Since paperwork hadn’t yet been signed and Mitch didn’t want to jinx anything, he refrained from telling anyone about the job offer. Although he did send Rod a text to express his undying gratitude. The response that he received was a single with the thumbs up emoji and nothing else.
He specifically wanted to keep the information from Jodie until after her trip, because she deserved to focus on herself for once. Her life was such a whirlwind that she forgot to set up an appointment to get her hair touched up prior to the flight, and this nearly resulted in a massive breakdown. But Mitch dyed her hair countless times in the past, and though he was by no means a pro, he considered himself competent enough in this arena.
After gathering all of the supplies to fulfill the task, he dragged her away from whatever trashy supernatural drama that she and Avi obsessed over that week. She gasped when she saw the bathroom, presumably at Mitch’s painstaking efforts to cover every possible surface; the first time they used Manic Panic together, his entire dorm bathroom turned violet from the dye. He knew better now.
“Oh my god,” Jodie whimpered, almost breaking out into a sob while Mitch pulled on a pair of blue nitrile gloves, letting the cuff snap against his wrist.
“Shhh, it’s alright.” He gently shushed while handing her a ragged t-shirt to wear over her clothes. And though anyone else may dismiss it as a lot of energy expelled over hair dye, there was a tremendous significance. It was Jodie’s first way of expressing herself to the world after she escaped from her mom’s household of destruction, and something she kept up on ever since. So as she wailed about the recent stress and how overwhelming it’d all gotten, along with vents that spiraled into a much deeper territory that stayed between the two of them, Mitch kept quiet and let her get it out of her system. And when she tried to apologize for the outburst, he stopped her from doing so. The bathroom was their safe space, after all.
When all was said and done -after the processing and the shampoo and conditioning and blow drying- the job was adequate enough. As suspected, it wasn’t on par with her usual stylist’s efforts, but Jodie gushed for the next few days, all aglow and far more relaxed than before. Ultimately, all that mattered was that she could now breathe easier.
Hours before Jodie was due to leave, she and Mitch exchanged gifts with one another. She presented him with the scarf that matched his hat, and he gave her the photograph that he took of her on the dock, professionally framed and matted. Being of one mind, they both gifted one another edibles as well.
“I’ll miss you,” she whined. “Just crawl into my suitcase and come with me! What’re you even gonna do all by yourself here? I’m offering a free trip to the Caribbean, and you don’t even care.”
“I’ll be fine,” Mitch asserted. “Marie’s coming to visit before she goes to Logan. After that, I’m gonna take my own little trip right here.” He shook the container of gummies that Jodie handed to him a few moments prior. “You need a vacation, Jo. Don’t worry about me. Please?”
“That’s all I ever do. It’s my identity at this point.”
“I’m so flattered,” Mitch rolled his eyes.
The blubbering continued until Victor and Nora came by to collect her and Mia, but not without Victor joining the theatrics about how much he’d miss Mitch as well. “Go,” Mitch waved the family off after getting tag-teamed with affection by the father-daughter combo.
After they left, Mitch leapt onto the couch and stretched out, relishing in the unusual peace and quiet. It was so still that eventually Estrella wandered over and made herself at home on his chest, gently kneading away at his shirt until she passed out. He dared to reach up to lightly scratch her behind the ears, and was rewarded when she leaned into the contact. The light vibration of her purrs and solid weight of her small body, not unlike a space heater in the drafty old house, caused his eyelids to grow heavy.There are worse ways to spend a holiday, he thought mere seconds before passing out.