As I was faxing it over I laughed at myself and thought I was ridiculous for actually flirting with a fax machine. I almost chickened out but I decided I didn't really care if I was lame. Notice the date at the top... April 2nd 2003. So as soon as Thayne received the fax he called me. When I picked up the phone the only thing I heard on the other end was him laughing. When he composed himself he said, "Hey, are you married?" I said, "Wow, that was subtle... no, but thanks for asking." Then he asked if I had plans for lunch and when I told him that I didn't he informed me that I did and he would pick me up at 1:00. I sat there wondering what I was getting myself into.
As promised he picked me up at one and we went to a nearby Chinese restaurant. He was loud and outgoing and doing cartwheels in the aisle next to our table. I laughed a lot. Once the food came he sat still long enough for me to ask him some questions. I asked how many kids he had. When he told me 4 I was shocked. I asked how old they were, 12, 10, 6, 4 and I was even more shocked. He looked to me like he was maybe 26. So then I asked him how old he was. When he said 31 I didn't believe it... Really, I asked to see his I.D. Then he asked how old I was and I told him to guess. His guess was around 24. When I told him I was only 18 all he could do was take a drink of his water. After an awkward silence we picked up the conversation again and the rest of the lunch went well.
I still wasn't convinced that I wanted a relationship so I told myself that I would only give him my phone number if he asked for it. When he dropped me off at my car he made some funny comment about giving me a pedicure. Then he asked if I wanted to hang out that night. I said sure and he started walking back to his car and I started to get in mine but he turned around and said, "wait, how are we going to hang out if I don't have your phone number?" Right. My phone number. So, I gave it to him.
He called me that evening and we made plans to meet at his office. When I got to his office we walked into his conference room and I saw a full pedicure kit sitting on the table. I told him I thought he was kidding and he really didn't have to give me a pedicure. He insisted that he wanted to so I reluctantly gave in. I sat there and as he gave me a pedicure (I'm talking foot soak, massage and painted nails) he told me his entire life story. Seriously, all of it. All of the skeletons came out of the closet (there were a lot) and he told me he wanted me to know what kind of baggage he had before I decided to date him. I sat there in shock. Was he trying to scare me away? It was a lot to take in. But then I decided that it was something to be grateful for. He didn't want to get involved and have me find out what all the dirt was later. So I decided I'd give him a chance. We saw each other nearly every day after that. About 2 weeks later he introduced me to his kids. They were adorable and I fell in love with them even faster than I did with him. After a month I realized that he was the man I was going to marry. But I didn't tell him that. I wanted to be sure that he was sure.
That July he moved down to Las Vegas for work. Every other weekend he drove up to Salt Lake to see me and the kids and the other weekends I drove down and spent the weekends in Vegas with him. A month or so later, on my 19th birthday, he proposed to me at the Chinese restaurant where we'd had our first date. We set the date for December.
A week and a half later it was his birthday and labor day weekend. He'd been planning on driving up to Salt Lake to spend the weekend with the kids but his car broke down. I offered to drive down, pick him up and bring him up to spend his birthday with the kids and then drive him back down at the end of the weekend. I drove down Thursday night and we drove back up Friday morning. As we were driving along he looked over at me and said, "do you want to get married this weekend?" I thought about it for half a second and replied, "Sure." So we planned to get married down in Vegas at the end of the weekend.
We took the kids back to their moms on Sunday night and headed straight for Vegas. We got into town at about 12:30 AM, stopped to eat some tacos, then headed to the city county building to get our marriage license. 15 minutes later we walked out with the marriage license. There were people all along the sidewalk handing out flyers trying to get us to go to their chapel. We found one that looked perfect, as in the cheapest, and decided to go there. Did you know it's $700 to have Elvis marry you and $1000 to get married in a gondola at the Venetian. And that was 8 years ago, I'm sure that it's even more now. So we went to the $40 chapel... and we were advised to tip the pastor also. The chapel's name was A Las Vegas Garden of Love. And they were not kidding. There were plastic flowers stapled to all of the walls, floor to ceiling. We were laughing the whole time. The pastor, Pastor Ray Mayberry, looked like a rocker with his shaggy hair, square rimmed glasses and thick goatee. At the end of the ceremony we were given all of the paper work to sign and an envelope for the tip for the pastor. The envelope had written on it, $40 minimum tip. Yeah Right! for his 5 minute chessy speech? So we put $10 in it and ran. We stayed at the Mandalay Bay in a great room with a great view. Slept for a few hours and then we got up and went out to hit the town like tourists. At the end of the day, I got in my car to drive back to SLC so I could be to work the next morning.
We lived seperate for almost 2 months until I was able to find a job down in Vegas and move. We told a few select people about our elopement but left most everyone in the dark. We went ahead with our plans for a December wedding and had a second ceremony where we very subtly announced that we had really been married since September 1st. I think I actually heard the room gasp in surprise.
I'd be lying if I said it's been a fairy tale ever since but that's real life. It hasn't always been easy but it's been good and with Thayne I have built a life and family that I love and I wouldn't trade it for anything.It's hard to believe that all happened 8 years ago. What a great 8 years that it's been.