Part 22: The Storm 

4:30pm, Yume Park.  
        He was nervous.  Really nervous.  He even memorized a script that Trunks and Marron had helped him write the 
previous night.  He owed them a lot, especially Trunks…financially.  But then, it was worth it, because now he had the very best engagement ring anyone could every imagine in his pocket.  And he'll get to give it to really special. 
        "A special ring for a special lady," he murmured. 
        He looked at his palm and it was sweating.  He wiped it on his shirt, but it started to sweat again.  He wondered about his own nervousness.  But, after all, it is his first time… 
        He turned towards the familiar voice.  His eyes brightened as he saw Paris coming towards him.  She was as beautiful as ever.  Her adorable pixy face smiled at him. 
        "You wanted to see me?" she asked. 
        "Ye-yes." He tried to hide his nervousness.  But his mind was totally blank.  The most important moment in his life and he had no idea what to say, what to do.  He was just STANDING there…he had to do something…He cursed himself.  Wouldn't it be great if Marron were there to help him speak up?  Or Trunks.  Then he blinked.  Scratch Trunks.  Trunks was hopeless.  Goten took a deep breath and looked Paris in the eyes. "Paris…do you…do you still really love me?" he asked softly. 
        "Of course I do, honey." She went on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. "Why do you ask that of all things?" 
        "Well, I've done a lot of heavy thinking about our relationship." 
        "And…I've been wondering…if you…well…would you…" He could feel the sweat pouring off him even though the evening was really quite chilly. 

        Trunk and Marron were hiding behind the bushes. 
        "Look at him, he's trembling!" 
        "I feel like I'm spying on my very best friend!" 
        "Trunks, we ARE spying on your very best friend." 
        "You know what, sometimes you're really bad." 
        She smiled wickedly. "Just like the old days, right?" 
        "Whatever you say." He looked back at Goten and Paris. "So…you think she'll accept him?"  
        Marron went suddenly quiet. "I dunno…I couldn't tell." If only there was a way she could say "no" without hurting him… 
        "Well, I think she won't," Trunks broke in. "How can she marry him if she's still doing her stupid touring?" 
        "Shh!  Be quiet!  They'll hear us!" 

        "And I've been thinking that I want a family of my own," Goten finally said.  An awful start.  Paris' eyes widened. "So, I…" He cleared his throat. 
        "Oh no!" Paris gasped. 
        "Are you--are you PROPOSING to me?" she asked. 
        Goten gulped. "Well, I was trying to ask you in a romantic sort of way, but…" He took both her hands and held them firmly. "Yes." 

        "I can hear the wedding bells!" 
        "You're too early, Trunks!" She glared at him. 
        "Oh, Goten!" She hugged him tightly, but didn't say anything. 
        "Uh, is that a 'yes' or a 'no'?" he asked. 
        Paris looked at him with watery eyes.  But were they tears of joy? 
        She sobbed. 
        "Oh, Goten, I wish things wouldn't turn out this way!" 
        "But it's not.  I mean…what are you saying?" He can sense something really bad his happening.  It finally struck him. "You…you're saying 'no'?" 
        She moved her head slowly, nodding. 
        "B--but I thought--I thought you loved me?" He started to sound pushy. 
        "I do, Goten, I do.  But…marriage?  I never expected you to propose to me!" 
        "What do you mean?  We've known each other so long…we've been dating…you don't think---" 
        "You won't understand, Goten." 
        "So EXPLAIN IT TO ME!"  For the first time ever, he raised his voice to his girlfriend.  He was confused, angry, and a bunch of other emotions he couldn't name.  He didn't understand what was happening here.  Paris was trembling herself. 
        "I--I would accept you, Goten, but…" She looked at him. "But--but right now, my career comes first…I 
        He couldn't believe what he just heard.  Her career?  Her CAREER?  Her lousy, stinking career? "You're dumping me, aren't you?" 
        "I--I don't want that, Goten, but we can't go back to the way we were…I never thought you'd ask me to get so 
serious…I thought we'd just continue the way we were.  We can still be friends, can't we?" 
        Paris was a patient girl.  She just stood there and looked Goten straight in the eyes. "I'm so sorry," she said again.  She moved closer and pressed her lips against his. 

        Their last kiss… 

        She moved away and wiped her tears. "I'm sorry, Goten-kun." 

        The last words she said to him… 

        She ran back to her car and started it.  She didn't dare look back.  Not to see that look, that haunted, disappointed, heartbroken look that she had put there. 

        Their relationship was over. 

        Marron covered her mouth with her hands "Oh, Goten-kun," she said softly. 
      Trunks just quietly watched his friend, who was still standing there, wearing his borrowed shirt and holding 
the ring. 

        Goten's hands curled into fists.  He was angry,disappointed, sad, and confused.  A million questions raced through his mind, but they were basically the same thing.  Why, why, why, why , why, and why?  But he couldn't answer, there was no answer.  He wanted to scream, but he was in a public place.  He wanted to yell out for the whole world to hear, "PARIS, I HATE YOU!" but he couldn't do that, either.  He was angry, but he knew his feelings couldn't fade that quickly.  But at least he knew the truth: that he and Paris were completely over. 
        Not long after that, rain came pouring down.  People around him rushed to find a place to avoid the sudden storm.  But not him.  He just stood there, welcoming the cold drops, accepting them.  This storm was a perfect demonstration of his emotions.  With the rain falling all around him, he's not afraid to cry any longer.  He'd never cried over a girl before, but he'd never let himself get this involved with one before, either. 

        "C'mon, Marron, you'll catch a cold," Trunks said, leading her towards his car. He paused when he heard a slight sob.  Marron was crying, too. 
        "Oh, Trunks, I feel so awful for him…" 
        Trunks put his arm around her. "Me, too, Marron." He looked down at her. "Me, too." 
        "Trunks," she sobbed again and hugged him tightly. 
        They hadn't realized until that moment how deep their friendship was, that they felt the exact same disappointment, anger, pain, and more. 
        The deep, rumbling sound of thunder started them after the flash of lightening. 

        Perhaps Trunks and Marron feel bad… 

        But Goten was worse. 



"Tsuki ni Inoru" by GLAY