Chapter 4:

Reunion and Pom Poms, Part 1

Magical Pom Pom

(Pov: Axel)

The blaring sounds of trucks moving rubble and crowds of people talking made it hard to hear anything. Apparently, there was some sort of construction accident last night but I had too many things on my mind to give a crap.

“For real!? You’re going to throw it all away, just like that?”It was only when that idiot Reji shouted that I could actually hear him.

I had just told him that I planned on getting rid of all my Magical Pom Pom merch. I couldn't stand having Pommy staring at me last night with the knowledge that I was going to dispose of her, so I had to put it all out of sight. My closet was practically gonna burst from all the shit in it.

“Why act so surprised? It’s only natural that someone like me would stop watchin' a girl's show.”

“Man oh man, Jazz must have really done a number on your head...”

That wouldn’t have been too surprising since I got my face smashed against the concrete yesterday. But no brain damage had made this life-changing decision.

After many trials and tribulations, I was ready to retake my life and start moving forward. A life where I’m above everyone else. Even if it meant letting Pommy go.

"I swear that I'm gonna get back at him for ya, bud!" He said as he clenched his fist.

“You mean I’m going to get back at him.”

“Hey, I helped you home yesterday! Don’t treat me like I’m dead weight.”

It’s your fault that you had to carry me home in the first place dipshit!

I wanted to lay into him but there was no point. My rants have always gone through one ear and out the other. Guess there’s no teaching a dolt like him.

“The school is going to be in an uproar when they see you!”

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it…

Unfortunately, he was right, everyone is going to lose it once they see my face. Not only was I undefeated at school but I had also never so much as got a scratch from my peers. Now that I had bruises all over everyone will probably start thinkin' that I might not be so tough after all.

“It should make the day interesting…er…but don’t worry I’ll make sure everyone knows that you were heavily outnumbered.” Reji said as he patted my back.

I didn't know if that was reassuring or not. All I knew was that school sounded more and more like a pain in the ass.

“Screw it, I don’t feel like going.”

“Wanna skip? The arcade has the newest version of Alley Fighter Alpha.”

“Sure, whatever.”


The old man that goes by Pops waved to us as we passed the front counter to the arcade.

“Well well if it isn't my two favorite slackers! Skipping school again eh?”

Pops had bought this place back in the 80s and despite almost all arcades, unfortunately, closing down nowadays he managed to keep this place running just fine.

“Cmon Pops, we have attended at least half of our classes this semester so far and I'm passing anyways.”

“Oh-ho I’m surprised you have managed that. Very impressive little Reji.” He said as he stroked his stupidly long beard.

Skipping classes and coming here was a common pastime of ours. I’m honestly surprised that I’ve only gotten held back once so far.

“And Axel, your mother stopped by yesterday and told me to make sure you don’t play hookey while she’s away.”

Ever since I was held back last year she has been getting on my ass more than usual. What a pain.

“You tell her to piss off?”

“Um…no, I like a woman with an attitude but your mother is well…on another level.” He blushed and looked away.

“She sure is!” Reji stepped in.

Please can we stop talking about her, I’m right here!

“Ahem, I won’t tell her if you promise she won’t find out.” He gave me a thumbs up.

“Yeah sure, anyways heard you got in Alley Fighter Alpha: Turbo Edition.” I looked towards the machines.

The place was lit up like an exotic rave party. The sounds of pixelated spaceships exploding and the exaggerated yelling of somebody who got a monster combo was calming to me.

“Figured you’re here for that, It’s in the back corne-”

He was starting to point to the back when two guys barged in and interrupted us.

“Huh!? Well, looky who’s here, our two favorites!” One of them said as he got right in my face.

It just had to be everyone’s favorite bozos. I wanted to wait till I was at least a little healed up before we had a rematch but it looked like I wasn't going to get the chance. Though I knew that things would go differently this time now that nothing was holding me back.

“Yeah and look at his messed up face, you really did a number on him.” Said Rock. His fat gut was an inch away from touching me. Get a proper shirt on!

“Well if we are talking about appearances how did your girl hunt go fatass?” I replied.

"Every girl turned me down yesterday. That's OK though because hopefully, today will be different." He said as he crossed his arms.

Why is he so honest about it? It's not fun if you don't get mad!

“Didn’t get enough yesterday, huh!? Well, that’s fine, I’m a generous guy Ha-Ha-Ha!” He said as he cracked his knuckles. I guess this was his main intimidation tactic.

Back behind me Reji of course had started slowly inching away, hoping to find some cover.

“Now now I know you boys aren’t thinking about starting something here. Do I need to throw you out again?” Pops said as he pointed his cane right in Jazz’s face.

Having Pops as backup, Reji was now feeling braver.

“You guys just got lucky last time so why don’t you back off, unless you want to mess with us of course.” He said as he got up in Jazz's face.

“Hey now remember you are on your own outside the shop.” Pops said.

“Er…um…anyways you said the game was in the back right!? Let's go, Axel!”


Even though the new version of the game had only minor differences it was still a huge moment for us.

We had now been playing for over an hour now. I had slightly more wins than Reji. He might not be great in a real fight but at fighting games, he wasn’t half bad. Together we both ruled the arcade and most of my pocket money was made from money matches.

"Do you think you're going to go to school on Monday?"

Today was Friday so since I'm skipping class I essentially had a three-day weekend.

"Dunno, probably. I need to get it over with eventually."

"You lost one fight, big deal. I really don't think it's something worth moping over. You need to lighten up man."

"Just shut up about it."

We continued playing when we heard Rock and Jazz over by the ski balls. They looked like they were harassing someone again. As long as they stayed out of my way today they could do whatever the hell they wanted.

"Hey babe what's with the attitude huh!? My friend said he likes you, aren't you lucky!"

"P-please g-go out with me…" Rock said with an expressionless face.

Reji and I both looked over and saw that the two were surrounding a girl around our age. I could tell by a distance that she was cute lookin', especially with hair?

I guess dying your hair isn't uncommon nowadays but I couldn’t help but find her strangely familiar. The more I looked at her the more she looked never mind.

"And for the third time now, I'm not interested. Besides, I'm already taken." She said with a hand on her hip, looking really annoyed.

"Huh, taken!? I don't give a shit about that!"

“I really don’t have time for this…” She sighed.

Reji whispered into my ear, "That poor girl, we should go do something."

Poor girl? She looks more like a pissed-off punk to me.

"Why don't you? I'm right here, I'll make sure you don't get killed." I grinned at him.

"Erk…seriously!?" He looked back and forth before saying "Ugh fine…"

The girl was tapping her foot. With each tap, Reji slowly took another step.

" brave...she needs my help." He muttered under his breath.

As soon as he got close enough for them to notice. All three of them looked in our direction. The girl’s eyes widen.

"Huh!? The hell do you want!?"

"! Leave that girl al-" Reji almost gathered some balls before...

"Darling!" The girl squealed as she started sprinting towards Reji.

"Me!?" Reji shouted, pointing his index finger to himself.

You bastard Reji! What makes you think you can go and get a girlfriend before me!?

Leavin Rock and Jazz in a cloud of dust the pink-haired girl dashed right to Reji...and right past him. From her running start, she pounced into the air.

"Huh!?" I barely managed to get out as I saw the girl fly right at me with the speed of a bullet.

Her body slammed into mine and tackled me right to the floor. My mind went numb trying to process what had just happened.

For the first time in my life, a girl came running to me instead of running away...

...and she looked exactly like Pommy.