Sweet Valley High is all abuzz because Maria Santelli is engaged to Michael Harris. Even though Jessica barely talks to her, she now wonders if Maria will put her in her wedding party, and she wants to be next to her in the pyramid. Elizabeth thinks that they will probably keep things on the down low because their parents don't get along. Their dads were once business partners but had a falling out and no longer speak.
Maria is so excited about her engagement though that she shows off her ring to everyone. Michael points out that he wanted to keep it a secret, but she thinks that their best friends deserve to know. Lila and Jessica decide to throw them a huge engagement party at Fowler Estate. They go all out with a wedding cake and surprise them by saying that it's a party for Lila's cousin.
Maria is also working with Winston because he's running for student council. Michael is pretty jealous of all the time that they spend together, and he pouts whenever she makes plans with him. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday, but he asks her to cancel one day to spend it with him. He then makes her give up another day because he has a tennis match. When he suggests that she stop helping him, she agrees to find a replacement.
She turns to Liz, which is a bad idea. Liz says that she's way too busy dealing with schoolwork and a special project she's working on with Jeffrey for the paper. She also makes a few rude comments about the engagement, in her smug Liz way. Maria winds up saying that she's just jealous and hanging up on her. Winston doesn't take it very well either, telling her that she's breaking her heart, which makes her wonder how he feels about her. He naturally tells Liz that he has a huge crush on Maria and wishes she was single.
Everyone in school gets paired up for a special marriage project. Michael and Maria conveniently wind up together, and they constantly fight. The teacher picks their jobs, and Maria is a stay at home mom. She talks about how she wants to work, and Michael does the whole "no wife of mine" thing. They also have to deal with a fake crisis. Theirs is a son who gets caught shoplifting and the judge recommends counseling. Michael threatens to beat it out of his son and she just goes along with him.
That is really their big problem. Maria just follows along with whatever he says or does because she's afraid of rocking the boat. They even get into a fight on the way to the party, and when she says that she doesn't want to go, he leaves her in the car and heads to the house. She runs after him, and the other guests swarm them. Michael gives a huge speech where he announces that he'll run against Winston in the student council elections with Maria's help. Winston runs outside, and she goes right up to Michael and hands him back the ring before chasing after him.
Mr. Santelli and his wife go to the movies and run into Caroline's mom. Mrs. Pierce lets it slip that Caroline is at the party and congratulates them on the engagement. They call Michael's parents and all four rush to the party. Michael tells them that they were engaged but not anymore, and they make up over their fight. They even decide to start working in business again.
Maria apologizes to Winston and makes a comment that lets him know the engagement is off. He suggests that he might need to be a little more serious, but she likes him the way he is. They wind up kissing and going back to the party. Michael and Maria have a chance to talk and decide to be friends. They finish up their project and actually agree on what they need to do.
*Micheal’s sister is coming to his meet, but she doesn't know about the engagement, so Maria has to take off the ring and just sit in the stands. She can't even cheer for him because they are supposed to hate each other.
*She also has to take the ring off every day after school and put it back on in the morning. When she tells him that she's getting sick of it, he says that he will eventually tell his parents. Nice guy.
*I love that Liz gets paired with Bruce for the project, just like they did in junior high. Lila winds up with Ken and complains that they will never have any money. Jessica works with Winston, and they actually get along better than they do later in the series.
*So Michael is the type of guy who wants his wife home, barefoot and pregnant and isn't above beating his children. Yup, he totally sounds like the kind of guy I would want to marry.
*Maria never once mentions having any feelings whatsoever for Winston, but when he says that he likes her, she suddenly likes him too, and they date for millions of books. I'm not sure how I feel about Winston going after a girl who just got dumped though...
*Liz mentions that she never thinks about marriage and feels relieved that Jeffrey isn't thinking about it either. Somehow, I think that the answer would be different if it was Todd.
*Liz also comes across as a little smug, saying that she feels confident with their relationship without thinking about things like marriage.
*Ha! Liz says that Jess will probably never settle down because she'll just keep bouncing from one guy to the next.
*Winston knows that they broke up because Maria says he knew they "were engaged." It's just a little minor thing, but I would totally tell someone something like "you knew we were dating, right?" It doesn't necessarily mean anything, and it would sound odd if she said, "you didn't tell me you loved me because you knew we are engaged."