Arms filled with painting paraphernelia, Bura leaned back against the door to open it. Immediately, she heard a child's voice and Goten's lower tones. She closed her eyes against the pain the sound caused and turned around, a sunny smile on her face.
"Well, hello there," she greeted.
Juno looked up and smiled. "Hi, I'm Juno."
"Nice to meet you, Juno. I'm Bura."
"Why thank you. You're not so bad yourself." She turned her gaze on the other occupant of the room. "Hi, Paris. Nice to see you again."
"You, too, Bura."
Bura turned around so that she could compose herself.
What a nice little family they make, she reflected bitterly.
"You gonna help us paint, Juno?" Bura asked, popping open a can of light green paint.
"Nah," Juno replied, wrinkling his nose.
"We just wanted to stop by and see how things were going," Paris said, taking Juno by the hand. "See you later."
"Bye, Daddy, bye, Bura," Juno said with a little wave.
They left and Bura turned to Goten.
"You told them about this?" she asked, brow furrowed. "I thought this was going to be a secret until we've finished."
He shrugged and smiled innocently. "I felt like showing off a little."
Bura shook her head and grabbed a paint brush. "Well, Juno is a cute kid. He's what I thought your kids would look like."
"You've thought about my kids?"
The question brought a flush to Bura's face. She was grateful that he couldn't see her face and she began to paint a section of the wall. "I think about everybody's kids."
Goten came to lean against the wall she was working on. "Do you want any of your own, Bura?"
"Someday. Why don't you pick up a paintbrush and get to work?"
"But I just spent that past two days drawing everything," he said with an expansive gesture. "I even wrote what color each part should be."
She threw him a look. Letting out an exaggerated sigh, he picked up another paintbrush and began to paint the grass alongside Bura. Before long, their elbows were knocking into each other and with a shriek of laughter, Bura painted Goten's forehead. He gaped at her.
"I can't believe you did that!" he cried. "You're going to pay, Bura!"
She only grinned. "We haven't sparred in a while."
He grinned back. "Then this should be fun."
He began to run after her and she let out a yell as he swiped at her butt. They laughed and yelled at each other, forgetting that they had work to do. They could also be heard clearly outside. No one really paid much attention to them except for one man, his lavender hair being ruffled by the wind.
Frowning, Trunks glanced into the vacant space, sure he'd heard Bura's laughter. His eyes widened when he saw her and Goten inside, running around with paint brushes in their hands.
What's going on?
He stepped away before they could see him and he rushed back to his car. He had some investigating to do.
"A restaurant?" Pan repeated, disbelieving. "Why would they open a restaurant? And without telling anybody, too."
"I don't know. Maybe as a nice surprise," Trunks said with a shrug. He swiveled around in his computer chair to look at Pan. "In any case, it sure explains Bura's serious lack of funds."
"Bulma didn't notice she was spending more than usual?"
"When Bura turned twenty-one, she had full control of her trust fund. I just managed to hack into the bank's computer."
"Nice," Pan said dryly. "The president of Capsule Corporation is a hacker."
"It's for the good of the family. If she keeps this up, she's going to run out of money." He squinted at the computer screen. "It says here that she's given massive amounts of money to McDougall Wholesalers and to Home Depot. Not to mention buying the location."
"She did all this for Goten?" Pan said, leaning over his shoulder to look at the screen. "If that's not love, I don't know what is."
Trunks grimaced. "I hope he doesn't hurt her. I don't even think she's aware of how much she's doing for him."
"He won't," Pan said. "He loves her too."
"How do you know?"
"I just know."
"When they get married, I want a new car."
"You're on. In the meantime, I think I'm gonna do my little sister a favor and give her some extra cash. With the way she's spending, she's going to run out before they come even close to opening."
Bura collapsed onto her bed. Vaguely, she remembered that she had a big test the next day in her business class, but she didn't have the energy to even open her eyes. She and Goten had been painting since six that morning and finally finished at eleven. After a quick dinner, she flew home and straight into her room. It was faster to go through her window than to go through the front door. She knew her parents were wondering what she was up to, but they hadn't said anything yet so she wasn't worried.
She didn't even realize she'd fallen asleep until her alarm went off the next morning. Opening one eye, she saw that it was ten o'clock.
"Got class in an hour," she mumbled into her pillow. "Gotta get up."
She stumbled into the shower and managed to get dressed. Zombie-like, she went down the stairs and sat down at the kitchen table. Vegeta and Bulma stared at her, their eyes asking a million questions.
"Not now," Bura said, raising a hand. "Just feed me."
Bulma opened her mouth to protest, but Vegeta put up a hand. She pressed her lips together and glared at him, but said nothing. Bura guzzled down a cup of coffee and poured herself another. She ate her breakfast in silence and left in silence. The only sound she made since her statement was the snick of the front door as it shut. Bulma frowned.
"What is going on with her?" she asked.
"She'll deal with it," Vegeta said.
"That's not good enough for me."
"That's because you're nosy, Woman. Just leave the girl alone."
"Oh shut up, Vegeta."
Bura stared mournfully at her grades. She was a point away from failing the class. If she failed, she would not graduate. Tears threatened to spill over but she held them back. Goten would be back any minute and she didn't want him to see her cry. He would want her to stop spending so much time working on the restaurant and she didn't want to do that. It had become her baby as much as his.
You can always take the class again during the summer, she told herself. You won't be able to walk with the other graduates, but at least you'll have your diploma.
A sob rose to her throat. For the last five years, her dream had been to don a cap and gown, and receive her diploma from the dean. It wasn't so easy to let that go, but the restaurant was more important.
You can still try to pull this off. Just do work instead of taking breaks. You can do this. You can pass this class.
The door opened and she quickly put her report card away. Goten walked in, Juno in hand.
"Hi, Bura!" the little boy greeted.
"Hi, Juno. Didn't expect to see you today, but you're a nice surprise. Do you want to help me and your daddy paint?"
"What if his clothes get dirty?" Goten asked worriedly.
"You're starting to sound like your mother," Bura teased and she handed Juno a small paintbrush. "I'll just buy him some new clothes. Why don't you start with those flowers, Juno."
"How about purple, red, blue, and yellow."
Bura went to go sit next to him and they began to paint.
"You're pretty good at this," she said to Juno.
"Thanks. I practice at school."
They chatted lightly as Goten mixed some colors together to make the sky. He glanced up and felt his heart leap in his throat when he saw Bura's turquoise head so close to Juno's dark one. She laughed at something the boy said and she patted his thin shoulder with a gentle hand. Goten smiled, thinking that she would make a good mother one day. Juno leaned against her and Goten immediately thought that if he and Bura had children, this is what their life would be like.
Shaking his head, he turned his attention back to painting. He'd already decided he would not hurt her. He didn't need to hurt himself in the process.
Bura crossed her arms and looked proudly around the room. Two and a half months had passed since they'd started this project and everything was set. The walls were painted and the tables were in place. All that was left to do was getting the linens, dishes, silverware, and kitchenware. That wouldn't be difficult. With a small smile, she looked down at the gift at her feet.
"We did it," Goten said, coming up behind her. "We actually did it."
"Tomorrow, we have to go to the linen supplier, and houseware store to get the dishes and stuff," she reminded him.
"I know, but let's enjoy this in the meantime. It's only eight o'clock and we're done for the day."
He put an arm around her and she leaned against him.
"When's the sign coming in?" she asked.
"Soon," he replied cryptically and he glanced down at her feet. "What's that?"
Bura stooped down to pick the package up and she gave it to him. "Happy Birthday, Goten."
"Bura," he said with a grin. "You didn't have to do this. You've already done so much."
"I wanted to," she replied.
He tore the wrapped and let out a laugh when he saw what she had gotten him.
"The skillet!" he crowed. "I can't believe you remembered!"
"I told you I would get it for you."
He took her hand and pulled her into the kitchen. He put the skillet in an overhead cupboard.
"My first piece of kitchenware," he said and kissed her temple. "And I'm glad it was from you."
"You charmer," she said, nudging him with her elbow. "Come on. Let's go back to your house. I'm sure your mom has a spread set up."
She started for the door but he reached out and took her hand. She turned and looked at him questioningly.
What about a birthday kiss, he thought, and opened his mouth to say it, but he resolutely clamped it shut. Instead, he smiled and twined their fingers together. She smiled back and led him to her car.