Timber and Remy’s spirit of detente lasted exactly twenty-two minutes.
To show her commitment, Timber chugged down the pureed poop shake – at least that’s the way she thought about it – while Remy stood by annoying her by how pleased he suddenly looked. There was a moment after she had it down that Timber thought it was going to come right back up, but she took a deep breath and eventually the urge to hurl subsided.
As soon as Remy brought the disposable razor, Timber ran to the bathroom, made sure the door was locked, and sat down on the toilet just in time to lose everything to an attack of diarrhea. The physical discomfort however, was not her biggest problem. Remy had told her Puck would be coming up soon with some toiletries for her, and there is no woman on the planet who wants a handsome, single guy anywhere near the place she is that kind of indisposed, let alone the New York Yankees’ most popular outfielder, who is by nature lude and crude, and would not hesitate to joke about her private body functions with friends and strangers alike.
Head bent over her knees, Timber looked up at the wall switches and considered turning on the ceiling fan. Was it better to dissipate the stench, or better to hear him coming? Timber decided the hop to the fan switch was not an option right then anyway, kept flushing the toilet every time the tank refilled and prayed for Puck to fall into a pothole on his way to the apartment.
The second wave of diarrhea hit at the same time the poop shake decided to come back up. Timber looked around, panicked for something to throw up into, yanked open the cupboard next to her to find white towels. Nice ones too, and even in her moment of distress she wondered if Dr. Samantha Heckert had chosen them. Why white lady? Men were supposed to have brown towels or maybe navy blue to hide their inevitable skid marks. If she puked on the white towel it was going to stain and Samantha Heckert would no doubt discover it, and tattle to Remy. And then it was too late, the saliva was spilling into her mouth like Niagara Falls and just before the second coming of the poop shake, Timber stretched out the tail of her t-shirt and threw up into it.
The nausea hit her hard, and Timber spewed brown bile into her shirt, losing some of it over the edges and onto her pajama pants which were down around her knees, and after the third round, onto the floor. There was nothing she could do but sit there waiting for the misery to subside at both ends, holding up her vomit loaded shirt, head turned away from the stench, a situation that left the all important middle section of her body naked and undefended. It was at the moment Puck knocked on the bathroom door.
“Timber?” He called through the door. “Timber you in there?”
Timber considered her options. If she didn’t answer, he might try to come in.
“No.” Timber called back.
“Timber.” Puck seemed determined not to take the hint. “I got a bag of stuff here for you from Walgreens.”
“Ok.” Timber called as a big glob of something vile splashed on her foot. Timber peeked over the side to survey the damage, noticing for the first time there was an Ace bandage and an unravelling wad of gauze on her left foot, both now well spotted with vomit.
“Timber,” Puck knocked again.
“Ok.” Timber called, the added a belated “Thank you.”
There was silence for a moment while what Timber really hoped to be hearing were his departing footsteps.
“Timber!” Puck shouted again. “I’m going out to get you something to wear, you want to take a look at this Walgreen’s shit to see if there’s anything else you need while I’m out.”
“I’m sure it’s fine.” Timber answered.
“Well I need to get your sizes.” Puck called.
“Puck! Timber shouted at the top of her lungs. “I’m on the fucking toilet, now go away.”
Silence for a moment. No footsteps.
“Oh, you’re taking crap,” he worked it out. “That mean your mouth don’t work? I just need a size. We’re on a schedule here.”
“Jesus Freeping Christ, Puck!” Timber ranted. “I am a woman. Women do not hold conversations while they are on the toilet. Maybe if there’s no toilet paper, we might ask a stranger in the next stall to pass us some, but that’s it, and that is an emergency situation so it does not count! It is only men who think their bodily functions can be a fun interactive community activity. Now go away.”
“You don’t need to be a bitch about it,” Puck groused. “I just need a shoe size.”
It was at that point a second Niagara Falls began in her mouth and Timber lost it. “Puck get out of my room. I don’t care what size clothes you freeping buy. If you forgot something at Walgreens I will do without. Now get out! Get out! Get out!”
“Timber,” Puck had the nerve to try again. ”I’m kind of pressed for….”
“Out! Out! Out!” Timber screamed losing at least a half cup of puke from her shirt due to her anger inspired body movements.
Finally she recognized the sound of footsteps receding. With seconds to spare, Timber stood up, emptied what she could of her shirt’s contents into – and unfortunately around – the toilet and as the smell of poop shake hit her, followed it up by another round of retching. At least this round she hit porcelain.
It took a good ten minutes for the nausea to begin to subside. No footsteps outside. So far so good. She flushed twice, then carefully folded her shirt tail up toward the neck of the shirt and stuck the slimed surfaces together. She held her breath as she stretched open the neck and slid it off, trying to keep the vomit out of her hair.
Timber stepped over to the sink, turned on the cold water full force, cupped her hands under the stream; drank and spit, drank and spit, drank and spit, until the taste of regurgitated poop shake began to subside. Then spent, she melted onto the cool bathroom tiles, pulled up her pajama bottoms, puke stains be damned, and tried to hold very still so that she would not again come to the notice of the hangover gods.
Footsteps approaching made her want to cry.
“Timber.” It was Puck, and this time he seemed annoyed. “Timberlain! Aren’t you done yet?”
Timber willed him to go away, thinking this kind of situation was exactly how people who keep guns in their homes come to snap and kill one another.
“Timber.” Puck pounded on the door, which echoed through her throbbing head and rekindled the nausea.
“Timber, I got you some clothes out here and you need to get your ass in gear right now. The physical therapist is downstairs waiting on you and you haven’t even had breakfast yet. We’re way behind.”
Timber groaned at the thought of breakfast but said nothing. After a short time she heard the sound of a bag rustling, and Puck returned, banging harder on the door.
“What the hell Timber,” he yelled. “All your shit is still here. You haven’t even brushed your teeth yet.”
Timber struggled for something to say and the strength to say it. “I’ll be right out,” she finally managed.
Suddenly there was a metallic scraping noise at the doorknob, which rattled back and forth and then the door flew open.
“Get out of here! Get out of here!” Timber screamed at Puck, incensed, arms crossing over her exposed breasts.
“Jesus!” Puck boomed as the stench hit him, and he hit the ceiling fan switch. “Ok.” He steadied himself. “Ok. Let’s just get you up off the ground.” Puck reached down to lift her, but his hands on her bare skin caused her to scream “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!” and the jerking movement to avoid him triggered another round of nausea and Timber vomited again, more watery yellow than milkshake brown now, this time managing to do severe damage to the cuffs of Puck’s pants and his white Adidas, which looked brand new.
“Goddamit!” Puck exploded. “Goddamit to fucking hell!” He ripped off his tear away pants under which he wore a pair of navy Nike workout shorts on legs like tree trunks, removed his shoes and socks, then marched determinedly to Timber and began to sit her up. Timber went fetal, screaming at the top of her lungs for Remy.
“Shut the fuck up Timmie!” He barked. “I’ve seen your tits before. Now let’s get you into the fucking shower.”
Remy did not appear, but Timber’s screams drew Scott to the scene, who asked no questions before he violently accosted Puck, pushing him out of the bathroom and up against the wall in the bedroom. Timber could hear them shouting at one another, but did not follow the dialogue as she curled up against the cupboard with the clean white – possibly Samantha Heckert chosen – towels, with her hands over her breasts and her chin on her knees and cried at the absurdity of it all.
The bedroom grew suddenly quiet. A door slammed downstairs, and then Scott, dressed in his own gray workout shorts and a Lakers tee, was in the doorway, triaging the scene.
“It’s ok Timmie.” He soothed her. “I’m not looking. I’m not looking.” Scott stripped off the shirt he wore and put it over Timber’s head. “There. You’re covered. You’re all covered,” he pulled the shirt down over her. “Now put your arms up here through the sleeves. There we go. There we go.”
Scott kicked off his shoes, pulled off his socks, stepped into the shower and turned on the water.
“It’s all right Timmie, Remy’s not here, he had to go to the airport to meet someone, but you’ve got me, and we both know I’ve always been your favorite, so let’s just get you cleaned up.” Scott managed to get Timber to her feet. “Now we have to get you out of these puke pants,” he said, “But look, my shirt goes down past your knees, so you’re all covered. No worries.” Timber never even felt him undo the drawstring on her pajama bottoms, but they fell to the floor around her feet, one of which was still wrapped in the unexplained bandage.
Scott supported Timber into the shower.
“Pretty cool shower, isn’t it?” He chatted conversationally. “I’ve stayed here a couple times after we went clubbing. It has shower heads on all four walls, but I think we’ll just use this hand held one today. In your current condition, all four might power wash you right down the drain.”
Scott maneuvered Timber to the spot he wanted. “Another thing about this shower is it has this little seat molded right into it, so you can sit down right here. I’ve been thinking about getting one myself. Be good to have a seat for some shower action, ya know?” All the fight had gone out of Timber and she simply sat where he told her, let him wash her hair, and then shave her legs without a single woolly mammoth joke.
“Ok. Timber.” He smiled at her like nothing out of the ordinary was happening. “You feel like you can do the rest yourself?”
Timber nodded. “Damn.” Scott teased. “I was kinda of hoping you’d say ‘no.’ He helped her stand, making sure in his own mind she wasn’t going to keel over, and didn’t like the odds. “Let’s get these off you,” he mumbled and a moment later her panties were down around her ankles. Scott then eased her back onto the seat careful not to tuck any of his shirt under her so that she could get it off without standing.
“All set Timber. Now I’m going to step out and you take off my shirt and wash yourself. You’ll want to stand up to wash your backside because that monster sore of yours is going to be getting some scrutiny today, so If you feel faint, I want you to sit down and call for me, OK? I’ll be right outside cleaning up the puke.”
“No.” Timber spoke for the first time. “I’ll clean it.”
“Can’t happen,” Scott replied. “Because I am in charge of medical. And unfortunately for me, puke falls under my medical auspices.”
“What do you mean you are in charge of medical?” Timber pried worriedly. “I thought you had a brother who is an actual doctor.”
“I do. My twin brother Miguel. He’s the smart one. I’m the handsome one. We’re seeing him at noon. What I mean is we divided you up and I got all the good parts.”
“You divided me up?”
“Yep. Remy got your head. Coop got your stomach, and now that I’m thinking about it, I should make him clean the barf. But he’s baking. I’m not sure what, but it smells awesome. Don’t tell him I said that though. So you shower. I will clean. And you can make it up to me at a later date. I’m babysitting you tomorrow night. Maybe we’ll take your temperature. Or do a pap smear.”
“I’m going home tomorrow.” Timber told him.
“Yeah. You’re going to change your mind on that,” he predicted.
“I don’t think so Scotty.” she told him firmly.
“Of course you will Timmie.” He smiled. “You may have forgotten for the moment, but deep down inside, you love us too much to let us down.”
The bathroom smelled like Lysol when Timber emerged from the shower, and the only sign left of her misery were Puck’s Adidas and nylon pants lying in heap in a corner. Timber’s puke clothes were gone.
Scott had arranged the contents of the Walgreens bag on the counter and she brushed her teeth and smeared Oil of Olay over her face. For some reason Puck had included an extra large jar of Vaseline and she tried not to think about what his train of thought might have been on that purchase. No hair brush. Just an Ace pocket comb to get through her mop of hair. Still, he had gone to some trouble on her account and she had treated him rather rudely, so Timber picked up his shoes and pants meaning to wash her vomit off them when a wad of twenties wrapped inside an ATM receipt fell onto the floor.
Timber stared at it, tempted. A thousand dollars, the receipt said. Her mind was racing. Could she get back home on $1000? She was about to be given some clothes and shoes. She could buy a cell. Call the credit card company, get them to messenger her a card somewhere… Damn, no license. No way to get on a plane or rent a car, and then there was that more important hard to answer question, did she want to go back home? She had wanted them to come; wanted them to help her, but ending up in New York away from the pool house had never been the plan. So do I want to run?” Timber asked herself staring at the money. A question that her heart answered yes, but her head answered no.
“Timber!” Scott called from the bedroom. “Come on Timberlain, let’s put a move on.”
Timber helped herself to a handful of twenties, stuck them in the pocket of the borrowed robe she had on and kicked Puck’s pants back where she had found them. “All set,” she told Scott emerging from the bathroom.
“Looking almost human there Lilley,” Scott smiled. “Come pick something out to wear, we have to get you down to the gym.”
It turned out the Vaseline was the high point of Puck’s shopping skills. On the bed were three choices. A royal blue Mets nylon track suit, with pants and a jacket but no shirt. A bright orange Anaheim Ducks fleece sweat suit. And a pair of Under Armor stealth gray Swacket pants and a hoodie with “Harvard” on the sleeves, all women’s size small. No underwear. No bra. No socks. There was however, a shiny metallic purple Reebok Faves outdoor jacket, and a box of Nike Roshe One woman’s trainers that were actually very nice except for the fact they were a size too big.
“I can’t wear any of that!” Timber wailed plaintively.
“Sure you can,” Scott encouraged her. “How about the Mets suit?
“The Mets Scotty? It’s an insult to send a Yankee wife a Mets item. This is Puck telling me he’s pissed at me. Plus, it’s nylon Scotty. It’s winter. And I have no underpants.” Timber grumbled the word at him in a way that warned him she was not a happy camper.
“The seats in my car heat up,” Scott actually seemed to think this was a valid solution and Timber gave him a look that shut him down. “Please don’t look at me like that Timmie, I always worry I’m going to spontaneously combust. How about the Ducks suit then, that’s fleece. You can go commando in fleece. I do it all the time.”
“It’s orange! I’ll look like a freeping convict!” She cried as if she couldn’t believe he didn’t see the problem.
“Look Timber,” Scott pleaded. “Remy left us a schedule, and so far we are half an hour behind. We can’t be worried about what’s on your color pallette. How about the Swacket pants and the hoodie? They’re nice and warm.”
“It says Harvard!” Timber complained.
“People who never went to Harvard wear Harvard stuff all the time,” Scott wasn’t following.
“I went to Yale!” She railed. “I went to Yale! People who go to Yale do not wear clothes that say Harvard! We do not even wear the color red except on Christmas and occasionally Valentine’s Day if our boyfriends give us slutty underwear, and even then we put a note in our underwear that says our wearing of the color red should not be taken as en endorsement to HARVARD!.”
Scott let out a big sigh. “This is what’s wrong with college, it makes you educated people hostile towards one another.”
“You went to Florida State,” she reminded him.
“Yes,” he admitted, “But thank God it didn’t take. Ok, executive decision here, we’re going with the Swacket pants and the Ducks shirt. Not too much orange that way. And you like ducks. I see a duck anywhere, I always think of you Timmie.”
Scott held out the Duck’s shirt with his best come hither smile. “Come on Timmie, nobody’s going to be evaluating your fashion sense when the rest of you is so messed up, and by the time Miguel sees you, you’re going to be in one of those gowns with your ass hanging out anyway, so we’re good.”
Timber never could resist Scott when he turned on the charm. “Oh, quack quack”, she capitulated, took the clothes he offered turned her back on him, untied the robe, and in exactly six seconds was completely dressed. The Swacket pants, which are supposed to hug the body, bagged on her but the Duck’s jersey ended mid thigh, so it hid a lot of the extra material.
“You look great.” Scott encouraged her, lacing up a shoe from the box. “Come on sit down, I’ll show you how I play Cinderella. Of course, usually when I play it, I’m naked.”
“You are such a sick man, Scott. You should be the one going to the shrink. And these shoes are a size seven,” Timber grumbled as she slid her foot in sans socks. “I wear a six.”
“Well that’s my fault,” Scott took the blame. “I told Puck to get a size seven because it’s the universal shoe size for women.”
“The what?” Timber made her “I can’t believe what I’m hearing” face.
“The universal shoe size for women. Size 7.” Scott repeated, as if it were an indisputable fact.
“Scott,” Timber tried to be patient. “Women do not have a default shoe size. We all have different size feet.”
“Of course you do,” Scott smiled. “I am a great fan of women’s different sized feet. But there’s always a shoe size that most women can wear in a pinch. Might be a little tight, or a little loose, but they’ll work in an emergency.”
“I see,” Timber answered, wondering not for the first time where Scott came by these theories of his. “And is there a universal men’s shoe size?” she asked.
“Absolutely.” He nodded “Ten and half.” Now come on Timber. No one cares what you’re wearing and we will sort out the whole clothes issue tonight.”
“We will not need to sort it out tonight, because I will be on my way home tomorrow,” she reminded him.
“Well now you are just lashing out. So unbecoming.” Scott pretended to shake his head in disappointment.
“Can you at least raid Remy’s drawers for socks and underwear? Anything in the bikini genre. No boxer briefs.”
“No can do, Kiddo. Remy locked up his room in case you felt like ordering a new drug supply off the Internet. But I can tell you what I will do. I’ll bring you some panties from my collection tomorrow.”
“I’m not going to be here tomorrow Scott. And besides, girls wear those things before they throw them at you, you know.” Timber complained.
“I’ll sniff them first and wash any that seem suspect.” He promised. “And by the way, I never jack off in them. That is just a vicious rumor.”
Shoes on and tied, Scott pulled Timber to her feet. “Perfection.” He told her. “Let’s go meet your PT.”
“He’s not my PT, he is a PT, and I will blow you every night for a week if you let me skip it and go back to bed for an hour. Really I’m not feeling so hot Scotty.”
“Every night for a week huh?” He raised his eyebrows at her cartoon villain style. Then he whispered in her ear. “See, I knew you wanted to stay,” picked her up in a fireman’s carry on his good shoulder, and checking his watch, double timed it to down to Remy’s home gym while Timber complained loudly, but with at least one giggle, that she was not a sack of Christmas toys.