I was drowned in a beautiful dream when I heard someone banging at my door loudly. “Stella!” Debra, my step sister shouted, her palm repeatedly slamming at the wooden door of my room. “Stella, wake up! You have to iron my clothes! I’m going to be late for school!”
I yawned, taking time to stretch my limbs before I set my foot on the ground and walked slowly towards the door. When I opened it, I was met by Debra’s frowning face and knitted eyebrows.
“What took you so long to open your door! Didn’t you hear me?” she yelled, her index finger pointed at my forehead.
I swat her hand away and she gasped. “Mommy!” She then called for Aunt Lucy. “You’re fucking dead, bitch!” she smirked and once again called for my stepmother. “Mommy!”
“Debra, what’s your problem shouting at five in the morning! Everyone is still sleeping!” Aunt Lucy yelled back, irritably. Her eyes, half-open, her hair messy and a half –dry saliva was seen from the corner of her lips down to her chin. Gross!
“Stella, she hit me!” Debra dramatically said and my eyes widened in disbelief.
“Debra, that’s not true!” I told her but Aunt Lucy already attacked me and grabbed my hair, pulling it so hard making me wince in pain. “Auntie, that’s not true. She was the one who—“
“Shut up! Are you telling me that my daughter is lying! You don’t have the right to hurt my princess, do you understand?” she said, slapping me then gripping my hair tightly but I stayed silent. “Do you understand me?” she asked again and I nodded.
“Good. Now, iron my clothes! Hurry!” Debra smirked as she leaned on the jamb, her arms crossed over her chest.
I swiftly ran to Debra’s room and quickly ironed her uniform when I saw my cat follow me. “Luna, get back in my room. If Debra sees you, she might hurt you again.” I whispered into her as I watched Debra grab her towel and enter inside her bathroom.
As if Luna understood me, she turned around, walking back into my room.
After I finished ironing Debra’s clothes, I hung it in front of her closet and was about to get back to my room and get ready for school, but Debra stepped out from the bathroom and stopped me from leaving.
“Uh-oh! Not so fast, Stella, my dear.” She said, removing the towel that was wrapped around her body.
I looked down and couldn’t help but felt jealous of her flawless skin. Her skin was as white as snow and as soft as Naples silk while mine was covered with bruises. By the stinging sensation on my cheek that Auntie slapped earlier, I could tell it’s bright red against my creamy complexion.
“Clean my shoes and then you can leave.” Debra declared as she put Dior lotion all over her body making me inhale the sweet scent of it. “Faster, Stella! I don’t want to get late for school!”
I followed what she said because it might cause trouble if I was going to protest.
After I finished everything she ordered, I went back to my room and quickly took a shower and put on my tank top and denim jeans, and a black cardigan to cover the bruises in my arms.
Ignoring the bruises on my body, I was definitely a pretty girl. But I didn't really care much about my appearance, which brought me nothing but Debra's jealousy and hatred.
To reduce that, I had to disguise myself in the school. I tied my beautiful natural red hair with a rubber band and put on a curly black wig. I even painted some freckles on my flawless face. My round glasses slightly covered my forest green eyes. And a loose shirt helped me to hide my curved body.
Looking into the mirror, I now look like a complete nerd, just like the image of a nerd in people's minds. That gave me a sense of security.
I saw Luna still lying on my bed watching me. I smiled at her and carried her as I walked down the stairs to eat breakfast but to my dismay, nothing left for me again.
“Stella, you wash the dishes before going to school. I’m already late for work.” Auntie told me before she exited the kitchen and out of the house in a hurry.
I heaved a heavy sigh and walked towards the counter and reached on the upper shelf to get Luna’s cat food and poured some on her plate and a bowl of water beside it before I walked out of the kitchen and exited the house.
I started running like crazy, like running for my life. My heart was pumping so fast as I felt my skin cold as ice and sweat ran down my spine. I felt my wig move so I stopped to fix it and catch my breath for a while.
I couldn’t miss the school bus. I had a long quiz on my first subject today which was Math. It was our last year in high school and I was aiming to get good grades in all my subjects, so I would qualify for the Illinois University Scholarship Program. Being someone who had no one to support me financially was hard, and the scholarship was my only hope of getting into the University.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead then checked the time on my wristwatch. Oh no! I started running again towards the bus stop when I heard a loud horn behind me and when I turned around, it was Debra.
Debra was my stepsister. When mom died, my dad got married again with Aunt Lucy and she gave birth to Debra after a year. Everything was good and perfect when we were younger. We were the best of friends and we loved each other so much that no one could separate us. But everything changed when dad died from a heart attack.
She was laughing out loud and her boyfriend Dave who was driving the car gave me a smirk as he rolled down the window and Debra yelled at me. “Run faster, Stella!” her loud laughter echoed in the air. She still had the nerve to laugh at me when she was the reason why I was hurrying right now.
I was just in time when the school bus arrived at the bus station. Feeling relieved, I entered the bus and took my usual spot at the back.
My heart skipped a beat when I got out of the school bus because I saw a familiar car turn around the curb, heading towards the school’s main entrance. A black convertible BMW with a plate number 17-ABS. Yes, I knew it was his plate number because it matched his age and a part of his body that I couldn’t forget even in my dreams.
I stopped at the side of the road, waiting for his car to pass by. And by the second he passed by me, he gave me his signature smirk. A smirk that screamed, “I will ruin your entire day.”