It was not the same for Christine Paolilla, a shy outsider who'd always struggled to fit in. Christine had tragically lost her father, a construction worker killed on the job, when she was just 2 years old. Her mother, Lori Paolilla, had trouble with drugs. As a young girl, Christine was diagnosed with a hair-loss condition called alopecia. She suffered ridicule at the hands of her classmates.
But thanks to Rachael and Tiffany, things for Christine finally took a turn for the better. Though they were a year ahead of Christine, they befriended her. And with their help, she transformed herself from an awkward misfit into a high school Cinderella.
"She was voted by the school, 2003, Miss Irresistible at Clear Lake High School," Lori Paolilla told "20/20." "They did it because they felt that she was the person who they just loved, because of the way she was, the person she was."
Rachael and Tiffany graduated in May 2003. On the afternoon of July 18, the two girls were doing what teens typically do, hanging out at Tiffany's house, unsupervised, watching TV with Tiffany's boyfriend Marcus and his cousin, Adelbert. Then they heard a knock at the door.
"Once they opened the door, they were probably attacked within minutes," said Harris. "And they were met with absolute fury."
What had been a lazy summer afternoon became the scene of a suburban massacre. Bodies sprawled across furniture.
"The kids themselves are drenched in blood," said Harris. "There's blood spatter that's on the walls. There's bullet holes from rounds that have gone into the victims. ... We had four recently graduated high school kids that were slaughtered. I can't even say just murdered, but literally slaughtered."
Harris says Houston police were as perplexed as they were horrified.
"You know, this was not a group of kids that would be considered thugs or gangsters by any means," he said. "This was an area that could be anybody's neighbors' kids."
The victims' families were equally stunned. "It was like an earthquake to our family. And it was devastating," said George Koloroutis.
Ann Koloroutis said a pervasive fear set in. "People were angry and afraid," she said. "Nobody knew who did this. It was young kids in the middle of the afternoon in a nice neighborhood."
In the three years between the murders and the tipster's call to police, Christine Paolilla walked with her class at Clear Lake High, but she'd begun having problems with drug abuse. She spent time at a rehab clinic and married a man, Justin Rott, she met there.
But another dramatic turn in her life was shaped by events long past.
When Christine turned 18, she gained access to a trust fund established for her after her father's workplace death. It totalled $360,000.
"She knew that she probably didn't have to work at a McDonald's," said Lori Paolilla, "which she never, ever wanted to do."
Instead, Christine eloped with Rott. In an interview with ABC, Rott said that a honeymoon period for the couple was followed by despair. His new wife, he said, was haunted by memories of her murdered friends.
"She would see Rachael's face," said Rott. "I mean she'd literally start hallucinating. She would wake up in bad dreams, uh, see certain things on TV and movies, she'd start crying, panic attacks."
As she fell apart emotionally, Christine and Justin both turned back to drugs -- specifically, heroin. They spent months draining her inheritance.