Disclaimer: Don't own DBZ or any of the mentioned characters except Stefan.
He shouldn't have replied to the text. It was a bad idea and he knew it, yet Gohan found himself envisioning the familiar, pleasant and sweet voice reading the words on the screen to him, perhaps with a hint of embarrassment and hesitance. His hand tapped a short message: "Okay."
A short beep, and the message was sent.
A day later, Gohan fidgeted nervously in the plush vinyl seat at a cafe he - no, it used to be they - frequented, many many years ago during the high school days. He adjusted the collar of a plain white dress shirt, wondering if he was dressed too formally for today. Looking at his reflection on the screen, he grimaced at the sight of his hair, all the spikes popping back despite the copious amount of hair gel he used this morning. Sighing, he shoved the phone back into his pocket, giving up on trying to look decent and appropriate.
Presently he detected a strong ki rapidly approaching him and stopped nearby. Within moments, a figure jumped nimbly from the rooftop and walked casually in the coffee shop. Her sleek black hair flowed past her shoulders, and she was dressed in a loose sweater, leggings and flats, giving a mature and elegant appearance. Very feminine, too. She removed the sunglasses and stuck them in her purse, revealing iridescent blue eyes that lit up as their gaze turned to Gohan.
He momentarily forgot to breathe.
Clearly Videl had changed, but she carried the same fierceness and aggression that Gohan fondly remembered.
The waitress arrived just as she sat down in the opposite booth, and without turning her gaze away from Gohan, she said, "A cappuccino and an Americano, please."
He perked up. Did she still remember he preferred an Americano?
"Hey." To no one's surprise, Videl was the first to break the awkward silence between the two.
"Hi," Gohan replied meekly, trying to decide between returning her gaze or just staring at her face. He couldn't remember being this uncomfortable around her since … a very long time.
"Sooo…" Videl folded her hands under her chin and surveyed him curiously with bright blue eyes. "You haven't changed since the last time I saw you."
"O-oh really? That's ... great, I guess?" He scratched the back of his neck. "And uh, you look great, by the way!" And he honestly meant it, even if the words came out strangely. She looked very healthy and energetic, the same lively spark in her eyes and the light rosy cheeks and lips.
Videl chuckled; the mere sound was enough to make Gohan's face resemble a tomato, thoughts clashing between embarrassment and marveling how beautiful her laugh was, and- he had to stop there. She was married, for Kami's sake!
"You really haven't changed," she said again with a slight grin. As she picked up the coffee cup, Gohan caught sight of the slim golden band on her ring finger, fully dashing any remaining inappropriate thoughts that lingered.
"So um…" he paused uncertainly, not sure if this would be overstepping his boundaries. "How's the marriage life?"
Videl smirked. "Which one are you referring to, Gohan?"
The statement made him choke harshly on a sip of coffee and he broke out into a coughing fit, blushing impossibly deeper. "I don't mean it that way!"
"Sure you don't." Her blue eyes glimmered with mischief and amusement.
"You're mean, Videl," he pouted as he hurriedly wiped away a small coffee stain on his shirt. "And you made me dirty my shirt!"
"Not like you can't afford it," she said. "I heard that you're now an Engineering professor at Orange Star University. I know this is late, but congratulations!"
Gohan's heart skipped a beat when she smiled. "T-thanks," he stammered.
Why was he this nervous? Why was it that every tiny movement she made still made his heart flutter like a schoolboy crush? Time supposed to cure all wounds including the one aching in his chest, yet he felt himself unable to breathe.
"Do you live in Satan City now, or do you still live with your mother?" She didn't notice his mental breakdown.
"Actually, I live in West City," he amended. "Family friends are there and life's convenient."
"Shame we're not nearer to each other. After all, we haven't met since the wedding have we?" she commented, taking another sip of coffee.
It was more like he avoided her and drowned himself in work, but he hummed in agreement and averted his eyes, choosing to observe the trees outside the large window pane. The leaves were a brilliant shade of orange-red, drifting away every time the wind blew, no matter how gentle. Somehow without his notice, autumn had already begun.
Videl's wedding was in the middle of spring.
"I've been… very busy with work," he lied. A family of four walked past on the streets, the children clutching tightly onto their parents as the young couple smiled happily at each other. The father bent down and scooped the daughter up, hoisting her up to his shoulders. She giggled in excitement, hands playfully covering the man's eyes.
"Busy, huh? No time for a girlfriend, I suppose." She sighed dramatically and twisted her wedding ring, perhaps intentionally, Gohan couldn't tell. Maybe he was simply too trained on it.
"Mhmm," he agreed absent-mindedly as he took another sip of the cooling black coffee.
"How come your mother isn't bothering you about it?" Videl leaned closer, eyes filled with interest. "Why don't you want a girlfriend?"
He choked. "H-huh? Who said I didn't want a girlfriend?" His cheeks grew red from the coughing as he attempted to force liquid up that had gone down the wrong tube. They were most certainly not red from embarrassment. Of course not.
"D'awwwww, are you shy?" Videl's mischievous grin appeared. "I know plenty of girls that I can introduce to you that you might like. Want me to set up a blind date?"
Gohan gave up drinking his coffee, before he died from asphyxiation. "Nonono." He shook his head violently and waved his hands. "I really really don't need a girlfriend right now!" Because the one I want is already taken.
She shrugged. "If you say so." For an added emphasis, she sighed again. "Well at least I can always turn to you when I get tired of Stefan." Catching sight of Gohan's instant deer-in-the-headlights expression, she continued. "I'm joking. Geez."
Gohan blinked. "Oh. Right." He cleared his throat self-consciously.
"But really though, Stefan is such a jerk sometimes." Her tone dropped from the original cheerfulness and teasing to something more subdued and serious.
"Hmmm?" Outside the window, a couple was arguing. The woman was screaming at the man, her words garbled from the glass that separated them and the coffee shop. Stabbing a finger towards the man's chest, she continued to yell incomprehensible words. A fling of her hand, and a thin band of silver flew into the air and landed aways from them. The woman stalked away.
"Sometimes he gets really busy and doesn't really talk to me or do anything. We haven't talked much recently, and when we do we start arguing with each other. I don't know why it's like this, but we used to be much better. He also doesn't approve my job. Or just fighting crime in general." She pouted and whacked the side of her cup with a spoon rather viciously. "It's getting on my nerves."
"Because he thinks I'll end up getting hurt or dead sooner or later."
Gohan shuddered as a gruesome image passed through his mind. He wasn't there to save Videl anymore - he quit the Saiyaman persona soon after high school graduation - and though she was much stronger than back in their high school days, he still remained afraid that one day she'd bite off more than she could chew. It happened before. "Your husband does make sense."
Her eyes narrowed upon his answer. "I can protect myself, okay? I can even fly away if it gets too dangerous, remember?"
He shrugged. "I know. He's your husband, though, of course he's worried."
"Anyhow though." Videl's cheesecake finally arrived, and she stabbed into the dessert with unnecessary force. A bit of cream stuck onto the side of her mouth as she took a big bite, and Gohan resisted the urge to brush it away.
"Do you think Stefan's cheating on me?"
Gohan choked on his coffee for the umpteenth time of the day. "S-say what now?!"
"He comes back from work much later than usual and he smells of perfume. But you know me, I can't tell the difference between men and women's perfume to save my life. I think he does wear that stuff every now and then. And recently there has been a large amount of people who caught the flu since it's the season, after all, which does explain all the late night working."
Gohan raised an eyebrow. "How flowery does the perfume smell to you?"
Videl still hadn't realized there was cream on her lips and blinked in surprise when he leaned over and dabbed it away with a napkin. "Err… thanks… and I don't know. All perfume smell flowery to me." She sniffed, then added, "Well, except yours."
"... What?" Gohan blinked, startled. "I'm not wearing any right now."
"Really? But you smell so-" Videl coughed awkwardly, a light dust of pink covering her cheeks. When he leaned over, she caught the scent of something nice and refreshing, not unlike the mountains Gohan grew up in. It was strangely addicting. Abruptly she stood up and squeezed herself next to Gohan, pressing herself against his arm and took a long sniff. "Is this how you naturally smell like?"
In a matter of a few seconds, Gohan's resembled a ripe tomato. Their gazes met. His heart skipped a beat.
He could smell the tiniest hint of vanilla and spices from Videl, the natural scent she always carried around, and artificial strawberries from the shampoo that she always bought. They were so close, too close. Her eyes were so mesmerizing, drawing him in, and he felt lost in their depths. Within a few centimeters their lips would touch, and he swallowed as he eyed them nervously. Pink, pouty, and luscious. He was going to lose control.
The brief sound of tinkling bells rang from the depths of Videl's bag, and they both jumped. Smiling apologetically at Gohan, she reached inside and pulled out a white-cased phone. "Oh, it's Stefan!" Her smile widened. "Ooooh… Hey sorry, but I have to go."
Gohan forced a nonchalant grin. "Sure, go on. It was great talking to you!"
Videl hurriedly stuffed her belongings into the purse and left, almost jogging out the door, suddenly filled with a strange, child-like energy, leaving Gohan to wonder what was in the text as his gaze followed her steadily vanishing figure in the horizon.
His eyes watered, and he blinked rapidly. Her scent lingered.
He brought the cup to his lips and drained the now cold coffee, a chill settling in him that drilled deep in his bones and his entire body and paralyzed his heart.
It was only when he reached the confines of his apartment did the tears drop.
Author's Note: More or less a spur of a moment decision to continue Words Left Unspoken. Another one-shot after this one will likely follow. I think I like this premise. Thanks for reading, and please leave a review if you're kind enough. :3