Emilie had everything, in Phoebe’s eyes. She was so loved, so gorgeous. Their peers watched her every step with adoration. She seemed like she should’ve peaked at 17, but you knew that she was kind and lovely, with wit to match, deserving of all the admirers and praise.
Phoebe despised her. Emilie was perfectly polite and nice to her, so it wasn’t as though she were some horrible high-school-queen-bee. She hated that Emilie was revered while she was scorned. Phoebe lacked her intelligence and grace, didn’t have that ability to say just the right thing, wasn’t so outgoing. Why was Emilie born perfect, not Phoebe? Phoebe was as deserving as Emilie, wasn’t she?
Phoebe withdrew. Ignored her friends, barely glanced at her homework, and refused her mother’s help. She stewed in her hatred, letting it wash over her, letting it consume her. It came to fruition: the noise in the back of her skull whispered “She doesn’t deserve it. Any of it.”
A month later it was done, though Phoebe hardly remembered any of it. There was a brief memory flash of flinging a rock through the window and another of blood as it pooled on the floor. She could remember Emilie’s voice, though, how she had begged to know what she had done to deserve this.
She also remembered how Emilie’s brother had hissed “You deserve worse” at her after her sentencing. They all got what they deserved, really. Didn’t she do Emilie a service, in the end? To die a perfect martyr, untouched by flaws and failings. She would be forever young, forever beautiful, and forever loved. She earned the beautiful funeral service and the gym now bearing her name. The outpouring of love and grief, the immaculately decorated locker. She was worthy of the saint-like reverence with which people spoke of her. Everyone would forever know Phoebe as the one who took away their lovely, perfect girl. Didn’t Emilie deserve at least that much?