“Hey Marron, what’s wrong?” Trunks asked.
Marron shook her head. “Nothing. Really. Nothing.”
“Come on, Marron. You know you can tell me.”
Marron took a deep breath and forced her eyes to meet his. “Trunks, first of all I want to say that I love you and I know you love me, too.”
Trunks began to feel alarmed. Was she going to break up with him? “Okay, I can agree with that…”
“And I also know that your job is very important. But lately…” She looked down. “Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m not important to you. This is the first time I’ve seen you in three weeks, Trunks. And the only reason I’m seeing you now is because we planned this date two months ahead of time.” She looked up at him pleadingly. “Do you understand how I’m feeling?”
Trunks was at a loss. “Marron, I love you. I know I’ve been busy. I’m sorry. Things will settle down…”
Marron shook her head. “When? ‘Things’ have been tying you up for the past three months.” There was a slight edge to her voice.
He grew a bit defensive. “Look, I’m sorry, but I can’t revolve my whole life around you, okay? I run an important business.”
“I realize that, Trunks.” Marron set her fork down and looked him straight in the eyes. “I realize that Capsule Corp is a big thing. And I don’t expect your whole world to revolve around me. But if I’m your girlfriend, I want to be a part of your life. Am I going to have to get a job there just to see you?”
Trunks fought to keep his temper. “Well, if you do, don’t expect any favors.”
Marron glared at him. She picked up her napkin from her lap and folded it carefully. She set it back on the table. “That was low,” she said coolly.
“It’s the truth,” Trunks shot back.
Without hesitation, Marron picked up her glass of water and threw it in his face. Then she stomped out of the restaurant.
Trunks just sat there for a moment, then wiped his face, threw a hundred on the table to cover expenses, and ran after her.
Marron heard him calling her name, but she didn’t turn around. She knew he wouldn’t have any trouble finding her, anyway. She was wearing a white dress and was easy to spot.
“Marron!” Trunks caught up to her.
She ignored him.
“Look, Marron, I’m sorry about that comment. It was low.”
She was still angry. “Why are you sorry? It’s the truth, right? And we should always be honest! Any more truths you want to share with me?”
Trunks grew angry again, but he knew better than to start naming all of Marron’s faults.
“Okay, Marron, I don’t know what’s wrong with you tonight, but—”
“Me? What’s wrong with ME?”
She threw her hands in the air. “You—you—you—”
“Yes? What about me? Since you want to be HONEST.”
She fixed him with a cold, hard stare. “You are the most insensitive cad I have ever had the misfortune of being acquainted with. If you will excuse me, I think I’ll find my own way home.” She spun on her heel, leaving him staring after her, wondering how she managed to say such cruel, biting words in such a cool, polite tone.
Trunks sighed as he rang the door of the Son house. A charity
ball. How had he wound up saying he would go—and with Pan as he date?
He liked Pan, but Marron…
Goku opened the door with a big grin. “Hello, Trunks! Come in! Pan’s just about to make her big entrance!”
“Great.” Trunks attempted a smile as he stepped in. “Oh, hi, Gohan. Where’s everyone else?”
Gohan shrugged. “The girls are all upstairs making last minute alterations and Goten had some big date to go on. He left about ten minutes ago.”
“Sit down if you like.”
Trunks looked at his tuxedo. “Oh, er, no thanks.”
“Oh yeah, can’t wrinkle that.” Gohan gave him a reassuring smile.
“Okay, everyone, here we come!” ChiChi called down.
Trunks’ mouth dropped when he saw Pan. She was dressed in a dark green, shoulder-baring dress with her hair braided around her head into a crown. Pale green baby’s breath was interspersed in the folds. He stepped forward. “Wow, Pan. You look…great. Stunning.”
Pan’s smile widened. “You really think so?”
“Yeah! You look…wow.”
“Thank you, Trunks.” Pan stepped all the way downstairs. She kissed her father and grandfather and blew kisses to her mother and grandmother, who were still upstairs. “’Bye guys! See you later!” She took Trunks’ arm and they walked to his hover car.
Goten grinned at Marron. “You know you look beautiful,” he told
She smiled back. She was wearing a form-fitting, ice blue dress that showed off her slender figure and set off her blond hair perfectly. “Thank you, Goten. You look quite dapper yourself.”
He straightened a bit at that. “Really?”
“Yes.” Yes, but Trunks doesn’t need a tux to look that good, Marron couldn’t help thinking. No! Don’t think about him! Goten’s a great guy! He’s taller than Trunks, smart—taller than Trunks…
“Marron, are you sure you want to come?”
“Of course! Thank you so much for inviting me! A charity ball sounds like so much fun!”
“Well, after Paris and Phoenix gave them to me, I didn’t have much use for them unless I had someone to go with…couldn’t very well ask Paris with her husband right there!”
Marron laughed. “I imagine that would have been awkward.”
“Just a bit. And now that you’re with me, I get to brag to everyone that I’ve got the best-looking date there.”
Marron raised an eyebrow. “My goodness, Goten, when did you become so silver-tongued?”
Goten didn’t answer. He just grinned and continued. “The only problem is that there is going to be dancing. And I’m not such a great dancer.”
Marron shrugged. “That’s okay. I’m not so hot myself.”
“ ‘Not so hot’ ? I’d rephrase that if I were you,” Goten told her.
Marron couldn’t help laughing at that.
“Pan! Hey, Pan! What are you doing here?” Goten asked.
Pan looked up in surprise. “Goten? Wow! What a coincidence!”
Trunks stared at him. “Goten?”
Pan didn’t notice that her uncle had gone pale. She laughed. “And I’m Pan. Now that we’ve identified ourselves, Trunks asked me to come with him.”
“Oh…that’s nice.” Goten smiled at Trunks and grabbed a hold of Pan’s arm. “Excuse us for one brief moment, Trunks.” He dragged Pan about ten feet away.
Pan rubbed her arm and glared at him. “Hey, what’s the—”
“Pan, shh.” Goten looked around furtively. “Marron is my date,” he whispered.
Pan felt herself freeze. “Oh. Dear.”
“Yeah. See, I didn’t know you were going…and especially not with Trunks!”
“I didn’t know YOU were coming! And with Marron!”
Goten suddenly grinned. “It occurs to me that perhaps we need better communication at home.”
Pan smiled crookedly. “Just maybe. So what are we going to do about Trunks and Marron? If they see each other, it could cause a real Situation.”
“I know, I know.”
Pan thought about it for a moment. “Okay, where’s Marron now?”
“She said she was going to check her makeup.”
“Okay. I’ll keep her distracted while you get Trunks over to the buffet.”
“Buffet?” Goten brightened. “Food? Where?”
Pan controlled herself with an effort. “Goten, listen to me. You keep Trunks distracted over there. I’ll keep Marron distracted over here. Then, we can switch places. We should probably spend some time with our dates, after all.”
“If we’re lucky, they shouldn’t see each other at all.”
“Yeah, but ONLY if we’re lucky.”
“It CAN work.” Pan grinned hopefully. “And if not, well, the fight will be fun to watch.”
“Yeah, that’s true.” Goten grinned back. “Well, good luck.”
“You too.” Pan watched her uncle head back over to Trunks and begin talking. Once Trunks’ attention was firmly diverted, she headed for the ladies’ room. She ran into Marron just as the girl was leaving. “OH! Marron! No, you don’t want to leave! You want to come with me! So come with me!” Pan dragged Marron back in.
“Pan? What the—”
“What do I need to touch up?” Pan asked, looking in the mirror.
“Nothing. You look perfect.”
“Oh, go on. Aren’t you sweet.” Pan pulled out her lipstick and began to apply it. She wiggled her elbow and got it on her cheek. “Oh, look at that. I am so clumsy. My goodness. Silly me.”
Marron sighed. “Here are some tissues, Pan.”
“Well, aren’t you just an angel? Oh, and have I mentioned that you look absolutely gorgeous?”
“No, you hadn’t. Thank you…and so do you, by the way.”
“You’re too kind. Let me just fix your hair real quick.” Pan reached over and pulled some of Marron’s hair out of place, then spent a minute trying to “fix” it. “There. You look just perfect now.”
“Uh…thank you, Pan. Can we leave now?”
Pan looked around. There was nothing else to delay her with. “Um, yeah, of course we can. Let’s leave.”
Marron was giving Pan a strange look until she heard the song playing as they left. “Oh, I love this song! I’m going to find Goten and dance, all right?”
“NO! I mean, you don’t want to do that. I’LL find Goten for you, how’s that.”
“If you really want…”
“I want, I want! Believe me! Now, don’t you move, or he won’t be able to find you. You just stay RIGHT THERE.”
“Okay, Pan.” Marron watched her dark-haired friend disappear. What was up with her today? She waited impatiently until Goten appeared.
“HI, Marron. Pan said you wanted to dance?”
“Yeah. I really like this song, so will you dance with me?”
“Of course I’ll dance with you. What fun that sounds. And let’s stay over here while we dance.”
“Over here? But Goten, it’s less crowded over—”
“Oh, who minds a crowd? The more the merrier, right?”
Marron gave him a strange look as they began dancing. “Goten, are you feeling all right?”
“Me? Of course!”
She noticed something and began laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
“You can’t dance?” she asked.
“Oh,” Goten said sheepishly. “Well, Mom taught me, but…hey, you said you couldn’t either!”
They laughed together and Marron didn’t notice that Goten mostly kept his eyes on a couple dancing behind Marron, a couple composed of a dark-haired girl and a purple-haired guy.
About halfway through the ball, Goten and Pan had a quick meeting.
“You know, I’m not having much fun,” Goten complained.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. Why did they even fight in the first place? I mean, they’re the perfect couple, made for each other!”
“Yeah, well, they don’t think—oh no.”
“Oh no? Goten, I don’t want to hear any ‘oh no’s.”
“Um, I can’t find Marron.”
“YOU LOST HER?” Pan exclaimed.
“I took my eyes off her for one second! But you still see Trunks, don’t you?”
She didn’t answer.
“No,” she said softly.
“NO!?” he yelled. They looked at each other. “Oh, this so cannot be good!” Goten moaned and Pan had to agree.
“We have to find them,” she said. “We can’t have explosions here. Lots of famous people are here!”
“Yeah. You’re right. Okay. I’ll go left and you go right, okay?”
They split up and began searching.
Goten was on the second floor when he saw it. Both Trunks and Marron were headed for the buffet table! They were going to run right into each other! He froze for a moment, then began running. He did something incredibly stupid. Which was nothing new. But this stupid stunt could be put in the Hall of Fame of Stupid Things Goten’s Done. He leapt over the railing and jumped down to catch Marron. He grabbed her hand. “OH! THERE YOU ARE! WHY DON’T WE DANCE?”
Marron stared at him. “Are you okay, Goten?”
“ME? I’M JUST PEACHY!” He pulled her onto the dance floor and began moving. He looked down at Marron. When you two get back together, I’m going to kill you both for this night, he vowed. Then he felt Marron stiffen.
“Trunks is here,” she said in a low voice that was almost a growl.
Goten felt like crying. He’d almost KILLED HIMSELF on that staircase, and she saw him anyway? Where was the justice? “No!” he managed to get out, hoping he sounded completely surprised.
He didn’t. “You knew!” Marron accused him.
“You DID! You KNEW!” Marron poked his chest. “You JERK! Why didn’t you tell me?”
She gave him a look of disgust and stalked away. Goten attempted a smile at the people around him. Well, that could’ve been worse, he thought. HE could’ve seen HER, too.
Suddenly he heard Trunks’ voice ring out above all the commotion. “MARRON?”
Goten sank to the floor and buried his face in his hands.
Trunks followed Marron to the outdoor balcony. She glanced
over at him, a slight smile hovering on her lips. “Well, it makes a little
sense now,” she offered.
“Oh, their crazy behavior. I thought Goten was going mad there for a while.” She chuckled. “He actually said he was ‘Peachy.’ ”
“Goten said that? PEACHY?”
They looked at each other and burst out laughing. They laughed for about a minute or two and then Marron wiped her eyes and looked up at Trunks. Her smile faded. “I’m sorry, Trunks.”
He took both her hands in his. “No. No, I’m the one who’s sorry. I mean, I asked you what was wrong, and I blew up at you. I want to know when you feel neglected, but how can you believe that when I yell at you like that?”
“No, Trunks, no. It was my fault. I got mad first.”
Trunks stepped closer to her. “My fault.”
She went up on tiptoes. “Mine.”
“Mine,” he said, and he kissed her before she could respond.
When they broke apart, Marron leaned against him and listened to his heartbeat. “I missed you,” she said.
“I missed you more. It’s been a long three weeks without you.” And he kissed her again.
“Are…are they LAUGHING?” Pan demanded.
“Sure sounds that way to me,” Goten answered.
Pan’s eyes flashed dangerously. “Oh, that does it. I’m going to go out there and—”
“Pan, Pan. Don’t do that. Gohan spent a lot of money on that dress. You don’t want to ruin it.”
“Oh. Right. And it would take me forever to redo my hair.”
“Wait until Monday. We spar then,” Goten continued. “We can kill them then, and it will be all in good fun.”
Pan smiled at her uncle. “That sounds nice.”
“Doesn’t it? In the meantime, why don’t we use a stress reliever your grandmother taught me when I was about five. We’ll go down the kitchen and ask if they have two heads of lettuce. We can then rip the lettuce to shreds, and not only to we feel better, but we’ve got salad for dinner.”
Pan smiled again. “You know, that sounds fun.”
“Yes, and it’s productive, too. Shall we go?”
“Why don’t we?”
Goten held the door. “After you.”
“Why, thank you.”