You’re an asshole. I have physical therapy in a while but then I’ll be home.

“Ready?” Michelle called from the kitchen.

Maura watched me get up from the couch. Her eyes scrolled down the length of the crutches and back up at me, before she cracked a tiny smile and patted me on the butt.

“Come on,” she said. I laughed out loud and scooped her up into my arms for a quick kiss before she led me to the front door.

On the day of my surgery, Mia texted over the information of the state of the art rehab center they wanted me to go to. We had an in-house rehab person at the stadium and I assumed I’d be going to her but apparently that wasn’t the case.

We pulled up to the building and Michelle pulled into the first spot that was designated for the drop off and pick up of patients.

“You sure you don’t want us to come in?” Michelle asked as I got out of the car.

“No, I’m good. There’s nothing for you guys to do in there for an hour anyway.”

“Okay. Well, we’re gonna run some errands and we’ll be back.”

“See ya.” I turned and hustled into the building as fast as my stupid metal appendages would allow me to go.

The heavy glass door made a loud thud as it closed behind me and a receptionist looked up and smiled. “Hi, can I help you?”

“Uh . . . yeah . . . I’m Vi—Lawrence Finkle. I have an appointment today.”

“Hi, Mr. Finkle. Let me just look up here and see who you’re scheduled with.” She narrowed her eyes and leaned in close to her computer screen. “Okay, you’re actually going to be with Sherman.” Her head swooped up and she gave me another smile. “Lucky guy. He’s our most requested therapist . . . has a wait list a couple months long.”

“Wow. Sherman must be a beast.” I knew nothing about this place or Sherman or wait lists, but clearly he knew what the hell he was doing if he was that popular.

“Just have a seat in one of those chairs and I’ll let him know you’re here.” She motioned to a small waiting area off to the side.

“Okay, thanks,” I said and turned to the chairs, feeling a little optimistic. Mia sent me to this place for a reason and somehow got me in with Sherman. He was probably ex-military or something and would kick my ass.

I sat in the chair closest to the door, so I could see around the desk and check out the facility a little bit. The walls were painted a light blue and other than one wall being lined with exam tables, it pretty much just looked like a big gym. A rack off to the left went floor to ceiling and had several giant balls on it, all different sizes and colors.

A man, who looked to be in his mid-fifties, came around the corner of the desk and walked right up to me. “Hi! Are you Mr. Finkle?”

“Yeah,” I said hesitantly with a nod.

“I’m Sherman! Nice to meet you!” he pushed his hand into mine and we shook.

“You’re Sherman?” I tried not to sound so surprised, but I’m pretty sure I failed. He had on a bright red button-down shirt with yellow suspenders that hooked to the top of his loose-fitting dress pants. His gray hair was cut short and he definitely wasn’t as fit as I’d expected him to be.

“Yep, that’s me,” he said proudly as he waved for me to follow him. “Come on back and let’s talk.”

I followed him through the gym area and we walked to a small office in the back corner.

“I have all of your paperwork here and the plan your surgeon wants you to follow,” Sherman said as he walked around the other side of the desk. “I understand you’re a hockey player, is that right?”

“That’s right.” I nodded as I sat across from him.

“Okay.” He sat down and leaned his elbows on the desk, folding his hands in front on him. “And I’m assuming they’ve explained everything about your recovery and the timeline we’re looking at?”

I tilted my head back and forth. “More or less. We’re looking at about six months, right?”

“Well, I hope so. It’s all up to your knee, really. These injuries can take anywhere from six to twelve months to get your full range of motion back and obviously, as a hockey player, full range of motion is key.”

“Wait, wait.” My heart started racing as I held my hand up. “Twelve months? No one ever said anything to me about twelve months. I was told six months. I can’t be out for twelve months.”

He stared at me for a second and then gave me a big, tight-lipped smile. “Then we better get going. Hop up and follow me.”

I stood and followed him out through the gym area and over to the opposite corner of the room. He spun to face me as he patted the seat of a stationary bike. “Every day when you come in, even if I’m still working with someone else, I want you to climb up here and spend ten minutes on it. Okay? It’ll help with your strength, range of motion, and really get the heart pumping a little bit, and that’s what we want.”

My eyes glared down at the bike and drifted back up to him. “A bike? Seriously? Shouldn’t we be doing harder stuff to move this along faster?”

Sherman pursed his lips. “Have I told you how to play hockey?”

I frowned. “No?”

“Then you don’t tell me how to rehab you . . . now pedal!”

Sighing, I climbed up onto the bike and rode for ten minutes just like Sherman said. As my timer went off, he looked up and waved me over.

“Now hop on up here”—he smacked one of the exam tables—“and I’ll show you what we’re gonna do next.”

I slid my butt onto the table and pulled my legs up carefully. He rolled up a white towel and put it under my bad knee.

“Now, using your thigh muscles, slowly pull your toe toward you and lift your heel off the ground. Hold that for three seconds and put it back down. This is called a quad set. You’re going to do three sets of fifteen reps.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay.”

Sherman put his hands on his hips. “What now?”

“Nothing. This just seems very . . . simple. I’m a professional athlete. I need to be doing more than this,” I rambled in frustration.

“Fine,” Sherman said as he threw his hands in the air. “You wanna do more than this? Let’s get out of here and go skate a few laps around the ice.”