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                                                                               Chapter 3

    

“Hey Mina, Serena,” Lita called out as she and Trunks walked into the mall. “Have you seen Rei or Ami yet?”

Just then the two missing girls appeared. “Hey guys!” Rei called out, followed by Ami. “Sorry we’re late; I had trouble dragging Ami away from her Astrophysics book.”

        All the girls shook their heads.

        “Hey Serena, isn’t Darien coming?” asked Lita.

        “I don’t know. He hates shopping with me for some reason.”

        Rei snickered. “I wonder why.”

        “Hey Rei, be nice,” pouted Serena.

        Trunks poked Lita. “Who’s Darien?”

        “Darien is Serena’s boyfriend. In fact, that’s him over there.” She pointed to the tall black haired young man headed in their direction.

        “Hi Serena,” he called out.

        “Muffin!” squealed Serena, running toward him.

        Just then, Mina noticed a sign in the window of a shoe store announcing a big sale. “There’s a big sale at our favorite shoe store!” she said excitedly.

        All the girls, including Serena, instantly headed in the direction of the store. Well, Ami more or less followed along behind calmly.

        “Happy to see you too Serena,” Darien chuckled. Then he noticed the other guy standing there. “You must be Trunks. Serena told me you were staying at Lita’s for a while.”

        Trunks nodded, wondering what else Serena had told him. “You’re Darien, Serena’s boyfriend right?”

        “How’d you know?” Darien asked, puzzled.

        “Lita told me. I don’t mean to be rude, but is Serena always like that?”

        “Pretty much, but you get used to it after a while.”

        Trunks shook his head. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to know where I could get a school uniform would you?”

        “Sure,” said Darien. “Follow me. It won’t take long, and we can come right back here. We won’t even be missed.” He chuckled and the two headed off to do some shopping of their own.

        Meanwhile at the shoe store, a small army of girls, Serena and company, were attacking the aisles. All that is except Ami, who managed to sneak her book in with her. Rei caught her reading the book; “Ami, this is supposed to be a study break.”

Ami looked a bit sheepish and quickly returned the book back where it came from.

Lita looked around for a while before picking up a pair of green pumps with three-inch heels she had had her eye on for a while. Now that they were on sale, she didn’t feel so guilty about buying them. She quickly made her purchase and headed back to check on her friends.

        Serena came over to her. “I’m going to go back and drag Darien in here. I need his help to carry all the boxes and bags I’m gonna have.”

        Mina overheard Serena’s comment and giggled. “Why don’t you take Lita back with you? I’m sure Trunks could use some company.”

        “Great idea Mina!” Serena said ecstatically. “He can help you pick out a dress to go with your shoes.”

        Lita tried to protest, but was dragged off by the determined blonde.

        As Darien had predicted they weren’t missed. They had finished there shopping long before the two girls came back.

        “Darien, I need your help carrying all my stuff,” Serena said, pulling on his arm as she dragged him off in the direction of the shoe store.

        “How much do you plan on buying?” Darien asked as they disappeared into the crowd of shoppers.

        “I guess that leaves us,” Trunks said matter of factly.

        Lita looked a little embarrassed. “Sorry about that.”

        “I’ll just follow you.”

        “It won’t be to exciting for you.”

        That turned out to be true.

 Trunks looked beyond bored as he stood around watching Lita pick up dresses that she wanted to try on. Just when he thought he was going to die of boredom, she announced that she was heading to the dressing room to try on the mountain of dresses. This is going to take forever he inwardly groaned. He followed her over to the dressing room area and noticed a chair. Finally, it’s about time he thought. As she disappeared inside, he plopped down and almost immediately fell asleep.

Lita quickly changed into the first dress. I guess I’ll have to get Trunks’ opinion on how this looks since the others aren’t around. She flushed a bit at the thought, but quickly composed herself, stepped out, and looked for Trunks. He was sitting in a chair with his head over to one side and eyes closed. I guess I was right. It wasn’t very exciting at all she thought as she sighed and headed back into the dressing room.

Lita worked her way through the huge stack of dresses until she came to the last one. She put it on and looked at her reflection in the mirror. I don’t know she thought. The dress was long, too long without the heeled shoes she’d just bought. “I guess I’d better go see if Trunks is awake yet,” she sighed.

        Lita pulled up the dress so the hem just brushed the floor and walked out into the waiting area. She looked over in the direction of the chair Trunks had plopped into earlier and saw that he was still there. She walked over and peeked at him, only to find that he was still asleep. She turned to go back to the dressing room, remembering too late that she had let go of the dress. Her feet got tangled up in the folds of fabric pooled on the floor and before she could blink she had fallen backwards into Trunks’ lap.

        Trunks was jolted awake and looked down to see a very pink faced Lita lying in his lap. He blinked in surprise and flushed slightly. To hide his embarrassment, he quickly stood up with her in his arms and let her slide down to the floor, his right arm loosely around her.

         Trunks looked down at her. Her green eyes were shyly peeking up into his through her lashes. There can’t possibly be anyone else who could be as pretty as she is right now he thought. He had the sudden urge to kiss her but restrained himself.

        Lita peered up into Trunks’ blue eyes, not even noticing that he still had his arm around her. He’s so cute she thought. He’s way better looking than my ex-boyfriend was. What is it that makes him so different? She could feel herself blushing as he looked into her face.

        Just then, Lita and Trunks heard Mina’s voice. He quickly dropped his arm and the two blushed, embarrassed to possibly have been caught staring at each other.

        “Hey guys!” yelled Mina as she ran over. “Lita, that dress is perfect. That is definitely your shade of green don’t you think Rei?”

        “Absolutely. A little long, but with the right shoes it shouldn’t make any difference. I love the flowers on the sides.”

        “It’s just so Lita,” squealed Serena. “That dress was made for you!”

        Embarrassed by the big fuss her friends were making over the dress, Lita quickly excused herself to go change back into her normal clothes. 

Meanwhile, the girls were still discussing the green dress. Well, all of them except Ami who had managed to slip her book out of hiding yet again. Trunks stood there looking uncomfortable. He didn’t really know that much about dresses, and he was still overwhelmed by what had just taken place just a few minutes earlier. Darien was trying to figure out how Serena, Rei, and Mina could have that much to say to each other about one dress.

Lita exited the dressing room with the green dress in hand and paid for it at the register. The salesclerk put it in a protective bag. Lita took her purchase and rejoined the group.

“Now that it appears that we’re all done shopping, for today anyway, I propose we go to the arcade,” said Darien.

        Lita suddenly snapped her fingers. “I almost forgot, I have to get a duplicate key made. Sorry Darien, but it shouldn’t take long.”

        “That’s ok Lita. We can go to afterwards.”

        She nodded and walked across to a small shop to get the key made. The shop was next to an electronic store, which Trunks decided to check out.

        “I’ll be back in a few minutes ok Serena? I have to get a drink of water,” Darien said as he walked off toward in the direction of the water fountain.

        Serena nodded absently, trying to pay attention to Rei. “What’s so special about Trunks going in the electronics store?”

        Rei rolled her eyes. “Don’t you get it? This is a great opportunity to find out what he knows about electronics and stuff. Maybe it will give us a clue to who he is. Coming or not?” She walked over to the store.

The other girls followed and stationed themselves outside the store’s entrance. Ami said from behind her text, “I don’t think you should do this. If Lita finds out…”

“She won’t,” Rei said flatly. She casually entered the store and looked around until she spotted Trunks, then slipped over near him, pretending to look over the shelves. “I didn’t know you liked electronics.”

Trunks looked up surprised. “Oh, hi Rei. I don’t particularly like electronics. That’s my mom’s interest. Are you looking for something?”

“Nothing in particular, just browsing.” She pretended to study the shelves. After a few seconds, she selected a package, “Hey Trunks, do you know what this is? The description on the box doesn’t make any sense to me.”

He looked at the package that Rei was holding. “If you don’t know what it is, then you probably don’t need it do you?”

“No, I guess you’re right,” Rei said. Nuts, she thought. That didn’t get me anywhere.

All of sudden, Mina popped her head around the corner. “There you are Rei. Lita’s done and is waiting for us.”

“Be right there,” she answered. “Come on Trunks.”

He nodded and followed her out of the store. Upon seeing the two exit the store, Lita gave Rei a suspicious look, which she totally ignored.

By this time, Darien had returned and was in a hurry to go, so everyone left the mall and headed over to the Crown Arcade.

         Serena pushed the door open and walked in. Everyone else followed suit.

 “Hey guys,” a tall blonde called out as they entered. “Bring a new friend today?”

 “Hi Andrew, this is Trunks. He’s new around here. We thought we’d show him around. Serena answered.

“Hi Trunks. I work here at the arcade. Mina, please be careful?”

Everyone turned around to see Mina furiously pounding keys and whining because the game was over. “Sorry,” she said, a bit embarrassed.

Trunks walked over and looked at the game she had been playing. “What game is this?”

“This is the Sailor Scout game. The object is to defeat your opponent in a fight,” Mina said as if she was an expert. “Why don’t you try? I bet you’d like it.”

“Well, I don’t know much about video games, but I’ll try I guess. Even though I have no idea who these Sailor Scouts are.”

“I’ll play with you Trunks,” Darien offered. “I haven’t played in a while anyway.”

Trunks nodded in agreement and sat down where Mina had been sitting moments before.

Darien sat down next to him, and deposited enough money for both of them. The game started up, playing the typical video game music.

As the screen came up to select the scout you wished to fight as, Trunks all but frowned at the screen. “These are the Sailor Scouts?” On the screen were five girls in short skirted sailor suits of different colors. “I’m supposed to fight as one of those?”

Darien chuckled. “It’s not that bad. You get used to it.” He quickly selected Sailor Moon as his fighter.

Trunks scanned the profiles of the five girls quickly and settled on Sailor Jupiter because her profile listed her as being one of the strongest. Besides, she reminded him a bit of Lita.

The match started. Darien had the early lead, but Trunks quickly figured out the purpose of the buttons and joystick and beat Darien in no time.

Darien was amazed. “Boy, I guess either I was really rusty, or you’re a really fast learner. Are you sure you haven’t played before?”

Trunks shook his head and then turned to Mina. “You were right, this is fun.”

She grinned. “You’re really good,” Mina said. “You should play Lita. She’s the best at this game.”

Just then, the sounds of Rei and Serena going at it could be heard across the arcade. Serena was whining about being beaten yet again and Rei was, of course, calling her names for her behavior. Which, of course, only made Serena argue more.

Ami looked up from her book and sighed. “I simply can not concentrate in this environment.” She got up and headed over for the arguing girls. “Come on Mina, let’s see what we can do.”

Mina nodded and followed Ami.

“It looks like it’s you and me again Lita. You want to play?”

She grinned. “Sure. I’d love to.” She sat down in the seat Darien had abandoned to go calm Serena down. Fishing through her pockets, she came up with some change and plopped it in the machine.

Trunks chose to fight as Jupiter again, seeing as he had just won with her. Lita chose to fight as Sailor Jupiter as well. She noticed the look on his face at her selection. “I always fight best as Jupiter,” she said.

The game started again. It didn’t take long for Trunks to find out just how good Lita was. He wasn’t having nearly the success he had with Darien. Mina wasn’t kidding when she said Lita was good he thought.

Lita, on the other hand, saw she had a real fight on her hands. He’s really good, she thought. He’s a natural. I’m not going to win this easily.

It didn’t take very long before the two became focused solely on the game. Both were intent on nothing short of total victory. A veritable war it was because the two were so evenly matched.

Just as they were getting ready to start another round, Rei noticed Luna’s head peeking through one of the windows. She looked around, and slipped outside when nobody was looking. “Hey Luna. What are you doing here?”

“We need the scouts! There’s an attack,” she said in between breaths.

“Right!” Rei slipped back inside and whispered to Darien what Luna had told her.

“Sorry guys, but remember we have to make a quick stop?” Darien said.

“We do?”

“Wake up meatball head,” Rei said.

Darien sighed. “Yes Serena, you do. I have a couple things I need to do too. I’ll meet you guys later ok?”

“Bye Muffin,” Serena said as Darien walked out of the arcade.

“Sorry Trunks, but it looks like we’ll have to finish the game some other time.”

He nodded, wondering where they were going in such a hurry.

Lita followed the other girls out the door.

“Luna said there’s an attack in progress. But I’m not sensing anything. “Let’s transform and go check it out,” Lita said.

“Right,” Mina nodded.

The group ducked into a near by alley and quickly transformed.

Sailor Mercury pulled out her computer and began scanning. “The mall is the target area. Come on scouts, let’s go.”

The five girls jumped out from the alley and headed toward the mall.

Meanwhile, Trunks decided to check things out himself. He wanted to see what the big rush was, so he slipped out of the arcade and tried following the girls. It didn’t take him long to get lost. He had no idea where they’d gone, so following them wasn’t easy. However, Trunks was soon sidetracked as he spotted what appeared to be an explosion coming from the direction of the mall they had been to earlier. Better go check it out. Could mean trouble, he thought to himself. He ran toward the mall, and upon arrival was greeted by a couple he hadn’t seen in a long time. Oh my god, he said to himself. How’d they get here?

Trunks knew he was going to have to get involved in this fight. Otherwise, they’ll destroy everything, he told himself. He realized, though, that he would need a disguise for that just in case he happened to run into the girls. He left the mall area and walked down the street a bit when he spotted a costume shop. Perfect, he thought.

He quickly slipped in and looked around, trying to find something that wasn’t too ridiculous. He finally made his selection, paid for it, and changed in the store. When he stepped back outside, he looked ready for the Army. His black shirt was now green, the jacket was gone, the pants were camouflage, and he was even wearing the boots and the bandana. Ok, I feel kind of stupid, he said to himself. With a sigh, he quickly darted off to the source of the disturbance.

While he was tending to his business, the scouts had arrived at the mall to find it being blasted by what appeared to be a brother and sister. “What the….?” Lita asked. “I’ve never seen them before.”

Ami nodded in agreement, still scanning with her computer. “I can’t get any kind of stable reading on them. This isn’t our average enemy.”

 “You’re an observant one aren’t you?” said the blonde female as she hovered overhead.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Sailor Mars yelled.

The blonde pushed some hair behind her ear, smirking. “I’m known as Android 18, or 18 for short. The other is 17,” she said motioning to her black haired, male counterpart. “And why we’re here is none of your business,” 18 said, looking at the scout disdainfully.

“You don’t have any right to do this to innocent people,” said the young girl with the funny hair.

17 snickered. “And just who do you think you are?”

“I’m Super Sailor Moon. I fight for love and justice and in the name of the moon I will right wrongs and triumph over evil, and that means you, mega-losers.”

18 laughed. “You’re just a little girl in your stupid outfit. You think you can stop us? You’re power level isn’t as high as a flea’s. You’ll never beat us.” She fired a blast at the scouts, sending them scattering.

Sailor Moon squealed. “Where’s Luna or Tuxedo Mask?”

“Shut up Sailor Moon. We’ve got a real problem here.” Mars stepped forward, throwing her black hair behind her shoulder. “I’ll show you who’s weak. Mars…..Flame……Sniper!” She released her attack at 18 who knocked it away effortlessly with her hand.

“Is that the best you can do?” she sneered.

“I’m afraid we’ll have to remove these pests,” 17 said. He fired a blast of his own at Mars, sending her into a tree and knocking her out.

“Nobody does that to my friends and lives to tell about,” Jupiter said angrily.

17 and 18 laughed, each sending another blast into the mall.

“Be careful Jupiter,” Mercury said. “I still can’t get anything on these two.”

“Don’t worry about me.” Jupiter glared at 18. “Say your prayers 18. Super Sailor Jupiter’s gonna kick you into another dimension! Jupiter….Oak….Evolution!” Her attack flew at the androids, doing minimal damage.

Again, the brother and sister laughed. “I’ll show you another dimension sailor scout,” 18 said. She shot a blast at Jupiter, who dodged the worst of the attack. Unfortunately for Jupiter, the tail end caught her and she fell awkwardly back on her ankle.

“Pathetic,” 17 hissed. “You girls couldn’t pull the wings off a dead fly. Prepare to meet your end Sleazy Scouts.” A bright blue-white sphere of light began to form in his hand. Just as he was about to hurl the energy blast, he sensed another presence and looked up.

Trunks had been hiding behind some bushes, keeping his ki level down so he would hopefully escape detection. He slipped his hand in his pocket and pull out the capsule that held his sword. Since he was “alone”, it was the perfect opportunity. Besides, he knew he needed to help whoever was fighting the brother and sister team, so he came out and flew over to where 17 was getting ready to blast the girls again.

“I wouldn’t try that if I were you,” said the floating figure. The figure came down to reveal a young man with blond hair that was spiked up and a pair of green eyes. A sword was strapped on his back.

Everyone, scouts and androids alike, was staring at the newcomer.

Sailor Venus poked the blue haired scout. “Where’d he come from? I’ve never seen him before.”

Mercury shrugged. “I have absolutely no idea.”

“Whoever he is, he has a very commanding presence. It’s very easy to sense him,” Mars said.

18 looked at him, one eyebrow raised. “You are by far stronger then these insolent girls, but you have no more chance against us then they do.”

“You’d like to think so.” The young man looked her straight in the eye. “This is one fight that won’t end on your terms.”

17 laughed. “Wishful thinking weakling.” He sent a blast at the newcomer, which was easily dodged. “What…..” His eyes narrowed and he glared at the young man. Angered, he kept sending blast after blast with the same results.

The scouts watched from the ground in amazement as the attacks were dodged and blocked one after another. “He’s incredible!” Jupiter said.

At that precise moment, 18 and 17 combined for an attack that found its mark. The newcomer, temporarily allied with the scouts, looked to see that he’d been hit. It wasn’t serious, but damage had been done.

“Absolutely. That last blast should have finished him off. I wonder who or what he is,” said Luna, who had arrived, along with Artemis unseen during the fight.

“He certainly doesn’t fight like anybody I’ve ever seen,” Artemis said. “We should watch and study him. Maybe we can get some information that way.”

Just then, the stranger went through a series of strange arm movements and stretched his arms out, forming a triangle with his two thumbs and index fingers. “Burning Attack!”

A huge blast flew toward the android siblings. Both dodged the attack, but decided that it would be best to leave before this newcomer could do anything serious.

“We’ll see you later boy. You and those weak sailors. Don’t think you’ve seen the last of us,” 18 said as they flew off.

“Well, it looks like I’m not needed anymore, so I’ll be leaving now,” said the young man.

“Hey, wait just a second,” Mars said. “I’d like to ask you a few things. Who are you and what are you doing here?”

He looked down at the red suited sailor. Great, he thought. Questions, just what I don’t need. “I could ask you the same thing,” he said, as he got ready to leave.

“Please excuse Mars, she’s a bit of a hot head,” Mercury said. “We are the Sailor Scouts, defenders of justice. We appreciate your help.”

He nodded. “I guess we’re on the same side then.” He turned to go, calling behind him as he left. “You can call me Blade.” Then he was gone.

“He sure knows how to make an entrance,” Venus said.

Mars nodded. “I wonder if what he says is true though. I can’t help feeling there’s something strange about him.”
        “Oh lighten up,” Sailor Moon said. “He saved us didn’t he? That must mean he’s on our side like he said.”

Mercury shook her head, sensing the beginning of yet another argument. “You have every right to question him Mars, however I think he was telling the truth. But even if he isn’t, he did help us today.”

“And boy, can he fight,” Jupiter commented. Then she suddenly remembered something. “Hey you guys, we left Trunks at the arcade. We better go back and get him.”

“Right,” Sailor Moon said. “Let’s go.” She helped Lita up.
        All the girls de-transformed and headed back to the arcade slowly, to accommodate Lita’s ankle, only to find Trunks missing. “I wonder where he is,” Mina said.

“I don’t know, but we’ll find him faster if we split up. Let’s meet back up in 20 minutes or so here at the arcade,” Ami said. “Lita, you stay here in case he comes back.”

The girls agreed, and each went a different way. Lita stayed behind, waiting at the main counter. At the appointed time they all met back at Crown. “Find anything?” Ami asked.

All the girls shook their heads.

“I wonder where in the world he could be.” Suddenly Lita remembered there was a pay phone a little ways down the street. “I think I’ll call my house and see if he’s there.” She hurried as fast as she could down the sidewalk to the phone. A few minutes later she came back up to the group.

“I take it by your face there wasn’t any answer,” Ami said.

Lita shook her head. “That doesn’t mean he isn’t there though. I’m going home to see. Catch you guys at school tomorrow,” she said as she carefully walked off in the direction of her house.

Lita finally reached her destination. As she started up to the door, she heard a noise. It startled her, causing her to jump.

“Sorry Lita. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Trunks?” She turned her head quickly and saw him standing to her right. “What happened to you?” she asked.

He scratched his head. “Well, um…” He was uncertain what to tell her. He couldn’t tell her the truth, but he didn’t want to lie to her. Unfortunately, he looked about as bad as the night the girls had first found him.

“You must have gotten hit while trying to get away,” she said as she unlocked the door. “Come inside and I’ll get you cleaned up.”

“Ok.” He followed her inside, relieved that she had come up with an answer to her question.

“Sit down and I’ll be back in a minute.” Lita closed the door, pocketed her keys, and went upstairs. She came back downstairs with everything she needed and set it down on the coffee table.

From his seat on the couch, Trunks watched Lita carefully. Something just didn’t seem right. I must be imaging things he thought to himself. But she was walking kind of funny.

Lita proceeded to start cleaning up his cuts. To reach the one that had reopened over his eye, she was forced to shift her weight, which caused her to wince slightly.

This time, Trunks knew something was definitely wrong. “Are you ok?” he asked concerned.

        “I’m fine,” Lita answered.

        He looked at her skeptically. He had seen that she was favoring her right ankle. “What happened to your ankle?”

        She looked up at him in surprise. “What makes you think anything’s wrong with it?”

        “Well, you are trying to stay off that foot,” he pointed out. “What happened?”

        “I was running and I tripped. That’s all.”

        He looked at her. She was trying to finish bandaging him up. She’s unreal he thought. Here she is trying to take care of me when she has an injury herself.

        Lita reached up to clean the cut that had reopened over his eye, but Trunks pushed her hand away. “Let me look at your ankle.”

        “There isn’t anything wrong. I’ll be fine,” Lita said curtly.     

        “I don’t believe you.” He looked at her face, and though she was doing her best to mask her pain, he could still see it in her eyes. “Stop trying to take care of me. Sit down on this couch right now so I can look at your ankle,” he ordered.

        Lita was ready to protest, but the expression on Trunks’ face didn’t invite an argument, so she gave in and sat on the couch. “I don’t know what the big deal is. It doesn’t hurt that bad.”

        “Let me be the judge of that. Now, let me see your foot.”

        Lita hesitated, then moved so she was sitting sideways and her right foot was up on the couch.

        Trunks carefully took her shoe off and laid it on the floor. He took her foot in his hand and examined it. Her ankle was red and swollen. “Does this hurt?” he asked her as he gently touched it.

        “No,” Lita said fiercely, still trying to deny that she was hurt.

        “Liar,” Trunks said.

        “OK,” she grudgingly admitted. “You’re right.”

        “I thought so. Where do you keep your bandages?”

        “Why?”

        “I’m going to fix this ankle of yours, that’s why.”

        “I can do it myself.”

        “Lita,” Trunks said sternly. “No arguing. Now tell me.”

        She sighed and said, “Under the sink in the bathroom upstairs.”

        “Thank you,” Trunks said. “Stay right where you are. I’ll be back in a minute.” He went upstairs to the bathroom and rummaged around under the sink for a few minutes before he found the bandages. He grabbed them and headed back downstairs.

        Lita was still looking a bit sullen as she sat on the couch.

        Trunks set the roll of bandages down on the coffee table and sat down on the couch. “Give me your foot,” he commanded.

        Lita edged slowly forward on the couch and gave him her foot. He set it down on his knee while he reached over and got the bandages. “This might hurt,” he said. “I’ll be as careful as I can, but it will probably still hurt some.”

        Lita nodded. “I understand.”

        Trunks carefully picked up her foot and proceeded to wrap it in the bandage. He was very careful to avoid touching her ankle, but he could tell that it was still hurting. He worked quickly so she would be in as little pain as possible.

        Lita couldn’t help but notice how gentle Trunks was being with her injured foot.

        In a matter of minutes, Trunks had her ankle wrapped and the bandage fastened. “All done,” he announced. “Now you’re going to bed young lady.”

        “Yes doctor Trunks,” she replied meekly as she started to stand up.

        Trunks stopped her. “I’m not going to let you walk upstairs like that,” he said. “We don’t want to damage that ankle anymore than it already is.”

        “So how am I supposed to get upstairs?”

        “This way,” Trunks answered as he lifted her off the couch.

        Lita started to protest, but Trunks wasn’t listening. “No ifs, ands, or buts. I’m taking you upstairs and that’s that.”

        Trunks carried Lita up to her bedroom, being very careful to protect her ankle, and sat her down on a chair. “Now stay there. I’m going to get some ice and you better be here when I get back,” he said as he headed downstairs, closing the door behind him.

        Lita took the opportunity to quickly change into her pajamas, which consisted of an oversized T-shirt and a pair of cut off sweatpants.

        Moments later, Trunks came in with a bag of ice. “Hold this,” he said, thrusting the bag into her hands. Then he went over to her bed and pulled down the covers all the way to the end. He took one of her pillows and put it at the foot of the bed. He went back over to where Lita was sitting and he picked her up again and carried her to her bed. He laid her down and propped her foot on the pillow at the end of her bed. “Hand me the ice please,” he said.

        Lita handed him the bag of ice, which he carefully situated on the pillow next to her ankle.

        “Are you comfortable?” Trunks asked.

        “Yes, thank you,” answered Lita.

        “Good.” Trunks pulled the blankets up over her, tucking her in. He stood up and looked down to say goodnight, only to again experience the urge to kiss her. This time he couldn’t help himself. Trunks lightly brushed some of her bangs to the side. Then, he leaned down and gently kissed her forehead.

        Embarrassed, he quickly straightened up. “Goodnight,” he said as he turned off the lamp next to the bed.

        “Goodnight,” replied Lita.

        Trunks left her room, shutting the door. “What’s happening to me?” he whispered. “I’ve never felt this way before.”