No one slept on the two hour flight back to New York but Timber. Remy, Coop and Scott huddled together, Remy making notes on a piece of stationary he found with the air charter service’s logo, brainstorming on what they could do to help Timber. Puck sat alone, but within listening distance.
The three men who had been Jordan Lilley’s best friends began to unite around a plan to devote the six weeks between New Year’s and February 15, when pitchers and catchers report for spring training, to bringing their friend’s widow back to her old self, or at least make substantial, irreversible progress in that direction.
Scott was designated in charge of all things medical, since his physician brother would give them access to medical information and assistance at all times. Remy took charge of Timber’s psychological welfare, putting himself in charge of taking her to her appointments with Sam Chen, or whoever he referred them to, and following up on his advice. Coop volunteered to take care of food, finding a nutritionist who worked with vegetarians, and making sure there was always nutritious high calorie food available and if necessary, that Timber put it in her mouth, chewed and swallowed.
The physical conditioning they agreed to share, beginning with strength training each morning and cardio each afternoon. Each man volunteered to train her on one piece of equipment, Remy, free weights, Scott, the treadmill, and Coop, who was a big Soulcycle fan, the stationary bike. Remy had an idea to ask one of the trainers at his gym who was a licensed physical therapist if he could take a look at Timber’s hands. Beyond that they would wait and see what the doctors suggested.
As the plane came in for a landing at JFK, the discussion became centered around how to get an unconscious Timber into Remy’s apartment without ending up in the New York Post. It was Puck, who had been mostly silent up until then, who came up with a solution. He located the plane’s emergency medical box, helped himself to an ace bandage and a roll of gauze and taped up Timber’s bare left foot.
“If your girlfriend sprains her ankle, the gentlemanly thing to do is carry her, right?” Puck asked. His teammates looked at one another for a reason to reject the idea, but had to admit it was the best one they had. Being a member of the New York Yankees had its perks, but it also meant their faces could bring unwanted publicity.
“I’ll take buying her things.” Puck added as the plane taxied to a stop.
“Buying her thing?” Repeated Remy not following his line of thought.
“Yeah. You brought her here with nothing, she’s going to need clothes and a toothbrush and lady shit. I’ll get whatever she needs or accompany her to the store to pick it out herself. And I’ll take the rowing machine.”
“You want to help? Remy asked skeptically.
“That surprise you Robicheaux? Yeah. I want to help. And since these guys,” he indicated Coop and Scotty, “are going to be gone from Christmas to New Year’s, you’re going to need someone around.”
That was a hard argument to dispute, and though his mind flashed danger signs at the idea of Puck Puckett, who Jordie never liked, around a vulnerable Timber, as a practical matter he needed the backup. Remy looked at Scott, who rolled his eyes and then shrugged his reluctant agreement, and then at Coop, who gave a nod of assent.
“Ok,” Remy gave in. “Be at my place at 8:00 tomorrow morning. She’s going to need clothes and shoes and toiletries so we can get her to Scott’s brother by noon. There’s a Foot Locker across the street and a 24 hour Walgreens on the corner. We’ll get her a couple of sweatsuits and a jacket for now and worry about the rest later.”
“I’ll see you then.” Puck promised. I’ll pick up the drug store stuff on my way, and run out for the clothes after I get her sizes.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Remy agreed.
“I’ll see you in the morning then.” Puck said, and stuck out his hand. Surprise registered on Remy’s face for a moment, but he offered his in return and the two teammates shook.
“We all care about her.” Puck said, the remark meant to encompass not just himself and Remy, but Scott and Coop too. “We have that in common.”
“Understood.” Remy answered. “But just so we are clear, no one touches her.”
“Not to worry Robicheaux.” Puck told him. “In case you missed it, she’s now totally unfuckable.”
And with that he made his way to the exit and headed for the parking lot while Jordie’s three best buddies carried his widow off the plane and into her new reality.