I want to say that it is through no fault of my own that I am spending Friday night at home with my little brother watching the 1940s version of Pride and Prejudice on TCM but that would be a huge lie. And Vegeta Prince is a lot of things but ‘liar’ isn’t one of them.
Which is in and of itself a lie because I lie as easily as I breathe. Everybody lies. I lie all the time. Hell, lying is what got me on this couch in the first place.
I lied about liking someone and they got so confused and angry at me that they’re now dating their ex-boyfriend.
I lied to my best friend about sleeping with his girlfriend last year when they were broken up.
I lie to my dad all the time about where I’m going and how I won’t do any drugs or drink anything.
I lie to every establishment I walk into when I flash my fake ID to buy cigarettes and drink beer.
I’m a liar. And I thought I was a very good one but my lies have left me alone. Well, alone except for my twelve-year-old brother and the Bennet sisters.
Tarble is sitting next to me, clutching a pillow to his chest and sighing, as if wishing for his own Mr. Darcy or something. His eyes are glistening and he’s cooing even though I can point out that the clothes the actors are wearing are Victorian and not Regency even though I don’t know how I know that or why. Well, I do kind of know why but that doesn’t make me any less miserable.
I slump further into the couch and scowl. Darcy’s such a prick for most of the movie. But he ends up with his strong, opinionated soul mate anyway. It’s about now that I realize why I’m so pissed off watching this movie.
Because I could have been Bulma’s Mr. Darcy. I could have but instead I just popped my gum in her face and told her how I didn’t like her like that and she ended up with her asshole ex-boyfriend who probably is crawling with STDs from all the people he cheated on her with.
Not that I can talk. In addition to being a liar, I’m a cheater, too. Not that I’ve ever cheated on anyone but I’ve cheated with a hell of a lot of people. I kissed Bulma when she was still with that tool. I screwed my best friend’s girlfriend when they were on a break—doubly worse because it was her first time. I screwed Krillin’s ex-girlfriend when we were both drunk and she was pissed at him. I made out with his current girlfriend, too, when we were both drunk and she was pissed at him. It’s a running joke among our social circle that if someone is dating me and gets pissed at me, who would they cheat on me with?
Tarble is still cooing about his Austen dreams and I’m still pissed off when the doorbell rings. I wait for the butler to get it before I remember that it’s eleven o’clock and he’s in bed in one of our guesthouses. Tarble glares across me and at the door as if he’s mad that it’s interrupting his moment with the movie. I sigh and get up, not even having enough energy to stalk angrily towards the door like I normally do.
Part of me wishes it was Bulma but I know I fucked that up and now I just “confuse her” because she thinks I only want her now that she has a boyfriend again, which might be true because I’m kind of that kind of asshole.
It’s not her, and I didn’t expect it to be. I am surprised that it’s Goku, though. He’s shivering in his secondhand, threadbare coat and isn’t wearing a hat. Before, I used to call him by his real name even though it pissed him off. For some reason, he tolerated it from me but anyone else, he would duct tape them to a chair and force them to listen to the audio book of Gilbert Godfrey’s autobiography—read by the author. He’s done it before. But after being punched in the back of the head for sleeping with his girlfriend and then lying to him about it and being told angrily, “and don’t fucking call me Kakarrot!” I have decided to at least refer to him as Goku now.
“Hey,” he says in a sunshine voice despite the fact that it’s pitch black outside.
I’m surprised he’s speaking to me but not totally surprised either. Goku can’t hold a grudge to save his life. But I figured we didn’t have that kind of friendship to back it up. I mean, we’ve known each other our whole lives. From when we were both three years old and my dad hired his dad to watch me so he could work in peace and his dad was so desperate for work that he took it. But we’ve never been…friend-friends. Goku always had Krillin until they hit high school and puberty and Goku got tall and attractive enough to be asked to parties and Krillin didn’t. But they’re friends again, now, so I guess they’re both pretty forgiving. I’m not. I judge on a dime and hate my friends’ enemies more than they do. I hold Olympic-lasting grudges.
“I thought you were mad at me,” I say back.
“I am. I was. I dunno. What you did was shitty.”
I relent and reply, “I know.”
“But maybe you can’t help being a shitty person sometimes because no one taught you not to be a shitty person.”
He’s talking about my mom, I know. She fell off a boat and died when I was eight. Sometimes I get really drunk and sob on her gravestone. Worse still, sometimes I wonder if I would have been a better person if she was still alive. You see, my dad’s a fucking shark. You don’t get to own half the town by being a nice person.
I guess that’s why, as a kid, I liked spending time in the double-wide with Goku, his dad, and his brother. Because they were a real family. I mean, then, at least, I had my mom but after she was gone, watching the three of them was like watching an image from some bygone era about happy families. Then again, it’s not like their family was all roses and sunshine. Goku’s big brother was born when their parents were fifteen and Goku when they were eighteen. And then his mom just ditched them both when Goku was only around eight months old. But the three of them are still a marvel to behold: a family that all love each other. Weird.
“Are you saying you aren’t pissed at me anymore?” I lean against the doorjamb and pretend not to be cold.
Goku shrugs. “I dunno. Can I come in?”
I let him in and shut the door, mostly because I’m freezing too. We walk over to the big spiral staircase in my house and Goku sits on the bottom step and I feel obligated to join him. I randomly remember when I was six and decided to turn this staircase into a giant waterslide. I put down mats from the gym in the west wing and ran an extra long hose I pulled up through my bedroom window down it (I was a wealthy child but industrious). My dad screamed at me but my mom had smiled and told me how clever I was and “Dear, isn’t it nice that he thought to put the mats down first, at least?”
I scowl against the memory now and fold my arms.
“So I guess that I’m not that mad at you anymore,” Goku says. “Just so you know.”
“That’s…good.” I’m not sure how to really have a conversation with a person. Sober, at least. Dad thinks I have a problem.
“But there’s someone you need to talk to,” he continues.
Goku’s like that. He acts all naïve and oblivious but he’s one of the most perceptive people I know.
“Bulma,” I fill in.
He nods. “Bulma.”
I twist my mouth over to the side and reach for the pack of cigarettes in my jeans only to remember that my dad flips his shit whenever I smoke in the house. As if the noxious smoke can filter throughout our massive mansion.
“I fucked that up,” I say, deciding to go back to folding my arms and don’t even bother to cover my instinctive reach for my cigs. “Besides, she’s dating Yamcha now. If I go over there, I cross the line from ‘that asshole who fucked with her head’ to ‘that asshole who fucked with her head who is stalking her.’”
“They weren’t actually back together,” he insists. “Bulma told me she tried and then remembered how much better they worked as friends.”
That’s…news to me. Then again, why should she keep me up to date with her life when I was such a cock to her?
“Come on.” Goku stands and holds his hand out to me.
I regarded it like it’s covered in some sort of radioactive goop and get up myself. I don’t know why but I follow him outside—grabbing my jacket on the way. Our newest maid had it so my gloves were stuffed into one of the pockets and I gratefully pulled them on as we walked through crunchy, frozen grass and slippery asphalt to Goku’s dad’s car. The battered, pale blue pick-up truck had a funny sort of juxtaposition with the backdrop of my house and immaculately groomed—even in winter—yard.
We get in and wait for the car to warm up. Whatever tape (dear God, tape) his dad left in the radio starts up and I hear Neil Young’s garbled wail before I quickly turn it off. I’m of the opinion that Crosby, Stills, and Nash were way better off without the “Young.” That’s another thing I’m not sure how I know. Like those costumes in Tarble’s movie.
Finally, we drive towards Bulma’s place. We live in the same part of town but it’s still a bit of a drive considering the fucking compound where I live. There were rumors a while back that said that my dad’s property was going to have its own zip code.
The drive isn’t long enough, though, and soon we’re idling outside of Bulma’s place. I reach into my back pocket and this time actually retrieving cigarettes. Everyone always makes fun of me for my penchant for Gauloises cigarettes because of the smell and, I guess, the name. I can’t get enough of them, though. My dad thinks I have a problem with these, too. My dad thinks I have a lot of problems.
Goku more or less shoves me out of the car and I find myself standing in Bulma’s yard in ankle-deep snow that’s clotting like fat cells all over the grass. I light my cigarette and contemplate different ways to get her attention. I could blast “In Your Eyes” on a boom box, lifting it up above my head and standing diligently outside her window with a determined expression on. I could throw rocks at her window and then recite a soliloquy of pure beauty. But I’m not romantic enough for either of those things so I just text her and try to tell her in the least stalker-y way that I’m outside her house and want to talk. I prop my cigarette between my lips, extract my phone, do that slide-y think to unlock it and text her. It goes a bit like this:
Vegeta (a.k.a. me): You there?
Bulma: …you’re lucky I’m awake
Vegeta: Yeah uh on a scale of one to ten one being normal and ten being that sting song how creepy is it that i’m outside your house right now?
Bulma: About a six but only b/c it’s almost midnight what do you want?
Vegeta: To uh talk to you about stuff and things
Bulma: You’re outside my house at 11:56 to talk about stuff?
Vegeta: And things the things are important
Bulma: You have eleven minutes not counting the time it takes me to get downstairs
I’m not sure why such a random and specific number but that’s Bulma for you. I wait with my hands in my pockets and let my cigarette burn down to ash while she comes down. She’s wearing his pajamas and has got her coat over them. She marches over to me and grabs my wrist before hauling me to a part of her yard that has this frigid-looking swing sitting in the middle of a gazebo. It’s weird and kinda ugly but her parents are eccentric like that.
We sit on the swing and kind of rock back and forth.
“So,” I say as my grand introduction. “I fucked up.”
“I don’t apologize,” I say a bit more sharply than I mean to.
She glares at me a moment before saying, “I know.”
We sit in silence for a moment and I realize that my precious eleven minutes are slipping away.
“At least you admit to it.” When I raise my brow at her she finishes it with, “that you fucked up. That’s a pretty big step for someone who usually thinks that his shit doesn’t stink.”
“I do know my shit stinks,” I counter, lifting my nose in the air and speaking in exaggerated, fancy tones. “I just have hired help spray the bathroom when I’m done with expensive perfume to make it seem like it doesn’t.”
She crinkles her brow. “You know, I’m pretty sure you’re joking but seeing how disgustingly rich your family is, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
My time will go by too fast so I jump in with, “So you and Yamcha aren’t together?”
Bulma’s a bit surprised but then shakes her head. “No. It’d never actually work. Why, you offering?”
She starts twisting strands of blue hair around her fingers and frowns.
“You were an asshole to me,” she says. “Why should I go out with you?”
I consider this since, yeah, I am an asshole. And, yeah, I did treat her like shit. Why would she think to give me a chance?
“Because I was an asshole.” I frown. Okay that came out wrong. “I mean…I was, I guess, afraid or some shit about my feelings or whatever.”
“Your feelings or whatever?” she asks with a laugh.
I glower but press on. “I mean, what I did wasn’t okay but I do really care about you and stuff. In that way. I want to be with you.”
Bulma looks at me and then this sort of smile comes on her face. “I think that may be the sweetest thing you’ve said to me. Or anyone, probably.”
I realize she’s right and stare angrily at the ground. Why am I so shitty with feelings? Oh, right. I was raised by a polar bear with a goatee. Bulma puts a hand gently on my shoulder and I look up at her. Then there’s a kind of mutual spring and we’re kissing.
She has her hands around my shoulders and I wrap my arms around her and it feels…really good. This physical stuff with emotions thing. We’re kissing and my face is both hot and cold but there’s enough going on that I can almost forget that and forget the fact that it’s fucking freezing and past midnight. Because all that matters is that Bulma is kissing me and I realize how sappy and dis-fucking-gusting that sounds but I don’t give a rat’s ass.
I think she forgot, too, because she arches her back and pulls herself up onto my lap. We sort of dry-hump in this awkward way for a few minutes before Goku honks the horn to bring us back to earth. We separate and our breath kind of mingles together in visible puffs.
“I should get back inside,” she says, hastily climbing off of me. “I’ll, uh, call you tomorrow?”
I nod and rub my lips. “Yeah.”
She kisses me one more time and disappears inside. I walk back to the car and see that Goku’s pressed his face up against the window, making juvenile kissy faces and fogging up the glass. I open the door so he falls forward and nearly flops out of the car.
“That went well,” he chirps.
I smile a little, which is pretty much against every fibre of my being. “Yeah. And they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them.”
Goku lifts a brow. “What does that mean? Derbyshire?”
I scowl a little. “Pride and Prejudice. It was, ah. It was my mom’s favorite book. Basically I was saying thanks.”
“Oh! Well then you’re welcome.”
- High school AU story about angry fighting aliens and the people who love them