Happy New Year everyone!
I apologize for the delays in updating my story. I hope you will forgive me. I want to thank all of you for the amazing amount of reviews for my last chapter, and thanks to all of you, I got my goal of 500 reviews! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The busy season started up at my work, and I've been working a lot the past couple of months. I did not have much free time to write, not with the holidays around also. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. I spent mine cooking early that morning, then going to Walmart with my husband and spending 10 hours there to get a 70" HD flat screen TV and my Beats By Dre headphones. Black Friday is INSANE. Never again…..unless it's really worth it lol.
Christmas just happened, and I hope all of you had a great Christmas with your family and loved ones. My husband and I and our two kids got rear-ended at 70+ MPH on the freeway on Christmas eve as we were heading out of town for Christmas, so that put a damper on our holiday. No worries though, we are all okay, and walked away from it just fine. Our vehicle got totaled, but hey, tangible items can be replaced, but our lives cannot be, and we are grateful and thankful that we all came out okay and that we are here today.
I hope everyone had a fun New Years! After work, my husband and I hosted a bonfire at our house, and spent the night drinking, grilling food, and talking with great friends almost all night. I managed to finish my chapter today, since New Year's Day is my only day off for the week. Like I said, I've been unbelievably busy the past two months, and what little time that I could manage, I tried working on this chapter.
The hardest part of this chapter was definitely the beginning. Originally I was going to start off this chapter with a resolution. I had intended to, since I had shortened the last chapter, and wanted to use what I had cut off as the beginning of this one, but after much contemplation and discussion with my husband, my chapter outline and plot changed a lot, and it left me trying to find a new beginning. The ending of this chapter was something I already had planned out since I first started writing this story a year and a half ago, so I'm very excited to finally get this chapter out to all of you!
There shouldn't be any tears in this chapter, so I don't think you'll need any Kleenex. By the way, I felt bad about making some of you cry with the last chapter. It humbles me though, to know that readers can feel my emotions and Bulma and Vegeta's emotions. Hopefully it makes for a better story, right? That's what I like to think, at least lol.
Alright my wonderful readers, this is another long chapter, so I hope you are sitting down in a comfortable spot, with some yummy snacks and drinks. Enjoy!
I take a deep breath every time I pass your door.
I know you're there,
but I can't see you anymore.
And that's the reason you're in the dark.
I've been a stranger ever since we fell apart.
Chapter 21- Embers In The Ashes
Bulma flipped her welding mask up and away from her face. It was suffocating her; behind it, the hot, muggy air had been stifling. Now she took in a much-needed breath of fresh air as she used the back of her hand to wipe a moderate layer of sweat away from her forehead. She ran her palm over her face and down her neck, guiding the moisture away from her skin as she then flicked the sweat off of her hand. The intense look on her beautiful face remained; her seriousness lingering steadily on her features as she tilted her head sideway, studying her work with a harsh, unforgiving, critical eye. After a few moments, she found satisfaction.
Her tireless efforts were finally beginning to pay off. Her engineering was absolutely flawless, this much she already knew. As of late, she had thrown herself full-force into this project, dedicating every waking moment to it. The architecture and metalworking of all the raw materials had been painstakingly measured, precisely cut, and carefully shaped into life. Her ingenuity remained unrivaled and her trade skills were unmatched. Her welding was utter perfection, and she knew it. She tipped her chin upward for a moment, proud of her extraordinary industrial skills. "That's good, boys! Thank you." Bulma yelled loudly as Riko's team gently, and very slowly, removed their large hands away from the enormous section of metal they were helping to support and keep vertically standing. Granted, the heavy-duty machinery, along with the metal frame and studs, were holding up and supporting the bulk of the weight. She had clamped and bolted each of the four sections of the metal wall to the frame and studs yesterday, before welding them permanently to each other and to the foundation today. She had reassured them that the machines, the frame, and studs would keep the 2 ½ ton wall sections securely in place as she worked, but they wouldn't lie…a few thoughts ran through their minds that the welds would not hold, or the studs or frame would bend and buckle under the strenuous weight, and any of the metallic plates would come crashing down on the human engineer and kill her instantly. But no such thing happened, as her engineering proved to be perfection; her construction sound, as her work held strong and true…and the ogre-like aliens continued to marvel at the genius she truly was.
"Nice." Bulma said with a smug smile, taking a few steps backward, admiring only one wall of the gravity room to have been raised. Seeing it finally erected brought much pride to her, but still, she could only enjoy the success of this phase of construction for a short moment. There would be time enough in the future to truly gloat about the limitlessness of her genius because she still had a hell of a lot of work ahead of her, but seeing at least one wall to the gravity room finished brought her much relief. "Alright, boys! Break time! Fifteen minutes starts now!" she shouted, before nearby workers quickly reverberated the message, passing it on loudly throughout the construction site to the others works who were not in range to hear her.
Bulma observed them in quiet contemplation, highly tempted to take a break also, but no….the sands of time were beginning to quickly run out on her, and she would not rest until the task she was given was complete. Last week she had finished constructing the dual power cores and programming them, connecting them to Vegetasei's power grid. That in itself was an admirable accomplishment, and quickly thereafter, she had begun laying down the foundation for the gravity room, routing the power lines, wiring, cables, fiber optics, lighting, and piping along the way as she and Riko and his team built the floor. The foundation and flooring had been completed two days ago, and Bulma quickly moved on to the next step, which was raising the walls of the room and welding them together.
So much work still left to do, and so much precious time she had wasted. She had lost out on the first week or so of construction time from her terrible falling-out with Vegeta, and dealing with the backlash and fallout from her cancelled nuptials on Earth. Bardock kept being a nuisance as he called her into the medical ward a couple of times a day, trying to nurse her back to decent health and keep her well. She adored Bardock, but not when he seemed to choose the most inopportune times; usually she ended up being called away from her work when she was on a roll and so focused on what she was doing. It put her in a foul mood to lose out on more construction time, not to mention she kept forgetting the lighting for the construction site the first couple of days after they began excavation. Not being able to work through those nights had set her back.
Oh, and the cherry on top was, of course, her very own foundation being rocked and falling to crumbles when she had her second falling-out with Vegeta in the middle of this whole process.
No, the sands of time would not yield for anyone, not even her. She was halfway through her 6 week deadline, which was a 5 week deadline. Vegeta said he needed the gravity room sooner, but he had told her to forget about any deadlines…and honestly she was not sure if the 6 week deadline was still okay with him, or if he really meant what he said about her not having a deadline anymore. So to play it safe she self-imposed a 5 week deadline, and hoped that she could finish it in the time she allotted herself. She was under immense pressure trying to get the gravity room built, programmed, and ready on time. Coffee was failing her; she was starting to feel sluggish the last couple of days. It was starting not to work on her anymore. Maybe she needed it to be stronger, or perhaps her tolerance for caffeine was just too high now. It didn't help that she kept her sleep at a bare minimum so that Bardock wouldn't bark at her about her health, but this gravity room was the most important thing to her right now. It kept her mind busy and distracted.
In all honesty, it kept her from breaking down into an emotional mess.
The brilliant engineer breathed out a huff of determination as she reminded herself of this as she began to walk toward the center of the gravity room floor, where her workstation was now located. She tore the heavy welding helmet off her head in the process and tossed it carelessly aside, hearing the echo of the loud bang as it hit and scraped against the metallic floor.
"You know, you should be more careful with how you treat my gravity room." Vegeta remarked, appearing in front of Bulma from what seemed to be out of nowhere, making his royal presence known to her. The prince gave no indication of knowing he had startled her or not as he eyed her welding helmet on the floor, displeased, before looking back over at her.
Bulma huffed at his scolding as she gave him an uninterested look. "The irony. You telling me to be careful with the gravity room." she said neutrally as she managed to smoothly side-step him, going around him to continue on her way to her workbench. A tremble of unease still traveled through her as she passed by Vegeta, and she tried to hide it as best she could by reaching up to smooth down any stray strands of hair that may have become disheveled from the helmet. She re-tightened her ponytail, feeling self-conscious. She reached her workbench and placed both hands down on it, closing her eyes for a few seconds before opening them back up, needing to find some inner strength. By now she had almost become used to Vegeta appearing from out of nowhere.
Alright, perhaps she was still a bit traumatized. His abrupt and unannounced appearances in front of her still made her weary. After all, there had not been a favorable track record of good things happening between them when he used his instant transmission technique to teleport to her. Over a week and a half ago he had broken their silence and separation by appearing from out of nowhere and scaring the crap out of her, demanding to know why she was on Vegetasei…and after some miscommunication and confusion…demanding to know why she hadn't married Yamcha. Then after pouring her heart and soul out to him while he was in the healing tank. Afterward, she thought she had time. Thought he wouldn't want to talk to her again after she confessed her side of the story. Thought she would be able to get off the planet before he got out of the tank…but before she knew it, he arrived from out of nowhere again, only for them to yell and argue and scream at each other and have a second falling out.
That time, it had been much, much worse. The more she tried to fix things between them and make amends, the more broken they seemed to become. The more they argued and yelled at each other, the more their separation was becoming permanent. The distance and hurt had grown so largely between them that she was sure nothing in the universe could bring them back together.
In one last anguished plea, she watched the man whom she loved so deeply walk away from her. He had been a cold-hearted, unyielding, raging inferno of a Saiyan prince. She had adamantly called upon his promise to her from long ago, demanding that he remember that no matter the distance between them, no matter what happened, they would always have each other. At the time she had stood against Vegeta bravely, managing to bore her azure eyes straight into his dark, obsidian eyes as she inadvertently laid it all down on the line, demanding that they settle everything once and for all, and see if their connection to each other was truly destroyed. At the very pinnacle of their heartache, when it had come down to it, Vegeta had relented, answering to her demand. He had told her that he never lied, and he gave her a glimmer of hope that yes, they were going to be okay again someday. It was a week ago he had told her this, and since then, Bulma did not have a single idea at all of what was going through Vegeta's mind.
So had he forgiven her?
Had he not?
Were they okay now?
She couldn't tell.
Ever since, things had been awkward and uncomfortable between them. Well…awkward and uncomfortable for her. Honestly, she had no idea how Vegeta was feeling about anything anymore. He was unreadable now, his walls and defenses built up so high against her that she was sure he would never let her past them again. The sadness that had stemmed from that realization only served to dishearten her even more in her hopes that one day they were going to be okay again. She knew Vegeta better than anyone, yet when her eyes fell upon him, she could not read him anymore. She could not decipher his body language, could not get a hint of what emotions…or lack thereof…were brewing within him. He no longer avoided her presence…but he no longer tried to seek out her company either. Since their second falling-out, the only time he did talk to her was out here at the construction site, and it was always over his gravity room. Otherwise, she received nothing more from him, and nothing less.
It confused her to no end.
Bulma remained silent as she looked downward, vaguely wondering how long it would be until she could feel comfortable around Vegeta again and not tense up when he appeared. She began lightly shuffling through the paperwork on her station, looking for the schematics for the second wall of the gravity room.
Vegeta had nothing to say; his head slowly following along with Bulma's motions as she walked around him, distancing herself away from him. His fingertips twitched slightly, the tip of his tail gently flicking a few times against his hip as he ignored her helmet on the floor, his attention fully on her now. He followed behind her to her workstation in silence, studying her. His dark eyes traced the outline of her body, unable to get a clear read on her. For the thousandth time, he wished she had a tail. He stopped when he was a good five feet away from her, keeping his distance. He noted that she remained silent, seemingly concentrating on her work, or perhaps she was trying to ignore him. "I see you have a wall up."
Hearing his words made Bulma raise her head and turn to look at him strangely for a moment. She was unsure if Vegeta was using her in reference to a metaphor or not. She watched as he turned his head, studying the wall that her and her team just raised. He was probably talking about his gravity room wall. "It's only one wall of the room. Don't get too excited." she said simply, grabbing a water bottle from her portable mini fridge and taking a few sips from it.
"It's progress." Vegeta remarked as he crossed his strong arms over his broad chest, continuing to look at the newly raised wall. None of this looked anything like the gravity room that he was used to. His gravity room was round. Curved. A large sphere. There were no long, straight walls. What in the hell was she building? But he had to trust in her. He had to trust in what she was doing, because by the look of the construction site and from the foundation of this room, this was something massive. His gaze remained impassive as he turned his attention away from the wall and back to her. "How long until it is completed?"
Bulma pressed her lips into a straight line as she received his question, avoiding a direct look into his eyes as she chose to stare at the wall this time. She shrugged, unable to give him an exact time frame. "A while, still."
Vegeta huffed, not entirely pleased that his gravity room wasn't going to be finished anytime soon. Then again, he had told her she no longer had a deadline, so he could not force her to finish it sooner. Well, he could, but what good would it do? His handsome face furrowed into a slight frown. Besides, the woman did not need the extra pressure and burden upon her shoulders of the Colds arriving on Vegetasei in a couple of months. His parents may not have viewed them as a credible threat, but he sure as hell did. His training and sparring with his bodyguards and Kakarot would have to continue until his gravity room was complete. He only hoped he would be strong enough to defeat any threat that may come to them.
Vegeta uncrossed his arms from his chest, realizing the dark direction his thoughts were going in. He looked past Bulma and over to her workstation. He then gave her a irritated glance. "The gravity room would not take nearly as long to build if you were more organized." he said in annoyance as he walked up next to her, turning his attention to her messy, unorganized desk.
"Huh?" Bulma couldn't help but say she snapped out of her trance, taking her attention away from the wall and saw Vegeta next to her, rummaging through her desk. "What are you doing?" she asked in genuine confusion.
"What does it look like? I'm organizing your mess." Vegeta said gruffly, shuffling through numerous sheets of paper and blueprints and schematics, trying to find some sort of order to put things in.
Bulma arched an eyebrow for a moment, unsure of how to respond. Her mouth dropped open slightly, disbelieving of what he was doing as she watched him numbly for a moment, before suddenly feeling like her territory was being invaded. "It's not a mess! I know where everything is." she reasoned in irritation as she grabbed a stack of papers he held in his gloved hand.
Vegeta grabbed them right back from her, giving her a skeptical look. "No, you don't." he told her rather assuredly. "Otherwise you would not waste time constantly searching for something you need."
"How would you know how much time I spend looking through my paperwork?" Bulma muttered in annoyance as she rolled her eyes slightly at him. "Besides, it's an organized chaos!" she defended as she quickly tried to dart her arm out and reach for her stack of papers again, pushing against him as he held her paperwork outward, keeping it far away from her reach.
"There is no such thing as an 'organized chaos', woman. That is what lazy people say to excuse their lack of discipline in keeping their belongings organized." he replied as he gently elbowed her away, getting the point across that she was not going to get her way.
"Stop! You're messing everything up!" Bulma complained as she gave up on trying to get the stack of papers from his hand. Instead, she pushed on his arm to move him away from her workstation. "Go take your OCD somewhere else, Vegeta! Seriously! Look…you've messed up the sequence of my blueprints!" she griped, starting to get genuinely irritated with him.
"There was no sequence to begin with." Vegeta said as he shook his head in annoyance as he held out the papers, which Bulma quickly nabbed. He then picked up a disheveled, worn down notebook and turned to her, holding it up and waving it around a bit. "Can't you put all these loose sheets in a binder? Or a filing cabinet? For Kami's sake, woman, how can you work like this? There is trash everywhere." he said as he went to toss the notebook away in a nearby trashcan she had.
"Vegeta, no, I need that!" Bulma squealed in alarm as she quickly swiped it away from his grasp and held it against her chest. She shot him an aggravated look. "Will you just get out of here and let me work?!" she said, waving her free hand in the air as if she was shooing him away.
"Did you not just call for a fifteen minute break?" the prince asked, raising an eyebrow at her in question.
"Yes, for Riko and the team. Not for me." she said, slightly exasperated. "I have an enormous amount of work still left to do, and despite what you think, I can actually work in this 'mess'. This is just the way I work! Just because you can't understand it, doesn't mean it doesn't work for me!"
"Hn." Vegeta took a few moments to mull over her words. "Fair enough." he remarked, taking a few steps back, away from her desk. He watched as Bulma shot him a suspicious look, making sure he was going to stay away from her workstation, before she turned her attention back to all the crap on her desk. The prince lowered the red eye piece on his scouter over his eye, pressing a button, checking the time. He still had a few minutes before he had to get back to inside the war room. He walked around Bulma, over to her mini-fridge at the side of her workstation, reaching down and opening it up. His disappointed sigh was hard to miss as he glanced inside of it before grabbing a water bottle. "Seriously, woman, even this fridge is a mess."
Bulma let out a heavy sigh, turning to look at him. The clear message behind the look she gave him was 'It's rude of you to grab something out of my fridge without asking.' She placed her hands firmly on her hips. "Are you going to stop OCDing on me, or not?!"
"No." was his honest answer as Vegeta proceeded to open his water bottle and take an extra long drink from it, all the while looking at her while he did so. His look answering back with 'I do what I want. I don't have to ask you.' It was a defiant look. He was challenging her. But, unexpectedly, he did not elicit any reaction from her. He thought at the very least that Bulma would shoot him an annoyed glare…but instead, he caught the icy look on her face before she turned her attention away from him again. After finishing his drink, Vegeta tilted his head a bit, studying her with an impassive look, his dark eyes remaining sheltered as he wondered just what was the matter with her.
"Anything else about the gravity room you came to ask me about?" he heard her ask him in a snappish tone.
He crushed the plastic bottle in his fist. "No." Vegeta replied, his own tone of voice conveying frustration as the prince decided to just leave her alone. As of late it seemed the woman did not want his presence around. Each time he came to check on the gravity room, she seemed to be fine, but as soon as he would try to get her to bicker with him, or when he would make an attempt at any sort of banter with her, she would abruptly shut down and turn icy on him, as she had done just now. He had no time to find out what her malfunction was, for he was an insanely busy man and had very few minutes to spare in his day. The woman was unhappy with him over something, but without another word to her, he raised his fingertips to his forehead and teleported back to his father, leaving her to the solitude she seemingly wanted.
Even with her back to him, Bulma could somehow sense when Vegeta left the area. She released a heavy breath she didn't realize she had been holding as she placed the palms of her hands flat on her desk and hung her head down for a moment. She slowly rolled her neck, feeling the tension coming off from her in waves as she tried to relax. She didn't understand what was going on with Vegeta, and it unnerved her. She couldn't understand how he could act like things were okay, as though nothing happened between them. Only a couple of times over the past week or so, had he attempted to speak to her about something other than his gravity room, and when he did so, she did not know how to react, other than defensively. She still felt vulnerable and completely exposed, especially when Vegeta was still so sheltered and unemotional toward her. How else could she react to his behavior? They had gone through a terrible, stressful, emotional falling out. They had admitted their feelings for each other. Yet, here they were, not talking to each other about anything that happened between them, the bad or the good, since that rainy morning outside when they had their last confrontation. Did it all mean nothing now?!
It was driving her absolutely insane.
Were her and Vegeta on the path to healing and amending their connection to each other, or were they too damaged to ever be truly okay again? She was already tired of feeling like she had to walk on eggshells around him, trying not to anger him or make him unhappy with her, or do anything to set them back more than they already were. But Vegeta…for the life of her, she could not get a read from him. He was acting civil with her, and she did not know if it was a good sign or not. Was Vegeta still infuriated with her? Did he not care for her anymore? Was he really able to put things behind them so easily and move on? How could he, when even she couldn't move forward?! Bulma wasn't sure how much longer she could take this sense of not knowing where she stood with him. She couldn't stand not knowing what Vegeta was thinking or feeling when it came to her. She hated hovering over an invisible fine line between them, not having a clue on where the line was, or which side of the line she was on.
But Vegeta…he already knew where the line was and what side he was on, because he had already crossed it.
I am never going to figure this out!
Bulma growled as she pushed herself away from her desk, her chair rolling back from the motion before standing up out of it. Maybe she was just exhausted. Maybe she was stretching herself too thin. Maybe she just had too much stress on her shoulders. Maybe what she needed was a nice, relaxing spa day. The beautiful engineer shook her head, knowing that a day off to go to the spa was a very long time away. She stretched out her arms and her back, already feeling aches from sitting down in front of the computer for a couple of hours. It had been 4am in the morning, and she couldn't sleep for shit most of the night. So, like the workaholic that she was, after tossing and turning for awhile, she decided to get up, get dressed, and head to her lab and work on the gravity formula.
Now dawn was approaching soon, and she had made very little progress on the formula. Bulma sighed despondently as she poured herself another cup of coffee, hoping it would help fuel her through another grueling day as she ran on limited sleep. She walked back toward the direction of her desk, grabbing the backrest to her chair along the way, rolling it alongside her and smoothly sliding the chair beneath her to sit down on as she reached her desk. She took a few tentative sips of her coffee, vaguely thinking to herself that she just might be starting to get tired of her beloved drink.
Her not liking coffee anymore? It would be an atrocity.
Bulma jiggled her wireless mouse, waking her computers out of screensaver mode. At once, her multiple screens displayed her long algorithmic formula, along with quantum abstract equations that very few in the galaxy could understand. For what felt like the thousandth time, she glanced over all the calculations on her screens, and her troubled eyes reflected the fact that she did not know where she went wrong, and why she could not find the error in her calculations. Her expression remained concerned and worried, feeling the pressure not only to get the gravity room built, but also functional. What good would a 'gravity room' be if the gravity was inoperative?! How could she design a room to withstand up to 2,000G's but only still be able to output the same capacity as the one on Earth? It completely defeated the purpose of building Vegeta such a large, elaborate training room. She could just imagine it now: 'Well, Vegeta, I spent millions of credits to build you this amazing gravity room, but I can only get it to go as high as 400G's, just like the one back on Earth. I designed your new room for 2,000G's, but I couldn't figure out the correct calculations to get the gravity output so high, so you will just have to deal with the same 400G limit that you had before, even though it no longer challenges you. Enjoy.'
Oh yeah, that was going to go over really well with him.
Imagining Vegeta's angered reaction only served to give Bulma a little more panic over how dire this situation was becoming. She thought she had time, she kept putting it off, but now that her desired completion date for the gravity room was 2 weeks away, she needed to figure out this formula now. She needed to upload the formula into the gravity room's main hard drive and calibrate the gravitational settings as soon as the very last bolt and weld on the construct was complete.
Vegeta stood in front of Bulma's lab door, sensing her ki signal heightened. Lately, he could sense her no matter where on Vegetasei she was, whether her ki was calm and relaxed or frazzled and stressed. He had just gotten out of the shower after emerging from his healing tank, and he had sensed she was awake. Normally at this time of the early morning, she was asleep and her ki at rest, but she was awake right now for whatever reason…and apparently she was as restless as he was. Now here he was, standing in front of the lab door, unsure if he wanted to disturb her. He could have instantly teleported himself to her, but as of late that seemed to be something that displeased her greatly. The prince eyed the numerical keypad, seeing the red light flash steadily above it, signifying she was busy and was not to be disturbed. He had always been the exception to her rule, though. Even if she was busy and didn't want to be disturbed, she would always allow him to stay in there with her, even if his presence disrupted her work. He vaguely wondered if this still held true. The prince raised his hand, his fingertips twitching slightly as he hovered them over the keypad, trying to think of what her passcode was. Before, it had always been the numerals of his birthday, according to Earth's calendar, but after everything…he wondered if she had changed it or kept it. He typed in the 8-digit code that signified his birthday, and after a moment, the keypad beeped once in acceptance, and the flashing red light turned a solid green. The lab door made an audible click as the locking mechanism released, granting him access.
As Bulma ran through her calculations again, she heard the distinct sound of her lab door being opened, and solid footsteps heading toward her. She didn't need to turn around to know who it was. She was relieved that he didn't use his instant transmission to appear out of nowhere and startle her again. "I'm busy." she said in a lightly annoyed tone.
"I can see that." Vegeta replied matter-of-factly, walking up alongside her desk next to her, seeing abstract mathematical computations littering her multiple computer screens, as well as her desk. He inwardly sighed as he crossed his arms over his chest, displeased at the mess she insisted to work in, but he decided it was not worth bringing up again. He glanced back up at the screens, hearing the rapid click of her fingernails on her keyboard as he watched her work for a few minutes. The uncomfortable silence between them needed to be broken. "It's early. What are you working on?"
Bulma kept her eyes on her computer screens as she heard Vegeta's question. His inquiry was odd. She had to wonder if he was just asking because this was related to his gravity room, assuming he was there to check on its progress like always…or if he was genuinely curious about why she was awake so early and what was so important that she had to lose sleep over it. She couldn't decipher anything from him anymore, and it was frustrating. "The gravity formula." she answered simply, hoping her answer satisfied him and he would leave her alone. She didn't know why he was there. What the hell was he doing up so early also? Shouldn't he be asleep too?
"Gravity formula?" Vegeta repeated in question, his face turning stern as he glanced over the screens again. "Why? Is there something the matter with it?" He was surprised; after all, usually all the calculations and formulizations were finalized before anything else. That was how her father worked, and that was how Bulma worked also.
Bulma breathed out an airy, exasperated sigh at his questions. "No, nothing is the matter with it. I'm just refining it." she said, knowing it was only a half-truth as she continued to type, before her computer proved her very wrong. Her computers beeped multiple times in alarm, and all the screens flashed red, alerting that her proposed calculations were fatal, rejecting them as the system asked for a modified input again. This caused Bulma to growl in anger as she abruptly stood up, jostling the desk for a moment as she stormed a few steps away from her computers, and away from Vegeta.
"What in blazes, woman?" the prince remarked, giving her an odd look as he watched her in her moment of fury. He looked over at the computer screens again, seeing the alert and message of the failed calculations before looking back over at Bulma. He saw her turn and give him a look he could not describe…it was somewhere mixed between needing help and wanting to be left alone.
Perhaps now was as good of a time as any to let Vegeta know. "I can't figure out the gravity formula." she said, her tone filled with bitterness at failure, and the reluctance to admit it. She saw an odd look cross his face, and she looked away, crossing her own arms over her chest, feeling a mixture of relief for having told someone, and anticipating him being mad at her. She stared at the wall. "Everything I've tried won't compute."
It was a strange moment between them, as Vegeta listened to her admit the failure she was having. He remained silent as he looked at the screens again, furrowing his eyebrows as the evidence of her failure continued to flash red. He looked back over at Bulma. "The formula has worked before. Why not now?"
She shook her head, turning around and facing Vegeta again as she walked over and leaned her hip against the side of her desk. "It's not the same formula. It needed to be expanded and modified to produce the extreme amount of gravity the room can actually withstand."
"How much gravity will it be able to withstand?"
Bulma hesitated in answering him for a moment. She had hoped she could keep it a surprise until the room was complete and all systems were operational, but by the look of things, she wasn't going to be able to have this formula ready and the machine working in time, anyway. "I designed and constructed it to be able to withstand up to 2,000G's."
Vegeta had not anticipated that answer. When she said she was going to build him an amazing new gravity room that was bigger and could withstand higher gravity, he had it in his mind that she would maybe be able to get it to 600G's, or even 800G's at very maximum….but not 2,000G's. That was more than enough for him to train in, for a very long time, probably for many years without needing upgrades. He could only imagine how much stronger he could become. Perhaps such strength would rival the Super Saiyan of legend. He hoped it would give him enough strength to protect them from any threat from Frieza and his family. "Have you talked to your father?"
"No." Bulma muttered as she eased her weight off the desk, walking around Vegeta to the other side of her desk, grabbing her beat-up, packed notebook full of her notes and calculations and opening it up. "But I think I'm going to have to. I've gone over the formula hundreds of times. I can't see where I went wrong." she began to say, partly talking to Vegeta, and partly to her own self as she flipped through the pages, hoping to see something she didn't catch before. "The formula is long. There are multiple algorithms and functions. They work individually, for the most part, but when put together…some functions work with each other, and others don't. Then I change them, and some will work again, and others will stop. And when I put them all together into one grand formula, the fucking computer spits it back out at me, telling me I'm wrong. I'm never wrong." the beautiful engineer said defiantly, continuing to flip through her pages, before the book was taken gently from her hands.
Bulma watched as Vegeta took the notebook from her, nonchalantly leaning against her desk, crossing one ankle over the other, his tail swinging lazily as he glanced through the pages also, studying them. She sighed out of exhaustion and frustration at the situation as she reached over and grabbed her coffee mug, taking a few drinks from it. The lab remained silent, aside from the sound of a page turning every now and then, and the light thump of Vegeta's tail against the desk as he pondered over what he was studying. The quietness between them was almost….comforting. It was in the serenity of the moment when Bulma glanced over the rim of her coffee mug as she sipped it, subtly observing him.
The scene playing out before her was familiar. This was how things used to be between them. Her and Vegeta, up awake together at an ungodly hour of the night, sometimes with no purpose other than to end up in each other's company, other times they discussed business or other random things that came to mind. Here Vegeta was, in her lab at 5 in the morning, seeing what she was up to. Granted, it was over his gravity room…and he probably did not specifically seek her out for her company, but still…seeing him in her lab, aware of her problem and seemingly taking it on as his own, reminded her of how they used to be. The ache within her heart was beating hard. She missed Vegeta so much. Missed how they used to be. Missed that closeness with him. Missed that deep connection she had with him.
And the ache within her chest twisted a little more.
"Your calculations are a jumbled headache." Vegeta commented as he shook his head, quickly closing her notebook and re-opening it from the beginning, looking at a few pages a little more intently. "It's a wonder you ever figure anything out."
Bulma chose to remain quiet as she looked away from him and back at her computer screens that displayed her impossibly difficult gravity formula. She was trying to keep her walls up against him. She wasn't sure if Vegeta was trying to banter with her, or perhaps bait her into a light verbal spar with him, but it still unnerved her how he could being acting so normal right now. She then felt his dark eyes upon her. She looked away from her screen and back to him; his eyes remaining sheltered as he gave her an odd look, before looking back down at her notebook.
"Figure anything out yet?" Bulma decided to ask on a whim after seeing the strange look on his face.
"Maybe." Vegeta remarked, as he flipped back and forth through a few pages as though he had found something. Maybe he did. He took his weight off the desk and stood in front of the computer screens, comparing some of what he saw on the screen to what he had in the notebook. He didn't understand much when it came to quantum mathematics and theory, but the basic foundation of the beginning of the formula was advanced calculus and trigonometry, and that he knew. After a few more minutes of comparing the notebook to the formulas she had on the screen, he was sure over what he was seeing. "I found where you went wrong."
Bulma's face immediately turned into a serious look. "What?! Where?!" she said in alarm, disbelieving as she walked over to stand next to him. There was no way he found what was wrong! Maybe he was just being a jerk and pretending that he had! She had spend weeks and countless hours pouring over the formula! He couldn't be serious.
"Right here, woman." Vegeta began, handing her the notebook and pointing to a specific area. "You are calculating with Earth's gravitational forces, but in a couple of sections you are not compensating for Vegetasei's enhanced gravity."
Bulma gasped in shock as she stared at her formula numbly for a moment, her eyes darting over the pages in her notebook, then at her computer screens. No. No way…it was impossible! Holy shit. "I'm such a fucking idiot!" she scolded herself loudly as she quickly took her seat and began typing. Her fingernails flying over the keyboard as she began to re-calculate everything. "Seriously, I'm the biggest idiot in the universe! Of course when you walk into the gravity room, technically it's at 0 G's in Earth's measurements! With Vegetasei's gravity, you're still walking around in there at 10 times Earth's normal gravity! With your old machine, when you set it to 10G's, it felt no different from walking around Vegetasei all the time because I figured the 10 to 1 ratio for enhanced gravity into the equation as a percentage, so that it would compensate for it and adjust accordingly!" she blurted, as the light finally went on in her head, and she began to ramble as everything came together. "Otherwise, when you set it to 10G's you would have really been doing 100G's, because the formula was multiplying that and using Vegetasei's gravity and not Earth's! I didn't compensate for that! If you were doing 1000G's on this machine, you would be really doing 10,000G's, which not only the power cores COULD NOT output such gravity, but the room itself would not be able to withstand such forces which caused my calculations to fail…." she ended in realization. So, she had in fact been wrong, and her computer had been right.
That's why it never allowed her modified calculations when she expanded the original gravity formula. That's why it said the room would fail and cause a fatality even at lower gravity settings, because even the lower settings were being multiplied by ten after her modifications, and came out acceptable when she returned to her original formula. That's why certain functions would work and were accepted, but when they were mixed together, they would fail, due to conflicting gravitational specifications and measurements. That's why when she put it all together into the computer, nothing added up correctly. It was such a simple mistake. An oversight that she should have seen from the beginning. How could she have not taken Vegetasei's enhanced gravity into account again? After spending weeks stressing out over the formula, spending so many hours getting angry and re-doing her work, only to have her calculations rejected….how could she have missed something so vital?
Bulma didn't acknowledge that when she had started working on this formula, it had been right after her falling out with Vegeta, when she was emotionally distraught, mentally distracted, and physically in pain and exhausted. She was only human, it had been a mistake she oversaw. The majority of the time she had worked on this formula was during troubled times, when she had to deal with her fallout with Vegeta, the fallout with Yamcha and having her home planet turn against her. Even when she returned to Vegetasei to get away from Yamcha and the media, she was still in bad shape, and always stressed about having to deal with Vegeta while Bardock worked on getting her into better health, and she worked on constructing the gravity room. All the times she reviewed over the gravitation formula, she never caught the mistakes.
But of course, it took Vegeta 10 minutes to look at her work and figure it out right away. She was so unbelievably frustrated with herself, and with him. "I need you to get out of my lab." Bulma told him, her voice serious, as she continued correcting the mistakes on the formula. It was going to take her another hour or two to re-calculate everything, and she really didn't need him around as a distraction.
"Why?" Vegeta asked in a gruff tone, caught off-guard at her abrupt change in demeanor.
"Because I don't want you here right now." Bulma answered honestly, her tone somewhat harsh as she tried to ignore his presence.
"That's the gratitude I get?" Vegeta muttered, beginning to get angry as he gave her an aggravated look.
"Gratitude?!" Bulma remarked in frustration as she stopped typing and stood up, looking at him straight in the eyes. "You want gratitude?! I have been killing myself over your gravity room, you know that?! You have no idea how much stress I've been under lately, especially when it comes to you and your room! I've spent weeks pouring over the formula…so many damn hours trying to figure out where I went wrong, and trying to fix it so that I can get your gravity room operational! Then here you come along like everything is right in the world, you take 10 damn minutes to look over the formula, and you find the fucking mistake! It's so much bullshit!"
"And it's my fault that you weren't smart enough to figure it out on your own?!" Vegeta replied angrily, having expected Bulma to be happy that he was able to figure it out, instead of receiving this bitter backlash from her.
Bulma's blue eyes flickered with anger, hearing him insult her intelligence. "I am smart enough! I'm the only person smart enough in this entire galaxy to do what I do for you! No one else, not even my father, can build you what I'm building you! Don't you dare say I'm not smart enough, Vegeta!" she warned him, unable to hold back her feelings anymore as she pointed a finger to him. "I would have figured it out!"
Vegeta's expression darkened as he glared at her. "And if you hadn't?! Then I would have an expensive, multi-million credit gravity room that would be as useless to me as the one Kakarot had destroyed and left in ruins!"
Bulma's eyes widened after hearing it had been Goku all along who demolished the old gravity room. She was going to have to yell at him about it, but that was for another time. "I would have figured it out eventually! What's the big deal? You said I didn't have a deadline anymore, right?!"
"That doesn't mean you can take a fucking year to build this!" Vegeta said sternly. "I need this machine finished as soon as possible!"
"You always need everything done according to your schedule!" Bulma griped, placing her hands firmly on her hips as she glared at him. "What the hell is the damn rush to get this built and completed?! Just so you can train?! That's no reason for me to be killing myself over getting it completed!"
Vegeta spoke seriously, his tone warning her to just listen to him and trust in his request. "I need this gravity room done so that I can become as strong as I can be."
"You're already strong!" Bulma countered, giving him a suspicious look. "And isn't that why you're always sparring with Goku, and Raditz, and Nappa?! I don't see why you need the room done so quickly when you're already training and getting stronger with them!"
"I have my reasons, woman. None of which I have to tell you about. So now that I've found your stupid mistake in your calculations, there should be no more setbacks." Vegeta said sternly, crossing his arms over his chest as he curled his tail around his waist, standing up to her, challenging her back. "Now get back to work and get this room built and functional."
Bulma glared at him in defiance, starting to get pissed off. "Stop trying to tell me what do to, Vegeta! It won't get you anywhere!" she warned. "I'll get back to work when you tell me what you're hiding from me!"
Vegeta growled in annoyance. Damn woman. Was he that transparent, or was she that damned perceptive? "I am not telling you anything. Work on the gravity room, and finish it as soon as possible." he ordered, his tone of voice conveying his royal authority, ending the conversation abruptly as he gave her a stern look before turning around and beginning to head out of her lab.
Out of anger, frustration, but mostly an immense heartache, Bulma couldn't help the next words that tumbled from her mouth. "Why aren't you talking to me, Vegeta?!"
He was not mistaken…he heard the hurt in her voice as she pleaded to him, although she had tried to cover it up with anger. He stopped in his tracks and turned back around to face her. "I am talking to you."
"That's not what I mean." Bulma said firmly, trying to stay strong as she felt her vulnerability threatening to make an appearance. "What's going on here?!"
He tilted his head, giving her an annoyed look. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You, Vegeta! What's going on with you?! You're acting like nothing has changed between us, like nothing ever happened! Why are you acting like this?!"
Vegeta was trying to control his temper upon hearing her audacity. "Nothing's changed?" he repeated her accusation, knowing that was furthest from the truth. "You have no idea what-"
"Don't you dare say I have no idea what I'm talking about!" Bulma interrupted him as she got angry, believing that he was trying to completely avoid the subject, or that he was going to try to correct her, or try to render her feelings and thoughts as invalid.
Hearing Bulma interrupt his sentence before she even knew what he was going to say absolutely pissed him off to no end. That was it. He was done talking to her. "This conversation is over, woman." Vegeta growled in emphasis as he pointed a finger at her in warning, putting his foot down and making it clear to her that he did not want to hear another word from her. On the verge of having another major fight with her, he decided he needed to get out of her lab quickly before his temper blew up and they began another heated argument.
Bulma shrieked in frustration, resentful at his dominance over her as she pushed her chair roughly into her desk. She was at her wit's end when it came to the impossible prince. She needed a break, badly. She needed to get out of her lab. Out of the palace. Away from the construction site. She needed off of Vegetasei, even if it was only for a few hours. She grabbed her flash drive from her computer and proceeded to storm past Vegeta and out of her lab.
"Where are you going?!" he demanded, tensing up at her abrupt behavior as he watched Bulma begin to leave.
She whirl-winded around to face him. "Where's Goku?!" she snapped at him, ignoring Vegeta's question, demanding that he tell her where her best friend has been for the past week and a half.
"What the hell do you need Kakarot for?" Vegeta asked tensely as he walked up to Bulma and came face-to face with her.
"I need him to take me to Earth!"
Bulma narrowed her sheltered blue eyes as they locked into a fierce gaze against his dark ones. "I have my reasons, and none of which I have to tell you about!" she spat his words back in his face, hoping he liked a dose of his own medicine.
The prince growled deeply in his chest. The woman sure knew how to push his buttons. "Why do you need to go to Earth?!" he demanded again, his tail lashing in aggravation behind him as he stood his ground against her.
"Oh, so NOW you want to talk?!" Bulma remarked in sarcasm as she kept her fierce stance against him. "Fine, how about this? I forgot something I need for your gravity room!" she said defiantly. It was a blatant lie, of course, and one that Vegeta caught on to right away.
"Bullshit." he growled. "You have everything you can possibly need to build it here!"
"Well, I need to talk to my parents!" Bulma came up with another quick reason on a whim as to why she suddenly needed to head back to Earth.
"Bullshit again!" the prince warned, narrowing his dark eyes as he glared at her. "You can talk to them through the com-link!"
"Only messages can go through that! Not real-time voice chat!"
"It's better than nothing!" Vegeta argued back, crossing his arms firmly across his broad chest, straightening up his posture into an intimidating stance. "You're staying here!"
"You don't tell me what to do, Vegeta!" she shouted at him, ignoring his intimidation, absolutely fed up with him and his unpredictable behavior as he adamantly tried to keep her on Vegetasei against her will. "I'll go back to Earth if I damn well please! Now, where's Goku?!" she demanded again.
Vegeta smirked darkly. "I sent your precious best friend on a mission."
She wouldn't lie…he suddenly made her apprehensive. "What kind of a mission?!" she insisted on knowing.
"I don't have to tell you anything!" Vegeta repeated defiantly back at her as he pointed a finger at her.
Bulma let out another aggravated shriek. "When is he coming back?!"
"He will be back soon enough!"
"Well, get him back here now, so he can take me!" Bulma argued as she gave the prince a pissed off look that could set fire to ice.
"You don't tell me what to do either, woman!" he snapped, feeling his temper staring to get the best of him, when he decided he had enough of this crap. He suddenly stormed past her and began exiting her lab, needing to get away before he really got angry with her.
"When is he coming back?!" Bulma shouted again at him in unbelievable frustration, by this time tempted to take a space pod back to Earth if she absolutely had to.
"This afternoon!" Vegeta yelled back his answer to her, his shout echoing within her lab. He stormed down the hallway, refusing to argue with her anymore. He refused to ask her why she wanted to go back to Earth again. He refused to ask her how long she would be gone, or if she was going to come back. He refused to ask her if she was going to finish his gravity room or not. He refused to give in and take her to Earth. Kakarot would have to do it.
Bulma watched as he stormed away from her, and she growled, clenching and unclenching her small fists. She swore that Vegeta was sometimes the most insufferable person she knew. How in hell she fell in love with him, she probably would never know.
After taking 20 minutes to calm down and cool off, Bulma went back to her lab. Alright, so maybe she had been bluffing about taking a space pod and making the 2 year trip back to Earth in it. She was still serious about going back to Earth though, even if it was only for a few hours. As soon as Goku got back from wherever he was and whatever he was doing, she was going to ask him to take her.
She needed to have a heart to heart talk, and she had very limited options on who she could really talk to. She would have liked to talked to Goku, but his presence lately had been non-existent, and sometimes he couldn't keep things to himself, and the last thing she needed was for him to go blurting out her feelings to anyone, especially Vegeta. She could have looked to Bardock for some council, but she thought maybe he couldn't remain unbiased, since Vegeta had a tendency to talk with him also. Honestly, she needed some good old fashioned mother/daughter quality time. Her mom was unbelievably biased when it came to the subject of her and Vegeta, but Bulma hoped her mother could set aside the lovey-dovey dreams she had of them being together and having children. Surely her mother could give her advice on how to deal with what she was feeling, and how to deal with a man she's known her entire life who seemed like a stranger to her now.
After two hours of calculations, the genius engineer had corrected all of her mistakes in her gravitation formula. Now compensating for Vegetasei's enhanced gravity, the entire equation had changed. Her few, simple mistakes at the beginning had trickled down in a domino effect, causing her calculations to exponentially multiply in errors. She had waited tensely as she entered her new formula into the computer again. She sat at her desk, her eyes darting between screens as she waited for it to finish processing the data and calculate the gravitational forces she desired against the structural integrity of her proposed construction, as well as against the specs of the capacity, generation, and output of her dual power cores. After what felt like endless minutes, the computer beeped and accepted her revised formula, displaying with uncontestable mathematical certainty that her calculations were correct, her measurements were correct, her construction and structural integrity were correct, and that she was able to give Vegeta the gravity room he always wanted.
It was a victory, but one that was dulled by the fact that she could not run to Vegeta and tell him with such joy that the formula worked, and that he would have a gravity room that he could not outgrow for a very, very long time. After all, it was because of him that this formula worked. If he hadn't found her simple mistake that morning, then this unbelievable weight would not have been lifted from her shoulders right now. Yes, she would have found the mistake eventually, but thanks to him, she no longer needed to worry and stress over it.
Bulma sighed with a heavy heart as her wayward thoughts kept distracting her as she looked down at the fiber optic cables in her hands, snapping out of her trance. It was early afternoon as she was out at the construction site, working on the second wall of the gravity room. She and Riko's team had finished the piping and the majority of the wiring again, and now she was working on the data transfer cables and sensory and auxiliary systems. Vegeta had not come by to inquire about the gravity room at all after their fight much earlier that morning. He had not shown up the rest of the morning, or even that afternoon yet. She figured he wouldn't. He still had to be ticked off at her.
And her? She was fed up with him. Fed up with the fact that he remained sheltered and defensive toward her. Fed up that she still did not know where she stood with him. Fed up that things between them were at an uneasy standstill. In her thinking, how were they ever going to move forward if he absolutely refused to acknowledge they had a lot of healing to go though?! How were they ever going to mend their rocky relationship if he refused to acknowledge the fact that she was in love with him? How could he keep refusing to acknowledge that he loved her?!
Unless…..he didn't love her anymore. It was the only logical explanation that came to her brilliant mind on why Vegeta was acting the way he was acting toward her lately. If she had broken his heart beyond repair, then his coldness and distance from her made sense. Just because he had implied they were going to be okay again someday….it didn't mean that they were going to be together. Perhaps it made no difference to Vegeta that she loved him. Or perhaps it made no difference to him if he still loved her or not.
Because sometimes love isn't enough.
It was a deeply depressing thought…one that continued to plague Bulma's mind while she worked. The thought haunted her ever since that rainy morning when they had their last falling-out. Vegeta's emotional distance from her had been evident since then. Maybe he was being civil with her because of his promise and only because of his promise to her from years ago. Was it obligation that kept him from cutting her out of his life completely? Was it her who was in denial to the fact that maybe they really were not going to be okay again? It was difficult for Bulma to work with a clear head when it was so distraught over the man she loved and possibly lost.
"Hey, Bulma! You wanted to see me?" Goku's familiar voice sounded out behind her, abruptly breaking her out of her troubled thoughts.
"Goku!" she said in happy relief, setting the wiring down carefully as she took off her mechanic gloves and turned around quickly, seeing her best friend smiling happily at her also. "I've missed you! Are you okay?" she asked as she hurried over to him and gave him a great big hug.
"I've missed you too! Of course I'm okay." he chuckled as he hugged her back. "Why wouldn't I be?" he asked curiously.
Bulma pulled away and smiled as she shrugged her shoulders lightly. "I don't know. Vegeta sent you on some mission. Coming from him, that could mean a lot of things."
"Oh. Well, yeah, I guess so. But no worries, I'm okay. See, no injuries." Goku joked as he held his arms out to prove it.
"Where did you go? What were you doing?"
"Sorry, that's classified." Goku said with an apologetic shrug. "Vegeta's orders."
"Of course." Bulma huffed in frustration, as she rolled her eyes a bit, even though a small smile remained on her lips. "Well I'm glad you're back, safe and sound."
"Me too." Goku replied, as he then took a look around and whistled in awe. "Wow, look at this place! This is his new gravity room?"
Bulma nodded proudly. "Yep. Well….a third of it so far, at least."
"Wow, you've been a busy bee for the past couple of weeks! This is amazing!" Goku said as he walked around in astonishment, almost unable to grasp how big the room was. "I hope he'll let me use this once in a while! How high is the gravity going to go?"
Goku's mouth dropped. "Two thousand?" he repeated, not quite believing it, but then again, this was Bulma, and she was a damn engineering and technological genius. He looked back over at her with a big grin on his face. "Oh man, that's insane! Vegeta's gotta be thrilled about that!"
"I don't care if he is or isn't!" Bulma exclaimed, crossing her arms firmly across her chest in aggravation, reminded of how frustrated she was with the stubborn prince.
Goku perked an eyebrow at her, catching the infuriation in her voice. "Things still not going well?"
Bulma shook her head, unable to voice an answer to him as she felt her tempest of emotions over Vegeta tighten around her throat. She looked off to the side, a conflicted look of anger and broken-heartedness quite distinct on her beautiful face.
Goku sighed heavily, giving her a sympathetic look. He had hoped while he was gone that her and Vegeta would have at least made amends, but apparently it was quite the opposite. He walked over and stood in front of Bulma, placing both of his strong, gentle hands on the sides of her arms in a comforting gesture. "You look like you could use a break."
Bulma could only nod as she breathed out an aggravated huff. "Yeah, I could. Can you take me to Earth right now?"
"Earth?" The apprehension was clear in Goku's response. He wasn't sure if he was okay with her going back there already. What if Yamcha started to harass her again? "Again, so soon? Why?"
"I need to get away from here. I just need a break from working… and from…." Bulma trailed off before shaking her head, not wanting to get into more details about her gripes over Vegeta. "It'll only be for a few hours."
Goku studied her for a moment, sensing out her ki and trying to gauge on whether or not he should take her back to Earth. But, she was his best friend, and he rarely ever said no to her about anything, as Goku reluctantly accepted her request. He would just have to stay there on Earth also to make sure Yamcha didn't try anything against her. "Alright, let's go."
She felt strange; it must have been the uneasiness of being back on Earth, considering the hostile atmosphere that had surrounded her before she had left.
When Bulma first arrived back, she had squinted her eyes from the brightness. She had glanced up at a clear blue sky, which was so vastly different from the red sky she had seen just moments before. She had inhaled the crisp, cool air of autumn, which had been quite different from the warm and slightly humid air back on her beloved red planet. She had felt lighter, but it was a feeling that had been only temporary, as her body finally adjusted to the lesser gravity here again. And now here she was, in the kitchen, leaning against the island's granite countertop as she watched her mother whip up lunch.
"Oh honey, Bulma's here!" Bunny said brightly into the intercom system, hearing her husband say he would be right there, before tending to her roast in the oven. "So, sweetie, how are you and Vegeta doing?" she asked without skipping a beat as she looked at her lovely daughter.
"Mom, seriously, that has to be the first thing you ask me about?" Bulma griped, huffing her bangs away from her eyes.
"Of course! I need to know when you two are going to give me a grandchild!" Bunny said cheerfully, excited and ready to hear about how her and Vegeta made up with each other, and were so in love now, and were going to get married, and give her strong, beautiful, precious grandbabies.
Bulma sighed adamantly, facepalming herself before running her hand down her face in disbelief. Okay, so maybe wanting to talk to her mother about what was going on between her and Vegeta was not such a good idea. She thought her mother would be able to look past her idyllic vision of her and Vegeta, but so far it wasn't looking that way. "I can't even get him to talk to me." she muttered.
"Uh-oh." Bunny said lightly, raising an eyebrow at her. "Trouble in paradise?"
"There's no such thing as paradise when it comes to us, mom. You know that."
"Oh, you two, always bickering about something." Bunny rambled on lovingly as she checked on the potatoes before turning to face Bulma, wiping her hands across the front of her apron. "I'm sure Vegeta will come around sometime."
"Doubt it. He's the most insufferable person I've ever known!"
Bunny smiled. "And you wouldn't have him any other way than the way he is, and you know it's true."
Bulma rolled her eyes, tightening her arms a little more around her torso as she refused to agree or disagree with her mother's declaration as she glanced out the patio doors. Her gaze fell upon Vegeta's old gravity room that remained in the backyard, unused. Well, since he was never coming back to Earth, she supposed she could encapsulate it and take it back to Vegetasei. She let out an annoyed sigh as she turned her attention back to her mother.
"Oh honey, by the way, while you were gone, your father took your words to heart."
"Huh?" Bulma asked, giving her mother a confused look. "What are you talking about?"
"He said you were right, about the company and all. He went and bought 51% of the shares in Capsule Corp, so now he's the majority stockholder." Bunny said quite calmly, as though this was not a big deal, as she continued to stir the brown gravy in the pot.
"He what?!" Bulma blurted in disbelief. "But how? Can he even do that when he already owns Capsule Corp?"
"Technically he was the founder of Capsule Corp, but not the owner,…at least, not since he made the company go public years and years ago." Bunny turned to look at her daughter, seeing the shock on her beautiful face. "Or so our personal lawyers said. He spent lots of time with them over what was going on."
"When did this happen?"
Bunny tapped her chin with her index finger, as she tried to think. "Oh, I think he did this a few days right after you left to Vegetasei."
Bulma quickly ran the figures and statistics in her mind, trying to comprehend this unexpected news. "I don't understand. Our CEO and the board of directors and primary stockholders hold 25% stock in the company. Dad only owned 15%. The rest by other investors! How did he manage to get 51% of the shares?!"
"It was easy, muffin. The rest of the shares were scattered, so I bought out a lot of people, and got a lot of shares rather quickly." Dr. Brief said as he entered the kitchen and headed toward the coffee maker. "And welcome back."
"Thanks." Bulma said somewhat numbly, stricken by this amazing news. "So…so that means you're in control of the company?"
"Officially, yes." her father confirmed as he grabbed a clean mug and poured himself a cup of fresh coffee, pushing his cigar aside as he took a sip from it. "Plus, since I'm the founder of the company, and I own the majority of patents, our lawyers said I technically I own 70% of it."
"That's amazing, Dad! That must mean we recovered then?" Bulma asked, tempted to go online and check out how Capsule Corp was doing in the stock market. The last she remembered, the company had plummeted hundreds of points over her whole cancelled wedding fiasco.
"More than recovered. The company's share value has recovered to what it was before, now that your father is in control and back at the helm." Bunny said happily as she leaned down and planted a smooch on her husband's cheek.
Bulma scoffed, partly amused. "I'm sure the board of directors loved that."
Dr. Brief's mischievous smile was almost completely hidden behind his moustache as he turned to Bulma. "Let's just say they quickly revoked their injunction on you, and the motion they had filed to remove your power and say in the company. It was a smart move on their part, because I put your name, along with mine, on the shares…and I named you the beneficiary when I pass away. But I know you can 'buy me out' when I'm ready to retire and you're ready to take over. The board of directors are shaking in their seats. They're scared of you now."
"Oh my god. This is great!" Bulma breathed, still in shock and disbelief over what her parents just told her. It was an amazing relief. She knew that cancelling her wedding would affect the company, but it had been the damage that Yamcha had wrought with his press conferences and accusations her of not being capable of handling the company that had hurt the company so much, thanks to the media that ran full-force with his 'revelations.'
Those corporate bastards looked down on her, talked down at her, threatening to take away her power and say in the company. She probably would have come up with the idea of buying shares and regaining control of Capsule Corp, but of course her father had been way ahead of her. She smiled wickedly. Oh how sweet this was. She had promised the board of directors that the next time she was in front of them, she would have all of their careers in the very palm of her hand. And now, thanks to her father, she did. She had assured those inside the meeting room that she would not forgive or forget the shit they were trying to do to her and her father's company. She was looking forward to calling a meeting with them all soon. "So, what about Yamcha? What other shit has he been spewing to everyone?"
"Oh, I don't know, sweetheart. I haven't been keeping track." her father said as he reached a hand up to his shoulder, giving Scratch an affectionate rub behind the ear as the cat meowed in response. "After regaining control of the company, I've been busy down in my lab, and at headquarters downtown. And you, dear?" Dr. Brief asked his wife.
"I haven't heard anything…but then again, I haven't been keeping track either. I know Yamcha hasn't been by here, and he hasn't tried calling, as far as I know. I've been busy tending to my garden outside, and in the atrium tending to the animals and the garden in there. Plus I've been doing some winter clothes shopping…by the way, Bulma, I bought you lots of cute winter clothes! I found some cashmere sweaters, oh and the most adorable boots! I got you a long coat also! You'll look so…."
"Mom, I think the gravy is burning."
"Oh dear!" Bunny exclaimed, as she had become so distracted with telling Bulma about the clothes she bought her that she had completely neglected her gravy. "I do hope I saved it in time." she said as she quickly tended to it, stirring it around, studying it for signs that she ruined it.
"Honey, I'm sure it's fine…" Dr. Briefs began, as Bulma couldn't help but smile, hearing her parents discuss the condition of the gravy. They both could become so easily distracted. She left her parents in the kitchen as she began to head out into the living room. She decided to turn on the TV and see what was going on in the world and if anything had calmed down in regards to the media frenzy.
As she sat on the large, plush arm of the couch, she mindlessly flipped through channels. Once she came across a news channel, she kept it there for a few minutes, but nothing had been mentioned about her, or Yamcha. She flipped through a few more channels until she came across a finance channel, and she stayed on it for a good 10 minutes. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, as the commentator mentioned Capsule Corp briefly, saying the stocks remained steady and the Dow was looking well. Bulma smiled, glad to see and hear that their company was doing well again. She continued to flip through a few more channels, each time stopping when she came across a news channel, but she didn't hear anything about her or about Yamcha. She figured the frenzy over her cancelled wedding had finally died out and the media moved on to other, more interesting news.
It wasn't until Bulma came across an entertainment news channel that she was tipped off that something strange had happened.
'…I mean seriously, anyone that has the guts to get back in front of the spotlight, and tell the whole world that he lied, I have to give props to…' Bulma heard the showhost say, as a video played in the background behind him. It looked like a video of Yamcha giving a press conference. Bulma narrowed her eyes as she raised the volume louder, not quite sure if she heard what she thought she heard. '…I have to give it up to him. I mean, he almost married Bulma Brief! No man would ever want to admit that he messed up and lost out on marrying her….'
"What the hell?" Bulma said in alarm as the host went on to talk about other celebrity happenings, leaving her confused as to what she just heard. Tell the whole world that he lied? Admit that he messed up? Lost out on marrying her? WHAT IN THE HELL?! She quickly got up and turned the TV off, suddenly feeling tense. Was she in the twilight zone? She hurried up the stairs to her room, where she found her laptop on top of her nightstand. She picked it up, only to see a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings that were resting below it. She then remembered taking them off and setting them there after her and Vegeta had come back from Demesor. She became saddened for a moment as the earrings reminded her of that terrible night, but she pushed it aside as she turned on her heels and left her room. She entered the rec room, quickly setting her laptop down on the bar top and took a seat on a stool as she turned it on, willing the device to hurry and boot up so that she could find out if what she had heard and seen were really true.
She typed her name and Yamcha's in the search bar, when hundreds of thousands of results returned. It didn't take her long to find that amongst the links that correlated to the initial first few days of her wedding fallout, there were many links about how Yamcha had lied and revealed the truth about what happened between them, and what exactly happened on their wedding day. Bulma's breath hitched in her throat as clicked the links and surfed through a few different, credible news sites.
It was true.
For whatever reason, Yamcha had put out a statement that he had not been honest with everyone over their failed nuptials. He had even held another press conference where apparently he admitted their split had been mutual and that she had not left him on their wedding day. Bulma clicked the link to the video of the press conference, and she listened intently, still trying to believe that her eyes were seeing what they were seeing, and her ears were hearing what they were hearing.
After the 10 minute video finished playing, her hand shook slightly as she exited out of the screen and out of the browser. Bulma turned off her laptop and closed it, sitting in silence for a couple of minutes as she absorbed her second shock of the day. For whatever reason, Yamcha had made official statements, and held a press conference, admitting that he had lied about what happened on their wedding day. He assured that their wedding was not a hoax, and that their split had indeed been mutual. He even admitted that he had cheated on her in the past, and that his transgression was something that she could not oversee, even years after it had happened. He said he couldn't blame her for her doubts. He apologized for the media frenzy he had caused, and asked the public, and her, to forgive him. He assured the world that she truly was a genius and that she was entirely capable of taking the reins of Capsule Corporation. He asked the media to leave her alone, for she had done nothing wrong, and he had a moment of human weakness by giving in to his heartache and wanting her to suffer some sort of pain also.
It unnerved her. Yamcha lied about a lot of what he had said, and for what? Did he do this because he felt bad about the shit he had put her through? Did he regret it? Did he still think he had a chance to reconcile with her? Did he realize that he lost out on his meal ticket? Did he do this so that he could try to con his way back into her arms and into her heart? Did he do this so that she could let her guard down and he could try to destroy her some other way? All these possible reasons gave her an uneasy feeling, and she needed to talk to him face to face and find out why in hell he was taking back what he said.
She quickly called the Son residence, and after hesitation from Goku, he teleported her right outside Yamcha's doorstep.
"Are you sure you're going to be okay?" Goku asked, obviously apprehensive about the situation.
"I'll be fine." Bulma assured him as she studied Goku in his brown suit for a moment before she lightly dusted off his shoulders and straightened his tie for him. "This is something I need to do on my own."
The serious look on Goku's face remained, but he respected her wishes. "Okay. I'll be with Chi Chi at the interview for Gohan's school, but I'm going to be keeping track of your ki and Yamcha's. I don't like the idea of leaving you alone with him…but I'll be here in less than a second if you need me."
"Thanks." Bulma said, giving her best friend a gentle, affectionate squeeze on his forearm. "I'll call you, okay? Try not to worry."
"I have to worry. And I won't let him hurt you." With that, Goku raised his fingertips to his forehead, and teleported back to his family, leaving Bulma to get on with why she was there before he changed his mind and took her back to Vegetasei.
On her guard, and putting up her defenses, Bulma rang the doorbell. The door quickly opened, and she came face to face with Yamcha.
The scar-faced fighter could see the daggers in Bulma's eyes, and he tensed up. He quickly looked around, not sensing Goku's ki around anymore, and he internally sighed a breath of relief before he glared darkly at her. "What do you want?" he asked bitterly.
"What the hell is going on, Yamcha?" Bulma demanded, eyeing him distrustfully.
"What?" he griped as he let out an aggravated breath. "I've already done everything that I could! Goku's been making sure of that!"
"What are you talking about?" Bulma said in utter confusion.
"Don't start, Bulma." Yamcha warned her, glaring at her. "Don't act like you couldn't keep that fucking Saiyan out of this." he spat out the word 'saiyan' with all the hatred that he could.
"What's Goku got to do with this?!" Bulma exclaimed. "He just brought me here because I wanted to know why the hell you've suddenly had a change of heart!"
Yamcha breathed out an exasperated sigh. "I'm not talking about Goku."
It took all about three seconds before the beginnings of realization hit her. She eyed Yamcha wearily, unsure of what was going on. She managed to find her voice again. "You mean…Vegeta?" she asked, her question heavy with uncertainty.
"Don't act like you don't know what happened." Yamcha grumbled in annoyance.
Bulma could feel the beats of her heart beginning to pound within her chest as she tried to comprehend the direction this conversation was taking. "Look, Yamcha, I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but what does Vegeta have to do with this?"
"Figures you would run and cry to him." Yamcha remarked with distaste, rolling his eyes at her. Bulma took a step back, feeling a wave of apprehension, not knowing what he was talking about at all as she eyed him wearily. "So much for him never stepping foot back on Earth." Yamcha threw her words back in her face, resentful of the fact that she had sent Vegeta to fight her fights for her. So much for their supposed 'falling out' and him being out of the picture.
Bulma tried to will her heart to stop pounding so loudly in her chest as she remained stunned, listening to what Yamcha said to her. She felt as though she had just been blindsided. "Vegeta was here?" was all she could manage to murmur, taken back by the revelation.
Yamcha looked at her irritably, annoyed at the innocence she was portraying. "You know damn well he was! Your monkey prince paid me a visit a couple of weeks ago. Told me that I was to, and I quote, 'rectify the wrongs that I committed against your stature and your honor on this planet.'" Yamcha scoffed in aggravation.
"But I didn't…"
Yamcha continued with his rant, interrupting Bulma's words. "Vegeta told me that if I refused to undo what I've done, that not enough senzu beans in the world would be able to heal what he would do to me. He said he would come back here and kill me without hesitation, even if you tried to stop him, because he said your life would be that much better if he did so. He seemed pretty fucking confident that you wouldn't try to stop him, though. And of course, he fucking has Goku stay and watch over me like a hound for almost two damn weeks to make sure I did what he said, otherwise I would be in Otherworld right now."
"I had no idea…" Bulma trailed off, caught up in a wave of conflicting emotions as her mind tried to process her third shock of the day.
Yamcha scoffed. "What…you had no idea that he threatened to kill me? Or that now I know that you wouldn't try to stop him from murdering me?!"
Bulma held a troubled look on her beautiful face as she glared at him. "I don't know how I would react if he killed you, Yamcha." she said honestly.
"Would you get over my death so easily?! So fuck the 10 years we were together, right Bulma? Fuck the good times we had together because of what happened between us recently, right?!" he then eyed her accusingly. "You wouldn't stop Vegeta from killing me, would you?! You want him to kill me, don't you?!"
"I wouldn't be happy over him killing you, if that's what you're trying to say!" Bulma argued back.
"Well, isn't that a relief." Yamcha rolled his eyes at her.
"You should be glad!" Bulma warned. "You fucked up my life pretty badly, Yamcha. The shit you pulled is almost unforgivable, but it wouldn't be worth you losing you life over it!"
"Yeah, well you fucked up my life also, Bulma! Making me second to Vegeta all the time, making me fight him over you during our entire relationship, and then you leave me on our wedding day! On our wedding day! You never even gave me a real fucking reason why you called it off!"
Bulma struggled to keep silent. No matter what, she had caused Yamcha a lot of pain also, stringing himself and herself along in their relationship when it was true, he had always been second to Vegeta. She hadn't realized it during the time, but the clarity she had gained over the past few weeks had truly opened her eyes. And wisely, she knew now was not the time to tell Yamcha that she had left him on their wedding day because she realized she was in love with Vegeta. Now was not the time to admit to Yamcha that her heart had belonged to the Saiyan prince, and never truly to him. His rage over that might in fact cause Yamcha to do something stupid that would warrant his immediate death. Another day, she would have to approach him with her reason, and try to start healing the wounds that remained between them also. "You and I weren't ready to marry each other."
"Well, you're damn right about that." Yamcha said spitefully. "But it's all water under the bridge now, right? Isn't that why you're here, to try to make amends with me? You thought sending your monkey prince down here to make it all better for you would smooth things over between us? If you think that, then you're wrong."
Bulma managed a difficult gulp. She hadn't come to him to try to make amends. She wanted to find out why he had a sudden change of heart by changing his story to the world, and instead she had learned that it had not come from the goodness of Yamcha's heart….it had come from the devotion inside Vegeta's.
She was numb, no longer able to pay any real mind to Yamcha anymore as she took her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed Goku. She felt she was on auto-pilot as she put her phone to her ear, looking at Yamcha with a distraught look…and for a moment, he thought that maybe there was still a tiny part of her, even if it was buried deep, that still cared for him. There had to be, right? Bulma couldn't really forget their time and relationship together so easily and heartlessly, could she? She seemed genuinely shocked that Vegeta had come back to Earth and had threatened him like that. It seemed she had been in the dark about this.
And for the first time since their falling-out, Yamcha felt a twinge of regret for his actions against her.
Vegeta had come back to Earth.
The realization had floored her. Against his own word, and against his own conviction, Vegeta had found reason enough to go back to Earth. The reason had been for her. He had confronted Yamcha and forced him to reverse the damage that he had done to her. And Vegeta promised to kill him if he didn't.
Bulma covered her mouth with the palm of her hand, reeling from her realizations. Her emotions threatened to claw her apart as she continued to pace around her home restlessly. So that's why Goku had been gone for the past week and a half. That was the mission Vegeta had sent him on…to have him stay on Earth and make sure that Yamcha did what he had ordered him to do.
Bulma ran her hands over her face and up into her blue hair, keeping her hands on top of her head and she closed her eyes, feeling tears beginning to well up.
All this time.
All this time, she had thought Vegeta didn't care about her anymore. Ever since their last falling out, he had been impossible to read. She had felt he had distanced himself from her in every way that he could. She felt he kept his appearances short and to the point, and it gave her no way of knowing where she stood with him. He seemed sheltered. Cold. Unemotional. Uncaring.
At best, she thought that Vegeta was merely acting civil with her, but after what happened yesterday between them, she had been unnerved. He had rummaged through her workstation, complaining about her lack of organization, the way he used to do when he would go bug her. He had taken a water bottle from her fridge, and it almost seemed like he was daring her to challenge him on it, seemingly trying to ruffle her feathers like he used to. He had come to her lab at 5am this morning to see what she was working on, just like he used to do when he couldn't sleep sometimes. He had seemed genuinely concerned about the problems she was having with the gravity formula, and he had helped her out, even though she could not appreciate it at the time. He had been behaving the way he used to around her before they fell apart from each other after, and it had confused her to no end…it made her miss the way they used to be so badly, that when he seemed to revert back to his cold-hearted and distant treatment with her, she couldn't stand it anymore.
She had asked him why he was acting the way he was. Why he was acting like nothing terrible, or wonderful, had ever happened between them…acting like nothing had changed between them.
Bulma opened her eyes and shook her head, belatedly realizing that Vegeta had begun to respond to her questions when she had cut him off completely. She hadn't even given him a chance to speak his mind. It made sense now why he suddenly got so angry with her and ended the conversation. And of course, she got pissed off, thinking he was shutting down and refusing to speak to her on the matter. He had gotten uptight about her wanting to go back to Earth. Was it because he was worried about her, or because he didn't want her finding out that he had come back here? She thought Vegeta didn't care about her anymore! How could she have known otherwise? His actions proved he cared for her still, that much was obvious now. He cared enough to take her problems on as his own, and go to Earth to take control of the nightmarish situation she had with Yamcha and the media. He was ready to kill Yamcha if he didn't obey him, and despite the extreme way he went about it, it only proved that she still held a place in his heart or else he would not have done this for her.
Tears of frustration emerged from the anguish within her soul. She had been going crazy for almost the past two weeks, distraught over their separation and feeling helpless as to knowing where she stood with him, only to find out all the while that Vegeta had done this for her. Why couldn't he have just told her what he did? Why did he refuse to talk to her about anything?! Why the need to keep his distance from her?! Why was he still so cold and indifferent with her?! Was he punishing her for having put him through such anger and heartache?
The tempest of emotions swirled within her heart. She needed to talk to Vegeta, whether he wanted to talk to her or not.
Vegeta was strong and unyielding, a serious look upon his handsome face as he stood on the floor of his new gravity room, silently supervising over the construction for the past couple of hours. He took his troubled eyes away from the ogre-like beings and looked over at the darkening skyline. The first sun had already set, and the second sun was half-way sunk beneath the horizon. His tail was hanging down, softly swaying back and forth as it curled and uncurled in apprehension. He crossed his arms firmly over his chest, drumming his fingertips over the sides of his torso as he waited.
He had felt Bulma's life force first, before sensing Kakarot's right next to hers as they appeared near him. At first he made no move to acknowledge their presence, taking a moment to inhale a deep breath and let it out in a huff as he quickly wrapped his tail around his waist. He turned to them, seeing the unmistakable fire in Bulma's beautiful blue eyes as she glared back at him. He ignored her for the time being as he regarded Goku with a stern look. "Leave us, Kakarot." he ordered.
Turned out that Bulma had the same idea in mind. "Everyone is dismissed for the night!" she yelled out loudly, as the message was quickly passed on throughout the construction site. She gave Goku an expectant look, and he nodded as he flew away and went to gather Riko and the crew together to teleport them back home to Xyneon for the night. Her emotions were mixed as she stared at Vegeta, seeing he was reluctant to look at her. After a few moments, when she was sure her and Vegeta were left alone inside the incomplete gravity room, she broke the silence between them.
"Some mission you sent Goku on." Bulma couldn't help but exclaim as she tried to steady her voice from cracking.
Vegeta exhaled a heavy sigh, crossing his arms over his chest. "So?" he remarked with indifference.
"So much for you never going back to Earth." Bulma continued as she placed her hands firmly on her hips. "How did you find out?"
"For being a scientist, you're not quick to figure things out." the prince began as he turned to face her. "He is not only your best friend, but he is my subordinate. It is Kakarot's duty to alert matters that are of importance to me."
"Importance?" Bulma repeated, disbelieving of what she just heard. "How in hell was all the shit I was going through on Earth of any importance to you?"
"How could it not be?" Vegeta sternly countered, giving her a displeased look as though she had just asked the most ridiculous question.
She was stunned into silence, unable to say anything as she brought a palm to her forehead, rubbing her temples as she took a few wandering steps around, trying to understand what was going on. After a moment, she stood still, keeping her head lowered down. "This whole time…I thought you didn't care, anymore!" she accused.
Vegeta scoffed in annoyance. "That's what you get for running your mouth and not listening. That's what I was going to tell about it earlier this morning, but you cut me off because you don't have enough common sense to allow people to answer the questions you ask." he ended harshly, recalling how angry he had gotten with her.
Bulma quickly raised her head back up, narrowing her glare at him. "Well how in hell was I supposed to know that you still cared, Vegeta?!" she said adamantly. "You've been impossible to understand, what with the way you've been acting lately!"
"How have I been acting?" Vegeta demanded in irritation.
"Like a complete stranger!" Bulma responded as she pointed an accusing finger at him. "You can't keep doing this to me, Vegeta! You can't be so cold and distant with me, and make me think you don't care about me at all, then go ahead and go behind my back and do something amazing like take care of the nightmare problems I had because of Yamcha!" she continued to rant in emotional exasperation.
The prince couldn't help the expression of bewilderment that crossed his face as he attempted to register what the woman was flipping out over. "What in the world?!" he began, taken back by her nonsense. "I have no clue on what you're talking about!"
Bulma felt her emotions swell as they threatened to burst out of her. Her voice faltered for a moment. "How can you act like everything is normal between us again?!"
Vegeta gave her an incredulous look. "Everything is normal between us again, woman." he emphasized.
"No! No, it's not!" Bulma shouted adamantly, stomping her foot down as she clenched her fists, bringing all of her frustrations with him to the surface. "How can you think that?! Things can never go back to the way they used to be!"
"And why not?!" the prince demanded in seriousness. "I don't understand what the problem is! You did not marry scar-face. He is out of the picture. You are here. You are busy working on my machine, and I am busy working from my throne. Things are as they should be."
Bulma ran her hands over her face in frustration, not believing his reasoning. "I don't know what world you're living in, but it doesn't work that way, Vegeta! Everything has changed, whether you want to admit it or not! You can't expect us to go back to being the way we were, not after all the shit we went through!"
A rumble of infuriation came from deep within Vegeta's chest as he looked at the human female who drove him positively insane. "What do you want from me, woman?!"
Bulma shouted in exasperation, stomping up to him and facing him head on as she poked a finger in his chest. "You can't keep flip-flopping on me! You can't tell me we'll be okay again someday, then give me the cold shoulder the next minute, then turn around and act like everything is okay the next minute after! I know you still care for me, Vegeta! And you know damn well that I love you! No more games! I need you to fucking decide where I stand with you!"
Vegeta lightly pushed her finger away from his chest. "Are you fucking serious right now?!" his voice laced in disbelieving astonishment as he shot her a pissed off look.
Bulma stood her ground, squaring herself against him as she stood strong and unyielding, ready to lay it all down on the line. "I won't keep walking on eggshells around you anymore! You need to tell me right now if there is hope for us or not…if you still love me or not….if I'm staying here after your machine is done, or if I'm going back to Earth and staying over there from now on!"
Vegeta kept his composure, even as the expression on his face darkened. He tilted his head as he glared at her, his aura noticeably changed. "You're threatening me, woman?" he asked ever so softly, but the danger held in his words could not be missed. "Are you giving me an ultimatum?"
The change in his demeanor unnerved her, but Bulma kept her resolve. "I am." She watched as the tip of Vegeta's tail thumped on the side of his hip. It was clear he did not appreciate her threats against him as she saw him clench one of his gloved hands into a fist.
"Fine." the prince muttered, and without a warning he raised his fingertips to his forehead…and he vanished before her very eyes.
Bulma blinked, stunned as Vegeta abruptly left. She could feel her heart beating hard within her chest as she let out an aggravated growl, unbelievably frustrated and at her wit's end when it came to him and his refusal to deal with their issues. She looked around the incomplete gravity room, realizing she was alone, in more ways than one. The beautiful scientist and engineer walked over to her workstation. The second sun was setting, and daylight would quickly be replaced by the lighting in the construction zone as she resolved the sooner she could get the gravity room built and functional, the sooner she could get back to Earth and see if there was such a thing as living a happy life without him.
Only a handful of minutes had gone by before the prince teleported back to her again.
Vegeta knew he had startled her slightly, watching as Bulma took a step back away from him when he re-appeared. He watched those beautiful blue eyes study him with apprehension. With a look of determination, he inhaled deeply and exhaled a heavy breath before speaking to her. "Woman, you demand a decision from me, but what you do not realize is that I had already made my decision a long time ago." And with that, he moved his hand away from behind his back, where he had been hiding a very familiar, gorgeous blue gem. He watched the confusion in her eyes.
Bulma's breath hitched in her throat. It was her gem. The gem she had back at her lab on Earth. The gem that Vegeta had given to her years and years ago after returning from his travels. She felt the tears begin to gather in her eyes as it all began to sink in. Vegeta had known, even back then, that giving her that gem signified a romantic interest. She had been blind to it at the time, but now she understood what decision he had made so long ago. Overcome with heavy emotion, she looked away from the gem and into Vegeta's dark eyes. His own reflected similar emotions as his look softened towards her considerably. She was unable to speak at the moment, even if her life depended on it, as her tears began to fall, realizing he was forgiving her. That he still loved her.
That he never stopped loving her.
Vegeta stepped up, his own strong heart pounding in his chest as he curled his tail around Bulma and brought her closer to him, feeling some inexplicable need to comfort her as she quickly tried to wipe her tears away. He leaned in, tilting his head slightly as his lips hovered over hers, the intimacy between them holding them frozen in place together for a passing moment before he kissed her.
Without much more hesitation, Bulma enthusiastically kissed him back, reaching her hands around the back of his head and neck to bring him forcefully against her lips. The prince had been caught off-guard as she grabbed him with lightening speed, but he welcomed her kiss. His tail kept her pressed closely against him as he cradled the back of her head with his free hand, leaning forward and deepening their kiss even more. He heard her sensual murmurs, the feeling reverberating though his own body as he fought back his own groan of pleasure. She only elicited a desire for more as he felt her run her hand through his hair, grabbing sections of it in her fist as she grazed her nails down the nape of his neck. He began to feel intoxicated by her, and with all the effort he could gather, Vegeta abruptly pushed her away from him, breaking himself free from her warm, pleasurable embrace as his tail remained encircled around her waist, keeping her at a distance from him.
Bulma looked at him in a daze for a moment, snapping out of it after realizing that he was pushing her away. Confusion overcame her as she looked at him with question. "Vegeta?" she murmured in uncertainty, feeling tense as she wondered if she had done something wrong or made him angry.
An incredibly serious look crossed his handsome face as he took a moment to compose himself, looking directly into those gorgeous blue eyes of hers as he gave her his own ultimatum. "I will not go through this again." he stated in emphasis, firm in his own resolve. He saw the still puzzled and worried look on Bulma's face as she remained silent, not quite sure of what he was talking about. "Woman, if you're mine, you're mine. No doubts. No regrets. No second-guessing. If you want to be with me, then you are with me." he emphasized with finality. "You will be with me and no one else. Ever. The same goes for myself. I will be yours, and only yours. I will be with you, and no one else. Ever." And as customary on his planet, Vegeta held out his gloved hand, offering the blue gem to her.
Bulma stood shell-shocked for a moment as she listened to Vegeta's words. It took her a moment to register exactly what he was saying as she looked down at the gem in his hand, before looking back up at him. She didn't know how, but she managed to find her voice again. "Are you…asking me to marry you?"
"I am asking you to be my mate, and I am offering to become yours."
All these years the spark still survives,
A small ember in ashes of the past.
One look into his eyes and her truth arrives,
Her true love she recognizes at last.
Spark to flame, flame to inferno,
All in one look, in one breath.
How she missed it before, she will never know,
But now she knows she is his, to her death.
Trust me, even though I had the ending of this chapter pre-planned in my head for a year and a half, I still squealed like a fangirl. I'm sure you did also!
I know you probably hate me for leaving it off where I did, but c'mon, you have to admit, what a way to end the chapter!
Please, leave me a review and tell me what you think! Did anyone expect Vegeta to be the one to figure out the gravitational formula? Anyone wonder where Goku had disappeared off to? Anyone shocked to find Vegeta had gone back to Earth? Were you worried for Bulma when she wanted to go back to Earth? Was it a shock to find out all her problems on Earth had pretty much disappeared? Were you worried that Yamcha was going to hurt her while she was talking to him? Did you think Bulma and Vegeta were never going to be okay again? Did you remember the significance of the blue gem Vegeta had given her years ago, in correlation to him giving it to her again this time? I had hoped it tied in nicely. I was going for a full-circle kind of thing. Did you like how Bulma was more like herself? Did you like how Vegeta has his own unconventional but loving way of showing that he cares for her? They have such an interesting dynamic together. They will always be my favorite anime couple!
Okay, enough of my rambling. Please, don't be shy! I hope you will leave a review! I would really love to hear what you think!
I'm looking forward to the next chapter! I'll be working on it as much as I can, and I hope I can update again much sooner.
Oh, and hey, do you hear that? Sounds like wedding bells to me….
(Lyrics at the beginning of the chapter are from "I Need Your Love" by Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding. The stanza at the end of the chapter is an excerpt from a poem called "She Longs to Tell Him 'I Love You' " by a poet who is simply named 'Amber.')