakarot shrugged at her, taking one of her pitchers to go around and fill the correct mugs. Chi-Chi walked off to do the same. Now that the aggression was gone from the room, they were finally able to talk while the residents did the same.
"You're new here, ain't ya? Don't worry. Once you figure out their schedule, it's not so bad." Kakarot remarked with a lazy smile, crossing his burly arms that she noticed bulging even from beneath the thick fabric.
"You could tell, couldn't you? I hope you're right. I didn't realize 'this' was a part of my duties." Chi-Chi commented while gesturing towards the room. Kakarot scratched the back of his head with a sheepish grin.
"It's not a part of my duties either… but…"
"I knew it! You're the maintenance man, aren't you?"
"Yeah. I always help out around here though, you know? They need it." He whispered so the residents didn't hear, leaning closer to speak privately with her. His warm breath tickled her ear, causing an unexpected blush to rise in her cheeks as she noticed his closeness. Chi-Chi backed into the counter, her dark glare cutting into his.
"Yes, that's precisely why I'm here! Don't you have some boiler you should be fixing, Kakarot?" She hissed sharply back with a perfunctory poke at his buff chest.
Kakarot's brows rose and he gasped as she reminded him of his very real task.
"Actually, I do! I really have to get going now, but I think you'll be alright - Chi-Chi?" He said, poking the name tag pinned over her breast. Chi-Chi jolted in place, frozen by shock at what he'd just done without even thinking. His finger bounced back and he giggled, rubbing the back of his head in a nervous gesture. Definitely a girl. He thought, resolving that no 'pat-pat' test would be necessary for this one.
"I-I'll be just fine, now you'd better go before you get in trouble!" She said, shooing him away with both hands. Kakarot walked over and began plucking a few doughnuts off the cart, then he turned and tossed her a donut so quickly that the dessert rotated like a spinning top, gathering inertia with the distance it traveled. Chi-Chi scrambled to catch the donut and once she did, she squeezed it and the raspberry jam filled donut exploded right in her face.
Kakarot tried to hold back his laughter upon seeing red jelly dripping from her face.
"Is that any way to treat our new nurse, Kakarot?" A short woman with a head of short, choppy black hair above her cutting violet eyes berated.
"Sorry, Ms. Fasha! I'm going now-"
"Stop right there!" She barked, pointing at the floor. Kakarot froze as if he were in a game of freeze tag.
"B-but… I have to go!"
"That's not my problem, you can explain to Bardock why you were late, later. Now, get a wet washcloth." She demanded as she tapped one black high heel in annoyance. Fasha dressed boldly, even for a management job where the only people she had to impress had cataracts and couldn't quite see her bright pink blazer with a purple blouse and black pencil skirt; she still liked to look professional.
"Ms!" Fasha snapped, Chi-Chi watching the interaction with speculation after wiping the jam out of her eyes. She furrowed her brows, puzzled by Kakarot's subservient attitude around this woman.
"Do I know you?" Chi-Chi asked and Fasha turned her head, her dangly gold earrings jangling.
"We can go over introductions later! Come on, Kakarot. Hurry up!" She blew out an exasperated breath as Kakarot walked over with the washcloth in question.
"Be a gentleman and help her get cleaned up!"
Kakarot nodded and hurriedly came over and began wiping her face.
"I'm so sorry Chi-Chi!" He whispered, looking anxious as Fasha watched over his shoulder.
"Don't forget the bit on her ear!" Fasha hissed and Kakarot wiped it up quickly. Chi-Chi was glad she hadn't decided to wear makeup today, or else it would all be gone now. Once he was done, he waited for Fasha to dismiss him. Once she nodded, Kakarot was off, waving his goodbye. The residents were making their way towards the lobby as well, leaving Fasha and Chi-Chi alone. Fasha began picking up the dishes, then Chi-Chi hurried over and began to help her.
"Thank you for what you did, Ms. Fasha. I'm sorry I let him get me so distracted-"
"Don't worry about it. It's not your fault he's a klutz." She responded, shrugging as she toted the cups over to the sink. Chi-Chi gathered up her share and set them down as Fasha began washing them speedily.
"Now, let's get this place cleaned up, then we'll head to my office and get you all set up for the day with a schedule."
Chi-Chi nodded, taking the cups and setting them on the dish rack.
"Ok, I'm sorry if I screwed up my schedule, I didn't know we were responsible for-"
"Kakarot screwed up your schedule, but it's ok. You can't really help it, the residents have their own schedule set in mind and it's easier to just let them have their way than have a big uproar over something as silly as their morning coffee. As long as you get everything done in a timely manner, this is fine. But you wash dishes next time."
"Of course! Here, let me take that!" Chi-Chi said, taking the sponge. Fasha let her take it, drying her hands on a towel.
She shook her head as she watched Chi-Chi, doubting the nurse's capability. If she was this much of a doormat, she would have a hard time working here. They said nothing for a while, until Chi-Chi finished washing dishes then began wiping down the tables. Her mind kept going back to Kakarot again and how he had such a way with the residents.
"Will Kakarot–I mean, that maintenance guy be here again tomorrow?" She asked, wringing the sponge out in the sink nervously. Fasha finished reapplying her dark cherry lipstick and smacked her lips.
"He's here everyday, like clockwork. If you're smart, you can avoid him like he does me. I think he's scared of me or something…" She sighed, fluffing her hair.
Chi-Chi's cheeks flushed red as she caught herself in a lie.
"Oh, I'll definitely avoid him." She said, not noticing how Fasha smirked as she saw clearly through the pink-cheeked nurse's statement.
"T.N.T. oi, oi, oi"
"T.N.T. I'm dynamite (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. and I'll win the fight! (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. I'm a power load (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. watch me exploooode!" The AC/DC tune screamed from Ranchi's phone, which was vibrating loudly on the floor as she snored, one arm hanging off the mattress as the other arm was shielding her eyes from the sunlight. There was a gentle knock on her bedroom door, then another hesitant knock a few seconds later. When Ranchi didn't answer, Lunch wondered what she should do.
She didn't think Ranchi needed to work over the weekend, but she wasn't sure. The alarm going off should have been loud enough for Ranchi to hear, seeing as it could be heard all the way out in the kitchen as Lunch had been sipping her morning tea. The blue-haired beauty turned away and let Ranchi rest for a little longer, thinking maybe she could tidy up the place a little bit.
Her abdomen convulsed as Bulma leaned over the toilet, sweat beading on her brow as the results of last night's overindulgence hit her with full force. Bulma flushed the toilet and began attempting to pull herself together, still feeling queasy and achy everywhere. As she brushed her teeth, she heard the shower on the other side of the wall switch on, water rumbling as it made the way through the pipes. Bulma groaned and weakly fisted her hand, annoyed by Vegeta's timing.
She finished brushing and splashed her face with cool water, attempting to snap herself out of her hangover. Bulma wondered if Vegeta was doing the same; he'd had a few drinks as well last night. She smiled as she patted her face with a fluffy red towel, which reflected her rosy cheeks. Resolving it had to be the former, Bulma placed it back on the hook and made her way to the kitchen to see if she could get some ice water to stay down.
As if on cue, the doorbell rang right as she sat down at the kitchen island. Bulma groaned and got up, pushing the talk button for her guest.
"Who is it?"
"It's Yamcha! Let me in, B!" He said with a playful tune and she hummed thoughtfully. Though her head was still in a vice, her memory was fresh. She recalled the way he acted last night and scoffed, deciding to deny him entrance.
"I'm kind of busy right now," she answered with a shrug, releasing the button.
Bulma walked away and sat down once again, sipping on her glass of water as she checked her phone. Once again, the doorbell rang. Bulma considered her options as the noise got more and more irritating and after the twentieth ring she got up out of her chair and yanked the door open.
Yamcha's friendly demeanor had dissipated with his impatience for her to answer and he had been about to take off if she hadn't answered just then.
Instead of greeting him happily, Bulma turned away and walked back to sit down, inviting him in silently. She had seen the basket he carried and chose to ignore it as he set it down on the counter.
"Bulma, I brought you a present!" His insistence, though masked by false friendliness, was not lost on her.
"Thanks…I just don't feel well today, Yamcha. I'm sure you figured that out, though."
"Yeah, figured you'd be hungover. You were pret-ty wasted last night… Remember? Or is it all a blur?" Yamcha enunciated, giving her a look of dissatisfaction.
"Listen, I don't want to talk about this right now, ok? I haven't even woken up fully."
"When are we going to talk about it, then?" He snapped back and Bulma smirked, staring down into her glass as she could feel the heat radiating from Yamcha, his growing ire becoming more and more difficult for him to mask.
" 'It'... What even is 'it'?" She seethed, clenching her fist.
"You know perfectly well what I'm talking about! Your little outburst? You shoved Marron at the club and you embarrassed me in front of everyone! Then you got wasted at the bar and freaked out on me for NO REASON!" He shouted, making her headache throb even harder with his increasing volume. "I tried to make up with you and take you home but you were too busy hanging out with that asshole, Vegeta! That YOU invited!"
"This isn't about Vegeta, he had nothing to do with this!"
"Are you fucking him?"
As she processed his words, she squeezed her eyes shut and attempted to recall what it was Vegeta told her, he'd said something so remarkable that she remembered being stunned that it came from him, of all people.
"You're not the one in the wrong. He crossed the line… That you drew."
"You shouldn't have to let go of something that you believed was wrong. Tell him. You won't put up with it. If he doesn't listen…. He's not worth your effort."
"No I'm not fucking my neighbor, I barely know him. And, I wasn't wrong to withhold sex… I told you I didn't like you hanging out with those floozies!"
"Bullshit! You're my girlfriend! If you won't sleep with me, then Who. Will?"
Bulma turned her face and smirked at him, her headache now at a dull roar as she clutched her glass of ice water and threw the liquid at his face.
"Clearly, anyone but me. Get out of my apartment, Yamcha. Now. I don't want to speak to you anymore."
Yamcha gasped as he wiped the water from his face, his long hair partially drenched. His face turned red and he clenched his fists as if he were thinking about retaliating against her, trembling with anger.
"You can't talk to me like that, Bulma. Who told you to move out of your parents house and try living a normal life so you could learn something about what it's like to not be a privileged brat, hmm? Who asked you to junior prom and showed everyone you could be a hot chick and not just some nerd, hmm? I got you on the cheerleading squad, I tried to make you act normal but clearly you still don't know how to communicate like a human being. You're a fucking bitch. No man will want you now after you've been broken in by me. I'm the best you could hope for."
Bulma held back the tears that threatened to burst from her eyes as she clutched the glass so hard she was sure it would break and maybe then she could stab through his heart with the broken shards like he had just stabbed hers.
"Yamcha… If you don't leave right this second… I–I don't know what I'm capable of doing…but it's not going to be pretty." Bulma managed to utter, though her throat constricted and her breath came out in short gasps. She closed her eyes and silently counted to one hundred, before opening her eyes and seeing that Yamcha was gone. She carefully got to her feet, feeling unsteady as she made her way carefully to the open doorway. She gasped as she saw Yamcha standing just outside as Vegeta strolled past casually, his hands thrust into his pockets.
The two stared each other down and she bit back any noises that threatened to burst out as Yamcha charged for Vegeta and came close enough to nearly touch chests with him. "Stay out of my business, got that?"
Vegeta huffed and shouldered past, shaking his head in disbelief.
"How could I not be in your business after your little monologue? Did it make you feel like a big man, talking down to her like that?"
Yamcha turned quickly around to retaliate, but Vegeta seemed unaffected by his huffing and puffing.
"No, it didn't. But what's said between her and I, that's our business. So you can just fuck off, alright?"
Vegeta snorted and crossed his arms, looking up and making eye contact with Bulma as Yamcha steamed before him.
"You asked him to leave before, didn't you?"
Bulma froze as Yamcha whirled around to look at her with a face that begged for sympathy, a mask he wore well. She took a deep breath and nodded.
"H-he's right… I did ask you to leave, Yamcha! I want my spare key back, too!" She added on with a sudden burst of confidence, somehow having Vegeta backing her up made it much easier to face Yamcha like this. Yamcha blinked as he took this in, seemingly the confidence had all been sucked from him upon seeing her stand up to him like this.
"Fine. You can have it." He muttered, fishing it out of his pocket and dropping it into her hand. Bulma caught the key and held it close to her chest as Yamcha loomed over her for a moment, searching her eyes as if he hoped he could get her to change her mind, maybe even kiss her into submission. The idea repulsed her at the moment, made more obvious by her cringing in response.
"Tick tock…" Vegeta spoke up and Yamcha was shaken out of his daze, muttering something underneath his breath as he stormed off down the hallway. Before he went around the corner, he stopped and snapped back at the both of them.
"Hey, if I see your little buddy outside, he's dead meat. Got that, Bulma?"
She scoffed and turned away, while Vegeta waved, grinning back at him.
"See you around, Yammy." Vegeta called back, causing Yamcha to curse something back at him before slamming the exit door closed so loud it made Bulma's aching brain feel like it was just shaken around like a margarita. She'd had enough of this melodrama, enough of Yamcha and Vegeta. She went to hurry into her apartment before she embarrassed herself further by blatting her head off, but she heard Vegeta clear his throat as he stepped slightly closer.
She paused with her hand on the doorknob as he seemed to struggle with what to say, before finally murmuring, "Good riddance." Bulma wanted to agree, maybe even thank him, but Yamcha was right in a way. It felt odd having a practical stranger like him defend her, maybe even like an intrusion of her privacy. Instead, she just nodded to him slightly and closed the door, still clutching the spare key so hard she was sure its pattern was engraved into her palm.
One hand wandered into the forest of black spikes that made up Raditz's thick mane, scratching at an itch there as he opened the fridge and looked at the contents inside with a frown. His stomach was churning, reminding him how he'd indulged in a few drinks and a cheesy steak sandwich last night. Raditz decided on a half carton of orange juice, slugging it back. He'd slept in today, like many other days. His job, as luck would have it, was one he doubted he could really lose due to his position in the family business. His only concern was the two girls waiting for him to repair their bathroom, so he picked up his feet a bit and grabbed a chocolate chip muffin off the counter as he tossed the empty OJ jug into the trash.
As he took a bite into the sweet, delicate muffin made lovingly by Gine, he took his time walking up the stairs to get changed for the day. He could feel the resistance in his calves weighing his body down as he neared the second floor, his mind becoming somewhat muddled by the images that hurried through his mind in a blur of intoxicated bliss. Lunch and Ranchi, both gorgeous girls with two very different personalities flooded his mind were images of their fair visages. His mind went straight to Lunch's topless dance, then to his dance with Ranchi and heat rushed to his face shamefully. Shoving more bites in, he cleaned the wrapper with his teeth before discarding it. Raditz gathered clean clothes to wear after he scrubbed away the sweat of the night, all the while wondering what was in store for him today.
The mixture of her alarm going off and Lunch's vacuuming finally roused the sleeping beauty from her slumber, and Ranchi turned off her incessant alarm. A moment later, the vacuuming ceased as well and she was finally able to hear herself think. Time to get up and at'em, girl. I got stuff to do.
She stood up and stretched, the sheet falling to reveal her nude body. Just as Ranchi felt the cool air hardening her nipples and firming her breasts, the door swung open.
Green met violet eyes, and the two of them gasped in unison. Ranchi went to cover herself, and Lunch whirled around, covering her eyes in embarrassment. Her face reddened as the image of her roommate's nudity burned permanently into her occipital lobe.
"I'm so sorry, Ranchi!"
Ranchi crossed her arms over her voluminous breasts and huffed, unashamed of her toned and desirable body, her defined abdomen leading to a patch of shiny, chestnut brown curls.
"Why are you sorry for seeing me buck-naked? Don't you think it's fair, seeing as you showed everyone your boobs last night?" Ranchi said in a surly tone that was more playful than sarcastic.
Lunch froze, dropping her hands from her eyes. Ranchi watched how her back tensed, and her full bottom clenched cutely in her black yoga pants. She smirked as she admired the view of Lunch's other assets. She couldn't lie. The reason why she'd laid in bed so long despite all the forces attempting to wake her was because she was having a particularly arousing dream. Warmth and wetness still remained between her thighs, and she shifted her legs to try and scratch the itch.
Her dream recalled Lunch's dancing, Raditz's embrace and meshed the two into one very sensual experience. She shook her head and attempted to ignore the images flashing through her memory as Lunch began to speak.
"Well, I-I suppose if you say so… Then that makes sense. After all, we are both girls, so…"
"So, you show me yours and I'll show you mine?" Ranchi questioned, licking her lips. She was slightly uncertain about all this, but she thought maybe it would lessen Lunch's embarrassment.
"Ok." The blue haired girl whispered, gulping. "Should I turn around, then?" She asked softly, her heartbeat fluttering.
"Whenever you're ready..."
Lunch turned around slowly, her eyes meeting Ranchi's before flicking down to her breasts and widening as Ranchi put her hands proudly on her hips. Lunch's face turned beet red once again, and she gulped hard.
Ranchi's body was so… Spectacular! She was literally a female Adonis, with tanned, silky skin and a toned body. Lunch gaped at her with mouth open. Her eyes trailed down Ranchi's stomach and glanced at her patch of shiny chestnut curls before squeezing shut.
"Sorry! I'm so sorry, you didn't say that I could look there! I l-" Lunch fumbled, backing away from Ranchi and searching for an escape route. Throughout the entire encounter, Ranchi hadn't seemed fazed at all. In fact, her sideways smirk and the unabashed flaunting of her much fitter body mortified Lunch along with her feelings of flustered lust and envy.
Before Lunch could run away, she felt a hand land on her shoulder gently. Then, Ranchi spoke more softly.
"Lunch. Calm down. I didn't mean to scare you… I just wanted to make you feel less alone. I'm sorry if I came off too strongly."
Lunch took a shaking breath, resting her hand over her quivering breast as she attempted to calm her overactive nerves. She closed her eyes and took three more deep breaths, then answered.
"Thank you, Ranchi. I appreciate that… And, I just thought I should tell you… I think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." She whispered with a quivering voice, then took off towards the bathroom and locked herself inside… The bathroom that was currently under construction. Ranchi watched the girl take off, then shook her head.
" 'Beautiful…' A butch like me? You gotta be kidding, doll. But I appreciate the sentiment." Ranchi responded, then went to dress herself. Lunch would have to come out of the bathroom soon, their maintenance man would be there any minute.
Whimpers came from the closed shower curtain as Lunch huddled inside, squeezing her eyes shut to attempt to hold back her foolish tears. Why am I crying? I'm so STUPID! She berated herself. She couldn't help wishing she'd done things differently today.
It wasn't fair to look at Ranchi like that, was it? I should've said no! Lunch fretted inwardly as she buried her face into her knees and attempted to muffle her cries, feeling the pressure of her stomach rolls pressing the air out of her diaphragm with her chubby thighs. Ranchi seemed completely confident showing her body, while Lunch in turn was now harshly judging her own pudgy, fish belly white body.
While locked inside the bathroom, Lunch was brought back to her childhood, those terrible times she spent in a place like this, hidden and trembling in the dark. As a child, Lunch was born into a dark reality of drugs, sex and neglect. Often, she would be locked in the bathroom while her mother sold her body, and her father sold drugs to make their meager living. Lunch was forgotten, neglected– a burden. She was born addicted to meth in the womb, and as a baby she would cry and cry endlessly for the substance her little body was fed on. Unable to ingest meth, the little child had resorted to sweet, fattening food to satisfy her addiction.
Her parents, though destitute, had plenty of food in the kitchen that they didn't eat because their addiction led them to not crave any sustenance besides the sweet sizzle of crystals melting on a spoon. So, when all fell silent and dark, the little girl would come out of her hiding place to eat… and eat… until she was morbidly obese.
Lunch sobbed even harder as the traumatic memories wracked her entire body with agonizing heaves. Soundless sobs left her breathless, lungs aching for air as she dug her fingernails into her scalp and sobbed for someone to save her from this pain. Unfortunately, her savior was nowhere near. Ranchi had left the apartment to drive down to Zee's Auto Body and pick up her paycheck. She thought it would be best to let Lunch have some time alone, not knowing the current state she was in.
Raditz wiped his forehead with a rag as he stood outside the door of Lunch's apartment, a sledgehammer slung over one shoulder along with a large bag of tools and accessories. He'd rung the doorbell three times now, and was about to turn away, but something kept his boots glued to this spot. It seemed odd that Lunch and Ranchi wouldn't be home when they knew that he would be coming over. He noted that Ranchi's yellow motorcycle was gone, but Lunch's green frog hopper was still situated in its usual parking space.
Raditz took a deep sigh and decided that he would have to take matters into his own hands. He carefully opened the door and looked around the dainty domicile for any notes from Lunch, and saw none. Figuring they wouldn't mind if he got a headstart without them, he headed towards the bathroom and reached for the knob. It was locked. Raditz knocked on the door.
"Hello? It's Raditz."
Silence. Wait– what was that? Raditz's ears honed in on a soft whimpering sound.
"Lunch… Are you in there?"
He questioned with a gulp, and set down his tools so he could press his ear against the door.
–Knock knock knock–
"Hickory dickory dock. The mouse went up the clock
The clock struck one. The mouse went down
Hickory dickory dock
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock,"
–Knock knock knock–
The limerick Lunch sang was one she learned as a little girl, listing the mouse, snake, squirrel, cat, monkey and elephant all in succession. The dark truth was, that with each hour, one animal would kill the next. She would repeat this rhyme during times when she felt stuck or indecisive; if she did not make her decision before the elephant came up the clock, then she would remain in this limbo of indecision. In this game, Lunch could only assume something terrible would happen if the elephant came and trampled over her monkey and killed it.
"Lunch, I know you're in there…Is everything ok?"
Hickory dickory dock. The snake went up the clock
The clock struck two. The snake went down
Hickory dickory dock
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock,"
Lunch sang with her hands over both ears as she hid in the tub with the shower curtain closed just enough to be able to see the door, and that the knob was turning.
"I can hear you singing. You have a lovely voice." He said softly, resting one hand on the door and kneeling down. He could still hear her crying in between each stanza, and he wasn't sure why Lunch was in this state or how he could help her. Instead, she continued to sing until she was on the cat. By that time, Raditz had already considered his options and made a decision.
"I get how this game goes. You sing it a little differently each time, but the animals keep getting bigger. Pretty soon, you'll have to come to terms with whatever is bothering you and stop,"
"Hickory dickory dock, the cat—"
"Lunch, I'm coming in. So back up!" Raditz warned, then gave her two more lines to get herself together. By the echoing sound, she was sitting in the tub and not next to the door. That assured him, and so he picked up the sledgehammer and swung it, the head of the hammer hitting the door with a sharp crackling of wood as it left a large dent in the door. Lunch yelped from inside, but it was more a yelp of surprise than pain, so he swung again, and again.
She stopped singing once she reached the monkey because at that point, she could see Raditz's determined face through the door just before he reached inside and unlocked it. He walked inside and dropped his hammer as he came across the sight in the bathtub. Lunch's sorrowful violet eyes were filled with tears, and puffy from repeatedly wiping the moisture away.
"Sorry about the door. I'll cover that." He muttered, looking a bit hesitant and nervous as Lunch hid her face in her hands.
"I don't care about the door, Raditz, I'm-" Lunch began, then sniffled.
"-I'm fine. I didn't mean to worry you,"
"No apologies necessary. Lunch, I knew something was wrong and I couldn't just leave you alone!" He said now with more confidence, pulling back the curtain in one fell swoop.
Lunch scooted backwards, her heart racing as he encroached on her safe space.
"That's not… That's not your responsibility! I should just leave. I'm in your way, aren't I?" She huffed now, her sorrow turning to indignation as her metaphorical walls began to build back up just as he was breaking them down.
"Do you think I'm just an idiot because my only talent is making toilets flush? I can do a lot more than that. If you just let me try, I'll help you."
"That is not YOUR job!" Lunch cried out, dropping her hands from her face to ball them up into shaking fists. Fresh tears spilled down her reddened face as she lowered her head and attempted to conceal it with her bangs.
"Raditz, I appreciate you trying to help me, but… you couldn't possibly understand why I'm upset. I don't want to put this responsibility on you when you already have your own issues to deal with!" She admitted her feelings now honestly, and glanced up at him.
Raditz was standing before her with a look of concern that desperately desired to understand, his hand gripping the shower curtain rod as if him holding it could keep Lunch from escaping. She took a deep shuddering breath and felt the heat from her face move down to her chest now, yet it wasn't from embarrassment this time.
"Lunch, please. Let me try. I promise I won't judge you, I can just listen if you want. If you'd like, we could move somewhere where you'd feel more comfortable… A cold tub that doesn't even have hot water doesn't seem very ideal."
Lunch took a moment to process his words and consider. He had a point, it was cold and uncomfortable in the tub, and… Well, having someone listen to her might be nice, that is, if only she had the courage to say what was upsetting her. There was no way she could admit all this to Raditz. She had only just met him and she wanted to leave him with a lasting impression that wasn't tainted by the filth of her past.
Raditz could see that she was having a hard time making up her mind, and after waiting for one long moment, he stepped into the tub with her and crossed his arms.
"If you won't move, I know of a way to make you feel more comfortable but you may not like it."
Lunch's eyes widened and she gulped at this statement, backing into the wall and straight into the faucet. She made a grunt of discomfort and stumbled forward only to be caught by him and swept up in an instant. Lunch glanced up at him in surprise, and was met by Raditz's toothy smile.
"How's your comfort level now? Should I place you somewhere else or is this good?" He questioned, clearly goading her into admitting that she enjoyed his embrace.
"I, uh… I…" Lunch uttered meekly, unable to think clearly while his dark eyes were staring into hers and his strong arm was holding her beneath her thighs effortlessly, as if she weighed nothing at all.
"You should put me down before you hurt yourself, Raditz."
Raditz was thrown off by this statement, looking at her with a puzzled face. Lunch was small, she weighed a bit but it was nothing he couldn't handle. He lifted three hundred, so holding Lunch was nothing even if she did weigh in the upper 140's. She was curvy and gorgeous, and he loved the way her body felt against his.
"Hurt myself? How?" He snapped, stepping out of the tub and taking her with him, even though she pulled on the curtain and protested, the curtain rings breaking as he yanked her away.
"Because, I'm so fa–" Lunch began, then stopped herself.
Raditz was quickly taking her to her bedroom, and she had no say in the matter. Lunch's face blushed bright crimson and she attempted to hide it by burying it against his chest, but that made her blush even more evident when she noticed the heat and hardness of his strong pectorals through his blue coveralls that read 'Raditz' above the breast pocket.
Raditz stopped at the foot of her princess bed and took in the very pinkness of the room, from the bedding, to the walls, and even the carpeting were all bubblegum pink. The smell in her room was sweet and delicate like roses, the open window providing a gentle breeze that ruffled the lace curtain.
"You'll hurt yourself if you try to help me. I'm not as happy as you think I am… In fact, I'm not at all who you think I am."
Raditz took a moment to think as he set her gently down on the bed and thought about what she meant. Of course her persona 'Honey Melon' was a delightful ruse, and perhaps even the bubbly waitress she played during the day. But was Lunch pretending to be someone else, even in her own house?
Clouds of dirt billowed out behind the sunny streak that swung into the parking lot with a rippling rumble, the curly blonde hair spilling out from beneath a red helmet matching the shade of the motorcycle. Once the engine cut off, Ranchi stomped the kickstand into the dirt and hopped nimbly off her bike. She stormed towards the open garage where a truck was currently hoisted into the air as someone worked beneath it.
She recognized Yamcha's curly black hair beneath his baseball cap and turned towards the office to retrieve her paycheck. Her boss, Oolong was inside and handed it to her with a sideways puff on his fat cigar.
"No prob, blondie. Say, you wanna sit a spell and split a spliff?"
Ranchi scowled at him and considered the offer, she certainly was tense and maybe a few puffs could cool off her heated head.
"Sure." Ranchi plopped herself on the desk and took the blunt from the little pig as he propped his hoofs up on the desk and turned up the television.
He wore a forest green cap and fatigues, Oolong was a veteran who'd once been stationed in Guantanamo Bay, and while there he picked up a taste for Cuban cigars; although the devil's lettuce was highly illegal there, it certainly was not in the southern island of Jamaica where the troops would vacation at times.
Ranchi and he sat in relative peace as the small office filled with smoke, watching M*A*S*H and splitting the rest of the stale black coffee that had been caramelizing on the small Mr. Coffee burner in his office. She told him about her new living situation and mentioned how she'd visited Bunny's Dine-N-Dance. Oolong chucked and informed her that he was a regular there. The two lost track of time for a bit until the phone rang, and the pudgy pig quickly turned back on his surly demeanor.
Ranchi hopped off the desk and cracked the window to let out the smoke, then leaned over it to watch the goings-on in the shop. Yamcha was still deep in the underbelly of the truck as Krillin stood beside him and handed him a wrench.
"Hey, Jackass! Don't let it crush ya!" Ranchi snapped, watching how his shoulders jolted with surprise. Krillin looked worried as Yamcha dropped the wrench and hit his head on the axel, making the tires jerk.
"Ranchi! Don't startle him like that!" Krillin scolded, his hands on his hips.
Ranchi cackled with enthusiasm, her bloodshot eyes watering with happy tears as she laughed away, not knowing that Oolong was hungrily eying the way her jeans hugged her bottom and making squeezing gestures as he licked his lips.
"Hey 'Yammy' what happened? Do you have trouble in paradise with snooty little Miss Blimbo?" She teased, referring to the blue haired 'bimbo' Bulma. Yamcha grumbled and threw his tool down, coming out from underneath the truck to address her.
"I don't wanna talk about it."
"Well, a little birdie told me you two caused an uproar at the bar last night." She continued, resting her chin in her palms and fluttering her eyelashes sassily. She'd witnessed it herself, though she didn't need to mention that to him.
"We're not together. So can you stop it with your fucking games?"
"Why should I? Huh?"
"Hey, you two! We have company." Krillin hissed, pointing towards the parking lot. The two couldn't bother to listen, and Oolong was inching towards his prize. It was clear that their workplace was more lax than others. Even with Oolong's military experience, he didn't order his employees about like a drill sergeant. He'd had enough of that while in the service.
"Why don't you tell us about your hairball boyfriend? I didn't know you played for both teams now!" Yamcha replied snidely. He knew well how her soft spot was dating, and was doubting all her high talk about being a lesbian after her breakup with Tien.
Ranchi growled and launched herself out of the window just before the stoned swine behind her had the chance to give her butt a hearty squeeze. It wouldn't be the first time he fondled his favorite employee, after all. Ranchi's feelings were bittersweet towards her boss– she knew that his eyes were always wandering and she tried not to spend too much time alone with him. He would attempt to lure her into his office with weed and other various treats, but his temptations typically failed to reign her in. Ranchi was in the offense when it came to pretty much all men, and was not shy about decking her own perverted boss right in his slimy snout.
Once she hopped out, she kicked him in the face anyway. Ranchi was rolling up her metaphorical sleeves as she squared up with Yamcha and shoved him.
"It's none of your business, pretty boy!"
"Hey! What's going on here?" A baritone voice came across the parking lot, and Ranchi momentarily froze in place. Tien's familiar build and bald head cast a shadow across the tarmac and her face crimsoned in embarrassment.
Krillin turned towards Tien, looking like he was about to spill the beans just as Ranchi's anger came to a rolling boil.
"What? Do you not want Ten to know you're replacing him?"
Yamcha's statement was the icing on her molten lava cake of anger. Her fist flew out and she decked him so hard that Yamcha fell on his bottom, and she felt the give of bone against her knuckles. Ranchi gulped down her words so hard her throat ached as she jumped onto her bike and peeled out of the parking lot in an instant. Tien and Chaotzu were left standing there in wonder as Krillin handed Yamcha a rag to stop his nosebleed. Oolong put his hands on his hips and grumbled about the obstinate girl.
"Can't tame her fire. Damn, Yamcha, don't pin this medical bill on me. You earned that one fair and square."
Tien watched Ranchi peel out and frowned, walking over to the others.
"What on Earth happened here?"
"It's a long story. I'll tell ya later." Krillin muttered Though he always avoided conflict, he was currently the shop gossip. Any and all juicy details about their small town would reach his ears and spill out his lips faster than he could consider the repercussions, which is one reason why Ranchi took off the way she did. She couldn't bear to face her first love while he heard the news that she had a new beau.
Though they'd long ago broken off their connection, it was hard to forget. Once upon a time, Ranchi had been deeply in love with him…Yet, Tien hadn't shared in her fantasy. Fairy-tales, after all, aren't written to be realistic. They're written as an escape from reality.
Tien frowned and looked back to his friend on the ground, and knelt down to help Yamcha stop the bleeding.
"That stubborn girl…when will she let it go?" Tien said softly to himself, a sorrowful look crossing his face. He'd never meant to give her such a lasting negative impression about men. Tien wished there was some way to reason with Ranchi; she needed to know that all men weren't all like him. Tien would congratulate her if she found another who could be dedicated to her in the way he couldn't, she truly deserved happiness with whoever treated her right.
The blanket covering her face was her only saving grace as Lunch hid from Raditz's concerned gaze. He'd been asking her every question he could to attempt to find out why she was being so evasive, but eventually her continued tears made him take pause and think about what little options of consolation he had left.
"You know… I'm not sure what's going on with you, but maybe I can help. If you just listen." Raditz said as he rested his head on his arms, the only part touching her bed. The rest of his body was on the floor out of respect for the sanctity of her bed.
"I had a hard time growing up in Kagoshima. Japan is a lot different than America." He slowly uncovered his past with each word, Lunch's eyes widening as her tears momentarily quelled to listen to his story.
"For one thing, growing up as a kid. We didn't have a babysitter. My mother apprenticed as a baker by day and my father was out to sea fishing for Maguro… sorry, 'Tuna.' So, Kakarot and I spent lots of time hustling as street urchins. My parents didn't know I was leading the entire gang of kids, and I was pretty good at being a pickpocket. We really only made enough to eat a meager dinner and buy Kakarot a toy. If I wasn't buying him a new toy every week, maybe I could've bought my mother that new oven she wanted so much..."
Lunch was listening now with her violet gaze honed in entirely on his words, the blanket now lowered enough to show the rest of her face. It seemed that Raditz had a lot to say, so she let him talk, as it helped her forget her own past for a moment.
"My parents were really strict. Well, they still are… But, I suppose that's because they don't want us to end up scrounging for stranger's change ever again. We came from the lowest of the low, you know? Coming here on that fishing boat was our only saving grace. Bardock… Well, as much of a hard-ass he is, he really cares. Maybe that's why he runs this place. Don't tell anyone this, but some of those seniors haven't paid rent in months…If my mother knew, she'd rip him a new one. That's why I have to work harder… I don't wanna be a failure. I don't wanna go back to the streets."
Raditz sighed, then rubbed his face with both hands and shook his head before standing up.
"Fuck! I'm sorry, I started talking about me and I haven't even figured out why you were upset, yet!"
Lunch gave him a demure smile and giggled as she folded back the blanket and took one of his large hands with two of her and gripped it.
"Don't apologize, Raditz! It's alright. I don't mind listening. In fact, you telling me your story makes me feel just a bit braver. Perhaps one day I can tell you mine, too. But for now, I think I should let you get to work so I can make you a nice lunch. Does that sound good?" She said softly, and Raditz's gaze warmed on the little woman.
He reminded her of Gine, but not in a familial way. Her gentle tone, and her eagerness to show her gratitude warmed his heart, and he too felt less uncomfortable about sharing the bits about his past.
"Sure. Just please, don't make tuna sandwiches. I hate them." He remarked flatly, and Lunch nodded in understanding.
"Of course not. I have better things in mind. Actually, I think I hear Ranchi pulling in, so I should get to work. You two need your energy!"
"Heyyy! Anyone home?" Ranchi called as she popped her head in the door.
"Did I hear you mention sandwiches? I'm starvin'!"
Lunch hopped out of bed and Raditz followed, ignoring Ranchi's questioning gaze as they exited the bedroom. Nothing suspicious had happened, but the both of them were wearing grins that piqued Ranchi's curiosity.
"Hey! What've you two been talking about? Did she tell you how she got a load of my magumbos?"
"Ranchi!" Lunch cried out in distress, her face turning red once again as she covered it with her hands. Raditz's brows rose and he looked at Ranchi with interest.
"Oh? I didn't get invited to that show."
Ranchi punched him in his muscled arm and he chuckled as he sat down at the kitchen island beside her. She was radiant today, with her jade eyes seeming to sparkle with more energy than previously.
"Why are you so happy, by the way? Did you beat up the cookie monster and steal his goodies? You look totally baked."
Now, it was Ranchi's turn to blush and neglect to reveal her activities of the morning.
"I just got paid, that's all! My eyes are just red cuz I got dust in em' on the way here!" She grumbled and slapped her check on the table. "Once I cash this baby I can put down half my first month's rent."
"That's great!" Lunch enthused as she put mayonnaise on their bread. Their friendly banter helped her to smile, and for a little bit, helped her forget her worries.