The boys found themselves at Jerky’s Arcade and Comics store on Saturday. It was a quirky little shop with neon wallpaper that sold comics and video games. Nick went to buy a new video game. Orion and Cypress came along to see who between them would get the highest score on pinball this time around.
As Nick was having the cashier ring up a new copy of Spore, they heard the door to the store open, jingling the bell in welcome, and turned around to find none other than members of a rival band.
Illyana stopped and seemed to go rigid for a moment but then bore a glare right at Nick, seeming to ignore Cypress's wave of greeting.
Nick knew the reason for her glare. He felt a little bad for comparing her music to sounding like tortured cats the week before, but he quickly wiped away any guilt and squared his shoulders, ready for any of her tantrums.
She marched right up to him, as he expected. Illyana had always been a little firecracker, it was almost kind of cute.
She put a hand on her hip and continued to glare. What did she expect? An apology
? No way.
Orion looked a little worried at Illyana's targeted ire but Cypress was acting casual as usual and moved over to check out some comics. Nick never told them how he insulted her after he found out she had signed up for Battle of The Bands, but they knew her anger at Nick was something as constant as the sun rising, so were not surprised at her confronting him.
He folded his arms across his chest and smirked, “So I heard your singer left you. When can I get you a sympathy card for your loss?”
He'd heard it from his mother, who had heard it from a friend, of a friend, of Illyana's mother. If it was true, it surely would damage her chances of beating him.
Her glare grew deeper and she threw her hands into fists, nearly threatening to punch his shoulder, “For your information, Nich-ol-ass
, we have a new one and she’s going to be our secret weapon in beating you!”
Nick flinched a bit and put his arm to his shoulder just in case she did try to hit him. It wasn't unheard of.
Orion shuffled off to the side with Cypress to look over the comics and avoid being involved in the scene taking place.
Illyana quickly grabbed Alarie and put and arm around her friend, “Did you think we would crumble so easily? We’re made of solidarity. Losing a member won’t break us nor our band!”
Nick just narrowed his eyes, still with a hint of a smirk - not taking her completely seriously. She was so melodramatic sometimes. She threw him another glare before brushing past him and to the video game display.
He didn’t try to re-engage her but instead went to the back room where the arcade was. There were two pinball machines and two old school arcade games. Orion and Cypress had moved back there during the confrontation with Illyana. They had already started up a game of pinball and Orion was winning. As soon as Nick was back there and the girls were out of hearing range, they all broke out speaking at once, wondering who Illyana’s ‘secret’ weapon of a singer would be.
“I don’t know of anyone better than Leona Hillenburg,” Orion mused.
“What if she’s from outside the region?” Cypress wondered.
“Then she wouldn’t be eligible,” Nick reminded him and inserted two coins into the other pinball machine to play a solo game.
“Well, I think it’s still a long shot for her band without Leona. Plus, we have something better than a singer, we have Cypress!” Orion gestured toward Nick’s cousin.
Cypress humbly shrugged off Orion’s compliment like he always did and continued concentrating on pinball.
Nick rolled his eyes, oh yes, how could he forget his drumming prodigy of a cousin? Cypress didn’t even take the competition that seriously, just showed up when he was told to and played drums.
After Orion won the pinball highest score, Cypress moved onto the one of the arcade games for single player. Nick joined in on the other game next to him, and Orion watched with admiration as Cypress pressed out a rhythm on the buttons of the game and he didn’t even know it.