Just One Confession
It was Pan's eighteenth birthday, and just like all the other birthdays in our household, we invited all our old friends over. The party room was crowded with people, and though I was getting up in age, I still liked a good old-fashioned celebration.
Gohan's daughter was looking more and more like her mother by the day, also having the gentle heart of Gohan and Goku. Her dark eyes were large with excitement as she stood in front of her large birthday cake, the spark from the two candles lighting up her face. We were all singing "Happy Birthday" with joy, watching as the youngest member of our family turned into an adult.
I smiled through it all. I took comfort in Goku's arm around my shoulders and the overly proud look in Gohan's eyes. I was so happy that I got to watch all of them grow up and begin having children of their own, maybe even soon to have grandchildren.
But I was also feeling an uneasiness I hadn't allowed myself to feel for many, many years. It was the sense that I might very well soon be telling my family the secret I had kept from them all. I told myself from the beginning that I wouldn't hide it from them any longer once Pan reached her eighteenth birthday.
I would be turning sixty in a couple years, and though I still liked saying that I kept my good looks longer than most other people my age could hope to do, I wasn't sure how long I would be able to stay "young and vibrant". I didn't want to leave this world not having gotten all those dark secrets off my chest, nor did I want to leave Gohan with the responsibility to tell them.
It was just a matter of building up the courage for…all of it…
* * * * * * * *
"That was so much fun! Thanks for everything, you guys," Pan exclaimed as she bounced around the kitchen. Her parents and grandparents were the only ones cleaning up after the party; everyone else disbursed to be by themselves for the first time that day.
Videl smiled over her shoulder as she loaded the dishwasher, "Anything for you, Dear. I just hope everything we got you comes in handy."
Pan thought about all the books her parents got for her, hinting even harder about how bad they wanted her to attend college. She always heard her parents telling her the story of how they had her when they were only sixteen and didn't want the same fate for her. Of course, they over exaggerated how blessed they were to have her after telling the story, but she got the idea. Truthfully, however, she hadn't even had an actual boyfriend yet so she was totally different from them.
"Sure will. I'll start looking into colleges next week."
"How about tomorrow?" Gohan questioned, pushing his glasses further up on his nose.
Seeing the faltered look on Pan's face, Goku jumped in, "Aw, c'mon Gohan. Let her enjoy being eighteen for a few more days. After all, who knows how much longer she'll have this kind of freedom, right?" he laughed good-heartedly from across the kitchen, even when Gohan gave him a disapproving glance.
"Dad, you're too easy on her," Gohan commented, noticing how Videl and Bulma were staying out of this one.
"Yeah, but…she's my only granddaughter! What do ya expect?" Goku grinned at Pan before giving her a big wink. Pan laughed and couldn't stop herself from going over to him and giving him a big hug. It was always quite clear that he was the one she was closest to during her whole childhood.
"Don't worry too much, Gohan," Bulma spoke up, cleaning off all the counters with a damp dishrag, "Your father finally accepted that Bra will be leaving for college soon, so it'll be the same thing with Pan."
"Well…" Gohan sighed, "I guess that's true. But she always followed Goten and Trunks more than Bra, so that kind of leaves me worried."
Bulma put her hands on her hips, "Trunks is practically running Capsule Corp. now! What more could you want from him?"
"Hm, true…I'll give you that. But Goten's been doing nothing but hanging out with that new girlfriend of his. He's a little less—."
"Hello!?" Pan yelled suddenly, making them all turn their attention to her again, "I'm standing right here, ya know? You guys act like I left the room already!" Not waiting for a response, Pan made her exit.
All four of them got quiet for a moment before Goku made a small noise, "Aw…you guys upset her on her birthday."
Videl laughed at his worry, "Don't worry, Dad. She'll go find the others and forget everything that was just said."
"I hope she doesn't," Gohan piped up again, handing more dishes to Videl for her to load, "It's time for her to start getting serious."
Bulma groaned but smiled at him, flopping down in the chair beside Goku, "You sound just like your mother."
Smiling a bit uneasily over her shoulder, Videl shut the dishwasher door a little harder than was needed. She knew Gohan's little "secret" that Bulma was not his real mother, but he never allowed her to tell their daughter that small detail. Over the years of Pan growing up, Videl came to dread her questioning attitude of why her father didn't call her grandmother "Mom." She was thankful, if anything, that Gohan was always around to distract Pan away from the question, but it still didn't make it any better.
"Are you ashamed that you have a different mother than your siblings?" Videl would ask him sometimes when Pan would run off with the others.
Gohan would always look away quickly, "Don't be silly, Videl." And that was the only answer she ever received.
It was late. Goku went out to do a little midnight training to work off all that cake and ice cream he ate, all the kids were still out doing whatever they did late at night on weekends, and Gohan and Videl went to bed.
Bulma sat in the kitchen by herself, a warm cup of coffee wrapped around her thin hands. Her attention seemed highly focused on the rising steam coming from the beverage. She wanted to sleep, and knew that coffee might not have been the best idea to make, but she felt cold. It was the middle of summer, so she couldn't turn on the heat. She didn't think it was her skin that was cold; however, it was her insides.
"Bulma? What are you still doing up?"
Looking up quickly, Bulma squinted through the slight darkness to see Gohan in the doorway. He flicked on the light switch, apologizing quickly when Bulma had to slap her hand over her eyes.
"Ugh…well, I was getting tired, but that just woke me up," she lied, slowly uncovering her eyes as her pupils dilated to the bright light.
Looking at her strangely, he sniffed the air, "Coffee? At midnight? You planning on pulling a long overdue all nighter?" he smiled before sitting down next to her. His smile soon disappeared as he stared at her with the intensity that only he had.
Bulma saw this and covered her whole face with both her warm hands, "Don't give me that look, Gohan. Please…"
"Bulma, I saw how uncomfortable you were all day," he began, ignoring her plea, "Even if no one else noticed, it's not hard for me to tell when your mind's preoccupied." He paused when she didn't respond, nor uncover her face. Seeing that her mug was free from her clutches, he grabbed the handle with his index finger and pulled it toward him, taking the first sip of the warm liquid.
"Hey!" Bulma yelled as she slammed her hands on the table, "You could've got your own, you know. I made plenty."
"I see that," Gohan replied, not giving the mug back to her. He was almost surprised to see her give in so easily as she placed an elbow on the table, her open palm holding her cheek. He cleared his throat after a few seconds, "Bulma, maybe you should just leave well enough alone, you know…why were you always so obsessed with this when Pan turned eighteen?"
She wasn't even surprised Gohan guessed what was wrong. If he was able to know what her problems were when he was only sixteen, his growing older only enhanced that ability. Her eyes shifted to him.
"I have to do it, Gohan…I always told myself I would once all the kids were adults…"
"Yeah, but…" he stopped when he thought he heard something, but quickly dismissed it.
"It's been eating me up inside for years!" She suddenly yelled, making his eyes go wide from her outburst. He sighed and took another sip of coffee, too tired to think of a comeback right off the bat. He forgot why he even got out of bed in the first place. When he didn't respond, she continued, "But then I think…what if they all hate me after I tell them? How could I live with myself then?"
"Well, I doubt they'll hate you…especially my dad. You know he's not capable of that."
"But I know he'll still be devastated. I might tell him first anyway. But he's not really the one I'm worried about. I have a bad feeling over how Trunks and Bra will take it…I mean, how will they feel when they find out that Goku—."
"Bulma! If you're so worried, just tell my dad and let it be known through him and him alone!"
That silenced her for a moment. She could just do that…but would that be fair to all the rest of them? She didn't think that Goku would begin treating Bra any differently if he found out that she really wasn't his, or if he would even hold anything against her for keeping the secret from him. Goku was never one to hold grudges…but this particular situation had her worried.
Before she knew it, she sniffed involuntarily when her nose began to sting and her eyes got blurry, "Oh Gohan…I should've just let it out when Goku first came back…" The whisper was so soft; Gohan almost had a hard time hearing it. His eyes became gentle as he reached out and rested a hand over hers.
She looked from their hands to his eyes, not being able to hold back the smile that framed her lips when she saw him give that comforting look of his. She was so lucky to have him…even after all these years, he was still the one that made things seem better than they were.
They were so caught up in the moment; they didn't even hear the soft steps that came into the kitchen.
They both looked up to see Pan standing in the doorway, her eyes wide. Gohan slowly retracted his hand, his eyes never leaving his daughter. Bulma looked back and forth between the two, suddenly feeling trapped. Pan just heard everything they were talking about? Her stomach tightened uncomfortably.
"Pan…" she began with a forced smile, "I thought you went out with the others…"
"No, I was just talking to Trunks in his office…" her voice took on a foreign hint, like it was not her native tongue she was speaking, the words coming out slowly and carefully.
When Bulma had nothing to respond with, she quickly searched the kitchen for something else to distract Pan with, but her own mind was whirling too fast to focus on anything but what Gohan and her had been talking about. The silence in the room was killing her. Why wasn't Gohan saying anything?! Why wasn't he coming up with something to change the subject?! When her eyes fell back on him, she saw that he was still staring at Pan. Maybe it was just her, but his eyes seemed to be telling her everything she wanted to know.
Horror overtook her. Before she could stop herself, she jumped to her feet. Her chair fell backward from the push and the table shook enough to spill the coffee.
"Whew, that felt great!" Bulma's head snapped to out in the hallway, recognizing Goku's voice. He entered the kitchen, a white towel wrapped around his neck, but sweat still pouring off his skin. He cocked his head to the side when he saw Bulma, Pan, and Gohan in the kitchen, "Wow, you guys are still up?"
Not picking up on the tension in the room, he quickly wrapped his arms around Pan and picked her up wedding style. The sudden movement snapped Pan out of her thoughts, her big eyes blinking up at the matching ones of Goku.
"C'mon, Pan…let's have a quick birthday wrestling match!" He laughed good-heartedly and, not even thinking that she would want to turn the offer down, carried her out of the kitchen.
Gohan and Bulma watched her get carried away before turning back to each other. Bulma's heart was calming down as she picked up the chair and took a seat again. She ignored the look Gohan was giving her as she forced a smile, "Heh, Goku saved me that time. Eight points for him, nine for you. Careful…he's catching up." She winked.
Gohan's look didn't change to even suggest that he found that at all humorous. Bulma sunk back in her seat, feeling like a child that was about to get reprimanded.
"Bulma, if you're going to tell them, then do it. If not, then stop talking about it," with that, Gohan got up from the table and left her sitting in the kitchen by herself.
Great…I hate it when Gohan narrows it down like that. Why can't I have more time to think about it!? Of course…I already had eighteen years to think it over, so maybe he's right. Like usual.
Subconsciously, she stood back up to get a rag to clean up the spilt coffee.
A/N: Hello everybody!! So, can you believe it or what? I'm back and with a sequel to my most popular DBZ story "Just One Week"! I hope I can get all the readers/reviewers attentions for this one as well as I did for the first part. It's been awhile since I wrote DBZ, so I want to clear some things up so I don't get mistaken…
All right, for starters, I wanted to keep this story in the same basic format as "Just One Week". I first began writing this story in Pan's POV, thinking I was going to switch it from her, to Bra, to Bulma, then back again. As the story progresses, you'll see why I tried to do it that way. But the more I began writing in Pan's POV, the more I was disliking "Just One Confession" 's format. Bra and Pan are eighteen in this story, and no matter how I tried to go around it, I couldn't get past the fact that I would have to write them as typical teenagers. They didn't grow up like Gohan and don't have Bulma's knowledge. So, in the end, I started from scratch and stayed loyal to keeping the story in Bulma's POV. I think most of you would want it that way as well.
And since you read the summary, I guess it's safe to say that you know that Vegeta will make his appearance in this story. So to make things clear…I hate stories that make Vegeta out to be nothing but a cold—blooded murderer. I never found Vegeta a horrible person, even during the Vegeta and Namek Sagas. It was Frieza that forced him to become somewhat evil so he would be able to withstand a lot of crap he was put through. That's why, in "Just One Week" I didn't have him harm anyone as he was leaving Earth. I could have easily had him try to destroy the earth like he originally had planned. Sure, he left his family, but I'll explain a lot more of that in this story.
Also, I'm still categorizing this as a Goku/Bulma romance. There may not be much of it at first, but after I read through "Just One Week", I realized there wasn't a whole lot in that one either. I'm assuming you guys liked the main concept and plot behind the story enough to keep you around…that's my intention for "Just One Confession" as well. But since they were the reasons the story even came into existence, I want to honor that at least at a minimum.
So to not make it seem like my A/N is longer than the actual story, I'll close with that. I'm not sure how popular/unpopular the DBZ section has gotten, let alone the Goku/Bulma section, but I hope enough of my fans from "Just One Week" finds this and can enjoy reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it again. I'm still getting plenty of awesome reviews from you guys, so I felt confident enough to start the sequel. Please leave a review and tell me what you think!