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“Well, that lift kit was a total cluster fuck to put in. I’ll post a detailed tutorial to my YouTube channel so you can avoid my mistakes, which were mostly my fault for not reading the instructions, so make sure you don’t follow in my footsteps down that path.
“Now that we have the lift in, it’s time to pick out wheels and tires. Remember,” I say, pointing at the camera so they know I mean business, “these vans make customizing difficult because they don’t play well with others. The Van Compass State 5 Lift Kit is four-thousand dollars. It’s not cheap. But if you drop four-g on a lift and keep the stock tires, I will personally punch you in the face. There’s a thousand tires to choose from but in my opinion, there’s really only two options. You can go all terrain, which if you’re using it as a pavement princess, is your best bet because they’re good on the highway and sufficient off-road. If you go that route, which I have, I suggest the 35, 12.50, 18 BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2. That’s thirty-five inches tall, twelve-and-half-inches wide, and fits an eighteen inch wheel. These tires run about $383 per tire.
“If you want a beefier look, go with a mud tire. They’ll have deeper, thicker tread. They’re great off-road but it’s not as smooth of a ride if you’re commuting. Still go with a 35, 12.50, 18, it’s such a great universal size. BF Goodrich Mud Terrain KM3 is my pick. They run $477 a tire. Next you need wheels. Just like the lift kit and a lot of other accessories, Sprinters don’t play well. They have an odd bolt pattern so you’ll be limited on options. I went with Black Rhino Arsenals. I chose black because they go with the rest of the van. They do have a chrome option if that’s more your style. These ones run $346 a wheel. I have everything linked up on livingtheloelife.com. Use code ‘loelife’ and save twenty-percent on the sites listed. Thanks for coming along. It’s always a good day when I get to customize my baby. Tomorrow we start shipping all the orders. If you bought something, keep an eye on your email for your tracking code! And remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re livin’ the low life or the high life, just make sure you’re livin’ your best life.”
Isaac stops recording and looks at the newly modified Sprinter van. I’ve been waiting months for everything to come in. Isaac whistles. “It looks even more badass now.”
“Good thing we didn’t do the lift in the garage,” I say, laughing at its height. Between the lift, tires, and cargo rack, the van is tall as fuck. “We would’ve had to take the shop down to get her out.”
Isaac laughs and then tries to jump and touch the top of the van but misses by several feet. “Maybe the next project will be installing RV doors on the garage”
“Honestly?” I say, staring at the garage. It’s tall enough. “Not a bad idea.”
It’s too early for the sun and too Novembery to be even a little warm. At least it’s not raining sideways like it has been. Not even the weather and early morning hour can keep the smile off my face. The extra-large coffee in my hand doesn’t hurt.
Corey flips the switch and the entire warehouse is bathed in bright fluorescent lights. Rows of industrial shelves house more boxes than the eye can see. We slowly walk around in silence, looking at the sheer magnitude of what sits before us.
“Remember the first launch?” Isaac asks, his tone a soft ahh of reminiscences. “We had no clue what we were doing.”
I run my hands over the crumpled packaging tape keeping together one of the many, many boxes that’s brim with merchandise. “We also thought selling five hundred shirts was the most insane thing ever.”
A crew of people will show up in a few hours to do most of the work but we’ll start, just like we’ve done since we were fourteen.
Corey boots up the computer while Isaac and Cle set up the cameras. Everyone gets to work; walking aisles, grabbing products, packaging them up, and printing labels. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve done this, it never loses its wonder.
The average sale is four items. I’m in the middle of packing a box of twenty-seven items when my phone vibrates.
Jay: Are you sure you can’t use an extra set of hands?
Me: You have practice
Jay sends a frown face. This is a big deal, I want to be there for you
I walk down the aisles and grab some of my favorite things (spoiler, they’re all my favorite things) that I know will look great on Jay. I package them up and have Corey print a label for me.
I snap a picture and send it to Jay. For you.
Jay: Or I could come over tonight and pick it up.
Me: Or you could come over anyway.
With plans made, I get back to work. It’s barely light outside when the official crew shows up. Just ’cause they’re here doesn’t mean we clock out. We work alongside them. Over three million units sold. Three million. What a fucking privilege.
We’re still here when the first shift leaves bahis şirketleri and the second shift arrives.
I text Jay the bad news. It was ignorant of me to think I could get away on a day like today. He’s graceful about it, of course he is. Jay is a fucking saint.
Tomorrow, if it works. Just let me know, he says with a smiley face.
Until everything is packaged, my life is at the warehouse. When I’m not there, I’m filming content. The show must go on.
It’s a week and I still haven’t seen Jay. A phone call here and there. A few texts. Honestly, it’s not enough. Pre-Jay, I’d keep going and going and going. With Jay…
Can you come over tonight? I type out. Bring food and snuggles?
I press send before I can realize what I typed. Bring food and snuggles? I jump off the sofa and start pacing. Telling him I want to snuggle? Who the fuck am I? *Bring food and Stratego*. I backpedal furiously with a bald faced lie. Been thinking about that game. Thought it would be fun to play.
The fuck I have, but it’s better than him thinking I want to lay on the sofa and fucking snuggle. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure Stratego is any better. There’s no going back now. I dug my grave and now I must be buried under a pile of humiliation.
I don’t expect Jay to respond. He’s busy. Football, endorsements, interviews, whatever it is athletes do. He doesn’t always have his phone on him. I know this. I know this…
As much as I want to sit and do nothing until I hear from Jay, the silence is deafening. I head to the backyard shop. The pop-up camper finally arrived. I’m waiting on a few more things before I actually get started but it can’t hurt to check it out. The more time I spend around the camper, the more creative inspiration I get.
Except today apparently. No matter how much time I spend staring at the pile of crap, my mind is elsewhere.
Jay and I have been seeing each other for months, what’s wrong with wanting to snuggle? Theoretically, nothing. People do it all the time. It’s probably weird that Jay and I haven’t snuggled but we’re always doing stuff…or we’re making out. We haven’t just laid on the couch and binge-watched television or lazily watched movies. We don’t have time for that.
My head is buried in my arms when the doorbell rings. I straighten myself up. Deep breathing does shit for my nerves but I take a few anyway before I open the door.
Jay smiles like he didn’t just spend the last three hours stressed over a stupid snuggle suggestion. “I picked up Davinci’s for dinner. Chicken parm with light cheese and extra mushrooms for you. Carb loaded Spaghetti stroganoff for me. And–” Jay shakes a cellophane wrapped board game, “Stratego. It’s not exactly a popular game these days. I had David call around for me. Kind of an abuse of his job but he’s always loved a good challenge, it’s what makes him a great PA.”
Jay sets everything on the table then turns to me and smiles that hey-it’s-been-eight-days kind of a smile. It’s hardly enough time to start missing someone yet I have my tongue down his throat before he can say another word. He slows the kiss a little, typical Jay. I’m always fast and furious and he’s always slow and serious. It’s frustrating sometimes, like now, when I just want to clear my head and fuck.
Jay breaks the kiss with a laugh and grabs my wrist like he’s grabbing a snake before it strikes. It’s a shame, I could do so much with this hand. I’ve honed my skill over the years. Oh what I can do with a few fingers and that behemouthcock I know he’s been keeping from me.
He slowly raises my hand from his fly and presses it against his chest. “Are you capable of a simple hello kiss? In fact, are you capable of just kissing without the intent of something more?” he asks, looking awfully smug like a monk.
“Are you capable of doing more than kissing?”
Jay sits and pulls me so I’m straddling his lap. I look down between us. This is by far the most sexual position we’ve ever been in. Even when we’re making out, Jay always keeps his junk away from mine like it’s radioactive. My poor dick has been in a constant state of deprivation.
Even now, it knows nothing is going to happen now but it responds anyway. Hope can do strange things to a man.
Jay grips my hips and adjusts me to a more comfortable position. “I’m capable of doing a lot more than kissing.”
I roll my eyes, more to hide the effects of Jay’s sudden forwardness than anything else. “I find that hard to believe seeing that we’ve been dating, or whatever this is, for four months and I haven’t even seen you without your shirt on, let alone without pants.”
The way he studies me makes me uneasy. Like the calm before the storm. He doesn’t look particularly irritated by my comment, but his normally soft eyes are pointed with a calculated intensity that’s unsettling as fuck. “By your own accord, you don’t date.”
“Is that why we haven’t fucked?” I ask. Jay half rolls bahis firmaları his eyes and winces at my word choice. I ignore his displeasure. “Because, yeah, I don’t date…except you.”
“What is dating?”
I glare at him. “It’s what we’re doing. All the hanging out, the hiking, you know, the stuff we do.”
“And if we went to a party together, how would you introduce me?”
“As Jay Petermeyer?”
Jay sighs and looks into the distance.
“What?” I ask. “Are you asking if I’d introduce you as my boyfriend?”
He takes his hands off my hips and runs his hands over his face. “Would you?”
“We’re not there yet.”
The thing about Jay is that he’s always happy. He is light. It radiates from him. Except now. His eyes are dim and the corner of his lips are turned down. “We’re not there yet? Okay. We know where I stand, I guess the real question is, where do you stand?”
This sounds an awful lot like the talk and that makes my stomach drop and my hands sweaty. I wipe them on my thighs. “I’m not anywhere close to marriage or whatever. Honestly, what we’re doing is leaps and bounds above what I usually do.”
“Absolutely nothing.” Then I think about it. “Well, fucking, I guess.”
Jay laughs and points between us. “This must drive you nuts.”
I slide my hands around his neck. “It does, but it’s not all bad. I mean, the blue balls are a fucking nightmare but I’m tolerating it, for you.”
“What makes me special?”
“Do we really have to get all sappy? I hate getting sappy.”
“I could use a little sappy. You just told me that after four months you’re still not ready to make things official. The least you could do is butter me up a little. Boost my ego and tell me what makes me special.”
I drop my forehead on his shoulder and groan pitifully.
“You have a way with words,” he teases.
“I don’t. I really don’t. If you want romance, I’m not your guy. I don’t know the first thing about it.”
“Start small,” he tells me. “Tell me one thing you like about me.”
“I don’t like that you’re making me do this.”
Jay looks at me like he has no clue what he’s going to do with me. He wraps his arms around me and stands, then he slowly sets me down. “Since you refuse to give me anything, we might as well eat dinner.”
I watch with a pit in my stomach as he dishes up the plates. He slides the dish in front of me then sits. He asks me about my week then tells me about his and how he confirmed plans to Denver to visit his best friends.
“Seamus is about as good as it gets,” he gushes. “He’s good people and he’s finally got good stuff going for him. I want to be a part of it.” He shows me a picture of this little kid with brown hair that’s a little crazy and these bright blue eyes. He’s smiling and wearing a backwards Seahawk hat with Jay’s number. It’s way too big and covers half his face but I have to admit it’s kind of cute. Jay looks at the picture like it’s everything and more. “This is Aidan, he’s so perfect.” He gushes for a while longer, showing me pictures Seamus has sent along with a few Jay took when he visited them last time. I wonder if the trip is about his friends or if it’s about a kid.
“Anyway,” he says with a lingering smile as he sneaks one last look before locking his phone. “What are you doing for Christmas? I haven’t heard you talk about family.”
“I cook a big meal on Christmas.”
“For family or for content?”
“Holiday prepping and cooking is popular content. I’ve been working on it for months already. I’m also starting the camper reno Christmas afternoon.”
“Is it weird to be focused on a holiday so far in advance?”
“I’m used to it.”
Jay grabs our plates and starts cleaning them off. He pours a couple coffees and we sip as we chat. As much as I enjoy these moments, I’m exhausted. I just want to sit on the couch and do nothing. It’s been eight days and our schedules aren’t going to get better as we head into the holidays.
Jay leaves the room and comes back with Stratego. He unboxes it. “I haven’t played this since I was a kid.”
I bite my cheek to stop from whining. I really don’t want to play this fucking game.
“Red or blue?”
Jay glances through the rulebook. “Red goes first. You can only move forward, backward, left, right. No diagonal. One spot at a time unless it’s your scout–” he continues to list off the rules, which is good because I haven’t played in twenty years.
If I remember correctly, the game doesn’t last too long.
And it doesn’t. Fifteen minutes into it and Jay wins. Thank God.
He sets the board up. “I’m red this time.”
I cry on the inside. Again?
“Awesome,” I lie, as I brace myself to die a little inside.
An hour later he finally calls it a night. I glare at the game and hope it bursts into flames.
Jay grabs his jacket from the hook, he turns to me and the corner of his lip curls. “I would have rather snuggled tonight but kaçak bahis siteleri Stratego was fun, too.”
I want to tell him that seven games of Stratego is the fucking worst but I follow him outside instead.
“I don’t know if you know this, but we’re having a really good season. There’s a good chance we’ll make the playoffs. If we do, I’d like you to come to the game. You can bring your friends, too.”
“Playoff, eh? That sounds like a big deal.”
“Well, the winners play in the Super Bowl.”
“Hey,” I say with genuine excitement. “I know about the Super Bowl! They have good commercials.”
“Yes,” Jay deadpans. “They have great commercials and nothing else.”
I laugh and grab his hand. “I’d love to come and I’m sure the guys would, too. Just let me know when and where.”
Jay puts his arms around my waist and kisses me. I want a lot more, but he pulls away before I can convince him how good it could be.
“Hey!” I call out. Jay turns and looks at me curiously. “You’re the only person who has ever challenged me. If you mean to or not, you do. You make me want to do things I’ve never done before. That’s what makes you special.”
Jay smiles and his whole face lights up. He jogs to me and kisses me, leaving me breathless. He stares at me for another moment. He radiates so much joy I worry he might burst alight. Then he jogs back to his SUV and drives off. It feels good to get that kind of reaction. I might tell him more things if that’s what I get from it. I like it. I like it a lot.
I should’ve thrown the fucking board game away when I had the chance. Jay, being the awesome guy he is, thinks I love the game. Probably because I made a big deal about getting it. Now we play it every time we’re together. He even got a copy for his house. I could just tell him I meant snuggle and not Stratego but that would lead to a whole conversation that I’d rather not have.
So, on the rare days when we’re not out and about, instead of sitting on the sofa; cuddling and making out, we’re fucking playing the war game.
“You’re not very good at this game,” he says as he sets the board up again. “You’ve only won three times.”
Because I don’t want to play this stupid fucking game.
“I remember it being more fun.”
“It’s not so bad.”
I resign myself to another game. “Playoffs still look good?” I ask.
“It’s still early but I’m optimistic.”
“If you make it and I go to the game, do I need to learn about football? Because that sounds terrible.”
Jay moves his game piece and laughs. “It makes watching the game more enjoyable if you know what’s happening, but no, you don’t have to learn anything…as long as you wear my jersey.” He says it with a little heat–a little bit of that Alpha power control who gets off on owning what’s his.
I drop my game piece and glare at him. “Is that it? Is that what turns your gears? This whole time and all I needed to get in your pants was to wear your jersey?” I stand up, knocking my chair back as I do, and head toward his room. “Where do you keep them? Where do you keep your uniforms?”
His laugh echoes off the walls. “What are you doing?” he hollers, but it’s too late. I’m on a mission. I will find a jersey and I will get in his pants.
He finds me digging through his closet, tossing shit out left and right. “Loren…”
“Where’s your jersey?” I demand as I dig a tunnel through his stuff.
“Loren…” he says again, trying to hide his amusement. “It’s not in my dresser.”
“Okay…” I leave all his clothes scattered on the floor and head to…the room where he keeps his trophies! He’s got some jerseys on the wall. It seems like a good place to look.
When I don’t find anything in there, I head to the garage and then the laundry room. Jay’s hot on my trail the whole time, laughing. Finally, he pulls my arm and stops me from further destruction. He takes my hand and pulls me away from the laundry room, past the garage, and upstairs to his bedroom.
He lets go of my hand and sits on the bed, leaving me standing in the middle of his room.
I look around, then at Jay. “What’s going on…?”
Jay scoots back on his bed. “You don’t need to wear my jersey.”
I stand there like an idiot, staring as Jay leans back on his elbows. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this is an invitation…
All the blood in my body rushes south.
“If you’re teasing me…” I warn.
He crooks a finger.
I defy the laws of science and speed. It’s possible I give Superman a run for his money, maybe even Flash, because I’m straddling his waist in record time. He falls to his back with his arms behind his head, staring at me with the sexiest little smile.
Now that I have three hundred pounds of pure sex muscle under me, I don’t know what to do with it. Everything I thought I’d want flies out the window. There is so much I could do but I don’t want to lose what we have.
I toy with the hem of his gray shirt, soft and worn from years of love, and slowly push it up, exposing the dark blonde hair on his tummy. It’s not enough for me, so I push the shirt up another inch, and then another, exploring every inch of his stomach carefully.
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