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"Calm down, Mary-Kate." I opened my purple notebook to my "Sweet Sixteen Party -- To-Do" list. "Here's what we have to do. If we just follow this list, everything will be all right."
Together we read the list.
(1) Go to post office -- get invitations back.
(2) Call Wilson!
(3) Redo the guest list to include boys.
(4) Mail out new invitations.
Mary-Kate pointed to the first item on the list. "See, we already have a problem," she complained. "How are we going to get the invitations back? They're sitting in the post office right now!"
The city bus lurched to a stop at a red light. It was Friday afternoon, and Mary-Kate and I were rushing to the post office.
Our party planner, Wilson Miller, mailed our party invitations that afternoon. Wilson was planning our sweet sixteen as a favor to Dad. You would think that throwing a party would be easy with the help of a professional planner. But somehow Mary-Kate and I made it very complicated.
At first we wanted to have an all-girl sweet sixteen -- so we invited fifty girls. The invitations addressed to those fifty girls were sitting in the post office, ready to be delivered.
But then Mary-Kate and I changed our minds. She wanted to invite her boyfriend, Jake Impenna -- and I wanted to invite my new boyfriend, Ben. How could we celebrate our sweet sixteen without them? So we wanted to uninvite half the girls and invite twenty-five boys.
The problem was, we didn't tell Wilsonin time. And once the girls received their invitations, there would be no way we could uninvite them. That would be mortifying!
The bus stopped in front of the post office. Mary-Kate looked determined. "Operation Rescue-the-Invites begins," she announced.
"Next?" a mail clerk behind the counter called.
Ashley and I sprinted up to the counter. As we approached the clerk, I noticed that she was wearing a yellow smiley-face button on her cardigan sweater. She had another pin next to it that said SERVICE WITH A SMILE -- GUARANTEED. I hoped she was as friendly and cheerful as her sweater said she was.
"May I help you?" the clerk asked.
"Yes, thank you -- Nancy," I said, sneaking a peek at her name tag. "We have a problem. We're having a sweet sixteen party in a few weeks, and someone just dropped off the invitations here -- to be mailed. But there's a huge mistake on them, so we've gotto get them back."
"Hey! I think I see the invitations right over there!" Ashley pointed to a white box sitting on a metal cart behind the clerks' stations. "Those square envelopes that look like CD covers -- that's them!"
I squinted at the cart and gasped. "That is them! Could we have them back, please?"
"Hold on, girls. We're not even sure those are the correct items," Nancy said. "And even if they were, I'm not allowed to--"
"Look!" Ashley grabbed my sleeve. "That's Wilson's logo on the side of the box. Those are definitely our invitations."
"Excellent! We can just take them back before anyone sees them," I said.
I smiled. This was all working out so easily!
Nancy shook her head. "No, girls, I'm afraid I can't help you. We're not allowed to return mail once it's been given to us."
"What?" I slumped against the counter.
I couldn't believe that Nancy wouldn't help us. Maybe I should tell her the whole story.
"My boyfriend broke up with me because of this mix-up..." I said. I felt tears prickling the backs of my eyelids. I told Jake the party was for girls only -- but then Ashley invited her boyfriend, Ben, and Jake heard about it. Jake thought I lied to him! And now he isn't speaking to me!"
Nancy reached over and patted my arm. "That's terrible! You poor thing. My daughter went through a terrible breakup last month, too."
"So...you understand?" I looked at her and blinked away a tear. "You'll make an exception and give those envelopes back to us?"
"What? Oh, no." Nancy shook her head. "I'm sorry, girls, but there's nothing I can do."
I watched as one of the postal workers approached the metal cart. He pushed it around the counter and out into the hallway. I gulped. In a second our invitations would be in a truck and on their way to fifty girls!
"Please," I begged. "My relationship is at stake here!"
"Not to mention our social lives!" Ashley added. "We will not be popular if we have to uninvite twenty-five girls from our party!"
"No one will ever talk to us again," I said. I leaned on the counter, did an extreme slump, and tried to look as pathetic as I could. "We'Il be complete outcasts." I paused. "Let's face it, Ashley. Our social life is now officially over."
Nancy's expression didn't change. She looked over our heads to the line that had formed behind us. "Next!" she called.
We shuffled down the counter, away from Nancy's window. I glanced over at the metal cart, where our invitations still sat. The postal worker had stopped in the hallway. The cart itself was within easy reach.
"Wait a second!" I whispered to Ashley. "We're not going anywhere yet. I have a plan."
"What is it?" Ashley asked in a soft voice.
"We have to cause a distraction," I whispered.
"Why?" Ashley wanted to know.
"Just do it!" I said.
Ashley walked toward the exit and then pitched forward to the floor, throwing her arms into the air with a dramatic flair. "Yikes!" she cried as she tumbled forward onto the slick linoleum floor.
"Perfect," I said under my breath.
"Oh, dear. Are you all right?" the worker pushing the...Mary-Kate & Ashley Sweet 16 #2: Wishes and Dreams. Copyright © by Mary-Kate & Ash Olsen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.