Chapter 1: The Hole
Bulma Briefs walked into her Park Avenue apartment. She slammed the door behind her as hard as she could. Objects on shelves and tables rattled with the reverberating sound. Bulma's vibrant blue eyes flickered around the apartment quickly. She dropped her purse on the floor and stomped furiously to her bedroom. She turned the lights on and kicked off her three-inch heels.
Bulma was the vice-president of Capsule Corporation, one of the leading technological companies in the world. Her father, Dr. Briefs was the owner, CEO, and president. Soon, everything would be passed down to her. Bulma was everything any normal girl would want to be. She was smart, rich, and incredibly beautiful. She even had who was thought to be the world's sexiest man as her own.
But right now, the genius and socialite needed a vacation. She was tired of her life in the spotlight. She was tired of her unfaithful athlete boyfriend. She was just t-i-r-e-d, TIRED!!
Bulma flipped through her address book. She came to the letter "F" and started to run her finger down the names. She stopped at "Ferlito." Bulma went over to her phone and dialed the number. As it rang, she went to her closet and pulled out two large suitcases.
"Paradisio Ranch. Frank speaking. How can I help you?" The phone finally picked up as Bulma heaved one suitcase on her queen-sized bed. She rested for a moment before speaking.
"Uncle Frank, it's Bulma," she said breathlessly.
"Bulma! I suppose you'll be wanting to speak to your aunt, huh?" Frank asked happily. "Cherry!" he yelled. Bulma flinched and heaved the other suitcase on her bed. She opened both and began gathering clothes up.
"Hello, little Blue?" a woman said into the phone. Bulma smirked at the nickname.
"Hi, Aunt Cherry. I need a favor," she said.
"Anything for you, Blue," Cherry said.
"I want to come stay at Paradisio. Just for a little while," Bulma said.
"You want to stay at a horse ranch? What about your job, Blue? Won't your father wonder about you? And Bunny, too? I don't want my sister worried," Cherry said.
"I'll tell them once I'm there. That way they can't do anything about it." Bulma zipped up one bag. "I'll even help with the horses, Aunt Cherry."
There were a few moments of silence. Bulma kept packing. Finally, she heard her aunt sigh into the phone. Bulma smiled; she knew she had Cherry.
"I never could say no to you, Blue. But, if you're going to stay, you're going to work. Got it?"
"Yes, Aunt Cherry. Thanks."
"How are you getting here? Flying?"
"Driving. I need a long drive to clear my head. It should be... relaxing." Bulma zipped up the last suitcase. "Bye, Aunt Cherry."
"Bye, Blue. Be safe."
Chichi Paozu walked into the gas station outside of town. It was a few miles outside of Fort Worth, Texas. She went directly over to the fountain and started to fix herself a drink. After making a Coke with vanilla syrup, she headed to the magazines. She heard the door open and saw her blonde friend walk in.
"Hi, Juu," she said. Juu Gero glared at Chichi. Her icy blue eyes were enough to make one run in the other direction in terror.
"I thought you were just getting a drink and paying for the gas. I can't pump if you don't pay, genius!" she said loudly. Chichi stopped sipping on her soda.
"Oh! I forgot that." Chichi smiled sheepishly and walked up to the front counter. Juu sighed and walked back out. Chichi rang the bell and a spiky-haired guy came out. He looked bashfully at her.
"Hi, Chichi," he said.
"You shouldn't leave the store unattended like this, Goku. What would your grandfather say?" Chichi asked. She took a sip of her Coke. Goku shrugged shyly, watching her as she drank her soda. Chichi smiled at him. "Give me thirty on pump three and this drink, too," she said.
"You got it," Goku said.
Outside, Juu finally started pumping gas into her little Jetta. She leaned against her car and looked up at the blue sky. It was sweltering in Texas today. She thanked her lucky stars for the job she had been blessed with: radio DJ. She did not have to be at work until ten that night.
I should've told Chichi to buy me a drink, too, she thought. She ran a hand through her short blonde hair and sighed.
The moment Juu lowered her head to look down, she was blinded by a glare. The sun reflected off a mirror into her face. Juu squinted to try and see what was blinding her.
A black Mercedes CLK 320 convertible pulled up at pump one. The top was down. Juu watched with a curious eye as an aqua-haired woman stepped out of the car. She did not look any older than Juu herself. She was wearing sunglasses. Her outfit consisted of a white crop jacket and white crop pants. She had on white thong sandals. The woman grabbed her purse and removed her sunglasses. Juu caught sight of the most stunning blue eyes she'd ever seen.
Why do I get the feeling I've seen her before? she thought. The woman walked past her without even a glance and into the gas station.
Chichi was still flirting with Goku over the front counter when the blue-haired beauty walked in. Chichi turned her head to look at the woman.
"My, my. She's a pretty one. She looks kind of familiar," Chichi said quietly. Goku followed her line of sight.
"Not to me."
Bulma found the fountain drinks quickly. The drive from New York to Texas took about a day if one drove nonstop. Bulma had stopped so much that it had taken her nearly three days to make the trip. Her aunt had called her cell phone to make sure she was not dead in a ditch somewhere. Bulma had also told her mother of her final destination. Her father, on Bulma's orders, was still in the dark.
Let's see. I want the largest possible drink, Bulma thought. She found the 72oz. cup and made her favorite drink: the "Suicide." She added extra vanilla syrup and put a top on it. She headed to the front of the store. She saw the brunette step to the side to allow her access to the counter.
"Excuse me," Bulma muttered. The girl smiled at her before winking at the store clerk.
"It's fine," she said as she moved over. Bulma looked back at the clerk. He was staring at the girl in a daze. Bulma smiled and cleared her throat loudly.
"Oh! Um, is this all?" he asked in a hoarse voice. Bulma sighed and shook her head.
"Give me fifty on pump one. I guess I could fill up before getting to the ranch," Bulma said as she handed the money over. The clerk raised an eyebrow.
"Ranch? You must be going to the Paradisio," he said. Bulma looked up at him and stopped slurping on her drink.
"How did you know that?" she asked. The clerk smiled and handed her the change.
"It's really the only ranch I know the name of. Plus, I work there when I don't fill in here. Miss Cherry's a nice person. How do you know her?" the clerk asked. Bulma smiled at the clerk.
"I'm her niece. My name's Bulma," she said. The sweet clerk smiled back.
"Goku Son. That's Chichi Paozu," he said as he pointed to the girl standing next to Bulma. The girl with black hair smiled and waved at Bulma. Then the door opened loudly and the blonde from outside stuck her head in.
"Prepare to be left, Chichi. Why are you hell-bent on trying to waste my time today?" she said loudly. Chichi rolled her eyes. She looked at Bulma.
"It was nice meeting you. I'm coming, Juu. Calm down!" she yelled as she walked to the door. When she reached the door, she faced Goku again. "Catch you later," she said as she winked. Goku blushed and waved at her.
Bulma watched the exchange wondrously and sighed. She gathered her money and drink. Then she looked at Goku, who was coming out of his little trance.
"Well, maybe I'll see you around the ranch," she said. Goku nodded as she left the store.
After Bulma pumped her gas, she got in the car and continued to drive. She reached the road to turn down. There was a beautiful white sign that read "Paradisio Ranch" and had an arrow pointing to the left. Bulma smiled and made the left turn. It was an old, dusty dirt road. Sighing, she fumed silently about the dust as it flew up around her.
I hate dirt roads, she thought.
Suddenly, Bulma rolled over a hill. The car jolted and stopped completely. Bulma gasped, a little shaken by the sudden stop. She pressed on the gas. The tires rolled, but the car did not move. Bulma took off her seatbelt and looked over the side of her car. The left tire was in a deep hole of some sort in the middle of the road. Bulma tried the gas again. Nothing happened; only more dust came up.
"SHIT!" Bulma yelled. She took out her cell phone. There was no signal where she was. She laughed. "Perfect. Now I have to walk the ten miles to the ranch and have Uncle Frank tow my car from this ditch. Who leaves a ditch, not a pothole, in the middle of the road?" Bulma let the top of her car up and turned it off. She grabbed her purse and got out.
Vegeta Ouji turned onto the dirt road leading to the Paradisio Ranch. He was slightly hung over from the night before. Hopefully, the horses would not mind it. All he had was a minor headache. The least he would be was mildly irritated. He knew Frank Ferlito would not notice his condition, but Cherry Ferlito was a different story.
The woman can sense alcohol on me before I even set foot on the ranch, Vegeta thought. He sighed and rounded a corner.
Being accustomed to avoiding the big hole in the ground, he got ready to do a quick swerve but had to take evasive action when he noticed the black Mercedes. Vegeta pressed on the brakes when he passed the car. He paused for a minute, a little scared that his precious car had almost been hurt. He turned around to see if anyone was in the Mercedes. When he could see no one, he got out of his own vehicle and walked over to the Mercedes.
There was no sign of anyone in the car. There were a couple of bags of snacks in the passenger seat and that was it. Vegeta looked down at the car's tires. The driver was obviously not from around here; they had driven directly into the hole. Vegeta shook his head.
I tell that old man all the time to get this damn hole fixed. Pretty soon someone will sue him. This is his property, he thought as he walked back to his car. Vegeta closed the door and drove off. Perhaps the driver was ahead at the ranch...
Bulma was sweltering in the sun. There was nowhere to take refuge on the dirt road. She could not even see beginnings of the ranch. She looked up into the cloudless sky and sighed.
"What I wouldn't give for some clouds!" she yelled upwards. She took her hair into her hands and twisted it upwards. She pinned it up with a pen from her purse and sighed as she kept walking. Then she heard a humming noise behind her.
Bulma turned around. A metallic orange car came out of the dusty cloud. Bulma nearly jumped for joy. She contained herself and held up her hand. She noticed the car slowing down. When it stopped next to her, she looked it over. She walked up to the passenger's side and looked inside the window. She came face to face with narrow, onyx eyes. She had to blink and pause; the man was devilishly handsome.
"A 1970 Ford Mustang Mach I; sweet muscle car," Bulma said. One narrow eye raised its eyebrow at her comment. Bulma smirked. "I like cars."
"I take it that Mercedes back there belongs to you?" the man asked. Bulma smiled.
"Guilty," she said. "You headed my way, cowboy?"
"There is only one destination on this road," the man said dryly. Bulma tried not to frown. "Get in."
Bulma did as she was told. Once she was in, the man did not wait for her to buckle in before he sped off down the street. Bulma managed to get her seatbelt on eventually. She glanced over at him for a moment.
"You're not a serial killer or anything, are you?"
"It's a fine time to ask that question." He gave her a sideways glance. "I could've slashed your throat by now," he said sardonically. Bulma's whole face changed and a sly smirk came to his. Bulma frowned and crossed her arms.
"That is not funny," she mumbled.
"Relax. I'm not going to kill you," Vegeta said to the pretty girl. She had not been very shy about getting in the car with him. That was probably because she was about to die of heatstroke out in the sun.
What is a woman like her doing heading to a ranch? She looks like a city girl, he thought.
They reached the ranch in five minutes flat at the speed in which Vegeta was driving. He had a way of turning even a thirty-minute trip into ten minutes. As he pulled around into the ranch, he saw the girl looking around at it in wonder. It looked like she was remembering something.
"Have you ever been here?" Vegeta asked out of curiosity.
Bulma jumped at the sound of the man's voice. She turned and looked at him. She nodded slowly.
"Yes; when I was a younger. I used to come here all the time." She watched the man park quickly and turn the car off. He got out without waiting for her. Bulma sat in the car for a moment, a little stunned. Then she followed suit. She was adjusting her clothes when she heard her aunt's voice.
"Vegeta, have you seen a blue-haired young lady in town by any chance? She sticks out like a so..." Cherry stopped talking when she saw Bulma standing by the orange Mustang. She smiled and walked over to her niece. "Blue, dear! How are you?" Cherry hugged Bulma.
"Fine, Aunt Cherry. I had a little car trouble. But, that young man was nice enough to give me a lift." Bulma nodded towards Vegeta. Cherry turned around and looked at Vegeta. Vegeta crossed his arms and just stared at the two women. Cherry smiled at Vegeta.
"That was very sweet of you, Vegeta. I know those type of actions are few and far between from you." She turned back towards Bulma. "What's wrong with your car, dear?" she asked while running a hand through her short blonde hair.
"Oh, um, there's this hole..."
"I tell Frank to get that thing filled in all the time. He never listens to me! FRANK!" Cherry yelled. Bulma and Vegeta both winced. A tall, muscular man came around the side of the main house. He was carrying some rope and wearing a hat. He smiled when he saw Bulma. Then he saw Cherry's stern face.
"Hi, Uncle Frank," Bulma said quietly.
"Hi, Blue! Why are you screaming like that, Cherry?" Frank asked. Cherry tapped her foot on the dusty ground.
"Blue's car is stuck in that damn hole in the road. I tell you all the time to fill it in. Everyone tells you to fill it in. Call a tow truck to get her car out of the middle of the road before nightfall, Frank." Cherry turned towards Bulma. "Come along inside, dear. I'll get you something to eat." Cherry headed inside the main house. Bulma nodded and looked back at Vegeta.
"So your name is Vegeta?" Bulma asked nervously. Even in broad daylight, he still looked so dark. His eyes seemed to burn holes into her body. She crossed her arms behind her back.
"Yeah. It's Vegeta Ouji. Tell me your name isn't really Blue," Vegeta said. Bulma let out a highly unattractive cackle. She swallowed when she heard herself.
"No, no. My name is Bulma Briefs. Aunt Cherry has always called me that on account of my hair and eyes. It's just a nickname," she said. She cleared her throat. "So, uh, do you work here or something?" she asked. Vegeta smirked.
"I help out with the horses." Vegeta walked towards her. He stopped right in front of her. Bulma stepped back a little. Vegeta noticed her nervousness. "I also live here."