Author's Note

The review count has met a new low. If this keep us, guys, I'm gonna update slower. At least tell me what I'm doing wrong.

And as a heads-up, I'll be gone for a week anyway...

As for Chi-Chi, I know what she's doing may be a little OOC for her, but this is all part of the plot. I swear I'm not bashing on her; I love her, she's beautiful and scary!

P.S. Noriko annoys me more than my other two OCs. She's a polite goody-goody two shoes. *eye twitch*.

"What do you want to do for a living, Son Gohan?" Noriko asked when the silence became unbearable. She jotted down the next line in her essay before returning her eyes to Gohan. He was sitting at his desk, presumably looking up answers in the textbook in front of him while she sat on the edge of his bed and finished her own homework with her lap functioning as her desk. Chi-Chi had insisted it was a "bonding activity."

"Hmm? Oh." Gohan glanced at her inattentively with a forced smile and turned back to his work. Noriko's responding smile felt fake as he said, "I was thinking about being a professor."

Noriko swallowed and wracked her mind for something to say, anything that would carry on the conversation and break the ice. But all she could think of was, "That's an excellent choice."

So that's it? Noriko thought with a mental sigh. That's all we can talk about?

"How...about you?" Gohan asked quietly, placing his hand on the back of his neck and not really looking at her. Well, at least she knew him enough to recognize that gesture.

"I was thinking about becoming a doctor," she replied, smiling and nodding to herself.

"Oh?" Gohan managed. He had a few things to say to that, but his throat felt too thick to speak.

"Yeah." Noriko twirled a finger in her free-falling bangs, sighing as she knew this conversation was going nowhere. If Chi-Chi had thought they'd hit it off right away, she had never been wronger. Both of them were thinking about someone else and could hardly stomach the awkwardness.

And Noriko was done pretending.

"Gohan," she said in a voice more powerful than before. Gohan spun around in his chair in surprise, seeing her expression set firmly in determination. He blinked; she'd never called him by his first name before.

"Uh, y-yeah?" he sputtered.

Noriko shook her head and palmed her forehead. "This is ridiculous."

Gohan dropped his pencil and fully faced her. "What is?"

Noriko bit her lip and eyed him sympathetically. "You think Videl doesn't want to see you, right?"

"That's what Mom said," Gohan murmured, watching his feet shift on the floor. "I understand. Videl doesn't want the media to think we're dating or anything." Gohan's heart sank to the depths of his stomach at the thought. He'd dreamed of Videl's smile last night, but now that she was gone, he wondered if this was really the nightmare. It certainly felt like it.

"That's not true."

Gohan's eyes whipped up, mouth hanging in surprise while Noriko's features remained tightly fixed. "Wh-what do you mean?"

"I mean..." Noriko's voice abandoned her for a moment and she sighed, watching her thumbs twiddle in her lap. Maybe I can't tell him. It'll ruin his relationship with his mother. But her eagerness was rejuvenated when she saw the hopefulness carving Gohan's face. He needs to know, she realized. "You think about Videl a lot, don't you?"

There was a moment's hesitation. "Yes."

" have no desire to marry me when we turn twenty," Noriko said with a heavy sigh. "And neither do I."

Gohan shook his head and smiled weakly. "Ah...yeah." His eyes dropped again. "But we don't have a choice," he said in defeat.

Something inside Noriko winced. She hated to hear anyone talk like that.

"I think we can find a way." Noriko clenched the fabric of her kimono in her fist and Gohan arched an eye brow, leaning in slightly. She took a deep intake of air. "The truth is, Videl hasn't been avoiding you. She's been calling and calling-that wasn't insurance as Miss Son said. After Sentou came and told you about the scoop and the price to not have it published, Miss Son decided...well you know what happened." They both gave frail smiles. "She's afraid something else like that could happen-so she wants you away from Videl."

"What!" Gohan cried and jumped from his seat, looking as if his jaw would drop to the floor. Noriko was a tad frightened by the fury and disbelief twisting in his eyes.

"Calm down," Noriko said in an assuring voice, a triumphant grin accompanying it. "I have a plan."

Erasa stood by Sharpner's house phone, tapping her flip flop-clad foot on the kitchen floor impatiently as she awaited that one important phone call. It had been difficult explaining to Sharpner why she had visited to use his telephone without giving too much away. Basically, she'd informed him that she'd lost her cell phone and he already knew they'd gotten rid of their house phones, so luckily he'd allowed her for the second time to use it. The first time she'd had to call up that one person who had promised to call her back.

So she glanced and glanced at the plain black phone until finally, it rang. Erasa picked it up and held it to her ear before the first ring even finished. "Hello?" she burst.

The relief filled Erasa head to toe when the one she was hoping for replied, "Miss Rubber? Good evening."

"Did you tell Gohan?" Erasa asked, wanting to get to the point.

"Yes-can you bring Videl, please?"