A/N: Hey, everyone! I'm back and sorry it took so long to put up a new chapter. I was on vacation and then I was caught up with college work when I got back. I know, excuses, excuses lol. Thanks to those that reviewed and added this story on their favorites and alerts, as well as adding me on their author alert! I appreciate it so much! Thanks for being patient. Let's recap that whatever I have in italics is a flashback being retold as a story by Goku to Shae. This entire chapter is in italics so all of it is a flashback. If there's any confusion about anything, let me know so I can clear it up. And don't worry; there will be a lot of positive interaction between Goku and Chi Chi in the next chapter. In the meantime, enjoy, and REVIEW!
Goku stood with his arms crossed, looking down at the girl that almost got everyone killed earlier that day. Honestly, he wanted nothing to do with a selfish person like that. She was just another pretty face that had money to blow; someone that would rather value a designer bag than a human life. But he couldn't shake off an instinctive feeling that there was more to her than that. When he first laid eyes on her, she seemed like a gentle and kind person. However, as he discovered for himself, that was not the case. He wondered what more this girl wanted from him. She obviously wanted to talk to him about something. Hopefully apologize for her behavior.
Chi Chi was nervous. This man had every right to be mad at her. But he judged her before he knew her story. Still, that was no excuse and that was why she was here, gathering up courage to talk to him. Chi Chi felt horrible for bringing out his anger earlier that day because he seemed like a calm and tender person, someone who would understand if he knew what was going on. Chi Chi was the type of person that did not explain her behavior to anyone. She does what she likes and if someone had a problem with it, oh well for them. But in this case, she knew she was truly wrong about what happened and here she was apologizing. She didn't know how to start but gave him a smile and started talking from her heart.
She looked in his eyes.
"You risk your own life to save the life of strangers. There can't be anything nobler than that. And I don't want you to stop taking pride in your work just because of me and my behavior earlier today. So that's why I'm here talking to you. I wanted to explain the way I acted they way I did."
Chi Chi reached into her bag, the bag that caused all this trouble, and carefully took out a pot. It wasn't a cooking pot but a handmade pot that was almost like a container. The pot was small and brown and was wrapped with a white cloth that covered the top. Chi Chi held it tenderly in her small hands.
"These are my grandmother's ashes."
Goku was silent the entire time she was talking and did not move a muscle or stop staring at her, even when she took out the pot. But then what she said after she took it out made him look at the pot with curiosity in his eyes and a million thoughts and questions popped up in his mind. His look remained curious yet thoughtful and his face changed from a scowl to a look of softness.
Chi Chi continued to talk, the words flowing out of her mouth easily because she was being sincere and honest.
"She's not my grandma by blood but she may as well be. She spent more time raising me than my own mother did. She was an Eastern Territory woman who spent her whole life serving my family in the Western Territory and she never asked for anything in return. Just one dying wish. That her ashes be immersed in the waters of Mount Paozu like the rest of her ancestors."
Goku was listening intently now. He made eye contact with her and saw in her eyes that she was being genuine and open with him. He wasn't expecting to hear something that had a humane cause behind her selfish behavior.
"This pot and the ashes inside are more important to me than anything in this world... More important than even my life."
She took a breath and decided to wrap things up. She didn't want to stretch things out.
"I think maybe that you weren't happy saving my life today. But I'm sure that now since you know the reason behind my behavior, you'll be proud that you saved this pot that was in my bag."
Goku kept looking at her intently, allowing her to talk. He was deep in thought.
"If you can...please forgive me. I'm sorry. I really am."
She gave him an affectionate smile and walked away. Goku was still standing in the same spot, in the same position. He watched her walk away and had a smile on his face too. He was contemplating whether or not to go talk to her not. He was also contemplating a lot of other things in his mind. About what she said, whether or not he should've yelled at her before knowing what was wrong. He definitely felt bad for yelling at her before. His instinct about her was right. She wasn't such a bad person after all. If only he asked before he judged. He felt like the worst person right now.
"Hey, Goku." Goku turned around and found his friend Krillin walking up to him. "Who was that girl? And what happened?"
Goku sighed. "Oh, man, Krillin. Where do I begin?" Goku laughed. "C'mon, let's go eat and I'll tell you all about it!"
Krillin agreed, "Sure, Goku, come on."
Chi Chi felt as if a huge weight was lifted off her shoulders by apologizing. She was now walking to the man at the counter where she ordered her food from. She had to find a place to sleep before she hit the ground out of weariness. She was emotionally and physically drained from this day.
"Hey," she greeted the man at the counter.
"Hi! Still hungry?" he asked her.
"No," she laughed, "but I AM dead tired. Is there a hotel, motel, Holiday Inn nearby? Anywhere where I can spend the night?"
"Actually, if you don't want to travel too far, you can stay here if you like. We have rooms available here. Or if you want, you can camp outside like the people you see here. We're kind of like a motel, restaurant, truck stop, and camping ground all in one."
"Oh!" said Chi Chi, "that's very convenient! I'll take you up on the offer as long I as get a room. I really don't want to sleep out in the open by myself."
"Alright," he replied, "Here is the key to room number 21. Do you wanna pay now or when you check out?"
Chi Chi took her key and said, "I'll pay now," and gave him her credit card. After the transaction was complete, Chi Chi went to her room and immediately fell on the bed. She was completely exhausted and needed her strength on the rest of her journey which started really early tomorrow.
When Chi Chi woke up the next morning, she felt mentally fresh and ready for the journey that lay ahead of her that day. She woke up early, earlier than she had ever woken up in her life, to get a head start. If she messed up, she had more time to fix her mistakes in the day than in the evening or night time. Hopefully, she wouldn't make a hot mess of this situation. For once, she wanted to do things the right way.
Chi Chi headed out and back in the direction she came from last night. She walked back to the border where she would catch the bus to set her in the direction she needed to go. This was going to be so difficult; she didn't know anything at all about this land. Not the customs, not the people, not the geography. She didn't know what the hell she was doing. Especially all alone. Why was she so stupid? She should've at least brought a friend along. It would've made her feel less lonely.
Chi Chi got to the border and asked some army men that guarded the border about the buses. They told her that she would have to take multiple buses to get to Mount Paozu because that was at least 4 hours from here and no single bus made a journey that far. She would have to keep transferring. It would take her all day. They instructed her on what buses to take and where to take them and Chi Chi made sure to write it all down. She did not want to get on a wrong bus; she would end up lost forever. They also told her that she needed to buy a ticket to get on the bus. After hearing all this information, Chi Chi was extremely nervous. She REALLY did not want to get lost or get hurt. But she was a bold and courageous girl, she could do this.
You can do it, Chi Chi, she said to herself. You'll be so proud when you get back home. It'll be the best thing that you've ever done.
Chi Chi thanked the army officers. They were tremendously helpful and ready to lend a hand. She went off to buy the bus ticket. Her bus wasn't here yet so she waited with a crowd of people at the bus stop. There were multiple different buses that stopped here and Chi Chi was amazed at how many people were there. Some buses were already there with people already boarded and ready to leave. Some buses were being boarded at the moment. She had never taken public transportation before yesterday and didn't have the most enjoyable experience with it, considering that her bus fell off a mountain. But this bus stop fascinated her. Maybe because it made her feel normal and not so different from other people.
Chi Chi's thought were interrupted when she saw her bus pull up. Number 138. That was the one she needed to take first. The bus didn't even make a full stop but people were already running towards it and crowding it. It was a huge crowd of 30 or so people. It was going to be really jam-packed. It didn't help that the bus that was pulling up was already half full. The conductor of the bus got off. He was immediately mobbed by people shoving their tickets in his face. They really wanted to get a seat.
"Alright, people! One by one! Who has a ticket?" he shouted.
Chi Chi tried to move through the crowd to get to the front. It was no use when everybody was doing th same thing. She tried to get the conductor's attention.
"Mister! Hey mister! I have a ticket! Look, I have a ticket!"
The conductor couldn't hear her over all the commotion that everybody was making. He was too busy taking tickets. Nevertheless, Chi Chi kept shouting. She even started jumping so the conductor would see her. All of her uproar didn't catch the attention of the conductor. However, it did get the attention of Goku.
He was sitting comfortably in a nearby bus. Fortunately for him, his wasn't as crowded. Nowhere near it. He was sitting and whistling to himself happily. He considered himself lucky for not being on that other bus. Goku looked over at the throng people through his window and looked back. But then he did a double take. He squinted and looked carefully at the people that were crowding bus number 138. It couldn't be.
"Ladies first! No pushing!" He heard the conductor say.
But it was. It was that girl. He took another look. It was definitely her. He sighed and then smiled. It was like she was stalking him wherever he went. He didn't even know her name. So he just called her the crazy girl with a good heart in his head. She was jumping and shouting, trying to make her way in toward the bus. But she was unsuccessful.
"Easy, people! No pushing! Ok, that's it. There's no more room for anymore!" the conductor shouted.
Chi Chi finally pushed to the front of the crowd.
"But I have a ticket! I bought a ticket! I have a right to be on that bus! I PAID MONEY!"
Chi Chi was in the conductor's face. Her mind was set on being on the bus. It didn't matter how overcrowded it was. She would sit on someone if she had to.
"Miss, everyone here bought a ticket. I'm sorry but its first come, first served," the conductor answered.
Chi Chi was disheartened. But she WAS here first.
"But you don't understand! I need to be on this bus!"
"You know what, stop delaying me and get in. We have a schedule to keep to."
"But...where can I...sit?"
"I'm telling you right now, if you really, REALLY need THIS bus, then the last option for you is to go on up. And don't complain"
"Go on up?" she asked, confused.
"Yes. With the rest that really, REALLY need THIS bus."
"But what does that even mean?"
"Sit on the roof of the bus. There are other people there. But it's not AS crowded as it is down here. Not a lot of people like to sit up there."
"But, won't I...fall off?"
"Unless you decide to dance on top of the bus. Trust me, it's pretty safe. There are railings to hold on to and keep you in."
Chi Chi had a schedule to keep to as well and didn't want to wait around for next bus that would probably be just as crowded. She found it humiliating and decided if this was what normal was, then she didn't want to be normal anymore. She reluctantly climbed up the ladder and took a seat while mumbling and cursing to herself. She took a look around to see who she was surrounded with. Mostly everyone there was a creeper. Dear, God, why did you have to make every day of my journey so unbearable? she asked silently. Chi Chi was angry that she was being subjected to this. She always had first class everything and liked it that way. She clutched onto her bag in her lap. You're doing the right thing, she thought to herself. But it wasn't helping that a creepy old man that took a seat next to her was shamelessly straight up staring at her. Chi Chi tried so hard to ignore him but it wasn't working. She turned her head sharply in the old guy's direction to tell him off but she decided not, seeing that it was going to instigate the creeper further. She turned her head back and looked straight ahead, jaw clenched.
"Hey, old man! Move over!"
Chi Chi looked up and saw that the man who had saved her life was addressing the old guy sitting next her. What was he doing here? Chi Chi was surprised to see him here.
"Why should I?" retorted the old man, not shifting his gaze from Chi Chi.
"Why? Because I'd like to sit next to my wife."
Chi Chi didn't know his name. She should've asked yesterday but she didn't have the opportune moment. The only way she addressed him in her mind was the hunky guy that saved her life that she pissed off. Right now she was thankful that he was saving her again but this time from a weirdo.
The old guy wasn't moving.
"Move unless you want a broken face," said the guy who was on Chi Chi's side.
"Sir, I was just moving."
The old man moved and Chi Chi's savior took his seat laughing, watching the old man try to find some other seat far away from him. Chi Chi looked at the man next to her, and then looked down. It was going to be even awkward with him sitting next to her the entire journey. First of all, he was really good looking. She was never comfortable with good looking guys; she was always tongue-tied. Second, she had seriously pissed him off before and there was still some tension there on her part. He looked at her, still smiling. He felt her nervousness and tried to break the ice.
"Um, you're probably wondering what I'm doing here, right?" he asked.
He pointed straight ahead.
"Do you see that bus over there? I should've been on that bus, not this one. I even took a seat, all ready to go. But then I saw you and noticed how graciously you took this seat up here." He chuckled.
Sarcastic was he, Chi Chi thought. She pressed her lips together. Don't say anything. She was afraid she'd yell something inappropriate and she really didn't want to seem like any more of a bitch. But still!
He continued talking. "And then I thought that either, one, you're really brave or two, you're really stupid to go on this long journey all by yourself."
Chi Chi was still looking down and she smiled. I guess he's right, she thought. He continued on talking.
"And I ALSO thought that even though I'll get home safe and comfortable, for my entire journey home, maybe even my entire life," he considered, with a tilt of his head, "I'd be bothered by whether or not that crazy Western Territory girl reached her destination safe and sound."
He gave a little laugh and Chi Chi smiled again. He wasn't so bad.
"So...don't think that I'm here to help you out."
Ok, maybe he was bad. She looked at him out of the corner of her eyes and glared at him.
"I'm just here so that I won't be bothered for the rest of my life by wondering if you got your work done or not."
Chi Chi decided to stop being so angry at the world and see things his way. She decided that he had accepted her apology and forgiven her for her behavior. He must have understood her situation. After all, why would he be talking to her? He had a sense of humor and seemed light hearted. She liked people like that. Besides, she had a sense of humor too but lately she hadn't been too happy with her life. He was making her realize that she couldn't take life too seriously. She needed to enjoy herself. Besides, he was giving her company. She really needed that right now especially in unfamiliar surroundings. Maybe he even cared. Chi Chi got happy inside.
"Thank you," she said to him kindly. She really did appreciate his support and understanding.
He smiled at her.
"Oh, by the way, I'm Son Goku," he told her.
She looked at him. She finally got his name.
"I'm Chi Chi," she replied.
"Nice to finally know your name."
Chi Chi laughed. "Yeah, it is, isn't it?"
"So, Chi Chi, I hope you know what you're getting yourself into," Goku said.
"Yeah, no. I don't know what the hell I'm doing exactly but here, look" Chi Chi pulled out the directions and information she had written down that the army guards told her.
Goku took a quick look and gave a long whistle. "That looks really stressful. All that bus changing."
"It is, but I figured that if I stay on schedule and waste no time, then I can get this done fast and over with fast," Chi Chi replied. "That's why I'm up so early."
Goku looked at her incredulously. "And how does stressing yourself by staying on schedule seem any less hectic to you? How are you gonna enjoy the journey?"
"Well, it would get me home in time. My mom's kinda uptight about that. And I'll find some way to enjoy it. Maybe stop at a park or something."
"A park? Is that what you do when you go sightseeing? Stop at a park?" Goku asked in disbelief.
"Well I don't have a lot of time," Chi Chi replied.
"You'll have plenty of time between your buses!" Goku told her. "You'll have such long breaks in between transfers!"
Chi Chi thought about what Goku was saying. Well, he was right.
"But I don't know anything about the Eastern Territory. I'm afraid if I stop anywhere or miss a bus, I'll be lost forever!"
Goku laughed and said, "Hey, don't worry about that! You're with me now! I'll show you around. I promise I won't let you get lost."
"Really?" Chi Chi asked cheerfully. He was a lot more kind hearted than she thought. "Wow, Goku, why are you so nice?"
"If you're on a journey, you might as well enjoy it and get some fun out of it! You never know when you might have this chance ever again," he answered.
"Yeah, I might never get this chance again," Chi Chi said aloud.
The Eastern and Western Territories were not on the best of terms and it was getting harder and harder to go from one to the other. There was constant warfare. And Chi Chi always wanted to know how different this territory was from hers. Besides, her dad never really let her go by herself anywhere like a large country. She also kind of wanted to make an expedition by herself, to see how she could handle things without her family and advisors. She wanted freedom and independence from being tied down to responsibilities that came with being a princess. She would make her own decisions.
"You know what, Goku? Show me everything, ok? Everything worth seeing. Even the little things. I wanna know what it means to be from the Eastern Territory, ok?" she asked him.
"That's the spirit!" he said joyfully. "Take pleasure in life. You won't regret it."
Chi Chi grinned. It felt good to have someone with her. Someone that was positive and knew what to do. The bus had started on its journey and Chi Chi was on her way. She was more than exceedingly excited now. She would be living one of her dreams while carrying out her grandma's last wish. It was a win-win situation. More importantly, it was because of the man sitting next to her. She didn't know what she did in her life to deserve his kindness, especially kindness towards a complete stranger, but she was thankful. Little did she know that this trip and this man would change her life forever. Nothing would ever be the same.