Soon after Stella Drake was born in 1970, both her parents were killed in a car accident, and she was taken in and raised by her grandmother, Edith, in Belle Glade, Florida.

Her senior year of high school she went to Ft Lauderdale with her friends for spring break, and on this trip she met the man who would change her life: Jesse Harper. He was four years older and came from a wealthy family, and he swept Stella off her feet.

The first year of the relationship was like a dream. Jesse showered her with attention, surprised her with gifts, and made her feel safe and loved. Stella was so head over heels in love that she put off leaving for college in the fall because she wanted to be close to him. On their first anniversary, Jesse hit her for the first time. He accused her of flirting with their waiter at dinner, and when they got back to the apartment they shared, he hit her so hard he broke her jaw.

She moved back in with her grandmother and spent the next eight weeks with her jaw wired shut, with Jesse begging her to forgive him, promising it would never happen again.

She moved back in with him the day the wires came off, and for a little while it really felt like it had genuinely been a one time thing. But she soon realized that this side of Jesse was the true Jesse, and he had learned from the first time he was much more careful when punishing her. And his punishments came often. Once, he bruised her ribs because she smiled at a cashier. Another time, he put out a cigarette on her back because she overcooked his eggs at breakfast.

She tried to leave a few times, and each time he would apologize and make promises, and each time she would go back, believing that this time would be different.

It was until 1996, when her grandmother died, that she got up the courage to leave for good. She’s spent the last six years moving around - Alaska, Oregon, California, Michigan - always looking over her shoulder, terrified of the day that Jesse would be there, of what he would do when he found her. When Captain Trips hit, she had been in Phoenix, Arizona for about 6 months, working as a waitress in a little diner.