Stella Berry never knew the outside world. As the quiet girl she was, Stella never seemed to have time for adventure. But when a mysterious boy comes to her for help, Stella is thrust into a world of uncertainty, excitement, and-most of all-the unknown.
This is how Stella met the boy with the scars.
Barbara Palvin as Stella Berry
Ash Stymest as Clift Maverick
Stella let her fingers float above the spotless white piano keys, listening solemnly to the echo of the music bouncing off the light blue walls. A bird tweeted outside, breaking the silence. Why does a singing bird sound more beautiful than my playing? Stella thought.
"Very nice, Stella," Mrs. Carmen said, her Italian accent seeping through. "Outstanding dynamics. You practiced this week, didn't you?"
"I practice every week," Stella wanted to say. Instead, she simply said, "Yes."
Mrs. Carmen ran a hand along her pearl necklace, brushing away any stray black hairs from her sleek mane. The world class piano teacher cared more about her appearance than her profession, Stella had learned."Practice the piece you wrote three weeks ago. It was lovely."
After the piano teacher's clacking footsteps left the ballroom and the mansion, Stella wandered into one of the three libraries. Her parents were business people, always away on business trips and business dinner parties and everything else that included business. Although they made a gross amount of money, Stella was left behind, cloaked in a protective armor: the lonely walls of Berry Manor.
She sighed and picked a random book off the shelf. It was Saturday, her break day from homeschooling and ballet lessons besides Sunday. Most kids, she had learned, would watch TV or-even more detrimental to her self-esteem-hang out with friends. Since she was sheltered from the world and television reminded her off the fun lifestyle she didn't possess, Stella read books upon books.
As she gently flipped open the cover, Stella glanced around the room with fifty-foot bookcases that went up to the ceiling. There was a small glass elevator up the middle to bring her up to the books up high. It looks like the library from Beauty and the Beast, she thought, casting her blue eyes down.
Stella quickly ate up the first five chapters of the love story. She couldn't remember the last time she'd spoken to a boy her age. Only once had she spoken to a girl who was a bit older than her five years ago. For a fifteen year old, Stella knew that wasn't a good thing.
By then, it was five o'clock, and the trees cast a shadow onto the dark hardwood floors. Hamilton, Vermont had a soft look to it, but Stella always dreamed of running away to a big city.
She gripped the book cover's edges and looked outside for the longest time. Her knuckles were white by the time she made her decision: I will go out today. Stella grabbed her coat and scarf from the coat hanger by the huge arch front doors and slipped on her boots.
Although it was only sixty degrees out (which was normal whether for Vermont), Stella had to keep her body warm. Or else it'll come back, she woefully thought, fixing a beanie onto her turned-blonde hair. Once outside, Stella remembered the days when her long hair matched the color of the wet dirt path to the backyard. When she was younger, it shone in the sun, glistening like a wet chocolate. But after the diagnosis, Stella's hair slowly turned to an unnatural white blonde, almost as white as the snow.
A bird tweeted as Stella carefully, almost methodically, placed one foot in front of the other on the stone steps. She liked the way her feet made soft tap! noises on the stone, and a big orange leaf with red veins dropped in front of her.
Stella walked around the perfectly manicured rose hedges that made a maze until she reached the woods, where the monsters and tall green things grew. They touched the sky, waving in the wind, but not talking. As a little girl she would come out here and talk to the trees because no one else but her late nanny could relate.
She never had pets, but Stella once had a companion when she was five or six. A towering white wolf at least five feet taller than her tiny frame had jumped out of the woods, snarling and growling. It prowled closer, sharp nails stabbing the grass as its slobber dripped down. Stella, naïve and young, found no reason to be afraid and slowly walked up to the wolf. It seemed surprised, the muscles easing below its slick black coat.
"I picked a flower today," she whispered, shivering under her thick coat.
The wolf dipped its large head as Stella held out her fist. Her rosy cheeks lifted as she smiled and opened her palm. A single red petal sat, delicate and fragile, just like her. The wolf hesitantly opened its powerful jaw and bit the edge of it. Stella giggled and rubbed it's cheek, content that it rubbed against her hand, too.
Until that winter, the wolf always came back. Sometimes she would use him as a cushion, and she would chatter on and on about the beams of light coming from above. Stella would share all her secrets, like how she was sick and that every tree had a name. Other times, the wolf would very gently play with her, using its paws to push her away or pull her in. They'd play hide-and-seek and it would always let's her win.
Then Stella's mother saw, and the visits stopped.
Sometimes she dreamed of the wolf, pounding the ground with her on its back. They'd run away and explore the world; it'd protect her against anyone, all day everyday. But those days were gone, weren't they?
Stella settled down in the cold, soft grass, running her freezing hands on the light green blades. The purple flower weeds were a pillow for her body as she laid down, staring up at the bright bubblegum blue sky. Stella couldn't recall the last time she had done this-just relax and feel normal. She didn't have a blood disorder, she didn't have poor circulation in her body that made her so cold-she was just a girl, grinning with her eyelids shut, purple veins filled with healthy blood cells.
Stella's hands suddenly started shaking, a slow tremor at first. She knew what was happening but for some reason, she didn't race back inside for her medicine. Instead, she started humming Dream On by Aerosmith. Maybe it was her imagination, but Stella heard the birds singing with her.
Cricket, cricket, cricket.
Stella sucked in a deep breath and abruptly sat up. Her head felt like a hundred pound as her surroundings spun around and around, the rainbow of orange and red leaves now a shade of blues. She blinked quickly and dug her boots heel into the ground.
"Oh, God," she murmured, messaging her aching temples.
She licked her blue lips, squeezing her ice-cold fingers, where the blood didn't circulate correctly. Stella shakily stood up, taking her time to find her footing. She kept her gaze down, cursing at herself.
Why did I have to go outside? she frustratedly thought. Mom and Dad will find out and I'll have to go back to the Ward.
As Stella finally stopped seeing dizzy, something in the woods moaned. The tree trunks? The wind? She glanced around, anxiety seeping in. Again, the groaning sound came. Then a rustling, like someone tripped and fell into bushes. From the dark shadows of the purple haze in the sky, a man--no, a teenage boy emerged, amber eyes as sizzling as the burning ash on the tip of his cigarrette.
Stella's heart stopped as her eyes widened, watching him stumble forward like a broken puppet.
"Hey." He smirked, his face (which Stella thought of as unusually handsome) contorted in pain.
"Hello," she whispered, hands clenching.
What is going on? Stella thought. Is he going to hurt me? He looks way to hurt to do any real damage. If I could only see what the pain was coming from--
He suddenly stopped, rigid as a statue. Stella thought he was about to shoot lasers out of his fiery amber eyes, but he coughed out blood instead. He pulled his hand away from his mouth, analyzing the red liquid as if surprised. Stella reached out, about to say something, when he collapsed face first into the soft ground.
She gasped when the clouds rolled away from in front of the setting sun. The light was dim, but Stella could cleary see deep wounds etched into his back, white shirt stained with blood.
"Oh, no," she whispered, mortified because she thought she had caused him to fall. "What have I done?"
And that was how Stella met the boy with the scars. ____________________________________
Just to clarify, he is NOT the wolf. He also is NOT emo or something that involves purposely cutting themselves (no hate). Hoped you guys enjoyed. ☺