I didn’t know anything about him, only that his first name was Mitchell. Within a few weeks I learned that his last name was Smith. The next 51 days raced yet crawled by all at the same time.

I worked on the floor bringing customers non-alcoholic drinks, emptying trash bins, and dumping ashtrays for about a week. I loved being near the MOD’s as they communicated with the other MOD’s via hand held radios. I would smile inwardly when I would hear Mitchell respond to his peers with a “10-4 good buddy” or “Okie dokie artichokie ” it was music to my ears! My third week I was moved to the concession stand as a cashier.

I remember the first time Mitchell spoke to me ‘outside of a simple hello’ he walked to the end of the counter and said, “Can you make me a coffee?” I replied, “Sure.” He said, “Half water and half coffee.” The 30 seconds I spent making that Styrofoam cup of coffee, I must have said silently “Coffee, water.” fifteen or more times. I turned around to hand him the cup and time stood still. He said, “Thank you.” I looked up into his piercing blue eyes and I saw so much farther then I can adequately describe; you see… I saw into his soul.

Without seeming obvious, I studied him. His dirty blonde hair was firm with hairspray, neatly combed back, and he had deep dimples in his cheeks when he smiled. He was wearing black slacks, a white long sleeved button up shirt, a dark colored tie, and black dress shoes. I inhaled. He smelled amazing, inviting even. I quickly exhaled and said, “You’re welcome”. He walked away. That was the moment my mind and heart decided it would anticipate seeing him and smelling his cologne every minute of every day.

I was completely captivated. I would wish away my days off. I could not get enough. He was intoxicating. I couldn’t wait to work with him. While working the concession stand I had my own hand held radio, I would hear his voice regularly. Those brief moments he would key up to speak to his peers became my heaven. He began stopping and asking for coffee more frequently. The brief moments he stood in my area, I could not concentrate and my hands refused to cooperate! I spilled an entire bucket of ice on the floor, and nacho cheese all over the counter. I would overfill Styrofoam cups with coffee or cappuccinos burning my hands.

One night I remember clearly, I was preparing mop water when the faucet in the mop sink stopped working. I grabbed the hand held and asked for a manager to assist me. Mitchell walked up and went into the mop supply closet. He began turning the knobs on the sink when all at once there was a loud POP! Water was spraying ALL over the closet and Mitchell stood there fighting it as though it were an 8 ft bear. He was drenched, his undershirt visible underneath his white button up shirt, hair dripping with water. He looked at me laughing and said, “I normally take my showers at home before work”. A serious look washed across his face as he said, “You really should let me take you out after what I’ve put myself through tonight.”. I couldn’t speak immediately. I thought to myself, “Take me out… like a date? I don’t know HOW to date?!?” I responded, “I can’t… my mom is expecting me home after work.”

Over the course of the next week, occasionally while walking down the hidden hallway to the break room I would smell his cologne. I remember thinking, “Mitchell has been here.”. We never had breaks at the same time.  One evening after requesting his usual cup of watered down coffee he sat down on the left side of a rectangle shaped, wooden table in a metal chair.  An ashtray was upside down in the center of the table, his coffee directly in front of him, steam drifting from the top.  Mitchell looked straight at me and said “So when are you going to let me take you out?”. I was once again breathless, and without words.  I bumped a cupful of disposable knives with my arm that were sitting on the counter top.  The cup fell toward the table where he sat.  “You’re throwing knives at me now?” He chuckled. He stood and began picking up the knives. My cheeks were rosy, and warm. I was embarrassed.  I walked around the counter, and knelt down to help pick up the knives. I looked him dead in the eye and quietly said “Sorry”.  We gathered all of the knives and discarded them.  I walked behind the counter and he stood in front of me, the counter between us.  As a female coworker walked up behind him, he looked at me. He asked “How old do you think I am anyways?”. Behind him, Kendall held up three fingers on her right hand and five on her left.  I responded “I don’t think, I know…  You are 35.”. On my own I would’ve guessed him in his mid to late twenties.  He walked away.

I thought to myself “15 years older, he’s way out of my league, I graduated high school six months ago, I have very little life experience, I am 19 there’s no way he would be interested in someone like me”.  I didn’t care that it may never go anywhere; I didn’t know where it was going.  All I knew was his smile was as bright as the sun, his laugh contagious, he was the most beautiful soul I’d ever laid eyes on, and I could not be in his presence enough.

November 30, 2004 the air was crisp and it was cold, I wore a jacket over my white collared shirt into work that evening.

At 2000 hours, Mitchell came to concession and said “You have a phone message, your mom wants you to rent her a room next door or something like that.” About 15 minutes later, during my next break I called my mom. She said “You get half price rooms at the hotel next door to the casino right?” I said “Yes.” Then she said “Stormi, the roads are icing over.  I really don’t want you trying to drive home, would you please use some of your tips and stay in a room there tonight?” I said “OK” and hung up the phone.  I returned to the concession. Mitchell walked up and without thinking I said “You were wrong, my mom didn’t want a room for her, she wanted me to stay because of the roads.” He said “Oh, I have a room over there tonight too.  I’m sorry I couldn’t hear her very well.” I said “Okay.” Then he swiped his key fob, opened the heavy wooden door leading to the break room hallway and exited the concession area.  I continued with my duties in the concession.  I remember thinking “I don’t believe that is the end of THAT.  What have I got myself into?” approximately 2215 HRS I heard the beep unlocking the wooden door to the hallway, I looked up to see Kendall and Mitchell standing at the end of the counter side by side.  Kendall’s eyes appeared to be glowing, they were a radiant green, her eye shadow sparkled. She smiled “Me, Chuck and Mitchell are going out after work.  You should come too.” I said “Where?” She replied “Silk’s”. I didn’t know what “Silk’s” was.  I said “I don’t have anything to wear.”. Mitchell piped up “I wear my work clothes every time I go out.” I said “OK, I’ll go.”. After they walked away, the next 40 minutes were torturous.  The following is the dialogue that took place inside of my nervous brain.  “Stormi, what have you got yourself into?  What excuse can you come up with?  None.  No excuses, you’ve exhausted them all.  You already said you would go.  Go.  Enjoy it, you never have to go again.  Wait.  What is “Silk’s ”?  A restaurant, a bar?  What if it is a bar?  I’ve never been to a bar.  Ready or not.  No backing out now.  Shift is over.  Time is up.”

Mitchell walked up to the concession counter and handed me a bank bag.  I gathered all of the bills and coins from the register and tucked them safely away in the bag.  My relief appeared with a bank bag, a manager beside her and began putting the money in the register to prepare for her shift.  I smiled, and said “Have a good night.”. I walked around the counter, with the bag clutched tightly in my hands.  Mitchell was on my left side and a security guard was on my right; we walked all the way to the vault.  I counted all of the money from my register, it was perfect, not a single penny short or long.

Kendall, Mitchell, and I walked north in the wide hallway that conjoined the hotel to the casino.  I approached the clerk at the counter.  I handed her my gaming license, $15.00 and told her I needed a room for the night.  The clerk handed me a card style room key and said “All the way to the third floor.” The three of us entered the elevator; Kendall reached over and pressed the button with the number three displayed.  The elevator dinged, the door slid open.  The three of us walked to find the numbered door to the room I had been assigned. I mentally noted that my room and Mitchell’s room were only separated by a single room in between.  He pushed his card into the slot above the handle of the door to his room, it beeped, the lights flickered green, he turned the handle and pushed the door open.  Kendall and I followed behind him.  Once inside the room Kendall said she was going to the restroom to clean up before Chuck arrived.

The next moments Mitchell and I shared were so pivotal.  Mitchell sat down in a chair leaving about five feet between him and a desk.  I stood leaning against the desk facing him.  His eyes met mine, and locked.  No verbal words were spoken in that moment.  I am unsure what was being said but, our hearts, our souls were communicating.  The eye contact between the two of us never broke.  He took both of my hands in his and gently pulled me to him.

Next he slid his hands up where one rested on either side of my face.  He pulled my face to his where our lips collided. Then he kissed me.  He didn’t just kiss my lips.  He kissed my soul, my heart, and my brain.  Every part of my being that could be kissed, was kissed without his lips ever abandoning mine.  This kiss was passionate, earth shattering, and soul awakening.  The kiss felt like it lasted hours, in reality the moment only lasted 60-120 seconds.  He and I withdrew at the same time, or gaze still unbroken.  He smiled, I smiled.

The moment that followed is where I had the clearest realization I had experienced in my entire life.  I realized I had inevitably, irrevocably, undoubtedly, 100% fallen completely in love with him.  I surrendered into whatever it was inside of me that kept me running, and making excuses.  I was his, and though he didn’t say it I knew he was mine.

He laughed, then referencing the tongue ring in my mouth said “You know you’re going to have to take that out, it is not allowed at work and now that I’m aware of it I would be required to write you up.” I looked at him and said “Okay.”

Just then there was a knock at the door.  Kendall walked out of the bathroom, and opened the door for Chuck.  The four of us were standing.  Mitchell spoke “Let’s go!” I followed Mitchell to his truck, a black 1985 Chevrolet S10.  We split at the bed of the truck, he walked around to the driver side, and I walked to the passenger side.  I opened the door and sat down inside.  As we drove eastbound on highway 7, I inquired “What is Silk’s?” he responded “It’s just a little beer bar.”. My mind began racing (a bar?  I’ve never been to a bar!  What is a bar like?  Keep calm Stormi, it is going to be okay.)

He turned the truck south bound onto highway 77, I cannot remember what we talked about as he drove, I only remember there was no awkward silence.  We arrived at a small white building on the east side of the road.  We parked behind the building in the dirt parking lot to the north of a large tree.  Mitchell enveloped my left hand in his right. As we walked I could hear the loud music resonating from the building.  I looked up at the building and noted that it looked like it was built out of cinder blocks.  We walked through the door.  Juanita the bar owner approached me within 60 seconds.  She wasn’t too much taller than I, her hair almost white pulled into a pony tail, her teeth were symmetrical and white.  She smiled “How old are you honey?” (“Oh no” I thought to myself, am I not supposed to be here?”) I looked at her and said “I am 19.” she responded “Okay, let me see your hand.” She pulled the cap off of a black sharpie marker and drew large black X on the back of my hand.

I remember the music being so loud that you had to yell very loud to be heard.  Cigarette smoke permeated the room.  Dark brown tall, slender glass bottles sat on the tables.  The back left corner of the room housed two green felt covered pool tables.  Directly to the south of the pool tables stood a solitary, silver pole bolted to the ceiling and the floor.  A tall, slender blonde lady wearing a brightly colored spaghetti strapped shirt, faded blue jeans, and a thong styled bright colored panty peeking out of the top of her jeans caressed, spun around, and danced with the pole.

Kendall, Chuck, Mitchell, and I walked over to a small table with two chairs on the north wall of the building.  I sat down in the chair on the west side of the table.  Mitchell drifted to the bar on the south wall of the room.  He returned with a can of Dr. Pepper in one hand and a brown glass bottle in the other.  He handed me the red can of Dr. Pepper, he took a drink out of the bottle then sat it down on the table in front of me.  Mitchell pulled quarters from his pocket; he stacked four of them on the side of the pool table closest to where I sat.  He walked back toward me, picked up a pack of cigarettes, pulled one from the pack and lit it.  He took another drink from his beer, and then a man who had been playing pool looked at him and said “You’re up.” Mitchell placed the quarters in a metal device on one side of the table; he pushed forcefully then pulled it back toward him.  He walked to the west end of the pool table, pulled a plastic triangle out and laid it on the table.  He arranged the cold, solid balls inside of the triangle.  Then used his fingers to push them all together tightly, lifted the triangle and returned it to the slot at the end of the table then stepped back.

As he shot pool, I visited with Kendall.  I can’t remember what we talked about.  I’m not sure I even made eye contact with her as we spoke.  I observed that Mitchell was shooting pool left handed (I am left handed).  I was mesmerized, I could not take my eyes off of him, and I must have traced his body from his hair to his shoes with my eyes hundreds of times.  The single thought my brain presented over and over was “He’s beautiful.”

While Mitchell’s opponent was taking his turn, Mitchell came and sat on my legs temporarily.  My stomach was in knots, I could smell his aroma stronger than I ever had before; I couldn’t breathe but, I was breathing.  Around 0155 hours we decided we were ready to leave.  We got in his truck the same way we had hours earlier.

We arrived at the hotel.  I don’t believe either of us wanted that night to end.  Mitchell asked me to hang out in his room for a while, I did.  I believe we were awake till 6:00 or 7:00 AM.  We communicated all night with and without words.  Somehow the topic of children came up in our conversation.  He looked at me, sadness in his eyes and said “I had a son 15 years ago that the mother murdered before his first birthday, and I just had a son last month.  When I arrived last month for his birth, his mother had me escorted out by security because she didn’t want me there.  I am not having any more children.” I glanced at him, then down of my hands.  I said “I may be the wrong person for you to be with.  I don’t have any children.  I was sexually abused at the age of two and I am unsure if I can have children.  I’ve always dreamt of being a mom.  Having children is probably one of the most important things to me, it’s my greatest dream.” I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t letting me go.  He looked at me and said “You will be a mom.”

I don’t remember every single conversation we had that night.  Something that Mitchell said to me just before we fell asleep side by side has always been burned in my memory.  He nonchalantly said “I hope you’re ready to be a mom in about nine months.” I don’t believe I responded to his statement, but I remember the thoughts that cascaded inside of me.  I thought “That was a bold statement, what the hell?  Did he really just say that?  Maybe he’s crazy and has no idea what he’s saying.”.

We awoke around 1400 hours; I got ready for work, removed the jewelry from my mouth, gave Mitchell a quick kiss and went to work.  He went home; I didn’t know where home was for him.  I remember going to the break room where our personal lockers were before beginning my shift.  A female coworker was sitting in the break room.  She said “What happened to you?” I responded “Nothing” while my brain silently opposed my answer.  I thought “Mitchell did.” I wondered what made her think something happened to me.  Did I look different?  Did my eyes say something?  Did I smile differently?  I’ll never know.

By mid-December, I had been moved from the concession area to a cashier’s cage.  The cages were where customers collected their winnings, got change, and jackpots were paid out.  I assumed I was reassigned to the cage because the higher ups believed I was responsible enough with excessive amounts of money that I could be trusted.

Outside of work, Mitchell and I were nearly inseparable.  He was my paradise.  I still lived at home with my mom. I drove my mom’s car, a 1990 gray four door Geo metro.

One night Mitchell and I decided to stay in a room at the adjoining hotel after our shift ended.  We were watching TV when an infomercial came on.  I can’t remember what the product was but Mitchell had to have it.  He called his sister that he lived with to get the address.  I only heard his side of the call “Hey shitface!  Can you give me our address?” my face must have said it all, after hanging up the phone, he said “It’s just a nickname; I’ve called her that since we were kids.  You’ll call her Sharon.” He told me she wouldn’t take shit from anyone, she’s a mean bitch, and she makes the best steak tacos.  A few days later, very late at night Mitchell decided he had some things at home he wanted to show me.  We pulled into the dirt driveway; a single wide gray mobile home was in front of us without a single light on inside.  We got out of the truck, walked up to the door and he unlocked the door.

The house was pitch black inside, I could see nothing.  Mitchell grabbed my hand; he led me to the right down what I believed to be a hallway, then almost immediately to the left through a doorway.  Once the door closed, he turned on light.  I noticed a twin size bed against the wall in the left corner of the room; a metal coffee can had change inside to the right of the bed, a closet on the wall to the right, and a television against the wall at the foot of the bed.  I fell asleep with him in that twin size bed that night.

I woke the next morning, and the sun was shining brightly through the window next to the bed.  I felt so uncomfortable.  I was in a house full of strangers.  I needed to use the bathroom, but I was afraid to leave the bedroom.  My mind painted a picture of a monster when Mitchell told me his sister was mean.  I waited until my bladder felt like it may burst; the pressure was so great that it hurt.  I finally asked Mitchell where the bathroom was.  I opened his bedroom door, and went.  I finished in the bathroom then walked toward Mitchell’s room.  Before I opened the bedroom door, I looked up and there she stood.  She was adorned with morning hair, wearing a gray T shirt, and facing the kitchen counter making coffee.  She looked at me and I said “Hi”. Her facial expression was not one of excitement, she grumpily said “Hi”.

I walked into the bedroom.  I looked at Mitchell and said “She’s awake; I think she’s angry that I am here.” He laughed and said “She probably doesn’t care that you’re here she just takes some time to wake up in the morning.” He took me into the living room.  She was sitting with a cup of coffee on the table in front of her with a cigarette in her hand.  He introduced us “Shitface, this is Stormi.  Stormi this is my sister Sharon.” She smiled and said “I have already kind of met her.” She shifted her eyes toward me “It’s nice to meet you, I’m sorry I just have to get awake.” I said “Nice to meet you.”

I asked Mitchell if I could take a shower, he said “Yeah.” I went to the bathroom and showered, I was probably in there for 30 minutes.  We both got ready for work, and then headed that way.  We didn’t walk in together; our coworkers couldn’t know we were seeing one another.  I didn’t know if it was against the rules to date your boss, but we were concerned about others thinking he was showing favoritism towards me in the work environment because of our relationship.

Mitchell turned 35 on December 19.  Around Christmas day, as I was getting ready for work my mom said out of the blue “Maybe you should take a pregnancy test.” I didn’t acknowledge her.  On one of my days off a few days later I had taken my mom’s car to Wal-Mart for an oil change.  While I waited for the car I walked around the store and looked.  I walked down the pharmacy aisle. I stopped where the pregnancy tests were on the shelf.  I picked up a box that said “Clear blue digital” I went to the register and bought it.  I didn’t feel like I was pregnant, I only bought the test to show my mom I wasn’t pregnant.  I proceeded to the automotive area of the store.  I paid for the oil change and picked up my keys.  I drove westbound on highway 19 toward Maysville, I didn’t feel nervous at all.  My mom was at her god mother’s house alone.  I called her godmother “Grandma” and her granddaughters, my cousins.  I walked in and showed my mom the box.  She told me how to use it.  I walked into the bathroom.  I opened the foil pack, pulled the white plastic device from inside the box, and removed the blue cap from the absorbent end.  As I emptied my bladder I held the pregnancy test in my stream of urine and counted to 30 slowly.  I recapped the test and laid it flat of the bathroom counter.  I washed my hands. Before I left the bathroom I glanced down at the test and saw a flashing hourglass.

I walked into the kitchen, my mom said “Well?” I said “It had a flashing hourglass, I don’t know.” She stood up and walked in the direction of the bathroom.  Only a few seconds passed when I heard her squealing.

She returned to the doorway of the kitchen, handed me the test and the sat down across from me.  I looked down.  The word “Pregnant” was displayed on the screen of the test.  I said nothing.  I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it.  My mom said “You should probably call Mitchell.” That is when I felt uncertain, I felt sad, and afraid.  He just told me three weeks ago that he didn’t want any more children.  I swallowed hard, and then dialed his number.  The phone rang two or three times, Sharon answered.  I asked if Mitchell was home.  She told me he was asleep.  I told her it was important and asked her to wake him up.  He sleepily said “Hello”.  I nervously said “Mitchell… I’m pregnant.” He confidently said “I know.  Let me get awake and I’ll see you at work in just a little while.” We both said goodbye and hung up.

In the few hours I had before work; I calculated our babies due date. He or she was due September 3, 2005.  Thoughts swirled in my head.  I had an overwhelming feeling that our baby was a girl.  I even had names I really liked that I decided I would suggest to him when I was further along.  I liked Chase Mitchell for a boy and Alexandria Hope for a girl.  When I arrived at work, everything was the same.  Mitchell and I didn’t act any differently toward each other; he was still my boss after all.

Three or four hours into our shift I was sitting on a barstool in the cashier’s cage.  Business was pretty slow when Mitchell walked up.  He bent down, clutched his hands together in the open area on the counter underneath the metal bars.  He put his face as close as he could.  He looked at me, with tears in his eyes and then said quietly “Everything is going to be okay, we’re going to make it through this.” Knowing I had to keep myself together, I only said “Okay”.

The days ahead were bliss.  I was still in shock, feeling mostly numb.  Mitchell’s excitement, excited me.  He told me he wanted to be with me every day of my pregnancy. I wanted to be with him every day too.

We talked to Sharon and her husband Crawford.  We asked them if I could stay there with him until we could find an apartment.  They said it was fine.  We were happy.  I remember riding in his truck one afternoon, it was sunny. We were southbound on I 35 headed to a store in Ardmore.  Mitchell switched the song on the CD player; he looked at me intently and began to sing along with the music “Save all your love” by Great White.  My breath escaped me.  I trusted that he meant every word as he sang it to me.  I turned 20 on December 31.

January 2, 2005 I hadn’t been at work very long when I went to the bathroom and discovered that I was bleeding heavily.  I called my mom and asked if it was normal.  She told me I needed to take off work and rest.  I called Mitchell next, I told him that I was bleeding and asked him to please come pick me up.  He told me he was on his way.  I returned to work and requested a manager.  A male manager walked up. I told him I wasn’t feeling well and needed to go home.  He told me that they really needed me there, and they couldn’t afford to let me leave.  I looked him in the eye and said “Look Dave, I think I may be having a miscarriage please let me go home.” He said OK.  I left.  Mitchell was waiting outside in his truck behind the building for me.

I called my mom to let her know I left work and was going home.  She told me that grandma was taking my cousin to the OBGYN in the morning.  She was going to stop by and I could go with them.

I laid around a lot that evening. Outside of going to the bathroom, Mitchell did everything for me.

The next day came.  Grandma arrived to pick me up at 900 hours the next morning as promised.  We drove to Ardmore.  Once at the doctor’s office we didn’t wait in the waiting room long.  The doctor came in and examined my cousin.  My grandma told her what was going on with me and asked if she would go ahead and see me also.  She examined me.  She said that I was definitely bleeding and my cervix was open.  The doctor sent me to the hospital for an ultrasound.  I remember laying on the bed in the dark room watching the computer screen.  I felt hopeful when I saw flickers of red and blue coloring.  I asked the tech what she found and if she saw the baby.  She told me she couldn’t tell me anything.  The tech said my doctor would review the results and call me.

Late that afternoon, I received a call from a nurse at the doctor’s office.  She told me it appeared I had an early miscarriage.  There was no baby seen on the ultrasound.  I felt sad, but the shock of being pregnant hadn’t worn off yet.  It was almost like I couldn’t process what happened.  My inner thoughts raged.  Why?  Was there something I did wrong?  What if this was the only chance I had to have a child with Mitchell?  Maybe I really couldn’t have children?  I told Mitchell the same things the nurse told me.  He hugged me.  I could tell he was devastated but he only asked “Why?”. I said “I don’t know.”. I think we both wanted to wake up and find out that it was a bad dream.  This was our reality.  We lost a child just one month after our first date.  We carried on each day as we had the previous month.  We laughed, we talked, and our connection was just as intense as it was the first time our eyes met.

Life was beautiful.

I cannot remember the date, one morning Mitchell left the bedroom.  I assumed he went to get coffee from the kitchen.  Sharon was playing music loudly in her bedroom.  Mitchell was gone for what felt like forever.  About 20 or 30 minutes later he opened the door, looked at me and said “Come here.”. I followed him to Sharon and Crawford’s bedroom.  Sharon was sitting on the left side of the bed.  She picked up a remote, then “Can’t fight this feeling” by REO Speedwagon began to play.  Within the first count of eight, Mitchell said “This is your song”.  He sat down on the right side of the bed next to Sharon.  I sat down in front of him.  His eyes were misty when he took both of my hands in his.  The words that fell from his lips next gave me butterflies.  He looked at me intensely and said “Stormi I am so in love with you.” I responded “I love you too.” As the song played it felt like he and I were the only two people in the world.  He must have mouthed the words “I love you” 20 or more times as the song played through.  When the song ended, Sharon looked at me with a smile and said “What do you think?” I said “I am happy.”

Later in our bedroom, Mitchell and I were sitting side by side on the bed when he said “I am going to love you for the rest of my life, I’m going to marry you.” I said “Okay let’s plan on it.”

One night at work, Mitchell walked inside of my cage to do a jackpot payout.  I reached for the handle to open the door, he laughed as he pressed his foot against the bottom of the door.  I tugged on the handle and he moved his foot while I was still pulling on the door.  The door opened so fast it hit him right in the head.  He whispered “I have to write you up for that.” 1 hour later Mitchell and another MOD came inside my cage.  Mitchell said “I need you to come with me.” I followed him to a hallway just outside of the vault.  There was a small table, two chairs and a piece of paper laying on the table top.  Mitchell sat down in one chair, I sat in the other.  He said “This is a write up for horseplay, I need you look it over and then sign it.” I found myself lost in his eyes.  I said “I don’t even care about this write up, are you OK?” He responded “I’m fine.” I smiled and looked into his eyes and said “Since you pulled me away for my cage, you could at least keep me back here and make it worth my while.” His eyes widened, he slid the paper toward me and muttered “Stormi, sign it.” I signed it.

Around the end of January we rented an apartment on sixth street in Davis, Oklahoma.  The apartment was two bedrooms and had a tiny kitchen.  We only had a bed and no other furniture when we first moved in.  The next couple months we paid on cheap indoor/outdoor wicker furniture for the living room.  We bought a tall dining table with a bar stools from a coworker and got crib for the spare bedroom.  We intended the second bedroom to belong to his four month old son when he came to visit.  Our house was slowly becoming a home.  Mitchell was in the midst of a court battle with his child’s mother.  Times were hard but, we had everything in each other.

Mitchell chose our wedding date.  Monday, July 4, 2005.  We had four months to plan.  I began looking for another job.  Mitchell and I didn’t want to be secretive about our relationship anymore.  We wanted to invite our coworkers, that we’d become friends with to our wedding.

On April 5, 2005 making 50¢ more an hour I started as a dispatcher at Davis police department.

Days were busy, I worked 0000 – 0800 hours, and I slept most of the day away most days.  Mitchell worked evenings at the casino.

During my downtime I would work on things for our upcoming wedding.  I made the boutonnieres and bouquets myself with deep pink and white roses.  I folded 50 invitations, addressed the envelopes, stuffed and sealed each one, then mailed them all.

I watched American idol from the beginning to the end the season.  Carrie Underwood won American idol that year.  One evening Mitchell was off work and watched the show with me.  That night Rascal Flatts performed “Bless the broken road”.  At the completion of the song Mitchell said “That’s it. It’s perfect; I want that to be our wedding song.” I agreed with a smile “It is perfect, we will use it.”

We were stressed with all of the tasks to be completed, but excited as the day grew near.

On Thursday, June 30, 2005 we applied for and received our marriage license in Murray County.  They allowed us to choose the color of the foil seal for the license, we chose blue.

We did not spend the night before our wedding day apart.  When we woke the morning of 7/4/05, it was raining outside.  I prayed the rain would stop as we had an outdoor wedding planned.  I was marrying Mitchell that evening rain or shine.  After eating lunch, Mitchell went to his sister’s house to get ready.  My Aunt Deedee took me to Moore, Oklahoma where I had an appointment to have my hair fixed.  The hairdresser, a longtime friend of my family wasn’t at the shop.  The door was locked.  Deedee called the lady who said she had forgotten and would be on her way.  I was flustered, the minutes felt like hours.  The hairdresser arrived, she fixed my hair beautifully.  My aunt and I headed back to my apartment.  She and I got dressed and she did both of our makeup.  My grandfather arrived at about 1700 hours to pick us up.  On the way to Sulphur he noticed the dodge truck needed gasoline.  We stopped at a gas station on the south side of the road and filled up.

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