It was her wedding day and Carolyn Michaels was happier than she’d ever been. She couldn’t believe her luck. Victor was an amazing man and he loved her completely. Of that she was certain. Only one problem continued to gnaw at her deep down inside. She felt like he was keeping some kind of secret; one that he wouldn’t or couldn’t share with her. That bothered her. She wanted him to trust that she’d be there for him no matter what.
Carolyn jumped out of bed and ran to the mirror. She wanted to see if she looked different now that she was about to become a married woman. Sadly, she saw nothing but her usual face staring back at her.
Carolyn was beautiful but she had no sense of it. That made her all the more intoxicating to behold as well as know. She held a kind, sweet nature. She was willing to help anyone at anytime. In fact she’d insist upon it if given the chance.
A knock at the door told the young bride that her bridesmaids had arrived. She could hear their giggles ripple through the hallway. She threw open the door to greet them.
Mary Ann was her maid of honor. She was Carolyn’s direct opposite, quiet and shy where Carolyn was gregarious and outgoing. The duo never understood how their friendship worked but it did. They’d been friends since first grade.
Gina was heavy set and not pretty in the most traditional sense of the word but she had a heart of pure gold. That was a fact Carolyn zeroed in on early. The girls were often inseparable.
Leia was tall, thin and unusual looking. She was perfect model material. She intended to pursue modeling after her final summer vacation. Carolyn had no doubt that she would make it. Leia was driven and she worked hard. Most of all, she took the most amazing photographs.
Throughout school the four of them had been labeled the four musketeers. It was seldom you saw one of them without at least one other. Often, all four were together.
Time passed quickly as the girls prepared Carolyn for her big day. Once her hair and nails were done to perfection, they helped her dress. Carolyn made a beautiful bride.
“Okay, you have your something new. That’s your dress,” Gina said seriously. “I brought you something old,” she grinned. Out of her purse she withdrew her grandmother’s emerald earrings. They perfectly matched Carolyn’s sparkling green eyes.
“I can’t wear those,” Carolyn cried. “They’re real. What if I lose them?”
“They’re insured, silly,” Gina returned. “You won’t lose them, though. I’ve never known you to lose anything.”
Tears threatened to break free from Carolyn’s eyes but Gina immediately stopped them. “Don’t you dare ruin my perfect makeup job,” she teased.
“I brought something borrowed,” Leia whispered. She held out her most prized possession, the pearls her father had given her for graduation. They were interspersed with fiery balls of emerald pave.
“Really?” Carolyn screeched excitedly. “I can’t believe this. I’ll be dripping in emeralds.” She turned around, allowing Leia to place the strand of pearls around her neck.
“I’ve got something blue,” Mary Ann said at last. She pulled a piece of tissue paper out of her pocket and slowly unwrapped it. Inside was a beautiful blue garter, adorned with a perfectly carved cameo.
“I made it,” Mary Ann announced, clearly proud of her work.
“It is exquisite!” Carolyn ran her hands over the cameo. “You carved this yourself?”
“I did,” the girl beamed. “I guess watching my dad do it all those years finally paid off. The only problem now is he thinks I should take over the family business.” She pretended disdain at the thought but Carolyn knew it pleased her immensely.
“Group hug,” Carolyn said, drawing her friends close to her. “I love you all so much,” she cooed. “I always will.”
“We love you too,” Mary Ann assured with the other two girls nodding their heads vigorously.
“We’d better get going. I’m sure the limo is waiting,” Gina prompted. “We don’t want to be late.”
Carolyn nodded but put the girl at ease. “There’s another wedding ahead of us. They’re from out of town I hear.”
“Why would anyone want to hold their wedding in a town they aren’t from?” Leia looked puzzled.
“I heard the girl was born here but moved away when she was little. She’s apparently sentimental and insisted on being married here,” Carolyn explained. “I think it’s strange too but to each his own, I say.”
With that, Carolyn gathered her bouquet and followed the girls out the door. Within minutes they were in the limo headed toward the church. When they arrived, guests of the other wedding were already gathered outside. They were clearly waiting for the bride and groom to join them.
“Oh, good, we get to see what she looks like,” Gina laughed. “I’ll bet she doesn’t make nearly as beautiful a bride as you do,” she returned.
As the bride walked through the doorway, her head still bowed, Carolyn’s stomach did an unusual flip flop. Her heart began to race. The dress the girl was wearing was an exact match to her own.
“I don’t believe it,” Leia squealed. “She’s wearing your dress.”
Then something else happened. The bride raised her head to meet the cameras. Carolyn’s heart stopped beating at that very moment. The girl wearing her dress looked exactly like her.
Behind the bride followed her groom. He finally stepped into the light as well. He was the spitting image of Victor.
“I don’t understand,” Carolyn cried, clearly in panic. “I must be dreaming,” she moaned.
“You aren’t,” Leia said slowly. “Look, she has three bridesmaids too but they are wearing the dresses you originally picked out for us but we couldn’t get. Remember, the clerk said someone else had bought the last ones?”
“I remember,” Carolyn said, the color draining from her face. “I just don’t understand what’s going on.”
It was then, she noticed Victor getting out of a car and walking toward the groom. He also appeared to be in shock. Then two men spoke for a moment and then finally embraced.
“I have to find out what’s going on,” Carolyn said as she scrambled to get out of the limo.
“Wait, Victor isn’t supposed to see you before the wedding,” Gina mumbled. It was too late. Carolyn was already making her way up the stairs.
Slowly, Carolyn walked toward the scene. As she did, the bride and groom’s guests became silent. They stared at her, then looked at the bride and finally back at her.
Carolyn stared at the bride before her. Her hair was also strawberry blonde. Her eyes were the same fiery shade of green. On her ears she wore ruby and diamond earrings. A strand of pearls with ruby pave balls adorned her neck. They were small changes but they were similar enough.
“Who are you?” The bride’s words slipped quietly from her mouth.
“I’m Carolyn Michaels. Who are you?”
“Marilyn Michelle,” the girl responded.
Carolyn turned to her groom. “Do you know this man?” Her eyes searched Victor’s brown ones for answers.
“This is my twin brother, Vincent. We were separated at birth. My mother couldn’t raise us both. She gave him up for adoption. I’ve been looking everywhere for him. Then today, he was just here,” Vincent whispered. “I can’t explain it. It’s a miracle.”
“I’m adopted too,” Marilyn chimed in. “I was told I had a twin sister but we were both adopted out. I wonder,” she started.
“If I’m her?” Carolyn finished the statement. “I think it’s a fair guess. It seems we have much in common,” she giggled nervously.
Carolyn waved to her bridesmaids to get out of the car. They did so, climbing the steps to stand beside their friend. As they did so, they looked at three girls that resembled them.
“It seems we followed a similar path,” Carolyn smiled.
Marilyn smiled too. “It’s your wedding day,” she laughed. “I get to be here for it; that is, if it’s all right with you if I stay,” she finished.
“I’d love nothing more,” Carolyn said as she reached to hug her sister. “Fate has a sense of humor it seems,” she whispered. “A good one.”