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Just a Ride

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Just a Ride

Chapter 1: Introductions

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She could feel the uneasy fluttering in her stomach as the taxi pulled up to the Capsule Corps. front gate. After a year in the States she imagined that she wouldn't feel anything other than relief to be home. It wasn't that she disliked her family, it was just that sometime during adolescence she realized that she wasn't like them.

She was a disappointment.

Her mother was a genius, her father was one of the strongest beings in the universe, and her brother was a mixture of both. Where did that leave her? She was just a beautiful girl with a famous last name.

She lowered the window and opened the gate by scanning the palm of her hand against the security screen panel. It was early in the afternoon, if she was lucky the house would be empty. As the taxi came to a halt near the main entrance she looked at the giant building and let out a small sigh. She reminded herself that this was only temporary. She had promised her mother that she would return from America for the summer.

"Keep the change", she said, giving the cab driver a small smile as she pulled out a large bill from her purse. He mumbled a nervous thanks as he took the money and jumped out of the car to retrieve her luggage. She stepped out of the car and took the handle of her Louis Vuitton luggage and rolled it to the porch, feeling very foolish for not thinking of encapsulating it.

The bag felt relatively light was she hoisted it across the front steps. Even though she was not Saiyan-strong, she was still stronger than most of the women on Earth. She opened the large doors and stepped into the foyer, the house seemed empty, and the only noises were those of her red kitten heels tapping against the marble floor.

As she walked to her room she realized that she had forgotten how long the walk actually was. She passed the living area, pausing for a moment in front of a photo hanging on the wall. She let her fingers ghost across his smiling face and immediately felt those old emotions resurface. 'What's wrong with me?', she thought bitterly as her eyes scanned the rest of the people in the image. A small smile pulled at her lips as she took in the photo. It was a picture her grandmother had taken at one of the company BBQ's a few years back. Goku stood in the middle, boyish grin stretching across his face and his arms outstretched, embracing both his sons. Vegeta stood to the side with that trademark scowl adorning his face as Trunks forcefully pulled him into the picture. It was much easier to forget about them when they were an ocean away.

A gruff voice behind her brought her out of her thoughts, "I hadn't been expecting you so early"

She dropped her luggage in shock and turned around swiftly, a slight blush adorning her cheeks, "Daddy! What have I told you about sneaking up on me?"

A small smirk graced his lips as he looked at his youngest child, "It is not my fault your hearing is so pathetic. You're just as vulnerable as your mother. It's a miracle you've managed to survive this long on your own."

Her blue eyes widened and a bright smile lit up her face. All doubt was quickly forgotten as soon as she saw her father. Maybe, this visit would be different. After all, she was a bit older, a bit wiser. Perhaps this time she wouldn't allow her mind to dwell on things it shouldn't.

Little giggles escaped her lips as she launched herself into her father's arms. He allowed the embrace since they were alone, relieved that for once she did not reek of a whirlwind of artificial fragrances. She landed a big kiss on his cheek, leaving a red lipstick mark in its wake, "Don't tell anyone, but I missed you the most!"

With a final tight hug around his neck, she lowered herself to the ground. No matter how old she got, he still made her feel like a little girl.

Once Bulla had been born, Bulma noticed how over the years the little blue haired girl had stolen Vegeta's heart. He loved both his children equally, but Bulla had always been his little princess. When she left her absence had probably been felt by him the most. His wife had become the president of Capsule Corp. after she was born and his son was second in command. They invested most of their days in the corporate happenings of the company, leaving him to spend his days training at home, and when Bulla lived there they would at least have each other for company.

It was unsettling for him to not know where she was or how she was doing while she was away at university. He cursed himself for not training her because her ki was too weak to pinpoint. He never understood why she left, and his wife simply laughed it off, saying that the girl needed to be off on her own for a while. After all, she had done it when she was younger to find the dragonballs. She just needed a little adventure.

"So, when should I expect mom and Trunks to come home?" Bulla asked.

"Those two are too busy running around trying to prevent some company merger or whatever new predicament it is that they've gotten themselves into. I wouldn't expect them anytime soon."

She breathed a sigh of relief, "Well, I guess that means they won't be throwing me a welcome home party, right?"

Vegeta quirked an eyebrow and scoffed, "Don't think you're off the hook that easy. Other than her company bullshit, all your mother has been yapping about for these past few weeks has been about how excited she is regarding your return. "

She tried to hide her concern. If her mom had planned a party, she had a big feeling she could expect to see him there.

"And of course she wants to shout from the rooftops about how proud she is of birthing a brat who just completed medical training", he added with a smirk. Even though it was a human accomplishment, it was an achievement that he had heard was something that was difficult to achieve, and something prestigious among the humans. And above all it, from what he understood, it was something that his rival's wife had wanted Gohan to do. He considered that a win in his book. Even though he was a bit confused as to why she had to leave so far to do that, he was just glad that she was home where he could keep an eye on her.

She rolled her eyes and brought her hands to her face, "Oh, gosh. Why do I have the feeling this is going to be so embarrassing?"

"Probably because it will be" he stated.

She bent down to pick up her suitcase, causing her father to frown as he noticed the amount of unnecessarily cleavage on display. If it was up to him she would be wearing winter outfits all year long, or those black sheets certain women seemed insistent on wearing. He bit his tongue regarding her outfit and watched as she hoisted up her luggage. She flipped her long blue hair back and grunted, "I don't see what the big deal is. I'm leaving again in the fall."

He couldn't stop the scowl that came to his face, "What?"

"Didn't mom tell you?" she asked, tilting her head to the side, giving him a look of genuine curiosity. She took his silence as a negative. She took a few steps towards him and gave him a half-hearted smile, "I'm starting a surgical residency program soon. I worked really hard so that I could even get accepted. Only the best get in, you know? It's kind of a big deal."

In reality she was only a little excited to continue her studies. She didn't have that intellectual drive that her mother and brother possessed. Medicine was nothing like taking random spare metal parts and turning it into a technological miracle. Her greatest intellectual quality was that she was able to remember things. Probably one of the biggest reasons she chose to go to medical school was because it was a means of escape that allowed her family bragging rights.

"It isn't surprising that I'm the last to know.", he muttered, shutting his eyes and turning his face away, trying to hide the anger he was feeling. She had a feeling he wouldn't like the idea. That was why she had hoped her mother had broken the news. She didn't want to leave home, but being so close to 'him' wasn't ideal either.

"Daddy, I'm a big girl now", she laughed, forcing a smile and trying to lighten his mood. She walked past him, giving him a wink that made her seem just like her mother and continued the walk to her old bedroom, "I am 23 after all, not 5. I can handle myself just fine." she said over her shoulder.

As Vegeta watched her walk down the hallway his scowl deepened. Why couldn't his son have been the one who chose to go on a merry adventure on the other side of the damned planet? At least then he wouldn't have to worry- the boy had enough strength in him to annihilate the planet if he so pleased. And on the other side of the spectrum, he was willing to bet the blue haired princess currently walking away from him still couldn't fall asleep without a night light.

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Ring.

Ring.

"Ugh…" she groaned, blindly looking for her cellphone as her face was still buried within the pillow. Jet-lag was a pain. She grabbed it and answered without even looking to see who was calling, "Hello?"

"Hey, paging Dr. Bitch!" a perky voice replied, "Are you ready to party? It's been 2 weeks- I missed you! I was starting to get hella' bored. I was thinking you ditched your family for that California stud we met at Coachella."

"Sssh! Marron!" she hissed into the receiver, her head snapping up, "I'm home. Don't forget my dad has supersonic-freak hearing!"

"And a supersonicly cute ass!" Marron giggled.

"You're so gross." Bulla gagged.

"Did you remember to lock the door to the apartment when you left?" the blonde asked.

"Yes. I did. I'm not an idiot."

"Awesome. I'm super excited about seeing your phenomenally hot brother tonight…. And your party of course. I'm planning on there being enough alcohol to get us buzzing before we really party." Marron laughed.

Bulla rolled her eyes and pulled herself out of bed, small smile on her lips "This thing you've got for my dad and brother has got to stop. And I don't think I'll be going out tonight. It's my first day back and I'm beat."

"Whatever. I've been a good girl for the past 2 weeks- holed up here with my parents. All my dad has been talking about is how excited he is that everyone is meeting up. I'm gonna' enjoy myself before residency starts up again. See you tonight."

"See you later." Bulla said as she swiped her finger across the screen and ended the call. During Marron's last year at West City University they got to know each other. Bulla had crashed a party Marron happened to be at, and after that they were inseparable. Bulla had decided to apply to medical school with Marron since she had acquired all the credits necessary to apply while in high school (courtesy of inheriting her mother's knack for memorization). The one thing that had brought them together was that they both felt like black sheep. They weren't strong like everyone else they knew, the only physical exertion they tortured themselves with was purely in the name of vanity and perky rear ends. They found comfort in the normalcy they brought to each other.

As she dangled her feet off of the bed and stared out the open window surprised to see that the sun was barely starting to set. Her hearing was only a bit more sensitive than a humans', and she could hear the noises that the staff was making as they finished setting up for the party.

She could feel herself becoming nervous as she thought about the evening. She had a feeling 'he' would be there. The one thing she hated most in life was the way he made her feel. So out of control. It made absolutely no sense.

It had all gone downhill for her after that afternoon 6 years ago.

She could still remember it as though it had happened yesterday. It had been summer then as well. The sun was high overhead and the temperature had been at a record breaking heat. The instant you would step outside beads of sweat would already begin forming. She had been wading around outside in the Laguna style pool, sipping on an icy drink as she flipped through a fashion magazine.

It had just been her and her father until Son Goku had suddenly shown up a few feet of her looking for Vegeta. In shock she had fallen out of her float, spilling her drink and drenching her magazine. Goku had just laughed awkwardly and apologized. She glared at him as he walked off without giving her a second glance in the direction of Vegeta's torture chamber. His appearances while uncommon, were not surprising. Sometimes he would randomly show up to spar with her dad, and sometimes her dad would randomly leave to train with him.

She was not blind- she knew he was very handsome (after all, his boyish good looks had been passed down to Goten), but during that passing moment her feelings for him had not yet developed. Before that life changing moment he had merely been Son Goku: Earth's protector, family friend, and father to her #1 crush.

A few minutes later, Goku and Vegeta had emerged from the gravity chamber. Goku was excitedly taking about some new technique he was perfecting and needed someone to spar with. In reality, she knew both men were simply bored and looking for a way to pass the time as they sometimes did.

Since her magazine was wet and completely unreadable, she just lounged around on her float staring at the only means of entertainment available- her father and Goku. She watched as they exchanged punches at a pace light enough for her to see.

Both her father and Goku had already begun to perspire due to the heat, but like most daughters she was able to conveniently ignore her father as her mischievous eyes roamed across Goku's body. It wasn't the first time she noticed how handsome he was, but it had been the first time she allowed herself to leisurely take in just how magnificent he was. His body was nothing like that of his youngest son. Goten's body while strong, was much more aesthetically pleasing in a conventional way- Goku's body was just brutal. Deep scars were scattered across his body, reminders of the opponents he managed to take down.

As she eyed the thickened scar that ran across his scapula she couldn't help but wonder what fierce adversary had managed to tear his flesh. About what Son Goku did to him. She wondered whether Goku crushed his trachea with his bare hands or sent him into oblivion with a powerful ki blast. They had been unsettling thoughts because fighting was not something she gave much thought to. That was Pan's department. Sometimes it was easy to forget how extraordinarily strong the people in her life were.

Vegeta let out a growl as Goku slammed him into the ground, causing the earth to tremble and small waves to form in the pool. She let out a little yelp as she was once again knocked off her float and fell into the water. With a scowl on her face she waded over to the edge of the pool, her eyes peering across the cement at the little battle happening dangerously close to her grandmother's prize winning marigolds.

Her father gave Goku a small smirk as he braced his feet on the ground and began to build up his power. Goku landed on the ground a few feet away from Vegeta and smiled, accepting the challenge. With his eyes never leaving Vegeta's he let out a yell as raw power radiated from his body, charring the grass around him.

She was too far to feel the heat both men were creating, the only thing indicating that their supernatural strength had increased had been the gusts of wind that blew her wet hair back. Ki was not something that she could sense, but that instant when Son Goku's energy spiked something strange happened. The small hairs on the nape of her neck stood up and a small tremor tickled at the nerves running up her spine.

It had been completely random- a sensation she had never felt before, and something she would never be able to put into words. She had been able feel his power itching under her skin, and for a quick passing moment she had felt invincible.

As the feeling struck her she had wondered if Goku had felt something too because he gave a quick glance over at the girl in the pool, a brief look of confusion on his face. That moment that he let his guard down was all Vegeta needed, because not even a second later Vegeta's fist landed painfully on his cheek, sending him crashing into a bed of yellow flowers.

The fight ended abruptly as Goku removed a flower that was twisted in his hair, leaving Vegeta to notice the small crater they had created and the explosion of flower petals around them. They were going to be in so much trouble. Bra had let out a small giggle as she pushed herself out of the pool, the earlier feeling completely forgotten. She grabbed her towel and walked into the house completely unaware of how that day would forever change her life.

Bulla chewed at the skin on the side of her fingernail as she looked outside of her bedroom window at the staff putting up colorful paper lanterns on the trees. She gazed at the pool and at the spot where the yellow flowers once grew and let out a small sigh. The feelings hadn't been instantaneous, it took another 2 years until the feelings had become overwhelming.

Other boys no longer seemed appealing to her. It wasn't that they weren't attractive, it was simply that they were too weak. It made her feel like her father- soon she was basing a man's value on his strength. It made her feel barbaric. Even her schoolgirl crush on Goten had slowly fizzled after that afternoon. Of course, she rebelled against her feelings and tried to find a boy to ease her troubling thoughts. A boy capable of making her forget those weird, sick thoughts that slithered in the back of her mind.

The boys she tried were fickle and unsatisfying. She wasn't sure what she wanted, but whatever her one night stands provided wasn't it. She didn't want love or someone to hold at night. She just wanted for her dreams to not be haunted by his imaginary touches. Those brief moments Goku would happen to be around her were torture. She tried to find reasons to not be home whenever he visited because being physically close to him was painful.

It was as though this imaginary heat radiated off of him and even a simple good natured pat on the back would leave her lightheaded. It made her feel sick. Why did she even have these thoughts at all? Why did she feel this overwhelming need to run her hands against his bronze skin? To find out what he tasted like. It was too weird. He had never done anything to encourage the unwelcomed need that bubbled inside her.

He was married and even though he looked young he was still old enough to be her father. It was disgusting. Even when he was far away she could still feel a flicker of something, like a little beacon that pulled her thoughts to him.

She ran a frustrated hand through her long blue hair and walked over to her bedside table, pulling out a small box of cigarettes. When she moved away the little beacon had been extinguished, but when she was asleep vivid images of him squeezing her pale skin still managed to haunt her.

She peeked her head out of the balcony doors and let out a sigh of relief when she saw the light to the gravity chamber was still on. She stepped outside and brought the small stick to her lips and lit it quickly with the lighter she had found still hidden on the windowsill.

She took a drag, exhaling the smoke slowly through pursed lips. She wasn't a teenager anymore and she hadn't seen him in over 4 years. It would be different now. It had to be.

"I see you still haven't managed to get rid of your bad habits" a voice said behind her, causing her to inhale a bit too strongly and start coughing.

She whipped her head around to see Trunks grinning at her with arms crossed against his chest, looking eerily like their father.

"You would think that a doctor would know better than to suck that poison into their lungs" he continued as he eyed the lit cigarette in her fingers.

She rolled her eyes and tossed the cigarette down the balcony. She walked over to him and gave him a small smile as she tousled his silver locks, "It's nice to see you too big brother. And my bad habits are mine alone, so leave it at that. But it is nice to know someone cares about my wellbeing"

He scrunched up his nose at the smell of the nicotine on her body and mumbled, "Well, it's not just your wellbeing I'm worried about. Dad would lose his shit if he ever found out his little princess was a chain smoker."

"At least I'm not a promiscuous womanizer." she huffed, blue eyes narrowing as she walked past him back into her bedroom.

"If you were a promiscuous womanizer then I think we would have a whole new set of problems" Trunks laughed following her back into the room.

She opened the door into her walk-in closet and felt a little irritated when she noticed her brother was leaning against the doorframe.

"Is mom home yet?" she asked as she flipped through the dresses on the rack, trying to find something appropriate to wear.

"Not yet. She was finishing up some paperwork but she should be here in a few minutes"

"So Marron told me mom invited everyone?" she mumbled as she pulled a small nude colored dress against her body and looked over herself in the mirror.

"If by everyone you mean Goten, then yes." he said, chuckling when she blushed and turned away from him.

"That crush ended before I even finished high school. Will you never let it go?" she growled feeling the need to throw a stiletto at his head. She wondered what everyone would think if they knew that the reason her infatuation with Goten ceased was because it had moved on to his father.

"Ha! Yeah right. I bet even after 4 years you're going to turn into a pile of goo at his feet and run away like a little girl. It's hilarious!" he laughed, remembering how once she became a teenager whenever Goten would casually talk to Bulla she would become flustered and red. Everyone knew about her crush on Goten. Her father found it unbearable, Bulma thought it was adorable, and Trunks found it to be a means of constant entertainment. The only reason Goten had begun making her uncomfortable was because he looked so much like the man who tormented her dreams. She couldn't even look at him without thinking about Goku.

He felt an increase in her energy and knew he went a bit too far. "I'm just teasing, Bulla! You take everything so seriously."

She closed her eyes and let out a sigh, "I have to get dressed. I'll see you in a bit okay? We have all summer to annoy the crap out of each other. Let's take it in small doses."

"Sounds good to me." he said. She watched through the reflection on the mirror in front of her as he gave her a small smile and walked out of the closet. She threw the dress on the bed along with the sky-high stilettos she had chosen to wear and made her way into her bathroom to wash off any traces of the cigarette she had partially smoked.

As she stood under the hot water she prayed to Kami that she wouldn't be flooded with those peculiar emotions when she saw Son Goku. Everything would be fine, she reassured herself. She was stressing out over something that probably wouldn't even happen.

She quickly dried herself off, and sat at her vanity staring blankly at her reflection a little agitated that all she could see was her mother looking back at her. That was all anyone saw when they looked at her.

She expertly applied her routine winged black eyeliner to her upper lids, making her light blue eyes look even more expressive and a dark, blood red stain to her lips. Drastic makeup was something her mother never bothered with, so in a way she felt it was a reminder to everyone else that she was not Bulma Briefs. She slipped into the flesh colored dress that she had lain out on the bed and stepped into a pair of shimmering gold louboutin pumps.

She couldn't help but smile and feel her spirit lift as she looked at her reflection. The dress was snug enough to emphasize her figure, but the scooped neckline was modest enough to cover the large chest she had inherited from her grandmother. The hem of the dress ended only 4 inches down her thighs, leaving her creamy legs on display. She looked like a gorgeous vintage pin-up. Dressing up was a nice change to the white lab coat and professional attire she had become accustomed to donning during residency. A soft knock on the bedroom door snapped her out of her thoughts.

"Come in", Bulla called, already knowing who it was that stood outside her door. Only one person in her family knocked.

Her mother stepped in, looking as radiant as ever as she clasped her hands together and brought them to her mouth, eyes glazing over in happiness, "My, baby! You look so beautiful!"

Bulla couldn't help but smile as she stepped over to her mother, "Of course I do. I look like you!"

Bulma drew her into a tight embrace, "I missed you so much, sweetheart! I'm so proud of you". Bulma pulled away, putting her hands on both sides of her youngest daughter's face, "It feels so good to have my whole family under the same roof, even if it's just for a few months"

"I always knew I'd have smart babies, but I really outdid myself" Bulma laughed as she stepped out of the embrace to look over her daughter, "A tech-savvy businessman and a soon to be surgeon. Chi-Chi must be so jealous. She always wanted Gohan to go into medicine."

Bulma peered across her daughter's shoulder and noticed the little box sitting on the bedside dresser. She quirked a perfect eyebrow at her daughter and said, "So, I see that you not only inherited my good looks, but my bad habits as well."

She stepped over to the table, nails tapping against the box, "Your dad hates these things". She looked over her shoulder and gave Bulla a knowing smile, "Hopefully, you didn't also inherit my questionable taste in men."

Bulla signed and rolled her eyes and huffed, hoping that this conversation was not going where she thought it was. Her mother pulled open the box and pulled out a stick, placing it between her part lips. She outstretched her hand, offering her daughter the open box, "Ssh! I won't tell anyone if you won't"

"I just showered" she stated, eying the cigarette dangling from her mother's lips.

"We'll just blame it on me", she shrugged, offering the pack once again, "Everyone knows I could never quit for too long. I'll take a chance and break my nicotine sobriety for a chance to share a smoke with my daughter. It's not like this is gonna' kill me."

Bulla pulled a small white stick out and walked out to the balcony. She retrieved the lighter from its hiding place, lit her cigarette and handed it to her mom. Bulla and her mother both rested their elbows on the railing and looked out at the garden below. A few guests had already shown up, mostly friends her mother knew from work.

"Did you already see your father?" Bulma asked as she looked in the direction of the gravity chamber, glad to see that the lights had already been turned off. "I swear to Kami if that man runs off with Goku into that damned training room tonight I'll tear them both a new one."

"Yes, I saw him earlier. Thanks for not telling him I was leaving in a few months. He was absolutely thrilled." Bulla sarcastically mumbled as she ashed the cigarette with a dainty tap of her finger.

"Well, I didn't want to break the news and ruin his good mood. You know how rare those are. ", Bulma laughed as she turned to face her daughter, "And I want you to know that even though he never says it, your father loves you more than anything. You have no idea how many times I've had to stop that man from flying across the world to snoop on you!"

Bulla couldn't hide the look of embarrassment that appeared on her face, "Snoop on me?! Why would he do that? If he wanted to check up on me so bad all he had to do was call."

"Oh look! Chi-Chi is on her way!" Bulma said pointing at a green car winding down the road towards the entrance of Capsule Corp, completely forgetting about what she had just said. She ground her cigarette against the railing and tossed it, grabbing her daughter's hand and pulling her inside, "Let's go! I haven't seen them in ages!"

All of a sudden Bulla felt her heart beat a little faster and a feeling of uneasiness crashed down upon her. She let her mother drag her out the bedroom door, towards the staircase. Bulma turned around to look at her and noticed the change in Bulla's mood, "Sweetie, are you okay?"

Bulla blinked a few times, taking even breaths through her nose. She took a quick glance at the guests below, reminding herself that this time would be different. A small, tight smile eased its way to her crimson lips, "Of course I'm fine."

Bulma just gave her daughter a nod, deciding that the sudden change in mood was probably just jitters. As Bulma descended down the staircase the guests all paused to look at her. Bulma held her head high with a delicate smile gracing her already radiant face. Her presence demanded attention. Bulma motioned with a hand up at Bulla who was still standing at the top of the staircase, "I want to thank you all for coming out tonight. I do hope you enjoy yourselves as we celebrate this wonderful, brilliant woman I am so proud to call my daughter."

'Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.' Bulla thought as she gazed down at the people below. She let out a sigh of relief as she scanned the scene under her, grateful that the majority of faces below were just a bunch of fat-cat government officials and company associates. She followed her mother down the stairs forcing her mouth into an effortless smile as the guests erupted into a sea of applause below her.

A voice as sweet as a bell suddenly cut through the room as soon as the applause began to wane, "Hello, everyone. It feels so wonderful to see all of your faces again. I really do appreciate you taking the time to welcome me back home."

She reached the bottom of the stairs with the grace of a silver screen goddess, lithely taking a champagne glass from the tray of a server who happened to be passing by. She raised the dainty glass into the air and before she brought the fizzy liquid to her lips she laughed, "Now enough about me. How about we all just enjoy ourselves tonight?"

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When the applause broke out signaling her arrival, he looked up to see the guest of honor and for a brief moment he forgot how to breathe. She was absolutely breathtaking. Other than the women on the glossy pages of magazines, he'd never seen a girl look as stunning and flawless as she did as she descended down the stairs. She was so beautiful it hurt.

That girl with the soft, long blue hair was not the same one he had seen 4 years ago. Was this really the little girl who had a crippling crush on him? Maybe, she was the same girl. Maybe, behind that polished exterior was that loud, obnoxious teenager who only cared about designer clothes, cute boys, and juicy gossip.

He was brought out his trance when he felt a sharp pinch on his arm and a sharp whisper into his ear, "Shut your mouth before you start drooling! Shame on you, Son Goten! Where are your manners?"

He felt his cheeks burn in embarrassment as he turned to look at his mom and gave her a sheepish smile, "Sorry."

"You're lucky Vegeta didn't see you staring at his daughter like she was a giant meat bun. I raised you better than that!" his mother scolded as she looked at him through narrowed eyes.

"Wow, look at her." Goku whispered not so quietly, causing Chi-Chi's attention to shift to her husband, "She looks just like Bulma. It's kind of creepy, actually. I wonder if she's just as loud and bossy as Bulma? I bet she is."

Because his guard was down, he flinched when he felt a strong hand pat him on his back. It was just Trunks. His best friend looked over at where his sister was standing a distance away and chuckled, "I'll have you know that she is every bit as loud and obnoxious as my mom. Probably more so. Her presence will definitely be felt."

"That's not a nice thing to say, Trunks." Chi-Chi said, unable to stifle the small giggle his reply caused her.

As Goten managed to pry his eyes away from the blue haired princess and finally take in his surroundings he noticed Vegeta standing near the back of the room alone, watching his wife and daughter. "Holy crap! Watch out, Oolong's gonna sprout wings and fly. I can't believe your mom managed to pry Vegeta out of the G.R. for this."

"Oh, look at that Vegeta's even wearing a nice suit." Chi-Chi said as she turned to look over her husband, "Aren't you glad I made you dress up too, Goku? You would have looked so strange showing up in training clothes."

Goku chose to ignore Chi-Chi's comment gave Vegeta a smile and wave which the Saiyan Prince acknowledged with a scowl and turning his head in the opposite direction.

"Dad never misses Bulla's things. Even when we were kids he'd show up at her spelling bees or crappy plays. It's no secret, she's the favorite." Neither Goku nor Goten failed to notice the bitter tone in Trunk's voice. Trunk's brought the glass of wine he had been holding up to his mouth and drank the whole thing in one gulp. He gave the Son family a fake smile as jabbed his thumb in the direction of a group of young girls standing near the open bar, "I'll catch you guys later. It looks like I've got some new friends to meet. You coming Goten?"

After being caught staring at Bulla with his mouth hanging open Goten decided to spare himself the probable smack across the head by declining Trunks offer. Instead he looked over to his father who was already sniffing out where the food was.

"So? Should we hit up the buffet table?"

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He was here! She tried to keep her nerves under control so that the glass in her hand wouldn't shatter. Even though he wasn't visible to her, that familiar pull that she had managed to evade for the past few years was tickling at her nerves. It felt like little electric spiders were crawling under her skin and shooting invisible webs in his direction. For a moment she wondered if this is what sensing ki was like.

She had been smiling blankly at some big-head engineer, listening to him as he went on and on about his achievements when all of a sudden an arm was thrown over her shoulder. She flinched and looked over to see her friend giving her a big smile. She couldn't help but let out a sigh of relief, glad that she finally had a reason to get away from all these brown nosers. Marron looked over at the engineer and back and Bulla with a comically serious expression, "Sorry, buddy but from the look on my friend's face it looks like you were 20 seconds away from asphyxiating her with your boring yammering."

Bulla couldn't help but let out a very unlady like snort as she saw the man's face turn a very unnatural shade of red. Before he could open his mouth to retaliate Marron swiftly turned them around and pulled her into the crowd. It didn't take a genius to know where Marron was dragging her.

"Thanks for getting me away from there. I have no idea why my mom wanted to do this today. It's like she couldn't wait a week to show off." Bulla huffed as she grabbed another glass of champagne off of a serving tray, "I mean we've got another 3 months left!"

"Oh, stop being such a baby crier! Waah! Poor me with my big welcome-home-I'm-a-badass-doctor party! My mom loves me too much! Waah!" Marron mocked as she threw herself on a barstool. Bulla rolled her eyes and sat herself next to her friend. The bartender was in front of them before she even had a chance to cross her legs.

"You know I've never tried Hennessey. I hear about it all the time in rap songs." Marron said as she looked up indecisively at the extensive display of alcohol behind the bartender.

From the corner of her eye Bulla saw as her brother walked up behind Marron to lean across the counter between them. As she looked at him she couldn't help but feel a bit detached. Everything felt so strange to her. Being around all of these people who she hadn't seen in so long, including her family, felt dream like. All of these people were extraordinary, and it made her feel so small.

"I don't drink hard liquor, you know that Marron" Bulla lied as she looked sternly across the counter at Marron.

Marron's mouth formed a little 'o' as she finally turned to her side and noticed Trunks standing beside her. She let out a slow giggle and looked up at the handsome bartender with an awkward smile, "Ugh. I know. Drinking hard liquor is just so nasty. I'll just have a strawberry daiquiri."

"I'm surprised you're hanging out here with me instead of with your boyfriend or wreaking havoc on the buffet table." Bulla stated as she looked up at her brother with a quirked eyebrow.

"I'll have you know that I came here to say my hellos to Marron, who I haven't seen in ages" Trunks said, giving Marron a charming smile before taking a quick glance over his shoulder towards the buffet table, "And mom warned dad and I to back off the food. Apparently the only Saiyans allowed near it are the Sons. And of course the guest of honor" he added dryly.

"So no food and no fighting allowed. You must find my party really boring." Bulla laughed, giving her brother a small shove against his shoulder, trying her best to ignore the fact that he just stated that the one person she couldn't stop thinking about was hidden somewhere in the crowd.

"Well, Dad found the party so boring he's finally run back into the G.R." Trunk's said.

"Mom is gonna' kill him. He never learns." Bulla said shaking her head.

"Yeah, and after Goku finishes all the food I'm sure he'll join him."

He just had to say his name. She tried her hardest not to let her smile falter, glad that at that moment Marron mouthed, "Oh-my-Kami!" and rolled her eyes up in her head in mock bliss when Trunks turned his head. Bra's upper lip curled in disgust, even though she was not the least bit surprised my Marron's behavior.

"What?" Trunks asked in confusion when he saw the look on his youngest sister's face.

"Nothing, I was just picturing Goku eating." Bulla quickly replied, shooting her friend another glare and mouthing the word, "NO!" at a very innocent looking Marron.

Trunks turned his head around quickly enough to catch Marron mid-wink, nodding her head, and with both her hands giving his sister the universal thumbs-up sign. He looked at her with confusion and back at his sister, "I guess even medical school couldn't beat the weirdness out of you bunch of looneys."

"The only pair of looneys around here are Goten and you. Both of you dorks are the worst", Marron muttered giving Trunks a playful glare.

"I heard my name!" a muffled voice called from behind Bulla. She felt a sudden spike of fear as she recognized the voice. 'Please be alone!' she thought as she swerved the barstool around so that she was looking up at Son Goten.

She caught him mid-gulp as he swallowed what looked like a chocolate cupcake. He quickly wiped off the front of his suit for any possible crumbs and looked up at the girl he hadn't seen in years. When he looked up at her he was a bit taken aback by the scent of fear that was softly rolling off of her and the way her beautiful blue eyes widened when they made eye contact.

Trunks smelled his sister's fear, mistaking it for the little crush he had been hoping was just a phase. He grabbed his wine glass of the counter and muttered, "Here we go again. I'm outta' here before I throw up."

As soon as Goten appeared Marron had noticed how Bulla's calm demeanor instantly changed. Her mischievous blue eyes went from Goten to Bulla then over at Trunk's who was already disappearing into the crowd of party guests. Marron gave Goten a little wave, which he acknowledged with a smile, and Bulla a half-hearted shrug as she stood up and walked away in Trunk's direction.

Bulla's eyes followed her friends retreating form until she lost sight of her golden hair in the throng of people. She let out a little sigh and looked up to see Goten giving her a look of concern.

"Are you okay? You look a little out of it.", Goten asked as he took Marron's empty seat.

She blinked a few times and tried to calm herself as she looked at the empty champagne glass in front of her. As she watched the condensation drip down the glass she mentally prepared herself for what should just be simple conversation.

She looked over her shoulder, giving Goten a small smile and prayed that she didn't look as tense as she felt. She ran her red nail over the rim of her glass and laughed, "Yeah, I'm fine. I guess I shouldn't have had anything to drink on an empty stomach."

"I never have that problem." He replied as he patted his stomach for emphasis, flashing her that famous Son-smile.

She felt the corners of her lips twitch as she studied his face. He looked so much like his father it was making her feel sick. She turned her face away from him and rested her elbows on the countertop, "So how have you been Son Goten? You been keeping busy?"

"I try", he said, averting his gaze because he sensed it made her uncomfortable, "I own this dojo in the city. Pan works with me sometimes. It keeps me busy."

"Impressive." She said, feeling a tad bit braver. She rested her cheek on the palm of her hand and turned to face him, "I can't believe you're a business man now. How grown-up of you."

He couldn't help but laugh, happy to see that fire he remembered burn in those sapphire eyes. "Well, I wouldn't consider myself a business man because I own a dojo. I'm not exactly a suit and tie kind of guy."

"For not being a suit and tie kind of guy, I must say you're working it quite well." she said, mentally cringing as soon as the words left her mouth.

His eyes widened in shock, a faint blush creeping up to his cheeks. He had not been expecting that. Without skipping a beat he mumbled, "You look really beautiful tonight."

Oh, this was awkward. He felt his jaw tense as he clenched his teeth, suddenly feeling more like a teenager than a man who had just turned 30. To make it worse he couldn't figure out why her tiny ki was spiking randomly and why she smelled scared. He was glad Vegeta was too busy trying to make his father bleed, because he was sure that if he were still in the room he'd be investigating why his daughter was so uncomfortable. Of course, if Vegeta was in the room he probably wouldn't even be alone talking to Bulla.

"Oh, thanks." she said slowly as she looked over his face. For some reason as hard as she tried when she looked into his eyes she couldn't find Goten. All she saw was the man who robbed her of her sanity. A wry smile twisted as her lips as an idea suddenly formed in her head.

It was a very bad idea. She could tell that from the way he looked at her he saw her as something more than that love sick teenage girl. She felt a bit guilty for what she was thinking of doing, but for some reason the part of her brain associated with logical thinking seemed to have gone numb.

He looked every bit as flustered as she felt. It was a nice change to know that for once it was her that was making one of the Son men uneasy. She crossed her legs, intentionally allowing the shallow hem of her skirt to rise, showing just enough pale skin to see if he was at least physically interested in her.

He took the bait. His dark eyes darted down to scan the soft, creamy stiletto clad legs that she had put on display. In his mind's eye he pictured his hands running under the thin material of her dress. He turned his face forward to hide the slight blush forming on his cheeks, shame immediately flooding him as he realized that this was Vegeta's daughter he was looking at.

Even though his reaction was what she wanted, she was surprised by the fleeting flicker of rage she felt when he looked at her. If he had returned her affection when she was blindly in love with him would things have been better? Of course family turmoil would have been expected, but in her mind that catastrophe would have paled in comparison to the twisted feelings she had spent the past few years running away from.

Goten was caught off guard when he when he turned to see her with her delicate blue eyebrows furrowed, with a look in her eyes that he interpreted as a nonverbal scolding. How did things get so awkward so quickly?

He shot up off his seat, awkwardly running a hand through his thick black hair in a way that reminded her of his father. "Uh…well, it was great seeing you. I think I'm gonna' look for Tr-", he mumbled as he tried to take a step back.

Before he could finish his sentence, a delicate hand grabbed at his wrist. He was even more uncomfortable and shocked to find that she was giving him a smile so sweet it took his breath away.

"You don't plan on leaving me here all alone do you?" she teased, intentionally letting her fingernails lightly trace against his skin as she withdrew her hand. It took Bulla a lot of mental strength to silence the little scolding voice in her head shrieking that what she was doing was shameful and disgusting. It wasn't him she wanted, but it seemed the only alternative.

He blinked a few times and tried his best to smile, but instead it looked like he had just tasted something sour because he couldn't get the look of shock off his face. "O-of course not. I was just-"

Oh this was too good, Bulla mused, loving the way that that she had managed to get him nervous. Her previous fear had been replaced with determination. She tapped his seat with her hand, "Sit down, Goten. I haven't seen you in so long. Let's catch up."

He obediently sat down to face the beautiful heiress, not knowing that his fate had already been sealed. If she couldn't have the father, then the son would have to do.

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