An hour before the doors opened, Jodie went over the final draft of the card with the roster. Mitch and Danilo were scheduled to open the show; for as relieved as Mitch was to get this over with, it created extra pressure to set the overall tone for the night.
Once the meeting broke, Jodie apprehended him. “Come with me.” She grabbed onto his arm, and Mitch helplessly followed her lead. It came as no surprise that they ended up in her office. On the sofa awaited Avi, fidgeting with his big fuckoff hat and appearing as though he expected them at any moment.
“Hey man,” Mitch greeted, and Avi nodded. But his spine tingled as he recalled the last time that Jodie wanted to talk to him in here, and goosebumps broke out on his skin. “Everything alright?” he asked while attempting to conceal his discomfort.
“I wanna shake things up a bit,” Jodie responded, shooting a sly glance over at Avi.
“Well, introducing a monster hunter was a good way to do that,” Mitch shrugged, because what could be more disruptive than that?
“Right, that’s part of it. But we were brainstorming, and came up with something. Or rather, he did, I can’t really take credit.”
“Oh?” Mitch raised an eyebrow. He was still unsure why he needed to be present for this, unless they needed another party’s feedback.
“So…” Avi started slowly. “I have my match against Louis tonight, but being the Big Bad for now, I was thinking that the stakes should be higher than wins and losses.”
“Alright,” Mitch mentally ran through several scenarios in his head as to what Avi could be alluding to. The disbandment of Bad Moon Rising wasn’t an option, and he prepared to get defensive about that.
“How would you feel about putting yourself on the line?”
“Come again?” Mitch blinked. “I’m not your opponent.”
“No, but like. As a captive. Like if Lucian wins, I leave you guys alone, and you get amnesty from being my targets. But if I win-“
“You can say no,” Jodie interjected, her head swiveling between the two of them as if an explosive round of table tennis were happening in the room instead of boyfight negotiations.
“And it wouldn’t be forever,” Avi clarified. “Maybe until the next big event, where you somehow get your freedom back. But in the meanwhile, it’d help me practice, y’know-” He looked down and swallowed hard, the hat between his fingers wrung and twisted. His voice dropped, then he followed up with, “-Being a bad guy?”
Mitch cleared his throat to buy a few seconds while he pieced the provided context together. “Let me get this straight. If you win, I go with you for a bit? We basically pal around and stuff, promos and vignettes. Odd couple shtick. Do I fight your battles?”
“Maybe, I haven’t thought that far ahead,” admitted Avi. “And I wouldn’t want to ask Sandy, since that might come across as -dunno- creepy? But the crowd has been sympathetic to you guys for a while, Zevon in particular. Doing this just when you come back would only elevate that.”
“And this is only if Louis loses,” Jodie reminded. Though Mitch had full confidence in Louis’ ability, the idea of risking further separation didn’t sit too well with him. However, this wasn’t based on Mitch’s decision, but rather on Zevon’s reaction. And Zevon wouldn’t hesitate to put himself on the line for Lucian’s honor.
“Y’know, maybe this isn’t such a great idea. We can figure out something el-” Avi started to say, but Mitch interrupted him.
“I’ll do it,” he nodded sharply, then let out a breath to steady himself. “Just be aware that if you actually do manage to win and get Zevon, it’ll be the full experience. I don’t want to water it down. Sure you’re up for that?”
“Think I can manage,” Avi smirked.
“Ah. Sure you can,” Mitch lightly cuffed Avi’s arm on the way out. “Gotta get ready for my match. I assume we’re done here?”
“We’re done,” confirmed Jodie, and Mitch took his leave, putting the conversation behind him for now.
Or so he thought.
As doors opened for attendees and the opening contest drew closer, Mitch became consumed by what-ifs. He reminded himself that Louis was much bigger, much stronger, making this whole thing a mismatch on paper. And Sandy and Mitch could play dirty, messing with Avi from outside of the ring to ensure that he couldn’t win. It’d be fine, they’d persevere, they always did. Bad Moon Rising operated against every odd imaginable already, what was another obstacle in the grand scheme of their tenure at Monster Mash Wrestling?
He armored himself with that self-assurance, wrapping it around his shoulders and tenaciously clutching the at edges so that nothing else could get through.