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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Jay's Loelife - 6. Loren's Portfolio


Loren holds his phone up and looks at me impatiently. “It’s a TikTok video. They’re not supposed to be life changing. Now do what I told you to do…and careful with your knee.”

“If I’m cleared to play in next week's game, I think I can manage this little two-step video clip.”

Loren looks unimpressed. I think it’s sweet that Loren cares. If I had known a minor injury, one that barely kept me off the field, was going to elicit this kind of reaction from Loren, I’d have injured myself a long time ago. I just wish he’d voice his concerns aloud.

He eyes my knee for a moment longer then sighs and gets back to the task at hand.

I have over a decade of promotional shoots, video shorts, endorsement bloopers, daytime and late-night shows under my belt. Filming weird TicTok shouldn’t be as awkward as it is.

“I just don’t get it,” I tell him as the timer starts its countdown for the hundredth time. When the music starts, I do the weird dance-shuffle-walk, the same one I’ve spent the last two hours not doing right. I feel like I’m trying to moonwalk and do the dougie at the same time.

As soon as the music stops, Loren starts laughing. “I think this is perfect.” He quickly edits the video with a wicked grin. When he finishes, he runs his fingers through his short dark hair and looks at me with something akin to pride…over a TicTok video.

He comes to me, standing closely. “Watch this.” The fifteen-second video plays. It’s me doing the awkward foot shuffle across the room. I know I didn’t do that good of a job so he must’ve worked some voodoo magic editing because I look like I got some serious skill. The part that makes it funny is the caption. ‘Me on my way to devour those post game sandwiches’.

I crack up.

He watches in confusion. “I don’t fully get it,” he admits. “But you find it funny so I know other people will, too.”

“The NFL is required to feed athletes after every away game. Trust me when I say that kindergarteners get better food then we do. It’s literally peanut butter and jelly on white bread. I mean, it’s got everything we need…it’s just the most ridiculous snack ever. It’s an ongoing joke and anyone who knows pro sports, knows this,” I explain.

Sure enough, the video goes viral. Every pro athlete, every sport related page, and every super fan share it. I have six million views in less than twenty-four hours.

Me: I think I broke the internet

Loren: I told you the world would love a little Jay every day

Me: #alittlejayeveryday

Loren sends a drool face emoji and heat creeps up my neck. He may be leaving his shirt on when we’re together but he’s finding other ways to make my life difficult.

Loren: You’re blushing, aren’t you?

I ignore him. He sends another teasing text later. Ignore that, too.

When I finally see him again, it’s a week later. I open the door for him and he walks right past me. He’s not a sports person, so there’s no fanfare over the big win last night, which happened to be my first time back on the field since the pulled muscle. Honestly, I don’t think he even watched it.

I close the door with a humored smile. Loren’s all cocky smiles and teasing body language as I follow him into my own house. His navy t-shirt is tight enough to debate the merit of its existence.

When I catch up, Mr. Smug fists my shirt and pulls me close until I’m face to face with my favorite pair of brown eyes. He inches closer until his lips brush the corner of my mouth then he stops me. “Oh yeah,” he whispers, his voice husky with desire. “I haven’t earned that yet.”

He pushes me away and walks into the other room. “It’s been two months,” he continues. “We talk every day, I’ve helped you increase your social media presence by a few million, got you your own hashtag, taught you to rock climb, and helped you in the gym.”

Amused with his ramblings, I continue to follow him. He’s only been to my house a couple times, but clearly that’s all he needs to feel at home. I lean my hip against the marble island and smile as he opens my refrigerator. The only thing in there are the pre-prepped meals I live on.

“You have done all those things,” I confirm.

“So, what’s the deal?”

“Deal with what?” I ask as I watch him grab one meal for him and one meal for me and I chuckle to myself. Help yourself.

His body language is very eh-whatever but he’s intentionally not looking at me. I’ve picked up enough cues to know he’s not comfortable with a lot of deep, personal conversations so this must be killing him.

Loren rests both of his hands on the island and stares at the bento box like it’s done him wrong. “You know what I’m talking about.”

I go to him and turn him around. He looks up at me with doe eyes and a lip pout. Until now I didn’t think he had it in him to stoop that low. It’s not fair that a man like him, all muscles and testosterone, can reduce me to a puddle with one look.

In a swift motion, I grip the back of his legs and lift him until he’s sitting on the island. His eyes widen. No doubt he’s the one who usually does the manhandling.

Even with him on the island, I have the height advantage. I stand between his legs with my hands on his hips. I graze my nose along his shoulder to the crook of neck then slowly lift my eyes to his, which are completely blown wide.

“The last few months have been awesome, some of the best, but if you can’t even look at me when you ask a simple question, then we’re not really that far, now are we?”

Loren’s eyes dart to the left, then right. Anywhere but to mine. “I don’t date.”

“You keep saying that.”

He presses his fists against my chest and growls. “You’re frustrating.”

“You keep saying that, too,” I laugh. “Here’s the thing, no one is forcing you to spend time with me and I’ve been straight with you about what I want. I made my intentions clear. You know what I want.”

“Yeah, and I’ve given you everything.”

I step back with a laugh. “You’ve given me everything?”

Loren fingers the hem of my shirt. “Everything I’m capable of giving.”

“Well, I don’t believe that for one minute.”

He lifts my shirt up, revealing a bit of my midriff. He tilts his head to get a better look, then smirks and drops the fabric. “We both agree I’ve done pretty good. That deserves something, right?”

While the last few months have been my idealistic vision of getting to know someone, it’s clear Loren is out of his element. He’s put a lot of effort forward but he still has one foot out the door. He’s not in this the same way I am. Then again, his friends say they’ve never seen him with anyone else the way he is with me.

So, what’s a little olive branch? He deserves that much.

I bring one hand to his jaw, pull him close, and tilt his face so he’s looking at me. I grab his hand and slide it under my shirt. Like a greedy child, he pulls me in. I can practically taste him on my lips. His breath whispers across my cheeks as his fingers trace my lower back.

He leans in and kisses me. Soft and sweet. Unhurried. The best, purest first kiss you could ask for.

But Loren can’t do sweet and sensual. It’s like he realizes what’s happening and has to reverse it. His hands move with determination and his lips become hungry, but when he reaches for my fly, I stop him.

Undeterred, he swats my hand away and cups my crotch. “Holy shit…” His hand feels around. “You’re huge.”

“I’m average.”

“Average compared to what? A Clydesdale?”

I laugh and shove his hand away. “Are you done ruining our first kiss?”

He looks guilt ridden and the apology in those brown eyes warms my heart. This time it’s him who cups my face. “I’m a fuck head. Forgive me?”

I put up a fight. If he can pout then I can, too. I do my best lip pout and look away like I’ve been put out.

He brings my face back. “A six-five athlete that’s three-hundred pounds doesn’t get to pout.” He’s smugging: smug smiling. The little hypocrite. “If only there was a way I could make it up to you…” He kisses me softly, his tongue sliding against mine. The kind of kiss that says all the whole ‘I don’t date’ statement is bullshit. It’s the kind of kiss that blows the first one out of the water.

He pulls away and looks as kiss-drunk as I feel. He tries to collect himself, then decides to fuck it and grabs me for one last lingering, so-gentle-it-hurts kiss. Well, I guess it’s not one last kiss. We kiss all night. Between bites of dinner, making another video, dessert, and lots more before Loren leaves for the night.


The goodbyes are getting longer and longer. Between our schedules, we barely see each other. Once, maybe twice a week. Sometimes, not even that. Owning his own marketing business, Loren’s hours are all over the place. Sometimes he’s up before dawn and other times he’s busy all night.

“You don’t have to be the only one driving. It’s an hour from your house to mine. I’m happy to come to you,” I tell him. I just want to see him more and if driving to him will yield results, I’m all for it.

He kisses me. “My house is also my office and there’s people there all the time. It’s not quiet like it is here.”

“I know, but I want to see your place. I want to see what you do.”

He hem-haws around, not really giving me a solid answer. I refuse to drop it because I want the whole package. I want to be able to show up at his house/office and bring him lunch. I want to see him in action, watch his creative mind work.

Before leaving, Loren caves. “Maybe soon.”

It’s not the glowing endorsement I want but it’s more than ‘no’.


It’s not even an hour later and my entire night time routine is thrown out the window with one little text.

Here’s my work. It’s followed by a link to a social media account. I click on it, curious if there’s any brands I’m familiar with. What if we share a brand? How crazy would that be?

Livingtheloelife. There’s a professional looking photo of Loren looking sexy and serious in a tight black t-shirt. There’s a meager…thirty-seven million followers. At first I think the account is a portfolio of everything he’s marketed. It takes me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Loren is the portfolio. How could I be so oblivious?

I think back to all the times we were out and about and maybe all the stares and whispers were not entirely aimed at me. It’s so normal for me I never considered the attention could've been for him too. Explains why he handles it all so well. It doesn’t bother him at all. Like water off a duck’s back.

Not only does he have an insane amount of followers but he has over eight-thousand posts compared to my twelve-hundred. The further down his profile I go, the worse it gets. I can’t swipe fast enough to escape half naked photo after half naked photo. I lock my phone and set it face down on the nightstand.

I stuff my face in the pillow and close my eyes. A few minutes later I flip over and stare at the ceiling. Nothing changes the fact that thirty-seven million people have seen Loren in every state of undress that you can imagine without actually being naked.

I believe, I’ve preached, and I’ve lectured about the importance of not settling. ‘Wait it out’, I’ve encouraged. ‘They will come’, I promised. My thoughts on this are in countless publications. I don’t even try to reconcile the vision I have for my husband against the reality of who he actually is because I know Loren will be my husband. The more time I spend with him, the more I know it to be true. There’s no one reason why. It’s just how it’s supposed to be. I also know that if the vision I have for my future is a perfect circle, then Loren is a triangle.

Somehow, I have to get these two shapes to fit together. It will be a challenge but not an impossible task.

I spent the rest of the night re-evaluating twenty years of expectation.


The next day is all promotional stuff. Photoshoots, promotional highlights, interviews that will be used during games and on social media. It’s a long but necessary day. At the end, there’s a meeting to review and assign upcoming charities and goodwill events. It’s a fun day. Everyone is in a good mood. The team works hard and are eager to do good things.

I’m grinning from ear-to-ear when I get home. I love being a veteran. I love setting the bar high and encouraging the newer guys to be their best. If another veteran bitches about these kinds of things, then the rookies will too. I take my job as an athlete and a seasoned veteran on the team seriously. I show up every day, I work hard on and off the field, and I keep my life clean. I want every member of my team to see me and respect what I stand for.

I switch laundry out, iron a few of my shirts, put clothes away, straighten my bed since I forgot to do it this morning, grab the dirty laundry from the floor and drop it by the laundry room on my way back through. I head to the kitchen because I should really clean the fridge out. There’s a few meals I didn’t get to thanks to Loren and now they need to be thrown out. If I have time before bed, the toilets could use a good once over.

I round the corner into the kitchen. “Jesus Christ.” My hand flies to my chest to try and keep my heart in my body. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Loren’s sitting at the island looking all kinds of amused. “Not trying to scare you.”

“You didn’t scare me,” I argue. “I just wasn’t expecting someone to be sitting in my kitchen.”

“I scared you.”

“Startled me, maybe.” I walk to the refrigerator and start tossing stuff. “What are you doing here?” I ask again. “More importantly, how did you get in?”

He leans his elbows on the island. “The code to the garage is C-O-D-E.”

I laugh. He’s a sneaky one. “You looked over my shoulder?”

“You didn’t exactly try to hide it.”

“Well, that answers how you got in but not why.”

“I haven’t heard from you in twenty-four hours.”

I grab the browning lettuce that is starting to form a puddle of goo and drop it into the garbage. “Doesn’t seem like that in and of itself would warrant a drop by. Not that I’m complaining. ”

“You usually text me the moment you leave practice but today you left practice, got home, did god knows what because I’ve been sitting here for thirty minutes while you wandered around your house.”

“Are you mad at me for not texting you as soon as I left practice?”

“No,” he answers with genuine sincerity. “Just proving my point.”

“And what’s your point?”

“You’re mad at me.”

I rest my arms on the island across from him and look him in the eyes. “And why would I be mad at you?”

His mouth opens, then he nervously runs his fingers through his short dark hair. “You also didn’t text me when you got up this morning. You always text me when you get up in the morning.”

I narrow my eyes. “Did you come here looking for an apology because I didn’t text you this morning…or when I got off work? Because—”

“No.” He sighs. I don’t think he’s trying to argue or pick a fight but it’s clear he’s not well versed in having an open conversation. Whatever’s going on between us hasn’t required any until now, apparently. “I thought you would’ve said something last night after you, ya know….when you didn’t, I thought maybe I’d wake up to something this morning. For sure I thought I’d hear from you by now.”

I can’t help but be a little amused by this reaction. “Just to be clear, you got nervous when I didn’t respond to the text message you sent me regarding something you could have and should have told me in person?”

Loren nodded shamefully.

“And you thought I’d be upset.”

Another nod.

“Why’s that?”

I wait patiently for him to roll his eyes and figure out what he’s going to say. When he doesn’t respond, I pull the garbage liner out of the can and tie it off. “You came here, to my house, so there’s no reason I should be leading this conversation. You know where to find me when you’re ready to talk.”

Loren groans and rushes around the island until he’s standing in front of me with his hands on my chest.

“Dammit Jay,” he says with a ragged breath. “Just…fucking—” he growls like the words are swollen on his tongue and he just can’t get them out. “I didn’t tell you at first because it’s nice to just be Loren. Not Loe. Okay? Then I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be disappointed. I know you’re disappointed. When you didn’t respond after I texted you...” Loren arms fall to his side. “I’m not stupid. I know I’m not what you want in a boyfriend.”

“Husband,” I correct. “You think you’re not what I want in a husband.”

“Boyfriend, husband, whatever it is, I knew you’d be disappointed when you saw my account. I knew you’d be upset about all the…”

“Naked photos?”

“I’m not naked.”

“You’re not dressed either.”

“I—guess I’m not.”

“And you knew I wouldn’t be stoked about it so you dropped it over text?”

“Well, I was already going to disappoint you, so…”

“So what’s a little disrespect while you’re at it? Really?”

“That’s not…I don’t…” Loren drops his head in defeat.

Despite the things I don’t like about his job, I’m excited to know what he does. I’m not excited I found out over a text instead of in person.

“Did you even look at my account?” he finally asks.

“I scrolled a ways through before I turned off my phone.”

He fishes the phone from his front pocket and pulls up his account. He holds his phone so we can both see it, then scrolls until all I can see are the photos that grate on my soul.

I push his hand away. “I don’t want to see that.”

He holds the phone back up. “Shut the fuck up and let me show you, okay?” Shirtless photo after shirtless photo. I see one of him in black undies. It has millions of likes. I can barely look at them knowing all the people that have seen them. “These are all the photos I posted before I met you. And These—” he scrolls to the newer posts, “—are the ones I posted after.”

I do a double take and grab the phone. “You’re…”

Completely dressed.

“I am,” he confirms. “I do a weekly live where I cook a sunrise breakfast. I’ve always done it in just my boxers, but not anymore. It’s been sweatpants and a sweatshirt for a while now. Let me tell you, people have noticed.”

I try not to smile. “Are they pissed?”

“Well, they’re not happy about it.”

“What did you say?”

“I don’t say anything because it’s none of their damn business, but they’re speculating.”

I look at the phone again. This time I click on one of the pictures. Loren’s wearing tight fitting jeans with a tight shirt and an unzipped hoodie. He’s posed in a way that is very sexy and I swear you can see his six-pack through his shirt. “Why did you ever think you needed to be naked? You’re dressed from head to toe here, you’re even wearing a sweater, and you’re damn sexy.”

“I like my body. I work hard on it every day. I want to show it off. Plus, sex sells.”

“You have seven million likes on this photo and you’re not even naked.”

“Yeah, but that was a promo photo for my apparel drop so it’s vital I’m wearing clothes,” he says with a teasing smile.

I set the phone down and pull Loren into my arms. He’s been wearing more because of me. I can’t help but smile. Then I realize what he said. “You have your own clothing line?”

“I do,” he says casually, like it’s no biggie.

“And how’d the drop go?”

“We’ve done it twice a year since we were fourteen and this is the best we’ve had to-date.”

I’m completely awestruck. He’s amazing. It really is crazy that he ever felt he needed to exploit himself for gain. I lean down and kiss him—fully, deeply, and truly. My hands explore the hard ridges of his back down to the dip of his waist and land on the upper curve of his ass. He goes to his toes and tries to push my hands lower.

I laugh.

With my arms wrapped around his waist, I lean back so I can look at him. He is seriously gorgeous. All man. And his dark, heated features drive me wild. “Don’t post a selfie right now,” I tell him.

“Why not?”

“Because no one needs to see you look this insanely gorgeous.”

He shifts and I feel his hardness pressed against my leg. “You mean you don’t want anyone else to see me horned up.”

I groan inwardly. “I definitely don’t want that.” I kiss him. Not doing so would be a crime. When we come up for air, I stare at him some more. “Is there anything else I need to know about you?”

“Like my dick size?” He asks with the cocky smirk I’ve come to adore. “That’s more of a discovery quest kind of a thing, but I’m happy to be your tour guide.”

I laugh. “Do you always ruin moments with sexual innuendos?”

“I’ve only ever been with people who were after one thing and my comments got us where we needed to go.”

I must make a face that screams ‘I don’t want to know about all the sex you’ve had’ because Loren laughs and pulls me in for a hug and then kisses my face. “It will do you well to remember that I show up fully clothed to my job now. I’ve never done that before, not for anyone. Just you.”

I let out a breath and cup his face. “I really appreciate that.”

He kisses me again. “I am proud of what I do and I’d like to share it with you.”

“Can you show me without me seeing all your old photos? It will do bad things for my mental health.”

“How long until you’ll be able to handle seeing those photos?” he asks.

“Once I see all the stuff in person.”

He raises his brow suggestively and I already know what he’s going to say…

“We can work on that right now. With my help, I could have you ready to see the pictures by the end of the night.”

Yep. Exactly what I thought. As tempting as the offer is, we’re not quite there. I shake my head.

“Why not,” he whines. “None of the other guys were nearly this difficult.”

“And that’s exactly why we’re not doing it. This will be different. I’m going to do right by you.”

“This is why I don’t date.” He groans rather pathetically, like a child who wants three cookies not two.

“How’s that going for you?”

“Well, we’re still fully dressed so…fucking terribly.”

The garbage bag is all but forgotten as I walk backwards, pulling him with me, out of the kitchen and to the living room. “We could sit on the couch and make out all night?”

“Are you going to stick your hand down my pants?”

I shake my head.

“Rub me through my pants?”

Side-eye this time. Nope.

He groans. “You’re going to make me leave here tonight with blue balls, aren’t you?”


He throws his head back and groans. “Dating is the fucking worst.”

Well, he doesn’t seem to hate the three hours we spend on the couch with his tongue in my mouth or the hour we spend by his car before he leaves.

When he finally pulls away, he adjusts himself. His jeans hide nothing. Nothing. “You know I have to drive an hour home.”

“There is a solution to that,” I tell him.

His brow rises and his eyes light up. “Sleep over?”

“No,” I laugh. “But I could come to your house…”

Loren makes a face like it’s not the worst idea. “Now you know what I do. It won’t be weird if you come over and there are cameras all over.”

“Yes, that would have raised some questions before,” I laugh. The visual is hilarious. “I do want to see you in action, though. I want to watch you in front of the camera.”

“Okay,” he says with a big smile. “It’s a date.”

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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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