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1501128035 (ISBN13: 9781501128035)
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.
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In the calm before the storm—in this case, the blessed quiet before the bridal suite is overrun by the wedding party—my twin sister stares critically down at a freshly painted shell-pink fingernail and says, “I bet you’re relieved I’m not a bridezilla.” She glances across the room at me and smiles generously. “I bet you expected me to be impossible.”
It is a statement so perfectly dropped in the moment, I want to take a picture and frame it. I share a knowing look with our cousin Julieta, who is repainting Ami’s toes (“It should be more petal pink than baby pink, don’t you think?”), and gesture to the bodice of Ami’s wedding gown—which hangs from a satin hanger and on which I am presently and painstakingly ensuring that every sequin is lying flat. “Define ‘bridezilla.’ ”
Ami meets my eyes again, this time with a half-hearted glare. She’s in her fancy wedding-bra contraption and skimpy underwear that I’m aware—with some degree of sibling nausea—her dudebro fiancé, Dane, will positively destroy later. Her makeup is tastefully done and her fluffy veil is pinned in her upswept dark hair. It’s jarring. I mean, we’re used to looking identical while knowing we’re wholly different people inside, but this is something entirely unfamiliar: Ami is the portrait of a bride. Her life suddenly bears no resemblance to mine whatsoever.
“I’m not a bridezilla,” she argues. “I’m a perfectionist.”
I find my list and hold it aloft, waving it to catch her attention. It’s a piece of heavy, scalloped-edged pink stationery that has Olive’s To-Do List—Wedding Day Edition written in meticulous calligraphy at the top, and which includes seventy-four (seventy-four) items ranging from Check for symmetry of the sequins on the bridal gown to Remove any wilted petals from the table arrangements.
Each bridesmaid has her own list, perhaps not quite as long as my maid-of-honor one but equally fancy and handwritten. Ami even drew checkboxes so that we can record when each task is completed.
“Some people might call these lists a little overboard,” I say.
“Those are the same ‘some people,’ ” she replies, “who’ll pay an arm and a leg for a wedding that is half as nice.”
“Right. They hire a wedding planner to—” I refer to my list. “ ‘Wipe condensation off the chairs a half hour before the ceremony.’ ”
Ami blows across her fingernails to dry them and lets out a movie-villain laugh. “Fools.”
You know what they say about self-fulfilling prophecies, I’m sure. Winning makes you feel like a winner, and then somehow . . . you keep winning. It has to be true, because Ami wins everything. She tossed a ticket into a raffle bowl at a street fair and walked home with a set of community theater tickets. She slid her business card into a cup at The Happy Gnome and won free happy hour beers for a year. She’s won makeovers, books, movie premiere tickets, a lawnmower, endless T-shirts, and even a car. Of course, she also won the stationery and calligraphy set she used to write the to-do lists.
All this to say, as soon as Dane Thomas proposed, Ami saw it as a challenge to spare our parents the cost of the wedding. As it happens, Mom and Dad could afford to contribute—they are messy in many ways, but financially is not one of them—but for Ami, getting out of paying for anything is the best kind of game. If pre-engagement Ami thought of contests as a competitive sport, engaged Ami viewed them as the Olympics.
No one in our enormous family was surprised, then, when she successfully planned a posh wedding with two hundred guests, a seafood buffet, a chocolate fountain, and multicolored roses spilling out of every jar, vase, and goblet—and has shelled out, at most, a thousand dollars. My sister works her ass off to find the best promotions and contests. She reposts every Twitter and Facebook giveaway she can find, and even has an email address that is aptly named AmeliaTorresWins@xmail.com.
Finally convinced there are no misbehaving sequins, I lift the hanger from where it’s suspended from a metal hook attached to the wall, intending to bring the gown to her.
But as soon as I touch it, my sister and cousin scream in unison, and Ami holds up her hands, her matte pink lips in a horrified O.
“Leave it there, Ollie,” she says. “I’ll come over. With your luck, you’ll trip and fall into the candle and it’ll go up in a ball of sequin-scented flames.”
I don’t argue: she isn’t wrong.
• • •
WHEREAS AMI IS A FOUR-LEAF clover, I have always been unlucky. I don’t say that to be theatrical or because I only seem unlucky in comparison; it is an objective truth. Google Olive Torres, Minnesota, and you’ll find dozens of articles and comment threads dedicated to the time I climbed into one of those claw crane arcade games and got stuck. I was six, and when the stuffed animal I’d captured didn’t drop directly into the chute, I decided to go in and get it.