Chi-Chi placed down her cup of tea. "I should probably get going," she sighed. "If I don't get to the store today, I'll never be able to get enough food gathered for Thanksgiving."
The heiress across from her quirked a light blue eyebrow at her friend. "Oh, yeah, I had totally forgotten that it was coming up."
"How?" the brunette gasped. "I mean, Thanksgiving with normal family can take weeks of planning, but for a family with multiple Saiyans? Bulma, I'm a seasoned pro at this sort of thing and I've been planning for two weeks already! How could you have forgotten about it altogether?"
Bulma offered a casual shrug, sipping away at her own beverage. "We don't really do Thanksgiving here," she admitted.
All of the color seemed to drain from the raven haired mother's face. "What do you mean you don't do Thanksgiving?"
Again, the heiress shrugged. "Chich, it's not that big a deal," she insisted. "My parents have never really done Thanksgiving, and it's not exactly like I have a husband who would be eager to start the tradition."
"Wait," Eighteen coolly interrupted, "are you seriously telling us that Trunks has never actually had a Thanksgiving dinner?"
"Not that it's any of your business," Bulma responded, "but no, technically he has not." Letting out a clearly agitated huff, she took another sip of her drink. "It's not like it's that big a deal anyway. He gets a feast at every meal he eats, and he lives with his entire freaking family. There's nothing that would be different about it for him, so why bother?"
With a clear sense of disdain, Chi-Chi refilled her teacup. "Honestly, Bulma," she scolded, taking a delicate sip, "it's like you don't understand the entire point of the holiday season."
"No, I get holidays," the heiress defended, glaring at her two friends. "Trust me, I put up a good long fight to get Christmas on the table. I just don't see the point in making a big deal about a holiday that really, with my crew, would be no different from any other day of the year. Believe me, it would be a total waste of time with my two."
The younger brunette shook her head. "That's not right," she condescended. "Thanksgiving is an important holiday, and I will not let Trunks go through his childhood without knowing about its significance. Now I am not trying to raise your son for you…"
"The hell you're not," Eighteen muttered, sipping her own drink.
"…but it's not right," Chi-Chi concluded, pretending she had not heard the icy blonde. "It is a time honored tradition, and it will be expected for him to know about it when he is older. You are doing him a disservice by neglecting it now."
Bulma did not look pleased at all. "Trunks knows that Thanksgiving exists," she countered. "And he knows what it is supposed to be about. We just don't make that big of a deal over it when it comes around."
"Well, that settles it," Chi-Chi firmly said, placing her teacup back on the saucer. "We'll hold it together."
All of the color immediately drained from the heiress' face. "I beg your pardon?" she asked.
"Thanksgiving," the brunette clarified, her eyes closed as she sat back, "will be hosted at my house this year, and your family is coming."
"What?" Bulma laughed in disbelief.
"Your family is coming to our place for Thanksgiving," Chi-Chi informed the heiress firmly. She quickly shifted her glance to the blonde and said, "Yours, too."
The other two women exchanged a glance. "Yeah," Bulma hesitantly responded, "I'm going to have to go with a 'no, but thanks' on this one."
"I would also like to exchange that particular sentiment," the icy blonde added.
But once that brunette had an idea in her stubborn little head, she did not let it go. "Nonsense," she chided, pulling a small notepad and a pencil from her handbag. "Now let me see here, if I'm counting correctly, I need to make enough food for five Saiyans and five humans, so I'm going to need to get…"
"Are you completely deaf?" Bulma interrupted. "We both said no!"
"You'll change your minds," Chi-Chi confidently responded, writing something down on her paper. "I know that come Thanksgiving Day, we'll all be gathered around my table, happily exchanging stories of what we are all thankful for."
Eighteen rolled her eyes. "You're delusional," she bit out.
"Definitely," Bulma agreed. "First of all, there is no way you are going to be able to fit ten people comfortably around your kitchen table. Secondly, there is no way you are going to get enough food for a five Saiyan feast on your kitchen table. Finally, and most importantly, how dumb are you?"
"Excuse me?" the brunette shot, glaring daggers at her blue haired companion.
Bulma got to her feet dramatically and swept an arm to emphasize her point. "You can't seriously expect to put Goku and Vegeta at a small table together competing for food and expect it to end well. In fact, I'd be damn impressed if you even had a house at the end of it!"
With an indignant huff, Chi-Chi focused once again on her notepad. "Very well," she relented. "We won't have Thanksgiving at my place."
"Thank God," Bulma muttered, taking her seat again.
"We'll have it at yours."
"NO, NO, NO!" the heiress shouted, jumping again to her feet.
Eighteen slid her chair back slightly, not wanting her drink to get spilled, and she smirked as she watched the show play out before her. It was always entertaining to watch those two women go head to head with each other. More than once she had considered selling tickets to such an event. She could have cleaned up and made millions.
Chi-Chi glared again at her friend. "Well, you were right," she coldly responded. "My place simply isn't big enough, so we'll have to do it here. After all, you do have the biggest place, and it's not like you've never hosted a gathering before."
"Yes," Bulma fought back, "but I have never been stupid enough to try to get Goku and Vegeta to sit at the same table! The few times that's happened, all hell has broken out!"
"It's not my fault that your husband is so uncivilized," the younger woman snipped.
Bulma's face shot to scarlet in a flash. "How dare you!" she retaliated. "How dare you blame my husband for being uncivilized when yours is the one that steals food off of other people's plates, talks with his mouth full, and has at more than one social gathering undone the top of his pants after a meal!"
Eighteen silently watched, reveling in their aggression. She might fight with the good guys, but she definitely still had a firm streak of evil running through her.
"Don't you dare insult my husband!" Chi-Chi fumed. "Goku is a good man! He's sweet and kind and…"
"And isn't all that bright and is mediocre in bed," Bulma finished, gloating.
Chi-Chi shot to her feet and stomped her foot. "What did you say about him?" she demanded.
"Oh, come on, Chich," Bulma sneered. "We've been around you long enough to know that he 'means well', but seriously, when was the last time you got off?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she countered.
"Why, yes," the heiress retaliated, "I would!"
As Chi-Chi began to absolutely sputter, Eighteen snickered into her tea. "This is better than cable," she laughed.
"YOU SHUT UP!" the other two women screeched at her. Both still furious with each other, Chi-Chi shoved the heiress, causing Bulma to topple over onto her rear.
"Now you listen and you listen good, missy," Chi-Chi growled. "We are having Thanksgiving dinner in your dining room. You better be expecting us, because Goku will be teleporting us in around noon."
Bulma scurried to her feet and shot a vicious look at her friend. "This is my house," she hissed. "It isn't your call."
"The boys will be on their best behavior," the brunette responded, seemingly unfazed. "At least, mine will be."
The heiress' eyes narrowed in reply. "Are you implying that it is my family that is going to ruin your precious holiday?"
"Well, if anyone's going to…"
"You little brat!" the scientist shouted. "I got fifty bucks that says that your family wrecks Thanksgiving dinner!"
Eighteen raised a slender blonde eyebrow at the statement. "I thought your family didn't celebrate Thanksgiving."
"This isn't a celebration," Bulma retaliated, "this is WAR!"
"Bring it on!" the brunette accepted. "I have never backed away from a challenge in my life, and I'll be damned if I'm going to step down now with you insulting my family!"
The blonde had to fight to keep from breaking down into hysterics at the theatrical display before her. "If it's a matter of pride," she offered, a malicious look on her face, "then wagering over something as trivial as money hardly seems like high enough stakes."
"Agreed!" the heiress snipped.
Chi-Chi nodded, circling around the table and going nose to nose with the blue haired beauty. "When your family ruins it," she coldly challenged, "I think it would be fun to see you clean every dish from dinner by hand…"
"Hardly a challenge," the heiress scoffed.
"…in that ridiculous bunny outfit," the brunette finished, smirking at the other woman.
Bulma fumed, but she stood her ground. "Alright," she consented, "I can agree to that if you agree to strip down to your underwear and sing 'I'm the Tops' while dancing on the coffee table."
Chi-Chi's eyes narrowed. "That's not fair," she countered. "You're making mine worse than yours!"
Eighteen finally placed her drink on the table and got up. "It seems to me that you should both have the same threat," she counseled, placing a hand on each woman's shoulder. "Since Chi-Chi does dishes by hands anyway, that probably would not be fitting. So let's just say that the woman whose family ruins Thanksgiving does the striptease. Even I'll play along. Agreed?"
"Fine by me," Chi-Chi agreed.
"Hope you wear something cute," Bulma taunted.
Eighteen smirked. Thanksgiving was going to be fantastic.
Gohan sat at the edge of his bed, his hands firmly placed in his lap. His mother had called him ten minutes earlier to announce their holiday plans, and his mind had been hovering somewhere between on and off ever since. She had mentioned that they were going to have Thanksgiving with their friends, but he knew there was more to it than that. The tone in her voice was enough to let the poor teenager know that something was amiss.
It took a while for his brain to kick into gear, but when it did, he jumped to his feet and made a beeline for the kitchen. He pulled the phone off of the wall cradle and quickly dialed Krillen's number, hoping to get some answers.
"Hello?" the short fighter answered.
"Hey," Gohan greeted, wincing at the clearly anxious tone in his voice, "I was wondering if you knew…"
"…anything about the impending doom of next Thursday?" Krillen interrupted. "Yeah, Eighteen just got off the phone with me. It was weird."
Gohan nodded, even though he was standing alone. "Did she sound like she wasn't telling you the whole story?"
Krillen sighed. "I'm guessing that your mother did the same thing, huh?" He rolled his eyes. "The girls are up to no good again. Man, it was so much easier before they became friends."
"I know," Gohan agreed. "I'm just thankful that Videl isn't with them."
"Give it time, kid," the senior warrior counseled. "Trust me, it is only a matter of time before they rope her in to their little witch's coven and introduce her to the dark side of the force. They will bring her in and teach her their little secrets about how to control men and how to get them to do every little thing they want, no matter how badly they may not want to. Your girlfriend is on the cusp of becoming one of the dark creatures that harvests men's souls and…"
"Krillen!" the teenager interrupted. "I get it already! And I really don't think that women really do that."
A sad chuckle came over the line. "Ah, so naïve, just like your father," he responded in a patronizing tone. "You'll soon learn."
Gohan rolled his eyes. His friend really had a gift for blowing things ridiculously out of proportion in order to scare others. "Listen, I'll have to call you back," he answered. "There's another call coming in."
"Good luck," Krillen said.
"Bye," Gohan laughed, switching over to the other line. "Hello, Son residence, may I ask who is calling?" he greeted.
"You know, even on the phone you sound kind of like a nerd."
It took the teenager a fair amount of willpower to not groan out loud. "Is that how they say 'hi' in your house, Trunks?"
"No, saying 'hi' in my house usually involves some form of cursing and at least two threats," the nine year old countered. "Look, we have a problem."
Gohan sighed. "Thanksgiving?"
"Yeah! What the hell is going on with that?"
"Trunks," Gohan scolded, "watch your language."
The little prince huffed as he flopped down onto his bed. "Have you not met my parents? I'm keeping it clean by our standards." He adjusted the phone to his other hand lay all the way down, staring at the ceiling. "Seriously, what are we going to do?"
"There's nothing to do," Gohan calmly stated, even though he was not nearly as relaxed as he sounded. "We're just going to all get together for dinner, Trunks. We've done that before."
Trunks brushed his bangs away from his eyes. "No, this is different," he returned with certainty. "Mom's clearly up to something."
Gohan leaned against the frame of the kitchen door, keeping an eye out for nosy family members. "Trunks, if you're so worried about this, why are you talking to me about it?"
"Because Dad's fighting it out with Mom right now trying to get to the bottom of it," the boy responded, "and since your mom was just here and she called you, I thought maybe you would know something that we didn't."
The teenager shook his head. "I know about as much as you do."
"Huh," Trunks mumbled, glancing toward his bedroom door. "I guess that means we're going to have to do a little recon work on this one. You find out what you can on your end, I'll take care of my side. Talk to Krillen, get him on this."
"He already is in on it," Gohan groaned, knowing that things were getting out of hand. "Look, don't you think that…"
"Goten's asleep in the rec room right now, I'll fill him in as soon as he wakes up."
Gohan stood up a little straighter. "Trunks, why is Goten asleep at three in the afternoon?"
"Sugar coma," the prince dismissed. "Don't worry, your mom knows about it and he'll be up in no time. Now, I don't know if we need to get anyone else to join the cause…"
"Trunks," the teenager interrupted, hearing a familiar beep on the phone, "I'm sorry, but there's another call coming in. I'll talk to you soon." Once again, the stressed out adolescent pressed the call waiting button. "Hello, Son residence, may I ask who is calling?"
"Gohan, my head hurts!"
"Drink a lot of water, Goten," Gohan responded, rolling his eyes. "You probably had too many sweets. You know you shouldn't do that."
"But they're yummy," the eight hear old whined. "And Mommy never lets us eat as many treats as Trunks' grandma does!"
Gohan once again had to suppress a groan. "Goten, you knew better than that. Look, drink the water like I told you to, and if you need anything else…" He had to pause for a moment. While normally he would tell his brother to find an adult for help, he remembered what Trunks had said about his bickering parents. "If you need anything else, go find Trunks' grandma and don't eat any more sweets."
The younger brother moaned, pressing his hand against his aching head. "Okay, Gohan," he mumbled. "Thank you."
"Happy to help," the teenager replied. "Now, there's someone else trying to call me right now, so go do what I said."
"'Kay," Goten answered. "Bye."
"Bye," Gohan responded. Once again, he pressed the button that allowed him to take the incoming call. "Hello, Son residence, may I ask who is calling?"
"I have new intel," Krillen reported.
Gohan finally let out the groan that he had been suppressing. "You guys really need to stop thinking that we're on some kind of undercover mission."
"Oh, but we are," the diminutive man assured. "They are plotting a conspiracy, and that can't mean anything good for us. We need to know everything we can."
The teenager slumped heavily back against the frame. "What did you find out?"
"Not much," Krillen answered, "but I overheard Eighteen mumbling the words 'bad behavior' and 'striptease'."
The plastic casing around Gohan's phone cracked lightly underneath the sudden increase in pressure. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?"
Krillen looked around the corner of the room, making sure that his wife was too occupied with their daughter to actually be eavesdropping on him. "Look, I can't really talk right now," he quickly explained. "We've got seven days to figure this out. Let me know anything you can find out."
"You too," Gohan answered. An odd tingling ran down to his fingertips as he finally hung up the phone. What had started out as a concern about a hair brained scheme that might end badly seemed to have become something that was guaranteed to end horrifically.
What on Earth was going on?
It was three days before Thanksgiving, and everyone was on edge. The women had agreed that in order to be a true test, they were not allowed to mention anything to anyone outside of the circle. Their families were not allowed to know what they were going to be doing and what the repercussions of their actions would be.
As such, the men and children were unbelievably tense. It was a secret to no one that the three women had gone in on something, but beyond Krillen's very brief and very disturbing report four days earlier, they had nothing. Those women were holding true to their agreement, and it was driving their families crazy.
So there they were, three days before Thanksgiving, trying to come up with a means of acquiring their information. Bulma was going to be in board meetings all day, trying to cram as much work in as possible before the holiday break. That left the compound wide open as a meeting ground.
"I don't like this," Krillen quickly said, taking a drink from his glass. "They're up to something."
"Yes, you idiot," Vegeta growled, "we established that four days ago. You do not need to be continually reminding us of the only fact we actually have!"
Trunks crossed his legs on the couch and crossed his arms over his chest. "How are we going to get more?" he wondered out loud. "We could tap their phones, but that won't do us any good if they're not calling each other over it. Since Eighteen and Auntie Chi-Chi live in small houses with other people, someone would have overheard them making a call."
"Unless they did it during the day!" Krillen realized. "During the day, Bulma and Chi-Chi are alone!"
Gohan glanced at the other tense figures in the room. In fact, everyone other than his father seemed to be extremely on edge. "Do you guys think there's a chance that we're overreacting?"
"Hardly," Vegeta snorted. "The woman talks about every damn thing she does during the day unless she's trying to sneak something by. As she has not uttered a word, she is obviously up to something." He shook his head and glared at nothing in particular. "This entire practice is ludicrous. They are celebrating the one act of peace made right before one race annihilated another, pretending that the ethnic cleansing never happened. The idea of claiming it as a reason to give thanks is absurd."
"So, do you think a phone tap would work?" Trunks sincerely asked, ignoring his father. "I know it means going after Mom's work phone, but we sneak in and out of that all the time without her noticing, so that's not a problem. But if she runs a security sweep in the next three days…"
"Then you're dead," Krillen finished, giving a knowing nod. At his feet, Marron, who sat on the floor with her legs crossed, nodded. She might not know how to figure out what the mothers were up to, but she knew what would happen if they got caught.
Gohan sighed. As badly as he wanted to maintain the peace, he definitely threw in his lot with the guys. "It's all a matter of perspective," he supplied. "Which are we going to suffer more for, invading their privacy or for going in unprepared?"
Trunks groaned and flipped off of the couch. "We don't know!" he shouted, clearly frustrated. "We don't know which is worse because we don't know what they're planning!" The little prince turned to his best friend and nudged the boy with his foot. "Goten, and you sure you haven't heard anything?"
"Yeah, I am, now stop kicking me!" the younger boy whined, scurrying behind his blonde friend for protection. He looked at the rest of the room's occupants and offered a rare scowl. "I've barely gone outside to play 'cause I've been waiting for Momma to say something."
Krillen leaned his head against the back of the chair and covered his eyes with his hands. "Man, this would be so much easier if we knew what they were thinking!"
"Yeah," Trunks snorted, "well you go find us someone who can read minds and we'll get right on that."
The short man suddenly sat bolt upright in his chair. "Goku!" he shouted.
From the kitchen, the Saiyan hollered back, "Yeah?"
"Can't you read minds?"
Goku poked his head into the room, chewing and enormous bite from an enormous sandwich. "Yeah, but I gotta have my hand on their head in order to do that."
Vegeta growled and threw the nearest object, which happened to be the TV remote, at the younger Saiyan. "Why the hell didn't you tell us that you could do that?" he demanded.
"I dunno," the tall fighter shrugged, ducking out of the way. "No one asked."
Every person in the room, including Marron, threw something at him. Most of them launched pillows, but Vegeta opted for an unoccupied armchair. "You idiot!" the prince shouted.
Gohan, who had also thrown a pillow, just stared at his father. "When did you learn how to do that?"
Again, Goku shrugged, taking another bite from his snack. "Dunno when I really learned it," he said, with bits of food flying out of his mouth, "but the first time I tried it was on Namek."
"Hold the phone," Trunks shouted, jumping onto the top of the couch in an attempt to get eyelevel with the man, "you've been able to read minds for, like, thirteen years, and you never thought that it was important for us to know about it?"
"Okay, okay, let's all stay calm here," Gohan said, getting to his feet and holding up his hands defensively. "Dad, you're going to have to read Mom's mind to find out what's going on."
Goku swallowed his food and frowned. "I'm not sure that's okay," he seriously answered. "I mean, reading her mind without telling her…"
"You didn't tell me what you were doing when you read my mind," Krillen interrupted. "You just put your hand on my head and went for it!"
The tall Saiyan was still frowning, but he was at least nodding along. "I guess I did," he admitted, "but how do I get my hand on her head long enough to do that without her getting suspicious?"
An awkward silence filled the room for a moment, followed by a very tense cough by Gohan. "Hey, kids!" he energetically called out, getting to his feet. "Let's go to the kitchen and I'll make you a snack!"
While Goten and Marron got up and made their way to the next room, Trunks stood his ground. "Gohan," he countered, "now is not the time for a snack! This is war! We need to have a great strategy if we're going to have any chance at all to…hey, hey! Put me down!"
Without missing a beat, Gohan had gotten Trunks tucked underneath an arm and strode firmly for the kitchen. He wasn't sure what Krillen and Vegeta would come up with, but he knew perfectly well that it probably not something he wanted to think about his parents doing. However, Trunks had been right in his earlier statement. Whatever was going on, only one thing was certain.
This was war.
Goku had followed through with his mission, and after a few cues from his firstborn son, he gave the others the information they needed. None of them were at all happy with the wager, since the women were gambling on who was going to fail. They had gotten together one more time, assembling their final battle plans. It was a fairly simple strategy, but it required all of them to do stay perfectly on task.
Thanksgiving morning rolled around, and every single person involved had an agenda.
The women had divvied up the responsibilities of the day a week earlier, and each one had rolled out of bed bright and early that morning to make sure their task was done. Chi-Chi, as per tradition, was in charge of the cooking. It was the universal decision, as she remained the only person in their group who could actually cook. Bulma had to get the eating quarters set up and ready with the fine china, a task that had her grimacing all morning long. And Eighteen, who was not allowed off the hook, was the official runner of the day. If either of the other women needed something gathered that was legitimately needed for the meal, she had to go out and get it.
As the hour of noon rolled around, all three of them became noticeably more anxious. Even Eighteen, who was fairly certain that she would not be the one dancing on the coffee table, was acutely aware that it was a possibility.
It was calm when the families came together. Too calm. For a group of people who never sat still and loved to make noise, it was eerily quiet. But because they were too focused on their own futures, the women did not notice just how far off that behavior was. They were not completely silent, but they were not a group that was known for polite conversation.
Everything had gotten set up without incident, an unprecedented event with that crowd. The table was set, the food was spread, and every one of them was seated around it. Just to add to the tension, and because the younger Saiyan was oblivious to just how cruel the move was, Goku and Vegeta sat directly across from one another, with Krillen immediately to Goku's right. It gave the desired effect of putting the women a notch higher on the stress scale.
"Well," Chi-Chi finally spoke, getting to her feet and smoothing out her nice skirt, "I think that it's wonderful that we're all here to celebrate this day together. And in the spirit of the day," she added, grabbing her water glass and giving her blue haired counterpart a wicked smirk, "I think that it is only appropriate for us to go around the table and for each and every one of us to say what we're all thankful for."
Bulma fumed, but she refused to bow down. "Very well," she tensely agreed, "why don't you get us started?"
"A wonderful idea," Chi-Chi taunted, raising her glass high. "I would like to say that I am thankful for my wonderful family, and that we are all together on this wonderful day." She turned to her right and smiled. "Gohan, why don't you go next?"
"Happy to," the teenager graciously agreed. Slowly, they circled the table until they reached the Prince of Saiyans.
"Okay, Vegeta," the brunette taunted, "it's your turn to tell us what you are thankful for."
Everyone in the room held their breath. Even though the guys knew that Vegeta was aware of their situation, it was hardly a mystery that he did not do what he affectionately referred to as 'mushy crap'. Returning Chi-Chi's look with his own cocky smirk, Vegeta simply lifted his glass and said, "For all I have."
The entire room was stunned, save Trunks. The young prince had pressed his lips together so hard in order to keep from laughing that they were reduced to simple white lines. He knew well enough that his dad did not like playing nice with others, but he was happy to take advantage of any opportunity he could to screw with someone's head. And, judging by the flabbergasted expressions on his mother and Aunt Chi-Chi's faces, it was a job well done.
"I," the little boy continued, letting out a small chuckle, "am very thankful for my family!"
The rest of the circle passed calmly, and all three women let out quiet sighs of relief. So far, all three of them were miraculously safe.
"Well," Bulma said, clapping her hands together, "let's eat!" She grabbed one of the dishes and immediately handed it over to Goku. "Why don't you get us started?"
"Thank you, Bulma!" the Saiyan graciously said, taking the dish. With a degree of control he had never before exhibited around food, Goku took a modest portion, calmly placed it on his plate, and handed it off to Krillen.
Chi-Chi's heart stood still. A thin layer of sweat began to form on her brow as the food made its way around the table. If there was a time for her husband to fall through, it was going to be around the food. She was so stressed about it that Gohan needed to gently prod her when the food came her way. With a very nervous smile, she served herself and kept it moving.
But Goku kept himself perfectly composed. Granted, both Gohan and Krillen were putting pressure on his foot any time they thought temptation was going to prove too much, but all the wives could see was him patiently waiting his turn and waiting for everyone else to be served.
All three women watched in disbelief as every single person at that table took their time and waited their turn. They were all on immaculate behavior.
And that was when all six eyes narrowed. They were too good. Far too good. One or two of them stepping up to the plate would have been one thing, but every single one of them being good was a clear conspiracy. "Is there something we need to know about?" Bulma sweetly asked.
"Not at all," Trunks replied, passing the basket of dinner rolls to her.
Krillen smiled as he placed some food onto his plate. "You know what this makes me think of?"
The blonde woman's icy eyes grew enormous. While her husband was by no means as destructive as the other two, she knew perfectly well about his remarkable ability to try to say something and end up offending at least one person in the room. If ever there was a chance she would end up the one on the table, that was it.
"It makes me think of how amazing it is that we have such good family and friends. We really are blessed."
Eighteen's eyes shifted instantly from wide to narrow. She carefully analyzed the group as she none to gently spooned sweet potatoes onto her plate. They know, she realized. They know and they have their own plan…She carefully glanced up at her peers. The other two women had clearly realized the same thing.
No one said a word, though. The women had agreed that anyone who talked about it would automatically lose, and none of them were going to risk humiliation to satiate curiosity. After all, the loser did have to perform a striptease on the coffee table while singing…
After that, the meal proceeded in silence, save the sounds of eating and the occasional request for food to be passed down. There was no typical Saiyan feeding frenzy, there were no death threats, there were no tasteless jokes, there was only calm eating.
The blood pressure in all three women reached new highs. It was bad enough when one or two of the others were up to no good, but it was clear that every single last one of them was in on it. And without having any idea what 'it' was, they were all being driven up the wall.
They decided to take a break between the main course and dessert, mostly for the sake of the humans who wanted time to digest. "Hey," Krillen said, "let's all go hang out in the living room and talk about old times."
It was a set-up, and everyone knew it. "Oh, I don't know," Chi-Chi casually responded, clearing some of the plates away, "why don't we just stay in here? I could have coffee ready in just a couple…"
"Nah, I don't want to impose," Krillen interrupted. "Besides, I think we can all agree that the coffee would go best with dessert. Come on, I'll even tell the first story!"
"That sounds great!" Goku agreed, getting up.
"That does sound like fun," Gohan chimed in, "but Trunks told us earlier that there was a new game he wanted to show the younger crowd, and I promised I'd see it, too. We'll just be upstairs for a little bit, okay?"
Krillen waved them away with a chuckle. "Okay, but we expect a full report on it!" As the young ones disappeared, Krillen quickly ushered the adults into the living room.
As they entered, all three women warily eyed the coffee table. They all knew what was on the line, and they all grimaced as they passed the dreaded furniture. However, they held true to their terms and did not say a word. After all, there was a microscopic chance that their men were not completely aware of what the bet was. The women calmly took seats on opposing ends of the room and maintained their composure fairly well.
"This has been fun," Krillen said, smiling at everyone in the room. "In fact, we should do more holidays together!"
"I think we should consult each other before extending that offer," Eighteen coolly answered.
The short human only shrugged, his smile not fading at all. "Well, whether we ever do this again or not, this had been fun. Hey, do you guys remember the time…"
For quite a while, Krillen, Goku, and Bulma remembered the adventures of their youth while their spouses simply listened. After a while, the women relaxed and forgot about their silly little wager. Good food, good friends, and good family could take care of that.
Suddenly, Vegeta kicked Krillen, and the human stopped in the middle of a sentence. He glanced up at the clock. "Huh, will you look at the time?"
"Yeah," Goku agreed, sharing the look, "it's later than I thought it was."
Bulma and Chi-Chi turned to look at the clock, but Eighteen glared at her husband. "You didn't," she bit out.
"Didn't what?" he innocently responded. "All we've done is sit here telling stories."
The heiress narrowed her eyes at her prince. "What did you do?" she demanded.
"You have not left me alone all day," Vegeta countered. "When was I able to get anything done?"
Chi-Chi warily looked at her love. "Goku, honey, is there something going on?"
"Why sweetie," the tall fighter answered, "what makes you think that?"
The three mothers all looked at each other. "Well," Bulma reluctantly said, "what are you going to do to us?"
"Us?" Krillen innocently answered. "Oh, we're not going to do anything. We'd never do anything to ruin such a special, wonderful day. But wouldn't you know it, it's past the kids bedtime. And kids can get grumpy when they get tired…"
Upstairs, Gohan, who had been keeping an eye on the adults, walked into the playroom and smirked. "Go for it."
Trunks sent him a look that was positively wicked. "You know, Gohan," he praised, "when you really want to, you're not half bad at causing trouble." Turning his attention to the two closest to his own age, Trunks held up his fingers to assist with the countdown. "Okay, guys, three, two, one…"
In perfect unison, all three of them screeched, "HEY, THAT'S MINE!" and began tumbling around on the floor. Downstairs, the adults could easily make out the sounds of a scuffle, and Bulma raced to the intercom unit on the wall.
"Gohan," she called out, "what on Earth is going on up there?"
There was a two second pause before the response came. "Sorry, Bulma, my hands are busy." The teenager grunted as he let the two boys tackle him. "The kids are fighting over the game." They made a little more noise before the teen added, "This is going to be a rough one…"
The women grew stiff as Bulma quietly asked, "Who started it?"
Another few seconds of rumbling sounded off before the boy offered, "You know, it really was all three of…oof…them…sorry, I've got to handle this…"
"It would appear," the Saiyan prince stated with a smirk, "that all three of you lost at the exact same time."
Chi-Chi shook her head, terror in her eyes. "How could you possibly know about it?"
Without saying a single word, both Vegeta and Krillen pointed to Goku. The tall Saiyan had a look of smugness on his face that had rarely, if ever, been seen as he leaned back on the couch, put his feet up, and placed his hands behind his head.
The brunette mother blanched. "They've totally corrupted you, haven't they?" she gasped.
Vegeta smirked from across the room. "I've never been prouder of him."
The women stood, flabbergasted at the entire scenario they had found themselves in. A simple afternoon tea a week earlier had all three of them lined up in front of their husbands, honor bound to strip to their skivvies while belting out a song, and all three of them could not help but wonder what, exactly, had possessed them to do it in the first place.
"I must say," Krillen stated, getting situated on the couch, "I am fairly sure that you, honey, did not think you'd be doing this."
As Eighteen flushed red in the face, Bulma nodded her head. "I take it you went plain white bra and granny panties?" she quietly asked.
No one in the room knew it was possible for a cyborg to take on such a remarkable shade of crimson. Growling in her alto tone, she returned with, "I was playing the odds."
"Then you have nothing to worry about!" the heiress snapped at her blonde friend. "Honestly, you're as covered as you would be on a trip to the beach! You and Chi-Chi have no problem here! I'm the one who…uh, who…"
"Dressed on auto pilot this morning," her prince smugly finished.
Bulma's face quickly matched Eighteen's. "Yes," she bit out through grit teeth. Like she did on just about every day, underneath her clothing was something lacy and skimpy, designed for after hours and not public viewing. It had not been until an hour after she had gotten dressed that she remembered that it was Thanksgiving, and by that point, she could not come up with a valid reason for changing her underwear.
Standing off on the side, Chi-Chi began to wring her hands nervously in her skirt. "Um, I, uh…could we do this some other time?"
All three men and both of the other women both leaned forward at the conservative mother. "Wait, you're only trying to change the time?" Krillen asked. "Does that mean that…?"
As Chi-Chi changed color, Bulma actually grinned at the woman. "Why Chi-Chi Son," she laughed, her hands on her hips, "are you wearing naughty little things underneath that house frock?"
Trying desperately to keep her shame unknown, and failing miserably, the brunette whispered, "I was getting to get a replay of two nights ago this morning, and I didn't have time to change after."
Unfortunately for her, every single person in the room heard loudly and clearly. No one actually spoke a word on the subject, but there was an abundance of giggling, and Krillen actually high-fived his oldest friend before pulling out a deck of cards. "Okay, guys, high card wins."
The ladies blinked in confusion. "Wait, what?" Bulma asked.
Goku smiled. "Well, none of us were happy with the idea of our wives dancing for everyone," he explained, "so we decided to go one at a time. High card first, low card last."
"You evil little bastards!" Bulma laughed, completely relieved. She looked at her friends and grinned. "I say we never make this bet again, because if my blood pressure shoots up like this again, I'm not making it to retirement!"
"Agreed," Chi-Chi sighed with relief.
Eighteen simply nodded, asking, "So who gets tortured first?"
Krillen flipped a Jack and smiled as Goku turned a six. "Why, it looks like you're up!"
"Hardly," Vegeta stated, holding up a King and smirking at his wife. "The house always wins." The prince leaned forward and growled huskily in his wife's ear, "That coffee table is going to be upstairs in two minutes, and you'd better be on it."
Krillen and Eighteen were already on their way outside. "You conniving little prat," the blonde scolded her husband. "You knew about it the whole time and let me sweat it out?"
"Hey, I can't pass up a golden opportunity when I see it," the tiny human chuckled. "And it's not like we don't have our own coffee table in our own living room."
Eighteen's blue eyes narrowed dangerously. "If the old coot is within a ten mile radius of the house when I do this," she snarled, "I am going to disembowel him."
Goku, catching the threat, laughed and wrapped an arm around his wife before leading her out of the room. "You know what I'm thankful for?" he softly whispered to his still blushing bride. As she shook her head, he smiled and nuzzled into her neck. "For my wonderful wife and my fantastic sons." Leaning in, making sure that only she could hear, he added, "Don't worry, I won't make you go through with it."
"Thank you," she whispered back.
"You know, until we get home."
Chi-Chi smacked her husband, but she smiled all the way. Truly, she was thankful for her husband, and even more thankful for bailing her out of potentially humiliating herself.
It was a thought that carried with all three of them through the rest of the night, and they gave their thanks.