Within a single night, Mitch managed to upset three people.
The first was Toby, who wanted to know if Mitch still had feelings for “that guy”. It was a fair and valid question, but also a bold one to ask just after sex.
“I don’t wanna talk about it,” Mitch warned, and rolled onto his side. What followed couldn’t be considered a fight, but Toby needled him. He wanted answers. A name. An identity. A background.
“What are we?” Toby asked after his interrogation, his tone curious and pondering.
“We’re one day at a time,” Mitch reminded him. “We’re not dating. Not yet.”
“We go out on dates, though. We go out, then we come back here and fuck, then you go back to Jodie’s. Are we fuckbuddies?”
“You’re the most annoying man alive.” Mitch got out of bed and wandered into the kitchen, then rummaged through Toby’s fridge. “Why do you need a name for it? Don’t you ‘hate labels’?” He made a face and did air quotes. “Isn’t that the line that you used to use on me?”
“I’m getting soft these days,” Toby quipped, now also in the kitchen with one hand above Mitch’s head, planted on the freezer door. “Did you know that you have an ass now?” he asked before giving a firm smack, and Mitch jumped in place.
“No shit, I do like 500 squats a day. And be gentler, you just railed me,” Mitch chastised. “Also your snack selection sucks.”
“Sorry, I’ll start stocking up on vegan stuff,” Toby snarked, then resumed his barrage form earlier. “Are the squats to impress the guy that you like?”
“The squats are because I’m a wrestler,” Mitch shot back as he shut the door, but Toby didn’t move. He found himself pinned, Toby’s hand slid up his chest and fingers grazing against his throat, elevating his heartrate and turning his blood to ice. Nothing came of it, but he stood paralyzed. “Toby,” he croaked out at long last. “What do you want?”
“You, mostly.” Toby leaned in to press his forehead against Mitch’s before nuzzling his neck. Mitch couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but it was as though Toby was seeking something. “I’m gonna win,” he whispered.
“Hold on. Win? Are we not OK with the arrangement anymore?” Mitch shuddered, his stomach performing somersaults directly into a pile of thumbtacks.
“Have you told anyone about me?”
“No,” Mitch answered honestly, and Toby released him. “It’s only been what? Two weeks since this iteration? This isn’t anything to talk about yet.”
“Yet,” Toby muttered while he returned to the bedroom, and Mitch rolled his eyes. He followed, but went no further than the doorway, leaning against it with his arms folded across his chest and observed a forlorn Toby sitting on the mattress. “Can we at least consider ourselves a little more than a ‘yet’?” he pleaded, head in his hands for full dramatic effect.
“I have to think about it,” Mitch answered after a lapse in time, and Toby groaned. “Don’t…do that. C’mon.” The groaning got louder, and Toby flopped onto his back. “Fine. FINE. I’ll tell one person,” Mitch shouted over the groaning, and Toby stopped.
“It better not be-”
The groaning resumed, and Mitch decided to not spend the night like he originally planned, which turned into another layer of shit added onto this garbage casserole. Regardless, he wasn’t about to reward such awful behavior, not after dealing with Calvin’s petulance for half of a decade.
Instead of going directly home, he drove to the school to get a late workout in and strategize about how to approach Jodie. This had the potential to go nuclear, and he’d need somewhere to lay low; Louis offered his sofa to him throughout the years, so Mitch had that as an option. When he pulled into the Monument Wrestling Academy parking lot, he sent a text asking if the offer still stood, and Louis responded with a thumbs up emoji.