Disclaimer: Dragonball Z © Akira Toriyama
Synopsis: Chi-Chi confronts herself after a humiliating situation and wonders what is appealing about herself to Goku; or if she is even appealing at all to her husband. One shot.
Gohan had not cried in awhile.
It was upon that simple reminder that she was yanked from her private musings in a brief panic.
Before, ChiChi had found herself leafing through clearance rack after clearance rack for something half-suitable this evening for Capsule Corp's fundraiser. She had been engrossed in picking out appropriate attire for her husband. More drastically, for the rare occasion he parted from proudly sporting his kame gi. That was when she had stopped paying notice.
"Aw, c'mon, ChiChi. I don't s'ppose you'd let me wear this to that thing, tonight, huh?" He pleadingly grinned; the complete picture of relaxation as he reclined in one of their mahogany kitchen chairs.
Out of years of practice she fixed him with a brisk flash of disdain. "Goku, first of all, this is not a thing—"
"D'you know how comfortable I am in this?" He gestured with his fingers splayed out to emphasis the loose and worn orange fabric. "It's like a second skin! An' you know what it means!"
She found herself prolonging an exhale through her nose as she therapeutically stirred the gargantuan pot of steaming rice. At times she just wanted to let her husband have his way. Despite him being the world's strongest fighter, his gentle and carefree tendencies still tugged at her heart. Bottom line, she found it difficult to say no to him. Which was especially why she went through the motions of being hard on him; she did not want to play the negotiation game for hours.
"I know. But please dress up. Everyone else will be too. Thank you." She left her efficient summarization there and added a bit of ground pepper to another pot.
Thinking over their conversation, and how he had pouted so afterwards, she glanced at a marked price tag.
'When did clothing get so expensive?' She had thought irritably.
It occurred to her then that she had not heard a peep out of Gohan, or Goku, for that matter. She became aware of the slight ache in her arms, caused by the dig of shopping bags within her crevices. Pausing, she lowered her limbs and absorbed her surroundings. Men's clothes were behind her; men's fragrance to the right; escalator just beyond that; cosmetic counters beyond. It was during this particular reel it dawned on her that her husband and son were no longer in tow.
Now at their absence, and bags lowered for a minute, her onyx eyes scanned for a clock. She could sincerely say she did not know how long they had been gone for. Surely, it could not have been too long. Perhaps it would be best if she merely started walking and hoped to meet them in between…
It was during this quiet stroll where she passed the men's clothing that she found herself passing the women's cosmetics on the first floor. To her left some of the women wearing crisp white coats greeted her in friendly acknowledgment. Chi-Chi politely smiled without showing her teeth back and nodded her head. On her right hand side were two more counters and she expected to repeat the process.
"Hello, how are you today? Have you tried our new long lasting foundation?" A petite older woman, with deep chocolate tresses, inquired of her. She had an accent Chi-Chi could not place and beseeching hazel eyes.
"Uh, no, no thank you —"
"Are you in a hurry? It will only take a few minutes for me to match you. How about some cheek and lip color, too? It will help so that you won't look so tired. Come sit down."
'Look so tired?'
Momentarily taken-aback, Chi-Chi was vaguely aware of being ushered into a cream colored cushiony chair. Feeling quite out of her element her previous fixation on finding Goku and Gohan dissolved. She became conscious of a few other sets of eyes on her. Perfectly made up eyes, that is. There was a display amid a tri-fold of mirrors with clean sponges, q-tips, and cotton balls beneath it. During this interlude she caught a glimpse of herself in the plethora of mirrors. She looked as how she always did; cream complexion, raven hair piled on her head, round dark eyes. Granted, perhaps she looked a bit weary, but naturally that came with raising a toddler.
"I apologize, but I really need to meet up with my husband. We have somewhere to be tonight and —"
"Somewhere to be? Oh, how perfect! Then this will be all the better for you and for your husband; it will be a nice surprise to freshen up and look nice for him."
'Look nice for him?'
Chi-Chi's initial response was rising indignation, but something struck a sensitive chord with her.
When did Goku ever genuinely thank her? More importantly, when did he ever make a comment on her appearance?
Chi-Chi was practical and valued more important factors like taking care of her family, running an orderly house, personal character. She did not want to waste time continually primping every day when there was work to be done. Yet, yet, she would be lying if she said she did not want her husband to notice her. Just once in awhile she wanted Goku's eyes to linger on her. To have those same eyes become fixated with intent the way they did before he launched into a competitive, promising battle.
She noticed how men ogled over Bulma and grinned about her exposed legs. She saw the promising, mentally satisfied smiles long after she had cleared a room. And that was completely fine with ChiChi; she was not the man appeasing type. But Goku was a different story; Goku was her husband, her love. She wanted Goku to pay attention to her sometimes. She reflected on a particularly painful memory at the 23rd World Marital Arts Tournament. After making that promise years ago, Goku had not even recognized her. It had crushed her. Was she so forgettable or was it because Goku's dedication was elsewhere?
There was a possibility that being sleep deprived with a toddler played a factor in this, and wanting some more attention from Goku, or perhaps because the accusation rang true, but regardless she could not shake the little woman's words from her head.
During these beliefs the woman had placed a translucent curve of plastic to the side of her cheek. After determining something unknown, she retrieved a small foundation bottle and was precisely blending it into her skin with the aid of a brush.
"See? Already that looks so much better," The woman proclaimed satisfied as she held up a gold-plated round mirror.
Still dazed, Chi-Chi quietly had to admit the face makeup did look nice, as her musings took a sour turn.
Goku was still a man. He obviously still got male urges. So did he merely accept her because it was a warm body in front of him? Would he be more enthusiastic if she really was something to look at?
Chi-Chi was ashamed with these thoughts. In the past she had never doubted herself before. Were matters of looks that important to make such a difference? She took care of herself and was in shape; she was a fighter, after all. She had also easily shed the remaining post pregnancy pounds as well.
Yet, was there an allure of the physical that made a significant difference?
Again, there it was; the shadowy ghost of a memory. She had essentially forced Goku to propose to her. What if she had not been as aggressive? She bit her lower lip in apprehension as the consultant swept a rose blush onto her cheeks.
Would Goku have found someone else? Someone more to his liking?
Someone he actually wanted?
It took her a second to realize she was not envisaging his voice. He had wandered back and found her. Pulling herself back into the grounds of reality she looked at the older woman in the eye and hastily stood up.
"It's my husband. Just ring me up some of that foundation," She faltered and reluctantly shrugged her shoulders, "And a couple other things you think I need."
A gleam flashed through her cat-like eyes.
"You won't be sorry. You deserve to treat yourself, and it's only to enhance your natural beauty."
'My natural tired beauty you forgot to add.'
She waited for a moment while the woman searched through some drawers and pulled different navy glossy boxes out.
"Your total including the tax."
She floundered for an instant before regaining her composure. "How does makeup come to be that expensive?"
"You're paying for the superior quality that will promise you the best and significant and long-lasting results. The foundation alone is long wearing and is thirty-five, the long wearing lip color is twenty-four…"
Chi-Chi blocked the rest of the lengthy explanation the consultant provided upon hearing Goku's questioning voice again and shook her head.
"Here," She merely thrust her debit card at the woman.
For some reason, the thought of Goku catching her buying beauty-enhancing products embarrassed her to no ends. Barely sparing the chocolate-haired woman another glance, even though she started another tangent about putting her in a client book, she lurched forward and effortlessly spotted Goku a few meters away. He was looking around the fork in the isles holding Gohan in the crook of his arm and a large Coke product in the other.
A big smile spread across his mouth as warm and clear as honey when he laid his eyes on her.
"I knew I sensed your chi somewhere around here! Figured you wouldn't have gone off too far."
"I was wondering what took you so long too. Get something to eat?" She nodded her head at the paper Coke cup as she surreptitiously slipped her buy into her purse.
Goku's smile expanded into a full-fledged grin apologetically.
"Me an' the little man needed to take a break for brain food. I dunno how you don't get dizzy with all those racks swirling around you."
"It's okay," she reassured him distractedly, "But we have to get moving. We still have to go home, change, and drive to the fundraiser."
"Do I hafta wear —"
Her expression cut him cleanly off halfway through his protest.
She now only felt mildly guilty about her purchase after he managed to object this evening's apparel mere seconds after being reunited with her.
Stumbling as she tucked her left foot into a high heeled shoe she simultaneously glanced at the clock on the wall. Five-forty five. They had to be there in fifteen minutes. Chi-Chi's alarm welled up in her chest like a nauseating monster.
Then she heard her father's energetic voice holler into their little home. That was one less thing she had to worry about then, thankfully.
Lowering herself into the small vanity chair she peered into the mirror in their bedroom. To help calm her nerves, she took a large sip of champagne from the flute she brought in. Then she scowled and puckered her lips before she applied one more coat of cherry lip color. From the time she had after arriving home it had been even more chaos. She had to scramble to put Gohan's small dinner in the fridge, along with bathing and changing him, dress Goku (who despite being the world's strongest fighter still could not figure out the basics on adorning evening attire), and then get herself ready which took additional time thanks to the extras to complete the beauty routine.
Well, with that being said, she felt satisfied with the result.
For once she left her hair fall in night waves down her back. She had chosen a deep olive satin dress to wear that was strapless and embraced her figure until it smoothly cut off above the knees. She had taken extra care to create what was called "the smoky eye" look and used the foundation brush to give the illusion of surreal flawless skin. It was during this primping application she pondered the cause and effect of this whole ritual.
A nagging feeling told her that she lacked her usual confidence for some reason. Why did she feel compelled to spend nearly one hundred dollars on cosmetics to enhance her looks? Was it really that imperative she use constant additional help? Having a better sense of her bearings, and being a bit more stress-free after the glass of champagne, she berated herself.
Why had she let some random woman make her feel less than good about herself? What did that old codger know about her or her and her husband's relationship? It was unlike herself to let someone else surreptitiously bring her down like that; a stranger to make her feel unsightly.
If she were to be sincere would any of this idiocy really matter to Goku? Would he even notice? She stared at herself and thought it was a nice change, but really not her. It was not her personality to spend so much time worrying about her appearance beyond the basics. Unless she strapped grilled salmon and rice to her, she'd doubt he'd notice a change, anyway.
Goku was Goku. If he was not at least satisfied with her, he'd be honest to say so, right? She could only believe so, in this case. Unless he felt that terrible about hurting her feelings…
There was a haphazard tapping at the door and her father, the Ox King, peered in.
"Hello there, Chi-Chi! Good to see ya, sweetheart. Sorry to be brisk, but do you know what time it is? You and Goku gotta go, go, go!"
She smiled at her father and quickly gave him a hug to the best of her ability. Although, a bit difficult, being it was like squeezing a colossal barrel. The Ox King pulled back to get a better look at her, and dramatically placed a hand to his chest as if to steady his heart.
"Wow, you do something different with your hair? You look stunning!" The Ox King complimented with authenticity.
She let out a giggle at his good-natured silliness. "Thank you, Dad. Where is Goku?"
"I'll go get him and tell him that you're ready. Have fun and please tell everyone I said a warm hello. Oh, and if you happen to get your hands on any leftover bags, that'd be great too," He winked as though they were conspirators.
Still smiling to herself she had just picked up her evening clutch and quickly gulped the remnants of her champagne down when her husband bounded through their bedroom door without knocking. He had cleaned up nice in dark slacks, and a grey button-up with a matching black tie. But she had to admit, it was a bit strange seeing him out of his comfort zone. He waved at her as if they were in a public place and she was across the room from him.
Just the mere sight of him caused a familiar lurch in her heart and she felt warm with love and admiration for him.
It was on those balmy thoughts, drifting like a beach breeze, that she became conscious of Goku gazing at her intently. He arched an eyebrow and leaned back on his heels awkwardly.
"Chi-Chi, you got some kind of paint or sauce or something on your face. I think." He stared at her with solemn intention.
Her husband hesitated for only a moment longer more when she did not saying anything back. After a final inspection, he hastily leaned in and kissed her mouth; hard. Then once more another kiss before he pulled back, licking his own lips.
"There, that got some of it off. You ready to go to the thing?"
Chi-Chi blinked in surprise and then lowered her eyes, lost in a confidential smile.
"Yes, Goku. I'm ready to go to the thing."
A different look at the Chi-Chi and Goku relationship with focus on if she ever feels insecure at times. I always felt it must be so difficult to be Chi-Chi; to be in love with a man like Goku who is so good, yet not a good husband. I did not want to dwell on specifics too much to reflect the fast-changing pace of their life. Hope you enjoyed this unusual angle. Comments, questions, reviews are appreciated!