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 to LisaB for her indefatigable feedback and to Rose of Vegetasei for being an extra pair of hawkeyes for this chappie. Rose gets the Proofreader’s Gold Medal for finding typos in this (obsessive-compulsive ^^) ex-English teacher’s stuff after I post it! Sorry if I’m on your mm.org authors list and you get an update each time I fix a comma!

I’m so psyched writing this story--I’m quite a few chapters ahead as I post, but reader feedback has been invaluable. I also want to thank the members of the Salon (http://s8.invisionfree.com/Dbz_Fanfic_Salon) for helping me shape this story with all the talk there about the characters.

Chapter Eight: Which One is the Fantasy?

“They’re looking over here for some reason.”--Yamcha, episode 122


The restaurant was cozy alright; Bulma would call it modest and certainly less formal than her escort’s attire. There was an open-air cobblestone dining area with tables under umbrellas, and Bulma was glad when Yamcha led her past this piazza with its noisy bar crowd and into the restaurant proper. The maitre d’ beamed when he saw the couple and fussed over them as they were seated. Bulma was used to celebrity treatment (she’d gotten it for being a pretty heiress long before she dated a famous baseball player), but she would swear that the maitre d’ was in on the whole proposal deal. Did the man have something like warm paternal sentiment in his shiny eyes?

Bulma sniffed her pinot grigiot and glanced around. Were there no private rooms here? If there were, Yamcha hadn’t thought to reserve one. But their table on an elevated deck next to a fountain was discreet enough. In fact, it was somehow just right. It was so Yamcha.

“And Coach so told Matsui he could just take a piss in this fountain right here! Matsui would’ve done it too, except he was too toasted to get out of his chair.”

Yamcha was warming himself up with baseball stories. It was ok with Bulma; she was sympathetic to his need to relax himself, and his long monologue gave Bulma’s mind a chance to wander, to soak up the sweetness of the event, to settle her uncertainty.

Everyone said she and Yamcha belonged together. Why was that? Besides the plain fact that they were both unusually good-looking people, they really couldn’t be more different. He was so hesitant and unambitious; she was so in-your-face and … well, demanding of the very best. Opposites could co-exist in a perfect circle of yin-yang; Bulma had learned this truth from observing her parents’ happiness.

But… how could anyone know for sure if a marriage was meant to be? Not everyone had a strange boy from the Future just drop by and announce that loved ones were going to be wiped out by killer androids in three years; not everyone else was feeling an urgency to make things right, right now.

And then, as the piped-in Mediterranean guitar music began to crescendo, Bulma saw the boy from the Future again. Her memory conjured a perfect image of him--mild blue eyes under elegant lavender eyebrows, a haunted look, a hopeful look, something so familiar. The boy was Saiyan, wasn’t he? He was Super Saiyan, like Son Goku, like--

Maybe Saiyans were the good guys of the Future? Maybe that long-destroyed world hadn’t really been destroyed? Maybe there were a few other Saiyans out there who would help Earth in its fight against the androids? Gero’s creations were by no means unconquerable. The time machine, the gravity machine, so many technological possibilities as yet unrealized--the world wasn’t going to end in three years. The wonders had just begun--

What if she was able to get her hands on the inner workings of one of Gero’s androids? If one of the Z warriors could bring down only one android, she would just love to take it apart and--

“The lady ordered the soufflé de Tagliatelle?” The waiter was standing over her, grating cheese.

“Never tried that before,” Yamcha was saying. “Looks like an omelette. You’ve got to try my scampi. Seriously. You’re so going to joygasm at the first bite.”

“Alright, but you keep your mitts off my little soufflé.” Bulma laughed and her fingers spread protectively over the generous-sized bowl before her. She loved Yamcha. She had loved him for ten years.

It was as he forked some pasta from his own plate and approached her mouth with the forkful that her mind began chanting: I had sex with Vegeta, I had sex with Vegeta, I had sex with Vegeta.

“You can have all you want, Bulma. They always bring me an extra bowl.”

“No, no, no, no. I have to leave room for dessert. Dessert’s the best part.” I had sex with Vegeta.

“Really? You think? I’d guess that you’d be sick of sweets from all those little cakes your mom is always ordering.” Yamcha was smiling broadly now. He was only on his second glass of wine, but he was drunk with excitement. “Sometimes I think the woman is made out of sugar! Does she eat anything else?”

I had sex with Vegeta. It was amazing sex.

“You know what, Bulma? I’ve been thinking about your mom and dad. How did those two ever get together? I mean, I look at you, and I see the best of them both. But they hardly seem like they were made for each other, you know? It’s like they’re in two whole different worlds.”

Vegeta ran away because he didn’t know what to do. He’s from another world. He might even be afraid of me. I broke him down, I made him let go, I actually got him to touch a human being like that. He still wants me. I saw it in his eyes on the lawn this evening. He still wants me.

“My father never had time for romance for many, many years. Busy with his projects, busy founding the company, you know. He met my mom while designing the dinosaur sanctuary. She was one of the landscapers’ assistants. My parents had a common love of animals.”

He still wants me.

“Yeah, they’re both freaks for animals.”

I still want him.

A few more forkfuls of food, and Bulma began to feel a little queasy. The wine seemed to have killed the buzz of festivity instead of enhancing it. It was hard to know which was the fantasy--the dream proposal from the perfect boyfriend or the passionate encounter with Vegeta in the atrium.

I could just claim illness, make Yamcha take me home. It wouldn’t be a lie. My stomach is in knots.

But when Yamcha started talking about how the whole dire android business was making him want to take life more seriously, Bulma knew she couldn’t walk away. She could certainly match Yamcha in the bravery department, couldn’t she?

“Don’t you think about it much, Bulma? I want to imagine another kind of life for myself besides this crazy one I’m living now. Other people have normal lives, normal jobs, raise children and stuff.”

“Yamcha! How can you even think about bringing children into the world now? We’re not even sure what kind of a world is going to be left for children after the androids are done with it--if there’s a world left.”

He wasn’t sold. He smiled at her and shook his head. “C’mon, don’t give me that. You’re not a pessimist. I know you’ve got a plan right now to keep our planet from being destroyed. You’re going to be as important in the fight as Goku or anybody else.”

“Maybe that’s exactly it, Yamcha. I’m committed to one thing only--I can’t be thinking about normal stuff, because I have to help get ready for this android showdown. I’ve got contraptions to build--”

“Like the gravity machine.”

“Yes, like the gravity machine. Without my help, Papa would be taking twice as long to make all the necessary upgrades. It’s exhausting work, and we don’t trust any other Capsule Corporation employees with the details.”

“Vegeta’s running you into the ground, isn’t he?”

“It’s not just Vegeta. It’s me--even if he hadn’t demanded the gravity machine, I’d be just as obsessed. I’d be cooking up some other invention to fight the enemy.”

Yamcha looked thoughtful. “I wish I could get into training the way you get into science.”

And then it hit Bulma: Yamcha is not a fighter, not really. But I am.

“The real question here,” Yamcha said, “is whether or not your obsession with your work is more important than--”

She finished the sentence for him. “You?”

He was looking at her with open trust. He wasn’t a fantasy boyfriend. He was her old, good friend. “Everybody says we belong together, you know. They’re always looking at us like they’re just waiting for it. I guess I’ve been waiting all this time too. I know we’ve talked about it before. I just want you to be ready.”

Everyone expects it. I’ve been expecting it too…. Haven’t I?

Bulma felt her head clear at the same time her eyes began to cloud. She began, “Yamcha, you know I love you--”

“Look,” he interrupted. “I know you’re picky, so I didn’t buy you a ring. I figured we could go shopping for one together, and you could tell me what you want. But this….” Yamcha held up his left hand and wiggled his pinky. It took Bulma a second before she realized he was indicating the ring he wore there. “My Pacific League Pennant Championship ring. I guess it’s the most meaningful piece of jewelry I own right now.”

He took it off and held it in his cupped palm. It was a clunky ring with an oversized lapis stone. Sitting there in the center of Yamcha’s large palm, it reminded Bulma of a single dinosaur egg in a big nest. “I was hoping I might own a more meaningful piece of jewelry one day. You know, like a real wedding ring. But until then--” His voice cracked the most barely perceptible bit. “I want you to keep it, Bulma.”

Why did he have to be so adorable? She loved him, she really did. But the big lapis stone kept making her think of a lone, abandoned dino egg. She’d seen enough of them in the sanctuary. The eggs that never made it--the dinos in captivity were too poorly socialized, deserted their mates and the nests before the natural cycle of brood-nurturing could happen. Why am I thinking these depressing things?

“It’s a beautiful ring. But it’s all about your life, Yamcha. I can’t take it. I can promise to think about the things you said. But I can’t take the ring, Yamcha.”

She saw him struggle to hide the pain in his face.

“You’re turning me down, Bulma. Just say it. It’s better to say no than to say maybe.”

She felt her heart lurch. She looked into his good trusting face and let out a sigh that was so deep and melodramatic that she had to smile because she’d made such a sound. He smiled too. They both knew that they were having a memorable, intimate moment and that it was not at all the one he had planned.

“Yamcha, you’re right. I guess what I need to tell you, what I’ve been trying to tell you for a long time now, is no.”

He was still smiling. “It’s alright. I just wasn’t listening.”

“No Yamcha, I had to tell myself no too. I was putting off saying it outright because I wasn’t sure.”

“And you’re sure now?”

“Yes.”

The rest of the evening wasn’t glum. Maybe Yamcha was relieved that the fantasy proposal hadn’t gone according to plan? Maybe he was heartbroken but doing a class A job of hiding it or maybe the heartbreak hadn’t hit him yet. Bulma tried to guide him into talking about their futures after all. She said she really couldn’t think about planning anything until after the android problem wasn’t a problem anymore, and even then, it would probably be science that would always be her passion, never one person. He said that he didn’t have a passion like that at all, but maybe he should move out of Capsule Corporation, start looking for one.

When the maitre d’ breezed by the table again, with another bottle of wine, Yamcha shot the guy a look, and Bulma thought the old man looked so crestfallen he was about to cry. Then Yamcha said, still smiling bravely, “It’s ok, Mr. Tortoni. She said no, but I tell you what. Send the violinist over anyway.”

The maitre d’ could not resist a remark to Bulma: “This is a man. He appreciates life.” And he winked at her.

And the violinist played a happy song, vivace, and Bulma ordered two different desserts and made the toast on the spumante. “To three years and after that,” she said.

“Yeah,” said Yamcha. “Especially the after part.” And he clinked her glass.

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