Bura's eyes were glued to her grade report. There were several wet spots on it, marking where her tears had fallen. For there, in black print, her fate had been sealed.
Painful sobs racked her body and she buried her face in her arms. After all her studying and all her hard work, she couldn't believe that she'd failed. She was a week away from graduation. Her cap and gown were in her closet. Goten was preparing the celebration dinner. Panicked, she wondered if she could fake having a graduation. Crazily, she began to wonder how much it would cost to hire actors to pose as students...
The walls felt like they were closing in on her and she shot to her feet. Pushing the window open, she flew out, wanting only to get out of her room. The wind dried the tears on her face and she felt slightly better. Before she knew it, she found herself at Goten's house. She was at the door just as it opened. Goten didn't look surprised to see her.
"I thought I felt you nearby," he said, then frowned. He put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her closer. "What's wrong?"
"I'm not going to graduate," she said, the tears starting to fall again.
He pulled her into his arms and stroked her hair. He could feel her tears seep through his shirt and she trembled violently.
"You studied so hard, Bura," he murmured. "It was my fault. I shouldn't have let you work such long hours on the restaurant. You already did so much for me by financing the whole thing. Damn."
"It's not your fault," she said, pulling away and wiping her face. Her face took on a stubborn expression that Goten had seen countless times on Vegeta's and Trunks' faces. "It was mine. I should have worked harder. I should have managed my time better. This is what I get for not doing that. No matter. I will finish the class this summer and I'm going to get my diploma."
"What about graduation?" he asked quietly.
She shook her head and averted her eyes. "It's not a possibility now. I can always wait until next May, but I'd have finished class by then. It would be stupid."
She smiled bravely. "It's not your fault, Goten. At least when your restaurant opens, I'll have succeeded in something."
"What class did you fail?" he asked.
"Why does that matter now?"
"What class, Bura?"
"Business," she replied.
"I see. Come on in, and relax," he said, ushering her through the door. "My mom went to the market and she won't be home until later."
Bura sat down on the couch and rested her head back. Goten went to the kitchen to get some refreshments. When he came back out, he was amused to find that Bura was fast asleep. He went to his room to get his blanket and he carefully covered her with it. Checking the clock, he saw that it was only half-past noon. After scribbling a quick note to Bura, he left the house quietly and shot up into the sky, heading for the university.
You are cordially invited to the grand opening of a new restaurant.
Bulma flipped the light blue colored invitation over, but only a simple silver daisy graced its cover. There was no clue as to who sent it or what the restaurant's name is. Her curiosity piqued, she went to her computer and typed in the address given, but to her surprise the information as to who owned the place was blocked.
"Hmm..." she said aloud. "VEGETA!"
She waited a few minutes, then stood up, annoyed that he didn't come--though she had to admit that she really didn't expect him to. She found him outside, sitting as still as a rock.
"Get dressed," she said, nudging him with her knee.
"I am dressed," he pointed out, moving only his eyes to look at her.
"Dressed up. Put your tux on. We're going out tonight."
She showed him the invitation. "A restaurant opening."
"I don't know."
"Then why are we going."
Bulma grabbed his arm and tried to pull him up, but he didn't budge. "Just get dressed, will you? We haven't been out in ages!"
Letting out a grunt, Vegeta stood, catching Bulma before she could fall into the bushes.
"Fine. But the food better be good."
Krilin and #18 stepped out of their car. Marron followed them, struggling to keep her hair in place as a light breeze blew over her.
"I wonder what this for," she remarked. "We've never been invited to anything like this before."
"Your guess is as good as mine," Krilin said with a glance at his tall wife. "What do you think?"
#18 squinted at the crowd that was outside the restaurant they were headed for. To her surprise, those gathered were all people she recognized.
"Hey! There's Chichi, Bulma, Vegeta, Trunks, Pan..." Krilin listed, squinting. "Even Paris and Juno. This is gonna be interesting."
"Hi, everbody!" Marron greeted.
"Hi," Pan returned with a smile. "I'm not surprised to see you here. It seems like everyone we know is here."
"Why can't we go inside?" #18 asked.
"The doors are locked," Piccolo answered. He gestured to the covered sign above their heads. "And we don't even know what this place is called."
Inside the restaurant, Bura and Goten watched the clock with anticipation. They could hear the others talking outside and they grinned at each other.
"This is it, Bura," Goten whispered. "Thirty more seconds and we're gonna open the doors."
Bura threw her arms around him. "This is gonna be great, Goten."
He hugged her tightly. "And it's all because of you. Thank you."
She looked into his eyes. "You're welcome. How about we let those people in from the cold?"
He offered her his arm and she took it. Together, they opened the double doors and smiled at the people gathered outside. There was an audible gasp of surprise as it registered to the others who was standing before them.
"What..who...Goten?" Chichi stuttered.
"Bura?" Bulma said.
Goten met the interested stares and felt nervousness overcome him. Bura squeezed his arm when it became apparent that he wasn't going to say anything. He cleared his throat and began to speak.
"Thank you all for coming," he said cordially. "This is a very special day for me and my partner, and we are happy to share it with you."
"We welcome you to the grand opening of Goten's Place!" Bura exclaimed.
"Actually..." Goten said, floating up and removing the cloth that covered the sign. "It's Bura's Place."
Bura's hands flew to cover her mouth and her eyes teared up. "Oh, Goten," she gasped. "I can't believe you did this."
He smiled. "Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, and all that."
When he landed, she threw herself into his arms, much to the interested glances of the others.
"I don't know what to say," she whispered in his ear.
"That's good enough for me," he teased lightly.
She laughed and looked at the others. As if on cue, she and Goten parted, and stood on either side of the doorway.
"Come on in, Everyone," Goten said. "The food's waiting."
As the others entered, Goten's and Bura's gazes caught and held. Sparks seemed to fly between them, but Goten averted his eyes. Bura kept her smile pinned on and she went in after Piccolo, the last person in. She signaled for the servers to come out and they did in an orderly manner. Trunks, Pan, and the twins took a table, while Bulma, Vegeta, Chichi, Paris, and Juno took another. Gohan, Videl, and Mr Satan commandered another table. Piccolo, Yamcha, Tien, and Chaozu grouped together, while Krilin and his family sat nearby. Five servers took each table's order while others poured glasses of wine, water, or another refreshment. Goten disappeared into the kitchen, while Bura stood next to the Maitre'd, Jacques.
When the servers went back to the kitchen to give the orders to Goten and his small fleet of helpers, the guests had the opportunity to get a better look at their surroundings. They were particularly impressed with the ceiling. According to his plan, Goten had painted the sky changing from day to night, the colors harmonizing together.
"Who did that?" Pan asked Bura.
"Really?" Yamcha said. "I didn't know he had it in him."
Bura smiled proudly. "No one did."
"You two set this up yourselves?" Bulma inquired.
"How long did it take?"
"A little over three months."
"You must have worked day and night," Marron remarked.
"Bravo," Krilin said.
"Thank you," Bura said with a little bow.
The servers came back out with baskets of bread and appetizers. Bura felt her own mouth water at the smell of food, but her attentions were immediately redirected when the door opened. Her eyes widened when she saw Professor Sagen enter, a white invitation in his hand.
"Professor!" she exclaimed.
"Miss Vegeta!" he returned, just as surprised. "You're invited too?"
Goten came running out of the kitchen just then, his chef's hat askew. Bura thought he looked adorable, but then her eyes turned from adoring to suspicious.
"What are you up to?" she demanded.
Goten merely smiled at her and he took Professor Sagen's arm, leading him to a smaller table set for two.
"Welcome to Bura's place, Professor," he said.
"Thank you. It's nice to see you again, young man."
"Again?" Bura echoed.
"Please have a seat and a server will be by to take your order," Goten said, pulling out a chair. "Bura, why don't you sit with him."
Dumbly, Bura took the other seat. She stared at the Professor, not quite sure what to do.
"I notice this place was named after you," he said when Goten trotted back to the kitchen.
"Yes, it was. I funded this venture and I helped Goten set it up," she explained.
"Who is that?" Bulma hissed at Vegeta. "He's not her boyfriend, is he? He's a little too old, I think."
Vegeta merely grunted.
"Uh..hello!" Bulma called out with a wave. "Bura, why don't you introduce us to your friend."
"Oh," Bura said, shooting to her feet. "This is..."
Goten came barreling out of the kitchen, some books in his hand. Bura recognized them as the ledger as well as the plans she'd concocted for setting up the restaurant. Immediately, she knew what he was up to. Her eyes were glued to his face as he dropped the books in front of the Professor.
"Bura did all this," he said. "She organized everything about this restaurant, and even balanced the ledger. If that's not knowing business, I don't know what is."
"What is going on?" Trunks demanded, getting up and eyeing the Professor. "Who is this guy?"
Perturbed that so much attention was focused on him, Professor Sagen stood. "I am Professor Douglas Sagen. I teach business at the university."
"You've gone back to school!" Pan exclaimed, a finger pointed at Bura. "Those were the classes you were talking about!"
Bura nodded reluctantly. "Yup. I did it. I've gone ahead and gone back to school. Go ahead. Let it loose."
Then she closed her eyes and braced herself for their laughter, the jokes...anything.