"I just bought my flight home, so I should get there early in the afternoon, next Saturday," Bulma told her mom, her phone pressed against her ear and shoulder as she collected her peppermint mocha from the smiling barista.
"Oh! That's excellent news, sweetheart!" her mother chirped on the other end of the line. "Your father and I are so excited you're coming home for the holidays this year."
"Me too," Bulma smiled. She hadn't been back to West City since she left for college two years ago. Bulma had really enjoyed university, it was so much more interesting and challenging than her previous schooling, but she missed her parents, her sister, and her hometown friends.
"And should we expect anyone else to be joining us? A handsome, young man, maybe?" her mother sang hopefully.
Bulma rolled her eyes as she stepped out of the coffee shop and into the cold December air. Perfect grades and research grants be damned, Panchy Briefs only seemed to care if her daughter had a boyfriend. As if getting married was far more important than Bulma's studies or eventual career as a scientist. "Mom," Bulma sighed, seriously.
"Oh, honey! Now don't get upset with me! I just worry that you're lonely!"
"I'm not lonely!" she groaned quietly as she walked through campus, "in fact, I do have a boyfriend. And he's super smart and good looking. He's just not the center of my universe, mother!" Bulma couldn't fathom why she decided to spout out such a lie. But as her mother squealed in excitement on the other end of the phone, she knew it was much too late to take it back.
"I must meet this strapping, young gentleman who's stolen my Bulma's heart! Oh darling, promise you'll bring him home for the holidays!"
"Mom, I don't know if he can."
"Oh please! It'll be so much fun! Ooh, what's his name?!"
His name? Shit, shit, shit!
"I'm walking into class right now, I'll talk to you later," Bulma quickly hung up the phone before her mother could protest. Oh gods. What did she just get herself into?!
Bulma took a swig of her coffee and slumped down in her seat at the front of the lecture hall, contemplating how she was going to find a boyfriend in the next week and convince him to spend the holidays with her family without seeming totally crazy.
She realized it might be easier to just hire someone just to pretend to be her beau. Bulma opened her laptop with a sigh as her professor walked in and began reviewing the materials for the final exam. What was more pathetic, not having a boyfriend or paying someone to pretend to be your boyfriend?
Who did she know that could play along with such a con? Who could fulfill the role of the 'perfect boyfriend' that would charm her parents and… and… have her mother asking when they would get married…
Bulma clenched her fists in frustration. If she hired a 'perfect boyfriend' to accompany her over the holidays, her mother's incessant nagging might only get worse. The only solution would be to bring home a total asshole, then her mom would beg her to dump him. Maybe even encourage her to stay single until after she finished school!
A devious smirk spread across Bulma's lips. She couldn't believe this idea didn't occur to her sooner; if she brought home a terrible, douchebag boyfriend her parents would insist she break up with him.
But that leaves the question of who? Who could she get to be rude to her entire family? Be such an absolutely horrible jerk, that the thought of marriage leaves her mother's mind completely?
She peeked over her shoulder when the idea of a possible candidate struck her. In the back corner of the lecture hall sat the ever-brooding Vegeta. He almost always wore his hood up, even during class. She wasn't sure if he was trying to hide his ridiculous hair or the fact that he seemed to have a perpetual black eye and bloodied lip.
She assumed he was a boxer because anytime Bulma went to the university's gym, Vegeta was there too, beating the shit out of a punching bag. Both seats next to him were empty because no one in the class dared to try to talk to him, let alone sit by him. He was callous and cold, everything her mother would hate.
Bulma camped out on the stair climber in the university's gym, the added height gave her the perfect view of all the boxing equipment. She knew if she was just patient, Vegeta would show up and she could propose her little deal. Just as she was starting to feel her glutes really burn, Vegeta walked out of the men's locker room while he taped up his hands.
He was dressed in a pair of skintight shorts and a t-shirt that looked like the sleeves had been ripped clean off. Bulma gulped as she tried not to let her gaze linger on his insanely sculpted ass. She was suddenly grateful he always wore that loose hoodie to class or else she may have a hard time paying attention during lectures.
After an internal pep talk, she made her way over to him just as he began a brutal rhythm of punches. Bulma came up from behind and grabbed hold of the punching bag to prevent it from swinging. She peeked around the edge of the bag and smiled brightly at him. His dark gaze flickered to her for just a moment, before his focus returned to his attacks.
He ignored her for a minute or two, but she just continued staring and smiling until he acknowledged her. His punches slowed to a stop before he ripped out one of his headphones and barked, "What?!"
Bulma was slightly taken aback by his hostility but continued on with her original plan. "Hi Vegeta," she greeted as if they were friends. "What are you doing for winter break?"
"Do I know you?" Vegeta grouched.
"Yeah, I'm Bulma Briefs... we have physics together," she reminded him as her smile began to falter. Gods, if he didn't even know who she was then her asking him to be her pretend boyfriend was going to be even more embarrassing than she originally anticipated.
He was silent a moment, narrowing his eyes as he looked her over. "Right, the kiss-ass who sits in the front."
Bulma felt her eye twitch with barely contained rage. She was no kiss-ass, she was just an excellent student, okay?! Ugh! Whatever, if he was this rude to people he just met, then he was exactly the guy she needed. But convincing him to go along with her plan might be more challenging than she thought. "So anyway, I was hoping maybe you could do me a favor…"
"I don't do private boxing lessons," Vegeta dismissed, "or whatever it is you stupid girls with your inane giggling want. So why don't you just leave me alone."
"Excuse me?!" Bulma sassed, "For one, I'm not stupid. Two, I was never giggling. And three, you're a real prick, you know that?!"
"So I've heard. Just another reason for you to leave," he grumbled, picking at his hand wraps like he was already bored with this conversation.
Bulma took a deep breath through her nose to calm herself. "No. I really need a favor from you. I'll do whatever you want, I'll do all of your science and math assignments next semester."
Vegeta lifted a curious eyebrow. "What is it that you want from me that badly, Briefs?" The corner of his lips curved up in a smirk that could almost be considered teasing. Bulma couldn't explain the sudden flutter she felt in her chest.
"I want you to pretend to be my boyfriend in front of my parents."
Vegeta barked out a laugh. "What?! You can't possibly be serious!"
"I'm dead serious," Bulma replied sternly.
Vegeta shook his head in disbelief, "I never pegged you to be so desperate, but yeah, no. I'm not about to do that. You should find someone else, I'd be a terrible boyfriend anyway."
"Exactly!" Bulma said, ignoring his insult. "I want a terrible boyfriend, and I want him to be you!"
"Uhh…" Vegeta scrunched his face in a mixture of offense and confusion, "I think you need a shrink, not a boyfriend."
"No! You don't understand!" she sighed, "It's not like I'm some masochist, I need a terrible boyfriend to bring to my parents' house so that my mother will stop nagging me about getting married!" She looked at him, big blue eyes pleading.
"Hmm, interesting," Vegeta hummed, and Bulma hoped he was really considering her offer. "But what's in it for me?" The teasing smirk had returned to his lips, and Bulma's stomach did a somersault.
"Like I said, I'll do all of your math and science assignments next semester."
"Ehh," Vegeta shrugged, "I can do my own homework... I want something else." He surprised her when he took a step closer, invading her personal space. Her mind ran wild with what his idea of 'something else' might be, but she really was desperate.
"Anything you want," she breathed, suddenly very aware of his proximity. He wasn't much taller than her, but his dark gaze made her feel so small. Vegeta let the heavy silence hang between them, as Bulma grew uncomfortably warm.
Her breath hitched when she felt the edge of his finger caress her jawline. "Anything I want?" he husked, and Bulma was beginning to regret her choice of words.
He wasn't going to ask her for sex. There was no way. Absolutely no way. If there were girls approaching him for 'private boxing lessons', he could probably get sex elsewhere easily. He wouldn't do that. No way. Unless… he wanted to relish in her humiliation?! Maybe he's a sadist! Maybe he's the one that needs the shrink!
Bulma's wayward thoughts came to an abrupt halt, as Vegeta leaned in, his warm breath tickling her ear. "I want…" he whispered, and Bulma felt a shiver up her spine. I mean, if he really wanted sex, would that be the worst thing? "...Cash."
Her eyes widened as Bulma remembered herself. With her hands on his chest, she shoved him away. "What was that all about?!" she squawked, feeling awkward and embarrassed by the way she let him affect her. Vegeta just chuckled as he picked up his water bottled and took a drink.
"Fine, whatever. Cash it is. Name your price," she said, turning her head to hide her pinkened cheeks.
Vegeta licked his lips. "5,000 Zeni."
"Done," Bulma replied immediately.
"What?! It was that easy?" he whined, "I should've asked for more."
"Give me your phone number, and I'll text you the details."
"Wow Briefs, first class? What are you rich or something?" Vegeta said as he and Bulma boarded the plane to West City.
"We're 4C and D," she told him, ignoring his comments like she had been all morning. Vegeta plopped down into the seat and lifted up the shade to look out the window.
"Hey! You could at least offer to help me with my bag," Bulma whined as she attempted to lift her overweight suitcase into the overhead bin. "By the way, I like the window seat!" she huffed. Gods, she had only been with Vegeta for a few hours and he was already annoying the shit out of her.
"Bad boyfriends don't help or care about your seating preferences," he said, giving her a sarcastic smile. "I'm just really committed to my role." Bulma rolled her eyes, this was bound to be an exhausting holiday. She could only hope it would be worth it.
Vegeta's eyes were glued on the window as he watched the plane take off. Bulma noticed his fixation and snorted, "what? Have you never been on a plane before?"
He turned and looked at her, his face fell flat. Closing the shade, Vegeta leaned back into his chair, and closed his eyes, pretending like he had never been interested. Bulma felt a prickle of guilt in her gut, she enjoyed watching the plane take off too, that's why she liked the window seat. She was just trying to tease, not actually make him feel stupid.
She didn't bother trying to take it back, he didn't seem the type of person to care, but she did decide to try to be a little nicer to him. "So, what excuse did you give your parents for not coming home for break?" Bulma asked, in an attempt to have a friendly conversation.
Vegeta's disinterest was apparent in the way he didn't even bother to open his eyes before he replied, "Didn't tell them anything. They're dead."
"Oh…" Bulma mumbled. "I'm sorry, I didn't kno-"
"I'm going to sleep now," he declared, dismissing her apology and their conversation as a whole.
Either he was asleep or pretending to be when the flight attendant came around for their drink order. She nudged him with her elbow, and he opened one eye to glared at her.
"Should we get some champagne?" Bulma asked with a smile, her attempt at a little peace offering. Even though he was there to be her 'terrible boyfriend', she hoped they could at least be friends.
"I don't care," he grumbled and closed his eyes again. Bulma fought the urge to roll her eyes at him, as she ordered the champagne from the cheerful flight attendant. At the very least she was going to enjoy herself, and maybe a buzz will help her endure Vegeta's company.
An hour later, Vegeta grumbled to himself and slowly opened his eyes as he began readjusting in his seat. "Oh look, Sleeping Beauty's awake," Bulma teased. He scowled before snatching her drink out of her hand and downing the rest.
"How much longer 'til we get there?" he asked, his voice slightly raspy with sleep. The sound was soft and dare she say, kinda sexy.
"Umm," Bulma blushed at her own thoughts, "maybe like another 45 minutes."
"Mmkay," he mumbled as he closed his eyes again.
"Wait, don't go back to sleep! We need to talk strategy!"