We drove to the Buckeye Police Station to give our statements. We both refused to give Becky's name as our get away driver, but I know they suspected who it was. We did give detailed info on the house we stayed at saying we never saw the man, but was told he was in the military at Luke Air Force Base. I found out later on that he was arrested and stolen items and a non-working bomb were found at the house we stayed in. We were also told that Mike was cleared of any connection to our disappearance.
Grandma never asked us questions, but she did tell me that I was not allowed to see Mike. I was underage and he was married. I said ok, but asked if I could write one more letter to him to explain? She told me that she spoke to him and he knew I was not going to be allowed to contact him again until I was of age and he was divorced. I was upset, but agreed to her conditions knowing that she would file charges against him if I disobeyed.
I went back to school the next day and told the tale of my adventures to only Donna and Rose. I just wanted to get through the rest of the school year with as little drama as possible. I also decided to get a part-time job. I wanted to be able to help financially, so Grandma wouldn't have to work so many double shifts and I too wanted to fill my time, so I wouldn't miss Mike so much.
I applied for a hostess job at the Mill Iron Restaurant. It was located just west of town on Highway 85, had a Friday night Fish Fry and was closed on Sundays. I got the job as hostess on Monday through Friday nights after school until closing and Saturday from opening until 2 pm. I loved that job.
Highway 85 was the main connection from Phoenix to I10 going to California or I8 to Mexico. We had customers from all over as well as the regular ranchers, farmers, and families for the Friday Night Fish Fry. It wasn't long before I was doing less Hostess duties and waiting on tables. By the end of the school year, I was a full-time waitress Monday to Fridays after school and Hostess only on Saturday mornings and waitressing on Saturday nights. Back then the hourly rate was less than $2.00 per hour, but tips were great. I used to bring home $80.00 in tips between Friday & Saturday night.
The owner of the restaurant was one of the biggest ranchers in the area and always came in with his family on Friday nights for the fish fry. Jackie Meck and his wife Verlyne were friendly and valued their employees. They treated us all like we were their family.
Jackie and Verlyne were also very active at the high school and Verlyne was the Pep Club sponsor, so she and I would talk about plans for the upcoming school year. I enjoyed these conversations because she encouraged me to be creative.
The Pep Club's main function was fundraising for the school's athletic teams and skits during school pep rallies. The coming Pep Club council came up with a summer project to make pom-pom ball pins to sell in the new school year, selected key pep rallies to do skits in and host a Talent Show like the popular Gong Show. The Talent Show would be our main fundraiser for the school year.
So as my Junior year was ending, I planned to keep very busy with working at the restaurant, helping Grandma at her store, and making pom-pom ball pins.
My summer activities kept me busy. I was able to work at the restaurant opening to 3 pm Tuesdays through Thursdays and 2 pm to closing on Fridays and Saturdays. Grandma took me to get my driver's license and she allowed me to drive on my work days. I started paying for the insurance and before the end of summer Grandma purchased a smaller used car for herself.
It was in the beginning of summer that Mary and Dan moved into the neighborhood. They had 2 young boys and would come into the restaurant every Friday night for the fish fry. We struck up a conversation one day and Mary asked if I knew of anyone who would be able to babysit from time to time. I told them I would ask my sister, but I could also be available Sunday or Monday if they needed one.
Mary invited me over that Sunday to meet the boys. There home was just up the street and they seemed like a nice family. Mary was a stay at home mom and Dan was in construction. The boys were two and four and very rumbustious. I agreed to babysit that night.
I walked home that night in a funk. My mind always went to Mike and our relationship when I had free time. I missed talking and yearned to be with him. I stopped to look up at the night sky and wondered if he were feeling the same.
I was inspired to write my feelings down in a poem. I hurried home, grabbed a pen and notebook, sat on the couch and wrote the first draft of "Michael - Deep down inside, it makes me cry, I want to hold you in my arms until we die, I want the memories that bring the pain, to open my eyes and see the rain."
I began to spend time with Mary and the boys when I wasn't working. She would tell me that she loved being married and having the boys, but felt isolated from the world. Working was not an option as Dan felt it was more important that their boys have a mother at home while they were young. She agreed but that didn't make her reality any easier.
June was coming to an end and Mary asked if I would go to the July 4th activities. It was on Tuesday night and I told her I would meet them at the park as I had to work until 3 pm.
It was enjoyable spending July 4th as part of a group. The boys kept me busy and this freed up time for Mary and Dan to enjoy the event on their own. It was late and Mary told Dan to drive me home and she would put the boys to bed. I said that it was a 15 minute walk for me, but she wouldn't hear it.
I got in the front seat and was surprised when Dan made a left instead of going straight to my house. He said he wanted to ask me something and I began to feel uneasy. He pulled over, turned to me and put his hand on my knee and asked if I were attracted to him?
I was flustered. Dan was good-looking, but I thought he and Mary had a good marriage. I told him this and he said that they had an understanding and sex with others was ok. I lied and said I would think about it. He squeezed my knee, started the car, and drove me home.
All I could think about that night was, are all men like this? Was I just a play toy for men to use as they see fit? Did Mike play games like this? Was I just a sexual conquest? I truly didn't know the answers and I began to believe that I would never hear from Mike again.
I made it a mission to see Mary Friday morning. I didn't know what I would say to her, but I wanted to see if she would open up about her marriage.
She sent the boys to their room to play and I thanked her again for letting me be a part of their July 4th. She said no, thank you. She needed more adult time with Dan. She looked at me and asked if I minded being a sounding board for her. She said that I was very mature for my age and she didn't have any friends here because they moved from California for Dan's job.
I said sure go ahead. I knew what it was like wanting to just talk to someone. She said that she was unhappy, but trying to keep her marriage together. She felt trapped at home with Dan gone 12 or more hours each day. She loved the boys but she wanted more for herself. She felt Dan made work first priority, but he was making an effort to do things with her, so thanks for babysitting.
She also said that she was thinking of leaving Dan and going back to California. What did I think? I honestly told her that she needed to make the best decision for herself and the boys. I suggested she have this discussion with Dan before just running away to California. It was then that I said I had to get going to work and I promised to babysit on Sunday.
Sunday plans got changed. Mary called and asked if I would like to go to Legend City with them? I agreed because I had never been there and heard that it was a blast. Rides and a concert sounded great to me.
It really would have been a great time except I kept sensing Dan's eyes on me. I wondered if I should tell Mary about the ride home and Dan's question. I made the decision not be alone with Dan again under any circumstance. I didn't need to get caught up in another marriage.
As we walked to the car, Dan suggested that Mary sit in back with the kids and I drive home as he had one to many beers. Everyone agreed and I did get a little thrill as the car was a Trans Am.
I was a timid driver at first, but I did open it up to 80 and loved the handling. As we turned on to Jackrabbit Road, Dan said to go to his house and we would drop Mary and the boys off first because they were all asleep in the back. I sensed Dan watching me as we drove to his house and I felt uneasy again. I said there was no need to drive me home, I would walk but Dan insisted. He helped Mary take the sleeping boys in the house then came out and got in as I moved to the passenger side.
Again he went left and parked. He turned to me and asked if I had been thinking about him because he has been thinking about me. I told him I wasn't into that stuff and he said he had heard that I had been involved with a married man. He reached over and roughly pulled me to him, but I turned my head and his lips landed on my cheek.
I pushed back as he grabbed my leg and tried to run his hand up and under my shorts. He moaned and I shoved harder throwing him off balance, opened the door and started to run. I didn't look back and ran until I reached home. I stood outside trying to catch my breath, worried that he would follow. He didn't.
I went inside, gathered a t-shirt and shorts and got into the shower. I stood under the water shaking, realizing that I would have been raped if he hadn't had anything to drink. I was never going back to that house again. I would say something to Mary, but I wasn't sure yet how much to tell her.
They came into the restaurant the following Friday and Mary asked why I haven't been to see her? I lied and said that I had just started on a Pep Club project and would not be able to babysit again. Dan said that the boys really missed me and maybe in a week or two I could sit again. I declined saying that the project would take a lot of my time and my birthday was coming up and soon after that school.
Two weeks went by without a word from Mary or Dan until one night someone knocked on the door. Grandma opened the door and there stood Dan, asking if he could talk to me. I didn't want him in the house, so I told Grandma that I would go out to see what he wanted.
He said that Mary moved out and he wanted to see me. I told him no thanks, not interested. I asked him to leave and never try to contact me again or I would say he tried to rape me. He started to plead with me and that is when my Grandma opened the door and said he needed to leave and never contact me again.
I turned and walked into the house and went right to me room. Grandma didn't ask and I didn't tell.