No laughter came. Bura opened her eyes and only saw their stunned faces, but beneath the surprise...there was admiration.
"I'm so proud of you!" Bulma cried, rushing forward and putting her arms around Bura. "I can't believe you did this all by yourself!"
"What are you taking?" Gohan asked.
"Business," she answered. "I want to work with Trunks, maybe even be president one day."
At that, Trunks shot up and threw his arms around her. "Thank you!"
"When do you finish?" Krilin asked.
Bura looked at Goten, and he glanced at the Professor who was leafing through the books.
"When does she finish, Professor?"
The Professor looked up, a slight smile on his lips. "Tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Chichi repeated.
"Graduation day," Bura said flatly, not quite believing that this was happening. "I'm going to graduate."
Everyone in the room cheered and Goten grinned widely at her. But Bura only stared at him, in a state of shock. His grin faded and he put a hand on her shoulder.
"Bura?" he said with a small shake.
"You did this?"
"I just talked to him. What you did here is equivalent to whatever you could learn in that class. It matters more what you do in real life, right?"
"He was very convincing, Miss Vegeta," Professor Sagen offered.
"I'm sure he was."
"Now...I'm starving. Where is that server?" the Professor asked.
"She's on her way out," Bura said, grabbing Goten's arm and starting for the kitchen.
She dragged him in there and straight into the back office. She shut the door behind her, her face glowing with a million emotions.
"I can't even begin to tell you how I'm feeling right now," she said.
"Don't then," he said, reaching for the doorknob, but she slapped his hand away.
"Goten, I can't even start to thank you for what you did."
"I know how much graduating means to you, and I took a shot," he said nonchalantly. "I'm just glad that it worked out."
"To say the least! First you name the restaurant after me and now you do this...oh, Goten." Bura stepped up to him and took his face in her hands. She pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth.
He was frozen on the spot as she turned and left the room. For the second before she'd kissed him, he'd seen something in her eyes that made him both elated and dismayed.
She loves me.
Hours later, only the sound of clinking dishes could be heard in Bura's Place. The others had left half an hour before, congratulating Bura and Goten for such an excellent place and even better food. Now, the two tired, but happy restauranteurs were sitting across from each other at the table Professor Sagen had occupied.
"Tomorrow's gonna be a big day for you," Bura said, toying with the salt shaker.
"Yeah," Goten said, rubbing his face. "I guess I should get to bed as soon as I get home. Gotta get up early tomorrow."
Bura checked her watch. "It's eleven o'clock. You'll be alright."
"I've never been this tired before."
"But it's a good tired, isn't it?"
He laughed. "Yeah, it is. You should get to bed, Bura. It's your big day tomorrow."
"Are you coming?" she asked.
"I'll make an appearance."
She stood and kissed his cheek. "See you then."
He watched her go, and in that instant knew that he was being stupid when it came to her. She loved him and he loved her. It was simple. He needed her as much as he needed his right hand...if not more. And he wanted to need her. He thought about Bura in a long white gown, a bouquet of wildflowers in her slender white hands, and the image didn't scare him. In fact, he wanted nothing more than to see her dressed like that...
Smiling, he stood to go to the kitchen and change into his street clothes, but the door opened again. He turned to look, expecting Bura and was surprised to see Paris.
"What's up?" he asked.
"I need to talk to you," she said.
He sat back down. "Okay."
Bura felt like she was flying, but her feet were firmly on the ground. All around her, her family and friends congratulated, hugged, kissed. Her eyes seeked out Goten's face, but it was sadly missing. She had sensed his energy during the ceremony, but he must have had to leave. However, she understood. The restaurant needed him.
"My baby girl," Bulma sobbed into Vegeta's shoulder.
"She hasn't been a baby for a long time," he said.
Bura put her arms around her parents. "I'll always be your baby," she said to them both.
Her words only made Bulma cry harder...and louder.
They managed to leave the field in a huge group and piled into their individual cars to head for the Capsule Corporation compound. When Bura stepped into the house, she was shocked to find Goten there amidst piles of food. He grinned, but couldn't quite hide the exhaustion on his face.
"Congratulations!" He kissed her cheek, but grabbed his coat as well. "I'm sorry I have to run, but the restaurant's waiting."
"Thanks, Goten," she said.
"No problem. See you guys later!"
He rushed out the door, leaving a blushing Bura behind.
"What is going on between you two?" Pan whispered.
"I honestly don't know." Bura took a deep breath. "We'll think about that later though, okay? I'm famished."
"Hey, Bura, when do you think you can start working at Capsule Corp.?" Trunks asked, trying his hardest not to sound too eager.
"Next week," Bura replied.
He threw his arms around her. "Thank you!"
Bura laughed. "A lot of thank yous are floating around these days."
"Lots to be thankful for," Marron said. She smiled coyly and raised her left hand where a huge diamond winked. "I'm getting married!"
Pan and Bura let out shrieks. Trunks peered at the diamond and was satisfied to see that Pan's was much bigger.
"You're the only one left, Bura," Marron teased.
"I'm going to be a career woman," Bura said, turning her nose up. Besides, the man I want to marry is not going to be asking me anytime soon.
With boneless fingers, Goten dropped his chef's hat on top of his desk. He changed out of his cooking outfit into a pair of comfortable old jeans and a sweatshirt. His eyes were half-closed and he was sure that if he wasn't careful, he would fall out of the sky before he made it home. It had been a very successful day as news of Bura's Place spread fast. Bura had also made sure to advertise in all the right publications. He hadn't stopped cooking all day, but he was excited that they were experiencing the early signs of success.
After locking the door, he flew up and flew fast, to keep himself awake. But just as he flew over the clearing he and Bura sparred in, he sensed her energy down there. He smiled. He'd called her earlier to set up a meeting in the clearing. He was glad that she'd complied since he'd only left her a message on her machine.
"Yeah, it's me!" she called out.
He touched down next to her and glanced at his watch. "You're kinda early for our meeting aren't you?"
"I was just thinking," she said. She was lying on her back, her hands clasped behind her head as she looked up at the stars. "It's nice here. I like looking at the stars."
He laid down next to her. "The graduation ceremony was nice."
She smiled. "Yeah, it was."
"You looked great in your cap and gown."
"I did, didn't I."
"You gonna start working at Capsule Corp. soon?"
"In a week or so. I wanted to take a week off and just relax. It's been a hectic couple of months."
"But it paid off."
"Yeah," she said wistfully.
"Juno's going to be living with me for a while," Goten said.
Bura rose up on one elbow. "Why?"
"Paris wants to do things that she wasn't able to do when she had him. She needs to be free, she says. I think I want to have primary custody anyway. Juno's a great kid."
She nodded. "That's a great idea, Goten."
"I have one more idea, too."
"I was thinking of moving out of my mom's place. Getting a place of my own...with you."
Bura's eyes shot to his face and she sat up. "Say that again."
"I miss you when we're not together," Goten said casually.
"I don't think my father will take our living together too well," she said lightly, wondering what he was saying to her.
"Married people usually live together."
"We're not married...Goten?"
He sat up and took something out of his jacket pocket. Bura's heart leaped to her throat when she recognized it as a ring box. He flipped the top to reveal a silver ring with a sapphire surrounded by small diamonds winking up at her.
"Marry me, Bura. I love you."
Bura's blue eyes widened. "Goten..."
"That's my name, don't wear it out," he joked, though he certainly didn't feel like laughing. "What do you say, Bura?"
She smiled and put her hand on his cheek. "I could never say no to you."
He slipped the ring on her finger and leaned forward, touching his lips to hers. He started to pull back, but she put a hand on the back of his head and kept him in place. He sucked in a breath, but didn't try to pull away. His arms went around her and he pushed her down gently until he was covering her with his body. Her legs twined with his and slowly, they both began to lose control.
"Bura...we have to stop," he gasped against the soft skin of her neck.
"Not here. It's cold."
She lit up a ball of energy in her hand so that he could see the determination on her face.
"I've wanted to kiss you for the past three months," she murmured. "I want to make up for all that lost time. Besides, do you really think we'll be cold?"
He laughed disbelievingly, but she kissed him again and he forgot what he was talking about. Her hands tangled in his hair. With a groan, he let go of all his inhibitions and thought only of Bura. He felt her hands all over his body and his repaid her in kind. He could hear her breathing come out in gasps and felt his own excitement rise.
This is it, he told himself. This is for the long haul.
He paused as he looked down into her face, thinking how beautiful she looked with her cheeks flushed and her eyes glazed over with need. He felt no fear, no hesitation. He could spend forever with her and felt no terror at the thought. Only satisfaction.
"Is something wrong?" she breathed.
"No," he answered. He kissed her, his hands deftly unzipping her jacket as she pushed his from his shoulders.
And in that endless moment where there was only them, Goten knew that she was his soulmate and that he was hers.
Afterwards, she curled up against him, bits of grass in her hair and all over her body, but she never looked happier. He kissed her and hugged her to him.
"I didn't think our first time would be in a field," he remarked, looking up at the stars.
"I didn't think we would have a first time."
He laughed. "Sorry about that. I was going through something. Bura, can I ask you a question?"
"Are you alright with Juno living with us?" he asked hesitantly.
"More than alright. He's a sweet little boy."
He breathed a sigh of relief and when he closed his eyes, he could picture the three of them together. The vision made him smile.
"Good," he said. "I'm glad."
"So we're set?"
They rose and got dressed. It was the early hours of the morning and it seemed like they had all the world to themselves. Goten pulled her close and kissed her, not quite believing his good fortune.
"We'll tell them tomorrow," he said.
"I don't think they'll be surprised."
"Probably not. Come on, I'll take you home."
"I don't think that's a good idea. If you run into my father..."
Goten chuckled. "Oh. I guess this is goodnight then."
She put her arms around him. "For now."
"I love you, Bura."
"I love you, too, Goten."