debbiechan fanfiction

Always A First Time

by debbiechan

Disclaimer: I can make no claim to owning DBZ, yet I have a masochistic compulsion to tell this damn story.

A/N: Thanks, as always, to LisaB for beta-ing. And thanks for the all the fun feedback, dear readers, for the last chapter--I’ll be addressing Vegeta’s many neuroses soon. Glad the serving of lemonade held you for a week. Bulma herself wouldn’t go so long. ^^ dchan, 4.29.05.

Chapter Eleven: More Than Just Sex

“Mama, I’m envious of your freedom from worry.”--Bulma, episode 124


Bulma considered herself to be, in general, a happy person. Optimistic. Resourceful and self-determining. Not the kind of woman who would shrink to accommodate any mere man’s whim or suffer fits of doubt over her self-worth.

But she had to admit: she had precious little experience with love relationships.

When she was sixteen, she felt like she had everything a girl could wish for--money, looks, freedom (all thanks to rich, genetically attractive parents with a very relaxed child-rearing style!). All she needed to have a perfect life was the perfect boyfriend, right? And so, following the simple scientific strategy of engaging the most feasible solution to an identified problem, she promptly set to work inventing a machine that could detect and track subatomic particles in certain wave configurations. The little machine, the dragon radar, was limited in that it could only track the mysterious emanations from the mythical dragonballs, but Bulma’s goal was very limited too: find all seven dragonballs and make a wish for the one thing her parents couldn’t give her--a boyfriend.

Bulma never got the chance to make her wish. Had she gotten her wish anyway in Yamcha? He had been her one and only boyfriend through all her teen years and most of her young adult life.

Bulma set down her screwdriver and blew her bangs up with a dramatic sigh. The strength resistance rowing machine she was building for Yamcha was no challenge. Her father had done the fun work already--the sketches and preliminary designs--and any one of CC’s development techs could be doing this part, the grungework building. But Yamcha expected her participation in his quest to become stronger, and so Bulma was obliging. Didn’t she owe something to the guy? He was skipping this season’s baseball training to prepare to meet the Androids and save the planet, and all Bulma had done for the guy lately was break his heart.

And Yamcha wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding the fact that his heart was broken over Bulma’s rejection of his marriage proposal.

Bulma, meanwhile, was doing everything in her power to hide her love affair with Vegeta.

She glanced at the clock: eleven a.m. Too early for the lunch date she had with her dad in the dinosaur sanctuary. But she pulled her gloves off anyway and decided to call it quits in the lab.

When she was a teenager, Bulma used to joke that there was no boy in the world good enough for her. Guys her age were intimidated by her; even older guys seemed dorky and banal. Yamcha the Desert Bandit had been so wild and handsome and unlike ordinary city boys--and best of all, he had needed her. She had taught him things, introduced him to the ways of the world (she had been such a worldly teen!), dressed him, combed his hair, fussed over him as if she were Pygmalion and he were some science fair project, and when the time came for the two of them to have sex, she--the perfect virgin--had somehow been his tutor.

Woah, does that ever seem like ancient history. Sex with Vegeta was quickly dimming all recollections of sex with Yamcha. The Saiyan was training again, but he never stayed away from Bulma’s bedroom for more than three or four nights in a row. And every visit was an exhausting all-nighter.

In the elevator, Bulma felt herself dreading the possibility of running into Yamcha at the next floor. The guy never trained for long, was in the habit of wandering around Capsule Corporation chatting up employees, and despite all his talk of getting his own apartment to make their split easier on Bulma, he wasn’t scoping rental properties from the ads Bulma had circled in the newspaper for him…. Grrrrrr, why am I still putting up with him? I’m not his mother! Is it my fault he’s in some sort of pissing contest with Vegeta over getting Briefs technology for the latest in training gear? That’s it. I’m going to get one of the tech guys to finish Yamcha’s stupid rowing machine. I’m done for the day. I’m done with Yamcha. He’s NOT my boyfriend anymore.

So much for the “perfect guy” that she had almost been ready to marry only a few months ago. The science fair project was over and done with, and Yamcha had become just another ordinary city boy? Bulma reminded herself that the guy could fly, shoot kamehamehas, was one of the world’s strongest martial artists and, oh yeah, a baseball superstar. Any normal woman would be dazzled just to be around him.

No one in the world is good enough. Is that why she was hooked up with an alien now?

Bulma still didn’t have a boyfriend. Vegeta was no boyfriend. A lover, yes. He was a magnificent, exciting, passionate presence, but (here Bulma felt a wave of sadness pass over her) something was still missing in Bulma Brief’s love life.

The elevator doors hissed open. Bulma stepped into the corridor, turned left and found herself facing her mother. Mrs. Briefs had the handle of a huge cornucopia basket looped over one arm. The basket was brimming with sandwiches.

“Bulma-chan? Why so glum, my sweetie? It’s been a while since I’ve seen that poopy face.” Mrs. Briefs lifted a lock of her daughter's blue hair with her free hand. “I know! Is it time for another visit to the Salon? You cheered up so much after you got your haircut! There was a spring in your step for weeks and weeks--”

“Who are the sandwiches for?” There were enough in the basket to feed a Saiyan.

“Me and you and Bonzo!” Mrs. Briefs took her daughter’s arm and began walking with her down the corridor to the east atrium. “Papa can’t meet you for your regular lunch date today. He called to say things were insane at the office, and he’s very sorry, and he asked me to please bring some human food for Bonzo. You’re early! I was going to decorate.”

“Decorate?”

“Wouldn’t you know--I checked my appointment book when your father called, and I saw that it was the 30th anniversary of the dinosaur sanctuary last week. Friends had been sending in donations for the dinos all week, and I hadn’t even noticed why! I thought it might be fun to put up crepe paper and stuff.” Mrs. Briefs cocked her head towards the basket. Sure enough, there was a plastic bag of un-inflated balloons.

Bulma flashed on an image of used condoms. “Are we going to have a party there or something?”

“Not really. Just you and me and the dinos, like I said.” Mrs. Briefs pecked the code to open the atrium door. “I thought I’d do something fun since you might be disappointed not to have your time with your father. I know that you and he like to talk about your science things on your Friday dates.”

It was a Friday date that Bulma wished she could change. Somehow having lunch with her dad only a few yards from the site of her first wild, inspired sex with Vegeta was… too weird.

But Bulma was glad that she was with her mother now. Sometimes the woman’s inane chatter was comforting.

“If we put up balloons, we’ll only have to take them down again after lunch,” Bulma said. “The latex is biodegradable, but the balloons might be a choking hazard for some of the animals here.”

“You’re so smart, Bulma. Let’s just keep the balloons up long enough to get a few good photos to send the patrons. Choking hazard! I didn’t think of that! What would the dinos do without you?”

Bulma had zero interest in the dinosaur sanctuary, actually. She didn’t share her parents’ fascination for animal life, but maybe she did have the Briefs’ proclivity for rescuing the homeless and emotionally wounded—witness Yamcha the Desert Bandit with a phobia of women, witness Vegeta the taciturn extraterrestrial with a tormented past that Bulma could only guess at.

The dinos kept a fair distance from the women and their strange accessories as Mrs. Briefs and her daughter set about stringing blue and yellow crepe paper around the tropical vegetation. Bulma realized that she’d walked away from one meaningless task to another. At least building Yamcha’s rowing machine didn’t require participation with a less than adept user of scotch tape.

“What this?” Bulma held up a small air hand-pump she found in her mother’s basket. “No helium? This is going to take forever.” She dug through the rest of items in the basket. “Did you make a hundred sandwiches, Mama? I don’t think Papa would want the herbivores eating so much of this stuff.”

“I didn’t know what Bonzo liked, so I made twenty each of chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, grilled cheese--”

“I guess Vegeta’s going to have the leftovers,” Bulma interrupted.

Mrs. Briefs giggled. She was tying a knot on the end of a yellow balloon as large as her own yellow head. “Oh my, that young man can eat, can’t he? If he only had regular meals instead of feeding every few days like a boa constrictor, maybe he wouldn’t gorge himself.” The balloon bobbed away from her to join others at her feet.

If only I could spend the rest of my life filling up colorful balloons with air.

“Sooooo,” Mrs. Briefs continued. “How’s the getting info from our alien houseguest going? Didn’t you have a grand idea of sorts about using him as a resource for some new inventions or something?”

Bulma’s interest perked at this particular topic. “I try. But getting him to answer any questions about Saiyan technology or anything he might know about alien fields of scientific knowledge is like pulling teeth.”

“Maybe if you asked him personal stuff--you know, about his adventures in outer space. Men love to tell about their feats of daring-do.”

“Ha! Don’t make me laugh. Vegeta’s an egomaniac, but he’s so guarded. Believe me, I’ve exhausted all ways to try to get him to open up.”

“There’s always pillow talk.”

The balloon Bulma was knotting escaped from her fingers with a weeeeeeeee sound as it deflated. Her face reddened.

“Bulma-chan!” Her mother’s eyes opened wider than Bulma had ever seen them. “It’s true! You’ve already slept with him! I was just joking--I didn’t know for sure!”

“For… sure?” If Bulma’s daffy own mother knew, who else did?

“Honey, it’s OK. There’s nothing to be ashamed about. You’re a grown woman. Vegeta is a grown man.”

“Does Papa know?”

“No! You know how he is. He’s not really interested in that sort of thing.”

“Please don’t tell him, Mama. And you have to understand--I don’t want anyone to know. Vegeta’s not human. Some people still consider him a threat to the planet.”

Mrs. Briefs tossed her hand and made a scoffing sound. “Bah! What do they know? Goku is one of those alien people too, you know. Everyone trusts Goku. Vegeta will be fitting in perfectly, just like Goku, before you know it.”

Bulma decided against telling her mother that Vegeta still wanted to kill Goku.

“How did you--? What made you think that Vegeta and I--?”

Mrs. Briefs was struggling with the tape dispenser. “No, no, you tell me when it started! Was it when you cut your hair? Tell me, am I right?”

Bulma grabbed the tape out of her mother’s hands and began the task of taping the balloons to the crepe paper. She really wanted a cigarette, but certain parts of CC were smoke-free, even for her father, and the atrium was one of them. “It doesn’t matter when it started, Mama. The thing is that I don’t think it’s going to last for very much longer.”

“Nonsense! You’ve said that about Yamcha for the past ten years. Wait a minute--” Mrs. Briefs touched her chin with her forefinger and made an o of her mouth. “That’s over, isn’t it? You’re not sleeping with both of them?”

“No!”

“I figured you must have cut Yamcha loose somehow--he’s been looking a bit pitiful lately. So, what’s the problem with you and Vegeta?”

Good question. Maybe it would be a relief to talk it out. Bulma didn’t have girlfriends to talk to. All her life she’d hung around fighters, scientists, oddball adventurers. Maybe her mother could actually sympathize?

“It’s just about sex, Mama,” Bulma heard herself say. The whininess in her voice surprised her. “He barely talks to me. Sometimes I think that he wants to. Sometimes I think that I actually matter to him, but--”

“Maybe you just have to patient, dear. But I know that telling you to have some patience is like telling the sun not to rise.”

“He’s just using me. Like the gravity machine. Maybe I’m just using him.”

There was a moment of silence. Without the chatter of the women’s voices, the atrium was unusually still. The dinos were nowhere to be seen. It occurred to Bulma that maybe they weren’t as receptive to high-pitched female fuss as they were to her father’s quiet presence. Then it occurred to her that maybe women liked to talk a whole lot more than men did. And Vegeta talked even less than most men.

“Maybe…” Bulma began, her voice softer, “maybe Vegeta communicates to me the only way he knows how. He’s not really a man of words, you know. He’s a warrior. He talks with his body.”

“That makes sense, dear.” Mrs. Briefs was pulling pieces of stray tape off her skirt.

“If he’s not beating me up or blasting me to pieces, then maybe he likes me?” Bulma let out a jaded laugh. “Right. Like that’s supposed be enough for me.”

“Have you ever stopped to consider,” Mrs. Briefs said, “what exactly it is that Vegeta is trying to tell you with his, um, physical way of talking? Maybe it’s something nice. OK, let’s string these balloons over those two bushes over there.”

Bulma helped her mother walk the garland of balloons to the bushes. Nice? Nice? Whatever Vegeta was trying to tell her with his hands and mouth in the dead of night, it wasn’t nice. There was a desperate quality to his lovemaking, like he was trying to show her up, get one over on her, prove something. Still, it was honest sex. He hadn’t learned any of the predictable moves from watching movies and television, and he was touchingly ignorant of human cultural expectations. The raw, inspired way he clutched at her was so thrilling--Yamcha had never done anything like it. Like the time Vegeta grabbed a fistful of hair, brought it to his nose and just smelled it. Like the time he licked the folds of her ear--

Bulma shook the memories out of her head. “This looks good, Mama. I think we need a sign or something. I can go upstairs and print something out in foil letters. Happy 30th Anniversary or something.”

The dinosaur sanctuary was a little older than Bulma herself; the heiress to Capsule Corporation was pushing thirty. Bulma felt herself straining to be optimistic: Is wanting more than just mind-boggling earth-shattering sex a real problem? Most women have husbands and children at my age, but how many have a thrilling alien lover?

“No, we don’t need a sign,” Mrs. Briefs said cheerily. She whipped a camera out of her skirt pocket, set the timer, walked to stand by her daughter and the balloons strung on twisty crepe ribbon. “Lose the poopy face, Bulma-chan. This is going to make just a lovely thank you card for the patrons who support the sanctuary. Smile, Bulma-chan!” She nudged her daughter in the ribs and whispered the next words. “Think about your sexy Vegeta!”

Bulma smiled in spite of herself just as the flash went off.

The rest of the hour was spent trying to coax the dinos into a picture. The women placed sandwiches around in strategic locations, whistled, called “Bonzo, Bonzo, Bonzo!” in every conceivable pitch. Bulma even fetched some of their usual feed and vitamin pellets, shook the bag deliberately and scattered the stuff everywhere. No luck.

“And they say,” Bulma muttered with a wry smile, “that the Briefs women have everyone eating out of their hands.”

“I’ll just have to tell your father that I tried.” Mrs. Briefs shrugged and began the un-taping of the decorations from the shrubbery. “All these sandwiches I made, and I bet the one that the dinos want is the one that’s still in your father’s lunchbox right now.”

A thought occurred to Bulma. “Did Papa say what the matter was at the office?”

“I don’t remember. Some businessy business stuff.”

“Whatever it is, it’s not science,” said Bulma. “Give me your cell phone, Mama.”

“Oh Bulma, I know that look in your eye. You’ve got a new plan! Are you going to start cooking on some new science project to get your mind off your new boyfriend?”

“Actually, no.” Bulma was pressing numbers on the phone. “I just got an idea to how to get my boy--uh, Vegeta--to spend more time with me this week.” She listened at the receiver. “No surprise--got the answering service,” she muttered. Then her voice changed to hard and resolute: “Hello Papa? It’s me. Listen, the upgrades on Capsule 3 need to be made as soon as possible. Vegeta’s training harder every day, and I can just tell he’s going to be frustrated out of his mind very soon and explode the whole thing like he did last time. I know the designs for the power surge detection shields have been on your desk for weeks, and I think it’s time we stop letting Vegeta boss us around and just tell him that we have to shut down Capsule 3 for a few days to install the upgrades.”

“Oh Bulma, you’re so smart!” cooed Mrs. Briefs. “Are you going to plan a little romantic getaway with your Saiyan while he’s not training?”

Bulma hushed her mother. “This is a serious matter, Papa. Vegeta’s stronger now and the next time he explodes that spaceship, he could take out half of Capsule Corporation with it! I think you should get to work on the upgrades a.s.a.p.--tomorrow at dawn! I’ll give Vegeta the bad news this evening. See you at dinner. Love you.”

“Oh Bulma-chan! Maybe you can take Vegeta to that little resort place you’re always talking about. Roshi’s Island?”

Bulma frowned at her mother and spoke again into the cell phone: “Oh, one more thing, Papa. Put Beakman or one of his underlings in charge of maintenance on Yamcha’s equipment. I can’t finish building Yamcha’s stuff. I’ve got my own new projects. Important stuff. Bye!”

“Do you want your Coke now?” Mrs. Briefs was rifling through her giant basket. “I only brought Cherry Coke, and oh well, the cans are warm now, but you can have your pick of sandwiches. I’m so glad you’re going to make some time with Vegeta. All relationships are confusing at first. I’m sure you and he just need to get to know each other better, that’s all.”

“I’m not sure of anything, Mama,” Bulma said. She was staring at the clearing where she and Vegeta had gotten it on for the first time. Such a peaceful spot. One would think that the grass would never grow because of all the bizarre energy expended there, or that there would be an imprint of the occasion left, like the crop circles phenomena supposed to be caused by UFOs.

“I’m not expecting anything of Vegeta, really.” Bulma could not take her eyes off the sunlit clearing. “I just want to say that I tried. But honestly, I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten close to Vegeta.”

“There’s always a first time for everything,” said Mrs. Briefs. She handed Bulma a warm Coke.

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