The warm, August air was filled with the smell of fresh cut grass and a pool somewhere close by. Greenery surrounded the sidewalk and made even the dullest person look cheerful as they passed by. Many children walked to school in this area, but none of the average-dressed teens were headed to the most prestigious private school in the Country. Young kids with colored book bags ran past a tan, tall girl and scoffed at her high socks and pleated skirt. She grimaced. Two older boys strolled past her and commented on the length, suggesting she hike the skirt up a bit. Lace bit her lip. Anxiety washed over her. Was this how all the kids in the United States were?
She didn't want to move across the ocean. When Capsule Corp set up shop in America, Lace's parents assured her that they wouldn't leave their home in Japan. They told her it was just an extension of their ever-growing, mega-company. Yet here they were in Georgia, a southern state with less than admirable hospitality.
The drivers were crazy, yelling and speeding past slower drivers on the road beside her. The air near the city was toxic and thick. Even the music that Americans listened to was beyond her comprehension. Lace found herself lost in a whirlwind of culture shock that had barely begun to unfold.
At least she and her family spoke fluent English.
She felt a tug on her book bag and jolted backwards. She fell with a thud onto her backside and heard the ground crack below her. Oops, she thought, worried that someone might have seen the force with which she fell. She spun her head around and up to see her younger sister and cousin standing over her with dumb grins spread widely across their faces. Brie laughed and held out a hand to her sister. Her light blue bob shined in the sunlight and her rolled up skirt almost revealed all it had to offer to some boys across the street. Lace grabbed her hand and pulled herself up quickly.
"Brie! Unroll your skirt! You look like a total ho!" Lace grumbled, dusting herself off.
Brie looked down and shrugged.
"You're just jealous of my perfect physique." She winked.
"Sorry, but it was funny." Keiko, their blonde-haired, blue-eyed cousin remarked.
Keiko had her spikey hair pulled into a high ponytail at the top of her head like always. She blended right in with the other blondes walking about, aside from her thin eyes. She flipped Lace's braid into her face and laughed playfully, causing Lace to sneeze and chase after them both.
"Yeah, well I'm just glad it was you two pulling on my bag and not one of the other idiots around here. People are already being total dicks to me." Lace crossed her arms and started walking.
Keiko eagerly pried for more information, "What do you mean?" Her slanted eyes narrowed on Lace with concern.
"I've already had like five people make comments! We're like…total freaks. Wait until people start noticing my eyes."
Keiko's face fell serious. She knew all about the disaster that caused Lace's...deformity. Their family regarded it with utmost reverence. It was never brought up until each child was old enough to understand just how special their cousin actually was.
When Lace's mother was pregnant, an evil few set out to kidnap and destroy people with extraordinary strength and abilities. The sought-out people, called saiyans, fought back with ferocity, but none of them seemed to be able to stop them. After kidnapping all but Lace's father and trapping them below ground, a scientist injected Lace's mother with a serum that would forever change the course of Lace's life. The mixture merged with Bra's unborn child's genes and altered her saiyan DNA. From the moment she was born, her blue eyes were tainted by a glowing, purple ring around both of her pupils. When her anger rose, the purple glowed bright pink and took over her entire pupils.
As a small child, controlling her powers and hiding her abilities at school were very difficult tasks. One temper tantrum was capable of destroying an entire city. Though Lace was a happy child with many advantages in life, her temper remained unpredictable. She began to train with her grandfather, a pure-blooded, saiyan prince. Vegeta saw himself in the little girl who was eager and willing to learn. She was destined to be the greatest warrior this universe had ever seen in his eyes.
Lace looked down at her phone and turned on the screen. A text was there, but she blushed and hid it away quickly. Keiko noticed and grabbed for the phone, but Lace stuffed it down her shirt.
"Seriously?" Keiko grumbled.
"It's nothing. I just wanna keep it to myself for now." Lace assured her.
"You know that long distance relationships are crazy. You shouldn't be talking to some guy in Japan! You should be meeting these hot American guys! Jerks or not…most of them are totally cute." Keiko said playfully, winking at a passing public school boy. Her seductive smile had the power to stop a guy in his tracks no matter who he was.
When they arrived at the school, several students were pulling up to the front in luxury cars and limos. There was a student parking lot as well that was filled with seniors driving cars that were just as expensive as their tuition. Lace noticed one girl open her red convertible's door right into another car. The boy in the white car beside her got out and began to yell, but the girl simply handed him cash and waved her hand in his face. Lace watched her float away in her way-too-short skirt and rolled her eyes.
What a skank, Lace thought.
The girl's long, wild green hair blew in the wind and seemed to attract the jocks from across the lot like magnets. There always had to be one, Lace thought with contempt.
Keiko trotted up the stairs proudly behind Brie, who looked around casually. Lace felt her face heat up with embarrassment. How could they be so confident in a new school on the first day? Lace glanced quickly into the window of the heavy door she entered through and sighed sadly. Her glowing eyes seemed to scream "look at me!" Everyone was going to notice.
This day was going to be hell.
After they received some papers from the front desk, they proceeded to their lockers. Lace was two years older than her cousin and sister, putting her on a completely different hallway in another part of the school. She waved sadly to them and continued on her way.
The bustling hallways were difficult to navigate. Students crammed every inch of floor space as they conversed about their lavish summer vacations and new cars. Lace watched girls gather around each other and comment on boys who'd matured in their looks over the summer. In turn, the boys shined their pearly-white smiles and tried their best to look macho in their plain white shirts and ugly, plaid pants. A few teachers snapped at boys for tucking in their shirts or girls for unrolling their skirts, causing Lace to snicker secretly to herself.
A teacher stopped Lace with a stern look. She frowned and looked Lace up and down, as though examining an animal in the zoo. When other students started to notice, Lace realized what the teacher was looking at.
Her spike bracelet and combat boots didn't seem to fit the private school persona.
"Did you get those…accessories…approved by administration?" The teacher asked sternly.
"Well…no. I'm new. It's my first day." Lace grunted, darting her eyes around to several sets of loafers rushing past her.
"I don't care if you're new. Clearly those are not uniform."
Lace continued staring at the floor and felt the urge to bow and apologize, but customs in the US were different.
"Why aren't you looking at me, young lady?" The teacher demanded.
Lace felt a nervous pull in her stomach. She didn't want to look up. The teacher would notice if she was looking right into her eyes. The teacher would know she was different.
" ! There's a fight in the boy's bathroom!" A girl yelled.
The teacher snapped away from Lace and rushed towards the voice. Lace exhaled loudly and hurried forward. She heard some girls snickering and blushed.
Lace felt a wave of relief when she finally found her locker. A private place of her own in this giant school was just what she needed. She excitedly tried to open it, looking down at the combination she'd been given by the office. She lifted the small, black lever, but it didn't open. She tried again. Frustrated, she slammed her fist on the locker nonchalantly. Instant regret washed over her when she dented the entire locker into the wall. She froze in a panic. Other students stopped around her and stared. Mortified, she rushed away quickly and headed for the next hallway over. This day was starting out more terribly than she'd imagined.
Her homeroom wasn't far from the locker. It was close enough to hear students buzzing about the incident. She snuck through the doorway and entered a classroom lit with lanterns and decorated with fake plants. The sight shocked her. She peered around at the empty desks and realized that she was the first one there. Everyone was still meeting up with friends in the hallway.
She settled in and stared up at the ceiling where students had painted their names carefully in each square with the year that they graduated in the center. Her eyes traveled from the holey ceiling tiles to the walls that were covered in motivational posters and pictures of nature. This teacher was clearly one of those science teachers that tried to immerse the student in the environment. Lace liked that. She glanced over her schedule and felt her heart skip a little beat when she saw the teacher's name listed a second time for her AP biology course. She hoped the teacher was as cool as their classroom.
After a few quiet moments alone, students began to filter in. They all seemed to be avoiding Lace and sitting in their already established social groups. Lace sunk down into the seat and watched the sea of blue and green plaid skirts and pants mingle. The room began to grow loud. Too loud. She closed her eyes and put her head down on the desk. A single tear threatened one eye, ready to break through and pine after the school she'd left so unwillingly behind in Japan. Her phone buzzed again, but she didn't look at the message. Her phone was still stuck down her shirt.
"Hey!" A voice said calmly from in front of her.
She slowly looked up from her little escape and saw a friendly smile sitting front of her. The girl wore a similar bracelet to Lace's and was comparing them happily.
"I never thought I'd see another rocker at this school. I'm bibiirotto, but everyone just calls me Bibii."
Lace stifled her lonely sadness and felt a warm glow build steadily inside of her. A friend already? She couldn't be too easily fooled. She stretched out her arm and showed her the bracelet.
"It's seen slipknot twice. It's my lucky bracelet." Lace said quietly with a small smile.
"Slipknot? No way…that's awesome!" Bibii examined the bracelet and began talking about a concert she'd been to recently. Lace listened idly, waiting for the moment she always expected. It came later than usual, but still, it was expected.
"Woah…your eyes are…so cool! Are those contacts?" Bibii pulled herself up from her seat and looked into Lace's blue eyes with amazement. Lace blinked and pulled away.
"No, not contacts. Just my eyes." Lace answered flatly.
"Cool! I wish my eyes had glowy, ring things!" Bibii said cheerfully.
A bell broke through the chatter and quieted everyone quickly. It sounded like a fancy doorbell. Lace chuckled to herself. How lame.
Their teacher came bounding into the doorway with a handful of papers and a coffee that had spilled a little down her arm. She said hello and hurried over to her desk, dropping the papers on the way and almost spilling her coffee down the front of her flowery dress. Lace got up and rushed over to help her without thinking, grabbing a few more papers effortlessly as they fell from her arms.
"Thank you, sweetheart! I'm a mess this morning!" The teacher said.
She pushed up her thick-rimmed glasses and hurried over to the board. She began to write furiously. Lace sat back down and heard a few girls comment snidely. She felt anger boil inside of her. Would they rather have just let the teacher suffer for everyone to laugh at? She made a mental note to embarrass those girls at some point in the near future.
Announcements came over the intercom starting with the pledge of allegiance. The class stood and began reciting America's pledge quickly and muffled. Lace tried to remember what she'd read, but couldn't quite get all the words. A few students gave her another snide look and rolled their eyes. Damn, this is harsh, she thought. They sat back down and listened as the headmaster outlined a few rules and guidelines for their first day. Lace stared out the window to her left and wished she could be home in Japan. This was so strange for her.
She heard the teacher say loudly as the announcements finished. Lace looked at the mousy woman standing in front of her messy handwriting on the board.
"I'm Ms. Arrington and I teach a few different science classes here at the Academy. I recognize a few of you, as well as some new faces. Let's introduce ourselves before you're dismissed to first period!" The teacher happily trotted over towards Lace's side of the classroom. Lace filled with dread. Again, she knew what was coming, "You're new here! How about you stand up and tell us about yourself!"
Lace sighed and stood up. She turned to face the class of stuck up snobs and jocks with contempt. Though she was a serious victim of frequent resting-bitch-face, her current frown was on purpose.
"Hey. I'm Lace Son. My family moved here from Japan last week. Um…my uncle owns Capsule Corp, if you've heard of it..."
The room fell silent. Faces turned white and mouths hung open. Lace twirled the end of her long, navy braid in one hand as she sat back down in her desk awkwardly. That wasn't the reaction that she expected. She heard one boy whisper, "Dude…that chick is loaded."
The teacher introduced some other students and finished up just as another bell rang. She dismissed them and off they went to first period. Lace looked at her schedule and made her way through the crowded halls blindly. She hoped she was headed in the right direction. Bibii, the girl from earlier, was walking up ahead. She figured she'd follow her in an attempt to look somewhat confident. Her phone buzzed again. She looked around and quickly reached into her blouse. She pulled out her phone and looked at the screen.
"I miss you already." Was all the text from him said. The other two were from Brie. Lace put the phone away without reading her sister's messages and felt a warm glow in her stomach.
The day went by with mostly the same reactions. She had to introduce herself a few more times, adding not so inconspicuously that Trunks Brief was her uncle. It was an instant respect booster and she liked not having to work for that. A few more comments about her eyes were made in passing, but luckily no one else seemed to notice too much. She still worried in the pit of her stomach. What if someone realized that she was different from the other kids?
"Hey gorgeous." A tall, muscular student with huge, spikey hair said casually from beside her at her empty lunch table.
"Hi." She grumbled, returning to her food.
"Hey, seriously though…do you have a quarter? I'm one quarter short and I really want to buy ice cream."
Lace choked on her food.
"Sorry! I'm Rez by the way. You're new!" He laughed and patted her on the back with hefty force. Lace went rigid at the feeling of someone she didn't know touching her.
"I'm…Lace…" She said between gasps.
"Lace…that's a pretty name. Pretty name for a pretty girl! So, about that quarter…" Rez continued.
"Rez! Are you freaking out the new girl?" Bibii appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of them.
"No, I just really need a quarter. Do you have one?" He asked with childish excitement.
Bibii laughed and reached into her purse. She tossed a quarter to him and off he went towards the lunch line.
"Sorry about him. He's a little…odd. But he's one of my best friends. You'll get used to his weirdness." Bibii said casually.
Lace felt her sister and Keiko approaching. She loved being able to sense energy levels. It helped her identify when she was about to be bombarded, though the two had grown very skilled at hiding it from her, like their little stunt this morning.
"Oh my God, did you see that pink haired guy? He's totally gorgeous." Keiko said loudly, sitting to Lace's left.
"No, that guy with the purple streak in his hair…." Brie corrected, sitting to Lace's right and staring starry eyed into the abyss.
"You gonna tap that?" Keiko laughed.
"We shall see." Brie answered shortly.
Bibii looked awkwardly at Lace, hoping for an introduction, but Keiko spoke first.
"Hi! I'm Keiko and this is Brie."
She smiled in return and introduced herself. Rez returned to the table shortly after and stood with wide eyes behind Bibii.
"Woah, where did all these beautiful ladies come from? Damn!"
Keiko and Brie laughed, taking the compliment with stride. Lace glared up at him through squinted eyes. He was kinda cute, but the personality was totally not what she found attractive. He plopped down beside Bibii with an ice cream cone.
After school, Lace rushed outside. The feeling of freedom flooded over her and a genuine smile graced her face for the first time all day. Her phone buzzed. She excitedly went to read it, but someone came up from behind her and grabbed it from her hands.
"Hey!" Lace snarled angrily.
"Hey yourself. What's this? Is this your Japanese lover boy? Ew, I bet he's hideous."
The girl with the red convertible from that morning stood in her platform heels and dangled the phone for Lace to grab it. Lace didn't bite and crossed her arms.
"What's the matter? Can't understand English?" The girl taunted. Her gang of girls giggled behind her.
"Can't understand stupid is more like it." Lace said coolly.
"What did you say to me? I'll have you know that my father owns the largest company in America. I could buy this entire school ten times over. My name is Mina and you are not welcome here at this establishment. What are you even wearing? Spikes? Are you some kind of freak?"
The girls giggled again. Mina threw Lace's phone on the ground and shattered it.
"Oops. Guess you won't be able to afford another one, huh? Lover boy will have to wait."
Lace lunged forward, but Brie and Keiko grabbed her just in time. The girls fell back slightly, but noticed the obvious side effect from Lace's anger quickly.
"Oh my God, you are a total freak! Look at her eyes! They're like purple! Let's go girls, this freak needs to cool off. Lame."
Mina tossed her lime green hair in the wind and turned away from them. Lace boiled with fury.
"It's just a phone, Lace. It's not worth blowing your cover." Keiko assured her, still holding her arm tightly. Their saiyan grips would have shattered a human arm at this point.
"No, it's not. Besides, it's not like you were actually texting a guy. That's crazy talk." Brie joked.
Keiko shot Brie a warning glance and shut her up quickly.
Lace looked down at her phone's pieces and picked them up quickly. She threw them in the trashcan nearby and began walking home alone. Keiko and Brie followed behind but kept their distance. The last thing they needed was for Lace to lose it on a stupid girl.
After a brisk walk home, Lace flung open her front door and stomped quickly up the spiral staircase. Brie wasn't far behind and followed Lace inside.
"What was all that about?" Bra Son asked as Lace slammed her bedroom door so harshly that the house shook.
Brie shrugged and joined her mother on the couch. Bra tossed her long, light-blue hair over her shoulder and closed her tablet case. She'd been reading over another business proposal with her mother, Bulma. Bulma had since stepped down as president of Capsule Corp, but the titles passed to her daughter and son easily. Their family was made to run mega corporations.
"Some girl smashed her phone. I think she was texting some guy back home, too…she's pissed."
"A boy?" Bra asked.
"I'm not supposed to know. Keiko hinted at it. Don't say anything."
Bra nodded, but smirked.
"I'm not sure I believe that our Lace has actually found a boyfriend."
"Oh, mom. Like you would know anything about boyfriends!" Brie scoffed.
Bra smirked wider. If her children only knew how she was at their age.
"Go check on your sister. Dad will be home soon…he won't leave her be if he sees her like that." Bra suggested.
Brie got up slowly and stretched her back. She started for the stairs and dragged her feet up each step. High School was certainly more draining than middle school.
Down the main hallway of the second floor, Lace's door stood out from her brother and sister's. She'd painted it black and decorated it with a serious of magazine clippings and pictures of rockers. Brie scrunched up her nose before knocking softly.
"Go away Brie." Lace snarled.
"I'm not going to. What are you doing? Plotting revenge? Let me help!" Brie joked weakly.
There was a pause, but the lock clicked open. Brie creaked open the door and slid inside.
"What happened today? You totally smashed that locker and pissed off the school queen. What else did you do?"
"Did you have a boyfriend that I didn't know about back home or something? Like seriously. Who have you been texting? Keiko seems to know and won't tell me!" Brie plopped down on the floor next to Lace on one of her black bean-bag chairs.
"No. No, not a boyfriend." Lace answered from behind her laptop screen.
"Then what? I don't get it. This isn't like you. I know you hate it here, but you didn't even give it a chance today. You set yourself up for failure again. You have to stop hating humanity, Lace." Brie whispered.
"Give it a chance? Did they give me a chance? I'm just the freak with purple eyes!" Lace hollered through strained tears.
"No…that's how you alone see yourself. If you just embraced who you are, you wouldn't be so sad all the time."
"You don't get it. You're just short. Guys love short girls. Guys don't love tough, gothy chicks with bad attitudes and weird eyes. It's just life." Lace took off her bracelet and set it down on the floor next to her leg.
"You don't know that…" Brie answered unable to say anything more comforting.
"I do know that. I'm older than you." Lace snapped.
"Okay, I'm gonna let you cool off. I'll be in my room if you need me, but knock first. I've got some serious gaming to do if I want to establish myself around here. These Americans have some weak skills, bruh." Brie laughed to herself and retreated, leaving Lace alone to sulk.
Lace sighed and stared down at her laptop screen. A pop-up revealed a new user logging onto the site she was using. She double clicked the name GorkX and inhaled as her heart skipped a beat. He was online.
Lace paused before hitting send, but mashed the button anyway.
"Hey." The response was instant.
"Did you try at all? I know how you are…"
"Yeah I tried. Bitch please."
"Whatever. You were probably typical Lace."
"I miss you."
She hit send without thinking and wanted to grab the message and pull it back. She watched the box until it said that he was typing a response.
"I miss you more than you could ever know. I feel like half of my soul is missing."
Lace felt her heart flutter and her stomach ache. The pain was indescribable.
It was all she could say. She heard her mother calling her and quickly typed a last message.
"Some bitch crushed my phone today, so I'll be on later to talk. Stay up for me. Xo."