Aiko by Bekuki Chan
She was shy.
And quiet. One of the quietest girls there ever was.
But that all changed when Aiko was eleven. It was then that she met Goten and Trunks.
They had met at school one day. Aiko and Goten were in the sixth grade, and she had seen him in a few of her classes. Trunks was in the seventh grade and thirteen years old. She had only seen him in the hallways a couple times, but never paid any interest to him, or the swarm of girls walking behind him. As shy as she was, Aiko was a tomboy, and the few acquaintances she did have were also tomboys or they were boys. But she wasn't interested in boys, except as friends, because they shared similar interests. But she wouldn't go near anyone. She was too shy.
Goten was twelve, Trunks was thirteen, and Aiko was eleven when they met. It was a Friday, and Aiko was sitting alone (again) at a table in the lunchroom. Since the whole school ate at the same time, Trunks and Goten were also in there, eating their lunch on the other side of the cafeteria. Then, Goten glanced over at Aiko.
"Hey, Trunks." Goten poked his friend. "Look over there."
"Yeah? So? All I see is a bunch of people."
"No, see, that girl? She's the only person sitting alone."
"Why don't we go sit by her?"
"Do we have to?" whined Trunks, who was more interested in his meal than a lonely kid.
"Yes. Come on." Goten pulled Trunks by the arm over to where Aiko was sitting. "Hey. Can we sit down?"
Aiko stared at him. "W-what?"
"Can we sit down?"
She nodded slowly. "Sure..."
Goten sat beside her, and Trunks beside him.
"What's your name again? I've seen you in class."
"Aiko." She was starting to feel a little more comfortable. "And you're... don't tell me... Goten?"
"Yeah. That's Trunks."
Trunks just glanced at her a second, then returned to his eating.
After that, they hung out more. Trunks was friendlier now that he wasn't being distracted by food, and Aiko was feeling less and less shy.
One day, they were out playing softball when Goten's niece, Pan, and her friend (and Trunks' sister) Bra walked up.
"Hi!" said Pan cheerfully. "You must be Aiko."
Aiko nodded. "Yeah."
"Do you want to hang out later, maybe?"
"Well, from all Goten says, you're really nice, and Bra and me wanted to know if you'd like to hang with us for a while."
Aiko looked down. "Maybe. I...I gotta go. See you guys later."
"Why'd you do that?!" shouted Goten when Aiko was out of earshot. "Everything was going fine until you guys showed up!"
"Well, maybe Aiko should actually find some friends that are girls! Hanging out with boys is probably going to make her not want to have friends that are girls!" Pan shot back.
"Yeah! Why don't you let us hang out with her for once!" agreed Bra.
"It's her choice! And I don't care if she doesn't like girls for friends!" Trunks yelled. "She's our friend!!!"
Bra glared at him, and Pan stuck out her tongue as they walked away.
Trunks shook his head. "Idiots."
Goten sighed. "Come on. Let's go get Aiko."
The years passed slowly for them, but that was okay, because Earth was peaceful and they always had each other to hang out with, or talk to if they were lonely. But one day, when Aiko was thirteen, Goten fourteen, and Trunks fifteen, there was a little problem.
Aiko and Trunks had been talking.
"You like that boy at school, don't you?" Trunks asked her.
"No!!!" Aiko was furious that he had even suggested such a thing. "Why would I?!"
"Well, it sure seems like you do!!!"
Aiko smacked Trunks hard. There was a stinging red handprint on his arm.
Glaring, Trunks leaned his weight forward and shoved her to the ground. Aiko pulled him down, slamming him hard on the dirt.
They started wrestling, only this time they weren't playing. Over the tiniest thing, they had gotten furious at each other.
Trunks punched Aiko hard in the stomach.
She stumbled back, then drew her fist way back, then slammed it into his jaw.
Goku ran out of the house and pulled the two apart. "What the heck is going on here?!" he shouted.
Aiko wiped blood off her cheek with the back of her fist, glaring at Trunks. He rubbed his jaw.
Neither said anything. They just glared at each other, panting, bruised, and bleeding a little.
Goku looked closely at Trunks. "Oh man, you're bleeding! Your mother's gonna kill me..." He turned to Aiko. "And you! Look at you! You're a mess. What happened?"
Goten ran up. "Gosh, what happened to you guys?"
"You can ask Wedgie-Boy!" snapped Aiko, as if Trunks wasn't there.
"Wedgie-Boy?!" he snarled. "Why I oughtta..."
"That's enough, both of you!" Goku yelled. "All of you go inside! We'll work this out in there."
Trunks sat on one side of the room. Aiko sat on the other. Goten sat somewhere in the middle, looking confused. Goku, ChiChi, Bulma, and Aiko's mother Mika (an old friend of Goku's) stood in front of them.
"What's this all about?" asked Goku. He had cooled off a little, but was still upset with them. Nobody spoke. "Well?!"
"If Mr. Undergarment knew how to keep his mouth shut--"
"Aiko, be quiet!" snapped her mother.
"Trunks? What happened?" Bulma demanded.
"Tell her that I'm not speaking with her."
"That was only a little obvious," Bulma muttered.
Goku sighed. "One of you has to tell us what happened! Goten?"
He shook his head. "I wasn't there."
"Fine," said Aiko irritably. "He was making fun of me. Not to mention lying."
Aiko smiled, not kindly. "I see you're speaking to me. And like a little kid, too."
Trunks glared at her.
"What did he say?" inquired ChiChi.
"That I liked some boy."
"That's what this was all about?!" ChiChi fumed. "Trunks made a misjudgment and then you tried to kill each other?!"
Aiko turned away. Trunks knew her better than that, to assume she liked some guy...It hurt her to think that maybe he didn't know her as well as she thought.
Their parents gave them a long lecture about talking things out, then told them to apologize. Trunks just glared at her, and Aiko looked out the window.
Goku sighed. "This is going nowhere fast."
Aiko spoke up. "Then I'm leaving." She hurried out the door, and her mother chased after her.
Aiko was sitting in a tree, wondering what she was going to do, when Trunks came by.
Grimacing, Aiko pulled her feet up on the branch and sat as close to the trunk of the tree as possible. Trunks still saw her.
"Come down, Aiko," he said quietly.
She shook her head. "No. Not until you apologize."
"Aiko, I made a mistake! I'm sorry!"
"But I thought you knew me better than to think that!" If Aiko hadn't been as tough as she was, she might have been crying. But her eyes remained dry. "It really hurt me when I realized that maybe you didn't know me as well as I thought, that maybe we weren't as good friends as I thought."
She looked up, gazing through the leaves.
"I do know you better than that. I was teasing you."
She looked down at Trunks. "Well, you took it too far. It really hurt."
Trunks sighed. He swung his leg over a low branch and pulled himself up. He sat beside her on the thick limb. "Aiko, I didn't mean to."
"Well, you did." She stared at him suspiciously. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You're cute when you're angry." Aiko laughed and punched him playfully. They always teased each other like that. "Look, I'm really sorry."
Aiko looked at her knees. "Yeah, I know. I was just being stubborn. I'm sorry, too."
"That's okay. Hey, you want to find Goten and go do something?"
Her face lit up. "Sure!" She and Trunks jumped down from the tree and ran off in search of their friend.
That was they way things were between Aiko and Trunks. They would fight, then one of them would make some remark that let a little anger out of them with laughter, and then they would apologize. And they continued the teasing.
"My, Wedgie-Boy, aren't we looking rather handsome today?"
"Ah, the same to you, Aiko, my dear."
"I'm handsome?! How dare you call me that!"
"I-I'm sorry, ma'am! I meant beautiful."
But all that was just teasing. When Aiko was fourteen, Goten fifteen, and Trunks sixteen, things between the three changed.
They had been sitting around, talking and laughing. Goten was in the process of telling some joke, and Trunks was already laughing, even though they didn't know the punch line. The thought just popped into Aiko's head.
He's got such a cute laugh.
She shook her head. Where had that come from? Trunks smiled.
I just love that smile!
Aiko put a hand to her forehead. Okay, this is not normal. I don't like Trunks. I'm not interested in getting into any kind of relationship!
Goten looked over at her. "Are you okay, Aiko?"
"Huh?" She looked up. "Oh. Yeah, I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Okay. So, anyways, the guy says--"
"Let me guess!" interrupted Trunks. " 'That's not my cow'!"
Goten frowned. "You ruin everything."
Aiko spoke up. "Um, I have to go..." she said quietly.
Trunks leaned forward. "How come?"
"I...I forgot something I had to do." She stood up and hurried out the door.
"Aiko, wait!" Trunks ran after her and grabbed her arm. "Why did you run out?"
She took a deep breath. "Trunks, do you want me to be honest?"
"Okay." Aiko sighed. "Um, Trunks...just now...I...I think I like you."
Trunks loosened his grip on her arm. "Aiko...I like you, too."
She blushed a deep crimson, and stared at the ground.
"Do you think we should tell Goten?"
Aiko looked up. "No. I...He might get jealous...you know...thinking I like you more than him, how I'll probably spend more time with you. Nah. He's a smart boy, he can figure it out himself."
"Aiko..." Trunks sighed. "I've liked you for a while now."
"A few months."
She bit her lip. "Did you tell Goten?"
"Oh. Um, Trunks, are you...um, are you...busy tomorrow night?"
He looked up at her, taken by surprise. "Well, um...I...well, that is...no. Why? Do...do you want to do something?"
Trunks nodded. "How about--"
"A hockey game!" Aiko blushed. "Or not."
Now Aiko was the one who was surprised. She had been thinking more along the lines of a sports game, or something casual like that. But a movie...?
"Okay." Aiko turned and walked off. "See you then."
"Quiet, Trunks!" hissed his sister, Bra. "I'm trying to study. Geez, if Aiko makes you that nervous, don't date her!"
"We aren't dating! It's a group thing!"
"Yeah, right. Who else is going?"
"Ah-ha!" she accused. "I knew it!"
Trunks blushed. "Fine. Just don't tell Mom!"
"Can I tell Dad?"
"He doesn't care."
Bulma knocked on the door. "Trunks! Aiko's here!"
Bra grinned. "Have fun on your date."
Trunks immaturely stuck his tongue out at her and hurried downstairs.
Aiko was waiting impatiently at the bottom of the stairs. When she saw Trunks, she gave a sigh of relief. "Good. You're ready. Come on, we're going to be late."
"Okay, okay," said Trunks.
"Have fun on your date!"
"Shut up, Bra!"
The movie was over.
It was a warm night, and thunder was starting off in the distance. The two hurried to Trunks' car.
As they drove home, Trunks and Aiko talked about almost everything there is to talk about. Sports, parents, the movie, even the weather. But they were avoiding one subject. Finally, Trunks brought it up.
"How...how did you like our date?"
Aiko bit her lip. "I..." Trunks glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. She looked really uncomfortable. "I had fun," she finished. "I...I mean..." She sighed. "I really enjoyed it."
He nodded. "Me, too."
The rest of the ride was silent.
Aiko shut the car door. She walked around to the other side. "Thanks for bringing me home, Trunks."
"No big deal. Here..." He stepped out of the car. "Let me walk you to your door." He took her hand and they walked up to the house. They stopped at the porch.
"Um, I really had fun tonight," said Aiko.
"Yeah. Me too."
Suddenly, lightning flashed, followed by a loud crack of thunder.
Aiko smiled. "I'd better get inside. I'll...see you tomorrow?"
"Hope so." Trunks smiled too, and let go of her hand. "Bye, Aiko."
"See you." She shut the door.
Trunks dashed to the telephone and picked up. "Hello? Oh, hey, Aiko," he said casually. "What's up?"
Bulma smiled, watching from the other room. "My little Trunks is growing up so fast. He's got a wonderful girlfriend who's really sweet, and he's obsessed with the telephone."
"Yeah, well, I'm sick of him picking up and expecting Aiko every time the phone rings," Vegeta grumbled.
"What do you know about it, anyways?" Bulma accused. "You never had a girlfriend when you were young." Vegeta didn't respond.
"Tonight? At seven? Okay. See you then, Aiko." Trunks put down the phone, then leapt into the air, shouting with joy.
"What's wrong with you, you baka?!" Vegeta shouted.
"Aiko asked me out on a second date," Trunks said in a far-away voice as he fell into a chair, a dreamy look on his face.
"Well, you don't need to jump around like that," said Bulma strictly.
"But Mom!" he protested. "I'm in love!"
"Well, that doesn't matter. I don't want you smashing through the floor. Why don't you go get ready?"
"Okay, okay. But I've got until seven..."
Trunks hurried up the stairs.
"And no more leaping for joy!" Bulma yelled up the steps.
At seven, Aiko knocked on the door.
"I'll get it!!!" she heard Trunks yell. She smiled.
The door swung open. "Aiko! Hey."
"Hey. You ready?"
"Yeah." Trunks grabbed his jacket and they hurried to his car.
Aiko felt out of place in the fancy restaurant. Partially because she was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. But Trunks liked this place, so she'd come here if he wanted to.
"So...What do you want to order?"
Aiko read over the menu. "How about some shrimp?"
"With that fancy green stuff on the side?"
"You mean parsley?"
"Yeah. Would that be on it?"
"Duh. Really, Trunks, I thought you were smarter than that."
When the food came, Aiko quickly took some of the shrimp and put it on her plate. She knew how big Trunks appetite was, and if she didn't get some of the food right away, she'd go home hungry.
Aiko ate slowly, watching Trunks inhale his share of the food. He looked so cute when he was eating. His hair tended to fly out as he stuffed food into his mouth, and she liked it kind of messy. Aiko couldn't stand neatness.
"If you're done, then we can--did you just swallow a napkin?!"
Trunks got another napkin from a different table and wiped his mouth. "C'mon. Let's go."
When they pulled up in front of Aiko's house, Trunks and Aiko walked together to the doorstep, where they stopped. The overhead lamp cast a dim golden light over them, and Trunks smiled a little. He put his arms around Aiko's waist, and a faint smile appeared on her lips. Trunks drew her nearer to him, and gently kissed her.
Aiko drew away from Trunks after a minute. "I'd better get inside..."
He smiled gently. "Okay."
Aiko kissed him on the cheek, then entered her house. Trunks remained on the porch, looking at the door. He still felt her hand holding his.
Smiling, Trunks walked to the car alone.
"I think Trunks is sick or something," said Goten. "He goes around with this weird look on his face, and he constantly sighs."
Gohan smothered his laughter.
"What's so funny?!" his little brother demanded.
"I thought that everyone had figured it out by now!" Gohan said, still laughing.
"Figured what out?!"
"That Trunks is in love!"
Goten was silent a moment. "But who..."
"Duh. Are you that brain dead?" Gohan grinned. "It's perfectly obvious."
"Who is it?!?!"
Goten took it pretty hard. His two best friends in the world... How long had they been going out? He couldn't believe he hadn't realized...
He was sitting on the front steps of his house, face buried in his hands, holding back tears. He wasn't sure why he was starting to cry. Probably because he felt so betrayed...
Just then, Aiko walked by, coming home from a friend's house. She saw Goten sitting on the step, face buried in his hands, perfectly still.
She sat down next to him. "Goten?" He didn't look up. Then Aiko realized that Goten had just found out about her and Trunks. She saw that it had hurt him.
"Why didn't you just tell me?" he asked. "Why'd you go and keep it from me?"
"I...I thought you might get upset," she said quietly. "Besides, we didn't know if it was going to be more than one date. I...Goten, I didn't want to hurt you. I thought that you might get jealous."
"Because Trunks is your best friend, and I thought that you might think he liked me better than you or something..." Aiko looked down at her knees. "I'm sorry, Goten. The whole reason I decided we shouldn't tell you was so we didn't hurt you. Apparently, I more stupid than I thought I was."
"Aiko....." She didn't look up. "Hey." Goten put a hand on her shoulder. "It's okay. Now I understand why you didn't tell me. I just wish you had told me."
"I'm really sorry." Aiko lifted her head.
"Hey, don't worry about it."
It was raining.
Have you ever seen one of those rainy days, where it just keeps raining for hours, and the sky's a solid sheet of steel gray, and the rain comes down for so long that you don't know where it's coming from, and it's kind of foggy? That's how the day was when it happened.
It had been raining for hours. Aiko had asked Goten if he wanted to go somewhere. She was trying extra-hard to be nice, after they hurt his feelings so bad. He had agreed, then invited Trunks to come along.
They drove around for a while, trying to decide where to go. But nobody could make up their mind. So they decided to just drive around.
Trunks was driving, with Goten in the front passenger seat. Aiko was sitting in the back. They circled a block, then drove down the street, turned and circled another block, took another street, and so on. They talked about school, the weather, their parents, anything that came to mind. Trunks had an endless list of pathetic jokes that he forced his friends to listen to, and Goten always had some comment about the person on the radio. Aiko just sat in the back, listening and laughing.
After a while, they got quiet, as they enjoyed a ride through a more rural area. The pastures seemed extra green from all the rain, and the plants in the fields were swelling from the downpour. Cows, sheep, and horses roamed the pastures, nibbling at the grass every now and then, but mostly staring at the car. Then, it happened.
There was nothing anyone could do. It happened so fast. It was too late. The last thing Aiko remembered before plunging into darkness was a squeal of tires and shattering of glass.