Chapter Seven: Hey Stella!

Stella's voice mail had messages to the top, two weeks' worth to be frank. Come to think of it, she hadn't been seen since the Satoshi incident around Christmastime. Lucy had her concerns.

"Has anyone see Stel around?" she asked the day after Christmas.

"She probably went home to see her family," Anna suggested as she took down the ornaments from the tree. The Goth shook her head.

"They disowned her years ago," she said.

"Maybe she's with a boyfriend?" Rihoko asked as she tried to take the lights off.

"Nah," Lucy said as she drank her sake. "She broke up with her last boyfriend two years ago. In fact, he is the reason why her family disowned her." Her friends gave her a strange look.

"Oh," Anna and Rihoko murmured.

"Have you tried calling her?" Seita asked from the corner.

"Yeah," Lucy said. "But, I'll try again."

"You do that," Anna said. "And while you're at it, help finish taking down the Christmas decorations."

"Whatever," the Goth mumbled, waving her off. She dialed her wolf demon pal. "Hey Stel, it's Lucy. Haven't heard from you. Call me back, bye."

Five days later, Lucy made another phone call. "Stella! Lucy here! Are you dead? Say something. Call me back, bye."

A week later, the Goth made another call to Stella. "Come on now! Are you dodging me or something? What the hell? Say something, damn it! Let me know you're not dead!" Lucy wasn't the only concerned one, however. Mike had his own questions about his crush.

"Hey Lucy," he said the day before New Year's Eve. "You heard from that wolf chick?"

"Who? Stella?" the Goth asked, giving him a strange look.

"Yeah," the demon said. Lucy shook her head.

�No," she said.

"Has she called?" Mike asked.

"No," Lucy answered.

"I see," Mike said. "Do you have her number?"

"Sure," she said. "Won't do much good."

"Worth a shot," he said. Lucy showed him her phone. Mike got Stella's cell number and the calls resumed the next day.

"Hey Stella. It's me, Mike. Haven't seen you in days. Miss having you around. Maybe we could get together or something. Got out to the bar or to eat. You know, just hang out. Call me back."

Three days later, Mike tried to call again. "Stella! Foxy Stella! It's Mike. Lucy and I are wondering where you are. Just quit dodging us and call back, bye." 2009 passed. 2010 came and still no Stella.

"Any word?" Mike asked.

"No," Lucy said. "Not even answering her door and none of her neighbors have seen her. The police have jack squat."

"Now what?" he asked.

"Keep calling," she said. "And I'll keep looking."

"Ah," Mike replied. Around noon, he tried to call Stella again. "Stella! It's Mike again. It's a new year. Where are you? You're not in trouble, are you? Call me back."

Lucy even sent texts basically saying the same thing. A change finally took place on January fifth. A knock came on Wisteria House's door.

"Coming!" Mike called in the middle of the night. He wandered to the door and pulled it open. His eyes widened in completely stunned.

"Stella?" he asked. The wolf demon stood in the doorway with her face beaten about. Her eyes looked pitch black. Her cheeks, jaw, and nose were busted badly.

"Stella, what happened to you?" Mike asked. "Who did this to you?" Stella didn't answer as she walked inside.

"Did Stanly do this to you?" he asked. "Where is he? I'll kill him! I swear I'll kill him!"

"No!" Stella said.

"But, he has no right to hit you like that!" the demon protested.

"Stanly didn't do this to me!" she cut in.

"Then�" Mike began to say. Stella held up her hand.

"Mike, please," she mumbled. "Just shut up. I just want silence." She walked straight to the living room. They said nothing as they sat on the couch in the dark. Mike kept wondering where Stella went these past couple of weeks. What happened to her? And who did this to her?

"Yes," Stella spoke up.

"What?" Mike asked. Stella stared out into the darkness of the room.

"Yes, I will go out with you," she said. Mike gave her a little smile in the dark.

"Heh," was his only response.