can’t all be perfect like Francesca or together like you.” Mia fingered Katie’s cardigan. “I mean, you match, for God’s sake.”

Grandma Tessa fingered her rosary. “Mia Theresa Marcelli, your mouth shames the entire family.”

Mia dropped her head in mock surrender. “Sorry, Grandma. I didn’t mean to take the Lord’s name in vain.”

Never one to stay contrite for long, she quickly straightened. “Is Brenna here? I really, really want to tell everyone my news. Where are Dad and Grandpa Lorenzo?”

“They’ll be back for dinner,” Grandma Tessa said. “You’ll have to wait.”

Katie grinned. Telling Mia to wait when she wanted something was about as productive as attempting to change the Earth’s axis. No matter the effort, not one thing shifted.

“Oh, sh-” Mia glanced at her paternal grandmother and quickly modified her word choice. “Oh, shimmy! I’ll just tell you, and then we can tell everyone else when they get here.” She frowned.

“Have you been working on your plan to rule the world?” Katie asked her youngest sister. “Remember, I’m only going to organize it. You’re in charge of world domination.”

“Not today.” Mia drew in a deep breath, then spun around once. She clapped her hands together and grinned.

“I’ve got the best news. I’m getting married!”


Their mother and both grandmothers swooped down on Mia like peregrine falcons diving for a hapless mouse. Katie laughed as her baby sister was alternately squeezed, kissed, cheek-pinched, and cooed over.

Mia held out her left hand, showing everyone her simple diamond solitaire.

“Very nice,” Katie said, leaning in for a glance.

“Married,” Grandma Tessa said with obvious delight. “To that nice boy, David? He’s not Italian, but he’s very handsome. Is the family Catholic?”

“Mama Tessa, you worry too much,” Mom said as she kissed her daughter’s forehead and brushed her streaked hair off her face. “My baby is going to be married. I’m so happy.”

Katie watched the show and fought tears of happiness. “Way to go, Sis,” she called when Mia looked at her. “Make the weekend all about yourself.”

Mia grinned. “I’m really excited, Katie.”

“That’s all that matters.”

Francesca pushed off the counter she’d been leaning against and joined the affection competition. “Congratulations, Mia.”

“Don’t be sad,” Mia implored, grabbing her hands and squeezing them. “Please, Francesca.”

“I’m not sad,” her sister protested. “I’m thrilled for you.”

Katie knew Francesca was telling the truth, even if the Grands wouldn’t believe it. Eight years ago, right on schedule, she and Brenna, her fraternal twin, had been married in a lovely double ceremony. While Brenna was still happily married to Jeff, Francesca had become a widow at the tender age of twenty-one. Busy with getting an education, Francesca preferred staying single and independent. A philosophy that violated everything the sisters had ever been taught.

Grammy M clapped her hands for silence. “When is the wedding to be?”

A hush fell over the kitchen. Francesca and Katie glanced at each other. Katie remembered the fund-raiser she’d just agreed to organize and tried not to panic. Not soon, she thought silently. The fund raiser was going to take all the free time she had.

Mia reached for a cherry tomato and popped it into her mouth. “We’re not sure,” she said after she’d finished chewing. “This summer. Probably sometime in July.”

Katie did the math. The fund-raiser was at the end of May, which meant if the wedding was in mid-July, there would be only six weeks left. Which meant she wouldn’t be sleeping much between now and then.

Grammy M nodded. “We’ll have to get started right away.”

Grandma Tessa sighed. “July is so pretty with the vines and the leaves. You’ll be a beautiful bride, little one.”

Katie’s mother grabbed a pad of paper from the stack under the wall phone. “We need to start a list. How many people? What kind of food? Mia, have you thought about invitations yet? I suppose we need an actual date for that.”

“In case anyone is interested, David and his father are coming over for dinner tonight,” Mia said.

That set off another flurry of activity. The two grandmothers returned their attention to the cooking. Katie’s mom shrieked something about the dining room table not being set right and rushed out of the kitchen. Francesca excused herself, leaving only Katie and Mia with nothing to do.

Mia sidled up to her. “So what do you think? I mean, really.”

“I remember the day you were born,” Katie said softly. “Mom and Dad were desperate for a son, but I wanted you to be a little girl. They even let me name you. And now you’re all grown up. I can’t believe my little sister is getting married.”

Mia’s dark eyes widened. “So you’re happy for me?”

Katie thought about how Mia had always known what she wanted from a very young age. Not only was she intelligent enough to be considered gifted, she had the uncanny ability to choose exactly the right path for herself.

Mia had found her handsome prince. Did it get any better than that?

“I’m thrilled for you,” Katie promised. “I want you to have the most beautiful wedding ever, and I want you to be delirious with joy for the rest of your life.”

“I will be. David is so great.”

“How old is he?”

“Eighteen, like me. We met during orientation.” She wrinkled her nose. “He’s a freshman, which is kinda weird, but okay, too.”

Katie swallowed. Eighteen? Somehow she’d assumed that her sister’s fiance was older-maybe a grad student. Mia had started college at sixteen, which meant she and David weren’t in the same class. “But you’re a junior. What happens when you graduate? Don’t you still want to go to Georgetown for your master’s?”


“What about David? He won’t be finished with his undergraduate degree. Won’t that be a problem?”

Mia dismissed her concern with a flick of fingers tipped in bright purple. “We’ll work it out.” Her expression turned pleading. “Be happy for me, Katie. I really need that.”

Katie gave in with a smile. She’d never been able to deny Mia anything. If her sister wanted to get married, then Katie would make sure that happened.

“You got it, kid,” she said.

“And you’ll help plan the wedding? And help me when Grammy M wants to put me in too many ruffles and a thirty-foot train that went out of style like twenty years ago?”

Katie made an X above her left breast. “I swear. I’ll defend you against ugly wedding gowns. We’ll pick out something really special and all of us will make it for you. This will be the best wedding ever.”

“Thanks.” Mia hugged her. “There’s just one more thing.”

Katie laughed. “Why am I not surprised?”

“Because you and I have a special bond and there always is.” Mia glanced around to make sure they were still alone, then leaned close. “Can you take care of David’s dad tonight? I’ve met him and he’s really great, but he’s, you know, a dad.”


Mia sighed. “Katie, come on. This is us. The Marcellis. We’re not exactly average. The Grands are going to fuss, and Mom and Dad will probably want to check his teeth or something. I don’t want to think about what Grandpa

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