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    Mrsgnomie
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Jay's Loelife - 1. Who the F**k is Jay Petermeyer?

chapter
one
loren

 

The kitchen is littered with tripods and video lighting. Milk is pooled on the counter where I got a little overzealous with my frother. No matter how you turn it, the kitchen is wrecked. It always is after a day of filming. Good food, good drinks, and good content don’t come easy or without maid service.

It would take less than twenty minutes to have the place tidied but then I’d be late for drinks. Too many times I’ve taken that chance and it never works out for me. The guys don’t take lightly to my excuses. So, I remind myself that a messy kitchen is a small price to pay compared to showing up late—or worse, bailing completely.

Slowly backing away from the mess, I slide my phone from my pocket.

Me: On my way. ETA 1h

On my way through to house, I avoid eye contact with the fucking jersey Corey dropped off this morning. I cannot bring what I do not see, I tell myself as I side-shuffle past it.

The phone in my pocket vibrates as I reach the front door. I groan. So close…

Corey: And I’m sure you didn’t forget the jersey, right? Nah, you’d never do that...

I swipe the offending material from where it’s mocking me, shove it under my armpit, and type back a quick message as I leave the house. I fucking hate you.

****

I pull the jersey over my shirt then cover it with a jacket before getting out of the van. I don’t need to see myself to know I look like an idiot. I definitely feel like one.

The worn wood door creaks when I pull it open. The Seattle salt air has not been kind to it. Inside is loud but the AC is strong and a nice relief from the surprising hot and windless day. How this dive bar is always packed I will never know.

I don’t see the appeal of being surrounded by twenty televisions playing sports or the announcers/commentators talking over each other. The whole sports concept is not only boring as hell, but confusing. Don’t get me started on the overpaid players or how the industry as a whole downplays the seriousness of brain injuries.

To prove my point, some dumbass on one of the televisions gets pummeled to the ground. It’s brutal. The guy lays there and the coach runs over. My eyes don’t leave the screen as I make my way to our usual table. Everyone’s encouraging the guy to get up despite having been taken out by three players. Just walk it off, you know? It’s insane.

I pull out the chair and sit down. “This is what I don’t understand—” I look around the table wide eyed. Years we’ve sat at this table but I don’t know any of these people. I stand up. “I’ll just—” I motion with both thumbs to the other side of the room.

My crew are in the back, sitting at the big horseshoe table with a group of guys I’ve never seen. I glare at them as I hear. They’re grinning at my faux-pas.

“It’s your fault,” I chastise as I spin the chair around and sit. “A heads up that you moved tables would’ve been nice.”

“And miss that?” Isaac teases. “Not a chance.”

I flip him the middle finger, making the guys laugh. Besides my friends, there’s four strangers. A black guy with a great smile, a Puerto Rican with dreads and a chip on his shoulder, a Greek guy with jet black hair in a buzz cut who is talking with Cole, and an All-American blonde with a I’m-happy-all-the-time look about him.

And all that happiness is looking right at me. He’s watching me like I’m prime entertainment…like I’m the best show he’s ever seen.

I watch him back for a second, then look at Isaac for confirmation that this guy is weird. Isaac watches us with much amusement. When he catches my eye, he bites his fist to hide his smile, and looks away.

I don’t know what’s up nor do I care, so I ignore the happy blonde.

There’s a buzz around the table. Light conversation, nothing crazy. The blonde guy is still watching me while I pretend not to notice him staring. He sits there with this smile-smirk on his face and his arms crossed. Finally, he moves next to me.

He holds his hand out. “I’m Jay.”

No matter how annoying I find him and his nonstop staring, I smile and reach for his hand. “Loren.”

“It is really nice to meet you.”

Okay then, I laugh to myself. People are so weird sometimes. They get awkward and nervous and don’t know how to talk. But he doesn’t say anything beyond that. He doesn’t leave, either. It should be creepy that he’s still watching me but it really isn’t. I’m getting none of the crazy stalker vibes. Besides, I’m used to this.

It’s warm and a little muggy so I take the jacket off and drape it behind me.

Jay perks up like he knows a secret so sweet it makes honey taste dull like cardboard. His grin goes from earnest to manic. He’s not good at being discreet. Whatever he’s feeling, he’s all in. He’s like bam. Hi. Hello.

“Number 99 huh?”

He glances at my jersey, again, and smiles. Bam. Hi. Hello.

“You a fan?” He asks.

Then it hit me. I look down at my jersey, then at my friends. Those fucking fuckheads. They did me dirty. I point at them. “You fuckers.

They lose it. They cover their mouths to quiet the ruckus but it doesn’t work. The whole bar is staring at us. Whatever they did, I have a feeling they’ve outdone themselves this time.

“Who the fuck am I wearing this time?” I demand. “Dog abuser? Wife beater? The guy who got arrested for pissing on a donkey? The weird sex tape guy?” I pause and shoot a wicked glare their way. “If it’s the weird sex tape guy, I’m going to freak the fuck out.”

They laugh louder.

“I’m serious.” I reach out and press my finger to the table. I’m this close to losing my shit. “It better not be the guy who got arrested for child porn. I draw the line. I will never come back here if this is his jersey. I mean it. Even if it’s the guy who put rocks up his butt, I’m out.” I look at the jersey. Seattle Seahawks. Number 99. I google it. “Who the fuck is Jay Petermeyer? What’s he done?” I ask. “With a name like that, there’s no way this is good.”

Now the whole table is in stitches. Even Jay. Well, he’s not laughing, but he’s chuckling while his friends jostle him around. He also looks cherry-tomato-mortified.

“I guess I should clarify,” he says, a little embarrassed, a little amused. “I’m Jay. Jay Petermeyer. Number 99 with the Seahawks.”

Oh. My friends got me good. I tell them as much and it sets off another round of good-natured laughter. His friends laugh, too, at Jay’s expense I assume. Every time they look at each other, they laugh harder. For some reason they find it funnier than my friends do. That’s for sure. That says a lot because my friends find this pretty fucking hilarious.

I feel kind of bad that I slightly concussed his ego and embarrassed him in front of his friends. “I didn’t mean anything by it,” I tell him. “My friends have given me a few bad jerseys in the past. They really love to watch me embarrass myself. It’s their kink.”

“Ah, it's no big deal,” he says. “I think I was kind of set up, too. My friends enjoy watching me flounder. They say it’s good for me.”

“It is good for you,” one of them confirms. The big black guy with the killer smile sticks out his hand. “Hi, I’m Marcus.” He points at the other guys at the table. “This is Garrett and Shawn. We’re Jay’s teammates.”

Corey leans forward and looks at me, his eyes are shining with excitement. “They’re the Sack Pack.”

I grew up with Corey. He of all people knows I don’t give a fuck about sports. “Why do you say it like that means something? You know it doesn’t.”

He throws his hands up. He’s tried so many times over the years to teach me, to make me love the game, and has gotten nowhere. Maybe he’s finally realizing that I will never learn. I will never join the dark side.

Jay leans forward and puts his elbows on the table. “We play defense and have a bit of a reputation for being the best. I think most Quarterbacks in our division fear us. Rightfully so.”

There’s so much conviction in his words that I can’t help but be impressed. In a world where everyone is superhuman, it must mean something to be feared.

“Congratulations on being among the best,” I say. “That’s never easy.”

I don’t know how he does it, but he smiles even brighter. He sits up straighter and puffs his chest out. He looks at the table, at everyone’s drinks, and his eyes go wide. He stands so quickly the table almost goes with him. Everyone grabs their drinks before they end up on the floor.

“Oh god,” he says, panicked. “You don’t have a drink. What can I get you?”

A drink? “Oh, I can get it. Don’t worry about it.”

“No, no. Let me, I insist.”

“Okay…”

“I was drinking a greyhound. They make their grapefruit in-house. It’s killer. Bar none. But if you’d rather have cranberry…”

“A greyhound sounds perfect.”

His eyes lose some of their tension. They’re bluer, lighter, brighter. When he gets back, he watches intently as I take a sip, waiting for my reaction.

Holy shit. It’s so good.

“Right?” he beams. “I told you, their grapefruit juice is amazing.”

I take another drink because, wow. He laughs at my expression.

I take one more drink before forcing myself to set it down. “I was ready to bail on this place but this drink is worth staying.”

He’s about to say something and, judging by the smirk and the twinkle in his eye, it’s witty. But he bites his lip and takes a drink instead. After a minute, he looks at me. “So, Loren-who-doesn’t-follow-sports, what makes you unique?”

I get asked questions all the time but this one is different. It makes me think. “What makes me unique?”

“Yeah. What sets you apart?”

“Who says I’m unique? Maybe I’m no different from every other dude out here.”

“You’re definitely unique.”

“Okay, smart guy. If you’re so sure, then you tell me what makes me unique.”

Jay leans forward, blocking us from the rest of the group. “I’m not sure yet, but I’ll let you know when I find out.”

“That would require us seeing each other again.”

“I’m counting on it.”

I laugh. Hell, I blush. I can’t help it. There is something so innocent in the way he looks at me, yet very overwhelming. I get hit on all the time, mostly in my DM’s, but in person too. This is different.

“Can I ask you a question?” I ask.

“You can ask anything and everything.”

“Why were my friends invited to sit here tonight?”

“Oh, ummm,” he blushes and looks away. “You.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. We’ve been coming here for years. I was here when you came by for the first time and probably every subsequent time. Honestly, I’m a little offended you never noticed me, but it’s okay. My friends were right, it’s probably good for me you didn’t.”

“If you’ve been stalking me for years, then why tonight?”

“Why not?” he counters. “Apparently the only way to get your attention is to invite your friends over because here you are.”

“That’s incredibly—”

“Cute?” he finishes. “Do you find me completely adorable now?”

I laugh and run my fingers through my hair. He’s ridiculous. “I was going to say bold, but it’s kind of cute, too. I suppose.”

He does a fist bump and a little victory dance in his chair. He’s shameless. And yes, completely adorable.

“If you noticed me the first time I came in, that means you’ve been watching me for a little over a year. You should be able to tell me what makes me unique.”

Jay grins. “The fact you’re going to marry me one day. That’s what makes you unique.”

I laugh because he’s funny. “I’m serious. What makes me unique.”

“I am serious,” he says. Then he turns to his friends. “Yo, Garrett. Who am I going to marry?”

Garrett’s eyes hone in on me like a moving target, then cut to Jay. Jay nods. Go on, tell him.

Garrett looks at me, almost apologetically. “You.”

“Really?” I ask. I’m still smiling. Trying not to laugh.

“He’s pretty adamant about it.”

Unlike Garrett, Jay looks very unapologetic. He puts his palms out and shrugs. “When you know, you know.”

“How do you know?”

“Some things can’t be explained. Like I said, when you know, you know.”

“If I’m to marry you, shouldn’t I know?” I ask. “I haven’t noticed you at all in the last year. I can honestly say I don’t know whatever it is I should know.”

Jay confidently leans back in his chair. “Oh, you will.”

****

Everyone’s moved on to their own conversations, leaving us alone. I nurse my drink while Jay and I talk about nothing specific. It’s pretty mundane and nice.

He’s got this ease about him, the kind that comes from having a solid background. Like his parents are happily married and always made good money. He looks like he went to a good school, got good grades, went to college and excelled there, too. He holds himself well. He’s confident and happy. The more I look, the more I see.

His hair is effortlessly perfect and his skin is well taken care of. It’s smooth and healthy. He’s clean shaven. His shirt is plain but good quality. It fits his muscled physique well. I notice his arms, they’re still crossed. The skin that hugs his muscles is taut, healthy, and soft. He’s neither too tan nor too white. His thick forearms are dusted with blonde hair and a light smattering of freckles.

When my drink nears the bottom, Jay gets me a refill. An hour later, he’s off for another. He’s so quick I never have a chance to reciprocate. When he comes back, I’m laughing. At this point, he’s not even trying to be coy. He’s interested.

Not only has he kept my drink full in a respectable not-trying-to-get-me-wasted kind of way, he introduces me to the world’s best honey chicken wings. Honestly, I’m half buzzed and half in love.

I lift my drink to take a sip but Jay taps his glass against mine like we’re celebrating. It wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but I accept because I’m buzzed.

“Are you proposing to me?” I tease. Since we’re going to get married one day and all.

He brings the drink to his lips and smiles. “Are you saying yes?”

He has to get so much tail. There’s no way he doesn’t. He’s too charming. I look around for the line of guys falling over themselves to get to him. When I look back, he’s watching me, smiling, looking like he’s wondering what the hell I’m looking for.

“What are football groupies called?” I ask

“Cleat chasers.”

“Do you have a lot of those?”

Jay laughs and I swear the lights in the damn place flicker, kind of like cause and effect thing. “Sure. I mean, there are always people wanting to bang professional athletes.”

“Guys and girls?”

“Of course,” he laughs. “The possibilities are endless.”

“Are you interested?”

“I’m not saying I’ve never taken a dip in the pool of slightly insane fans, but it’s not something I do regularly, or irregularly for that matter. Less than a handful. Three times, to be exact. Three times too many.”

He has more restraint than I do. My number is a lot higher than three. I can be more discreet than him, so it’s not such a big deal. That’s not to say it hasn’t backfired in my face a time or two. People exploit people. It’s the name of the game.

We talk until everyone starts straightening things up; grouping empty glasses together, stacking plates, making a pile of the garbage. Politely signaling it’s time for us to wrap it up.

I grab my jacket. Jay follows. Standing next to me, I get the full effects of his height. He has to be six-five to my five-nine.

“Can I give you a ride home?” he asks.

“Home is a bit of a drive for me,” I tell him.

“How about your number?”

I slide my arms into my jacket and smile. “I don’t give my number out, sorry.”

He gives me a strange look. I guess no one’s used that line on him before. But I’m not lying, I don’t give my number out.

“Ever?”

“Rarely.”

“No exceptions for someone as adorable as me?”

My friend Isaac is standing close enough to overhear Jay and I. He eyes me. He knows I could give Jay a contact number, even if it’s not my personal one. Wouldn’t Isaac love that, having access to Jay Petermeyer? I would rather stick a pencil in my eye than give him that pleasure or power. He would conspire with the rest of the guys until what jersey I’m wearing is the least of my problems.

“Not even for someone as adorable as you,” I tell him.

Jay keeps pace beside me as we leave the bar. It’s dark and loud, everyone’s buzzed and talking over each other. It’s early fall in the Pacific Northwest. The warmth is gone and the winter chill is in every whip of the wind.

I walk to Isaac’s car. Jay follows. His car—a customized Toyota Sequoia with dark paint, tinted windows, small lift, etc.—is parked two spots away.

I’m half in Isaac’s truck when Jay stops me. “Are you really going to make me wait until you show up here again?” He’s cute when he pouts. It’s usually a turn off but he doesn’t come off as desperate, just adorable.

“It’s just a few weeks.”

He leans against his SUV with his arms across his chest. He’s still pouting, hoping it will change my mind. He’s using those big blue eyes and gorgeous face to his advantage. I’m sure it’s worked many times for him.

Bye Jay,” I sing as I close the door behind me. He’s still watching me, still pouting, still being fucking adorable. I wave with my fingertips and Isaac laughs as we pull away.

Before we disappear from the parking lot, I see Jay smile and I swear the moon grows brighter.

“You and Jay seem to hit it off.”

“He’s nice.”

“Well, yeah, it is Jay Petermeyer.” He hits his blinker. Once he’s on I-5, he looks at me. “It means you’re crazy for not giving him your number, that’s what it means.”

I stare at the passing trees and wonder what the fuss is about.

“You’re going to google him, aren’t you?”

“Nah.”

“Yeah you are,” he teases.

A few minutes later I turn to Isaac and smile. “Is that M-E-Y-E-R? or M-E-I-E-R?” I ask.

Isaac laughs at my idiocy. “You’re not going to Google him my ass.”

After we get to his house, we enjoy a nightcap before heading to our respective rooms. After I cross the threshold, he grabs the door and stops me from closing it. “It’s M-E-Y-E-R, like the fucking hot dog.” He’s still laughing after he closes his door. 

I plug my phone in and start googling. It doesn’t take me long to get a pretty clear snapshot of this guy.

Not only does Jay look like the perfect All-American guy, he is the perfect All-American guy. No scandals, no drama. Everyone loves him, and I do mean everyone. I can’t find a bad thing written. There are hundreds of pictures of him with his fans, him volunteering, and lots of him laughing. There are videos of him being the perfect teammate, the perfect sportsman, the perfect competitor. Even walking off the field with a broken nose, he’s smiling. He’s a force of nature.

There are articles where he gushes about his family; how supportive and amazing his parents are. Pictures of him as a kid. His dad was his coach, and his mom brought snacks. He has two younger brothers who both play professional football but not at his skill level.

I’m flattered that he picked me out of a lineup. Quite frankly, it’s an honor. But that’s as far as it goes.

I don’t know what he thinks he knows about us getting married or whatever, but I know what I know. Jay is light. He’s everything that is good and ideal in this world. He’s a soft breeze on a warm summer night. He’s big-family-holidays and well-meaning-relatives with all their questions and their caring. He's a suburban home and two-point-five kids kinda guy. He’s block parties with matching barbeque aprons and pool parties with matching swim shorts.

And there is nothing in me that wants to touch that life with a ten-foot pole.

Copyright © 2022 Mrsgnomie; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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