Timber ended up consuming two soft boiled eggs, each laced with a piece of buttered toast. She also ate almost a whole banana, though she probably didn’t realize this as Coop very cleverly placed a dish of banana slices arranged to look like a Christmas star on the table where Timber and Monty could share them as he led her through a strength evaluation and did a range of motion with each arm, and then each wrist, and finger. Coop alo kept Timber’s Vernor’s Ginger Ale glass filled and icy cold so it felt good on her sores, figuring he had just managed to get her to drink an extra 250 calories.
Across the street at The Foot Locker, Coop scored with a Yale version of the Harvard shirt Puck had found, but he bought it in a size Extra Small so that she wasn’t swamped in it. He picked up a couple Nike long sleeve crew neck tees because the table was on the way to the ladies’ undergarment department, and a pair of XS women’s boy briefs that looked more like shorts than panties because he had no idea about women’s unmentionables and the assortment intimidated him. Then he sprung for a $250 Nike Aeroloft bomber jacket that had a snug fit but had padded rows in the front that resembled a six pack, so Timber wouldn’t look quite so thin. Standing in line he added a boy’s XL fleece sweat suit from a Christmas sale rack meant to temp impulse buyers, all black except for the Steelers logo, when he discovered the woman’s XS shirts he was buying were just about the same size as a Boys XL. Coop figured the black pants could be a versatile fashion item. Time in store, 14 minutes, including the wait in the Christmastime line.
Coop hurried back across the street through a slushy snowfall, thinking he’d find Scott and Timber ready to leave, but Timber was still sitting across from Monty White as he exercised her right hand, and a giggle floated up from the gym as Coop let himself into the apartment.
“Dude, you have to see this,” Scott beckoned him down the hall. “He’s like the Timber Whisperer. She hasn’t bitten him or called him a Cheese Hole Fucker or anything. They’ve been talking about some dude named Nelson DeMille for twenty minutes now. Listen to that, she’s laughing. It’s surreal.”
“Let her flirt a little Scott. It’ll be good for her.”
“I don’t know if I’d call it flirting,” Scott said, “but she didn’t bite his head off when he told her he met Jordie a couple of times and was sorry for her loss.”
“They just met and they’re laughing about Nelson DeMille” Coop pointed out, “that’s flirting.”
Scott found quite unexpectedly that he didn’t like that idea. “Who’s this Nelson DeMille?” He wanted to know.
“A common interest,” Coop answered cryptically.
“What do you mean? Scott wanted to know.
“He’s a writer. Plum Island? Cathedral?”
Scott looked blank.
“The General’s Daughter? Surely you must have read that one? Books, Scott, they both like books.”
“Don’t you think that’s a little unprofessional?” Scott maneuvered for another walk by look at the two as Timber cried, ‘Ouch! That hurts!” And Monty apologized, saying “Almost done.’ “He’s got a girlfriend, you know. Shouldn’t we be like AA? No messing around til you get your six month chip?”
“No,” Coop said, “I think it’s very professional. Monty is just putting her at ease. Not every flirtation is an invitation to sex.”
Scott chewed on this, turning back to check on Timber and Monty to find him packing up his instruments in his briefcase to leave, so he and Coop made their way to the corner of the gym to join them. Timber did not seem at all glad to see them.
“So how did it go?” Coop asked making sure Timber saw the Foot Locker bags he put down on the weight bench.
“Good.” Monty answered. “Real good.” Then turning to Timber, “Like I told you Timmie, I am going to set you up a program and I’ll talk it all over with Remy, and I’ll be back tomorrow to get you started. Do you have any questions before I go?”
Timber did have one, the one she was afraid to ask, the one she was just about to ask when the guys came up, and if she asked it in front of Scott, no matter what the answer was he would make Captain Hook jokes well into the New Year. Monty was putting on his jacket, getting ready to leave. Timber closed her eyes and went for it.”
“Did I curve the bones?” She squeaked, finding just asking the question made her well up.
“What? Oh, noooo.” Monty reassured her, sitting back down across from Timber. “Your bones are still nice and straight. He picked up her hand, turned it over palm up and ran his index finger over her wrist. What’s happened is the ligaments in your wrist have shortened with disuse, and the muscles have begun to atrophy – they don’t have the strength to keep your wrist straight. So we’re going to have to strengthen them again. But we’ll get there. Six months from now, you will look perfectly normal, and a year from now, you won’t even know there was a problem.
“Now young lady, I know you have an appointment to keep, so I am going to let you get going, but I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.” And with that he handed Timber a red and green stripes candy cane, in response to which Timber popped her dimple.
Coop walked Monty to the door while Timber dug into the clothes bags.
“So that’s for real?” He asked Monty. “You can fix this?”
“Yeah Coop. I think so. If she works at it every day. The one thing I want to warn you about is if you decide to take her to a specialist, take her to an orthopedist. Don’t start with an orthopedic surgeon. Surgeons like to cut, and the surgeon’s going to try to tell her surgery can give her in six weeks what physical therapy will take six months to accomplish. But there are a lot of downsides to surgery. The pain. She’ll be in casts for six weeks and the range of motion regained is usually less than if the patient puts in the hard work.”
“Got you.” Coop told him.
“Coop, this is important.” Monty stopped so that they could talk face to face. “The reason I’m telling you this and not Remy, is his girlfriend.”
“Samantha?” Coop puzzled. Then it hit him. Dr. Samantha Heckert was an orthopedic surgeon.