(A/N: This is the last part of this chapter, so there won’t be an update on Weds, June 7th. There’s a news update as well.)
Had Mitch not needed his medication to live, he would have driven directly to Pisgah Lake. He considered getting a refill at the CVS in downtown Rutterburg, but decided against it since everything was bound to be closed. So instead, he stopped by Jodie’s house to grab the vitals: meds, change of clothes, his laptop, and Cendre. Everything else could be sorted out later.
He overcame the impulse to break the speed limit, since cops were all over the place that night. And he only had half a tank of gas, which he needed to stretch as best he could until he got paid. Ultimately, nothing was nearly as dramatic as he would have liked it to be. It wasn’t satisfying when Nate didn’t put up any kind of fight or defense during the confrontation.
It was all terribly depressing.
A few minutes before midnight, he pulled up to the cabin. A few more minutes passed before he killed the engine, but he stayed put in the driver’s seat. Provoked by nothing other than his spiraling thoughts, he punched the dashboard, and the plastic groaned in protest from the impact. The blow wasn’t enough to cause any real damage to the car, but his knuckles were scraped and a bit of blood pooled up where the skin broke. No doubt it’d hurt once the shock wore off.
Part of him wished that he swiped a nip or a beer so that he’d have some way to ring in the new year, but the universe deemed him too pathetic to drink because he couldn’t handle his shit. Instead, he sat on the car’s hood and sparked a joint that he didn’t even want to smoke. It hung from his lips while he stared up at the stars above. “No more letting people in. That’s the resolution,” he grumbled. The original resolution was to stop smoking. So much for that.
He went inside and didn’t bother taking anything off until he got to the master bedroom. Normally he’d sleep in his old room, but not then; while he may be miserable, he could at least treat himself to a decent night’s sleep. After kicking his shoes off in the corner, he dropped his coat and jeans on top of them, forming a haphazard pile. He tossed Cendre onto the bed and flopped down afterwards, burying his face into a pillow. Memories from a few months back surfaced, of Charlie’s muffled giggles and Avi’s drunken inquiries, but he didn’t have the energy to stop them from manifesting. Simultaneously, he didn’t have the bandwidth to give a shit anymore.
However, he still needed to keep his promise. That much he could manage.
‘Made it.’ He typed and sent to Avi.
The response came almost instantly. ‘I’m glad to hear that.‘
Mitch rubbed his eyes. The pressure built up and he needed to cry, but the valve rusted shut and wouldn’t budge. ‘We’ll talk later, I swear.‘ he added.
‘Take whatever time you need. I’ll be here.‘ Again, the response came within seconds. It was followed up with, ‘Sleep well, OK?‘
And just like that, the faucet ran with no trouble at all. Tears rolled down Mitch’s cheeks and dropped onto the phone screen. For whatever reason, his piece of shit brain had more of a trigger reaction to kindness than it did to actively being hurt. ‘You too.’ was his final message before he powered off his phone.
He held onto the stuffed rabbit with all of his might, and wept until finally passing out.
Footnote- Realized that I never included this before, but Rutterburg is the town in Vermont that the cabin and lake are in.