Chapter Three - Stellina
I finally get to school and pull into the student parking lot. I drive my car straight back to the back of the lot, since I don’t want anyone parking too close and hitting my car. I park on a corner spot all the way in the back.
I put my car in park, then lean my head back on the headrest. I start taking deep breaths, because I can feel the anxiety starting to slowly take over me. I’m scared as shit, scared that I’m gonna embarrass myself somehow. But no. I can’t let those thoughts get to me, let alone express them to anyone else. I’ve already been told multiple times to stop bringing other people’s morale down with my lack of confidence and negativity.
Listen Stellina. You’re gonna walk in there, and you’re gonna look fine. You’re not gonna feel any anxiety. You’re gonna tell yourself you look beautiful, that you feel confident. Period. No way that you’re gonna let anyone bring you down.
After my little pep-talk, I get out of my car and grab my bags from the back. I take one more deep breath, then start to walk to the school building. I keep my eyes down, but I can still feel eyes staring at me. I look up and see people staring at me. I take another deep breath, then keep walking. I walk straight back to the pavillion in the back of the school, and find a table to sit at. I open my bag and pull out my headphones and my sketchbook. I turn on bluetooth on my phone and connect my headphones, then start to listen to music. Drowning out the thoughts, that’s what I’m doing. Drowning out the thoughts...
I start to mindlessly doodle in my sketchbook. It starts off as a circle, but then I add triangles going around the circle. And more triangles go between the bigger triangles. And next thing I know, I have sort of simple mandala on the paper. I pull out my color pencils and start to color it in.
I look up, a little irritated because I was really vibing with the song that was playing, which was “Stay” by Rihanna. But then I smile and wave when I see that it’s Joshua. He walks up to me and sits down next to me.
“Hey Josh! How you been? How was your summer?” I give him a hug and he laughs. He hugs me back. “Eh, not much. Just video games and basketball, not much else. And why you even asking, we talk at least once a week!” He rolls his eyes. I give him an annoyed look. “I don’t know, maybe I won’t be nice and ask next time you meanie,” I shoot back.
He laughs again. “Oh stop it, you’re just being extra.”
“Maybe I am! What are you gonna do about it?!” I jokingly ask. He rolls his eyes, and just laughs.
“Ooooh, look who it is!”
Josh and I look to where the voice is coming from, and see Dylan, Liliana, and David. Before I know it, I’m witnessing a petite teenager with long brown hair and a cheerful expression on her face running towards me and giving me a huge hug. This teenager happens to be my best friend, Liliana.
“LILY! No need to try and kill me on the first day of school! I missed you too…” I laugh and give her a hug back. “How was your summer?” I ask her, while waving to Dylan and David.
“It was good! I did so much stuff, but I was so excited for school so that we could all hang out again! EEEEE I can’t wait for everyone else to show up, and for lunchtime! We are gonna be so loud, and I’m not gonna care because I’ll be having fun,” she rambles off to me and laughs.
“Hey Dylan, hey David, how y’all been?” I give them each a fist bump, then sit back down.
“I’ve been good... I went out of the country over the summer. Dominican Republic. It was alright, better than being stuck at home. It gets boring there after a while, especially with my parents. I brought you a coffee, Stel, like I told you I would!” Dylan hands me a caramel frap from Starbucks. “Eeee! My favorite! I want a Cuban coffee one of these days though,” I jokingly laugh while taking a sip from the cup.
Then Megan, Stephanie, and Yael show up. Megan runs to tackle me, while I hug her back just as enthusiastically. Stephanie and Yael laugh while saying, “Damn! It’s been a while-”
Then all of a sudden I get a little antsy. I had saw someone that I was a little nervous to see, which was Angel. He was walking by with Tim. I think Tim was staring at me, which was weird because him and I don’t talk a lot anymore. Especially since the breakup between Angel and I; Tim had completely cut me off.
All of a sudden David drags me over to the side and asks, “Stel? Are you okay?”
I snap out of it and briefly murmur, “Yeah, I’m fine-”
“You don’t look fine. I know that look; something’s on your mind. C’mon, I’m, well, one of your guy best friends,” looking slightly jealous and staring at Dylan and then at the coffee in my hand.
“Oh shut up David I told you I refuse to have a ranking system; you and Dylan are on the same level in terms of being some of my closest friends! And yes, I’m fine,” I reply, even though I wasn’t. I didn’t want to have to deal with my love life right now…
“I’m gonna go, I need to walk around for a while; the introvert in me is making me need to take a breather-” I tell David and turn to grab my stuff.
“Alright, just talk to me if you need anything alright?” he tells me, but I can see the worry in his eyes.
I put my hand on his shoulder and stare straight into his eyes. “I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”
I walk into the building nearest to the back of the school. I start to walk up the stairs when someone comes in behinds me, and I freeze, then turn around.
He looks just as surprised as me. “I- i- um, hi-” he stutters.
Then a girl with ice-blue eyes and black hair struts into the building, a group of awe-struck boys behind her, one of them being my friend Stephen. He immediately snaps out of it when he sees me, then runs up the stairs and gives me a huge hug.
“Stellina! OMG I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“Hey Stephen, yeah it has been a while-”
“Well if it isn’t Mrs. Overreacter! How was your summer?” the girl asks in a sweet yet incredibly fake voice.
“I was fine until you showed up, Brittany. Now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go-” I say and start to walk up the stairs again.
“Not so fast, there!” Brittany says. Then she notices Angel, who was frozen there staring at me. “Oh! Angel, how are you?” she asks while coming over to give him a hug.
“I- I’m fine Brittany. Just go,” he manages to choke out.
Brittany just looks at him in shock. “Well fine then, but you’re coming with me.” She grabs his hand and drags him down the first floor hallway while Stephen grabs my hand and drags me up to the third floor hallway.
“You good bro? What was that with Brittany? She was never like that to you last year-"
"I don't even know by this point. People have been dropping me left and right, with no warning. But then again, it's probably because they all are close with Angel-"
"Hey, Stel, don't let it get you down. You still got me and everyone else," Stephen reassures me, giving me his goofy grin.
"Yeah, but it feel like I be running a race, and I'm not winning…"