According to Jodie, Fighting Spirit Brewing’s official launch was a major success. It opened on the first weekend of November, and when the doors locked on Sunday night, she passed out as soon as she got home. Mitch took advantage of her absence by sneaking off to see Toby, when he wasn’t busy with band practice. Avi wasn’t around either due to being booked across the weekend, which helped unfuck Mitch’s brain a little.
When the chaos died down at last, Jodie scheduled time off for herself from the school that coincided with the weekdays that the brewery was closed. But despite that, she still ended up at Fighting Spirit and coerced Mitch to come with her. While no one else was there, she wanted his opinion on a few ideas, and laid out her vision for turning the space into a venue for performance art. She talked about the paperwork she secured and the stage that Victor was building and scheduling bands and comedians and burlesque shows, then nudged him about the last one.
“That was the old me,” he sighed wistfully.
“Eh, you still got it. So what if you’re more of an otter than a twink now?” she clapped him heartily on the back.
“Gee, thanks.” Although he didn’t care for her wording, the idea wasn’t a bad one. But if she wanted him to be involved in that specifically, there was a hitch: he wasn’t really in contact with anyone from that scene anymore. That said, he suspected that Gianna might be, since their backgrounds and circles overlapped. They had a lot of friends in common, but somehow never directly met until Monument Wrestling Academy. Gia had even seen Mitch’s first band perform, Blood Blister, and yet they still didn’t cross paths.
He thought about it some more. Hiding behind a persona was one of the few things that made Mitch feel genuinely good. He didn’t realize this until he’d gotten injured and was back together with the band, but he missed being on the stage. It was why he was at the school nearly every single day now (but careful to memorize Avi’s schedule to avoid him), training like a man possessed for his in-ring return.
With Jodie’s permission, he’d also taken over a part of the attic. At one point, there were plans to turn it into a finished living space for Jodie, but the work had been interrupted after her grandmother passed away and was now on indefinite hold.
He invested in some cheap area rugs and soundproofing materials, then furnished it with equipment on loan from Darius. It’d been good for his emotional well-being to have his own little space, and it was amazing how a little bit of privacy drastically elevated his mood. So when Jodie mentioned that she wanted to start a weekly unplugged music night and asked that he be the one to kick it off, for once he felt confident enough to agree to it.
While they sat together with all of the potential imaginable in front of them, Jodie appeared hopeful and assured for the first time since her grandmother’s passing. Mitch reveled in his friend’s accomplishments as she pulled him into a sidehug, thanking him for always supporting her.
The plan to tell her about Toby could wait just a little longer, he decided.