Shoujo manga is a genre of Japanese comics, aimed specifically at adolescent girls. It is characterised by a plot line focused on the romantic relationship of the protagonist and a desired recipient of her affections (usually).

Why shoujo manga and not romance fairy tales? Because I say so, of course—that's why. :D


Nothing Like Shoujo Manga


Shoujo manga was something every girl had read at least once in her life.

And, if it had been the right series at the right point in time, it had probably pulled pleasantly on the heartstrings of said girl.

Bulma Briefs was a woman of science. She was not just skilled in mechanical work – she was a physics genius, world-renowned for her work and widely recognized brilliance. She was a woman who could push the limits of reality and beyond, owing greatly to her unbridled wit and brain-work. She was a woman who could make the impossible possible in the most improbable way you could imagine.

Most of all that, though, Bulma Briefs was a woman.

Before she'd been a woman, she'd been a girl.

Even though she had been born and raised a genius, it was preposterous to suppose that all of Bulma's time in her youth had been filled with gadgets-tinkering and blueprint-making. No. She had spent a good portion of her life reading books, playing games and engaged in child-like activities.

Although the heiress was different than most children, one thing she had in common with most girls her age had been her curiosity for romance. It fascinated her so hugely that she'd even gone on a quest around the country to find the dragon balls just so she could ask Shen Long to give her the perfect boyfriend for her.

The perfect boyfriend for the perfect girl that she was. It all made for the perfect romance. At least it did in her sixteen-year-old head.

Now, more than a decade later, Bulma knew perfectly well that not all relationships were like shoujo manga romance.

For example, nowhere in shoujo manga do authors tell you of the troubles that come with having a relationship (Well, at least most titles in the genres didn't; the ones Bulma had adored most certainly hadn't breathed a word of it…). Like, having a handsome boyfriend who is dreamy and adores you… and whose eyes still wander to other girls when he thinks you aren't looking. Or to give another example, how he will forget the most important things you tell him about and won't even show for your birthday, never mind giving you a present or flowers. Or, to cite another example, he will swear to love you unconditionally and yet won't have a problem when you say you need to take a break from your relationship with him because it stifles you and no longer feels right for you.

Sometimes, Bulma wished she were a shoujo manga heroine. If she did, her life would be so much easier. Her problems would have easy solutions—or better yet, she wouldn't have any at all.

Her main worry would be her relationship with the perfect boyfriend, who would be perfect but they would sometimes be unable to properly convey their feelings for each other. Kissing her perfect boyfriend would make her heart leap with joy even after days, weeks, months and even years pass after they have first hooked up together. Starting a family would be natural because her perfect boyfriend would make her feel like the world belonged to her.

Instead, she was Bulma Briefs: the perfect woman in an imperfect world, where her real boyfriend was not only imperfect, but he was not even close to being what she really needed.

It was a world where her personal problems only stacked up on one another, adding to her already weighted down frame. In that world, kissing became more of a habit than anything else and even loving the other was more of a chore than something that brought joy to either side. It was a world in which having a family in such a situation seemed like the most abysmal kind of decision one could make, despite the fact that one's time to bear any offspring was starting to seriously run out (as one's obnoxious mother would obnoxiously and repeatedly remind one at every chance said mother got).

Bulma sighed, closing the book she had been reading closed. It was late afternoon mid-summer and even the thought of the artificial humans that would come to attack in a bit more than two years from then didn't succeed in distracting her from her current plight. That was how disheartened she felt at having broken up with her boyfriend of more than ten years.

Make no mistake though – she wasn't depressed because she thought it was the wrong thing to do and was repenting for having blown up at him. She wasn't even depressed because she missed him and wanted him to stay with her instead of going off on a training trip.

No. Bulma was depressed because she didn't seem to give a damn anymore regardless what happened to their bond.

And, after spending ten years with the same person, it really made her wonder whether she hadn't wasted a large portion of her life for naught.

And that, you have to admit, is just damn depressing.

In an effort to forget her break-up blues, she'd stuffed her face with ice-cream and chocolate for two days. The mandatory marathon of romantic comedies screened on her fifty-inch TV had been a must. None of that, of course, had helped her feel any better. Not really at least. So, ever a masochist in such a situation, she'd turned to literature: re-reading some of her favourite books and comics from her youth.

And as she read her favourite shoujo mangas from the days she was in her teens, she couldn't help but wonder just why it was that real life romance was nothing like what they presented it was in comics.

However, even if it was nothing like real life, she still found herself deeply engrossed in the heroine's quest for her boy's attentions, and somehow oddly finding solace in reading about someone else's (much more productive) experiences in love.

After some time though, Bulma felt fed up with reading about fictional, totally unrealistic romance. She felt like talking to someone about shoujo manga and about relationships, but she didn't really have any girlfriends like that. The heiress sighed, wishing she'd bonded a bit better with Chi-Chi over the years and making a mental reminder to herself to try to do just that sometime.

Just as she was sinking into the depths of her despair, she felt the depression and a shift of weight from the other side of the couch she was sitting on. The movement was very efficient in bringing the genius out of her reverie and drawing her attention to her newly arrived companion.

Upon seeing who had joined her on the couch, Bulma felt a bit surprised. It was rare to see Vegeta, of all people, just lounging around the house to begin with. It was even rarer to see him out of the Gravity Room so early in the day. And, to be honest, she'd never really had the chance to be in his company when he was fresh out of the shower, a towel still draped over his bare shoulders.

The prince sat next to her and rested his back against the comfy cushions of the spacious couch with a deep sigh. It had been a very productive day for him and he had decided to reward himself by taking a short break from training for the remainder of the day. Besides, he did need Dr. Briefs to make some repairs on his training equipment.

He frowned and turned to glare at Bulma when he felt her staring at him.

"What?" he snapped irritably.

She flinched, brought out of her trance by the harshness of his tone.

"Ah—no, it's nothing." She waved a hand in front of her face in a dismissive manner. This only seemed to aggravate the short-tempered Saiyan's anger further.

"Then stop gawking at me. It's not your first time seeing me, so lay off it." He continued grumbling as he proceeded to open a can of beer and then take a large gulp from it.

He was wrong. It was her first time seeing him—in a sense. She'd never seen him so… laid back? Approachable, maybe? No, definitely not approachable—not with that tone of voice and attitude. Relaxed, perhaps? Unguarded, even?

It was weird. There was just something about seeing someone in a completely uncharacteristic situation that makes them feel like a wholly different person.

The Vegeta sitting next to her on the couch was nothing like the Vegeta she had known for the past six months that he'd been her housemate.

And, despite her knowing better, there was something romantic about the feeling of such novelty.

Again, Bulma discovered anew, shoujo manga was nothing like real life experience. She didn't feel her world suddenly change just by this small fact. She didn't feel all tingly and fluffy inside or all that jazz. Her heart didn't skip a beat and she didn't blush. Maybe she just wasn't that kind of person. Or maybe she was just getting old for this kind of thing?

Regardless, instead of those kinds of immature reactions, she felt intrigued. Genuinely intrigued.

And, for a scientist of her magnitude, intrigue was something she rarely experienced to begin with.

She wasn't at an age where she'd talk to her parents about romance anymore; that much was certain. She didn't have any friends close enough to discuss gossip with either. She missed having those kinds of exchanges.

So could she really be blamed for her temporary lapse of judgement and getting the urge to talk to the Saiyan next to her about them?

Bulma opened her mouth, fully intending to ask him something about what had been on her mind all afternoon. However, no words came out. The moment she was about to vocalize them, she realized how silly they were. The man next to her wasn't the kind of person who cared about others to begin with; romance was completely out of the question for him. She doubted he even had the capacity to receive any, not to mention personally feel affection for another in any shape or form.

And then, a thought popped into her mind.

"Hey, Vegeta," she began conversationally.

"What now?" he growled, his eyes still glued to the TV as he channel-surfed.

"You're a man, right?"

There was a loud crack as the remote control in his hand was crushed to bits in his tightly clenched fist. She blinked in surprise at his reaction, and was taken even further aback when his frame shook with barely contained fury.

"Are you insulting me?" Bulma inched back as slowly as she could, a sheepish grin on her face as the Saiyan loomed closer. "What kind of fucking question is that? Can't you tell by looking?"

The heiress put her hands up in a placating manner, when her housemate's face was just a few inches away from hers. She'd never really felt scared of him after the whole Namek fiasco was behind them, but the absolutely livid expression on his face just then was just a bit unsettling, she had to admit.

"Don't get so mad! I wasn't intending to insult your masculinity or something like that!" she defended herself. She had to admit she felt quite the stab of relief when the Saiyan's infuriated scowl settled into his usual frown after he huffed and turned his face away from her.

And, if she had to be fair to him, who in their right mind could question this guy's masculinity? Sure, his stature was a bit small—at least compared to most of the Z-warriors—but his build was simply flawless. She was sure even a Greek god could very well be envious of the perfect tone of every single one of his muscles and those roguishly handsome face of his.

Bulma cleared her throat as she scratched her cheek and shifted her eyes away from him. She needed to get her mind back on track.

"I was just trying to make a point."

Vegeta sighed—it almost sounded dejected—as he rested his back against the couch again, his eyes rolling to the ceiling.

"And what point exactly was that?" Ah. It had been his sigh of defeat of him humouring her? Most curious again.

"Well, it's simple logic, really. Men's heads are usually filled only with such thoughts. And, even if yours is mostly full of fighting and obsessive thoughts of besting Son-kun, by logic of you being a man, there must be some times when you feel that way as well, as any man would. I mean, your body does have urges as anyone else's, right?"

By the time she was done, Vegeta's face was fixed into a look of complete bewilderment, complete with a spastic twitch of his brow and a muscle at the corner of his mouth.

"Urges? Thoughts?" he echoed, mystified. "What the hell are you even talking about, you crazy female?"

Unimpressed with his impolite way of referring to her, Bulma turned to give him a confused look. Only then did she realize that she was incapable of using telepathy to convey the context of her observations, so she would have to provide it to him explicitly. After all, he wasn't in her head and had no idea what her statements were made in relation to.

"Oh, sorry." She laughed merrily, making Vegeta's puzzlement increase. "I was just reading a shoujo manga a little while ago and got immersed in thinking about romance."

"Romance?" Vegeta reiterated and his expression merged into one of distaste. "Why in the world would you relate me to that kind of nonsense in the first place?"

"Oh, no, of course not." She waved a hand at him, chortling behind the fingers of the other. "I know you aren't the type. However, the feelings part isn't the only part of romance, really."

He quirked a brow at her again, apparently lost in where this conversation was going—or where it had come from, for that matter.

"There's a physical part to every relationship as well," Bulma explained good-naturedly. "Even if you don't care about women and only have fighting on your mind, you're still a guy. And, what I was trying to say, is that like any guy you probably have urges as well, right?"

Usually, Vegeta was the kind of individual who was too guarded to be caught by surprise by anything. He prided himself in remaining perfectly poised in any kind of situation—regardless how dire, draining or atypical it was.

Encountered with being told this by this woman, though, he couldn't help it. His jaw fell slack and his eyes widened so much they could've just as well bulged out of their sockets.

What had she just said to him?!

She seemed to mistake his shock for confusion though, so she elaborated.

"I mean, your body does have urges right? Sexual."

He sputtered and bristled, outraged at having to sit there and listen to her probing questions about things that were absolutely none of her damn business! He admonished her for her nosiness and put her in her rightful place, turning his face away from her when he finished his tirade.

Bulma blinked in surprise at him a few times, giving him a thoughtful hum as he faced away from her. He couldn't help but wonder if the daft creature had truly understood what he had been saying to her.

The heiress, on the other hand, didn't have half a mind to pay that any heed. She was still marvelling at the fact how flushed the proud Saiyan's face had been when he found out what she had been talking about.

Bulma smiled coyly to herself. Real life was nothing like shoujo manga, but every now and then, there were some similarities in the unlikeliest of places.


The lavender-haired woman let out a comically deep sigh and slammed the book she'd been holding closed. Sometimes, she really wondered if some higher force wasn't really having a blast jerking her around with the way her life was turning out every now and then. She knew for a fact that it couldn't be Dende—the boy was just too sweet to be such a devil. Mr Popo, on the other hand, she was so sure about…

It was about half a year after the whole deal with Cell was over and done with. That, in itself, had been plenty of cause for celebration. The world had returned to its state of perfect peace thanks to the Z-warriors and the father of her son. They had asked Shen Long to deal with the mess of the death of her son from the future and any other damage done by the green atrocity. The Z-warriors were all alive and well. Therefore, all was right with the world.

Or at least so she thought until she found out that Goku had refused being resurrected in favour of staying at Kaiou-sama's place to train. That piece of information had been hard to digest—after all, what was he even thinking, that man? He'd always been weird but this Bulma just couldn't wrap her mind around. What kind of father and husband preferred staying dead to spending some quality time with his family in the newfound peace he'd worked hard to bring about?

But even Goku's lunacy had been a fact she somehow swallowed.

Vegeta, on the other hand, seemed to have a harder time dealing with it than she would've believed.

For weeks on end, he wouldn't even lift a finger, let alone spend some time in his beloved gravity chamber. She hadn't seen him leave his room for anything other than eating—and much less than his usual portions, too, which was doubly alarming—and showering every now and then. Whenever she ran into him, he had this vacant—dare she say soulless—look on his face as though there was nothing left for him in the world.

She spent an ungodly amount of time trying to convince the Saiyan prince that the world didn't start and end with Goku and there were still things he could accomplish even without the younger male around to best in combat. All of those reasonable arguments had fallen on deaf ears. She'd tried pleading with him, cajoling him into doing anything, bribing him into training or just doing anything—but all of it had been to no avail. She'd screamed and thrown things at him at a point, too, enraged beyond belief by the way he was acting just because his rival wasn't around anymore—even if she and his son were still there with him—but that had accomplished nothing as well.

Seeing his so depressed all the time rubbed off on her as well. She wasn't used to seeing him in such an obvious state of melancholy—or, well, at least as melancholy as Vegeta could get. Worst of all, she hated the thoughts that her induced state of mind brought to her attention.

Such thoughts included things like: would he care nearly as much if she were to keel over and die? Would he give a damn if she and Trunks disappeared from his life? Would he even notice whether they were gone since he seemed so damn hung up on Goku right then?

The potential answers to those questions peeking behind her lover's actions scared her and made her feel lost.

However, Bulma was never one to mope around for long. After all, she still had her beautiful baby boy who brought purpose and colour to her life, even if all else was lost. She wished she could make Vegeta feel that way as well, but she doubted it was possible at that current point in time.

So instead, she talked to that man in terms he could understand.

After all the screaming, cajoling, blackmailing, bribing and begging had been done with, she decided to try with using a form of the truth against the Saiyan prince in an attempt to get some life back into him. (Regardless of how much of a cold bastard he was, she did deeply care for him and his welfare.)

She told him that as he whiled his life away turning from one side to the other on the bed all day long, Goku was busy training hard in the afterlife and becoming ever better, continuing to increase the gap in their strengths.

It was simply wondrous what saying the right thing and the right time could achieve.

Bulma's words had almost literally propelled Vegeta into action. Now, instead of spending all his days sleeping or channel-surfing, the Saiyan prince trained harder than ever in the Gravity Room—to "make up for the time he'd wasted", as he put it himself.

Having him getting a move on was all fine with Bulma—after all, it was what she wanted. However, having him tirelessly training day in and day out left her feeling just as lonely as she'd been while he'd been depressed.

And, as always when she felt this way, she cuddled her baby boy and pampered him more than ever.

Even so, Trunks was a growing baby. He needed rest and he needed his sleep at the appropriate times. Because if he didn't get it, he became grouchy and cry unstoppably.

This left Bulma with nothing to do with herself in the long nights alone in her room. But instead of feeling depressed forever, she decided to distract herself with the perfect thing for the case.

And what else other than shoujo manga, of course?

As always, reading those stories only made her feel worse about her own life in the end. The only redeeming afterthought was that at least now she had a son whom she cared for more than anything else in the world (Granted, the man who had helped her bring the boy into the world had nothing but fighting and her childhood friend in that head of his).

Bulma heaved another deep sigh as she looked at the empty space on the bed next to her. Even if there was nothing romantic in Vegeta in any way, she really wished he would stop training for the night and come join her bed, at the very least. She could never expect any kindness or affection from the guy, but at least in sex he was considerate of her in ways she wouldn't have expected before their relationship began.

She grinned to herself as memories of their first awkward steps towards one another sprung to mind. Sure, it wasn't romance novel material, but they were her precious experiences with the man she adored. So she found them more heart-warming than the best of fictional romantic babble she had ever read.

Invigorated by her little trip down memory lane, Bulma decided she would change into her best lingerie and wait for Vegeta until he was done training so they could spend some quality time together.

Once she was done with her preparations she climbed under the covers, feeling slightly giddy. And then she started waiting.

She waited and waited, reading half of her book until her lids started feeling seriously heavy. She glared at the clock on her nightstand, her brows knitting further when she saw what the numbers read. 1:47 and he was still not done?! She stifled a yawn and flipped the next page harder than necessary. Suddenly she found most of her earlier positivity siphoning out of her being, replaced by her mounting ire with the wilful alien. Didn't he know she had an early day tomorrow? How long was he planning to make her wait for him?!

It was 2:20 when Bulma finally judged that she'd wasted too much of her precious beauty sleep on that bastard. It had taken her a mountain of effort to get him in action and now it seemed that there was nothing that could stop him anymore.

Whatever. She didn't care. She didn't need his company anyway!

Again, she was reminded how real life relationships were nothing like shoujo manga. In real life, unlike in comics, men were never there when you really need them or want them to be.


Trunks exhaled noisily, setting his glass down in contentment. He'd gulped all his juice down with a staggering speed and his impressive appetite at five years of age didn't fail to surprise Bulma every day.

"I'm done!" he announced merrily, jumping out of his seat from the table.

"What do you say when you're done?" Bulma chastised half-heartedly in an almost sing-song tone.

"Thank you, it was delicious!" the boy obliged with a wide grin. His response earned him a kiss on the forehead by his mother. He giggled. "Mom, can I go to Goten's now?"

"Sure, honey, but make sure you call them first before you go. You shouldn't barge in on Chi-Chi unannounced."

"Okay," the little boy dragged out as he ran towards the living room to fetch the phone.

Bulma laughed as she watched her son.

"He sure has a lot of energy," she said with mirth bubbling in her tone to the only other occupant of the kitchen aside from her.

Vegeta grunted noncommittally, still immersed in devouring every bit of his breakfast.

Turning her head towards him, Bulma regarded her husband for a while. They were married for a couple of years now and even so, Vegeta was still Vegeta. He had been vaguely more romantic in the way he'd been friskier around their wedding but afterwards it seemed like life had return to its usual course.

Worst of all, even after getting married to him there were still more nights than she liked that she spent alone in the bed they were supposed to be sharing.

The previous night, in particular, she had waited for him for a few hours before she'd finally given up and drifted off to sleep by herself.

Never one to back down so easily, she decided to pursue the manner again.

She guided herself carefully around the kitchen, putting the dishes in the sink behind him. He paid her no heed as he dug into the mountain of pancakes she'd made him. She smirked mischievously to herself, taking a look to make sure that her son was still on the phone in the living room before she put her hands around his neck.

"Why didn't you come to bed last night?" she asked huskily in his ear. "I was lonely."

He threw her a dismissive look over his shoulder, trying to shrug her off afterwards.

"I didn't feel tired so I decided to stay up training instead."

"If you didn't feel tired, you could've just come to bed and let me come up with something to fill your time with instead of sleeping." She almost purred out her retort, planting a kiss on the crook of his neck.

Surprisingly, her ministrations didn't seem to have the desired effect on her significant other.

"It's over and done with, so just let it go," he told her in a flat tone. "And get off me while you're at it, you clingy woman—I can't feed this way."

The note of genuine aggravation in his voice made her face twist into a pout.

"Eh, why are you being so cold, hubby?" she all but whined, rubbing the side of her face against his. Even without looking at him, she was well aware of the annoyed tic of his eyebrow at her actions.

"What did you just—" He began menacingly but was interrupted by the noisy reappearance of his son at the kitchen doorway.

"Mama, Papa, Goten's mom said it was fine if I come over. Can I go now?"

To his credit, the child didn't seem at all fazed by the sight of his pouting mother hugging his glaring father from behind. His parents needed a moment to blink in surprise as they rolled his question around in their minds before it registered properly with them.

"Whatever," Vegeta grumbled, seizing the chance to shake Bulma off of him.

"All right, honey. Make sure to be a good boy while you're at aunt Chi-Chi's," she instructed dotingly, a large smile on her face.

"Okay!" her son said, making a run for the front door.

She went after him to make sure he was properly dressed and to lock the door. By the time she returned—no later than a couple of minutes afterwards—there was no sign of her Saiyan lover anywhere. He'd finished his pancakes in the speediest fashion, leaving a mountain of dirty dishes in his wake. He'd made an escape to the gravity room while she'd been at the door and by the red lights on in the simulator, she could tell that he'd already started his work out for the day.

Bulma heaved a deep sigh as she began putting away the dishes. Sometimes she wondered why she even bothered pretending like there was any hope for bringing any form of romance to her life. It wasn't like Vegeta ever wielded to her affections unless he felt like it.

That same evening, after an exceptionally strenuous day—most certainly amplified by her annoyance in the morning—Bulma wanted nothing more than to soak herself well into a hot bubbly bath to get rid of some of the tension that wired her shoulders.

The moment when she stepped into the water of her spacious tub was sheer bliss. The hot water diluted with aromatic oils did wonders for soothing both her tired muscles and her worn mind. She was basking in the moment of pure heaven on earth as she rested her back against the porcelain of the tub. Her eyes slid shut as she savoured the feeling of the water on her skin and blocked out completely the rest of the world.

It was perhaps for that exact reason that she didn't notice the bathroom door opening or closing to let another into the premise. Her obliviousness lasted only until said invader let himself into her private little heaven.

Bulma's cerulean eyes snapped wide open when she felt the water level rise, millilitres of her precious liquid heaven splashing out to allow another body into the tub with her.

"Vegeta?!" she exclaimed, surprised. "What are you doing here?" Her brows narrowed when she remember just why she had needed a relaxing bath to begin with. "Better yet, who said you may come in?!"

He smirked in that absolutely infuriating manner of his then, making himself comfortable as he sat himself next to her.

"No one said that I wasn't allowed, so I just let myself in. I could use one of these ridiculously odorous baths you have—they actually feel kind of nice after a strenuous work out like the one today."

Bulma glared at the arm he put along the edge of the tub as the limb ended up right around her frame. She then shifted her exasperated look to him.

"If you wanted a bath, you should've just waited for your turn to take one. I am the one using the tub now, so I'd appreciate it if—"

He didn't let her finish.

"Why should I wait when we can just share one?" He grinned impishly at her when he saw her face darken with barely contained anger. "And how come you're so eager to get rid of me now? You were practically all over me at breakfast. You sure are a fickle woman."

"Fi—Why, you!" She splashed some soapy water in his face but only thing that accomplished was make him chortle at her childish reaction. "That's it! I've had it with you!" She snapped angrily, crossing her hands over her chest in a huff.

She completely missed how—in her current state of undress—that made her ample bosom only more prominent and attention-distracting than usual. Another thing she missed was the change in her husband's eyes the action brought.

"I don't care anymore! Everything always goes at your pace anyway, so I might as well stop trying to make you do anything whenever I want."

She huffed petulantly again and refused to feel any more emotional over this. It was the usual drill, after all.

"Cease the childish pouting—it doesn't suit you." He told her with a chuckle and his mirth only increased when she turned so she could give him her back.

"Oh, shut up!"

The naked expanse of her back given to him in plain view made the urge to reach out impossible to resist. Not like the prince was a man of great self-control in situations that really expected none.

"What's got you so tensed up, hmm?" he said barely above a whisper next to her earlobe. His hands were on her shoulders, deft fingers softly digging into the creamy skin underneath. He kneaded gently at the knots of tension in her muscles. "Are you still angry with me for this morning, Bulma?"

She shivered. It's not that he spoke her name rarely—he didn't—but saying it with that particular tone of voice always got to her. The fact his lips were trailing kisses along the column of her neck as his strong hands continued massaging her shoulders and upper back definitely didn't help the coherence of her thought process any.

"No," she sighed out at last. She felt his mouth curl into a smirk against her skin, probably thinking himself triumphant. Her brows narrowed. "I'm angry about last night."

"What about it?" His voice was raspy and the way it ghosted over her moist skin sent another shiver down her spine.

His mouth was now on her shoulders, planting chaste kisses along her frame as he rubbed her sides along the length of her spine with open palms.

It was a matter of pride for her to contain the content moan from betraying her.

"I waited for you. I waited!" she enthused angrily. Simultaneously, she tried to wriggle away without much fervour, but her husband's strong hands wouldn't let her budge an inch. The fact frustrated her. It was unfair how huge a difference in physical force there was between them! "But you never came! So don't try to sweet-talk me into putting out now! Because I won't!"

As if he hadn't heard a word she said, he pulled her closer to his body, hugging her over her shoulders from behind and aligning his head with the side of hers.

"I won't, okay?! I'm still pissed!" Bulma insisted with more conviction than she actually had.

Her shrill tone and her palpable aggravation made her lover sigh deeply and rest his forehead on her shoulder. He didn't say a word, but neither did he let go of her. They stood there, motionless and speechless like that for a moment that felt like an eternity.

The thing that annoyed Bulma the most in all of that was that his little massage had done wonders in relieving the tension in her shoulders—trust the physical exertion master to know all the best ways in which to make tense muscles unwind. And even if the rational part of her was pissed with him—she was beside herself with anger!—the larger portion of her conscious thought was busy with how perfectly relaxed she could feel in his embrace and how having him join her in the bath was probably the highlight of her whole damn week.

She gritted her teeth and refused to let any tears well in her eyes.

"It's not fair!" she exclaimed angrily, slamming her fist against the surface of the water. It sent bubbly liquid splashing in all directions. "You're never there when I want you to be. We only ever do things when you feel like it! Whenever I instigate something, you either don't feel like it or you're too busy doing something else to even pay attention to me. It's not fair!"

She had long since known that fairy tale-like romance was impossible for her, even if she had her own genuine prince at home. (Even if he was a prince of a long dead race of war-driven ape-men.) But at least some semblance of normal mutuality of feelings would've been a breath of fresh air every once in a while.

He grabbed her shoulders roughly and turned her around until she was facing him. She glared at his stern, unreadable expression, her mouth still fixed into a stubborn frown.

"You knew it wouldn't be fair since the beginning—I told you that it wouldn't." His voice was cold, his phrasing – succinct and straight to the point.

The truthfulness of his statement made Bulma's resolve waver slightly.

"Well, yes, but…" Her eyes shifted away from his, unable to hold his gaze anymore.

"Bulma." The way he said her name when he was just a breath away from her drew her attention back to him like even physically forcing her to do so couldn't.

She stared into his eyes, her own brimming with hurt, disappointment and guilt. After a brief stare down, the sternness left his expression and the expression of his face and the look in his eyes softened.

"I'm here now, aren't I?"

There was just something about that phrase in that situation that touched the woman in ways she couldn't imagine such a simple phrase would be capable of.

He was right – he was there indeed. Again, it was under his terms, in a sense. Again, the only thing he could offer her was physical companionship.

But it wasn't like he didn't care what she wanted at all. It wasn't like it completely didn't matter to him whether she was angry with him or not. It wasn't like he didn't know he had been in the wrong but it wasn't like he could apologize to her either.

The only thing he could do was be there. And show her. He'd never been one to mince words much, and he was more a man of action than anything else anyway.

So he kissed her.

Her throaty moan—one she'd been unable to contain at the sensuality of his kiss—encouraged him to make use of their state of undress and their closeness, to ensure that there wouldn't be any bad blood left between them anymore.

It was their way of working out marital problems.

Maybe some would consider it counter-productive or just an avoidance of the matter at hand. Still, the genius rather enjoyed it when a certain husband of hers put his mind to making it up to her for some of his emotional shortcomings.

And, not that she would admit it to him yet, but she wouldn't have him any other way.

For a while, Bulma had known that her life was nothing like a shoujo manga.

Every now and then, though, it proved it was so much better.


A/N: Why yes, yes I was reading shoujo manga before this idea came to mind. How'd you guess? :D

Plot bunny. (If it even can be called that. Hmm, does this piece actually have a plot?). Giggles ensued. It HAD to be written. The ending took a while to get the proper phrasing. I think I managed the most impacting order of the sentences in the end though. That is all!

I hope you liked!