Jay’s Loelife Ch. 24

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Something is wrong. The hair on my arms prickles, like a glitch in the matrix. Then I hear it. A whimper. Almost inaudible, yet achingly familiar. The hollow, broken sound builds like the opposing crowd after an overtime loss.

I turn over in the dark and run my hand over Loren’s shoulder. “Hey.” When he doesn’t answer, I jostle him a little. “Loren.”

I flick the lamp on.

“Loren. Wake up.”

Loren’s back and arms are tense as he screams into the pillow. I pry him away and force him on his back. His red face is tear-soaked.

I roll on top of him. “Loren!”

His eyes flutter open, but he can’t catch a breath.

I cup his face. “C’mon Loren. Wake up. Look at me. Look at my face.”

His eyes, the ones I’ve looked into countless times, are empty. I pat his cheek, coaxing him back, then take his hand and press it to the back of my neck. “Feel it,” I demand. I move his hand along the back of my neck, pressing his limp fingertips to each and every vertebra.

I open my eyes when I hear his breathing change. Waves of confusion and hesitation wash over his face like a flip book. I stay still, waiting for him to come to reality.


I caress his face. “Yeah, it’s me. I’m here. I’m fine.”

The confusion and hesitation wanes. Loren touches my hips as he stares at me, then slowly his hands make their way up my body until they’re cupping my neck in the familiar way he does.

“Oh fuck,” he cries when he finishes his count. He shoves me off him and bolts to the bathroom, where I find him bent over, retching his guts into the toilet.

I squat down and rub his back.

It started a year ago. A frantic phone call in the middle of the night, a few hours before I was to play the first game of the season. The man I love was absolutely inconsolable, all because of a nightmare. After bolting to his room, he spent the next five minutes with his hands desperately roving my body, checking that everything was intact.

A habit that has since become a post-game ritual.

The nightmare itself had been a partial premonition of the year to come, I know now.

I may not have died, but I hyper-extended my knee the following game and was on the IR for six weeks while I recovered. Two games after they cleared me to play again, I tore my MCL. It was minor, but I was out for three more games. Overall, it was a terrible season. Not the way I wanted to end my career.

I pull Loren off the toilet and get him cleaned up. He’s had this dream a few times and it always takes a while to recover. I make sure he’s tucked in close when we go back to bed.


I stack our bags into the back of my SUV and close the hatch.

Loren leans against the stone column with his phone in hand. Text, text, text.

We have to leave now. I should tell him to get his butt in the SUV but I savor the moment, instead. It’s usually me who’s decked out in his stuff. It’s not often, only on game days, that he’s decked out in mine. He’s hot in a backward cap with 99 embroidered on it.

“Ready?” I ask. Someone has to be responsible after all.

His fingers fly across the screen. Finally, he stows his phone and looks at me with a cocky smile before pushing off the column and getting in the SUV. He loves to keep me waiting.

I hold his hand on the way to the airport, keeping close tabs on his body language. He smiles and lip syncs to whatever song is playing, while texting with his free hand.

He glances at me then rolls his eyes. “Stop worrying.”

I rub my thumb over his to make him feel better. To make myself feel better. I seem more stressed about his dreams than he does. “I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“I worried about you before the Benadryl induced nightmares, and I’ll worry about you despite the Benadryl induced nightmares.”

“Why do you keep taking Benadryl if this is what happens?”

“The nightmares suck, but not as bad as allergies. And I’ll let you in on a little secret that helps me handle it all–” he lean across the console until his lips brush against my ear. “One of them is real and one of them is fake. Now shut up and let me work.”

I smile and put both hands on the steering wheel.

He huffs beside me. “I didn’t say to stop holding my hand, Asshole.”


I was hesitant about the extension, but maybe Loren was on to something when he insisted on it. Eight games in to my redemption season and I’m having the time of my life. It’s a vibe thing. Loren is part of the team. During away games, he flies with us on the team jet. I sit back and watch some of my attention-whore teammates eat out of Loren’s hands. They’re desperate for any scraps he’s willing to spare.

Plus, no injuries.

Does he still check my spine after every game? Yes. But I like it and I think he does too.

I sneak away to see my parents for a weekend but spend the BYE week in Denver. Seamus’s in-laws are still playing hardball, Yakacık escort bayan but we think they’re close to breaking. It’s been a long and painfully slow process and the court keeps getting pushed back‌.

All the publicity from Loren’s fanbase is wreaking havoc on his in-laws’ social life. They either concede or commit social suicide. I should feel bad for them, that their hatred and jealousy towards Seamus have reduced them to such desperate depths of despair.

Almost. But I don’t.

Then there’s Loren’s impact with the team. He took the job and turned it into something no one ever expected. Like most things, Loren doesn’t live by the rule book. The job has grown bigger than bringing fans to the games. He’s essentially the organization’s primary promotional consultant. Unofficially, of course.

It’s a temporary thing. They know it. When I walk off the field for the last time, so does he. When we leave the team, we leave together.


What are you doing on–

Loren snatches my phone mid-text and plops down like he didn’t just do what he just did. “Don’t make plans for Thursday.”

I was, in fact, just making plans for Thursday and he knows this. “The whole point of Thursday is that I need to have plans,” I remind him.

“I have it covered.”

I cross my arms. “You made plans for my day with the Lombardi?”

“I did, and it will be fun.” As if this conversation is old news, he kisses me, then stands and pockets my phone.

Nuh-uh. I hook my finger in his back pocket and yank him back. With him secured between my legs, I wrap my arms around him. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

“It’s a need-to-know thing and you don’t need to know.”

“It’s my day!” I cry. “I played on the team that won it.”

“And I blow the guy that won it, so I win.”

I grip his ass and pull him against me. “The math doesn’t add up because I definitely blow you more than you blow me.”

He scoffs. “How do you figure?”

Keeping eye contact, I pop the button on his pants. I push them down his thighs and lift him so he’s sitting on the kitchen island. With a cheery grin, Loren leans back on his elbows and spreads his legs.

We’ve never done this; sex in the kitchen. It’s kind of kinky. I hold his eye as I go down on him, teasing him with my tongue. He lets out a moan and drops his head back. I lick around his tip, then trace up and down his shaft before taking him in my mouth.

“Fuck me,” he moans. “Your mouth feels amazing.” His dark eyes are cloudy with lust. I continue to go slow until he gets impatient and grabs my hair, forcing me a little deeper and a little faster.

He flexes and shakes under me. There’s something about making the person you love lose their marbles. It’s a heady feeling.

“Surprise!–oh my god! Ohmygod! I’m so sorry! Robert!” Mom screams. With her eyes covered, she tries to leave the kitchen but bumps into my dad, who still hasn’t realized what the commotion is about.

His eyes widen. “Oh my.” He takes mom by the shoulder and ushers her out of the kitchen. “Let’s wait in the living room, okay dear?”

I scramble to my feet while Loren jumps off the counter and pulls his pants up. My heart races and dread courses through my veins. The only thing worse than walking in on your parents having sex is your parents walking in on you.

“Mom, Dad, what are you doing here?” I ask as I chase after them. Really, I just want to keep them away from Loren, who looked about ready to pass out. My face feels hot from embarrassment. I try to look at them but chicken out. Neither of them are looking at me, either, too embarrassed that they saw me with Loren’s dick down my throat.

“You said you weren’t busy, so we decided to surprise you.”

“Well, consider me surprised.”

My dad groans and walks away.

Mom busies herself with the buttons on her shirt. “We should’ve called.”

I sigh. “No, you never need to call. Maybe knock at the door next time?”

A crimson flush creeps up her neck. “We did.”

Okay then…

The soft hum of the garage door echoes. I look outside in time to see his tan van speeding off like a get-away car. Mom and Dad see it, too, and look absolutely stricken about it.

“Don’t worry,” I tell them to simmer their guilt. “He’s just embarrassed.”

Dad throws himself back on the sofa and grumbles. “Aren’t we all…”


Are you ever coming back? I text. It’s been twenty-four awkward hours and I haven’t seen or heard from Loren. It’s still another hour before he responds.

I now call Mexico my home. I’ve befriended the street dog. Kado. I cannot leave him to forage on the streets alone. I will cherish our memories. Adios.

Stealing a moment while my parents are downstairs watching TV. I laugh and dial his number.

“Hola,” he greets, his voice is sickly sweet and fake as hell.

“How’s Mexico?”

“Sun is shining, the water is blue, no parents as far as the eye can Escort Atalar see, so, pretty fucking amazing.”

“C’mon. You have to face them, eventually. Might as well get it over with.”

“I never have to face them if I live in Mexico.”

I smile into the receiver. Loren is either super chill or has no chill at all. “We’ll come visit you.”

“No tourists allowed.”


“Your parents saw you choking on my dick. I can’t look at them across the dinner table and be okay with that.”

I sit on my bed and frown. “You’ll be back before Thursday? Or am I making my own plans now?”

“When are your parents leaving?”


“I’ll be back Tuesday night. Make sure you change their sheets out. You have guests coming.” Before I can ask who the guests are, I hear voices in the background talking to Loren. Unless everyone went to Mexico, I can only assume he’s at home. “Isaac and Corey are here, gotta go.” Loren ends the call.

I look at my phone and wonder when Loren started running my life. Who am I kidding? It was the first time I laid eyes on him. The only reason I went to the bar to begin with was because of him. Haven’t been back more than a couple of times since.


Mom and Dad stand by the door waiting for me to finish putting on my jacket. We’re making eye contact now, if only to prove that everything is fine. Perfectly fine. No big deal. What parents haven’t walked in on their son giving another guy a blowjob? Pssf.

“Are you sure you want to retire after next year?” Dad asks as we sit around the table at their favorite steakhouse in Seattle. Dad has never been excited about the prospect of my retirement. He’s all about playing until you can’t, not won’t. Since we were young enough to hold a football, he advocated and fought for us. He wants the best for us. “You’ve leveraged yourself to a solid position. If the Hawks won’t pay you enough, you can join your brothers. Their team needs a strong leader on D.”

“I’m definitely retiring.”

Dad stabs his steak with the fork and cuts it aggressively. I understand his disappointment. He may disagree, but in the end, he will support the decision. He always does.

“You’ve had a brilliant career,” Mom says in the way she always does when things need to be smoothed over. “You’re lucky that you get to choose to leave the game on your own accord, so many don’t. Plus, I’m excited to have you closer. In the last few years, we haven’t seen you much. We know you’re busy, but we miss you. We’re ready to have you home.”

“It will definitely be nice to spend a little more time in Wisconsin. We’re planning on doing a big overhaul on the cabin. That will put us there for a few months. We were thinking maybe this offseason, that way we could rope Derek and Taylor into helping,” I say, trying for some humor.

But mom looks like she found a bad shrimp in her pasta. “A few months?” She gasps. “I’m confused. I thought you were moving back?”

Mom has always wanted us to move back when our careers are over. She slips it into conversation all the time. None of us ever confirmed we would, but we’ve never said we weren’t, either. There was an ease to letting it go instead of addressing it, and maybe that was a mistake.

“I like Seattle. It’s my home,” I tell her. “More importantly, it’s where Loren is.”

“Well, have you talked to him about moving? He can work from anywhere, right? He doesn’t have to be in Washington.”

I take a deep, calming breath. “Maybe, but it isn’t just Loren. His team is in Washington. He’s not going to leave them and I would never ask such a thing of him. They’re his family.”

“We’re your family. Does that not mean anything?”


Mom calmly sets her napkin atop her half empty plate. “When were you planning to tell us?”

“I still have a year left. We don’t have concrete plans.”

There isn’t much to discuss. I think she realizes she will not get the answer she wants. The rest of dinner is quiet. Mom’s upset that I’m not coming home and Dad’s upset I’m retiring when I could be playing.

I’ve never been with my parents and felt so at odds. It’s defeating. I can’t help but leave dinner with a heavy heart. The last thing I want to do is disappoint them.


I refuse to wait for Loren to arrive at my house. Instead, I drive to Puyallup after dropping my parents off at the airport.

The front door opens as I get out of my SUV. Loren stands there with a soft smile. Forty-eight hours ago, he took off without so much as a goodbye.

“How was Mexico?”

He looks at his feet as a blush creeps up his neck and colors his cheeks. “How mad are you?”

I go to him and cup his face with my hands. My sweet Loren. I shake my head. “I’m not mad at all.” I grab his hand and lead him inside the house. “I’m kind of glad you weren’t there. It was so awkward. None of us could look at each other, conversation was stilted, and the whole evening was tense. And then there Kadıköy escort was dinner…”

“What happened at dinner?”

I wrap my arms around him and rest my head on top of his. “My parents are so upset with me. I told Mom I wasn’t moving back to Wisconsin and Dad is upset I’m retiring. Their reactions were so uncharacteristic.”

“Was it?” He quizzes.

“Well, yeah. They’ve always been so supportive, even when they don’t agree. As my brothers.”


“‘Hmm?’ What is that?”

Loren looks uncomfortable. “Well…”

I lean back and look at him. Holy shit. Big brown, guilt-ridden eyes look back. “What is happening?” I ask.

He tugs his ear nervously. “If you asked your brothers, I think they’d tell you this is pretty normal.”

“Why would you know that?”

“They told me.”

“When did you have this heart to heart and where was I?”

“It was a while ago. My first visit when we had dinner at the winery.”

“What did they say?”

“I don’t think that’s my place. This needs to be a conversation between you and your brothers.”

I retrieve my phone from the pocket of my jacket, but Loren stops me before I hit the call button. I yank my hand away. “I’m calling my brothers!”

Loren puts his hands up and takes a step back, giving me space. “They’re going to be here tomorrow afternoon,” he says carefully.

“Derek and Taylor are coming here?”

“Yeah.” He nods. “They’ll be here through the weekend.”

“Including Thursday?” My Lombardi day.

“Specifically for Thursday, which is why I think you should wait to say anything until it’s over.”

I stare at him for a moment, glowering. He’s right. If my brothers are coming, I should hold off on grilling them about this secret that everyone is privy to but me. Just because I know Loren’s right doesn’t mean I’m not seething about it. I don’t like knowing I’ve been in the dark. If we’re as close as I thought, why haven’t they talked to me about this? We’ve always talked about everything.

I huff and puff and shoulder past Loren like a child. I refuse to look at Loren, but he keeps putting himself in my line of sight, forcing me to see him with his sweet, innocent smile. Every time I catch his eye, he pouts. It’s an evil plan, but it works. I can’t stay mad at him.

Eventually, I succumb to his pure evilness. “Don’t look so smug,” I growl as he undresses next to his bed.

“I’m not being smug,” he says, looking and sounding totally smug.

“I’m mad.”

“I know.”

“My brothers trust you more than they trust me.”

Loren shakes his head. “That’s not true. And you’ll find out soon enough. Okay? Now get in bed and let me help you relax.”

Pulling a page from Loren’s book back when we road-tripped, I quickly pull on a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt before crawling into bed. Loren watches, his lip curling in amusement. “I see what you’re doing.”

I turn my back to him, staying on the far side of the bed.

“Okay,” he says from behind me. “I get it. You can stop now.”

Nope. I pull the blankets up and wrap them tight around me.

Loren chuckles.


I pace around the house, refolding the sofa blankets and straightening the barstools in the kitchen. Whatever I can do to fill the time while I wait for Loren to come back from the airport with my brothers. I still don’t know what he has planned or why my brothers are included. Neither of them has won a Super Bowl. They made the wildcard this year but lost in the first round. Seems like this could be a salt-in-the-wounds situation.

I smile when I hear the hum of the garage door, and grin when Derek and Taylor come around the corner. They toss the duffle bags off to the side and charge me, taking me to the ground. We wrestle until I’m pinned under the two of them.

“This isn’t a fair fight,” I cry as I try to gain some sort of leverage, but they’ve got me pinned good.

Once they let me up, we hangout and gossip about trades, drafts, and other drama. Loren had gone shopping so we spend most of the evening cooking together in the kitchen while sitting at the infamous island where my parents walked in on Loren and I just a few short days ago.

Loren and I make eye contact as Taylor sits where it all took place.

“So,” I say as I take a bite of salad. “Are you guys going to tell me what’s going on here?”

“With you getting ready to leave the game completely, we want to share as much as we can while we have the chance. Loren had a few ideas to make it fun. We thought, why not?”

I tilt my head. “We could do so many things. Why pick the Super Bowl win?”

Taylor grins. “It’s more fun this way.”

That’s all I get. No one feels inclined to give me anymore. But I have my ways. I don’t want to brag, but I know how to work Loren over pretty good.


“Please, please, please tell me,” I beg as we lay in bed. “I’ll give you a blowie.”

“You’ll give me a blowie anyway.”

“I’ll fuck you.”

“You’ll fuck me anyway–and before you say it,” he says quickly. “I’ll fuck you anyway.”

I pout.

Maybe I’m not a good interrogator. I go to bed doing two of the three things and without getting any information in return. I hate it when Loren is right.

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