Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Chat.... My second escape..

As Bob shared with me the reason why I shouldn't know about everything in life as we lay in bed talking, he also said something that said so much in so many ways.  He reminded me of how he hadn't always had plenty of money.  I knew this about him.

Bob had grown up one of 9 children, all boys.  They had been very poor.  They couldn't afford much for clothes so they were given white undershirts to wear for their shirts, and they of course they ate leftovers whenever there were any.  Bob had taken off as a teen and never looked back.  He had been determined to carve a different life out for himself.  He had gotten his first wife pregnant when they were dating as young adults and so he had married her.  He was a young man with a young family to take care of. 

As we lay there talking he reminded me of this and added, so you know, I had to do things I'm not proud of.  He told me he had to get involved in the drug industry.  He quickly followed up with, I never did any drugs, I was smarter then that, I could see there was plenty of money to be made in the industry so I did that until I got on my feet as an adult, and "of course" I don't do it anymore.  Then I heard, "you don't think any less of me do you".  Of course I said, "no, no, you had to do what you had to do to put food on the table, I get it". He again reiterated how he was no longer involved in the drug industry.

Meanwhile I'm thinking about his current lifestyle.  Bob was still paying the house payment on his ex-wife's house which was a nice place in a very nice neighborhood.  He too lived in the same neighborhood and he was paying for his own house.  Then his youngest was in a very exclusive private Christian Boy's High School, which of course he was paying for.  We ate out every night, oh and btw - Bob never ever at a left over.  He rarely ate a full plate of food, in fact he intentionally didn't eat all his food to watch his weight, but he never took a bite home.  He bought me anything and made sure I wanted for nothing.

Bob also had another tell tale part to his life style. Bob traveled to Miami all the time with his buddies to  play golf.  He played at all the best clubs, if you recall me mentioning how he had the towels framed in shadow boxes in his family room.

He had also started discussing how we were going to handle Christmas dinner.  Now, mind you, the only people coming to Christmas dinner were his two sons, the one son's girlfriend, his grandson, and myself.  A real small group, yet Bob wanted to have Turkey, Ham, sides, and Tippins Pies (very costly pies).  He didn't want me to cook these items either, he wanted to it catered.

As I laid in bed I thought back on my childhood.  I had a step-grandfather that lived across the street from us. He became my step-grandfather when his son married my Mom.  He always had rolls of hundreds on him, money was spent like he needed to get rid of it, and he always went to Miami to see is buddies, and he went by "Eddie", and yes, he was in the mob.  I could tell you stories about my life with him in it that would be a whole knew blog short story.

Basically, as I lay there thinking about it all, I had to admit to myself the truth and that I knew what was up.  I didn't want to believe it, but how could I not?  Yet here I had met a man so different then Fred, I wanted it all to not be true.  I loved my new life style.  Who wouldn't, I mean money grew on trees so it seemed.  Actually, when I was honest with myself, money was something he wanted to have go through is hands quickly.  As much as I enjoyed it all, as I fell asleep I knew I needed to plan escape #2.  I had never asked questions but I knew a lot.

I continued on as if things were normal.  I came home to his house every day from work, went out to eat each night.  Spent time with him and his family when they came around and I helped plan the Christmas dinner.  This dinner was very important to him.  Family was important, and he was falling in love with me, he had told me he loved me many times.  He wanted to spend Christmas with me in his life.  I on the other hand knew the relationship would need to end, so when he expressed his love I had to struggle to say something appropriate in return. I picked my words carefully.  I could tell that frustrated me.  He wanted me to need him more, rely on him more, and love him more.  He wanted me to cut ties with Lisa, but instead I was planning to finally use that new bed I had purchased.

I bought Bob Christmas gifts that were in line with my budget and I also bought gifts for his family.  It was hard, I knew the end was near.  In the mean time I was looking at all the clothes that had made their way to his house.  Leaving was once again going to be a chore.  What was wrong with me...geez.  I must be part gypsy that never wants to see a red flag!

Christmas eve came and Bob wanted to exchange gifts between him and I.  He wanted it to be romantic when no one else was there.  I expected gifts similar to what I had purchased for him, which had been clothing, and a few other things I thought he might enjoy.  The first box he handed me was small.  I thought to myself, omgosh, new sweaters don't fit in boxes like this....  he was beaming with excitement for me to open my gift.  I did, wow, 1/2 carat each diamond earrings!  I wanted to cry for all the reasons he wouldn't have understood.  I immediately said, "Bob, these are too nice, too expensive, I can't accept a gift like this".  He took that as, "what a sweet girl, she's not a gold digger", rather then "she wants the heck out of this relationship and now she feels even more hooked in".  Then I got box #2.  It was small as well, but longer.  I opened it, again Bob was all smiles.  I about fell over, it was a Movado watch with diamonds all around the face.  Really!!!  The gifts were beautiful of course, what girl wouldn't love them.   How do you leave a man like this.  How was I going to leave a man like this.

I gave him his sweater I had bought... he loved it.  The next day was Christmas, and believe it or not, the day that I left.

More next week.....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat - It was getting close to Christmas

What a whirlwind the first week had been.  We were having a lot of fun and Bob really seemed to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed his.  He introduced me to his friends, took me everywhere because I did one thing really well.  I just smiled a lot and kept my mouth shut. 

The money kept flowing.  As Christmas approached there were gifts to be bought and a Christmas dinner to be planned.  I remember him telling me he needed to get a gift basket from Bath and Body Works for his son's girlfriend.  I just happened to be going there myself so I offered to pick one up for him.  He was very appreciative and said, "get the biggest one they have", "do you think $100 will cover it?"  I told him I did, and he peeled off another $100 for me.  Well the biggest they had at that time cost $50.00 so I brought it home and went to give him his change.  He said, "oh no, I appreciate the favor, you keep it".  I told him "no", but he wouldn't hear of it, so I had a little more walking around money.

I remember once we were going somewhere and he was out of his usual roll of $100's and we had to go by an ATM. He said, "I hate these things, they only give out $20's".   It took all I had not to start giggling at him...

Bob drove a beautiful new SUV, it was a Mountaineer in a pearl white. He told me it belonged to the company.  Well that was interesting too.  Bob was never short of tricks up his sleeve.  He was the President of the St. Louis location for a Cleaning Company that did Janitorial services for places like the Airport here in St. Louis, and many large school districts in the area.  They had big contracts.  The business was in a building of course.  The St. Louis location was just one of may locations that was under a parent location in another city I've now forgotten.  Bob wanted to buy the building they were in here in St. Louis and have them rent the building from him.  The parent office was not interested because they felt it was all too close and could create a conflict of interest.  Of course Bob saw easy money, so he bought the building under another company name and leased it to them just like he wanted to. They never knew.

By now Lisa was wondering if I was ever going to move into her extra bedroom.  I had moved furniture in but had never even slept in my new bed.  I paid her rent though because I wanted to know that room was there if I needed it.  I did bring back may of the things he was buying for me, it was just endless, until one day Lisa made the joke "you're going to have to claim Bob on your taxes"...

Bob already knew Lisa was suspect of him, and he didn't like that much.  He especially didn't want her influencing me in any way - hence another reason to keep me at his house and away from her.  He was concerned about her, more so then I realized.  So one day he comes up with, "I think I know someone that might be good for Lisa".  Lisa was and still is to this day, looking for Mr. Right.   I asked him who and he told me about some guy he knew.  Then he said, "I would like to get to know her better first to make sure, how about we all go to dinner together".  I thought that was a great idea because I was missing my friend.  It never dawned on me he just wanted to get a feel for Lisa and to see if she could cause him any real trouble.  I told Lisa about his plan and she agreed to go to dinner. The difference between her and I - she knew what he really wanted to find out at that dinner.  We went to dinner and Bob asked her lots of questions, hidden in conversation as usual.  I guess he didn't find her to be any real threat.  After that he never really mentioned her again, and of course there never was a guy he wanted to fix Lisa up with.

I followed my normal routine every day, went to work, came home to his house, let myself in and watched TV until Bob came home.  There was never any work to do around there bigger then laundry or the dishwasher.  Bob paid to have people do everything else for him.  He had a housekeeper and a company that took care of his yard.  He took care of the drycleaning.  He knew someone who owned a drycleaners so he took both our clothes there and brought them back.  I never dealt with them, which was nice.  So there wasn't much to do but watch TV and wait for him to come home.  And to be honest, I always felt I was being watched when I was there.  I never dared to look around in places I didn't belong.  I swore those golf balls were keeping track of me. 

The Christmas presents were accumulating so I started wrapping them after work.  But, when Bob arrived home he was ready to go out to eat, so I knew I needed to be ready to go when he pulled in.  He always had a place to eat in mind and it was always upscale.  We never just ate at a normal place.  Even if we were going out to lunch it couldn't be Subway, it had to be the next tier up.  Well I was craving Steak n' Shake.  For those of you that have never heard of it, it's been a chain here in St. Louis all my life. They serve burgers and fries for the most part.  They are known for their burgers as being "Steak Burgers", and they make them really thin.  The buns are toasted and buttered, so you get the perfect amount of  it's like an upscale chain diner.  I told Bob I was really wanting to go there.  Well Steak n' Shake was really beneath him, but he said he would go for me.  Well we went and did he do a good job teaching me never to make a request like that again.  OMGosh did he get dramatic.  He rolled around on the couch for two days complaining how bad his stomach ached and the cramps he had, etc, etc.. 

Bob had a way of teaching you a lesson.  One night I wanted to go Christmas shopping with Lisa. She was my best friend and I hadn't seen near enough of her.  I told Bob I wanted to go shopping with her one night.  You could see it in his face, this was not the routine and not the norm.  I was supposed to come home to the house and be ready for dinner when he came home. period.  He couldn't say much, but I could tell he didn't like it.  Well I met up with Lisa and we started shopping and having fun, then my phone started ringing.  Of course it was Bob.  He wasn't feeling very well, his head was stopped up... "when was I going to be home?"  I told him I wasn't sure, that I was having fun, and wanted to get my gift shopping done.  He called back again, now he was much sicker..."how much longer until I came home?"  This went on until finally I just went home.

This was a turning point for me.  I didn't leave Bob, but I didn't feel the same anymore after that night.  Christmas was about 2 weeks away now, I had gifts for him and his family, we were planning a Christmas dinner for his family so I didn't rock the boat.

The funny thing about Bob was, while he was suspect of everyone, he never seemed to notice that I was losing my excitement for him. I didn't want him too because I had figured out it was in my best interest at this point for me to keep him thinking everything was as perfect as always. 

We were two weeks into this relationship, Bob was happy as long as I didn't stray from the routine, he was still showering me with gifts and fancy dates, and then he told me something interesting one night when we were laying in bed talking. He said, "does it bother I don't tell you everything?"  I answered with, "no not really, it's not like I'm on a need to know basis, we're not planning to get married or anything".  He said, "it's not like that, it's for your protection, if you don't now anything, you can't be implicated in anything". 

Now those are words to fall asleep by....

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat..... Dating Bob

After the carriage ride Bob took me to dinner.  I no longer recall where we went but Bob never skimped so I'm sure it was one of the better restaurants in town.

I started to learn a few things about Bob - he had been married once for 20+ years, had been divorced for 3 or 4, recently broke up with his last girlfriend, had two boys, one that was still in High School, and had a 5 year old Grandson.   Pretty run of the mill, nothing unusual in any of that, of course if you were to assume that, you would be wrong. Even the norm I soon found out wasn't normal when it came to Bob.

For example Bob explained to me his oldest son got his girlfriend pregnant and had not yet married the mother of his Grandson, but intended too. Bob didn't seem bothered by this, in fact he felt his son had some growing up to do.  He really adored the mother of his Grandson and back when she had become pregnant, both of them were very young and didn't have good jobs or the means to do much. The mother had an interest in becoming a dental hygienist, so Bob paid for all of her schooling so she could become one.   I quickly learned he was endlessly generous.

Bob also shared details about his past girlfriend that I very quickly figured out I was supposed to be learning from.  Detail number one - and might I add the most important detail... she was nosey.  Bob never missed a chance to tell me she had asked too may questions.  She tried to get a look at his cell phone when a call came in, and she frequently asked who had called.  She also asked "other" questions. He made it very clear that was a big reason he broke up with her.  Hmmm note to self - don't ask questions...

Apparently Bob's generosity with her was never shorted either.  He told me used to pay for her car insurance, all her gas, and on and on.  It was amazing listening to this man.  The one things I did realize was, I didn't have to ask questions, I only needed to listen carefully.

I stayed the night at Bob's house after that first date.  It was late when we got back and we were enjoying each other's company tremendously, neither of us wanted the night to end, so we didn't let it.

Bob's house was beautiful and everything was in perfect order. It was an older home that had been brought back to life.  His taste in furniture was eclectic in that I found some rooms to be contemporary and some rooms had beautiful antiques.  He enjoyed golfing so his family room was decorated with a golf theme.  He had been to some of the most exquisite golf courses around the US and had the golf towels to prove it framed all around the room.  It was clear Bob was not hurting financially.

The house had a three car garage attached by a covered walkway.  The previous evening, before our date he had me put my car in the garage.  There were two other cars in there, one was a '57 Chevy he had picked up for his younger son who could not yet drive and the other was a collector car of his friend Frankies.  It was when Bob was showing me Frankies car that he told me his friends called him "Bobby".  I never called him that, I stuck with Bob, but I soon learned all his friends had names that ended in "ie".

I was learning other things about Bob as well, he was routine, he had his way of doing things and he didn't like to stray from his ways.  When we went to bed that first night, I learned he could not go to sleep unless the room had 100% darkness.  He had a routine of letting down curtains, turning thing around, covering things, it was interesting to watch as he prepared the room so he could sleep. He had no alarm clock because of they light up.  He asked me if any of this bothered me.  It didn't in the least, I have my own routines in life, so I understood.  He seemed relieved, and told me his routine ways had bothered his ex-girlfriend and he never missed an opportunity to tell me she was a slob.  Note to self - don't be a slob.

The routineness of Bob was everywhere.  I wanted to shower and Bob kept his towels in his laundry room.  I went to get what I needed and I just stood there in amazement.  On the wall were several shelves, full of towels.  It looked like Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  He owned three colors and had multiple sets in each color.  They were all stacked perfectly by type and color.  I went to put my glass I had been drinking from in the dishwasher and found all the dirty dishes and glasses perfectly organized.  Bob had also made an interesting comment during our conversation about his impeccable organization. He had said, "you know why I keep everything in perfect order, in case someone comes in my house, I'll know they were here". 

I went home that morning, but only after Bob wanted to give me a key to his house and shared his alarm code with me.  I noticed something about how I felt when Bob wanted to share this information, and give me the key - I felt as if I were being tested.  Bob and I chatted more and more after he had put the key next to my purse on the counter, so it was really easy to "forget" it when I left.  I wasn't ready for a key to this man's home yet. 

Of course before I left Bob wanted to know what I was going to do for the day.  He didn't have much planned, but he did have an obligation that night to go to watch his Grandson play soccer I believe (I don't recall the sport that well anymore).  When he told me that I immediately assumed I would not see him, when all of a sudden he said, "I would really like you to go so you can meet my family".  I was shocked. Could this man move any faster... I did agree to go, I liked Bob and as much as he wanted to spend time with me, I wanted to spend it with him.

Another interesting fact I'll mention about Bob at this point, remember he made it clear asking too many questions was a quick way to end things with him, well that was a one way rule.  Bob never quit asking questions about me, he wanted to know everything he could learn. And any time he uncovered something that wasn't just right, he did his best to fix it.  For example, just in conversation I shared with him how I had shipped home all my tools I owned, but the tool box had just been too heavy, so I left my tool box in the back of Fred's truck.  Next time I saw Bob, he had a new tool box for me.  Once we went shopping at a clothing store because he needed something.  I found some clothes I wanted, of course Bob paid for them as well.  These are just a few small examples.  Within the first week of knowing Bob, the items he purchased for me piled up at Lisa's condo.

After going back to Lisa's for a bit and getting ready for our evening together, I went back to Bob's.  I immediately was asked, "why didn't you take the key, I really want you to have it?".   I explained it was so soon and it's a big deal to trust someone with your house.  He looked what felt like right to the core of me and said, "I'm sure I can trust you".  So not only did I get a key, but I got my own garage door opener.

That night we went to the event for his Grandson and I met his older son and his girlfriend.  They were all very nice.  The girlfriend told me she was surprised she was meeting me so quickly, that he had not brought the previous girlfriend around for over 6 months after he had started dating her.  She also told me that Bob was very generous and the girlfriend had taken advantage of that.  She felt she was definitely a gold digger.   Interesting conversation...

From that point on I spent most of my time with Bob.  In the first week I was going out to dinner with Bob each night because he didn't like to cook, and his friends were all Italian restaurant owners.  We ate at all the best places, then we would come back to his house and hang out.  It was really nice.  I was finding it to be a little hard to get ready for work.  My clothes, hair care, makeup, etc were all at Lisa's, so I had to get up early, go to Lisa's, get ready, then drive to work.  Bob noticed this because he didn't care much for me leaving early in the morning.  I told him I had all my stuff I needed there. Of course Bob had the solution.  Here's how it went - Bob always had a roll of hundred dollar bills on him, so he peeled off about 4 of them and said, "here, take this, after work go buy everything you need so you can get ready for work at my house.  I'll make room in my closet for your clothes, and then you won't have to go back there.".   I was thinking to myself, really, and I've known you less than a week...

In the midst of this whirlwind with Bob, all the fun, the fancy dates, the gifts, cash, I failed to notice something significant.  Bob had managed to create an environment where he knew my every move.  He had me coming home from work to his house and not leaving unless I was with him or he knew where I was going, until I left for work the next day. Anywhere Bob went, I went with him with one exception.  When Bob ran low on his $100's in his pocket he would tell me he had to go do something (it would always be the silliest thing, such as go get some bread), and I couldn't go.  Of course his made up errand always took longer then it should of based on what he told me he was going to do and he was always restocked with cash again.  I may have failed to notice he knew my every move, but I did not fail to notice this, nor had I stopped "listening".  But I never asked a question, I just watched, and listened.

And this was week 1....

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat.....Getting to know Bob

I follow the hostess as she takes me back deep into the restaurant to be seated with a man I've never met, but who has already spent hundreds of dollars on me.  I'm thinking a million thoughts, "what do I say", "how do I thank him for all he's done", "is he expecting something from me for his generosity".  We arrive at the table and there sits an incredibly handsome man, very different looking from his picture on, he's much better looking.  I feel myself instantly relaxing, he looks peaceful and comforting. For the first time I am seeing what I felt over the phone and through so many emails. I'm no longer nervous, I'm happy I didn't chicken out.

I sit down at the table and I'm smiling, so is Bob.  He speaks first and tells me he thinks I'm more beautiful in person, I'm happy, because I tell him I feel the same, we're definitely off to a good start.  We chat a bit, a little small talk and the I tell him how I almost chickened out and went back home, but now I'm so happy I didn't.  Then he says something I can hardly believe, even to this day, "I'm glad you didn't, I have that TV you want in the back of my SUV".  My mouth dropped, "what, are you kidding me, that thing cost $700 and you barely know me?"  He say's, "I know you, and I'm happy to do it for you".

We continue on with dinner, enjoying our time together more then I could have ever hoped for.  At one point he reached for me hand across the table, looked at me and said, "do you prefer silver or gold?" I said, "what do you mean?"  He said, "jewelry - do you prefer silver or gold?"  It made me feel a bit uncomfortable, seriously, I think this man had spent enough on me without worrying about jewelry! Nevertheless, I found myself saying, "gold".

Dinner came to an end, but we were having a wonderful time together and secretly I didn't want our "meeting date" to end.  We walked outside and he took to me to his SUV, and there in the back, big as could be was my TV.  I was so speechless and even tough I was already physically attracted to this man and was having a wonderful night, I kept wondering what the "price" was for these financial generosities.

We stood by his SUV chatting for a bit, when Bob said what I was feeling "I'm having a really good time and I'm not ready to call it a night, would you like to do something else this evening?"   Well... to be honest, I had already planned to go shopping for new bed linens.  My new bedroom set was due to arrive soon and I had two things I needed to get done, one was get new sheets and the other was to go the store where I bought the furniture and pick up the lamp I had also purchased, because it wasn't getting delivered.  Sounds like a great way to continue a date....  I decided to just tell him I needed to do these things, it was more of a timing issue then anything else, and I really wanted to get my bedroom together because the couch wasn't much fun.  In Bob's true form, he was ready to help.  He said, "let's go, leave your car here and we'll go get everything you need".  So we did.  Here I was on my first "meeting date" with this man and he was sheet shopping with me and we were having fun doing it. 

I already knew what I wanted, so we ran into Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I loaded my cart with all the items I needed.  I had everything but a blanket, which unbeknownst to me was not lost on Bob.  I went to check out and it was almost $400.00.  I hear Bob say, "let me get this for you".... "what".... "let me get this for you", are you kidding me.... I said, "no, Bob, you bought me a TV, dinner, a hotel, a rental car, my gosh, no, I'm buying my own bed linens...  he didn't push the issue, but he was more then happy to pay for everything.  I didn't know how to process this side of Bob. 

After we got the bed items we went the furniture store and picked up the lamp.  Then he drove me back to my car, loaded the items in it, including the TV, and asked me if he could take me on a date the next night.  My head was still spinning, but the words, "yes, I would love to see you again" came out with no problem.  I liked this man, and wanted to know more.

When I was still in Alaska at the hotel Bob had asked me what kind of dates I enjoyed.  I had shared a few of my favorite things to do in St. Louis, and had also included the fact it was the Holiday season and Tilles Park had all their lights up and one thing I had never done was go through there in a horse drawn carriage, but always wanted to.   At the time, it was in my mind conversation, I never really gave it any more thought then that.  But Bob did...

When I agreed to see him again on Saturday night he said, "good I was planning on you saying Yes, because I've already made reservations for us to go to Tilles park and see the lights in a horse drawn carriage".   There I stood once again thinking "are you for real"???   We parted ways in the parking lot with a warm hug, a little kiss, and a "I'll call you tomorrow morning".   I got in my car and to this day I can't remember the drive back to Lisa's, my head was just spinning with everything.  How could this all be so perfect?  Yes, how could this all be so perfect?

I got back to Lisa's and had to get her to help me with the TV.  Now remember Lisa.. she's a realist that calls it like she sees it.  She went downstairs with me and sees this giant Television in my car and I hear, "are you kidding me, what's up with this guy, did this thing fall off a truck or what?"  I said, "I don't know", and proceeded to tell her everything about the evening.  She was so skeptical, and so was I, but she was really skeptical.

As he promised Bob called Saturday morning and asked what I was doing during the day.  I told him I needed to get license plates for my car and run a few errands.  He asked me to stop by his house if I wanted and he would take me to lunch. He told me he couldn't wait to see me again.  I felt the same way, I really enjoyed this man, and I was doing a great job ignoring the fact nothing about this was normal...  I ran my errands, got my plates and went to his house for the first time.  In Bob's true, "let me help you form", he put the plates on my car and took me to lunch.  He told me he also wanted to take me dinner after our carriage ride through the park.  I was really excited, it was something I always wanted to do.  After lunch we parted ways with plans for me to come back to his house later that evening. 

Evening came and we started out on our date.  We were really having fun, we enjoyed each other immensely and we both had a physical attraction to each other, so aside from the whole "gift" thing, it was wonderful.  We arrive at Tilles park and the way the carriage rides work is you buy a ticket for each person in your party that will be riding in the carriage. The carriages held about 10-12 people, so Bob would have needed to buy 2 tickets for us to go for the ride.  We parked his SUV and Bob say, "oh I brought a blanket, let me get it".  Bob pulls out a brand new Queen sized blanket that was the color of my bed linens and says, "I bought this for you. I figured we could use it tonight to stay warm, and then wash it up for you to use on your new bed, because I noticed you didn't buy a blanket and I want you to be warm".  Once again, I'm speechless.... but I won't linger here, because that's just the beginning of the nights surprises.  We walk over to the place where you check in only to find out that Bob has bought out all the tickets for the carriage we were to ride in so we would have it to ourselves.   So yes, once again my mouth has dropped and I can't believe what he has done.  And, I'm thinking, he did all of these things, and made all these plans before he had ever set eyes on me.  What kind of man have I met??

The carriage ride was fabulous, the lights were gorgeous, the blanket was warm, it was a fairy tale in the making.... or was it?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat..... Who the heck is Bob?

So now I was free of Fred, at least I was hoping so.   Lisa and I headed out of there, I called Bob and let him know we were out of there safe and on our way to get something to eat.  He was relieved.  I still couldn't believe I had all this help from a man I never met.  Lisa was in the dark about everything.  The poor girl, she was just doing along with everything as it was happening. 

We were both starving by this point so the first thing we did was go to the nicest place to eat in North Pole there was, a Chinese restaurant.  We weren't very far away yet, but we felt safe. Fred never went there and we were in a rental no one saw, so we relaxed and had a bite to eat. That's when I started telling her about Bob.  I shared how I had met him, how we emailed, and how he wanted to save me.  Well you all don't know Lisa... she's a realist that calls it like she see's it and she was suspect of Bob from that moment on.  She was like me.. who does all this?  Of course at this point, I didn't care, I was just grateful for his help. 

We had our meal, then headed to Fairbanks.  I had never been to this hotel we were going to so once we found it, we were both impressed, he had us booked at a really nice place for Fairbanks.  It was the nicest hotel in the town by far.  So we got checked in and once again I called Bob, he had asked me to call once we got there because he wanted to make sure the place was nice and that we were settled in.  Of course Lisa was there when I called so she heard the entire conversation.  Here's how it went... let me just say, if you're wondering about Bob already, now you're really going to wonder. 

Bob, "Who's Lisa?  How long have you known her?"  "Do you trust her?" "You're going to be living with her when you come back?"  "How did you leave Fred's?"  "Did you do anything revengeful?"  "You're not going to have any anything at Lisa's, what are you going to do for furniture and all the other things you need"? 

I assured Bob I knew Lisa well, I had known her for about 10 years at that point.  I also told him I had no interest in hurting Fred, I just wanted out with my life and that I was not a revengeful type person anyway.  I also told him I may not have everything I needed, but I did have a car lined up and a cell phone, I also had my old job to go back to so I would be fine. 

Oh let me just say, Lisa's eyes were rolling in every direction... especially when the conversation continued and went like this......

Me, "All I really need when I get back is a bedroom set, Lisa has everything else.  I am planning to get a TV for my bedroom so I can relax and watch whatever I want and not bother Lisa, but other then that, I should be fine".  Bob, "what kind of TV are you going to get".  Me, "I'm not sure, but I did see one at Walmart I liked that had a slot on the side so you can play DVD's".   Bob, "Walmart, I hate that store."  Me, "Well, that's about all I have to look around in up here".  Bob, "Do you have a model number or anything for this TV?" Me, "No, it's just a 20" TV and it was the only one with the DVD slot on the side".  Bob, "Ok, make sure you call me before you go to bed".  Me, "Ok will do, talk to you later".... end of conversation.

Lisa was shaking her head and just sat back on the pillows of her bed and said "this is going to be interesting"....

Our four remaining days in Fairbanks were pretty uneventful.  We went to a couple of movies, we ate out, we went to a craft fair, we did anything to blow time. There isn't a lot to do in Fairbanks, and of course we didn't go out in the evening much, because we didn't want to risk running in to Fred.  He didn't know if we were still in Alaska or not, but he did go to Fairbanks from time to time for things. 

Meanwhile I was able to speak to Bob whenever I wanted, or should I say whenever Bob wanted to talk to me.  Bob kept close tabs on me, which was not lost on Lisa.  He was very generous.  As I had mentioned, he was paying for the hotel and car, but he was also offering to pay for massages if we wanted them, dinners in the hotel, anything we wanted really.   I'm not like that, so I didn't take him up on those offers, but they were generous.  Too generous for Lisa.  She kept saying, "you've never even met this guy".  I may not have, but I had plans to for Friday night, and it was Sunday, so I only had 5 days to go.

Sunday night we were scheduled to fly out.  Most flights to the lower 48 leave around midnight in Alaska, and so did ours.  I'll never forget that night.  We had so much stuff to bring back. We were at our maximum allowable everything.  We had the maximum amount of check luggage, carry on luggage, carry on purses, bags, you name it, we maxed out.  It was the coldest night I had experienced there, it was 26 below zero.  I remember pulling up to the airport and dropping Lisa off with all of our items so I could just check the car in and come in to meet up with her.  I dropped the car and walked to the door.  I didn't have the cold weather gear you needed for there anymore because I didn't want to bring it back to St. Louis, I would never need it here.  I had donated it all to a charity during the 4 days I waited for the flight.  So I was walking to the door in 26 below temperatures with just a coat, I didn't even have a pair of gloves.  I remember finally reaching the door to go inside and thinking to myself, "I will never feel this cold again", and I never have. 

We got our flight, no problems, we flew to Seattle where we hung out for a couple of hours then caught our flight to St. Louis.  We arrived on Monday and my gosh did it feel good to be home in more ways then I can describe.  Lisa had arranged for another friend of hers to pick us up, so we were at her condo in no time.  When we arrived back at her condo all my boxes I had shipped back were waiting for me.  My cell phone had even arrived.

On Tuesday morning we rode to work together and by 9:00am my new car was delivered to the office for me.  Things were coming together quickly and I was loving it.  Everyone at work was very gracious about the fact things had not worked out and they welcomed me back without pressing the issue.  I was really appreciative.  And then I got a phone call from the lobby  - "Hi Miss Jane, you have flowers down here waiting for you, they're beautiful"... I thought who would do that?  So, I went down to look and there was this HUGE arrangement of flowers, and they were from Bob! I thought to myself, I can't bring these to my desk.  Everyone knows I'm back because things didn't work out with Fred, and now I have this huge flower arrangement from Bob and no one knows about him, heck I don't even know about him...  so I called Lisa's desk.  I said, "you have to come get these, pretend someone sent them to you or do whatever, just please take them home with you".  Lisa's a trooper so she came and got them, hid the card, and brought them back to the condo that evening. 

The rest of the week went along pretty normal, I went shopping for furniture, worked during the day, spoke to Bob a lot, and we finalized our plans for meeting Friday night.

Friday night came and to be honest, I almost chickened out.  I even drove to the restaurant where we were to meet and almost didn't park, I wanted to just drive back home.  Here I had just gotten out of that horrible situation and I was thinking to myself, "what am I doing meeting another man already".  I never intended for any of this to go this far.  I was only playing around on Thanksgiving for something to do.  What in the heck am I doing??   But, I parked and I went in.  This was a really nice steak restaurant Bob had chosen, so the minute I walked in the Hostess said, you must be Jane, please follow me...

See you next Sunday!!!