(Coverart by the iconic fanartist Nala1588! Check her out on her twitter, @nala1588! You will not be disappointed!)
Bad Man-Chapter One-Queen of Wishful Thinking
Glamorous party filled with glamorous people. There was the klink of crystal champagne flutes filled with the finest Bruts multi-million zeni, Satan City incomes could buy. White-shirted, black-vested, black tied waiters with five-star, gourmet canapes balanced on silver-plated trays bobbed and weaved in and out and around social circles dripping with jewelry worth far more than the waiters could ever hope to make even if they broke it big in the film industry like they hoped to do with their next audition; dressed in raiment fresh from the most prestigious runways in the world or custom-made and personally bought from the world’s most elite fashion houses. Competitive talk spouted with a practiced nonchalance only used by the bourgeoisie or those that thought of themselves as the bourgeoisie. Private yacht measuring contests that were as phallic as anything kept between the legs and equally measured by the size of the bank accounts attested to by the girth of the wallets kept next to rear ends. Boasts about grand mansions met with boasts about even grander estates. Artwork purchased directly from high-end galleries or auction houses with infamous totals or bought directly from ‘up and coming,’ supposedly starving artists.
She looked down on it all from where she stood on the third floor of the mansion, watching the throngs of Satan City’s upper class crowding around the infinity pool while a state-of-the-art sound system played the hippest music of the day throughout the main floor far below her feet. She gazed out the window like a princess stuck in an ivory tower… with a cell phone to her ear. She rolled her eyes again, sighed heavily again, having this same stupid conversation again.
“And I said I need you down here by tomorrow night. Look, I had my secretary make all the arrangements, didn’t Qira call you?”
“I talk to her more than I talk to you.”
“Then none of this should come as a shock to you. So tell me again why you’re not packing your things and getting on the plane heading here?”
“Because I have my own life, Bulma, I’m not just at your beck and call. I’m a fucking professional baseball player for God’s sake! I have a game!”
“And what does that have to do with you flying out after your game?” Even she heard the slight irritation turning to mocking in her voice.
“You take me for granted, you know that!”
Again, she sighed heavily, “No, Yamcha, I do not take you for granted.”
“You really believe that?”
“Tch,” Bulma sighed. This was getting tedious, “Yes, now will you please get the hell down here.”
“You are unbelievable! You know what, screw your dinner and screw you, and how about I just move out!”
“If that’s what you want.” Good, she thought, then maybe we can finally get this stupidity over.
“What I want?! Fine!! You know what, fine!! We’ll talk about it when you get back from Satan—”
“Now is as good a time as any.” Why delay the inevitable?
“Fine!! Just fine! Goodbye, Bulma!” Click.
“Goodbye, Yamcha.” Bulma pulled the cell phone from her ear and snapped it shut. One of the biggest weeks of her life and she had to deal with this hassle. Well, at least it’s over now. Bulma took one last glance out the window of her attorney’s guest bedroom where she had gone to call her now ex-boyfriend after receiving the message from her secretary that Yamcha was refusing to be here with her… Bulma Briefs, one of the most powerful women in the world, the most powerful woman in West City, turned sharply on her black high heels and walked out of the guest room.
As she walked down the stairs back to the second floor, she met up with a young man exiting the nearest bathroom to the main floor’s festivities in case the main floor bathrooms were in use.
“Oh, Miss Briefs,” he was decidedly chipper. It reminded Bulma of her mother. She deadpanned at him. Utilizing her long-honed skills at poker faces.
He muttered the name, but to be honest she’d tuned out as soon as the question left her lips as she began the descent down the flight of stairs that would take her to the main floor of her attorney’s house. To the man’s credit though, he didn’t let her blatant indifference stop him from prattling on at her. Somewhat impressed with his persistence, Bulma tuned in to what he was saying. Something about becoming one of Briefs Enterprise’s brokers? Or… whatever? His interest in the stock market could prove useful and his eagerness would be a help as well.
“So you’re interested in the stock market are you? Are you up to date on any of our current endeavors? Say, perhaps, how did the Turtle stock open today?”
“I, I, I don’t know, Miss.”
“You don’t know? The East City stock exchange opened over half an hour ago and you don’t know. Listen, if you want a higher position in this company, then you have to be on top of things like this. Find out.”
“Launch is my attorney, she is not one of my brokers and she is especially not one of my brokers of…,” she turned to the man pointedly as they stepped down onto the crowded floor of the main story, “information.”
The young man grinned wolfishly at her. Nodding. He understood; good, she wouldn’t have to entirely retrain him.
“Good, I want this whole thing locked in, signed off on, and filed by the end of the week.”
The young man nodded, Bulma shook his hand, then turned on her pinprick heels again and threaded her way through the herd. She stopped at the coat check, ridiculous notion that was holding her up now that she wanted to make a quick getaway, to snag her jacket on her way out the front door.
“Bulma?” Came the voice from behind her.
She knew that voice. In an instant she went from tapping her shoe frustratedly on the tiled floor to turning a smile on the man approaching her. He was smartly dressed even it was a rather dull brown ensemble, as taupe as taupe can be. “Blue,” she greeted the tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed man.
“Bulma, looking as beautiful as ever.” He smiled at her as they pulled back.
“Well, I’m thankful for the compliment from the General of Red Ribbon Industries.” Then something occurred to her, and she silently wanted to kick herself for even allowing the thought to nag at her, “Tell me, Blue, when we were dating, did you speak to my secretary more than you did me?” Try as she might, Bulma couldn’t keep her practiced smile from losing part of its shine as she looked to her ex for an answer.
“Bulma,” he fixed her with another smile, a softer one, and she steeled herself for the potential pity that was about to come her way, “I married her.”
Bulma Briefs took the news in as she glanced down at his left hand and the golden band on one of the fingers there. So that’s where—
“Afterall, I couldn’t wait around for the rest of my life waiting for you to be ready.”
She looked up at him, meeting his eyes so full of kindness and the friendly mirth of a former relationship turned into honest and decent friendship.
“Well,” she fought to clear her throat, “Qira is certainly a lucky woman. Give her my love when you call her tonight and tell her to not worry about this deal. We’ll manage, we always do.”
“I will,” he chuckled, “Good night, Bulma.”
He leaned in and gave her cheek a sweet kiss as she said, “Good night, Blue.”
With that, she stepped out of his embrace, turned, and slipped on her jacket as she headed for the front door. Kami damn it, she scowled, Kami damn Yamcha and Kami damn relationships.
Tien Shinhan felt something brush past his shoulder, pushing it a little harsher than he thought was needed. This was his own home and… he looked up, his eyes widened, and he immediately excused himself to hurry off further into his house. It didn’t take him long to find his wife sitting on a chair chatting up some handsome man on the sofa, her hand on his knee. Tien leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Launch,” he hissed.
“What,” her hand left the other man’s knee.
“What?” Launch’s eyes bugged.
Tien looked to their front door. Long, fluffy blonde curls bounced as Launch’s head snapped to her front door. Aw shit! Quickly she shot to her feet and made a dash as fast as her stilettos could go…
“Kami, damn it,” she hissed again. And got the feeling that that wouldn’t be for the last time today or even possibly tonight if her insomnia held up. This deal was important and she was going to be damned if frivolous hassles were going to undermine her business acumen. She yet again yanked on the door handle without it budging at all. Fine then, if she couldn’t get it open that way, how about another. Her eyes immediately scanned what part of the locking mechanism she could see on the top of the inside of the door and her mind began circulating through all of the possibilities that it could indicate on the door’s interior. When she was younger, she had a natural knack for figuring out how things worked, what made them tick; it was a knack that served her well in the corporate world she now made her living in, very well.
“Bee, Bee, Bee!”
She rolled her eyes and turned around just in time to greet a panicked Launch stumbling to a halt way closer to her than Bulma felt was warranted. She’d walked out of a party for Kami’s sake. That was all.
“Where you going?”
“I’m going back to my hotel.”
“Give me the keys to your car.”
Bulma sighed heavily, honestly her patience for people being slow on the uptake was wearing exceptionally thin after her conversations today, “There are so many people here that Adrian,” she gestured over at the tall and outstandingly muscular man with the piercingly light blue eyes and ginger eyebrows sticking out from under his chauffeur’s cap, “can’t get the limo out and this is your car, right?”
Launch looked back at Bulma’s trapped limo and her massive chauffeur who just waved back at them while admiring a set of glass hummingbird lawn decorations. At least three other vehicles, one of which was another limousine, was in between. She turned back to Bulma and looked down at her bright red, new sportscar.
“Good, give me your keys.”
“But Bulma,” Launch pleaded even as she reached into her own business jacket’s pocket and withdrew her car keys. Arriving late to her own party thrown on Bulma’s behalf, she’d parked in her own driveway last and just shoved the keys in her pocket with little care for putting them away as she’d gone into instant schmooze mode the moment she walked through her own front door. Her husband, Tien, had put everything together like a dream and spent a lot while she’d been distracted by work with Bulma. But now, with Bulma basically storming out, it was all seeming to fall apart.
The teal-haired business executive snatched the keys from her attorney’s hand, “Make something up. You always do. I rely on you for that.”
Bulma slipped the key in the door, unlocked, and opened the door. She slid in quickly and shut the door to block out Launch’s portestations. Something about being nice to the car, blah, blah, whatever, Bulma just had to get out of here. She hated crowds and ass-kissing parties anyway. That was Launch’s realm, what she hired the bloodthirsty, battle-loving lawyer to deal with.
The chief executive officer of Briefs Enterprises analyzed the dashboard in front of her. It was generic, but there were differences that did denote the car’s newer model.
“Tch,” Bulma rolled her eyes, sticking the key in the ignition. A car was a car.
She turned the key and heard the motor start. She pressed the pedal, testing the engine, revving it a little. She glanced down beside her at the stick. Bulma wasn’t used to stick shift. Hell, she wasn’t used to driving herself at all! Her hand wrapped around the knob and she shifted it out of park and into drive. Staring straight ahead, she pressed her toe down on the gas.
The car lurched forward. Bulma readjusted… then readjusted again. She vaguely heard Launch’s tight voice yelling after her about had Bulma ever driven a stick. No, but that was beside the point. Bulma readjusted again and began leapfrogging out of the driveway. Clearing other vehicles, barely. After the last car, Bulma felt confident enough to push down firmly on the pedal. She blazed away. Something moved at the top of her vision. She glanced up to see Launch trying to run after her in stilettos. Bulma returned her eyes to the road ahead and slowed as she came to the main road. She glanced left then right. Managed to find the turn signal and pulled onto the main road going left and up further into the hills. Again, she heard Launch yelling something at a distance. Something about going the wrong way. Whatever…
She sped the car along the road, following it up and up and up. Higher and higher past mansion after mansion. All pristine courtesy of gardeners and landscapers and all sorts of people that went unseen. Up ahead she saw another turn coming and… suddenly hit her brakes. Screeching to a halt in mid left turn. She was in the middle of a dead end. She had to turn around.
“Shit.” She hissed.
Jerkily, she pulled the expensive sportscar forward… then back… then forward at an angle… then back at an angle… then she sped out and down the road like a bat out of hell.
“Why!” Bulma Briefs yelled. “Why the hell is this city so Kami damn complicated!”