I Wish I Was You

Claire. My sister. She was so perfect, so brilliant. The best student, the popular girl, the ideal daughter, the true friend and the perfect sister. But I hated her. I hated that she was so impeccable, that she was better than me in everything. I felt like a nobody around her. And I didn't like that.

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4. Chapter Three

The next few months were tough for me. I was in a prolonged battle with my conscience. It kept screaming at me all the time. Why are you being such a nitwit? Why can't you just give it a rest and love your sister like she loves you? Why do you have to be so cruel to her?

Honestly, I don't have answers to any of those questions. Even after the report-shredding incident, I didn't stop. I didn't ever stop. Now that I think of it, I wish someone had noticed what I was doing and stopped me right there and then. Nothing would have gone wrong if that had happened. But no. Nobody saw anything. I took that as an advantage and continued to play this wicked game with my sister, torturing her at all levels. But the worst thing was - she always pretended she hadn't noticed it was me behind everything. She always let it rest, she always let it go. She always chose to forgive.

This one time I managed to stick a wad of chewing gum in her beautiful hair unnoticed and she had to chop it all off until it looked nothing like it used to before. It was just a choppy, uneven mess on her head. Just like mine. And the other time, somehow I got her to use this dodgy face cream I had bought and the result was her getting bad blisters and rashes on her pretty face, so much so that it no longer looked as lovely as it always did. Instead it just looked odd and misshaped. Just like mine. I guess basically, I was just pulling her down. I just couldn't stand seeing her as the best girl in the world so I was just trying to bring her down. Urgh, how I hated her! But now, I've just ended up hating myself for the silly wreck I am. 

I wish, I wish, I so wish I had stopped. But I never did. 

Then one day, it all changed. It was all taken to a whole new level. It went so wrong that I can never forgive myself for doing it.

It was any other Sunday morning. Mum was making pancakes, Claire had been studying and I was idling around as usual plotting different things to try on my sister. When I was at the breakfast table, Claire slipped next to me quietly. I looked at her, and for the first time noticed how tired and spent she looked. Her blistered face was curing but her eyes were red and puffy, and I got a feeling she had not been studying in her room after all. She had been crying. My insides twisted into a knot. Was I the one making her cry? I tried to feel exultant about it but just couldn't bring myself to it. 

"Cassie," she whispered, so that Mum wouldn't hear us from the kitchen. "Why are you doing this?"

I jumped. Did she know? Of course she knew. She has known all along! I couldn't bear to make eye contact anymore so I look at my empty plate instead, my insides twisting more painfully now. I could feel Claire's piercing gaze on me but tried desperately to look casual and nonchalant. My conscience got the better of me. See what happened? How could you have thought your sister was so stupid she wouldn't notice the little tricks you're playing on her? I told it to shut up and continued to stare at my plate. 

Claire, however, had not given up. "Tell me, Cassie," she said again. "Why are you doing this?" Her voice was not harsh, scornful or accusatory at all. It was sad and helpless, and for the first time, I felt really and truly ashamed of myself. But I took care not to give this away.

"What are you talking about?"

"You know," she said. "And I know that it's you who's doing everything. Is something wrong Cass? Just tell me, have I done something?"

"No," I muttered.

"Then what it is? If there's any problem, just tell me. I can help you."

This irked me. "I don't want your damn help Claire!" I hissed at her. "Just leave me alone. I'm fine as I am."

She just gave me a sad and sympathising look and my loathing for her doubled immediately. Look at her, trying to always be the noble one. It's all just a pretense and she couldn't have made it more obvious. She just needed an excuse to make me look like the troubled kid who needs help. That's just so typical of her. And to think for a moment I had started regretting whatever I had done ... she deserved it.

"Cassie, you do know that I love you, right?" she said suddenly. I groaned irritably and told her to shove off and to leave me alone. She didn't press it and just gave me one final understanding look before leaving the table. 

That was the point when I made up my mind. This was it. This was too much. I had to end this all right now.

*

"Claire?" I knocked at her bedroom door towards twilight.

She opened the door almost instantly, like she had been waiting for me to knock. She was smiling her broadest smile, her eyes happy and hopeful. I felt a pang of guilt fleetingly but my loathing for her was bigger than that. I resolutely gave her a smile that I assumed was an apologetic one.

"Sorry Claire," I said quietly. "I shouldn't have been so - so insensitive. I'm sorry."

She smiled again. "I'm so glad you're finally your older self now Cass," she hugged me. 

"Um ... yeah, well, I want to make it up to you and - well, I was wondering if want to go to the woods again, you know ... like we did when we were young?" I paused. "It's been so long."

She hesitated at first looking back at the huge pile of books on her study that gave me the impression she had got loads of work to do and was about to say no ... but I was wrong. She shut her bedroom door behind and said, "Yes, absolutely."

So we drove to the woods on the clifftop like we used to long ago, except this time Mum wasn't with us. She said, a little teary-eyed, that she was really glad to see her daughters get together after so long and that she wasn't going to tag along and bore us and that Claire could drive now. I was glad. I wanted us to be alone tonight. 

We sauntered through the woods, chatting like never before. It was a whole new feeling, almost weird, to be talking like this to my sister. Our bond had shriveled up over the years and things were a bit awkward, but I could see that Claire was making the best possible effort to take things back to normal. She asked me about school, about friends, about everything else and I went with the flow, until finally I had reached where I had intended to go all along. 

The clifftop.

Now was my time to play he card. I walked over to the edge and stared at the breathtaking view below. A fog had settled over the whole of the town, making it look more beautiful in the setting sun than ever before. I looked down at the height of the cliff. The fall would be mighty, enough to crush the life out of a person. I gulped. I had to do it. 

"It's so beautiful, isn't it?" Claire whispered beside me so suddenly that I almost jumped. She gazed, mystified, at the view of the town. I breathed slowly, gulping and bracing myself. Now was the time. It had to be done. Sooner or later. I would have to do it. Why not just do it now? My heart was pounding and my conscience was screaming at me again, desperately yelling to distract me but my plans were solid. I had to do it.

I looked at Claire. She was smiling, her eyes closed, breathing in the lovely scene ahead of her, unaware of the plans in my evil head. She looked just as calm and pretty as she always did, even with the choppy hair and blistered face. I guess there was more to her than just the beauty of the face. There was the beauty of the soul. And that was impeccable. Nobody could be like her. Me, not in the remotest. For a moment again my confidence wavered and I questioned myself whether this was the right thing to do. Then all the hatred, the spite, the vengeance from all these years came rushing back to me and I acted in the desperation of the second. I was right. I was making the right choice. Claire was the wrong one.

An so, convinced and drugged by the spite, I pushed her.

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