In Chicago Bob shares his world with Kara.
"You" Bob replied and gave her a quick peck. He started to roll over and leave.
"Hey wait. Where are you going? Come back and give me a proper good morning kiss."
"Well...ah...I thought I'd..um,well...Don't you want to freshen up?" He looked embarrassed.
Bob looked everywhere but at Kara. "I just thought you might want to brush your teeth or something."
Kara burst out laughing. "Are you saying my breath is kicking? And I thought you really loved me" She laughed again and grabbed poor Bob, showering him with kisses. He laughed but looked a little green around the gills.
"I'm re-writing the wedding vows. Do you Bob take Kara for better, for worse; in sickness and in bad breath as long as you both shall live?" Kara fell back onto the pillow laughing. "All right. You go make breakfast and I'll find some mouthwash. What are we having for breakfast?"
"Pancakes." said Bob, looking very pleased with himself.
A few minutes later, Bob came back looking sheepish. "Ah...I think we'll have to eat out. The pancake mix has bugs in it."
"Yummy, protein. Sure you don't want to use it?" Kara loved teasing Bob. In fact, Frank was secretly giving her lessons.
"Look, just get dressed. Let's hurry and eat. I want to take you shopping before you meet the folks." Kara thought about it but decided to let that last statement go, as Bob probably didn't mean it as it sounded.
"Shopping!" she shouted. "Let's go!" She took a flying leap into Bob's arms and planted a huge kiss on him.
An hour late and the couple was finally on the road. After stopping for breakfast, they headed to the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora.
Kara drug Bob to a map board. She quickly formulated a plan of attack, starting with Hot Topic. A couple of hours later and Bob was laden down with several bags from various stores. Kara was now wearing a Ramones shirt and hoodie. With some gently nudging, she had even bought a nice skirt set for the family dinner.
"Kara, aren't we done yet? How are we supposed to get this back to New Jersey?"
"Oh, you're right. We need luggage."
Bob groaned. "Kara, we have to go now. I wanna show you something."
After only two side trips, the couple made it back to the car and loaded up the purchases.
They headed back to Downer's Grove. At the house, Bob unloaded the car, making Kara stay put. He came back looking excited. "Okay, let's go."
They were soon driving around the area with Bob pointing out local points of interest; Four Lakes Ski Resort where he snowboarded, the junior high he attended, South High.
At the high school, he told Kara about his band director.
"The last thing he ever said to me was, 'You'll never be anything'. Can you fuckin' believe it?" The bitterness was still there even 10 years later.
"Bob, don't think about it. He's still stuck in high school and you've been all over the world. He's a dickhead and he was wrong."
"I just feel sorry for any kids he's teaching now."
They ate lunch at the hamburger joint Bob went to when he skipped school. He was doing his best to share his past with Kara.
"I've saved the best for last. Just wait until you see it."
They drove north to Lombard where they soon pulled up to the Whirlyball. They parked and Bob practically drug Kara inside. He was like a kid in a candy store. As they approached the counter, Kara pulled Bob aside. "What are we doing?"
"Whirlyball. You'll love it."
"That didn't answer my question," she said to Bob's back. He was busy signing up for a court.
"Hey, we're in luck. They have some openings. Let's go"
Kara found herself being fitted into a helmet, seated into a bumper car, and handed a jai alai type scoop. Thankfully, the game was really easy. It consisted of 2 teams of 5, moving a whiffle ball down a court by passing it with the scoops while careening about in bumper cars. You scored points by hitting targets at each end of the court. Within a few minutes, Kara became a maniac, bent on scoring more points than anyone else. Unfortunately, the other team was awarded points as she was penalized several times for ramming members of the other team.
They were having so much fun that they lost track of time and had to rush home to change for the family dinner.
They made it his parent's house a mere 45 minutes late. Fortunately, his parents had anticipated this and had delayed dinner.
Bob introduced Kara to his extended family, his mom and dad, two sisters, grandparents, a couple of aunts and uncles, and assorted cousins. Kara was overwhelmed by the welcome. Her head was spinning after the intros.
Bob was dragged into the garage to see his dad's new toy, a snow blower leaving Kara surrounded by a sea of smiling faces. His grandmother gently guided her to a sofa in a corner while his Mom and aunts disappeared into the kitchen to see about dinner.
"I've been waiting to show you this." She said pulling out a big photo album. She then proceeded to gleefully destroy any credibility that Bob had by showing Kara Bob's baby pictures. They were all there: Bare-butt, toothless grin, sheepskin rug and all. Bob potty training the cat, wearing a birthday cake on his head, eating a worm, seated at a lemon yellow drum kit with cardboard cymbals, deciding at 2 years old to run away from home with only a short shirt on (leaving nothing to the imagination). If there was an embarrassing moment, his family was there, camera in hand, ready to record it for prosperity. Kara was laughing so hard she cried.
Bob's sister, Stephanie scooted by and whispered, "The boys are coming back."
Grandma quickly hid the album behind the couch.
Author Note - I want to thank Caitydidsworld for her help on this chapter; she is an expert on Chicago and all-things-Bob. Oh Bob, you gotta love him!!!