“Hi,” Mitch greeted Toby and Avi with a tired smile, but remained standing since there were no available seats. They both looked up at him: Avi with a bright grin, and Toby bearing the expression of being ill-prepared to deal with someone as upbeat as Avi.
“You were amazing!” Avi gushed, and Mitch rubbed the back of his neck, grinning despite himself.
“Told you that you’d kill it,” Toby casually stated, but his tone was suspicious. Had Toby figured out that Avi was “that guy”? Nothing indicated that he was any the wiser, and Avi seldom opened up about his personal life so it was doubtful that he mentioned Charlie, but nevertheless Mitch stayed on edge. “Are you gonna sit, or-” Toby started to ask.
“No free seats,” Mitch attempted to explain. “It’s alright, though, I don’t mind.”
“You can sit on my lap,” Toby waggled his eyebrows. Mitch came close to telling him off, the anger bubbling in his sternum and its bitterness rising to the tip of his tongue, but he was interrupted by the sound of wet sputtering. Both Mitch and Toby turned their heads towards the noise, and spotted Avi in the process of wiping himself down with a napkin; his beard and glasses were covered in droplets, and foam spilled all over the table.
“Sorry,” he said gruffly. “Went down the wrong pipe.”
“I was gonna go grab more water, but do you need more napkins, Avi?” offered Mitch.
“No, I should be good,” Avi replied as he pulled his shirt taut, his focus strictly on drying off.
“I’ll come with. I wanted to get a drink as well,” Toby insisted and already stood up. He grabbed his empty can and gave it a little shake as if to prove that he finished it. Half of Mitch wanted to inquire if he should be drinking, while the other half warned him to leave it alone. This wasn’t his monkey nor his circus at the moment.
Around the bar was a dense crowd of people closing up their tabs. Mitch lingered at the back of the line while Toby stood behind him, close enough that he could feel breathing on the back of his neck. “Can I help you?” Mitch tilted his head enough to see Toby from the corner of his eye.
Apparently, that translated as some type of invitation. Toby rested his chin on Mitch’s shoulder, and his arms went around the waist, pulling Mitch in closer. “You were a hot little thing up there, singing your heart out like that,” Toby commented low in Mitch’s ear and making him shiver.
“Are you hard right now?” Mitch snorted. “I’m not going home with you tonight.”
“I’m getting there. And why not?”
“I have a bed.” When Mitch didn’t respond to that, Toby followed up with, “Wanna go fool around in the bathroom?”
“Not really,” Mitch answered honestly. “I think Jodie would kill me if I did that.”
“Hm.” The line moved forward, and Mitch was still enveloped by Toby. Clearing his throat after the pause, Toby changed the subject. “So tell me about Avi.”
“What about him?” Mitch stiffened.
“He’s your roommate, huh? Seemed to know you well, made it difficult to hear the music sometimes.”
“He’s friendly,” Mitch responded curtly, reinforcing every possible angle from whatever Toby’s attack plan was. Hopefully his feigned indifference was enough to drop this, but if there was any attempt at besmirching Avi’s character, Mitch wouldn’t hesitate to throw down.
But also, why on earth would Avi introduce himself like that? Was it provoked or unprovoked? Mitch chewed on the inside of his cheek as he dwelled.
“Oh, very,” Toby agreed, a bit of a sultry purr in his tone. Dangerous. The line moved once more, and there were only two people between them and the bar. Mitch wriggled enough so that he was out of Toby’s grasp and facing him more directly.
“How did you introduce yourself?” Mitch asked, and Toby cocked his eyebrow.
“I said that you and I go way back. Why?” Mitch didn’t say anything, so Toby continued with a snarky, “I didn’t say that I was your boyfriend, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“One day at-“
“One day at a time, yes, I know,” Toby cut him off, then leaned in and planted a kiss on his forehead. “So pushy.”
“Assertive,” Mitch corrected, then spun back around. When they finally got to the bar, Mitch grabbed two more water bottles, handing one to Toby, and several napkins as well. He dropped a few bills into the tip jar, then returned to the table despite Toby’s continued teasing that they go somewhere private.