The Music Masters: Audio Supremacy

"Don't you get it?" Seth said in response to Billy's question. "We're Music Masters. Of course we're going to be hostile to one another. It's just the way we are, and as you can probably tell, Zero Beat isn't helping to change that kind of mindset."

"If it makes you feel any better, Billy, I think she's funny. She reminds me of this circus act I used to love when I was little!" Martin chimed in. The annoyance he usually produced was starting to disappear. Seth was starting to get used to, maybe even like, some of Martin's antics.

"Hey." Seth said as he put a friendly hand on Billy's shoulder. "We might have to fight tomorrow, but if we do, it'll be as fair as it can get. The best man, or woman, will win. You can at least be sure of that."

"It is just friendly competition after all!" Martin exclaimed, causing Seth to glance back at him. Seth's expression changed from a determined one to a look of uncertainty.

"For some of us." he replied as his eyes drifted towards Trey's door. A yawn erupted from his mouth before he spoke again.

"But for others, I'm not exactly sure."

As the night began to fall outside, and New York City shimmered with its many lights, Seth Ramone wondered if Trey really meant what he he had said earlier.
Billy sighed and smiled. "Yeah, you're right. It wouldn't be a competition without competitors."

She looked at Martin. "Anyway, I think I saw the same circus act Marty," she said, laughing. She sat back down on the couch, yawning and stretching. Billy grinned rubbing her belly, "It's been a while since I ate pizza that good."

Suddenly Billy felt restless. "Think I can go out for a walk? I feel like exploring this city," she commented, looking out the window.
"Feel free." Martin said with a loud yawn. "I'm going to bed. Might as well get a room while they're still hot."

And with a wave, the hyperactive boy made his way to one of the empty rooms and shut the door quietly behind him. Seth figured that if they waited a little bit, they'd probably hear him snoring sooner or later.

"Yeah, that was some good pizza indeed." Seth replied. He made a loud burp, causing him to punch his chest in response.

"Whoops. Excuse me."

Going to the front door, Seth opened it for Billy as a courteous gesture. "A walk you say? I think I'll join you. Not for too late, but at least for a little bit. You don't mind, do you? I'll let you lead the way and all."
"Ah, good night Marty, see you tomorrow," Billy said as the boy left.

She turned to Seth and smiled as he opened the door. "I wouldn't mind the company, we won't be staying out too late. Let's just walk for a few blocks," she said, walking out the door.
"After you. I'd rather that my rival not trip or anything before the big day. That would definitely spoil the fun for me." Seth practically sneered, though in a playful way rather than an insidious one.

After a relatively boring elevator ride, Seth and Billy made their way outside. They were greeted by all the night lights New York City had to offer, which was considerable especially since some of the New Year's decorations hadn't been taken down. Seth looked on at the city in awe, amazed that after going through so much trouble to get here in the first place, he'd never really taken a moment to actually look at the scenery around him. It was certainly different than his hometown of Maumee, for sure.

"Big city, huh?" Seth said as he looked around, then at Billy. He was still only eighteen, and male, so his mind almost immediately started comparing her to Selena from before. He hadn't gotten a good enough look at the glasses wearing girl, so she was out of the comparison pool. But did Billy look better than Selena? Seth couldn't be exactly sure. If anything, she was certainly a lot friendlier than Selena could ever hope to be.

"You think you'd ever be able to live in a place like this? I'm so enamored by it all, that when it comes to exploring, I don't know where to even start..." Seth stated as he turned his gaze away from Billy and back up to the skyscrapers. Behind them, the hundred and ten floor 5 Records building soared up into a sky like a foreboding monolith. It seemed bigger to Seth, now that he was outside of it again and not in the comfort of one of its suites.
Billy smiled, looking around as well. "Well... I like to think I can inhabit most any place," her smile faded for a moment, "I do like exploring. Quite frankly, though, I prefer smaller towns. There's less... There's less of a rush." Billy smiled nervously and looked at Seth. "Know what I mean?"

She looked the young man over for a moment, then quickly turned away. She shouldn't let her mind stray from matters at hand, like tomorrow's competition. "Anyway, let's see if there's anything cool around here. I think I want to stick around for a few days after Audio Supremecy, whether I win or not."
"I get what you're saying for sure. Sometimes smaller really is just better. Nobody wants to get overwhelmed, after all."

"Follow me." Seth said while motioning towards Billy. "I figure we might as well just go and see where we end up."

Knowing that Billy would indeed follow, Seth spotted the walk signal on the street up ahead, and started along the crosswalk. He looked from side to side, his Mohawk swaying in the night wind. Then he spotted something interesting just up ahead. A large store, with the words "Audio Empire" could be seen up ahead. The logo was huge, made up of a giant record player with the words making up the name of the store inlaid over the record. Seth stopped in front of the store, marveling at its size as he peered inside.

Rows upon rows of CD's could be seen along the walls, topped by a menagerie of guitars and similar instruments. People shuffled between the aisles, and Seth's eyes widened when he saw the faintest sign of what looked like some oldschool punk rock vinyls on the far wall. He could make out The Dead Kennedys, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, among others.

"Well, this place looks interesting. What do you think, Billy?" he asked her as he continued to look into the store, his hands cupping the glass like a makeshift pair of binoculars. Truthfully, he wanted to go inside pretty badly. He was just polite enough that he wasn't going to blurt it out.
Billy smiled. She looked into the store as well. "Let's go in, it looks cool." Billy was eyeing one of the drumsets that sat by the wall, a dark blue, shiny one. She wanted to go play with it.

"And look at that..." she said inquisitively, "They've got the Sex Pistols." Billy turned to Seth with a playful smirk. "You know, I have a thing for Sid Vicious." She turned and walked to the door of the store, opening it. "Come one then!"
"Right behind you." Seth said as he followed Billy inside the store.

It was a huge place, that was for sure. On one far wall, Seth spotted the drum sets Billy was talking about, along with rows of didgeridoos, sitars, and other instruments that he didn't even recognize. It was amazing that the store wasn't crowded, because to Seth, the amount of stuff contained in this one place was simply staggering. None of the music stores in Maumee were like this. They didn't even come close.

With the punk albums on the far wall on his mind, Seth began to walk quickly, hands in his pockets and a noticeable carefree look on his face. He watched Billy run, and it didn't take him long to notice the way she seemed to sway when she moved. Then he shook his head wildly, wondering where he had just let his mind go.

"Focus man." he said to himself. There was no time for girls. Absolutely none. He came to Audio Supremacy to win, not to get laid.

Something stopped Seth before he could reach the punk rock albums on the far wall. Pushing past someone, Seth just looked down at an especially dusty vinyl that had happened to catch his eye. He scanned the record cover over and over again, and slowly, a smile began to form on his face.

Sesame Street Fever...? Now he finally knew where that song had come from. Now he just had to get this for Kim. There was no question about it.

"I HAVE to get this for Kim." he said out loud, while in his mind that song about a certain rubber duckie began to play...
Billy sat on the stool by the drumset. Fortunately for her, they had drumsticks laying on it for percussionists to try them out. She looked up, seeing Seth by the records, a huge smile on his face, and then back at the drumset.

She picked up the sticks, hitting them against eachother a couple of times. With a huge smile of her own, Billy began a steady beat with the foot pedal and hit each of the drums in a rythmical pattern. If she had to be in a rock band, she'd be the drummer. That was what she liked most. More than guitar and bass, and especially more than singing.

Billy shut her eyes while beating the drumset, letting the pattern come to her by itself. This was not something you could learn and practitce.
Suddenly satisfied, Seth grinned as he tucked the newfound album underneath his arm. He could already hear the sound of cymbals and pounding drums as he approached where Billy was playing. His eyes were caught in the splendor of the various punk rock albums arrayed above her head, before they went back down and focused on her.

"Hey, not bad!" Seth said as he listened to her drum beat. "Sounds like you've got some skills. It's just too bad you really can't bring a drum set to Audio Supremacy."

He made a mischievous expression. "But my guitar, well, I can carry that, so it's coming into the arena with me for sure."
Billy stopped playing and looked up at Seth, her eyes opening. "I wish, I'd conquer you all if I could bring in a drumset. But anyway, I'll have to try to win some other way." She smiled. Then, noticing the record, Billy pointed to what Seth was carrying. "What's that?"

She stood up and turned to the punk rock albums. "I was actually going to get something too, to commemorate my being here, you know? I just don't know what." Billy turned back to him and smiled again.
"Oh, this?" Seth said, showing Billy the vinyl underneath his arm. The cover had the words "Sesame Street Fever" on the front, and depicted some of the show's characters in a parody of the movie poster for Saturday Night Fever. Seth patted the album like it was a dog he'd just recently befriended.

"It's for my little sister. After all, she's the special girl in my life." Seth said, before he started laughing awkwardly.

"Actually, the only girl in my life. Can't imagine why..."
Billy smiled at him. "Aw, that's cute. I wish I had some sort of bond with my siblings, or rather, sibling, there's only one," she said, a sudden look of longing crossed her face. She quickly shook it away. "Anyway, it's not a bad thing. I'm sure your little sister needs you, you shouldn't be distracted. Although, who's to say, maybe you should get a girlfriend."

Billy winked playfully at him and laughed. "So, should we go back or explore more?"
"Gah!" Seth grumbled all of a sudden. He wasn't really annoyed, but the last thing he needed was someone like Billy telling him he should go get a girlfriend.

"Women! Who needs them? I definitely don't!"

For a brief moment, Seth felt triumphant with his words, then suddenly those thoughts about the way Billy's curves showed through her jeans hit him like a cinder block. He kept a straight face though. Had it been that long since his last girlfriend? Seth couldn't believe he was losing it like this. He had absolutely hated all girls except his little sister until he hit fifteen. Then it all changed. Hormones were certainly a powerful thing.

He turned his attention back to Billy, processing her question in his head. Better to focus on that than those other things, he thought.

"Oh, well, it's your choice. We can do whatever you want, and I'll be fine either way. I'm just worried you'll get too tired for tomorrow." Seth commented in his own playful tone of voice.

"After all, I'd like my opponent to not be half-asleep before I beat her down. It's much more satisfying that way."
Billy laughed quietly at Seth's reaction, though she didn't push the thought any further. Why would she? It wasn't like she was attracted to him in anyway... Right? No, of course not, she couldn't be.

"I wouldn't worry about me, I have an unlimited supply of caffeine running through my veins. Literally, I can stay awake for days on end. I don't know if I should be worried about it, but it's never been a problem." She stuck her tongue out at him playfully. "I'm worried about you, think you can take on another hour on the streets?"
"I can handle myself fine, thank you very much." Seth stated with complete confidence. Then his attention turned to the punk records above. They suddenly became more interesting to him, especially considering the question he was about to ask.

"So you miss home much? You know, it must be different being in this big city." Seth began, his eyes still focused on the Dead Kennedys and Ramones albums high above his head.

"Your boyfriend is probably getting worried about you, huh?" he then asked, out of complete curiosity. Of course, this was always his way of finding out if someone was single or not. A lack of interest when asking these kind of questions always worked, in his opinion.

Then again, he didn't really care. It was just Billy, and she wasn't much more than competition. He chuckled, trying his best to make himself believe that with all his heart and soul.

But it was still a lie, of course.
Billy gave a sideways smile. "Yeah, I guess you could say I miss home." She smirked a little, "As for my boyfriend being worried, I wouldn't know. Seeing as he is non-existent." She turned and looked out of the shop window, wondering what else was out there. Billy turned back to Seth. "So, you going to get anything else hot-shot?"

She smiled again, "I'm done here. I just wanted to play with those drums and look at Sid Vicious posters."
"Uh, this is it, I think." Seth stated, and with that he headed over to the clerk to purchase his said vinyl.

Minutes later, it was safely inside a plastic bag and Billy seemed to be done with her drums. The two of them were outside the store, and back to gawking up at the skyscrapers of the city. The air was noticeably frigid, and Seth shivered a little when he realized that maybe Selena had been a somewhat right about his clothing choice at this time of year.

"Okay, I'm officially out of ideas. I wonder what time it is..." Seth commented. He had heard of stories of people being mugged in the city in those dark alleys. Of course, he was a Music Master, and someone trying to mug him would be in for a big surprise. And if they touched Billy, there was no telling what he would do. His rival had to be intact for a little while, at least. Or that was what he kept telling himself...

"We could always go back to the suite and chill. It's getting pretty cold out." Seth mentioned, hoping Billy would take to the idea. He was cold, but he had this urge to just talk to someone rather than run around these stores. Especially at this time, and when he was faced with this kind of weather in his current clothes.

Still, one thought continued to go through his head.

No boyfriend. That was interesting for Seth, to say the least.
Billy followed Seth out of the store and looked at the skyscrapers. She would have liked to wander around but, as Seth said, it was getting cold out. She hadn't brought her jacket out, so she was feeling it too. "Yeah, let's go back to the suite," she said. Billy turned and began leading the way back to the building. She turned to him for a moment, "We wouldn't want to catch a cold, huh."