Even as we walk from the parking lot to the building, I see Caleb's face crease into a frown. It won't get any better inside, kid.
There's a low buzz of life in here today, a couple of people milling around with cigarettes hanging from their lips as they move stuff around.
Pete is surrounded by the thickest cloud of smoke, at the far end of the arena room. Caleb looks up at the cage and the two guys inside warming up dubiously, but I ignore them, focussed on reaching Pete.
Caleb's attention is torn between the friendly sparring behind the mesh and Pete, but I've seen more interesting warm up fights. So I go straight over to Pete.
"Where's Alex?" I demand. Pete looks up slowly, reluctant to take his eyes off the fighters.
"In his room getting ready for tonight. Why?"
"Don't worry, I didn't let him accept the fight in Bahia, just like you asked," he holds his hands up defensively, "but I couldn't deny him a slot in tonight's show." I grit my teeth for the fiftieth time today and feel irritation grip me. He's supposed to be getting out of fights like these, not finding more reasons to keep it up.
"Brilliant," I mutter darkly, dragging Caleb away from the arena and up the stairs. I see him biting his lip out of the corner of my eye, but I ignore it, pushing him in front of me down the narrow corridor. "Third room on the left," I say, waving him forwards.
"You're not coming with?"
I shrug, "If he has a fight tonight, he's gonna need his training partner to be ready to help him. I'm not letting him warm up by punching a wall."
"This is why I stick to climbing stuff," he gives me this confused look and I shrug.
"When you're done making up, tell him to meet me at the gym across the road." He nods and I turn back, trudging back down the corridor. I see Pete at the bottom of the stairs and I flash him a glare. If looks could kill, I think Pete might have been dead a fairly long time ago.
I wander across to the gym and figure I might as well renew my membership while I'm there.
Though the place is a bit on the run down side, everyone here is friendly, and the equipment is still in good nick. And they don't play any of that pop shit that you get in other gyms. Because I'd walked off with the key to my old locker, they'd never really bothered to get it open and chuck my stuff out, so when I open the door to find my old sweats and white shirt still in here, clean, if a little dusty, I can't help but smile a little.
I change into them quickly and notice that the shirt is a little tighter than it used to be. I check the mirror at the other end of the locker room and grimace. I'm growing a beer belly.
Needless to say, I get straight back into my old routine. I might as well kill the time by working out, rather than standing around smoking myself to death.