I’m Nikki King, 23 and everybody wants to be me. I posed and smiled for another selfie. Taken at just the perfect angle with just the perfect filter. I posted it to every social media platform I had. I knew this one would get so many comments from my adoring fans. I can’t help that I ended up being gorgeous and I was blessed with a stunning smile and a body to match. It wasn’t always that way. Growing up I was so awkward. Lonely and friendless. But on social media I’m a star! I already have ten likes on Instagram and two comments, and it’s only been thirty seconds. And that’s just Instagram. I haven’t even checked Twitter, YouTube or TikTok yet. Oh, how I love me and how far I’ve come! No matter how hard Becky Fowler tried to keep me down. My oldest frenemy will never achieve the levels I have. I have so many followers. Almost 500,000. I’m so relevant. Best of all I know how much it irritates Becky. I even remember the day she started following me. Such a wannabe. I can picture how jealous she is with every post I make and with every comment I get.
*****Ten Years Ago, Meadowbrook Middle School*****
Principal Yeardly was the first to introduce us. It was called ‘The Buddy System Program.’ I was new to the school with my fresh braces that made me constantly drool from the right side of my mouth. Every time I attempted a smile, I felt more of a monster than a middle schooler. My parents told me eventually I would love my smile. That didn’t help me now as the new kid in school with no friends, in a strange town with strange people and a strange new house. And I looking every part the enormous geek. How would I get through this?
Becky seemed nice enough at first. She was the only one I’d call a friend until about a month into school. Then she started calling me “Brace Face” and tripping me up in front of all the kids in the cafeteria. Everyone laughed at me. And I mean, everyone. I was mortified. My friend, my only friend, was simply pretending and completely humiliated me that day. That day when I became universally known as “Brace Face.” I wanted to die but my parents made me go right back to school the very next day. The name calling and bullying got worse. All because of Becky Fowler.
Already I had 10, 458 likes on Instagram and 523 comments on my picture. I get so excited when they flow in so fast. I had to call my bestie over to celebrate and take more pics by the pool. I’m going to milk todays good vibe by really making dear ole Beck jealous. I started to make Margaritas and texted Taylor White on my brand-new top of the line cell phone. Being a social media star comes with so many rewards, including money! Taylor wasn’t just my best friend; she was a mentor. She showed me the social media ropes in university, and I never looked back.
“Girl! Did u see my Instagram feed today? I’m on fire! I’m making Margaritas as we speak! Come join me by the pool and we’ll post pics together”
“Sweetie,” Taylor wrote with mock surprise, “U know the magic word is Margarita! There’s no way I won’t be there! I’m otw gorgeous!”
I looked around my insanely cool flat and was so grateful for Taylor. She really showed me how to make money and become the media darling that I am today. I wanted to tidy up a little for her visit and our pictures. It was already clean, so I just polished a little. I wiped down the marble countertops and matching side tables to a meticulous glow and quickly mopped the ultra-cool bamboo floors. They were imported and fabulous. I dusted a few treasures I had collected from travelling the world and hopped in the shower. Once I was out, I made myself up with makeup for flawless pics and put on my most flattering bikini. Another perk to my fabulous lifestyle was the pool that came with my flat. It was one of those outrageous infinity pools and really upped my social status.
Taylor arrived looking equally gorgeous and ready to take some pics and vids. We took our first few envy inducing shots on my Le Corbusier cream colored, buttery leather, chaise lounge. Our videos turned out great! On the very best pics I posted, I always said #wishuwereherebeck and #enviousyetbecky. I know it was petty, but she brings out the worst in me. I heard she would get so insanely jealous of my life that sometimes she would cry. Serves her right.
I giggled to Taylor, “It even makes me happier knowing how unhappily married she is to my ex.”
Taylor took a sip of her Margarita and agreed, “This bitch destroyed your life for years, she deserves to be unhappy. Actually! I just had a great idea. You should set up a date with your ex. That would really show her who’s best!
“What a fantastic idea! He follows me too. This will be too easy. It will drive Becky nuts when I post a pic of me and her husband together. So much fun!”
The two girls shared a mischievous laugh and returned to their task of taking enviable selfies.
*****Seven Years Ago, Meadowbrook High School*****
Once high school started, things didn’t get any better. Now there were just more kids to pick on me. I excelled at my schoolwork for two reasons. One: I had no friends except for my books and homework so that’s how I spent my time. Two: I desperately wanted to get into a good university away from all these people who knew me and constantly picked on me. I was an honor role student and was proud of that fact. It was one of the only things that kept me going. Becky is still the leader of the “Pick On Nikki” committee. What was wrong with her to continue to be such a bully? I just didn’t understand her motives. Was she just crazy? Or was it to make herself feel better about herself? Who knew?
In senior year I was so excited to finally get my braces off. My parents were right, I loved my smile. And there was no more drool, Thank goodness for that! I even convinced mom and dad to get me contacts. I felt like a brand new girl. And looked like it too. So much so that boys finally started to notice me. It wasn’t long before I had a boyfriend. My very first one! His name was Trevor Pitts, and it also wasn’t long before Becky stole him away from me. I don’t even know what happened. One day I came to school and there was Becky, kissing and hugging him right in the stairwell. Once again, she managed to devastate and humiliate me.
When high school ended, Becky and I went in two very different directions. I’m off to Brown University on a scholarship and Becky and Trevor decided to elope. Now she was Becky Pitts. Suits her. I was off to bigger and better things. Forget them.
When I graduated from Brown with honors in my major, communications, I felt like I was at the top of the world. I had an amazing group of friends, with Taylor being the absolute best! When I discovered how unhappily married Becky was to my ex-boyfriend, things felt even better for me. Looks good on her for those years of torturing me.
Getting Becky’s husband to meet me was easier than putting lipstick on in the dark for an impromptu selfie. Hey, I gotta satisfy my followers day and night so I’m a pro at those impulsive makeup touch ups. And it turns out Trevor was not just an Instagram follower, but he had multiple fake accounts for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. All so that Becky wouldn’t find out how much he obsessed over me. We exchanged pleasantries and I took photos of us together.
The second I was out of eyeshot I posted those pics everywhere. #wishyouwereherebeck #enviousyetbecky #beckydoesntknow #exsaresolastweek #takethatbecky. It wouldn’t be long before Becky got to see those pics. She will be so jealous. I was in my glee just thinking about it. After all her years of abuse, she deserves some abuse right back.
*****Two Weeks Later*****
There’s an uneasy feeling as I see someone outside my house. They’ve just been pacing there. It has me creeped out. I’ve had a few stalkers before, but this felt more ominous somehow. With trembling fingers, I punched in the words on my cell phone to tell Taylor about how worried I was. I wasn’t getting a response and that concerned me to. I needed someone to talk to. It’s times like this I wish I had a boyfriend but being single is so good for my image. The shadowy figure knocked on my door. I had a bad feeling. I didn’t even want to answer it.
I hoped the trepidation in my voice wasn’t audible to the stranger outside as I asked, “Who is it?”
“My dear sweet Nikki, are you expecting another married woman at your door whose husband you’ve been brazenly posting pics of all over social media? You know, the disgusting ones of you and him together?” Becky sounded outraged.
At least it was only Becky the bitch. Not a crazy stalker. Nothing to worry about. I opened the door. She stepped inside and locked it. Just as I opened my mouth to question that action, the floor came out from under me, and my eyes fluttered open fixing their gaze upon the imported chandelier of my foyer. What was that taste? It tastes like…. like…. ohmygod it’s blood! Am I bleeding? What’s going on? With a stunned dizzy feeling in my throbbing head, I tried to sit up. A crushing blow in my stomach made me wonder if I’d ever catch my breath again. Becky was standing over me having just punched me in the face and kicked me while I was down. What was she holding? Duct tape? Terror ran from the base of my spine all the way up to my neck like a marionette ‘s doll slowly being pulled out of the top of it’s stage. My brain sent me two thoughts simultaneously, I’d gone to far and I was going to die.
I cried out, “Becky, what are you doing? I’m sorry! I’ll take the pictures down, just leave me alone”
The only answer I got was Becky grabbing my hair. I shrieked as I felt the clumps of hair being torn out of my scalp roughly as she pulled me across the room to a chair. I struggled to grab something to defend myself with, but she was strong and quick. The next thing I felt was the thick stickiness of the tape around my wrists and my ankles to the arms and legs of the chair. My heart was beating out of my chest. She was crazy.
“Please let me go,” I pleaded as she pulled out a knife. The blood pounding in my ears distorted what she said to me. I could see her lips moving. All I kept thinking about were the texts I sent Taylor. I was praying she’d check on me. Becky’s voice started to become audible.
“Do you really think you can spend all these years taunting me and flaunting your perfect life in front of me while you know my marriage is disintegrating?”
With one swift jerk of her arm, she slashed my couch, destroying the soft Italian leather. She accidentally swiped her leg with her knife cutting it, wiping the blood off and resting her bloody hands on my beautiful shining marble countertops. At least they had been earlier.
Goosebumps appeared all over my body the instant I saw the blood.
I was scared but infuriated. “It’s bothering you that I built a nice life for myself? Meanwhile you can spend my entire life torturing me and think that’s ok? And you wonder why I rub it in your face?”
I abruptly turned my head to listen to the sirens outside. Was I hearing things? Were they real or was it the aftermath of my head ringing from having my hair pulled out? Maybe Taylor did come through for me. Or maybe it was the open blinds, a neighbor maybe? Please. Somebody, Anybody!
“Listen, the cops are here for you. I made a call before I answered the door, so you better just stop now.” I knew I was pleading but trying to stay confident.
“Do you think I care about the cops at this point? All I want to do is hurt you for hash tagging me in all your posts. Yes, I am envious you bitch. I was the cool one in high school. I should have your life. I hate you! You think you’re so pretty? Not anymore Brace Face!”
She slashed my face from my eyebrow to my chin. It was deep and the blood was flowing everywhere. I was panicking and screaming. Becky was laughing like a maniac and picked up her phone.
“I have a fantastic idea for one of my Instagram vids. It’s sure to get me 500,000 followers!” Her words came out in a tone that dropped my heart from my chest to the floor.
“POLICE! OPEN UP!” the voices came from outside my front door.
With her camera fixed on me in one hand and the knife in the other Becky said, “Better make this video quick so they catch the grand finale. Oh, stupid Nikki, spending your days taunting me. I’ll have more followers than you now and everyone will envy me. I have a few hashtags for you now bitch. #Imalive #youredead #takethatnikki” and with that I felt the blade rip deep into my throat.
I see the horror of my own death live on Becky’s Instagram feed as Becky keeps repeating, “#envious, #envious, #envious”