Moonlight streamed down through my cabin window, casting an eerie glow around the whole room. I was sitting up in bed, polishing my shield when I heard a light knock on the door. I glanced over and saw Tyson was still asleep, then crawled out of bed and answered the door.
There, standing the doorway, was Annabeth Chase, tears streaming down her face.
"Annabeth?" I asked, stepping outside and closing the door behind me. She opened up her arms and I gave her a hug. It wasn't until we let go that I noticed I was only in my boxers.
"Oh, Percy," she whimpered, leaning her head against my chest. She tried to speak between her gasping sobs but couldn't. "It's okay," I assured, stroking her blonde hair delicately. "What's wrong?"
"Can we talk about it on the beach?" she asked, looking up at me with her gray eyes. They seemed troubled and dark, almost black.
"Sure," I said, leading the way down to the shore. The moon was so bright and full that night we had no problem getting there. Once we did, we both sat down on the sand, her head rested on my shoulder.
"Percy..." she began, unable to finish.
"What?" I asked, reaching for her hand. She pulled it back. "Percy, I think we need to take a break."
My stomach dropped. "What?"
"You heard me, Percy," she said, an edge of bitterness suddenly in her voice. "We need a break. I need a break. Just for a while, maybe, or maybe..." Again she couldn't finish.
"But why?" A clenching feeling took hold of my heart.
"Percy, it has nothing to do with you," she assured, sitting up straight and taking her head off my shoulder. Her gaze stayed glued to the horizon as she spoke. "I've just been thinking a bit, I guess. I mean, I trust you, but I - "
"Luke," I finished angrily. "You've already been tricked into doing something by someone you loved so you don't trust me."
"Percy, I never said that."
"But that's what you're going for."
"And since when do you know what I'm going for?" she almost shouted. But then her voice softened. "I'm sorry, Percy, but I need to... to sort some stuff out. With myself. Alone."
"Fine," I scowled, standing up. "You do that Annabeth."
"I said fine."
Teams were streaming down her face, harder than before. "Percy! Percy, please!" she sobbed.
I stomped off to my cabin and left Annabeth sitting there alone. I could hear her crying even as crawled up into my bunk again. Eventually, her crying stopped, but it didn't make me feel better.
Annabeth didn't trust me? And then she'd talked about Luke - as if she was comparing us - and said she'd been tricked into doing something by the both of us.
Actually, you said that, I though to myself, but shook it away. That was what she was thinking. Wasn't it?
I went to bed feeling upset and angry. The next morning was no different. I didn't talk to Annabeth or even see her the whole day. Although I swear I sometimes heard her crying.
"Oh my gods, Percy, are you an idiot?" Grover yelled at me from the Iris Message. He was sent to a boarding school in California in search of a new potential demigod the day before the breakup. He wasn't entirely happy when I told him the news.
"Do you know how long it took you two to get together?" he said. "Five freakin' books for heaven's sake!"
"Books?" I inquired. "Don't you mean years?"
Grover waved his hand impatiently. "Yah, same thing. But you've got to go apologize to Annabeth!"
"No way," I scowled, crossing my arms. "She's the one who dumped me, not the other way around."
"Yah, but Percy, by the sound of it, you were pretty much a jerk about it."
"What did you expect me to do? 'Oh, that's great that you're breaking up with me Annabeth. See you around!' Not exactly my ideal response."
"Percy, it doesn't matter if she broke up with you. Don't you at least want to be friends?"
No, I found myself thinking, I want to be more than that. But I didn't say that. Instead I just told him, "Well, it doesn't matter now. She wouldn't come talk to me now if I was dying."
"Whatever, Percy," Grover said, clearly annoyed. "I got to go."
"Bye," I replied half-heartedly, waving my hand in front of the Iris Message to disconnect it. I guess no one was on my side for this argument. Angry, I stomped off to the beach to vent. But when I got there, a young woman in a white, silk dress was there to greet me - and, apparently, slap me.
"Ow!" I shouted, rubbing my cheek gingerly. "What was that for Aphrodite?"
"For breaking poor Annabeth's heart, silly boy!" she scowled, pointing an accusing finger at me. "You've ruined a perfect relationship, Percy."
"I didn't break off the relationship," I defended angrily, "She did."
"Yes, but for obvious reasons," she said, sitting down in the sand. She invited me to follow but I told her I was fine standing.
"She still loves you Percy," she said, keeping her eyes down at the sand. I blushed and tried to hide it by looking away. "She seemed pretty mad last I saw her," I said quickly.
"She's mad at herself, silly boy. For allowing herself to be tricked by Luke a few years back."
I visibly cringed. "When he made her hold up the world? You mean when that nasty little scumbag -" I would have said a lot of mean things about Luke had the Goddess not stopped me with a wave of her hand. "Yes, that incident."
"And what about it?"
"Luke pretending to be on her side, pretended to still be her friend, her family," she said, drawling a small heart in the sand with her finger. "So when he betrayed her, it really hurt. I think her trust in people in general was shattered."
"So you're saying she doesn't trust me?"
"Not in the slightest," she reassured. "It's more like she doesn't trust herself. She's worried about losing you, and if you're not even her's..."
It suddenly all made sense. "Then she can't be hurt," I finished.
Aphrodite looked up, smiling. She almost looked proud. "Exactly," she chided.
"I think I have an idea of what I need to do," I said. "I'm going to win back her trust."
"And how are you going to do that?" she inquired.
"Oh, you'll see," I said , grinning devilishly. "All I need is Apollo and some of his terrible poetry."
A few days later Valentine's Day rolled around. Year-round campers like me always knew that today was the most favorite day of Aphrodite's children - the whole camp was decorated in pink ribbons and hearts by them. They even managed to decorate the Ares cabin - but they were quickly torn down by the angry cabin members.
Annabeth and I still hadn't spoken. Whenever I saw her at dinner, she was surrounded by her Athena cabin-mates. They gave me malicious glares every time I tried to step near her.
Hopefully, I thought, that would all change tonight. Because thanks to Apollo, I had a plan that would easily win Annabeth's trust back in me. All it would take was some terrible poetry and a totally humiliating shirt to prove to Annabeth that I would do anything for her. Even if it meant looking like a dork in front of the whole camp.
At dinner, Chiron made an announcement that a new camp member had been claimed by her mother, Demeter. It was the exact opening I was looking for. Everyone cheered and shouted the new member's name as he went to go sit down with all of Demeter's other children. And before everyone could resume eating, I jumped up onto my table.
"Attention everyone!" I shouted, waving my arms around frantically. I caught everyone's attention easily - especially Chiron's, who looked particularly annoyed by the idea that I was standing on a table. I even caught Annabeth's eye, who was secretly watching me from behind all her cabin-mates.
"Attention please!" I shouted again and then cleared my throat. "I have an announcement to make. And since today is Valentine's Day, I find this will be very appropriate."
Everyone cheered. Annabeth blushed and tried to look angry at me, but I saw her trying to hold back a smile.
I pulled out a sheet of paper and cleared my throat again. Then I began:
Annabeth, O' Annabeth,
You're as beautiful as a rose, and as soft as a bear -
I love the way the sunlight touches your hair.
You smart and witty and lov-e-ly,
Annabeth, O' Annabeth,
Would you please forgive me?!
I ripped open my jacket to reveal my shirt-a hot pink tee with hearts surrounding the name ANNABETH. I glanced up at her, and saw that she had tears in her eyes and was covering her mouth with her hand. She stood up just as I began to jump down from the table.
She jumped on me, straddling my waist with her legs, her arms wrapped around my neck. "Percy..." she began, but she didn't finish. I kissed her so patiently that everyone started to yell "Get a room!"
When we finally stopped, I dropped her on the ground. She kissed me again on the cheek and whispered in my ear, "How did you know?"
I shrugged. "Certain little birdie, actually."
She smiled. "Was that certain little birdie the same one who eavesdropped on us in Olympus?"
I knew my old Annabeth was back. I kissed her again and everyone cheered extra loud. "Yes, I believe it was that little birdie."
"I'm sorry, Percy, but I was worried..." she was at a loss of words.
"I'll never leave you Annabeth," I said, caressing her cheek. "Never."
"Good," she said, smirking. "Because I'm never leaving either."
"Then I guess were both stuck together forever."
She smiled, and kissed me on the cheek one last time. "Yah," she agreed. "I guess we are."