Chapter 79

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*four days later, January 3rd, 2014, day of Rob's surgery*

I waited for Tom to come in before I went to sleep on the chair. I once again held on to Rob's jersey for dear life, and didn't let it go.

I woke up to Tom tapping my shoulder, and it was about 9:10. Rob's surgery was scheduled for 9:15.

"Rob's getting ready to go. I figured I'd wake you," Tom said. I nodded gratefully, went by Rob's hospital bed.

I turned to the doctor.

"I can go with him while they put him under anesthetics, right?" I asked. He nodded.

"Yes."

The doctors wheeled him away. I followed through the maze of hallways and held his hand as they started putting him under anesthesia. I kissed his forehead.

"Tom and I will both be here when you wake up," I promised, as he was fading out. "I love you."

A nurse brought me to the waiting room where Tom was already waiting for me. I looked at Tom and frowned.

"Wanna play Twenty Questions, get our minds off things?" he asked. I shrugged.

"Why not. Alright...category is animals. I'll go first."

"Is your animal a mammal?"

"Yes."

Question 1.

"Is your animal large?" he asked. I nodded.

"Yes."

Question 2.

"Does it have stripes?"

"Yes."

Question 3.

"Is it related to the horse?"

"Um...no."

Question 4.

"Is it a zebra?"

"No."

Question 5.

"Crap. Is it...I give up. What is it?" Tom sighed.

"An okapi," I said with a laugh. Tom stared at me incredulously, and laughed too.

"Yeah, because I come across those every day, Alex," he said sarcastically. I smiled.

"So what do you think of DJ Williams?" I asked. Tom shrugged.

"We don't expect him to replace Rob, we just need him to fill in for Rob, and live up to our expectations." He sighed. "Buh bye Super Bowl."

"Hey," I said, patting his shoulder, "don't talk like that. This team reminds me a lot of the Red Sox. You're gonna win somehow."

"I dunno Alex. I know we're like, a team that's known for it's mental toughness...but this is gonna suck," he said with a shrug.

"Yeah. I know we'll get through this. After today, it's all rehab. That's ok. We just need to be there for him. I mean, I'll still be coaching and stuff. How did I even get hired?" I asked with a laugh. "I have no credentials, I had no coaching experience, and does a 'drills coach' even exist?"
Tom shrugged.

"Honestly? I have no idea. I don't think so though," he said with a smile. I laughed.

"I find it funny how the press thinks we're like...the greatest and most functional team. When truthfully? I bet we're the most dysfunctional team in the NFL!" I said, laughing. Tom nodded.

"I know. At least we get along though. Imagine if we didn't get along," he shook his head.

"You've been like a big brother to me. I couldn't be more grateful for your company, or just friendship. I know you've sacrificed a lot for this team. It's time someone said thank you. So Tom, thank you," I said, hugging his shoulder. He laughed.

"Nah. Thank you Alex," he said, shaking his head. I raised an eyebrow.

"What did I ever do?" I asked.

"You've brought us together. Without you, we wouldn't be complete. So thanks."

I laughed.

"So you're saying that if Rob and I had never gotten back together, you wouldn't know that Danny's first car was a 1992 Mercury Tracer?" I asked. He shook his head.

"No. I also wouldn't have known that he was half Italian, or that he made a killer pasta sauce," Tom said with a smile.

"What did you just say?" I asked. Tom raised an eyebrow.

"I said that he made a killer pasta sauce."

"Gravy. It's gravy. Not sauce," I said, shaking my head. "You disappoint me Tom. Just kidding....not really."

"Alright!" he exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air defensively. "I wouldn't have known he makes a killer gravy."

I laughed.

"Tommy Touchdown, you are something else," I said with a smile. He blushed.

"Thanks Alex." He looked at me intently. "Want some food?"

"Sure," I shrugged. "I'll just have a salad with everything. Thanks Tom."
He nodded.

"Welcome Alex. I'll be back in about fifteen minutes."

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