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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 - 23. Good dreams and bad nightmares

chapter
twenty-three
loe

 

“Everyone seems to love the last reel I posted—”

“I posted,” Jay corrects. He’s sitting just off screen but pops his head in so everyone can see him. “I had the idea for the video. It’s all mine. Loe didn’t even know what we were doing until he saw the finished product.”

“Yes,” I agree sarcastically, with an exaggerated head shake and a glare. “Your idea was soooo hilarious.”

It actually was. The concept, anyway. He filmed himself loading a couple of ten-pound weights onto the bar with a video caption that said ‘POV: loading a few tens onto the bar’ and then he bent me over at the waist, wrapped his arms around me, and loaded me onto the bar. You know, because I’m a ten and all. Ha. Ha.

Except…

“I sure was laughing when you picked me up and rammed me ass first into the bar, trying to skewer me like a pig at a luau. But that wasn’t enough, was it? Oh no. You could leave well enough alone. You hefted me up a few more inches and tried again. This time, instead of sodomizing me, you tried to shuck my damn nuts off with the end of the bar. By the time you dropped me on the ground, I was as close to a woman as I ever want to be.”

Jay is laughing so hard he’s hardly making any noise. His face is red and his eyes are wet. He waves his hands in front of the camera like ‘don’t look at me. I can’t pull myself together’.

I stare at the camera, straightfaced. “See for yourself.”

The ‘blooper’ video of Jay violating me for the sake of a reel ends up with more views than the reel itself. My pain is their gain, I guess.

On the plus side, Jay is awfully attentive to my behind.

****

I find Jay in the kitchen. He’s shirtless, his blonde hair is messy as he stands over his sixty-inch gas range, cooking a little of everything. One hand is gripping a towel that’s slung over his shoulder while he flips pancakes and bacon with the other.

When I move the barstool, Jay turns and smiles brightly. “Hope you’re hungry.”

Even if I wasn’t, I’d eat his food. “You know—” My eyes shamelessly wander his body. “Shirtless Jay Petermeyer cooking breakfast would be one popular segment.”

Jay laughs because he knows I know it would never fly. And not just because Jay would object. Gone are the days of not caring if I’m half naked, or if the guy I’m into is half naked. I’ve lost all my chill. The thought of someone mackin’ on Jay the way Nikolas tried mackin’ on me?

Deep breath.

“Hey.” Jay nudges my chin up with his finger. “You need more sleep?”

“Nah. Just lost in thought.” I grab a plate and gape at the island. “A little overkill on the food?”

He watches me for a second, making sure all is well, then goes back to his grill and gathers the rest of the food. “I saw what you’ve been eating the last few weeks…”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

Jay narrows his eyes, knowing it really was that bad. I guess, if you had to label it, I might have been a little depressed with him gone.

Jay takes my plate and fills it up. “I’d offer you juice but I think you need water”

“Okay, Daddy.”

Jay falters, almost dropping the plate. He narrows me with a glare and shoves the plate back to me. But his intense, unamused glare turns smug as I demolish my food.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I say as I get up and shoulder past him. So what if he knows what I need?

He grabs my arm and pulls me back. “I enjoy taking care of you.”

I whack his chest. “Great, then you can give my balls a little TLC and then help me put my house back together.”

****

Much to everyone’s surprise, I’m not naturally an extrovert. I enjoy being in crowds. I even like being the center of attention, but it doesn’t take much to reach the point where I need to disappear. And to distract myself while Jay was gone, I surrounded myself with a lot of people. Now that he’s back, I don’t want to see another living soul except him.

Maybe bringing him back to my house isn’t the best way to escape from people, but the flooring arrived for the entertainment room upstairs, above the garage. It’s not a contract I’m excited about, but doing it with Jay is exponentially more exciting than doing it alone. I think millions of fans would agree.

Jay is surprisingly efficient. He pre-lays a dozen boards and then goes back through and taps them into place with ease.

I sit back on my hunches and watch. “Have you ever done this before?”

“A few years ago we did Seamus’s loft during the off season. His place is easy. Pretty open, a lot like this space.”

My first thought is ‘why didn’t they pay to have someone do it? Seamus isn’t hurting for money. But people make the same assumptions about me. I do have the money, but DIY is part of what I do. DIY with Jay is a bonus.

My friends know I’m off for the next week, so I’m a little surprised when the doorbell rings. More surprised that they’d use the bell.

Jay stops me from getting up. “I’ll grab it.” Then he dusts off his clothes and heads downstairs.

Curious, I head to the landing. The front door is barely out of view, but I can see the bottom of Jay’s feet and the sunshine from the open door. Jay greets whoever is at the door.

Nikolas. I can’t hear what he is saying, but I know the voice.

Unfortunately, he’s unavailable. Is there something I can help you with? What color is the jacket? Loren was cleaning up this morning. I’m sure he tossed it in the lost and found. Sit tight and I’ll see if I can find it.

Jay sees me standing at the landing and shakes his head like he can’t believe the nerve of the guy. I point to the counter where the jacket is sitting, along with other stuff that was left behind the other night. Jay snatches it off the counter. Halfway to the front door, he pauses and pivots back to the kitchen. He grabs a cheap plastic Safeway bag and shoves the expensive jacket in it before tying the handles in a very tight knot.

It’s the same thing he does with Aidan’s poopy clothes.

Is this it? Great. Yeah, man, you too. Have a great day.”

I’m waiting at the top of the stairs for him, grinning. “I have a lost and found, huh?”

“He said they were probably in your bedroom.”

“So, you tied them off in a plastic bag?”

“It’s what I do with trash.”

I laugh and follow him back to the media room. Before we get back to work, I stand in front of him and grab his shirt. “It wasn’t in my room.”

“I know.”

“You’re a better man than me,” I admit. Jay looks so completely unbothered it’s almost irritating. “I would’ve punched him if I were you.”

“Punching him means he was a threat. Punching him is what he wants. Nah—” He shakes his head. “Not giving him a moment of my time is worse than getting punched in the face because it’s twice the rejection. Once by you not giving in. Then again by me not reacting.”

True to his word about not giving Nikolas another thought, he picks up the tape measure and goes back to work.

The odd display of Alphaness has me distracted. Fuck the floors. I turn on some eighties pop hits and drag him off the floor and make him dance with me. After a few songs, we find ourselves in a bit of a competition. I blame the fact he’s older that he knows every word to every song. Then he breaks into a full choreographed number to the B-52’s Love Shack and I know it’s over for me. I’m more of a club dancer with a PhD in bump and grind.

“Where’d you come up with that?” I ask,

“I took a pop dance class in the summer of 1990. It was mostly girls. Johnny Wetzel and myself were the only guys. Anyway, I spent the entire summer learning that dance and then feeling super cool every time the song played and I got to show off my skills.

“Thirty years later, I’d say your parents got their money’s worth.”

For three days, we goof off as we work around the house and finish projects that have been sitting partially done for a while. I love showing off this side of Jay.

This side of us.

I find myself wanting to show off the things I never thought I’d have.

****

Jay watches intently as I rub the back of my neck. He’s waiting for me to say whatever it is I’ve been wanting to say for the last two days. He leans forward, giving me all his attention. I shove my hands in my pocket.

“If you want to re-up your contract, I fully support you.”

“And if I don’t want to re-up my contract?” he asks, getting down to the bare bones of it.

“Then I support you.”

“But which do you support more?”

I let out a breath. It’s not a tough conversation, but it’s a big decision, and not something I want on my shoulders.

“I—wouldn’t be opposed to this being your last year.”

Jay jumps up from his seat and kisses me. “Was that so hard?!”

“Yes.”

Loren wants me to retire,” he sing-songs.

“I said I wasn’t opposed to it.”

“You want me to be your full-time assistant.”

“I don’t think Jason would appreciate that.”

Jay reaches down and undoes the button on my pants. “I can assist you with things he can’t.”

I choke when his hand slides into my pants, cupping my dick. “Oh. You want to be my personal assistant…”

“Yes…Loren’s very personal assistant.” He drops to his knees and pulls my pants down. Jay gives me a very thorough, hands-on, and oral demonstration of his qualifications. Turns out he’s detailed and eager to please.

****

“I know it seems counterintuitive, but I think we should cut our paid sponsorships in half,” Isaac says.

I look at the giant calendar that hangs in my office. Jay is in California for work; media rounds and endorsements stuff. He comes home in three days.

I’ve been making it a habit of being excessively busy when I know he will be gone. Between upcoming collaborations that include trips to Florida, Texas, and southern California, and the fact his team wants me to come back for another year as hype man extraordinaire, it doesn’t look like I’ll have a minute to spare.

Maybe Isaac has a point.

The guys mull it over. Even cutting our sponsored posts in half, we still come out way ahead. It’s our product drop that’s the real money and we wouldn’t stop that any time soon.

“It’s less pressure for sure,” Cole agrees. While Isaac takes more of a management role and Corey focuses on contract details, Cole is a numbers guy. He studies trends and statistics. He watches the analytics like a hawk and knows what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

“People prefer organic content. Our engagement and views are up by twenty-five percent in the last year. The highest watched content is Jay related. They went bananas when you partnered with the team. I think that’s important information since the contract the Seahawks have laid out for this next year is more lucrative than most everything else we have and encourages engagement.”

Corey taps his pen on the table. “I think we’re having the wrong conversation. We’ve spent the last fifteen years worrying about this crap. It was easy when we were all single and had nothing to do but throw ourselves into this life, but things have changed. We’re getting older. The younger generation is flooding the industry. I think it’s time to shift the thinking to a more personal level. So, the question is…what do we want? And let’s face it,” he continues, looking at me specifically. “It’s easy for us to balance work and our personal life. It’s different for you, Loe. You take the brunt of it. But things are getting serious between you and Jay. Most of what you’re sharing shows that. Which means the most important question is, what do you see the next few years looking like?”

“It’s Jay’s last year playing, so I want to take the contract with his team. I want to share that with him. After that, I don’t know for sure, but I think I’m ready for something different.”

Isaac nods. He gets me. “We don’t have to decide now. I think knowing it will be different means we’re open to change. Agree?”

Everyone’s on board. We decide not to take on any new contracts aside from the one with Jay’s team. This way, when the season is over, we have the freedom to go whatever direction we want.

Change is good, right? The future is whatever we want it to be.

****

Unknown: It’s Matt, Seamus’ boyfriend. Seamus got a hold of Jay and got your number. I hope that’s okay…

I laugh. Hey Matt. It’s all good. What's up?

Matt: We were wondering if you were still willing to chat with us about Seamus’ in-laws?

Me: Things not going well?

Matt: You could say that

I dial his number.

“I guess this would’ve been easier,” Matt says. “I just didn’t want to bother you.”

“No bother. Tell me what’s going on.”

“Just his in-laws. They’re coming at him hard and it’s time to fight back.”

“I’m assuming it’s time sensitive, so we should probably get to Denver soon and start this thing?”

“Ideally, but we understand you’re busy. We don’t want to be a burden. We can come to you.”

“No. I’d rather be in Denver. We can promote the shit out of Seamus’ businesses while we air all the details. If we do this, we do it.

“Okay…okay. Yeah. Let’s do it,” he says, sounding more and more excited but still overwhelmingly nervous.

“You okay?”

“No,” he says with a laugh. “I’m freaking out.”

“Let me talk to Jay and see if he can get away before he reports for training.”

Matt groans. “You sure you wanna bring Jay?”

“No, but people love him, so we should tolerate him for the good publicity.”

“Ugh, he’s the worst.”

I laugh. I love the way Matt keeps Jay humble. The relationship they have makes me smile. “I’ll call you later, alright?”

“Yes, of course. Thank you.”

****

Jay Petermeyer has a big heart, one of the biggest I’ve ever met. It seems there’s room for everyone. He has his teammates; Marcus, Shawn, and Garrett, whom he adores. His actual family that he’d do anything for. Then there’s Seamus, Will, and Scott who takes the cake. If he could, I think he’d sneak off to Denver every chance he gets. And it's no secret Aidan is a big reason for that.

I mean, when I asked Jay if he was free to go with me, he said he could be packed in an hour.

Now he’s loading a giant bag for Aidan into the back of our Seamus-provided-minivan. After the last stay, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love this fucking vehicle. I’m oddly excited to try it out in something other than snow.

“Are you okay staying at the loft with Seamus and Matt?” he asks.

“It will be easier.”

“Good, good,” he smiles. “That’s real good.” In truth, he wants to stay there because he wants to be with his little partner in crime.

“I’d like to not get peed on again, if that’s alright with you.”

Jay throws his head back and laughs as he gets into the driver’s seat. “It’s not like I planned that. And if you remember correctly, I got peed on, too. I just didn’t make a big deal out of it.”

“Maybe you should have.”

****

There’s a welcome party waiting when we get to the loft. Will, Scott, both their wives, and Aidan—who’s wearing a 99 jersey that says ‘Loe’s Boyfriend’ on the back.

Jay picks up the almost three-year-old and shakes his fist at Matt. “If his birthday wasn’t tomorrow, I’d pummel you.”

As dinner ends, Seamus stands up. “Since everyone’s here, I thought this would be a good time to make an announcement.” Matt stands, smiling brightly, then he and Seamus raise their hands and show off a matching set of rings. “We’re engaged!”

Jay stands up and hugs his friends. “Now there’s something worth celebrating.”

Will helps himself to Seamus’ wine collection, popping a few bottles for everyone. The celebration goes late into the night. Somehow, Aidan falls asleep on my chest and every time I try to set him down, he wakes up. By one-in-the-morning my back is dead. It’s Seamus who takes pity on me and relieves me of Potato duty.

The next morning is all business.

Good morning Loelifers. I’m here at the Coffee Bar with my good friends Matt and Seamus, and of course, Jay is tagging along.”

“Hey, I resent that.”

“Tagalongs don’t get to talk,” Matt says, pushing Jay until he’s out of the scene. Jay comes back in and wraps his arms around Matt’s neck, bending him in half.

Seamus and I share a look of exasperation before he pulls them apart.

Did you know the Loelife’s drink of the week was started at this very coffee shop?”

“It’s true,” Matt says. “My co-worker and best friends are big fans and started doing Loe’s drinks as the weekly special.”

“Today we’re making one of my favorite non-coffee drinks. Perfect for a warm day when you want something bubbly and delicious.”

“Is it the coconut Dr. Pepper?” Jay asks. “That was good!”

“Nope. Today we’re doing a Sprite, green apple, caramel, with cream.”

Jay grips his chest dramatically. “Sounds so good.”

God, don’t oversell it,” Matt says, rolling his eyes.

I look at Jay, who's glaring at Matt, and laugh. “Anyway—” I grab the ingredients and start making the drinks, “—we’re doing things a little differently today. My friend Seamus has worked really hard over the years to build not only this business but several others. Now he’s in jeopardy of losing them all. While we make our drinks, Seamus is going to share his story. It’s important that we raise awareness and support our small business owners.”

Seamus smiles nervously and moves next to me. Now it’s his time to shine.

He does great, actually. He hits the highlights, enough information to capture everyone's attention, but not enough for them to walk away satisfied. They want more.

“You have two phones?” Seamus asks as we head back to the loft. When we left the cafe, there was a line out the door. It had only taken thirty minutes for people to fill it up.

“One is my personal phone and one is my work phone for posting.”

“If Loren didn’t have two phones, he’d always be bombarded by messages and he never would’ve finished the live we just did.”

“Do you have any messages from what we just did?”

I go to my inbox and flip my phone around so he can see. His eyes widen. “Over two-hundred-thousand?!”

“When we get back to the loft, we should go through a bunch of the questions and answer as many as we can. Some of the questions are bound to be hard.”

“I know.”

“It’s important that you’re open about this. We brought them into it. We can’t close the door.”

“I get it. I’ll answer any question they have,” Seamus says with determination.

I pat Seamus on the shoulder. “I wouldn’t go that far, but I like your spirit.”

****

Alright, we got close to a half million questions, so we’re going to answer those now. Then we’re going to take you with us and show you the hard work Seamus has put in to his businesses. First up we have Cscampbell: How long were you and Kelly together?

Oh, we started dating when I was a freshman in college so…about seven years.

Drsawzall: Why do Kelly’s parents hate you?

You’d have to ask them? I think it’s because they thought I wasn’t good enough. Maybe jealousy? Greed? That’s speculation, of course.”

Idunno: How did you find out about the cheating?

He wasn’t discreet. I walked in on it happening more than once. People told me. It’s also how he died. He was in the middle of fu—having sex with someone.”

JefferyL: Why didn’t you leave him?

A lot of dumb reasons. I was a poor kid from a small town and Kelly made me feel like a million bucks. It was easy to look the other way, for a while. He dangled money and power like a carrot. While I was distracted, he was breaking me in other ways. I was actually in the process of leaving him when he died.”

Howzat: Why did you suspect Mike was embezzling?

It was mostly a gut feeling. After Kelly died, Mike stayed and helped keep everything going. He was really open and explained a lot to me. As time went on, he became less and less open. I had to take his word for most everything. I felt like everything was a secret. I didn’t have access to anything, so I had no proof.”

FanLit: Did Aido Potato help bring Mike down?

Seamus smiles and pulls a picture up on his phone. It’s one-year-old Ninja Aidan wearing black jeans, a black hoodie, and a black beanie that he’s trying to pull off his head. “I would say he was most instrumental in bringing Mike down.”

Kbois: How much would you charge for pictures of your feet? Would you discount if you and your bf do it together?

Seamus blanches and looks at me. “I don’t see how that is relevant.”

I burst into laughter. “It’s not. I just wanted you to have a taste of my every day DMs. Anyway, Seamus will answer more questions later. We’re also going to take everyone on a tour of what his in-laws are trying to take away from him. In the meantime, remember—” I grab Aidan and haul him up to my lap. I hope all the practice pays off. “Can you tell everyone how to live their life?”

Aidan nods excitedly and grabs the phone with both hands, pulling it way too close to his face. A nice booger shot for everyone. “No matter da low wife or da high wife. You wiv the best wife!”

****

Coffee|Bar every morning. Dinner at Cavaliers. Dough Guppies for Aidan’s third birthday extravaganza. A walk around the dealership.

“We haven’t been able to keep minivans in stock,” Seamus says. “We have more special order requests on minivans than any other vehicle.”

Jay looks at me knowingly, like it’s my fault.

“Seamus is the one who made me drive it.” I remind him.

Jay throws his arm around my shoulder. “You’re a force to be reckoned with.”

****

Seamus saves the best for last. Purple Canary. I’ve been to more nightclubs than I can count and Seamus’ ain’t too shabby. It has a whiskey cellar vibe without being old and stuffy. It’s classy as fuck.

And the wait staff is cute.

It’s not the droves of people filling the club or the dozens of cameras pointed our way, it’s Jay looking fly in a purple short-sleeve button up with blue stripes. It compliments his mussed hair, wide shoulders, and his oddly-tan-for-the-season arms. The chinos couldn’t hug his monster thighs more beautifully if he tried.

But most of all, he perfectly compliments me and my white short-sleeve button up with owls. I grab Jay’s hand and drag him to the floor. “You might know how to dance to the B-52’s but do you know how to dance at a club?”

There are two different kinds of dancers: the kind that can dance in front of their family, and the kind who shouldn’t.

Watching Jay embrace his ultra-safe, late nineties, and somewhat awkward dad moves, it’s obvious he tore up his fair share of dance floors—wedding dance floors. He’s that dancer, the one with the flower girl standing on his feet or leading the groomsmen in a hilarious YouTube worthy two step. And he’s good, but he’s very…

Safe and respectable and so damn adorable.

Even when he wraps his arm around me in a way he probably thinks is crossing the tracks into inappropriate-ville, he’s still so innocent. I can’t bring myself to muddy him up, not with this many eyes on us.

“This is hot,” he whispers in my ear. “I get why people fuck in the bathrooms.”

I burst out laughing. One: Jay rarely cusses. Two: “We’re not fucking in the bathroom.”

“Here? God no, but maybe back at the loft?”

“In Aidan’s bathroom? You are kinky.”

His face twists. “Forget I said anything.”

“No, I think you’re on to something. We’d need to move all his bath toys first. They’re a tripping hazard.”

“Okay, you can stop now.”

“Just don’t use his towels for clean up.”

Jay covers my mouth with his hand, but he’s smiling. Fuck. I love him.

We don’t have bathroom sex. He does drag me to the back of the club, shoves me against the wall, and makes me regret telling him no on the bathroom sex, though.

We fly back to Seattle the next day with a growing number of people invested in Seamus’ legal ordeal. It won’t be long before the small laps of public persuasion build into an unstoppable tidal wave.

It feels great to use this power for good.

As I step off the plane, Jay takes my hand. “Did you know I love you?”

I laugh. “Uh, yeah. You’ve mentioned it a few times.”

“You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever met. You amaze me. I’m completely taken by you. I hope there is not one day I have to live on this earth without you.”

I stop and pull him against me. “I’d be pretty devastated without you, too.”

****

I can’t believe football season starts tomorrow. I’m officially contracted with the Seattle Seahawks. Community Media Marketing Manager. Pretty sure it’s a made-up title, but I have a generous budget, a media team who will bring my ideas to life, and no one to answer to.

The first game for the Hawks is an away game in Atlanta. I’m taking four lucky people.

The players have strict rules they must abide by during the season, especially when on the road. I thought it would be a lot more adventurous, but everyone goes their separate ways after dinner. Nerves, superstition, traditions…

I don’t get to stay with Jay. He’s on the floor above us with the rest of the team. I’m in the room between the two couples I’m hosting.

I sit on the side of the king bed inside my fancy smancy suite. The industry is wrecked about Jay’s departure. ‘It’s too soon’ and ‘he has at least five years left, if not more’. The Seahawks continue to tempt him, afraid another team may be doing the same.

I wonder if Jay is in the room right above me. I contemplate asking him for his room number but he has a roommate. More importantly, he’s insistent that he give everything he has to his final season. He wants to go out on top of his game. He wants to be a legend.

I dial Jay’s number.

“Hey, how’s my Executive Community Manager of the Social—” Jay hesitates. He can never seem to get my title correct. I don’t care. I still don’t know what his position on the team is. Defensive something-or-other. I know he chases QBs. Lots of hugging.

“Community Media Marketing Manager?”

“Yeah. How’s my Community Media Marketing Manager?”

I laugh at the sincere joy in his voice. He loves that I have an official position on his team during his final year. I think he really just loves that I get to travel with the team, even if we keep a professional distance the entire time.

“I’m tired. It’s exhausting making sure complete strangers are having a good time,” I tell him as I strip down and crawl into bed. “How are you? How are you feeling about suiting up for your last first game?”

“Hmm. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited about this season, though. I’m excited about the shot of going all the way again, and to play the best season I can, to finish injury free. I’m ecstatic to do this with you, but I’m even more excited about life after this. Now that it’s real, I feel at peace with the decision.”

“There are high expectations for your team this year. Talking head says your team has everything it needs to win the Super Bowl again. That would be three in a row."

"Actually, it would only be two in a row, but thanks for the encouragement," he says, his voice full of sarcasm.

I laugh. "Two in a row, three in a row. Does it really matter? You guys have a shot at the Bowl if, God willing, there are no catastrophic injuries.”

“Yeah, that is the biggest puzzle piece, but I have a feeling this season will be the best yet.”

****

Dreams are funny. When they’re good, they’re spot on. Jay’s last dream season starts out electric.

The other team is introduced to a roaring welcome, but our fans prove that, even at an away game, we can fill the stadium and bring the BOOM. Despite the sea of red and black, the Seahawk fans standout. We’re massive. Our numbers keep growing, impeding the home field advantage.

I drink beer and cheer when our section cheers, and boo when our section boos. One entire season dedicated to Jay and I still don’t fucking know what’s happening.

Half time. We’re up by seven, but that doesn’t mean shit. Jay is on the jumbotron more than any other player. It’s unreal. It’s all Jay, all the time. It’s not normal even at a home game, let alone an away game. It shows the world the powerhouse that is Jay Petermeyer.

More than once, Jay points to our section—to me—and smacks his chest or something equally show-boaty. Jay on the field is nothing like Jay in person. He’s a cocky beast with signature moves that drive the crowds crazy.

With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Falcons throw the ball. The camera is on Jay as he jumps in the air and catches the ball. An interception. The crowd begins to go wild.

Then everything goes wrong.

Before his feet touch the ground, two giants in black slam him from both sides. He goes down like concrete dropping from a ten-story building.

The field is swarming with people, but I’m frozen in a tomb of silence. It’s so deafening that my ears ring. The voices next to me might as well be a mile away.

Jay’s face is pale and lifeless on the jumbotron as the medics look him over.

“Unresponsive.” One heart-stopping word the lips of the faceless EMT forms.

Fear ripples through the stadium like a breeze making its way through a field of wheat grass in the summer.

The person next to me is yelling in slow motion, but there’s no sound. Go. He points to the field, but I can’t move. He pushes me, forcing my feet to unchain from the concrete footing below me.

Everyone around is shouting in silence, demanding security to let me through, but no one listens. I push and shove over and over until finally I break through.

The paramedic squeezes a bulb and Jay’s chest rises. I’m not breathing either. I watch his chest. I breathe when they make him breathe. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

****

The waiting room is empty. Not a soul in sight. My ears are still ringing.

It’s bad.

The commentators on TV are somber. The brutal hit replays in a never-ending loop. I try to squeeze my eyes shut. I can’t.

 ****

Everyone walks past me like I’m not there. And I’m not. They look right through me as if eye contact will make everything disappear in a poof of dust. If information is water, then I’m drowning in a desert.

****

The doctor finally comes to me. I blink. He’s right there. I could touch him, maybe, but he feels like an apparition.

I follow him back.

I can’t find Jay. He’s not here. It’s just a pile of blankets and cords and tubes. And a tuft of blonde matted hair.

And a hand that’s unmoving and cold against my fingers. Or maybe it’s my fingers that are ice. Icy and numb.

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

I’m seven again. Abandoned. Standing alone in an empty house, surrounded by deafening silence. Like a tomb. My ears ring while I wait. For days I watch as cars drive by, but none of them stop for me.

I drop to my knees and press my forehead against the mattress. I grip his hand and wait for his fingers to move against mine.

And wait. And wait.

Dreams are funny. When they’re bad, they become your worst nightmare.

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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