"An arcade?" Isabelle asked, flipping her hair out of her face. Simon smiled anxiously, took her by the hand and led her into the dimly lit room.
"Trust me on this one, Iz, ok?" he said. Her knees went a little weak at the nickname, but she firmed up quickly. Most boys on a date with her took her to dinner, or to a show- certainly not to the lair of geekdom itself.
"I'll do my best," Isabelle answered, raising an eyebrow at the pale-faced teens peering anxiously at glowing screens and exclaiming to each other over loses or victories. He took her over to a game that took two players. It had fake rifles with colors like candy propped up.
"I'm going to assume you can shoot a gun," Simon said with a grin, settling the toy into Isabelle's arms. She took it easily, settling it against her shoulder. It was too short to reach properly. Simon laughed a bit. "It's not like a real gun, Iz, you hold it away from you. Aim for the zombies, double tap them."
Isabelle blinked for a moment, and then the game started with a blooping sound. The undead started coming, in varying degrees of animated decay. Even she could tell the graphics were awful, and both she and Simon would sometimes have to laugh over the voiceovers.
"You decimated zombie horde seven," Isabelle mocked, deepening her voice so it matched the computer's.
"Zombie horde five used your brains as coasters," Simon countered with a laugh. By the end of the round they were leaning on each other for support, laughing as the zombies increased and the voiceover continued to be ridiculous. Neither of them noticed that most of the arcade was now watching as one of their own held up a rather attractive female, something most considered impossible.
The pair left a few games later, having given up completely on being normal. Simon called a farewell to the owner, who waved back over the register. Isabelle hadn't laughed so hard in a long time.
Who would have guessed she'd have enjoyed herself this much with Simon, of all people? Sure, now he was a vampire, and that made things a little different, but underneath it all he was still the same as he'd been when he was a mundane. His t-shirts still were strange, he still read comic books and watched anime, and he still played video games. But somehow, Isabelle could see more in him now than she could when they first met. She saw the loyalty and bravery underneath his geekiness. They'd been there before, and now they shone through like a light behind a window.
Somehow, they wound up at Taki's, laughing over two mugs of coffee. They went through the menu, trying to order certain things, and never managing it with a straight face. The closest they got was when Simon called over the waitress over and requesting a beverage.
"What kind of beverage?" she asked.
"Vine," Simon replied, putting on a heavily faked Romanian accent. "I only drink… vine." He took one look at Isabelle and they both dissolved into laughter. The waitress sighed and left, which only made them laugh harder.
After he'd walked her home that night, leaving her at the Institute door, she thought she'd never had such a nice night out.
It was almost too bad he was still in love with Clary.