A/N: Sorry this has taken me so long. I know you probably all hate me now, but I'm letting you know that my life has turned so far upside down it's almost hilarious. So, here's your update, I know it's not as long as you wanted, but I've gotten over the writers block so more should be coming. The next chapter for Black Sunrise is getting worked on as soon as this is posted. Hopefully you all will have another chapter of that up soon as well. Thank you all for your patience in waiting for this.
Fear flooded her mind, knowing full well that she was going to be in trouble when she got home. Sawyer might be her twin sister but she never held back any information, often twisting it so that Bulma turned out to be the bad person while she became the victim.
People looked at her as she walked through the hallway, shirt starting to dry and turn into some sticky mess against her skin. It was a good thing she had gym next, that way she could change into something other than jeans and a wet t-shirt.
The first one into the changing room, she quickly grabbed her things from the small metal basket and walked off to a stall, pulling the curtain shut with such force the hooks rattled against each other. Her eyes stung, throat working hard to close and choke her. Bulma couldn't believe that Vegeta had to interfere like that. Why couldn't he had just left her alone? Pretended that she didn't exist like everyone else? Shimming out of her jeans, she quickly turned the shower on and then, she pulled up her black gym shorts and was about to pull her shirt over her head when the door to the girls locker room banged open.
Gulping, she tore the shirt off and tossed it into her basket and quickly shoved her head and arms into the grey shirt. "Bulma? Are you in here? It's me. It's Chi-Chi."
"Yeah. I'm in here."
Bulma walked out carrying her metal basket. Her hair was messed up and she didn't want to be seen right now, but there was something in the way Chi-Chi had spoken her name, something that made Bulma believe that she could truly become a friend. And that scared Bulma. She didn't have many friend, in fact, the only friend she had was one of her old teachers and even then Bulma didn't get to talk to Ms. Beverly as often as she would have liked.
They stood facing each other. "Come on."
"We're leaving this joint."
"I can't. I have classes to go too."
"It doesn't matter. Who cares. For the first time in your life, cut a bloody class. Let's go out and do something! Don't be so bloody predictable!"
"I have classes Chi-Chi. And so do you."
Chi-Chi laughed and shrugged. "So? I'm serious. Let's go out and do something."
Bulma looked at Chi-Chi and shook her head slowly. "I'm sorry. I've got classes to go to. I'm not going to start doing something that I could get in trouble for."
"When, because you're afraid you're going to like being a little bit rebellious? Let's face it Bulma, do you want to be like this for the rest of your life?"
Bulma sighed heavily and shoved her metal basket back into the cubby that it came from. "Like what?"
"Feeling like you don't belong anywhere, like you're an outcast, like you've got no place to go where there's not anyone that knows who you are and why you're hiding from the rest of the world."
Her blue head snapped upwards and she stared hard at the other twin before her. "What would you know about any of that?"
Chi-Chi shook her head slowly and grabbed a small chunk of hair to twist around her finger. "We all have secrets Bulma. Sometimes we just don't want to let them bother with our lives. But I'm not taking no for an answer. Let's get going. We'll take you to your place so you can shower quickly and then we'll just go out and do something."
"I don't think that's the best thing to do. If you want to go we can go just like I am. It doesn't really matter."
"No, we'll go to your house so you can change. Is anyone home?"
Chi-Chi looked at Bulma who looked at her toes and refused to make eye contact with the other girl. "I...yes."
"Well, what are you worried about?"
"You just don't understand!"
Tossing her head, Chi-Chi let out a laugh and held up her hand. "Honey, I don't understand a lot but I understand that you're going to come with us and we're going to have a day filled with fun. I'm not taking no for an answer. Let's go."
Grabbing Bulma by the wrist the ebony-haired girl led the other out of the door just as it started to open. "Move out of my way." Girls were shoved to the side as Chi-Chi plowed her way through the small crowd tugging the reluctant Bulma behind her. The bossier girl led her through the crowded hallway and shoved the front door open with a foot.
Her blue eyes were met by the onslaught of bright sunshine and blue sky. Blinking, Bulma allowed her eyes to adjust to the change in light as Chi-Chi dragged her towards a black car. A blush crept up onto her cheeks as she noticed that Vegeta was waiting beside the car, head thrown back with his eyes closed.
"It's about damned time." He muttered, straightening in the wheelchair as he turned his head to his sister. "I see you convinced her to come."
"More of less, yes. Anyway, get in the car Veg-Head." Her fingers dropped from Bulma's wrist as she went and opened up the car door and held her brother's chair steady for him as he hobbled his way into the backseat of the car. With expert ease, Chi-Chi collapsed the chair and popped t he trunk with a button on the remote she had pulled from her pocket. "Come on, get inside. Unless you really do want to get busted."
Bulma flushed again and quickly climbed into the front seat of the car and closed the door. Sliding the seatbelt over her shoulder she buckled it up and sat with her hands folded on her knees. Her heart was hammering in her chest. This was the first rebellious act she had ever committed since she was eight, and a stone of guilt was starting to once more form in her stomach.
"Cat got your tongue?" Vegeta asked from the back, leaning forward so he could rest his arm on the back of her seat.
She blinked and then turned her head to look at him. Blue eyes met almost black and he was able to see the look of pure puzzlement as it wrote itself across her facial features. What had happened to this girl and why was she so shocked when it came to everything? "What would you like me to say?"
Vegeta sighed and threw himself against the backseat. "Well obviously you're not one for conversation." He muttered, arms crossing over his black-clad chest to stare out the window.
"Give her a break Vegeta. I bet this is the first class she's ever skipped in her whole life. Leave her alone." She shot her twin brother a warning glance in the rear-view mirror. "Anyway doll-face, where too?"
"I don't know."
Chi-Chi laughed and pulled the car out of the parking space. "No. That's not what I mean. What I'm to ask is where do you live, and how do I get there?"
"Oh." Twin spots of red flourished on her cheeks. "Um, I live on Dubois Avenue." She heard a low, long whistle come from the back and the spots of color darkened.
"Directions would be nice." Chi-Chi grinned, turning her head quickly to look at Bulma before shoulder-checking and pulling away from the school.
"At the first light, take a right, and then follow the street until you come to the intersection. Hang a left, and follow for a while."
They rode in silence, Chi-Chi constantly looking from the quiet teen sitting beside her to her twin in the backseat. He clearly wanted to break the silence that consumed the car but he didn't know what to say. As for her, she kept an eye on the now fidgeting girl beside her. Slim, pale fingers began to wrap around each other, clasping and unclasping between her knees.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm fine." Bulma gulped and turned to look out the window. Chi-Chi caught her brother's eye and he lifted a brow. So she wasn't the only one that heard the higher pitch in the girl's voice. "Take a right at the next street, and then the first left. Follow for about 6 blocks..."
Chi-Chi followed her quiet instructions and she took in the sights around her. Large houses here nestled comfortably behind mechanical gates on wide yards. Trees separated houses from each other, hiding large stone lines that signaled the end of the property. "You live here?"
"You mean to tell me you're dressed like that, and you live in a place like this!" Vegeta leaned forward again, he couldn't believe his eyes.
"Vegeta!" Chi-Chi shouted, whipping her head around.
"No. It's alright." Bulma said, turning her head once more to look at Vegeta. The look in her eyes made him gulp and want to shrink back. Raw fury, barely leashed, made her eyes darker. "Yes. I live here. Yes, I look like this. Yes, I know that I'm not exactly the prettiest person compared to my sister, but this is my life. Mock me again and I swear to you you'll be limping a lot longer when you get out of your cast." Chi-Chi threw her head back and laughed. So, Bulma did have some spirit and she wasn't afraid to let it out. So why not when everyone else was around? What was it that she was hiding from? "It's the next driveway."
The car slowed down and she turned the sleek car into the driveway and came face to face with a large black gate. Two men were on either side and they moved towards the car. "Roll down your window. It'll be alright."
Chi-Chi's eyes widened. "Uh, sure." She did as she was told and then placed her hands on the wheel.
"May I see some identification please?"
"Marcel. This is my friend Chi-Chi. She gave me a ride home from school."
"Right Miss. Bulma. Go on in." He whispered something into a hand-held communicator and the gates came to life with the sound of working motors. Bulma patted Chi-Chi's shoulder and sat back as the car inched forward.
"Holy shit." Chi-Chi sputtered. In front of her lay a large paved path which separated into two to wrap around a fountain that stood in the middle of the drive.
"Should I be calling you 'My Lady'?" Vegeta joked.
"No!" Bulma gasped.
She knew her house was impressive, as it looked like a mini White House with a few tweaks and changes. Her step-father was one for making powerful impressions. Even before Chi-Chi pulled the car to a full stop, the front door was opened and a boy came running out.
"What the hell." Vegeta muttered, watching the kid.
"That's my younger brother Jayden." Bulma unclicked the seat-belt and opened the door.
"Pop-Tart!" He threw his arms around her even before she got out of the car.
"Hey Bubble-Gum. How are you?"
"Good! Come see what I did!"
"Hey, Bubble-Gum, where's mom at?"
"I have some friends here. Would you like to meet them?"
Jayden looked at Bulma, his eyes matching with his dark hair. "Friends? Yeah!" He jumped up and down and started to clap his hands.
"Alright buddy. Just give me a second to talk to them. Where's mom?"
"Jayden. Where's mom?"
Sighing, Bulma went back to the car and opened the passenger door. "Hey. My brother wants to meet you both. You don't have too, I'd understand if you didn't..."
"Sure. I'll meet the kid." Vegeta said, throwing the car door open. He used the sides of the door to help pull himself out of the backseat and steady himself once fully standing. He looked at Bulma's younger brother and tilted his head off to the side. So, there's more to her family then what meets the eye.
Chi-Chi got out as well after turning off the car.
"Master Jayden! Don't you go running out like that!" A plump woman came running out of the house, her large bosom heaving heavily. "Miss Bulma! Oh, good heavens. Your brother is as slippery as an eel. I turn my back for just a moment and then he's gone. Who do you have with you?"
Bulma laughed and shook her head. "These are some friends from school Nana."
"Oh! Well! Come in come in!"
Chi-Chi and Vegeta looked at Bulma who was busy chewing on her lip but followed the plump older woman into the house who was leading the boy by the hand. Chi-Chi followed behind Bulma, leaving Vegeta alone to struggle along for himself. He looked at the front steps with a look of distaste and slowly hobbled his way forward. Which was a hard thing to do, as his one leg was bound in a cast that made it almost impossible to walk. Watching his feet to make sure that nothing got in his path, Vegeta didn't notice Bulma stop and wait for him at the top of the 5 wide steps.
"Would you like some help?" She asked softly, tucking a lose strand of hair behind her right ear.
"It's alright." He maneuvered his way to the step and looked at it for a moment. Putting his uninjured foot onto the polished marble he pulled his cast upwards.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I'm sure. But thanks." He repeated the process and had to stop to take a breather.
"Are you really sure?"
"I'm fine. God. Why do you try so hard to please people?" He looked at her and watched as something shifted behind her unique eyes. Was there a flash of anger hiding somewhere behind the usual down-beaten look that she always had?
Her face started to turn a deep pink and there was a slight hollow in one cheek where she had taken the tender flesh between her teeth to bite down before she rebuked his comment with something vicious. "Fine." Turning quickly on her heel she stormed into the house to follow Chi-Chi.
"Damned women." Vegeta growled silently and struggled towards the front door, hobbling on his plastered foot. But what he didn't expect when he walked over the threshold into the house was a wheelchair waiting for him inside the front foyer.
"They have gone this way Sir." A tiny voice said behind him. Turning his head, Vegeta looked over his shoulder to see a girl behind him gesturing towards the end of the hall. "Nana has taken them into the kitchen. Sit down and I shall take you there." His gaze fell upon a girl that was yet not quite a woman. Black ringlets bounced upon her shoulders while her dark slanted eyes looked at him.
He shook his head. "It's alright. I'll get there myself."
"Miss Bulma told me to tell you that you are to sit in this chair while I take you to the kitchen or I am to call upon one of the guards and they will escort you out of the house." Wrapping her fingers around the handles of the chair, she nudged it. "So come on now."
Sighing, Vegeta took a seat in the chair and allowed himself to be pushed down the hallway. "What's your name?"
"I was born with the name Juliet. But Master Jayden calls me Sister and I prefer it."
"Alright. So Sister it is. How long have you...um..."
"Been working here for? My whole life. Miss Bulma and I grew up to be the best of friends. Her only one, until her brother came into the world." She let out a gasp and shook her head. "But that doesn't matter."
He sat quietly and shook his head. There was something defiantly out of place in his house and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. "Ah. Sister. There you are! Thought you had gotten lost coming down the hall child. Bring the young Sir in here and fix us all a cup of tea."
"Yes Nana." Sister pushed Vegeta to the table where his sister, Bulma and the young boy were sitting. Already a glass of milk and a plate full of cookies were on the table, placed slightly towards Bulma. Chi-Chi was looking around with a half eaten cookie in her hand. "So Bulma. Tell me, you've always lived here?"
"Yeah. This is my home."
Chi-Chi shot her brother a look as soon as she saw him open his mouth and he promptly closed it and reached for a cookie. The older woman, Nana, came and sat down beside Jayden. "Now, this is quite the pleasant surprise. Miss Bulma doesn't often bring home friends from school."
Chi-Chi looked at the light-blue haired girl and saw the familiar stain of pink creeping over her cheeks as her fingers pushed cookie crumbs around the table in front of her. Her eyes were lowered as she watched her digits playing with the crumbs and she quickly lifted them to look at Vegeta, only to find him staring at her. She dropped her eyes once more and shook her head softly. She wasn't going to break down and cry in front of him. There was no way she was going to do that.
For the first time in her life she had friends that didn't work for her family. She had friends that helped her when she needed help, and for the first time in her life she wanted to be someone different. For them and for herself. Bulma could feel the change start deep within her soul and there was nothing she was going to do to push that change away. She made a silent promise to herself that there was going to be changes in her life. Big ones. No longer was she going to let herself get pushed around by the other students at school and there was no was she was going to let herself get abused any longer by her family.
Sister brought a tray carrying a tea pot and several matching cups to the table. Setting one down in front of each person, minus Jayden as he had a glass of milk already, she began to pour the dark liquid into each cup.
"Nana! Where is my son?" The door to the kitchen swung open and in walked Bulma's mother. Black hair was cut short in the back, bangs longer in the front to frame her face with blue eyes that Chi-Chi knew were passed down to her daughter. Dressed in a polished black pant suit with an ivory blouse underneath, the woman stopped as soon as she entered the kitchen. "Who are you? What are you doing in my house?" She demanded, looking at Chi-Chi and Vegeta, almost ignoring her daughter.
"Madame, these are Bulma's friends from school."
"Bulma. Right." Her gaze fell upon her daughter and hardened. "Why the hell are you not in school?"
"I..." The teen stammered.
Chi-Chi sighed heavily and stood up with a bright smile on her face. "Forgive the intrusion. My name is Chi-Chi and this is my twin brother Vegeta. We are new students to Bulma's school and because of my brother's injury, we were allowed to go home early. A teacher asked Bulma if she could show us around town and to make sure that we were settled in nicely before coming back to class tomorrow."
"That gives her no right to come home early."
"Actually, it does. I thought that she should come home and change before she took us on a tour of the town."
"No one has a right to talk to me that way in my own house. I want you to leave. Now. Nana, Jayden has classes that he should be attending right now. I do not see why you felt the need to make him late. Get him upstairs right now. Bulma, your father and I will discuss your disgusting behavior tonight after supper."
"Yes mother." She said weakly, fighting tears back. "Can I please go with them?"
"Yes. But you are to be home at exactly 8:30. Not a minute later. By that time I want to see that all of your school work is done, and when you get in you can take over Sisters' chores for the evening. Once you are done those, you will go straight to bed. Do you hear me?"
With that, her mother turned around and walked back out of the kitchen in a storm of clicking from the expensive heels on her feet. Slumping down in her chair, Bulma clenched her hands into fists and dropped them into her lap. "I think we should get going. My mother doesn't like..." A sob escaped from her lips. "Excuse me." Bulma stood up and ran out of the kitchen leaving Chi-Chi and Vegeta with the housekeepers and her younger brother.
Sister looked at Nana, who shook her head sadly. Never in her lifetime had she seen a mother treat one daughter like she were a princess and the other like she were nothing more then dirt on the bottom of her shoe. "Now. I'm sure Miss Bulma went to go and get changed. You can wait for her in the front foyer until she returns. I've got to go and take Jayden to his classes now. Sister, show them out will you and then could you please go and check on Miss Bulma?" Standing up, the older woman helped Jayden out of his chair. "It was a pleasure meeting you. I know that you both are going to make a change in Miss Bulma's life. It's about time." Then they two, walked out of the kitchen. Nana holding Jayden's hand.
"Come now. The Mistress doesn't like to have to tell anyone anything twice. If she comes back and sees that you two and still sitting at her kitchen table, she'll throw a fit."Sister went to place her hands on the handles to the borrowed wheelchair but Chi-Chi shook her head.
"I know where to go. Please go and get Bulma for us. We've got things to do and not too much time to do them."