A/N: Ugh, I'm sorry it's been so long getting this chapter out. I've been really busy with classes and then I just had a horrible writers block with this chapter. I also haven't gone through and thoroughly edited it so I'm hoping it's not too bad. Anyway, please enjoy.
Once Bulma had found a suitable spot, away from the remaining crowds, she popped her capsule and starting setting things up. It was a beautiful day, after all, and not even Vegeta's constant sneer and scrutiny of his surroundings was going to change that.
'I don't care how much he complains,' Bulma decided as she shook out and lowered a blanket to sit on, 'if he doesn't like it he can always leave.'
With that in mind she reached into her bag and pulled out a bottle of sunscreen. After all, one couldn't have naturally gorgeous skin without taking care of it. Squirting a large glob of the coconut scented lotion into her hand, she started applying to herself. She had just started on her legs when she heard a familiar growl behind her.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Bulma peeked back at Vegeta but continued to rub the lotion on her legs. "I'm putting on sunscreen. If I don't I'll have a massive burn and won't be able to move without being in a great deal of pain." She turned back to work on her other leg, despite the fact that as long as Vegeta was around would stay under the wrap. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed something jump and looked over in time to see a man scamper off. Realizing the obvious reason, she sighed. "Vegeta…"
"I thought your hair-brained Mother was just trying to trick me into coming to this pointless place but we've only been her 5 minutes and already these fools are staring at you. Not that your show is discouraging them."
"Vegeta, I'm an attractive woman. Men are going to stare at me. Get over it. As long as they keep their distance there's no problem but I suppose, if I had come alone, a few would have tried to talk to me. But even if someone did come over, I'm perfectly capable of telling them I'm not interested. Have more faith in my taste, will ya?"
Scoffing, Vegeta turned to survey the beach some more.
Frowning at his distracted mind making the worse of things, she decided to tease him a little. "Almost done, but…"
"But what?" Vegeta asked, still standing alert and at ready for an attack that will never come.
"Well, it's just, I need to have lotion applied to my back as well but I can't reach it. Would you please do it for me?"
"What?" Vegeta looked over at her with what she could swear was a blush, "Don't be ridiculous. I'll do no such thing."
With a false sigh, she pouted. "I thought you'd say that. Oh well," she looked over the sands at the people enjoying their day. "Now, who would be willing to help me?"
"Don't even think about it, Woman."
"Look, Vegeta, my back needs to be covered and if you won't do it, I have to find someone else who'll…" she didn't even get to finish her sentence before Vegeta grabbed the bottle from her and hastily smeared some of the lotion onto her back. "Hey, make sure it's even and would it hurt you to be a little gentler?"
Vegeta just glared at her. "I'm not your slave so you should be happy that I did it for you at all."
Bulma inwardly smirked at his embarrassed rage and smile. "Yes yes, thank you so much Vegeta. Tell you what: I'll rub some onto your back now."
"Woman, I've been on planets at least 30 degrees hotter than this planet's record high. Trust me when I say that I'm not worried about my skin getting burned."
Clicking her tongue against her teeth, she shrugged. "You know most guys wouldn't pass up a chance for a free massage from a beautiful woman like me." Then with a wink she added, "Why don't you just lay down and I'll pretend I didn't hear that."
Vegeta grumbled a bit but finally consented. Bulma was glad she got him to lie down but his body was still tense and his eyes seemed to be focused on scanning the beach for improbable dangers. Nonetheless, she rubbed some lotion on her hands and began to give him proper massage, smiling when his body subtly started to relax under her fingers.
"Why couldn't you have done this at your home?"
"Aw, do you want me to massage you more often, Vegeta?" she answered as innocently as possible giggling when he shot a 'you know what I mean' glare at her. "Seriously Vegeta, I would have hoped that you would have gotten used to why we do 'seemingly pointless' rituals here. It's about getting a change of scenery. It's nice to get away from the house once in awhile." She thought about how to better explain her point as she continued to rub the lotion into Vegeta's back. "Surely you've noticed that doing the same training regime everyday causes your progress to get a bit stale, haven't you? Well it's the same for most people. Every now and then we feel the need to break out of our routine lives and do something different, get together with people, go out and see the world. That's why we have holidays and vacations, you know? Because going somewhere else relaxes us or gives us inspiration to help us progress further than if we had stayed back and did the same exact thing every time."
Feeling that she'd made herself as clear as possible, Bulma continued to rub Vegeta's back despite the fact that all the traces of lotion were gone from her extensive massage. 'We'll, he's my boyfriend so I can enjoy his back as much as I want.'
She was enjoying it so much that she nearly missed Vegeta's quiet question. "Is it that obvious?"
"Is what obvious?" She asked, clearly confused.
Vegeta turned his head just enough that he could see him from the corner of his eye. "That I haven't been making any progress with my training regime."
Bulma's hands froze in their place. "No, I didn't mean to suggest that at all. I mean, I know you're not a Super Saiyan yet but I wouldn't be able to tell how far you are from reaching it."
After a few more moments of eye contact Vegeta turned his eyes back to the beach. Sighing, Bulma decided to move forward with her beach plans hoping that their silliness, at least from Vegeta's point of view, would break him away from his troubled thoughts.
Picking up a towel, Bulma walked and laid it out on the sand in front of Vegeta. Without looking at him, she then went over to her the picnic basket her Mother had fixed and pulled out a watermelon and set it down. Once again ignoring Vegeta's increasingly focused stare she dug through her beach things and walked back to the towel armed with an old baseball bat. Finally she looked down at Vegeta, hoping that she'd be able to stop herself from laughing at his reaction to what she was doing. It was a hard feat, as his expression was a mix of disgust, disbelief, and confusion, but she managed.
"Woman… not that you have a habit of doing normal things but this… this is up there with you getting drunk and bringing a the tree in the living room."
"I told you, I wasn't drunk!" Bulma snapped. After a moment's pause, she added, "And before you ask, I'm not drunk now either."
"You may not be, or have been drunk then, but I imagine that whoever came up with… whatever it is you're doing was."
"Um, well," Bulma stuttered, before pointing the bat at Vegeta and striking a pose, "that's not the point. In any case, there's a very good reason why this was brought about. Since it's illegal to bring a knife big enough to cut open a watermelon, a game was made where a group of people take turns hitting it with a bat. That way, people can have fun competing while still being law abiding citizens."
Vegeta moved his eyes from the bat to the watermelon before looking back to her with a raised eyebrow.
"So, um, get up and give it a swing," she smiled while holding out the bat.
"Aw, c'mon Vegeta. Why not?" She would have teased him for being a party pooper had the smirk that slowly crossed his not stunned her into silence.
"Because, if I go first, you won't get a turn."
Frowning, Bulma realized exactly why Vegeta was smirking and while she had wanted to get his mind off his apparently bad progress she didn't want it to be because she was doing something embarrassing. She'd learnt her lesson with that in the past during her fight against 'Snow-ku'. "That's okay. We'll just get to eat faster."
Vegeta cocked his head to the side and Bulma flushed wondering how someone could look so innocent and dangerous at the same time. 'Damn, is he trying to extra hard to seduce me or is he always just this naturally charming when he's relaxed?'
"Faster? If you just wanted to eat faster, you could have just eaten it back at home." When Bulma glared at him his smirk widened to a cruel smile. "So show me, show me how the appeal of this is greater than that convenience."
Bulma couldn't stand looking at him any longer; literally his every action and manner of speaking was making her weak in the knees, so she looked down at the watermelon instead. Now, she was a logical woman, a highly acclaimed genius after all, but she was also headstrong and hated to be looked down upon. So while she knew with 100% accuracy that there was no way that she'd be strong enough to split it she also hated the idea that Vegeta would consider her weak for not even trying. It was lose/lose but in the end her decision was easy to make.
Bracing her feet as best she could in the sand, Bulma lifted the bat over her head, closed her eyes, and bought it down with all her might. The muted thump seemed to echo in her ears drowning out even the ocean waves. She refused to open her eyes and see Vegeta's mocking smirk but braced herself for the inevitable embarrassment.
"Impressive, Woman. You did better than I thought you would."
'What's this? No mocking? No Sarcasm?' Bulma finally peeked through one eye followed quickly by the other one as she stared in shock. While she in no way split the melon, there was a clear crack in the hide. "No way… NO WAY!" Jumping up and down, she danced with joy.
"Woman, would you calm down?" Vegeta all but snarled. "You're going to pop out of that flimsy thing if you keep bounding around like a child."
Bulma just stuck her tongue out at him. "Tough. I'm proud of myself so you'll just have to deal with it," she replied, her grin not fading even as Vegeta growled at her. "Now then," she aimed the bat again, "I wonder if I'd be able to expose the flesh if I hit it again."
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Vegeta's mouth twitch, as if he was forcing himself to frown in order to hide his smile. "I knew you were secretly vicious but I never realized how much of a bloodlust you have. In any case, isn't it my turn?"
Inwardly laughing at Vegeta suddenly attempts to take the turn he'd earlier denied him, Bulma gave a mock pout. "But if you go I won't get another turn."
"Every male on this beach already saw the results of your 'turn' and I'm sure you don't want to see the results of them seeing it again."
"Aw," she reached down and poked his nose before he could react, "you're so cute when you're jealous."
The blush on Vegeta's face coupled with the appalled look was more than worth any tongue lashing she'd get. However, when his face changed from embarrassment to anger, she wondered if she had actually gone too far but a tap on her shoulder made her realize that Vegeta was not glaring at her.
Turning around, Bulma almost laughed as she saw the epitome of the beach jerk stereotype: Bleached blond hair, deep tanned, and unnatural bodybuilder body. Now, she might have a preference towards well-built men but having been around them most of her life she knew the obvious difference between bodies built through training and one that had the aide of chemicals like steroids. Needlessly to say, the man behind her was of the latter and she was not impressed. He flashed an unnaturally white grin and she braced herself for the 'oh-so' predictable words.
"Hey babe," he started not realizing how the term hurt his already non-existent chances, "why is such a hottie like you hanging around with such a lazy, weak loser?"
Once again, Bulma could barely hold back the chuckle. 'If only you knew, bud,' she politely smiled. "He's hardly weak and he's only pretending to be lazy because I made him come here for a break from work. I assure he's quite capable," Bulma said, turning back to see how Vegeta was reacting and surprised to see that he seemed to be ignoring the guy more than anything.
"I'd love to show you how much more capable I am in comparison. A real man wouldn't make you do all the heavy work. It pains me to see such a lovely chick overexerting herself. Why don't you let me split that open for you?"
Bulma was expecting Vegeta to fly off the handle any moment but he still looked off past both of them, as if the landscape held more interest than the man mocking him. 'Amazing, I really never imagined that Vegeta would be keeping his cool this much.'
She was so out of it that she hadn't noticed the beach bum getting closer until placed his arm around her shoulder. "Don't dwell on it too much, babe. The choice should be obvious."
Bulma, having been watching Vegeta, saw the moment change from boredom to blind fury. She shook her head but he didn't pay attention and she could tell that he was moments away from getting up. 'Time to take this into my own hands before I have to explain to the police why there's been a murder.' Shaking the man's arm off her shoulder, she spun around and placed her hands on her hips. Years of hanging around with her friends had not only made her an expert of judging naturally toned bodies from fake ones but also an expert in knocking men down a few pegs when they were being idiots.
"Now listen here, Bub. Just who do you think you are putting your arm on me?"
The man's cocky smile faltered for a second before he forced it back into place. "Hey now, I just wanted you to see how much fun you'd have with a man that let you have some fun instead of doing all the work."
"You mean you want me to sit back and look pretty while you pose and take tips from old beach movies." Bulma poked him the chest with a finger before continuing, "Sorry to break it to you but if you had the attention span to finish any of those movies you'd noticed that the overworked, pec-twitching jerk that goes around kicking sand in the faces of decent people never actually gets the girl in the end, only the floozies that are sure to be disappointed to learn that the negative effects of steroid use."
With another sharp poke of her finger, the man took a step back, looking around with a blush as he noticed how many people were watching him get scolded by a petite woman. "Whoa, hang on, there's no reason to get mad." Little did he know that she wasn't finished yet.
"And for your information, he wasn't making me do all the work. He's clearly much stronger than I am and let me go first and was just telling me he'd take over before you rudely decided to crash our fun with all your boasting and baseless accusations. And the misogynistic names, please does that ever actually work for you. Chick? Hottie? Babe? Seriously, do you even know who I am? Well, do you?"
Bulma, even in her wrath, could see that the man had suddenly recognized who in fact she was about to try to backpedal his way out of his poor attempt of seduction, but she wasn't about to allow that.
"I'll tell you who I am! I'm Bulma Briefs and if I want to have a nice, peaceful trip to the beach then despite having a pool at home, I will. And if I want to have fun trying to break open a watermelon with a bat even though I already know that I won't actually be capable of doing it then I will. And I don't need some jerk like you telling me whether or not I'm enjoying myself. Do I make myself clear?"
To accentuate her words she smacked palm directly into the center of his chest. The blow was mainly for drama but, to the surprise of both Bulma and the man she was hitting, he suddenly flew back several feet, flailing his arms in a vain attempt to remain standing before falling on his butt. A roar of laughter broke out around them as the watching beachgoers took in the scene. To the average person unaware that there were super powered men living amongst them it just appeared as if she had been strong enough to knock him off balance.
For Bulma, who could still see the hair blown by the strong gust a 'wind' from behind her falling back into place frown and looked back at the true culprit behind her. Vegeta just cocked his head to the side and raised his eyebrow as if he honestly didn't know why she was looking at him. 'Seriously? You're going to play innocent?'By now it was obvious that Vegeta had realized that she had a weak spot for his 'innocent' face as was taking advantage. She couldn't stop the smile that broke through nor the laughter that made her clutch her stomach to prevent herself from falling. Thinking she was also laughing at him, the embarrassed man ran off and the onlookers applauded Bulma for the show before going back to their own business.
Bulma finally stopped laughing enough to look back at Vegeta who had long given up his innocent act to return to his boredom. "So," she held the bat out to him, "are you going to take a turn so we can finally eat?"
Vegeta looked up at her and then to the bat before reaching out to the melon. Hooking his middle finger behind his thumb, he flicked the cracked hide and instantly broke the fruit in half. Bulma's frown was once again met by a smirk but she just sighed and realized that was more than she actually expected him to do. Breaking the melon into pieces, they finally got to eat their snack.
That point on was enjoyed in relative silence, with Bulma playing around in the sand some and Vegeta dozing. When the sky started to darken, she packed up and decided to take a stroll down the stretch of beach, surprised to see Vegeta join her. It was only a few minutes since she didn't want to be out after dark but forever she enjoyed the sound and feel of the gently crashing waves around her feet and the peaceful landscape devoid of all but a few people that stayed to watch the sunset. Once again, Vegeta stayed silent and while she was more than capable of breaking the silence with some inane chatter, she realized that he actually seemed to be thinking about something so even though it was driving her crazy she let him be.
They had walked about a mile before Vegeta finally spoke. "Just how far do you want to go?"
Bulma looked at him in surprise before looking over to the sun which had nearly set on the horizon. "Oh wow, guess I just got caught up in it all." Turning to look at the view, she smiled at Vegeta. "I know you've seen more worlds than I can imagine Vegeta but, for me, this is view alone is worth coming here." She turned back to the water and stretched, "Ah there's not like doing something different to break the staleness of my normal routine, even if I have to defend myself from the occasional beach jerk," Bulma added with a wink at Vegeta. She could have sworn that his mouth twitched again but it was gone before she could be sure. "In any case, we should get going. It's going to be dark before we get back."
As she walked past him, she could have sworn he mumbled something along the line of 'something different to break a stale routine' and once again she was worried that something really was bothering him. Only knowing that forcing him to talk about it would only frustrate him, and possibly make him angry enough to walk back in the dark, she just continued to walk on.
Thinking back on her day, she wondered if Vegeta thought of the trip to the beach as being any less pointless than when they'd left. She had wanted to have fun and prove him wrong but all this quiet and Vegeta's far off gaze made her feel uncomfortable.
Bringing her arms to try to ward the uneasy feeling away, she was suddenly overwhelmed with a burst of heat similar to their walk back during New Year's and realized that even with his distraction he was still aware of his surroundings enough to warm her with his ki.
Pushing all the negative feelings away, Bulma decided to do something to make the night perfect. Stopping him with a touch on his arm, she reached up and kissed him on the lips. After a moment of hesitation, Vegeta finally pulled her closer and returned the kiss. It was a scenic moment, silhouetted by the distant sunset, golden sky, and rhythmic waves, and it was all theirs.
And even knowing that something bad was building up that would have to be confronted head on, for the time being it alright to bask in the present in a world where they could simply enjoy each other's company.
A/N: I think it's obvious what's on Vegeta's mind, given that we've all seen the series before, but I hope it'll still be worth reading. Anyway, thanks for reviewing, sorry for the extreme lateness, please read and review as I love to hear what you guys think.