Chapter 1

Was it the millions of dust particles making me nauseous or was it the unforgettable fact that I had yet to tell a certain someone that I had made another choice. Either way, as I taped another brown box closed, this time containing the various junk foods that I would need to cure homesickness, I heard a knock on my door.

"Who is it?" I called out.

"Just your best friends," a voice chimed from behind the door.

I let out a big, but grateful, sigh as Kadi and Alex charged into my room. Kadi's long brown hair jumped in her ponytail as she made her way to my bed and Alex's short blonde hair fell slightly curled as she sat at my empty desk. They both looked at me, Alex with her big green eyes and Kadi with her hazel.

"What?" I asked.

"I'm going to miss you, Stella," Kadi cried from my bed.

"I won't be going that far," I argued as Alex snorted.

"Won't be going that far?" Alex repeated. "You're going…"

"Across the country!" Kadi finished.

"Across the country," Alex said, giving Kadi a look.

I sighed and opened my mouth to speak before I heard someone from the doorway.

"Who's going across the country?" a voice bellowed.

I dropped the duct tape as I looked up. There he was, blue jeans and those red converse shoes matched with that familiar red flannel I had borrowed many times. His ear to ear smile that I loved to see and his messy straight brown hair that made his hazel eyes glow. He came into the room and jumped onto the small clean spot on my bed next to Kadi. Alex raised any eyebrow at me but I gave her a glare.

"Well duh," Kadi started.

I jumped in immediately, "Kadi, do you still have my pink scarf?"

Kadi turned to me, "Pink scarf?"

"Yeah, pink scarf," I continued. "Tassels on the end?"

Kadi looked confused, she had reason to, I did not even own a pink scarf.

"Not you?" I asked. "Maybe it was Debbie…"

Kadi shrugged and continued to pull out her phone where she tapped away at the keyboard. I pushed the cardboard box away from me and stood up, moving onto the pile of clothes that were waiting to be put into the two largest suitcases I had ever seen.

"Adam," Alex called from my desk, she was on her phone as well, "What's the word for fear of spiders?"

"Arachnophobia," Adam replied. "Or did you want a synonym? Stella."

I pushed his shoulder as I put a pile of my jeans into my suitcase. Yes, I was terrified, absolutely terrified of spiders, in fact I hated anything with more than two legs, any kind of bug with more than two legs, with was pretty much all of them.

"We're still on for dinner right Stells?" Adam asked as he handed me a pile of my shirts.

I nodded, the sickening feeling returning to my stomach.

"Good, one more meal at the ol' In and Out Burger before we leave for Texas," Adam said as he stood up from my bed. "Speaking of which, will you really need all these long sleeves? Last I checked it was hot there."

"Global warming," I spurted out.

Adam gave me a weird look before laughing and poking my, burning from embarrassment, cheek. He gave a quick wave and disappeared from my room as I received disapproving looks from both Kadi and Alex. I turned around and started to pack more of my clothes into my suitcase. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see Kadi and Alex right in front of me, hands on hips.

"What?" I said gingerly.

"Really Stella?" Alex asked.

I let out a long sigh, "I know, I know."

"When are you going to tell him?" Kadi asked.

I shrugged, "I'm worried, he had this whole plan. Best friends to Texas and all. How am I just supposed to tell him I'm going to Boston instead?"

"Did I not tell you tell him as soon as you got your acceptance letter?" Alex said.

"I tried!" I exclaimed. "But he was so happy that day."

"That's not an excuse," Kadi interrupted.

I pushed in between them and grabbed my empty water bottle from the floor. I shoved it into my suitcase and zipped it up.

"I'll tell him tonight at dinner," I said.

"Right. So romantic," Kadi sarcastically chimed. "A greased up dinner at In and Out."

"It's not romantic," I said quickly. "We ended it, remember?"

"Rigghhhhtt," Kadi drew out. "And Adam's not still in love with you."

"He isn't!" I groaned.

"And California isn't hot," Alex chimed in.

I laughed at that but Alex cut me off with her voice of reason, "Stella, you really need to tell him, you leave in two days."

My laugh was cut short at the very idea and the nauseous feeling came back with fervor. Sure, yes, I needed to tell him, but I didn't want to even see the look on his face when the words tumbled out of my mouth. I had seen Adam at his best, his worst, his angriest, happiest, at his everythingest. I had seen him in five layers of clothes to no clothes at all. I had seen him as the unpopular kid turned popular in seconds. I could already picture the face he would give me, the emotion that would show, anger and hatred. He would hate me.

He had planned it for so long and I had agreed, the worst decision I could have made was to agree. College in Texas, seemed like a good plan at the time. He had proposed the idea when we were lying in bed watching reruns of New Girl and I had said yes instantly. At the moment I had been deathly afraid of anything that had to do with planning my future, at that moment, I was afraid I had none.

My grades had been lying in a ditch for the last two terms and I had not even bothered to peek to see if they were still alive. I had no money to get into a college and all my parents did was yell at me for not trying. I was terrified and all I could see was me taking out the trash of a greasy Burger King, not just as a part time job, but for the rest of my life. I imagined a tiny, crappy, and disgusting spider-filled apartment which I could barely afford. I imagined Adam, Kadi and Alex rushing off to catch jets, laughing, money falling from their bags and the knowledge that their futures would be perfect and they never needed to try.

The future scared me but Adam didn't. When he had proposed the idea, when I had said yes, and when I had thought about it for a week, I decided that I needed to care, to try, to make Adam's dreams come true and so that I would not be sitting in a dingy apartment watching my friends jet off to places in Europe and beaches in Australia. So I did it. I threw everything I had into school, spent less time dicking off with parties on the weekends and more time in my high school library. I got tutoring help from teachers and studied my ass off. It all worked too, my grades went up, my state of mind went up, and I sent in early applications.

Of course, I had gotten into the University of Texas, as had Adam but on the same day I had gotten into Boston University, a school I had applied to for the distance from my parents, the allure of the East Coast compared to California, and the possible scholarship. I had received a free ride opportunity and I had taken it, without telling Adam. Now the decision to go to Boston was staring me down with a stick on my chest, threatening to push me off a 1000 foot cliff into pure cement.

"I swear, I will," I said with a firm nod.

So when I was about twelve, I wrote a story about this whole love triangle and twelve year olds going across country to fall in love with their Walkman, glittery peace backpacks, sidekick phoned, bestfriends. Clearly that's a little far fetched. Twelve year olds going cross country to capture their true loves?

So I revamped it. In all it's modern day, more realistic, glory. I give you Stella.

Review, follow, favorite, off to a slow start, but It'll get better.

- Ana