Camelot in Carolton
In retrospect, I really didn’t mean for Keely Simmons to die.
It wasn’t intentional. In fact, it was all Ali Harper’s fault. If she hadn’t stolen my boyfriend, Jason, a week before the prom, none of this would have ever happened.
You know how it is. Your boyfriend is sacred territory, off limits to any friend in your circle. I mean, that’s the girl code, isn’t it? I am all about following the rules. Ali and Keely, however, they’re popular. Every boy wants them. But I never thought Ali would go after Jason. She’s my friend. At least, that’s what I thought.
Jason is a runner and a wrestler, a real jock. His mom is a detective in the Carolton PD. His dad has been gone for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure they were ever married. We don’t talk about it.
Keely Simmons is the new girl this year. She’s from a successful family in New York. Her family broke up when she was just a kid. Her father, Fenton, was originally from Carolton, my hometown. His family and mine were two of Carolton’s wealthiest dynasties. If my daddy didn’t own it, Fenton Simmons did. That’s just the way it was in Carolton.
Ali Harper is beautiful. She’s one of those people you’d love to hate but she’s too nice and everyone at school bows down at her feet. She gets whatever she wants. If high school were Camelot, she would be Guinevere to Jason’s King Arthur. Jason has one of those moral compasses that make him seem mature beyond his years. So, why he fell for Ali isn’t a surprise.
All I can do is blame my hormones. They make kids do strange things. I probably would have made it though high school unscathed if Ali hadn’t beat me at an school essay contest. I was counting on that money for college. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
I probably didn’t mention it, but daddy made a few bad investments a few years back and lost a lot of his money. He had to sell the bank and the hardware store. We’re getting most of our income from the dry cleaners now. And you can probably tell buy that just how far my popularity has fallen since our family had to cut back expenses. My dad says I’ll learn from these lessons, but I can’t see that right now.
The money from the essay contest would have paid for an entire semester of college next fall. And all I could think about was how Ali had cheated me out of yet another thing that was mine: first my boyfriend and now the essay contest.
I’m not really sure when I decided to do it. I was distraught. I had only recently caught Jason and Ali kissing in the hallway. It was humiliating. Jason and I had been the super couple of Carolton High for years. This was my senior year and I wasn’t going to go down in flames like this.
My brother’s best friend, Vinnie, had never been in the in-crowd. He hung out with the rebels and druggies over in the Vocational building. He gave me a pill that he swore would only make Ali babble and look silly. That’s what I wanted. I wanted her to feel as humiliated as I did.
I invited her to lunch before the assembly where she was to give a speech to the entire school. When her back was turned, I put the pill into her drink. By the time the assembly started she was acting so loopy, I couldn’t help but laugh along with her.
As you can imagine the speech was a disaster. She ran off stage after the principal drug her away from the podium. I had no clue Keely was outside sitting in her new sporty Mazda. She had been attacked the night before by one of her conquests and was afraid to attend the assembly. Ali ran out to meet her.
All Ali could think about was getting out of Carolton. She convinced Keely to let her drive and they sped away from the school. I’m not sure what distracted Ali, I don’t think we’ll ever know, but she lost control of the Mazda and rolled the car over an embankment. Keely was declared dead at the scene.
My intention was never to kill Keely. I only wanted Ali to pay for stealing Jason from me.
Now I’m still in our small town working off my community service while Ali and Jason have gone off to college in New Hampshire. I heard through the grapevine that they’re engaged now.
Do I regret what I did? Every day.
Maybe some day I’ll recover from the shame and embarrassment. It’s not like I’m not used to it. Not long after Keely’s death, my parents filed for divorce.
As for my senior year, it was a wash. I made it though with a criminal record but at least I still have my health. I’ll work on the friends thing next year.