Something was very wrong with Stella Hines.
The lack of confidence was not new. The bouts of anxiety were not new. The feelings of uselessness were not new.
The emptiness was. The silence was. The voice in her head was.
It was telling her over and over how worthless she was. How she wasted everybody's time. How she was obnoxious, annoying, loud. How nobody liked her, not her friends, not her parents, not Eddie.
Eddie was a shining light in all of this but she couldn't find him in the darkness. It was smothering. It was overwhelming and crushing and painful. It wasn't helping that she had pushed herself into a corner of the closet, doors shut, blankets piled on top of her. The darkness might have been smothering and overwhelming because she was hot and having trouble breathing. It was best that way, though. Maybe this way she would melt into a puddle or stop breathing all together.
Maybe I should cry for help.
The headphones in her ears were at full volume and her head hurt. Her mother was just a call away but Stella was too tired to pick up her phone. Her father could take her for ice cream but she wasn't hungry. Nahnie could bring her a flower crown but Stella knew it wouldn't work. Pennie could distract her with crafts but she didn't need another thing to fail at. Eddie could hug her until everything stopped hurting but she wasn't going to bother him.
Maybe I should kill myself.
Would it be that difficult? There were so many easy ways out but she didn't deserve easy. Maybe she didn't need to take it that far. Maybe if she just took what was left of her pain killers, she could sleep for awhile. Maybe things would be better after she woke up. You wouldn't be missed, anyway. That was... true. Jackson had better friends, her parents had each other, Nahnie had Aurora, Eddie had Pennie. The medicine was in the bathroom. The medicine was in her hand.
Her reflection in the mirror was distracting. Her wild blonde hair was pulled into a bun at the top of her head, the circles under her eyes were dark, her skin looked pale. She felt sick. Twisting the cap, Stella poured the remaining pills into her palm. There were five left. What else is in the cabinet? Advil, cough syrup, NyQuil, Midol, Benadryl. Why not a little bit of everything? It'll be a fun experiment, Stella, come on, don't you want to have fun?
The voice seemed so pleased at the suggestion. Stella did want to have fun; she wanted to shake the feeling of despair that had stuck with her since yesterday. Pouring the pills back into the bottle, Stella took the medicines in her hands, and went back to her closet. She left the door open so she could see and laid out the options. You don't even need water, how convenient. I bet washing those painkillers down with NyQuil will be delicious. The voice hadn't been wrong so far.
It tasted disgusting. Take another, maybe it'll get better. It didn't. One more. She felt like she was on auto-pilot. It's an acquired taste. She wondered if the cough syrup would be better. You won't know until you try it out. It wasn't better. Isn't it fun trying new things, Stella? She didn't like this experiment. We haven't even seen the results yet. She didn't think she wanted to. Are you giving up already? Anger struck her white hot and she struggled to understand what was happening.
Stella never gave up and she needed to prove that to the voice. Stella knew this was wrong but she was so close to taking a long nap. Stella should probably have called somebody. They're all busy. They don't have time for you. The painkillers were gone but she couldn't remember moving on to the allergy pills. The NyQuil was empty. She finished the cough syrup with the Midol. Aren't you feeling better already? There was a sharp edge to the question, glee and malice and stabbing.
"Estella, sweetie, hi!"
When had she called her mother? "Mom." Why had she called her mother? Hang up. No, she couldn't, not without raising suspicion. "How are you, honey?" "I... need help." Hang. Up. It was too late. "Help? Honey, what happened? Where are you?" Hysteria broke through the fog she was losing herself in, if only briefly. "My..." Where was she? What had happened? "I'm sorry." You're ruining everything. "No, Estella, don't-- Just. Tell me where you are, sweetie, can you tell me where you are?" She didn't need to know. "School." You're pathetic. "Okay. Okay, is there anybody near by?"
Look what you've done.
She was on the floor but she couldn't remember when she had laid down. How long had it been since her experiment? She was so tired. "Estella?" Her mother's voice, worried and frightened. Estella. The voice, mocking and disappointed. You'll never have any peace now. No, that wasn't fair, that was all she wanted. You're going to wake up in the hospital. You'll be sent to rehab. Your life is over. No, no. Why wasn't her mother talking to her still? "Mom." She's hung up, Stella. She doesn't care. Good riddance. That wasn't true, that couldn't be right. Have I been wrong yet?
It was getting difficult to keep her eyes open. She felt kind of cold. Why was it so hard to breathe?
A steady beeping woke her up. I told you. The beeping rose suddenly and she jumped, rocketing up, eyes wide, every part of her screaming, aching. "Oh, thank God," was all she heard before her vision was obscured by dyed brown locks. Mom. "Honey, sweetheart, oh my god, Estella." Something was squeezing her hand and she looked passed her mother to see her dad there, eyes red and brows furrowed. What had she done? It's what you didn't do that matters.
Her mother pulled back, grabbing Stella's shoulders, looking her in the eyes. Stella had never seen such worry in them. "Honey, why would you do something like that? Are you okay? I'm so sorry, I've been such a terrible parent." Stella didn't know what to say. Her throat felt dry. How many times now had she worn these gowns, slept in these beds? More in the last few months than in her life. Was she trying to get herself killed? If you could call what you attempted 'trying.' You quit before you even finished. Stella couldn't bring herself to make eye contact with the woman that raised her, loved her, cared for her.
She looked down and shrugged out from her mother's grasp, laying back down. "Sweetie?" "Let her rest, Victoria." Her father sounded like he hadn't slept. What had she done? All she wanted was to sleep for however long she needed. Here she was, awake and filled with regret and guilt. Her skin was crawling and she thought she might be sick. Her parents were worried. Did her friends know? She'd never be able to face them if they did. Coward. Her dad still held her hand and she wanted to take it from him, turn on her side away from them both, and hope they would realize that they would be better off without her.
The next thing to wake her was whispering. You don't want to know who it is. They weren't very good at being quiet. Don't open your eyes. She needed to tell them to stop. You'll regret it. She knew those voices. Panic swept through her and she heard her heart monitor rise but she ignored it, feigning sleep. "Stella?" No, no, no. Ignore him. "Is she okay?" "She tried to kill herself, what do you fucking think?" "Nahnie." Silence fell heavy and Stella thought she might suffocate in it. "Stella," he said again. He knew; he knew what she had done and he knew she was awake.
Don't do it. The voice was right most of the time but she couldn't put this off. She knew it was his hand holding hers and she squeezed. She felt the relief roll off of him in waves. She turned her head to look at him and only him, and opened her eyes. Eddie seemed brighter than usual and she wondered where he had been when she needed him most. She opened her mouth to try and speak but he cut her off, "don't you dare apologize." Pennie was crying. Stella felt small. How could she do this to them? Send them away.
y'know i'm ending it here because it feels wrong to write for any other characters. i'm pretty sure this should be canon but i'm not sure yet. i'm gonna crawl under a rock now.