“Neverlove” by Kailey Thom


Michelle Portillo Aguiar, Staff Member

star light, star bright, second star to the right (too bad you were never mine)

The second time Peter Pan’s heart shattered into a thousand pieces.


Star wasn’t her real name.

It was Estella.



A name that she outright refused.


Star was sixteen when Peter found her.

Living out of an old van and living the troubled life.

He took her up to Neverland, she said nobody would miss her.

(No one ever did.)


Star was the opposite of Wendy.

Where Wendy was warm and welcoming, Star was cold and calculated.

Where Wendy would read the lost boys bedtime stories, Star would recount the stories of her tattoos and how she got them. (And the fights that followed.)

Wendy was all soft curves and warm smiles. Star could beat most of the lost boys in a fight and when she did smile it was because she had seen something the lost boys hadn’t. (Usually someone gotinjured.)

Wendy ran away from the lost boys, then became their mother.

Star ran to the lost boys, with open arms, then became their sister and comrade. (And maybe something more.)

Wendy was whole when she arrived.

Star was already broken.

(Peter wanted to be the one to put her back together.)


Peter taught Star to believe, to fly.

She laughed the first time she succeeded; a rare, genuine smile being directed at Peter.

He couldn’t help but smile back.

(He thought her smile was worth more than anything he would ever be able to give. He was right.)


Hook was afraid of her.

The girl with the sword and the laser pen (one of her only connections to her past life).

She fit in well.

The lost girl, people started calling her. (Because she was lost, unlike Wendy. She was just like Peter and all the other lost boys.

No family to call her own except them.)


She became his girl, Peter’s girl.

Nobody was stupid enough to mess with Peter’s girl.

Her smiles were always directed at him. Never any of the other lost boys.

She became her name.


His light.

His life.

His home.


(Yet the nagging voice at the back of his head tells him she isn’t.

That he’s getting attached.

Lost boys can’t have attachments.

Because attachments almost always grow up.

Wendy did.

But Star isn’t Wendy.

And Wendy could never have been Star.)


Peter finds Ash when Ash is seventeen.

Asher is his real name.

Just like Star, he rejects his real name.

He doesn’t believe at first either.

Peter has to carry him to Neverland.

Just like Star.

The parallels between the two of them are unmistakable.

(Peter doesn’t yet know just how much trouble it is going to turn out to be.)


Ash settles in well.

He excels in fencing.

Star trains him.

Peter couldn’t be prouder of her.

Ash never quite fits.

Unlike Star.

He and Peter become friends almost. (As two of the oldest boys, it’s their job.)


Until that fateful day.

Peter heard Star laugh.

Her smile lights up their part of the island.

She had taught Ash how to fly.

How to believe.

They flew laps around the island.




A lone crack etched itself in Peter’s heart. (The first of many.)


He would catch the two of them walking around the island.


Star never talked.

Not openly, at least.



Genuinely smiling.

Star never smiled.

Never at anybody but him. (But that was Before.)



Star rarely laughed a real laugh.

When she did, Peter thought he’d give his soul up just to see her laugh more.

(A broken heart is almost the same thing.)


Her nightmares stopped coming.

(Not even Peter had been able to make them stop.)

She had said she was fine.

So, he had left her alone.

The screams that come from her at night long gone leaving their home in an unnerving silence.


One night, when Peter can’t sleep, he sees why her night terrors stopped coming.

He’s out for a moonlit walk to clear his head after one of his own nightmares.

(Involving her and a certain band of pirates.

Always the pirates.

Always Hook.

He’s always too late to save her.)


He sees them.

Star is sound asleep on Ash’s chest.

Their breaths in a syncopated rhythm.

Her ear right over his chest.

His hand is in her soft hair.

(She would slap Peter if he tried to touch her so intimately.)


A feeling bubbles up inside of Peter’s chest.

Feelings. Plural.

Jealousy, longing, love, resentment. (At Ash and himself.)

The feeling that he wants to pummel Ash into some rock and just leave him there.

Or better, get him out of Neverland forever.


(Another crack overlaps the first one.)


But he seems to make her happy.

And Peter never did.

Her happiness years ago doesn’t even compare to the joy that radiates from her now.

(The rage and regret that he feels at that thought eats him alive.)


Peter does his best not to show it.

Act like the small touches Star and Ash share mean nothing.

Shrug it off.

He learned his lesson with Wendy.

He isn’t going to get attached to another girl.

One who will grow up. (Even though Star swears she never will.)

He doesn’t love her.

(The nail marks on the inside of his clenched palms when he sees them together say otherwise.)


He hears them talking one night.

He knows he isn’t supposed to eavesdrop.

Peter does it anyway.

(He was never one for following the rules.)


“Promise me you won’t grow up?” Star askes, her head on Ash’s shoulder.

I promise, Stella.” Ash says with his arm around her waist.

(They fall asleep like that, under the stars. They wake up with the sunset and part ways before anyone notices.)

Peter was watching the whole thing.

(It’s the first time he’s ever heard her called by her real name.)


Peter doesn’t believe in promises.

Promises are mad to be broken.

(Just like his heart.)

He knows that they’ll both grow up.

But he has a hope that Star won’t.


She doesn’t have any family but the lost boys.

(Just like him.)

She prefers Neverland and never growing up.

(Just like him.)

She’s bound to get her heart broken.

(Just like him.)

(Unlike him, she’ll attempt to put her heart back together.)


It happens on a normal morning; Star wakes up to the sunrise to find that Ash is gone.

There’s a note. She won’t let Peter read it but hugs it to her chest to fall asleep.


Peter knows what happened.

Ash went back home to his family.

His home.

(Even if, from what he heard it wasn’t a good one.)


He comforts Star best he can.

(Her heart is broken.)

And every night he can hear he cry herself to sleep, repeating the same words over and over.

(“He promised.”)


She doesn’t join them in fights against Hook and his pirates anymore.

(“He promised”)

Or meals and games.

(“He promised.”)

She won’t talk about what happened. (Or talk at all really.)

(“He promised.”)

Not even with Tink.

(“He promised.”)

She becomes like a broken record.

(“He promised.”)

And Peter knows that it’s all Ash’s fault.

(“He promised.”)

Why she’s broken.

(“He promised.”)

And why he’s breaking in return.

(“He promised.”)

She’s broken now, and Peter doesn’t know quite how to deal with it. (Like Ash once did.)

(“He promised.”)

The empty words constantly get in the way. Star uses them as a wall against anyone and everyone.

(“He promised.”)


He isn’t at all surprised, almost a year later, when he finds a note on her pillow, her stuff gone, and her laser pen set on top of the note.

He isn’t surprised.

He’s hurt.

She decided to grow up.

(It’s Wendy all over again, but somehow worse.)

You loved her, says the little voice at the back of his head.

(He tells the voice to shut up because he didn’t.

And if he tells himself that enough times, maybe it might be true.)

(It never will be.)


Five years later, he realizes why she left.


(He had never told her he loved her.)


He finds her five years after that.

(Once he’s stopped deluding himself.)

It’s a small house.

White picket fence.

(He never pegged her for the suburban type.)

He takes a deep breath and goes to knock on the door.

He stops and looks in the window.


She’s there.


His Star.

(Though what he see’s next shows him that she was never his.)


A toddler.

He looks to be about two years old.

He hears Star call his name.


North doesn’t respond, so Star walks in the room to pick the toddler up. Peter ducks down so that she can’t see him. But he can see her. And what he does see makes his heart stop.

Star is pregnant. (Again, he’s assuming.)

When Ash joins them, Peter decides to leave the happy family in peace.

They (she) wouldn’t want his broken heart anyways.


He never knocks.

(And his heart just shatters…)