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Being Bob, Act XIV by Nevuela Being Bob, Act XIV by Nevuela
Act XIV, Scene I

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” ~ William Shakespeare

I had come a long way from playing the mute sidekick to television’s biggest buffoon. A laughingstock and a felon, I rose from the nadir of society to the zenith, claiming the lofty role of mayor of a quaint but idyllic Tuscan village. It was a role I knew I had been born to play.

Donning my mayoral costume and starched smile, I made the audience believe that my costars were my beloved wife and son, even though the former was constantly stepping on my lines and the latter had yet to learn how to act his way out of a paper bag. Still, the masses were more than content with our performance, and they made it known through their affectuous adulation.

But of course, I should have known it would turn out to be yet another role I was never meant to play. Perhaps it was Divine Providence, or perhaps it was merely karma, that sent me traipsing through life in shoes that were either too small or, ironically, too large.

The eve of my downfall unfurled like any other day: without fanfare, without breathless anticipation, without further adieu…

I was at my desk contemplating a passage in Paradise Lost when the door to my office opened. I frowned but didn’t look up from my book. Francesca never knocked. And she never stayed. My office was my sanctuary, that much she respected. It was a large house, one in which she spent little of her time, my office least of all. Still, she never entered unless she had something to say. Or to ask of me. Never did she linger.

“Roberto, I need-a you to watch Gino while I am out.”

I huffed an irritated sigh, but still did not look up from my book. “Where are you going this time? And how long will you be gone?”

We had been cohabiting long enough that I no longer bothered to quell the annoyance in my tone. Being an unpaid babysitter had not been in the job description when I’d first agreed to pose as husband and father. Hiring a nanny had been out of the question, as it would appear highly suspicious. After all, what stay-at-home parents needed such help to care for a single toddler? Being mayor of a small village was rarely demanding, nor was Francesca’s modeling career. When she was called off to distant places for an extended photo shoot or fashion show, she always took Gino with her.

“I am-a having my nails done. I will be back-a by four.”

I glanced at the clock. It was barely 2:30.

“You can’t honestly tell me that it takes you an hour and a half to get those talons of yours sharpened!” It was as much a question as an exclamation.

Francesca scowled, planting her hands on her hips. “What I do with-a my time is-a not your business!”

I raised a brow. “And yet you see fit to tell me how to govern mine?”

“I am-a asking you nicely to watch-a Gino for me,” she replied in a tone that was anything but nice. “You know I cannot take-a him to the salon with me. He is too much-a trouble.”

I smirked. “Funny, he’s hardly any trouble at all when he’s with me. I wonder why that is?”

“That is why I let YOU take him!” Francesca snapped. I had an urge to correct her on the word ‘let,’ but I didn’t. In her mind, she was allowing me the honor of babysitting, not thrusting it on me without regards to what I wanted.

“All right,” I sighed, closing my book. “Bring him in.” Anything to keep the peace around here.

Francesca left, returning a minute later with Gino. “You stay here and-a behave, or Roberto will spank you.”

I snorted at that, loud enough for her to hear, but said nothing. I had never once laid a hand on the boy, nor did I ever intend to. Francesca rarely did it herself, though she was fond of threatening him. And yelling. Normally I’m not one to make stereotypical observations, but it did indeed seem that some Italians relished loudness.

Still, for all of her arrogance and venom, her maternal love was apparent as she stooped to give her son a hug and kiss before leaving. Once she was gone, Gino scampered over to the small chest in the corner and started digging through it for something to play with. Once Francesca had felt comfortable enough to “allow” me to babysit, I’d instructed Gino to keep a toy chest in my office for just such an occasion. Better than having to escort him to his room to fetch a different toy every few minutes.

When Gino found what he was looking for, he closed the chest and sprawled out in the middle of the spacious carpet, facing my desk. I picked up Paradise Lost and resumed reading. Minutes ticked by, unusually silent. More often than not I had to ask the boy to lower the volume on whatever it was he was playing. I peeked over the top of my book, curious. Gino was lying on his stomach on the floor, coloring with crayons in a pad of blank paper. I could scarcely make out what he was drawing from where I sat, though I admired his focus and the feverish intent with which he worked. Like a diminutive da Vinci.

He glanced up at me suddenly and I smiled, encouraging. He smiled back, for a very long moment, before returning to his drawing. A moment later he looked up again, this time staring at my suit rather than my face. I touched my tie, about to ask if it was crooked or if there was a stain, when he started scribbling again. That’s when I realized he was drawing me!

I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Like most young children, he was fascinated with my appearance, and had drawn numerous pictures of me – specifically, my hair – in the past, but it was always speedy work which I seldom caught him at. Now it appeared as though he was putting a great deal of effort into this particular picture, for he worked in absolute silence for countless minutes while I read. I probably glanced over at him as often as he did at me. Sometimes we caught each other looking. I pretended I had no clue what he was up to.

After a while I couldn’t help noticing that he paused frequently to scratch at his head.

“Gino, if that wig is making you itch, why don’t you take it off for a while?” I suggested.

Gino shook his head without looking up from his work. “Mm-mm.”

“There’s nobody here but you and I. No one will see –”

“Mama says no!”

I sighed and gave up. Francesca was incredibly strict about making him wear that abominable hairpiece during the day. She only ever allowed him to take it off at bedtime. I’d told her it was unhealthy for him to wear it so much, that it would eventually ruin his actual hair. And I don’t know how many times I’d insisted that Gino needn’t resemble me so strongly. Having his mother’s natural ebony hair didn’t give a single clue to his true paternity, whatever it was. Not to mention he would have been far more likely to look like Francesca than me, had I actually been his father. Red hair and pale skin were recessive traits, easily dominated by raven locks and an olive complexion.

The silence stretched on as Gino continued to draw, and I to read. I didn’t even hear him get up from the floor and walk over to me. It was the tug on my sleeve that alerted me to his presence.

“Si, Gino?” I murmured, still reading.

“I make-a this for you, Papa Bob!”

Before I even looked, I was already smiling. He had me at ‘Papa Bob.’ His mother insisted he call me Papa around other people, while I insisted on Bob the rest of the time. The boy was smart; he knew very well I wasn’t his father. Francesca had made sure of that. Probably so that he wouldn’t get too attached to me, which was wise. Still, he was very good about calling me what he was supposed to when the situation called for it, but every now and then, usually when his mother was out and we were alone, he liked to call me Papa Bob. I can’t say why that tickled me so much, but it did. There was an endearing sincerity to the term, and I liked it.

When I saw the picture he’d drawn, I couldn’t help but smile all the larger. Seldom do I meet a connoisseur of fine art more critical than I, but as I stared at the portrait so carefully rendered in crayon by this most amateur of artists, I could find not a single criticism, not even a constructive one.

The subject – quite obviously me – stood amid a mass of purple dots and circles (grapes, I am sure) holding high a wine glass in a victorious toast. TO BOB FROM GINO was written in the top left corner. Aside from a couple of backwards letters, his spelling was excellent for a three-year-old.

I stared at the picture for a long time, awed by its beauty, and surprised by my awe. There was so little that could truly move me since my last prison sentence. But this…

“Gino,” I whispered, slowly lowering the paper to look him in the eye, “this is beautiful. Molto bella! Grazie.”*

The boy grinned proudly and ran off to draw another picture. I smiled fondly at him before placing the picture in a desk drawer for safekeeping. He may not be mine, but it was times like this that made me wish he was. Not my son, not my own flesh and blood, not even my stepson, yet I was more than happy to play the role of his father. Playing his mother’s husband, however, was something else entirely.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*Very beautiful. Thank you.

ACT XV: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:icontiny8754:
Tiny8754 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I JUST LOVE THAT KID
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015
:D:D:D
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:iconr-williams:
r-williams Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
Aw, I liked the thought of Gino being his son, mind you it would make sense he wasn't, since Maggie has never aged lol unless his son was a few months old, but apparently 2.
He looks adorable with a child.

Who wouldn't find the name Poppa Bob cute? even adults are curious about his humongous hair it must be a nightmare to wash.
Maybe Bob should adopt him.
He'd make a great father... if you ignore the fact he wants to kill a 10 year old boy.
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
Hehehehe, indeed! :D
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:iconr-williams:
r-williams Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
I need a grandchild Robert! :D :D :D


:lmao:
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
:iconsideshowbobplz: Cecil can give you one. I'm still busy sowing my wild oats! :D
Reply
:iconafrahkhan:
afrahkhan Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
AWWWWWWWWWW! WHAT A LOVELY FATHER-SON MOMENT! I THINK I AM GOING TO CRY! IT'S TOO CUTE!
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013
Except that Gino isn't really his son, remember? :p
Reply
:iconfedechiccaaa:
fedechiccaaa Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What a beautiful idea: focusing on the drawing and insert a flashback. This, besides being a very sweet scene, breaks the continuity of the story. You've been good in made it lighter, putting a funny chapter here, an introspective one there, etc....


(Sorry for the tons of comments)
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013
Thanks! I'm taking Bob all over the place, aren't I? :D It's fun to write so much about him, good stuff and bad, funny stuff and sad. It's like a rainbow of Bob! ^__^

Don't apologize! I told you I LOVE reader comments! Especially long and detailed ones like yours. Most people just say "Great job, please update soon," but I like to know what their favorite scenes were, and how they reacted to this or that, and what they got out of each chapter. I write so much for my readers that I really appreciate when they take the time to give ME something good to read in return.
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:icon17th-july:
17th-july Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I left DA for a while, but i decided to check on your page today and... this! Awww little Gino, this is so adorable! I have to caught up with this fic again!!
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
:iconburnsexcellentplz: Excellent!
Reply
:iconclazombie:
clazombie Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:love:
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013
^____^
Reply
:iconsideshow-cellophane:
sideshow-cellophane Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
My official review's on FF, but I wanted to say here that I absolutely love the picture you drew - and the one Gino drew. It was a very sweet gesture. :)

Will the next chapter be on Bob and Francesca, or will the Simpsons have arrived by then?
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Awwww, shucks! :flirty:

It will have both!
Reply
:iconsideshow-cellophane:
sideshow-cellophane Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
*gasp* Yay!
Reply
:iconniamhtobin2000:
NiamhTobin2000 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Awww, Gino is the most adorable thing ever!!! And I know I say that about everything, but still!!!
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
LOL but it's true. He just loves the funny bigfoot/palm tree/clown man. :D
Reply
:iconniamhtobin2000:
NiamhTobin2000 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Haha! Who doesn't?
Reply
:iconlightening816:
Lightening816 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
:squee: This is so cute! I can't wait for the next chapter!
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
:iconhurrplz:
Reply
:iconmegasupermatt:
megasupermatt Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
It's nice he had some happy moments during that time
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Yep. ^__^ Gino's a cute little booger, but wait'll we get to Francesca! :D
Reply
:iconmegasupermatt:
megasupermatt Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Happy Moments with Francesca?
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Depends on how you define "happy." ;)
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:iconmegasupermatt:
megasupermatt Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
I see. Wink wink nudge nudge.
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
:iconevilgrinplz:
Reply
:iconirkenzim123:
irkenzim123 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
TOO CUTE. :iconiloveyouplz:
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
^_____^ Gracias!
Reply
:iconirkenzim123:
irkenzim123 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
De nada!
Reply
:iconmalfuriana:
Malfuriana Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awwwww!!! What a cute chapter!
Was this kinda a flashback-chapter? It was very interesting to read! :meow:
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Yep, this happens just before the Simpsons arrive. ^__^ The next chapter (which I am already working on) will be about Bob's relationship with Francesca, and the arrival of the Simpsons.

Can you read English, or do you use a translator?
Reply
:iconmalfuriana:
Malfuriana Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ooooooh. Nice idea! Very interesting. :squee:

Umm I sure can read english! It's very seldom that I have to use a translator. Your sentences here can confuse me, but I'm able to understand the content. :)
In my english-class, I've always been the best! And I get practice here on dA by reading and writing comments and stories and whatever. ^^
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Cool! It's always good to learn a second language. I took Spanish in high school, so I know a tiny bit of Spanish, but I have to use a translator to understand full sentences. There are free translator websites that I use for the Italian dialogue in this story. I really should try to learn more Spanish. There are a lot of Mexicans here in California.

Sorry I confuse you sometimes. I like to use big, fancy words a lot, to sound poetic, and of course Bob's speech has to be intelligent and sophisticated. :D
Reply
:iconmalfuriana:
Malfuriana Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Indeed! :D Naturally the best language I can is German. It's almost like swiss-german - the language I speak since I was born. ^^ Then I had French in school for five years. But since two years we don't learn it there anymore. Only english. I almost forgot the whole French vocabulary. :facepalm:

I can't even speak a whole sentence in Spanish. O.o To me, it's a difficult language. English is easy. Sometimes I just have to hear a new word for once and I can keep it in mind. :D

Don't worry. It's even better you write some new words in it. I can learn from it. Cuz if there's one word in a sentence, which I don't know, I look back at the sentence and can guess. Most of the time I guessed right! XD otherwise...:ohmygod:
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:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Really? I heard that English is actually difficult to learn because it's a mixture of different languages, like Latin, Greek and French and German. Maybe it depends on what your native language is. If it's the right language, it might make learning English easier.

For me, Spanish was very easy because it has many similarities to English. I had trouble with my second-year Spanish class so I dropped out. I took it at a different school than the first Spanish class, so maybe they taught it differently at the second school.
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:iconmalfuriana:
Malfuriana Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
if you'll ever TRY to learn German.* :facepalm:
Reply
:iconmalfuriana:
Malfuriana Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hahahahaha!! Well, to ME it's easy to learn English. Others in my class can learn as much as they want, they always get a bad grade. I wonder how?

LOL Then I wonder what you think if you'll ever thy to learn German. The german language has three kinds of the word "the", they write names of things with a capital letter, ect... :no: But I'm sure swiss-german will be much harder. We don't even have a dictionary. D:
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