Carol frowned when she saw Nina’s photo. She looked amazing, as usual.
She clicked on the ‘like button’.
‘You look so pretty, as always.’
She hesitated, then pressed the enter key.
Scowling, she shut the lid of her laptop, trying to distract herself.
She reached for her phone. What she saw didn’t please her.
‘Scott and twenty-one other friends commented on Nina’s photo’.
Sighing, she switched off her phone.
Nina waved to her the next morning.
“Hey! Where were you?” She bounced up to where Carol was sitting in the school canteen.
“I’m writing the essay which is due tomorrow, remember?”
Nina laughed,”Oh that! I did it ages ago!”
Carol stared at her,”When did you get enough time? You were hung over… for the past few days.”
Nina grinned.”So i guess i did it when i was hung over! Wait, i should check it for typos! See ya!”
She walked back to her locker.
B -. Carol looked at her sheet and shook her head. There she was, slogging away day and night and she never got past a B +. And then there was Nina, who barely studied at all, who managed to ace every test. Life wasn’t fair.
Carol got up, wore her sneakers, fuming. Maybe going for a jog would cheer her up. Calm her down.
She decided to go to the beach for a change. It was a cool evening and she loved the ocean. There was something about it, that called out to her. Sometimes she dreamt of it, walking into the ocean, till it absorbed her in its entirety.
She decided to take a shortcut through the woods; it would be quicker and less crowded. After twenty minutes, she slowed down a little and stopped to tie her shoelace. She suddenly heard a girl’s laughter, which was joined by that of a boy.
“Scott no! Come back with that!”
Carol froze in her tracks. She saw Scott and Nina a few feet away, he had her bag in his hand and had held it up so that Nina couldn’t reach it. Nina pretended to pout and Scott pulled her towards him, laughing.
As their lips touched Carol felt tears come into her eyes. She started jogging again, trying not to replay what she had witnessed in her mind.
“Stop it…stop it…stop it!”
She flopped down on the sand, miserable. There was no point in denying it. She hated Nina. Yes, hated her. They were supposedly “BFFs” but deep inside, she was jealous of her. Jealous of how she had everything. She was miss popular. An honor roll student. Beautiful. And she was dating Scott. Carol had secretly been in love with Scott ever since she first saw him, but he had eyes only for Nina.
“This isn’t fair. This is not fair God…why does she have everything and I have nothing?”
Carol was dancing with Ted. Scott’s best friend. They had started dating a few months ago. Carol had decided that it was the best way to keep an eye on Nina and Scott. Ted muttered something in her ear about how good she looked.
Carol nodded absently, looking around for the both of them. They were missing. She felt a sinking feeling in her heart. Nina had been coyly giving Carol hints that she and Scott were planning to do IT after the prom. But Carol hadn’t taken her hints seriously because both Nina and her had taken the promise to wait.
“Well hello class of 2013!”
Josh Matthew, the resident nerd’s voice boomed through the speakerphone.
“The votes are out for your prom king and queen! As expected, this year’s prom queen issssss…”
A hush fell through the hall,”Nina Fernandez! Nina – where are you! Come and claim youuuuur crown along with your kinnnnnggg….Scott Dunning!”
A cheer went up, but there was no sign of the couple. Carol felt her heart beat faster. This was so typical of Nina. She really didn’t give two hoots about the crown, did she? Before she’d joined her school, Carol had been the most popular girl in school. No more. Now she was outshined. At everything.
“Nina? Nina…where are you?”
“Gimme that!” Carol marched up to the stage, leaving behind a bemused Ted and took the crown from Principal Singh’s hands. She was shaking with anger.”I’ll give this to her Sir, thanks!”
She started walking towards the parking lot. Scott’s car wasn’t there. This couldn’t be happening. She bit her lip…where could they be? She got into her car. She had to find them. She had to stop them. The thought of her with Scott…
She reversed her car at full speed and started driving. She would try Scott’s boathouse first. She knew his parents were not here. Tears were streaming down her face again. They had been missing for almost an hour…she pressed her foot on the accelerator. She must stop them.
Nina was crying, her head on Scott’s shoulder. He kissed her gently, looking grim.
“She was my best friend, Scott! What will I do without her?”
Scott patted her on the back,”I’m sure she’s in a happy place….I..” He sighed, evidently lost for words.
Funerals were always painful.