Goku tugged at his collar for the millionth time. The black dress shirt he wore was buttoned up to his neck. It wasn't tight, but worlds apart from his comfortable gi. The neck tie didn't make it any better either. He was about to complain when he stopped himself. Remembering the real reason he was dressed like this in the first place.
Breathing a heavy sigh, he leaned back against the sofa twiddling his thumbs.
It all started when his son came home with an invitation from Bulma. Who knew something so simple could make him question his behavior? Especially towards his wife. It's true he'd disappear sometimes to go train whenever he wanted. But, it had nothing to do with how he felt about her. She always took care of him and was the mother of his children!
Unbeknownst to him, his actions had her thinking something completely different.
5 Days Earlier
“I'm home!” Goten yelled as he walked in the small house. The smell of his mother's cooking wafting through the air.
“In the kitchen!” Chichi yelled.
Goten walked in just in time to see her pull a huge roast out of the oven. He knew it was only one course of their meal. His father would demolish that all by himself.
Smiling he walked over to kiss her cheek. At 12, he was finally tall enough to reach her shoulder. “Hey Mom.”
“Hey honey. How was school?”
“Cool. We got a new science project today. I just stopped by Trunks so he could help me with it.”
“Mmhmm. You sure he was helping and you two weren't just fooling around?” She said eyeing him over her shoulder. Her hands already busy with another dish.
He scratched the back of his head with a nervous laugh.
As usual Chichi melted at his cuteness.“Just so you know, your father gets that same guilty look when he's been playing hooky.”
“Haha. Where is dad?”
“Oh I'm sure he'll be home soon. He wants to go train on King Kai’s planet after he finishes in the fields.” She said with a roll of her eyes. Putting the finishing touches on her casserole, she put it in the oven then wiped her hands.
Goten nodded. Knowing how much his father's absence bothered her. “Well, Bulma told me to give you this. It's an invitation to her Birthday Party.” He said handing her a medium sized black envelope with her and Goku’s name written in gold.
“Wow! She's really going all out this year.”
“Must be. Trunks and I aren't even invited!” He said with a pout.
“Yeah. She said it's for adults only.”
Chichi scrunched her face in confusion. Opening the envelope, she pulled out the black card. It's glittery gold letters making her hum with intrigue.
Dear Esteemed Guest
You have been cordially invited to Bulma's Masquerade Ball. This is a Masked Black Tie event. All guest are encouraged to bring their own mask. However, one will be provided at the entrance for those without. There will be a contest during the festivities for best mask. The winner will be awarded an All Expenses Paid 5 Night Vacation. The destination choices will be provided after the winner is chosen.
The event will start at 10pm.
Chichi balked at the invitation. “10pm! That's so late. And I'd never find anything to wear in time.”
“Bulma said you might say that. She told me to have you call her... Immediately.”
Goten held up his hands when she shot him a stern look. “I'm just the messenger.”
Sighing in defeat, she sat the letter on the table. “All right you. Go finish your homework. I'll call you when dinners ready.”
Waving, Goten grabbed his bag and ran out the kitchen. After checking the huge pot on the stove, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed Bulma.
“Wow. That was faster than I thought.” Bulma's said in a sly voice.
“What does that mean?”
“I thought you'd at least think about it.”
“I did and I can't go to something that late. What about Goten?”
“Chichi, the kids are old enough to be without us for a night. I already made arrangements for them to stay at my place. I'll have staff there if they need anything. And don't worry about them not being included. I'm planning to have a BBQ for everyone the next day. That way we can relax and let the alcohol ooze out of our pores.” She said with a cackle.
“Oh Kami. Fine! The kids may be taken care of, but I can't go alone. You know Goku. He hates dressing up. Plus I think he's going to King Kai’s tomorrow.”
“Didn't he just come back?”
“Yep. A month ago. Now he's bored and ready to leave again.” Her annoyed tone hiding the sadness she actually felt.
Not fooled, Bulma kept pushing. She knew that getting a Saiyan to do anything was like pulling teeth. But, it was obvious that they needed some time together.
“I think you should ask him first. See what he says. You never know. Seems you two need to get a little spark back.”
Chichi huffed as she leaned back against the dining room chair. “Spark! Bulma...it's gonna take fireworks to restart this engine.”
“Haha! Maybe he'll have a change of heart. Oh, by the way, I got the clothes covered. I gave everyones name to my personal stylist at Le Rouge Boutique. You can get a dress there and they’ll tailor it in time for the party. All on my dime. I think 18 is already on her way. ”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yeah. I'll text you the information. Now go talk to your husband!”
“Bye Bulma.” Rolling her eyes as she hung up. She already knew how this was gonna end. Bulma meant well, but she didn't know Goku. If he didn't want to go, he wouldn't. Or at least whine until she released him from servitude.
It had been months since they had any real time together as a couple. Restaurant dates were out of the question and movie night just turned into a snorefest for him. She didn't even want to think about their rare moments of intimacy.
Releasing another sigh, she got up to finish dinner. Hoping food might make him more agreeable. As if called by the delicious aroma, her husband walked in right as she sat the last dish on the table.
“Oi Chichi! Man it smells good in here!” Goku yelled as he closed the front door.
Making his way in the kitchen he saw the mountain of food laid out. He loved his wife's cooking. To him, she was the only one who could truly satisfy his stomach.
“Hey Goku. Dinners ready. Go wash up and tell Goten to come down.”
It only took a few minutes for them to gather back at the table. Both father and son simultaneously filling their huge bowls. The blissful sounds they made giving her a sense of pride. She decided to tell him about the Ball when Goku finally hit his forth serving.
“By the way, Bulma sent us an invitation to her Birthday Party. It's gonna be Saturday night.”
“An invitation? Sounds fancy.” He said around a mouthful of food.
Normally she would've chided him about that, but she let it slide this time.
“It’s a Masquerade Ball. There's gonna food, wine, and we get to wear mask. Plus it's just for the adults.” Carefully giving all the fun details she knew he'd like.
Goku sat his bowl down and pat his stomach.“Wow. Sounds like a lot of fun. We should go.”
“Really!” She sat with a bright smile.
“Yeah. I can go to King Kai after.” He said before getting two pieces of cake she just cut. Goten following his lead with his own slice.
Chichi clapped her hands together in excitement. “Great! Now we just need to find something to wear. We can go to that boutique Bulma mentioned. I'll need to get you fitted for a tux and....”
That last word made him choke mid swallow. “A tux! You mean I have to dress up?!”
‘Here we go.’ Chichi thought. “Yes Goku. A ball is formal so we're required to dress up.”
“Oh man. You know what. I did tell King Kai I was coming. He always gets mad when I don't keep my word. You go and I'll see Bulma later.” He said while scratching the back of his head.
Goten’s eyes flipped between his parents. He could feel the light atmosphere quickly darken with his father's change of heart. His gaze moved back to his mother. Waiting for the explosion of anger that usually followed when his father tried to get out of something. To his surprise, she stayed quiet. Too quiet.
Chichi pursed her lips and folded her hands on the table. She knew this would happen. If anything, her husband was consistent. He'd give up her and his friends, all to get out of something as silly as wearing a suit. For once, she just didn't have the strength to argue with him.
Pushing her chair back, she grabbed their empty dishes and took them to the sink. Quietly walking back and forth as she cleared the table.
Goku watched as she moved around. Flinching when she sat a pot down a little too hard. He’d also noticed the lack of outburst. ‘This isn't right.’ He thought. Somehow he preferred her yelling over the eerie silence.
“It's fine Goku. Just leave everything. I'll finish cleaning up.”
He nodded, slowly getting up. “Come on Goten. Lets go take a bath.” His eyes fixed on his quietly fuming wife. They carefully backed out of the kitchen when a another pan was slammed down. ‘This isn't good. I'll come back after she cools down a bit.’
After their bath, Goku walked by the kitchen and saw her sitting at the table. Goten went on to his room while his father stepped inside to talk. This definitely wasn’t normal.
“Chichi... Are you mad?”
“Oh Goku.... I'm disappointed, but not surprised. I told Bulma you wouldn’t come. Kami forbid you want to spend any time with me. I don't even know why I try anymore.”
He knelt down next to her when she sniffled. “Wait a minute. I never said I didn't want to spend time with you.” Frowning at her sad face.
Chichi shook her head as the words she'd been holding in spilled from her mouth. “It's ok. You've always been a free spirit. I'm honestly more mad at myself for thinking this would turn out any different. It's been 20 years and you still don't understand what it means to be a couple. Kami knows I've tried. But this place is nothing more than a pit stop for you. Go train Goku. I'll see you when you get back.”
Getting up, she was about to walk around him when he stood and grabbed her arm. Turning, she noticed he was only in his boxers. Water dripped from his damp hair as stared down at her. His brow furrowed in concern.
“Hold on a sec. Do you think I don't want to be around you?”
“Who wants to be with their nagging wife? I'm getting older and I know you don't see me the same way. At this point..... Look, I told you I'm fine. Just go.” Trying to pull out of his firm grip with her face turned away.
Goku was no genius, but he knew she was not fine. Especially with the tears she kept trying to hide.
Pulling her close, he wrapped his arms around her. “Chichi... I'm so sorry. I never meant to make you feel that way. I know I don't say it much, but I love you.”
Releasing an involuntary sigh, she melted into his warmth, rubbing her tear streaked face into his muscular chest. Her hands clutching his back as she breathed in his fresh scent.
He knew his absence bothered her, but not to this extent. Now he really felt like a donkey. All she wanted was to spend some time with him and he just dismissed her. All to get out of wearing a suit. She didn't deserve that.
Pulling back, he kissed her forehead before looking into her dark eyes. His thumbs wiping the tears from her cheeks. “Let's go to that party.”
Chichi smiled up at his sincere face and kissed his hand. “It's ok honey. I know you care in your own way. And we don't have to go. Really. I don't want you to be uncomfortable.”
“I wanna go. It'll be a... What do you call it again?”
“Yeah. Let's have a date.”
“Oh Goku.” She gushed. Throwing her arms around him. Loving the rumble of his chest as he chuckled.
Goten peeked his head in the kitchen and smiled. Normally, he'd gag at their PDA, but he was glad they made up. Sneaking back to his room, he let them have a moment to themselves.
Goku stared at ceiling as he waited for Chichi to get dressed. As promised, he went with her to get a new suit. He'd never been so bored in his life, but seeing her smile was worth it. To be honest, the suit she chose for him wasn’t that uncomfortable. He just hated wearing so many clothes.
He was about to loosen his tie when their bedroom door finally opened. Chichi wanted her dress to be a surprise. So, he had to wait outside while she got dressed. ‘Finally! It felt like she was in their for hours.’ He thought before standing up.
“Sorry it took so long Goku. This dress was a little harder to get on than I thought.” Her heels clacking down the hall.
“It's Ok Chi. But I'm getting hungry again. I wonder... what...they...have...” His voice lowering as she walked around the corner.
Chichi blushed at her husband's shocked expression.
“What do you think....”