The plot of the story "Dead Stars" revolves around the romantic relationships between the three main characters: Alfredo, Esperanza and Julia. The beginning of the story is dominated by the engagement between Alfredo and Esperanza. The rising action of the plot is Alfredo's inability to commit to marrying Esperanza as he constantly wrestles with his doubt over where his true feelings lie.
It is at this point that Alfredo meets Julia Salas at a dinner party and develops romantic feelings for her. Eventually Alfredo has to make a choice between pursuing his romantic feelings for Julia or fulfilling his promise of matrimony to Esperanza. He chooses the latter, even though he still harbors feelings of love for Julia.
The story then skips ahead 8 years, and catches up with Alfredo while on his way to the city of Sta. Cruz. While he is there, Alfredo runs across Julia. He has never forgotten about his feelings for her, but over time, he has come to accept his marriage to Esperanza. Alfredo finds that the feelings he had for Julia are gone. He is content with his life, and the perceived love he had felt for Julia all those years was like the "light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens."