Exhale
Chapter 12: I Cling Tightly
DeepxWater

I rocked myself gently back and forth in the swing. It was the same swing that I had sat in the night Goten had taken off in a mad hurry. I had suspected he would be away for a month, yet four long months had painfully came and went since his sudden departure. It was early April now. The cruel winter had passed after its cold grasp had squeezed the life out of me. Those first few weeks of Goten being mad at me I could handle, but the longing, waiting, and not knowing where he was or when he would be back was pure torture. I shut my eyes and swung back and forth. For once it felt good to feel the warm sun beaming down on me. The fresh air filling my lungs as I breathed in the smell of the newly blooming flowers. I leaned back as I grasped the chains tightly. The cool wind blew against my face and for the first time in awhile I felt alive. I brushed my feet onto the rocks and slowed my pace until I came to a stop. Reaching into the pocket of my denim shorts, I found exactly what I needed. I pulled out a poorly folded piece of paper and opened it thoughtfully as I had done so many times before.

I stared at the delicately worn letter in my hands, being very careful not to damage it any further. It was quite obvious that it had been read one too many times. The edges of the paper had frayed and the ink had begun to pale. As silly as it was, this letter was the only thing that had brought me any sort of comfort during the past few months. Please wait for me, it read. These words were clearly written in Goten's handwriting, left specifically for me. I had interpreted this phrase a hundred times, but I couldn't bring myself to feel that they had meant anything more than to simply wait for his return. As much as I wanted to believe that these words meant he wanted to be with me, I just couldn't. I had learned long ago not to let myself be blinded by false hope.

I folded the letter back much more neatly this time and slid it into my back pocket. I stood and pushed the swing out of my way. I glanced down at my phone and saw that it was almost 10am. I was supposed to be meeting back up with Trunks and Pan at the nearby café after they finished their errands. They had just gotten engaged last week, and already my mother, Chi Chi, and Videl had thrown together an engagement party for our family and friends. The two were reluctant about an engagement party at first, after all, Trunks's best man wasn't here. Our families insisted that the show go on, and my mother had joked that they could always throw another one upon Goten's return which I knew she was secretly hoping for. Any reason to bring the gang together again.

I brushed my curled hair back behind my ears. It was the first time in awhile that I had taken the time to get prettied up which felt nice for a change. Now that Spring was here, I knew I would be seeing better days. I typed a quick text to Pan to let her know I was on my way. They had been off getting a few things for the party while I enjoyed a walk in the park. I was surprised when they asked me to come with them. I couldn't count the number of times I had declined their previous offers. I was about to push my phone back into my pocket when I felt someone brush up against me. I dropped my phone on the grass and reached down to pick it up. "I'm sorry. I wasn't watching where I was go-" the familiar voice stopped mid-sentence. I hadn't been walking where I was going either and I instantly looked up to apologize too. "No, it's my faul-" I paused. My mouth dropped open at the sight of the brunette standing in front of me. "Bra.." she said quietly. "Paris?"

We stood awestruck for a minute until the man she was with butted in, "So you two know each other?" Paris was the first to snap out of her daze. I then realized it was the same man I had witnessed her locking lips with at the mall. He was a handsome man, probably about Goten's age. From the gentle tone of his voice as he addressed Paris, I could tell he was a sweet guy. She had been holding his hand, which was something I rarely witnessed her do with Goten. I felt a tinge of sadness, this was the guy she had given up Goten for. I swallowed hard as they exchanged a few words. "Uhm, Declan. This is Bra, Goten's best friend," she said sharply, wincing as she said his name. I smiled on the inside, knowing how awkward this was for her. "Oh," the guy said as he connected the dots. "Nice to meet you, Bra," he said genuinely, offering his hand. I shook it reluctantly. "Likewise," I said. "Hey, Declan? Why don't you run ahead to the store and I'll catch up with you in a few," she proposed. She obviously wanted to have a few words alone with me, and I wasn't exactly sure I wanted to hear them, but I stood my ground. "Yeah, sure babe." He gave her hand a tug, and nodded at me as he walked off.

"And then there were two," I stated flatly as I crossed my arms. She wasn't exactly the person I wanted to run into on such a beautiful day, and for that I frowned. She shifted uncomfortably and nervously brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear. It was then that I noticed the diamond ring on her finger. Damn, she sure didn't waste anytime, I thought. "You're engaged I see," I sneered. She quickly clasped her hand over the hand with the ring. "Uh, yeah, we are," she swallowed. I nodded gently, wondering if she saw me roll my eyes at her. "Bra, I know Goten and I didn't end things on the best terms and I know you probably hate me beyond words for what I did to him, but I was stuck in a place that I didn't know how to get out of. I wish I had approached things differently, believe me I do, I've suffered a great deal of guilt and regret since then. I hate that I did that to him, but things just weren't what they used to be," she revealed. She was right, things between them had dwindled down enough to notice, but it still didn't make me any less angry at her. "Well, I'll admit it was a really shitty thing to do, but if you think it was for the best, then so be it." As bad as I wanted to yell at her and say horrible things, I couldn't. It wouldn't solve anything, plus it would be extremely childish.

We stood in silence for a moment before she asked the question I had been waiting for. "So, how is Goten? Has he been okay since.. you know?" she inquired. I was surprised by how genuinely concerned she sounded. "I.. I wouldn't know," I admitted. She looked at me quizzically. "Wh-what do you mean?" she stuttered. "You two are still friends, right?" I kept quiet for a minute as I thought about how to tell her, not that I really wanted her to know our personal business. She wasn't a part of his life anymore. "He, uh, took off after you guys broke up. We haven't heard from him since," I said bitterly. "Are you serious?" she asked. Her lips were parted and her eyes filled with concern. She would now understand the full effect of how Goten felt for her by his outrageous actions. However, I left the bit about him and I out of our conversation. She rested her fingertips on her parted lips and apologized, "I had no idea, Bra. I'm really sorry. This is my fault. I tried texting and writing him e-mails, but he never returned them, now I see why," she said sadly. I started to feel bad for her. I had never liked her before, but it was mainly because she had been with the man I loved so deeply. All of the other excuses for not liking her had faded since the two of them broke up, minus the part where she broke Goten's heart. "Look, it's not your fault, Paris. He just needed time away to put himself back together. He had a lot to deal with, and it wasn't just you, it was a lot of things. I'm sure he'll return home soon and his life will go on," I replied.

She pulled her purse into view, reached her hand inside, and began to look for something. She pulled out her phone and starting tapping at the screen. She then put her phone right back where she found it. A quiet ding could be heard from my phone as I received a text. Glancing down I quickly saw it was from a number I wasn't familiar with. "Don't worry it's just my number. I want you to have it. I know that you and I have never really viewed each other as friends Bra, and for that I kind of feel bad. Goten always talked so highly of you," she said honestly. "He, he did?" I asked. I had never really thought about Goten talking about me to anyone before. The confession made me smile. "Yeah, of course. But to tell you the truth, I think one of the reasons we never got to know each other was because I was kind of jealous of you. You two had this amazing bond which was kind of hard to compete with," she explained. She giggled lightly and shook her head. "Well, I could say the same about you. You were the love of his life after all," I sighed. Paris looked down sadly. How many times had I wished I was her? And now I was thankful I wasn't. "Will you please keep me up-to-date on everything? You can call or text me anytime," she insisted. I looked at the number on my screen. "Yeah, sure. But how do you know my number?" I asked as I tucked my phone into my pocket. "Well, when he wasn't with me, he was with you. Goten gave it to me for emergencies," she explained. "Oh," I said curiously. He had never told me. "Thanks, Bra. Really," she replied. "And again, I'm really sorry things ended up this way," she added. "Yeah, me too," I replied.

With that, Paris and I parted ways with a nod and a wave. Paris and I had never talked this openly before. It was comforting in a way. It felt like a load had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had thought many times about what I would say to Paris if I ever saw her again, and that conversation was far from what I had expected to happen. I was glad it went so smoothly because now I could sleep a little easier at night. Though confronting Goten when he returned would be another story. Nothing I did could prepare me for that conversation. I could only hope it would go just as smoothly.

oOoOoOo

I walked alongside Pan as we strolled through the local shopping center. We had just picked up a few last minute items for our engagement party and were doing some window shopping as we waited for my little sister. Pan and I were as happy as we could be, the only thing that put a damper on that feeling was the fact that Goten was missing out on a big part of our lives.

"Are you excited about the party, Pan?" I asked. She turned to look at me and her face lit up. "Yeah, I'm really excited. Are you?" she questioned. "Of course, it's just a shame Goten won't be there," I replied. "I know what you mean, but he'll be there for our wedding Trunks. That's what really matters. We'll wait until he gets back and then we can start planning our wedding," she said with confidence. "You're right, we'll wait as long as it takes. I have a feeling he'll come to his senses soon." She nodded.

She stopped and dreamily looked off in the direction of one of the stores. Following her gaze, I noticed her eyes had fallen over a beautiful wedding gown in one of the windows. "You would look beautiful in that dress," I whispered into her ear. She smiled. "You think so?" she asked. "I know so," I said as I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her cheek lightly. I could hold this girl forever. I imagined her walking down the aisle in that flowy white wedding dress and grinned at the thought. She'll make a beautiful bride.

"Aww, look at you two lovebirds," came a familiar voice from behind us. I slowly turned around, letting my arms fall from around Pan. "Bra, hey!" Pan exclaimed. "Hey, sis," I greeted. Bra stuffed her hands in her pockets and smiled softly at the both of us. Her beautiful blue curls cascaded loosely down her shoulders, and her eyes shown brightly in the sun. It was the first time in awhile that my sister didn't have to force a smile. I knew her well enough to know when she was faking being happy, and she wasn't this time.

"You'll never guess who I just ran into," she said. Pan and I exchanged curious glances. I knew it wasn't Goten, she was much too calm for it to be him. "Who?" Pan and I asked. "I saw Paris of all people, and she wasn't alone." I was surprised that Bra didn't seem annoyed, she actually seemed kind of relieved. "You saw Paris?" Pan asked, she was obviously trying to process what she just heard. "Was she with that guy we saw her with?" she added. "Yeah, his name is Declan. He was actually a decent guy," Bra responded. "Wait, you talked to them?" I asked her. That must have been awkward as hell, I thought. "Yeah, Paris and I kind of bumped into each other, literally. We actually had a nice conversation as weird as that is to say," Bra chuckled. "Uh, what?" I was kind of shocked. Bra had never liked Paris, and avoided talking to her unless she really had to.

"What did you guys talk about?" Pan asked. "She basically apologized for everything that happened and for hurting Goten. I told her about Goten taking off, and she was really surprised. I don't think she's a terrible person, she just accidentally fell in love with someone else. Can't blame her for doing what her heart told her was right," Bra said. Pan had a look of disbelief as she stared at me. "Did she just say Paris wasn't a terrible person? Bra are you feeling okay?" Pan asked as she felt Bra's forehead. I laughed as she poked fun at my sister. "Shut up, I'm serious guys," Bra laughed. "It's just nice to put it behind me now. I was dreading the day that I'd ever have to face her again." Bra brushed her curls behind her ears and crossed her arms. "And you two aren't the only ones engaged. Paris was sporting a ring herself," Bra disclosed. "Are you serious? Goten and her only broke four months ago," Pan said, shaking her head. "Man, I'm kind of glad Goten isn't here. He probably would have flipped," I said. His feelings for Paris surely would have died down by now, but it was too soon to hear of his ex-girlfriend being engaged. "Yeah," Bra murmured. She instantly became more distant. Even after all this time, she was still having a hard time dealing with Goten being gone. Those two were practically inseparable before, but her other half was gone now. Wherever Goten was, I knew he was dealing with it just as bad. I decided to quickly change the subject. I didn't want to ruin the good mood she was displaying today.

"We should get back to Capsule Corp you guys. Maybe you can help Pan and I set up some stuff for the party, Bra ," I suggested. Bra snapped out of her gloomy daze. "Yeah, sure. I'd love to," she said with a smile on her face. "There was something that Trunks and I wanted to ask you also," Pan joined in. "Huh?" I asked. She quickly leaned in and whispered into my ear. "Oh, right!" I exclaimed. I had almost forgotten. "What is it?" Bra asked, her hands digging into her pockets yet again. I nudged Pan gently, giving her the go ahead to ask. "I know you haven't been as active with the photography business lately, but Trunks and I were wondering if you'd be our photographer for the wedding." Bra's face lit up at the offer. "Oh my goodness, you guys! I'd love to!" Bra beamed with excitement and pulled us into a hug. For once, I felt like I wouldn't have to worry about my little sister any more. In that moment, I knew she would be okay.

oOoOoOo

"Mom, we're home!" Trunks bellowed from the entryway.

"I'm in here guys!" I yelled to my two children and future daughter-in-law.

The engagement party was taking place this afternoon in just a few short hours and there was still so much to do. Chi Chi and Videl were taking care of most of the cooking, while I was trying to put together a few last minute desserts. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on the cake, the kids walked in. "Mmm that looks delicious Bulma," Pan said, licking her lips. "Why, thank you," I replied happily. I caught sight of Bra and was glad to see she had went out had been so long since she left home other than to go to work or school. She was only going to school part time this semester since she took on extra classes during the summer. She was eager to be done with high school and focus on a career, which I couldn't blame her. I had felt the same way at her age. I couldn't help noticing how pale she looked though, more so than when I saw her this morning. I hope she's not coming down with something.

I placed my utensils in the sink and turned around just in time to see Trunks's finger about to plow into the neatly iced cake. "Ah, I don't think so, mister," I said protectively as I slapped his greedy Saiyan hand away. "No dessert until the party!" I informed. "But, Mom," he groaned. "No buts, you'll have to wait like the rest of us. Why don't you and Pan go put the finishing touches on the decorations. We've already got the tables and chairs set up outside, and if I'm correct, Marron and Uub are picking out some music to listen to," I asserted.

Trunks huffed, "Okay." It was times like this I remembered he was part Saiyan. I shook my head at his lack of control. I watched as Pan and Trunks headed for the door, Bra was about to tag along behind them, but I wanted to speak to her alone. "Bra, honey. Could I talk to you for a minute?" She turned around and smiled the best she could. "Sure," she said. I walked around the kitchen island, running my hand along the cold granite countertop. I made myself comfortable on the kitchen stool and Bra did the same. "So how was it today, getting out and all?" I asked. She ran her fingers through her hair and casually confessed, "It was nice. I really needed it, Mom." I smiled at my daughter and gently rested my hand on her back. "I'm glad to hear that sweety."

"Are you feeling okay, Bra? I couldn't help noticing that you look a little ill."

"Why does everyone keep saying that?" she brushed off my concern with a light laugh. "I'm fine, really. I just have a little headache is all," she assured me.

"You sure you want to come to the party, Bra? If you're not up t-" Bra cut me off immediately. "Mom, you know I wouldn't miss their engagement party for the world. I'm okay," she sighed.

"Alright, alright, I'll lay off," I laughed with her. I glanced outside to see if the kids were busy, and sure enough Trunks and Pan were helping Marron and Uub set the tables. I sneakily reached over to one of the serving platters and stole a cookie, one of Bra's favorites. "Here, have one. Just don't tell your brother," I whispered with a wink. Bra smiled at the gesture. "Thanks, Mom." She nibbled the cookie enjoying while she could. Unlike her father and brother, she didn't have a wild Saiyan appetite all the time.

"I better get out there and do my part before they decide to hunt me down," Bra snickered.

"Okay, sweety. Just take it easy," I advised.

"Yes, mother. I wouldn't want to strain myself setting the table," she shook her head and giggled.

"Very funny!" I shouted as she walked out the door.

I watched through the window as Bra joined the others outside. Seeing her interacting with someone other than her family was relieving. She had been cooped up in her room most days, and when she wasn't in her room, she was working herself to death. I knew she was doing it to drown out thoughts of Goten, that much was obvious. I smiled as Trunks began to chase Pan with a spider in tow, I could hear her their laughter from here. Marron wrapper her arms around Uub and kissed his cheek as they watched the other couple play. But Bra, she was alone. The sight of her standing there, arms crossed, with no one next to her really pulled at my heartstrings. Normally at these family functions, Goten would be right there by her side, having a few laughs as the festivities unfolding. But with him gone, it left a noticeable emptiness among the crowd.

My motherly instinct began to kick in. There was just something about Bra's demeanor that was a little off. As much as I wanted her to be okay, I couldn't fight off the constant worrying.

"Come home, Goten," I whispered.

oOoOoOo

"Shit," I muttered under my breath. I had been working so hard that I didn't even notice that my lunch break had came and went. I chuckled to myself. When had I ever missed a lunch break in my life? Never. I was surprised my stomach didn't let off a warning as it normally would.

My eyes narrowed in on the calendar on my desk. It had been four months since I had been home, but I had managed to settle into somewhat of a life here in this new city. I had, with luck, stumbled onto a job when I encountered a guy named Max who owned his own martial arts school. He had recognized me from a World Tournament a few years ago and offered me a job on the spot. I instantly accepted his offer and had enjoyed every minute of working here. At first I had felt guilty about accepting the job. A job like this implied that I would be staying here for awhile which I wasn't sure I could commit to.

"Dude, you missed your lunch break," Max said from the doorway of my office. I looked up to see the young brown-haired man shaking his head at me. "Yeah, man," I laughed. "I got caught up in working and completely lost track of time," I said. I leaned back in my chair and stretched a little. Who knew that I would ever enjoy a job so much?

"Take the rest of the day off, man. Seriously. Today's training session is going to be a breeze so I can handle it on my own," he assured. "I don't know. Are you sure?" I asked. I hated to leave the whole class to him, but I could tell he really wanted me to accept the offer. "Yeah, totally! Look, just go home and relax. You've worked your ass off since you've been here. You deserve a little break every now and then," he stressed. "Alright, thanks man. I appreciate it," I thanked. "Don't sweat it, Goten. I'll see you in the morning." He waved and headed down the hall whistling a familiar tune. I sighed as the whistling filled my ears. He didn't know it was a song that Bra and I used to jam to in the car when we frequented the city. Damn, I miss her. Out ot excitement from landing the job, she was the first one I picked the phone up to call, only for me to realize that I couldn't call her.

I cleaned up my work area and gathered my things before heading out the door. I walked outside and my nose was immediately struck by the smell of flowers. The cold, bitter weather had passed, bringing along new life with it. Luckily, my apartment was only a few blocks away from the martial arts school which was great since I wouldn't have to worry about being caught flying. My apartment was right in the heart of the city and everything I needed was readily accessible.

I turned the corner and was about to pass the nearby newsstand when a photo caught my eye. On the cover of a well-known news publication was a photo of Trunks's face, along with the headline 'Capsule Corp. President Off the Market' in big, bold letters. "Huh?" I wondered out loud. I quickly picked up the paper and flipped to the section that was listed under the heading. Sure enough, Trunks and my niece were engaged. "Holy shit," I whispered. I smiled as I read the article. It didn't give many details as I knew it wouldn't. The Briefs' did their best to keep their affairs private, and they were damn good at it too. I'm missing out on so much. I gently placed the newspaper back where I had found it and carried on my way. Damn, Trunks and Panny are getting married. As sad as I was that I had missed out on the experience, I couldn't help but smile for the two. They were perfect together, and they would make each other incredibly happy.

I arrived at my apartment building and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. Upon entering my apartment, I placed my keys and wallet on the kitchen bar. I had to admit that finally having my own place was really nice. There were many times that I had brought the idea of us getting our own place up with Paris, but it never happened. I wondered if her reluctance to move in together had anything to do with the guy she was seeing. I shook my head to get rid of the negative thoughts that I knew were about to hit me. I took my shoes off, grabbed a soda from the fridge, and reclined on the couch. Flipping on the television, I was surprised to see that mine and Bra's favorite show was on. It was a show that up until I left, we never missed an episode together. It was the little things like this that caused memories of Bra to plague me more and more. I wonder what she's doing right now.

An idea instantly popped into my head. I turned off the television and silence fell over the room as I got lost in thought. I looked down at the bracelet on my wrist. It was the only thing I had of Bra's besides her picture that I kept on my nightstand near my bed. I knew how it worked as she had explained it to me countless times as her excitement took over. She had been so proud of inventing this device. I stretched the band around my wrist and tugged on it lightly. It was very flexible which allowed me to slip it on and off with ease. I had never taken it off before because I felt it would be too soon. But the more and more I was reminded of my family and friends, the more I wanted to feel their kis and know how they were doing. Without thinking about it, I took the bracelet off. I stared down at my bare wrist and realized what I had done. I closed my eyes as I leaned back into the couch. I began to sense all of their kis, every single one. My dad and my mom I found first. I quickly pinpointed Vegeta's, Gohan's, and Trunks's ki as theirs were much stronger than the others. I targeted Videl's, Pan's, and Bulma's ki next. It was then that I noticed the whole z gang was together. I put two and two together and suspected they were having a party. After all, Trunks and Pan were engaged now. It was definitely something to celebrate. I smiled at the fact that they all seemed to be doing well.

But I still hadn't found what I was looking for. I searched again, focusing harder this time. And there it was. Bra's ki. The one ki that I had wanted to find. I blocked out all the others and fixating only on her's. Her ki felt weaker than it used to, which I found odd. But I could feel her nonetheless. I sat there for a few minutes feeling her ki. I had gotten so lost in that moment of feeling her that I didn't even feel the tears that escaped my eyes. I brushed the tears away and slid the bracelet back on before anyone noticed.

Another tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about how badly I wanted to be with my family and friends, especially Bra. She was the one that I loved the most, yet I had hurt her the most. I wiped the guilty tears away and turned the television back on. I was enjoying my independence, but this was wrong. To keep my family and friends waiting hopelessly for me. It was fucking cruel.

I promised myself I would be home before Christmas. And it was a promise I was determined to keep no matter how well things were going here.

oOoOoOo

"Trunks, stop. The party's starting soon," I whispered harshly as Trunks lips trailed down my neck. He had me gently pinned down on his bed. Ignoring my request, he continued to trail heated kisses along my jaw line and slowly run his hand up my shirt. "Trunks, seriously," I giggled.

Nibbling lightly on my earlobe, Trunks whispered, "Aww c'mon Panny, just a quickie." I laughed at his wild offer, removing his hand from under my shirt. "Both of our families are downstairs!" I rose my voice. I couldn't deny it, he was hard to say no to. "We'll finish this later, babe, okay? I'll make it worth it," I said seductively. He kissed me deeply. "Deal," he said between kisses. He got off of me and pulled me up with him.

I quickly adjusted my shirt and skirt. "Do I look okay? Like I haven't just been ravished?" I asked with a light laugh. "You look beautiful, babe," he said sincerely. "But you might want to hide that hickey," he said as he brushed my hair in front of my shoulder. "There. Much better," he smiled angelically. "Trunks!" I said as I crossed my arms. "Hmph." He pulled me into his embrace. "No one will notice baby, I swear!" I shook my head. "They better not." I took his hand and led him downstairs and outside where everyone was waiting. There was no point hosting a party indoors when the weather was so perfect.

Holding hands, we headed over to the crowd that had gathered in the backyard. "Here they are guys!" I heard my mother yell from a distance. Everyone began to clap for us as we made our debut, and I was surprised to see that even Vegeta and Piccolo were participating. Trunks and I couldn't help blushing at the sudden attention that was focused on both of us. I quickly spotted Bra's head of blue hair, her face behind her camera as she snapped photos of us. I reminded myself to check out the photos later. She knew exactly how to capture the most perfect moments in photos.

"Way to get the girl, Trunks!" Yamcha yelled. Trunks laughed nervously at the comment. Even though he was constantly in the public eye growing up, he hated being the center of attention. "Looks like someone's blushing," Vegeta smirked at his son. "Dad, c'mon." Trunks placed his hand nervously behind his head, a trait he had obviously picked up from my side of the family.

Before anyone could poke anymore fun at Trunks, Bulma raised her glass and interrupted, "Here's a toast to the newly engaged couple. I couldn't be more proud of you two."

"I agree. Trunks, we couldn't be more happier to have you as our son-in-law," my father added. His arm was wrapped around my mother's waist, and she looked like she was going to cry. I swallowed back any hints of tears in my eyes as we took in the sweet words.

"Hey Vegeta! You and I are going to be family!" my grandfather exclaimed.

"How lovely," Vegeta grunted. Though we all knew it was just his cover. He had grown quite fond of our tight-knit group.

"And here's to hoping you to have lots of cute babies!" Bra bellowed with a devious smile as she held up her glass.

"Bra, how about you lay off the alcohol this time," Krillin joked. We all laughed as memories from her birthday came back to us.

"It's nonalcoholic, Baldy," Bra scoffed. She crossed her arms and smirked. Just like Vegeta, I thought.

"Hey, I haven't been bald since before you were born! Who told you that nickname?" Krillin asked curiously.

"I may have shown her some old photos recently," Bulma snickered among the older women who were stifling their giggles. Android 18 shook her head with a smile.

"Well, she's definitely Vegeta's daughter. That's for sure," Krillin laughed which caused Vegeta to roll his eyes, yet the smile on his stern face spoke more than words.

"Panny show us the bling bling already," Marron urged, waving her hand in the air. I laughed at her eagerness. I held out my hand as I shyly showed off the ring Trunks had meticulously picked out. "Damn, it's gorgeous," Marron replied. "That's your cue to take notes Uub," Yamcha instructed. "I think he's right Uub," Tien added. "Heh heh," Uub laughed nervously. A blush filled his cheeks and Bra made sure to snap a picture.

"Okay, I think it's time to turn on the music and get this party started," I suggested. Bulma quickly turned on some music and began offering drinks to everyone as she seated them at the long table. Everyone shuffled around the table as they shared stories from the past and caught up with each other.

I took a seat between Trunks and Bra as my mother and father brought out the deliciously cooked meal. The older Saiyans were eyeing the food as they waited patiently to eat.

"Wow, mom this looks amazing!"

"Thanks sweety. Your grandmother and I worked really hard on these recipes, but I think it was worth it," my mother replied.

Once everyone had their plate of food, my grandmother Chi Chi announced we could dig in. My grandpa Goku was the first to clean his plate, which wasn't a surprise. He could devour anything within minutes. I was glad I didn't inherit too much of the Saiyan eating habits. It always caused quite a show.

I looked over at Bra to see her picking at her food. She had eaten most of her meal, but I could tell something was bothering her. While everyone was talking amongst themselves, I took the opportunity to lean over and converse with her. "Hey, what's on your mind?" I asked.

She turned to look at me. She looked a little clammy and under the weather. "I just feel really tired all of a sudden. I'm sure it'll pass," she said confidently. She was trying to play it off. "Are you sure that's all?" I asked. I knew what she was thinking, but I wanted her to say it. She rested her head against the palm of her hand as she continued to push her food around on her plate. "I miss Goten," she whispered, thankfully my Saiyan hearing picked it up.

"We all do Bra," I professed.

"Not like I do," she sighed.

Before I could have her elaborate on what she meant, her mother engaged her in a conversation. "Bra, will you help me carry out the desserts?" Bulma asked. "Sure, Mom," she complied. She cleared a few of our plates from the table and headed towards the kitchen. As she walked away she turned to gaze at me and weakly smiled.

oOoOoOo

I had managed to dodge a bullet earlier with Pan. I hadn't meant to get all emo on her, but it just came out that way. I knew she was worried about me, who wasn't these days. But I was doing much better than the months prior. Despite feeling slightly off the past few days, I could say I was feeling much happier now.

I took my camera out and watched as Videl and Gohan impressed the crowd with their dance moves. Videl had talked Gohan into taking dance classes with her a few years ago, which really paid off. I snapped a few photos of the couple dancing and scouted around for a few more photo opportunities. Marron and Uub were whispering in each other's ears. I wonder what they're talking about. Marron laughed at what Uub said and I quickly snapped a picture.

As I held the camera to my face, my lense came across my mother, father, Goku, and Chi Chi gathered near the back entrance of our home. My mother was telling them a story, which was causing Chi Chi and Goku to laugh, and my father was actually smiling. That was a photo I had to have. I snapped a few pictures without my father realizing it because he definitely wouldn't approve. I smirked. From what I had always been told about my father in the past, it was nice to learn how much he had softened up over the years.

I snapped a few more photos. One of Piccolo leaning up against the tree, his eyes closed as he enjoyed his solitude. Another of Master Roshi hassling Android 18 about how short her skirt was. He never gives it a rest. I snapped a photo of Tien and Chiaotzu lounging in the chairs. It was the first time I had ever seen Tien in something other than his normal training attire. Dende was next. Poor guy, I thought. Marron was trying to convince him to dance with her, but he wasn't budging. I laughed at the hilarity. I finally snapped a few of my brother and Pan enjoying some more of my mother's delicious desserts. As predicted, my brother couldn't keep his hands off the treats.

I was about to put my camera away when Pan yelled out, "Don't think you can get away without having your photo taken too, Bra!" I turned around and smiled at her. "Of course," I muttered loud enough for her to hear. I held the camera out for her and she gladly took it. "Trunks, come get in the picture!" I demanded. My brother quickly jumped in the scene, leaving his cupcake unguarded. He threw his arm around my shoulders, and leaned his head against mine. "Cheese!" he exclaimed which caused me to smile for the picture. Snap! A few more photos were taken of me, my family, and friends. They would make great memories for when Goten returned. It was a shame he wasn't here, but our lives couldn't stand still just because he was gone. We had no choice, things had to carry on.

I placed my camera back in my camera bag and joined the rest of the gang near the dance floor. I wasn't in the mood to dance so I watched as everyone socialized well into the evening. I made sure to talk a little here and there so they wouldn't worry about me. It was proving to be quite the chore though.

I stood quietly away from the mess of people as I took a few deep breaths. Out of nowhere I was overpowered by a sudden feeling of faintness. I staggered over to the extravagant buffet table my mother had set up, holding on to the table for support. Where did that come from? I quickly poured myself a cup of lemonade and hurriedly took a few sips. Just when I thought I was about to get a hold of myself, I began to lose my balance. I grasped my cup of lemonade tightly, trying not to spill it as I walked. Something's not right. I began to grow worried.

My eyes darted back and forth incredibly slowly as I searched for my mother in the crowd. I spotted her vivid blue hair and tried to make my way over to her. My vision was growing increasingly blurry, I knew I was about to pass out. Just when I was about to give up hope on reaching someone, my Dad's eyes met mine. His smile formed into a frown as he felt something wasn't right with me. My legs gave out below me as my father watched from a distance. I lost the grip on my cup as I fell roughly to my knees. I could barely keep my eyes open. My hand softened the blow as my head hit the ground. "Daddy," I said inaudibly. I could hear a commotion of voices, but I couldn't make out what they were saying. I faintly heard Pan yell my name in a panic and watched as my Dad came running to my side.

Darkness consumed my eyes as I lost consciousness.

A/N: Thank you to those of you who continually review my story. It really keeps me going. ^_^ Updates are becoming further apart because my chapters seem to be getting lengthier. XD I didn't intend for that to happen, but there's some things I feel should be detailed and perspectives to use. Do you guys like that I am including other point-of-views? I think it works best for me personally. I don't think I could just to stick to Bra's train of thought because I feel like you need to get to know her outside of herself. Some of you might be wondering about Bra's character being so weak and mopey, but I promise I'm not trying to make her come off as an emo teenager. You'll learn more later. And just for a heads up, I'll be heading out to the good ol' Netherlands tomorrow and staying with my boyfriend's family for awhile. So expect delays in updates, but rest assured, I am still working on it!