A/N: This fic was written for grimreapercy on tumblr. Follow me at somethingmorecreative1
Percy has a complicated relationship with the owner of the tattoo parlor.
First of all, she (yes, she) buys the building directly across the street from his shop and turns the bakery into a tattoo parlor. Percy had loved the bakery (the blue chocolate cupcakes were his favorite), and then he gets to work one morning and finds out that a tattoo parlor bought out the business. A tattoo parlor. A place where they permanently ink things onto skin. It's morbid and disgusting, and Percy hates the idea immediately.
But, his mother raised him to have good manners, so he grumbles the whole time while he puts together a welcome bouquet when the tattoo parlor finally opens up. He isn't sure what kind of flowers go with tattoos, but he throws together a simple vase with yellow daisies before he walks over to the shop, calling out to Hazel that he will be back shortly.
If he isn't intimidated by the name of the shop, Permanently Stained Tattoos, he is when he enters and it opens up into a beautifully designed building with hardwood floors and red brick walls that have wonderful paintings. He isn't sure how they got it like that because honestly, his shop is a fucking disaster compared to this.
"Just a second!" A voice calls from deeper in the shop.
Before Percy can respond, a woman spins out from around a wall, stopping behind the counter that sits in the front of the shop by the door. She has curly, blonde hair, half of it pulled away from her face in a low ponytail. She is wearing a pair of skinny jeans and a black sweater with a silver necklace. She's really pretty, and Percy blinks in surprise at her.
"Can I help you?" she asks. Percy notes that it is a different voice than the one from a few seconds ago.
"Uh. I'm your neighbor," he says, gesturing across the street to his shop. "Just wanted to stop in a say hi."
She raises an eyebrow in confusion, "You own Blue Lilies? The flower shop?"
"Florist," Percy grumbles, stepping forward and setting the bouquet down onto the counter. "But yeah. That's me."
She lets her eyes travel down his body. "Hmm. I never would have thought that you would have been the owner of a florist."
"Well, I never thought that you would own a tattoo parlor."
She scowls, "What are the flowers for?"
He frowns, wondering if he expects her to charge her for them or something. "It's a welcoming bouquet. For good luck."
The amused look on her face makes Percy blush. She says, "That's sweet of you."
She reaches forward to gently touch the daisies, and when she leans down to smell them, she cracks a small smile.
"I'm Annabeth. I own the shop," she says.
He smiles a bit, "I'm Percy."
Percy doesn't hear anything from the tattoo parlor for a few days. Of course, he watches them from across the street. His employee, Hazel, tells him that he's spying, and it probably doesn't help his case that he always looks guilty when Hazel catches him doing it.
He's helping a customer pick from a bouquet of sunflowers or lilies when the bell on the door dings. Percy calls out, "I'll be with you in a second!"
"Take your time."
He finishes with the customer, taking their preferences and pointing them in the direction of the back counter where they can make a down payment on the arrangement with Hazel before he heads back up to the front to help the other customer.
He stops in surprise when he spots Annabeth leaning against the counter.
She's wearing a pair of dark jeans and a dark red sweater, which oddly highlights her light blonde hair. The jeans cling to her skin, and Percy jerks his eyes away before he can be caught staring.
"Annabeth?" Percy asks, wondering what the hell she's doing here.
She flicks her gray gaze over to him, a small smile flickering on her lips. "Hey."
He steps behind the counter, filling out an order form for the other customer's sunflowers. While he works he says, "What can I do for you?"
"I need some flowers."
He raises an eyebrow, "Good thing you're at a florist then."
She frowns, "My father and stepmother are coming to the city this weekend, and I thought some flowers might help my interior decorating skills at my apartment."
Percy thinks back to her perfectly designed tattoo parlor. He really doubts that she needs any help with that. Annabeth seems like the type to be a perfectionist.
"Right, okay," he says anyway. "What kind do you want?"
"What's your favorite?"
"Uh," Percy's confused that she's asking. "Lilies probably, but blue roses are pretty cool too if I take the time to dye them because they're really expensive since they're genetically modified flowers that have to be ordered and shipped up here."
It looks like Annabeth stifles a laugh, and Percy feels mortified that he just went all flower geek on her. She probably thinks he's such a loser.
"Can you make me a bouquet, then?" she asks, that same gorgeous smile playing at her lips. "Of whatever you like the best will be great. I don't know that much about flowers."
"Uh, yeah," he says. "I can just... Make whatever I want?"
"Yeah, I'd say that you're pretty good at this, wouldn't you?" Annabeth isn't looking for an answer because she keeps talking. "When can you have one done?"
He looks over the other orders he has to fill, and he says, "I can have it tomorrow afternoon."
"That'll be great," she nods. "Want me to pay you now?"
He shakes his head, "I know where to find you if you don't pay."
She laughs lightly before turning and heading toward the door. "Thanks, Percy. I owe you one."
He wonders what she owes him, but she's calling out a goodbye and heading back across the street before he can ask.
He makes Annabeth's bouquet out of white lilies with a touch of lilac. It's accented with a shade of lavender, and Percy's really proud of it even though he's not one for purple flowers.
Because he has already filled all of the orders for the day, he walks it across the street to her, and when he enters the shop, there's a woman with light brown hair sitting at the front desk, flipping through a magazine. She has a feather braided into her hair, and she looks up at Percy with kaleidoscope eyes that are stunning.
"Hey, you must be Percy," she says. "I'm Piper, one of the artists. Hold on a second. Annabeth is with a client right now, but she can probably take a break."
"It's no big deal if she's busy," he says. "I figured I would drop this off for her."
"I can get her," Piper argues, a weird glint in her eyes. "Just a second."
She scampers off deeper into the shop before Percy can say anything.
Annabeth comes out a few minutes later, hair pulled back into a high ponytail. She has a face mask hanging around her neck, and she's stripping off a pair of gloves that she throws in the trash. She grins when she sees him, and then her eyes shift to the flowers on the counter and she rushes toward them.
"Percy, they look great!" she exclaims. "Thank you so much."
"I'm glad you like them," he grins, reaching forward to straighten the ribbon on the vase.
"How much do I owe you?"
Percy rattles off the price, and Annabeth steps behind the counter to write him a check. "And I have your other vase from the last one."
"Thanks," he says, taking the empty vase from her. "Well, I'll let you get back to work then."
"Do you want to see the design I'm working on?"
She blurts out the question just as he's turning away, but she doesn't look embarrassed like Percy expects her to. Instead, her eyes are bright, and she's already turning slightly away like she knows that he's going to follow her.
"Uh. Sure," he says, smiling lightly as he follows her back into the shop.
There's a younger guy leaning back in a chair, face up and bare chested. His eyes are closed, and there's a million different tattoos drawn up his arm and across his shoulders. Percy is slightly amazed because did Annabeth do all of those?
She leads him back to a desk and a drawing board, where there is a design of a wolf. It's a close up on the creature's face, and it's more detailed than anything Percy has ever seen. It's really awesome, and he's speechless at seeing how talented Annabeth is. Like, he can't comprehend how anyone could do that. It's amazing.
"Did you draw this?" he asks, stepping closer to get a better look.
"Yeah, the client brought a different image to me, but I redesigned it. Do you like it?"
"It's amazing," he says.
"Thanks. Do you have any tattoos?"
He shakes his head, "I've never been brave enough."
She grins at him, and her smile is as beautiful as her design. "Well, when you do decide you are enough, you know where to find me."
Percy nods, too mesmerized by the design and her to say anything.
The next time that Percy sees Annabeth, she's walking down the street toward the shop, hunched over against the rain. She has a leather jacket across her shoulders, and she looks soaked.
Percy jogs to catch up to her, hovering close to her shoulder and holding his umbrella over her. She jerks her head up, and the sharp look dissolves into a soft smile when she recognizes him. She says, "Thanks."
"No problem," he says. "Messy morning. Flowers might wilt with the humidity."
Annabeth hums. "Do you lose a lot of business when it rains?"
"Nah," he says, squinting as the rain blows in toward his face. He readjusts the umbrella so it covers more of Annabeth. "My customers are pretty loyal, thankfully."
They walk in silence the rest of the way, and Percy holds the umbrella over her head until she gets the door to her tattoo shop open and rushes inside. Percy gives her a small wave before he makes his own way over to his shop.
Later that day, Percy's arranging a set of matching bouquets for a wedding, and he catches Annabeth staring at him through her window across the street. He blushes, lifting a hand to wave at her, and then she's laughing and turning away, leaving Percy with a blush on his face and his thoughts in a mess.
"So what's up with you and Frank these days? Has he pulled out an engagement ring yet?" Percy asks mischievously, picking a few daises from the display in the window to put in a new bouquet for his mom tonight.
Hazel blushes, "Everything is good, and no, we're not getting married."
Percy laughs, sending her a smile where she's sitting at the front desk working on the finances for the store. Since Percy isn't very good with math and numbers in general, Hazel does all of the business stuff while Percy handles the flowers. It's really nice and he's lucky that he has her to help him.
He shuffles a few feet down, grabbing some greenery before tucking it into the vase with the flowers for his mom.
"And besides," Hazel starts. "I'm not the one that has a love affair going on with the tattoo artist."
Percy blushes immediately, causing Hazel to laugh. He mutters, "Not a love affair. We're just…"
"Flirting with each other every five seconds from across the street. Taking her flowers every few days and—"
"We have to throw those out anyway!"
"And," Hazel continues smugly, spotting out the embarrassed and guilty look on Percy's face. That's one of the downsides of working with a friend that you've known for years. Percy wonders if the teasing is worth it. "You get this expression when you mention her. Or when—"
"I get it, Hazel," he mutters. "Can you go to the back and grab me the Windex? This vase is smudged."
Her gaze softens, and she stops teasing him. "I'm just kidding about Annabeth, Percy, but if you really like her, you should ask her to go to dinner sometime."
Percy sighs, avoiding her gaze. "She probably wouldn't want to go out with a florist. I bet she dates tough guys. Biker dudes. MMA fighters."
He hears Hazel sigh again, feels her pat him on the shoulder on her way to the back. They don't say anything else about Annabeth, and the afternoon is so slow that Percy actually has time to stare out the window toward the tattoo shop and torture himself with thoughts about her.
Just as he's getting ready to close the shop one night, he hears a tap on the front door then it swings open, the bell clattering against the glass.
Percy looks up from where he's finishing stowing some flowers into the cooler for the night. Thankfully, Hazel finished up the register before she left early for her date with Frank, and Percy prays that it's not a customer that needs some flowers this late. He knows that he won't be able to turn them away, but every time that he tries to take orders after the register has been closed already, he messes up the numbers, which usually takes forever to straighten out.
But it's not a customer—it's Annabeth.
"Um. Hey," he says. "What's up?"
"Hey," she says, looking him up and down. "I was wondering if you had dinner plans. Piper bailed on me to go on a date with her boyfriend."
Percy is a little frozen, and he takes a few long seconds to say, "Uh, no! No, I don't have plans."
Is she asking me out? Percy thinks, trying to calm his nerves. No. She probably just wants to hang out. There's no way she actually wants to date him.
"Great," she smiles. "Are you ready now?"
"Um. Yes. Just let me finish—" Instead of actually finishing his sentence, he waves his hand in the air like an idiot before turning away and going back to the cooler. He can hear Annabeth laughing softly, and Percy feels himself blushing as he hurries around the shop, trying to get all of the flowers watered and tucked away for the night.
"I just gotta grab my keys from the office then we can go," Percy says, heading back toward his office. In his rush, he trips over one of the tall glass vases that was a gift to his shop, barely catching it before it hits the ground and shatters. He breathes out a sigh of relief that it didn't break and more importantly, that Annabeth didn't see him do it.
"Okay," she calls from the front. He can hear a smile in her voice.
When he gets back to his office, he checks his reflection in his computer monitor and almost locks himself out of his office in his rush to get back out to Annabeth. He forces himself to take a deep breath, then he grabs his keys and phone, locking up the office and heading back to the front.
She's waiting on him, leaning against the counter with her hands jammed into the pockets of her leather jacket, looking exactly like a model out of a magazine. His mouth feels dry, and he swallows roughly before asking if she's ready to go.
She gives him a grin. Percy fights to keep the breath in his lungs.
After he locks the shop up, they stroll down the sidewalk, talking quietly about the day. It's not awkward like Percy thought it might be, and instead, he laughs and talks and finds himself walking a bit closer to her with every step.
When they get farther down the street, they duck into one of the smaller Italian restaurants, grabbing a table by the window so they can watch the sun go down and the street come alive with lights and people.
Percy knows that it's not a date, but damn, it feels like a date.
Before he knows it, his phone rings, making him jump and dragging him away from one of Annabeth's stories about high school. He looks down at his phone, eyes widening when he realizes that they've been at the restaurant for almost three hours.
The waiter brings the check, and before Annabeth can argue, Percy hands him his credit card, shooting Annabeth a smirk and saying, "You can pay next time."
His shaky voice is the only thing that takes away from his confidence. He hopes Annabeth doesn't notice.
Her narrowed eyes disappear into a soft smile, and she nods, leaning back in toward him and picking up her story right where she left off.
"Is Annabeth here?"
Piper, the artist that he met a few weeks ago, looks up at him as he comes in the door. He's holding a bouquet of flowers.
It's been almost a week since he had dinner with Annabeth. At the end of the night, he walked her to her apartment, and they traded phone numbers. They've been texting randomly over the past week, but Percy has been busy with two weddings in one week so he hasn't had much time for Annabeth.
He plans to change that because he has all of his orders caught up and with Hazel watching the store, he has all the time in the world.
Piper grins, "Yeah. She's at her desk if you want to go back."
He feels nervous all of a sudden. "Are you sure it's—?"
"Of course!" Piper exclaims. "She's not with a client or anything. Besides, she would love to see you!"
"Okay," Percy says awkwardly. He carefully takes a few steps deeper into the shop because Annabeth seems like the type that will get angry if you mess with her stuff. And he definitely doesn't want her to be mad at him.
He sees her sitting at her desk by the back brick wall, hunched over the sketching table with a blue colored pencil in her hand. Her hair is pulled back into a messy bun, with a few loose curls falling down around her neck.
Percy feels his heart beat kick into overdrive.
Calm down, idiot, he curses himself. Just ask her.
She jumps, spinning around on her stool to face him. She smiles as soon as she sees him, and Percy feels his face get warm.
"Hey, Percy," she says, getting to her feet. "What's up?"
He grins, stepping forward to set the flowers down onto her desk. "These are for you."
Annabeth grins and steps up until she's right beside him, bending down to smell the daises he brought her.
When she leans back up, a flash of blue on top of the desk catches his eye.
He leans forward to get a closer look. It's a design that she must have been working on when he walked up a few seconds ago. It's blue and beautiful and it takes Percy a few heartbeats before he understands what it is. What kind of flower it is.
"Oh," Annabeth says, and for once, she sounds a little embarrassed. "That's um. That's—"
"A blue lily," Percy finishes. "I thought you didn't know anything about flowers."
"Well, I—I know that lilies are your favorite and I know that's what your shop name is. Sorry if this is weird, but I couldn't get it out of my head and I never thought that you would actually see it and—"
"Annabeth," Percy cuts her off, biting back a grin as he traces a finger over the slick design. It's amazing. She's so talented, and Percy can't really believe that she was inspired by him and his shop. "This is amazing."
"You think so?" she asks, voice quiet and eyes wide as she looks up at him.
"Of course I do," he says.
"Thank you." Annabeth pushes the design back and pulls the flowers closer to her. "What are the flowers for?"
Percy's the one that's embarrassed now. "They're, um, they're for you."
"Yes." Before he can lose his nerve, he says, "I was also wondering if you wanted to get dinner with me tonight. Like a date. Or something. Or—"
"Like a date?" she teases, glancing up at him. He can tell that she's biting back a smile.
"You're laughing at me," he complains, scowling a bit.
She does laugh this time, and when she looks up, her eyes are beautiful and bright and Percy has a hard time breathing.
But then she nods and says, "A date."
Later that night, Percy and Annabeth grab dinner from a restaurant a few blocks away. Even though the air and wind are chilly, Percy feels toasty warm with Annabeth beside him. She's tucked into her leather jacket with a gray hat sitting on top of her curls, and Percy just wants to wrap her up in a hug for the rest of the night.
He keeps his hands shoved into his pockets so he won't do something stupid like reach out and take her hand.
Dinner is amazing. Annabeth leans toward him all night, laughing and smiling at almost everything he says. It's great, and he only stutters a few times, which is probably good because Annabeth makes him really nervous.
After dinner, they walk down through the city, looking up at the lights and weaving through the people on the street. Neither of them really want to go home, so they end up walking down by the river, looking out at the water that glimmers underneath the light of the moon.
Percy takes a deep breath and reaches out for her hand.
She's in the middle of a story, but she blinks up at him with a smile before tangling their fingers together and stepping closer to him.
Annabeth rarely leaves his mind after that night. He finds himself thinking about her when he tries to fall asleep at night, during the day when he's making flowers, in the evening when he she comes over to tell him goodnight when she's leaving the shop for the day. It's just—she's perfect and Percy doesn't want to mess this up.
They go on another few dates. Percy walks her home almost every night, but he never goes upstairs to her apartment. It's not because he doesn't want to, but on one of their dates, they got to talking about past relationships, and ever since Annabeth confided that she had just come out of a serious relationship that hadn't ended too well, Percy has backed off a bit to give her some space. Whatever they have between them now feels really good, and Percy doesn't want to ruin it by pushing her into it. He wants to wait on her.
Another thing that has hardly left his mind is Annabeth's design of the blue lily. Even though he doesn't have any tattoos, he finds himself wanting… and thinking about getting a tattoo. But… only one of Annabeth's tattoos.
He considers it for a few weeks, switching his mind back and forth, yes to no, from no, Mom will kill me, to yes, it'll be so fucking cool.
He tells Hazel about it just because he wants to know what someone else thinks. She lights up at the idea, right before she teases him about his feelings for Annabeth. He's just grateful that she thinks that it's a good idea.
So after Percy finishes his orders for the day, he leaves the shop for Hazel to close and walks across the street.
Annabeth is standing at the front desk when he walks into her tattoo parlor, and she smiles at him, leaving Percy's knees a little weak. "Hey, Percy."
"So I think I'm brave enough now," he says casually, ignoring how fast his heart is beating and leaning against the counter to look at her.
Her jaw drops open slightly and she grins after a second. "Really?"
He nods, "Yeah. I want the design you drew."
There's a slight pause. "You do?"
"Yeah, and I want you to do it."
"You want me to do it?"
Percy rolls his eyes, "Of course, Annabeth. When can you do it?"
She looks surprised, and she stammers a bit when she says, "I can do it right now."
"Really?" He's biting back a smile because he's never seen her this unsettled. He smirks because he's causing it.
"Yeah," she nods quickly.
"You didn't even check and see if you had any other appointments," Percy comments, his smirk growing.
She shakes her head, "Doesn't matter. Piper can take them."
Percy grins, "Alright then, I'm ready when you are."
She smiles brilliantly, leading the way to a station in the back of the shop. Piper is standing at another station across the shop, and when she turns to see Percy, she grins at him.
"Hey, Percy. What's up?"
"Getting a tattoo."
She gasps playfully, "Florist boys can get tattoos? Won't your mommy be mad at you?"
Percy laughs, while Annabeth shoots her a glare. Piper just grins again.
"Alright, Percy," Annabeth says. "You can sit right here while we fill out some paperwork and get the station ready."
She hands him a clipboard and a pen, and Percy fills out some basic information and signs the waiver. Annabeth gathers up some supplies from the cabinets that line the walls. Percy watches as she pulls her hair back into a ponytail and grabs a face mask to pull down around her neck.
"Okay, Percy, I don't usually try and talk my clients out of a tattoo, but are you sure?" she asks, grabbing the design from her desk and presenting it to him. She looks nervous for once, and it's so fucking adorable because Annabeth is the most confident person that he's ever met.
"Yeah," he says, smiling down at the blue lily on the paper.
"Where do you want it?"
"I haven't really thought that far ahead."
Annabeth rolls her eyes, but there's a smile tipping her lips up. "You probably want it on your chest?"
He nods uncertainly, reaching up to pull his shirt over his head. "Should I...?"
She bobs her head, "Yeah."
Percy slips his shirt off, and Annabeth takes it from his hands and sets it on her desk. She turns back toward him and Percy's heart starts beating faster when he realizes that she's checking him out.
Her voice sounds weird when she says, "Maybe on your shoulder?"
She reaches out and touches him, and her fingers trail across the skin on his left shoulder. Goosebumps raise up and down his arm, and the cold air in the shop bites against his bare chest.
"Mmm," he hums, letting his eyes flutter close as Annabeth steps closer to him.
"Or on your bicep?" She says, her fingers smoothing down his shoulder and arm so she can wrap her fingers around his bicep. Percy grits his teeth and fists his hands to keep from reaching out and pulling her down into his lap.
Her voice is barely a whisper when her hand cuts down his chest to rest on his right side, fingers barely slipping underneath his jeans. "Or maybe on your hip?"
Percy is about three seconds away from grabbing her and pulling her to him so he can fucking kiss her, but just as he lifts his left hand, a smooth voice interrupts and calls out, "I'd be careful about getting her so worked up right before she tattoos you, Percy."
Annabeth jumps back from him, and he suppresses a frown. Her face is red for the first time ever, and he really likes how embarrassed she looks right now. She's just. She's so adorable. Percy wants to wrap her up in his arms and never let go.
When he turns his head to look back at Piper, who is hesitating in the doorway as she slides her jacket on, he grins. "Nah, I figure she'll be alright."
"Are you leaving?" Annabeth interrupts. Her face is still red, but her expression is blank. She's standing too far away now, and Percy wishes he could reach out and touch her hand.
"Yep. It's date night. I'll see you tomorrow," Piper says, grabbing her purse and heading toward the door. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
"That's nothing, right?"
Piper laughs as she walks outside, sending Percy one more wink before disappearing down the sidewalk.
Annabeth sighs, "I'll be right back."
He nods, watching as she flips the front lights off and turns the sign to Closed, pulling the blinds on the windows down too. She's back a few seconds later, hesitating at his shoulder like she isn't sure about what's happening.
Percy reaches behind him and points to the small of his back. "Maybe here?"
The tension eases out of her shoulders as she moves around him, setting her hand on the small of his back. She presses her palm to his skin, running her fingers in a circle over the area, and Percy sighs.
Her voice is as wrecked as he feels when she says, "This a great place, Percy. Are you… You're still sure?"
"Yep." He turns back to grin at her.
She gives him a smile, "Alright then. Let's do the line work, and then we can shade it later so we don't overwhelm you today, okay?"
He nods and then follows her directions as she asks him to lie down on his stomach, shifting his arms up until he's comfortable. There are butterflies swarming in his belly now, and he takes a deep breathe. Annabeth pats him on the back softly, murmuring to him comfortingly.
"Don't worry, Percy," she says. "I got my first tattoo out of the back of a van."
He laughs at that. "What kind of tattoo was it?"
She's shaving his back now, and the razor smooths across his skin to get all of the hair away, which leaves Percy with goosebumps. Her voice is amused when she explains, "It was just a heart, but Piper dared me to get it on my hip, so I was standing at the back of this van with this old guy tattooing my hip while I had to hold my panties up. It probably wasn't the best decision I've ever made, but it's a fun story."
"How long have you been friends with Piper?" he asks, resting his head against his arms. From his position, he can't see her face, but he can feel her hands ghosting over his back. Even though she's wearing gloves now, it still makes Percy blush.
"Since high school." There's a smile in her voice. "After we graduated, we moved from San Francisco down to L.A. and worked as waitresses for years and then at a tattoo parlor for a few years too before we decided to move here and start our own."
Percy hums, "That's so cool."
"Thanks. What about you? What made you want to open a florist besides your obsession with flowers?"
"Haha. It was my mom, really. We've always lived in the city, and she used to keep flowers in a few pots on the window sill of our apartment. She loved them, and after high school, I just… couldn't really think of anything else to do. I found Hazel and she does all of the books and stuff, so I really only do the flowers. I guess I've had the shop for about…. Five years now?" he explains, turning his head over so she can hear him.
"That's impressive, Percy."
He blushes. "Thanks."
Annabeth finishes shaving his back, washing it clean and patting his skin dry. He hears her drag the ink machine closer to him, and he tenses up automatically, forcing himself to relax after Annabeth asks him if he's alright.
He nods and tells her to go ahead.
It doesn't hurt as much as he expected—of course, it's uncomfortable and the loud machine doesn't help his nerves, but Annabeth's hands are calm on his back and he takes deep breaths to stay still. The last thing he wants to do is mess it—or her—up.
The loud and steady him of the machine is enough for Percy's eyes to flutter close while Annabeth works. She speaks to him every now and then, keeping him updating about how it's going and what she's doing. It's nice even though there's a needle jabbing into his skin.
Before he knows it, he hears the machine turn off, and then Annabeth is pulling away, saying, "Alright, the line work is done. Do you want a picture?"
"Sure," he says. "My phone is—"
She slips his phone out of his back pocket and snaps the picture before stepping around and handing it to him. Percy stares at it in amazement while she shuffles around the shop, putting back all of her materials and washing her hands in the sink.
It's just—it looks so good. There's no color on it yet, but it's one of the prettiest tattoos that Percy has ever seen. He's at a loss for words.
Her voice is apprehensive when she says, "Do you like it?"
He turns his head so he can see her. "Annabeth. I love it."
She lets out a relieved sigh. "Damn, you scared me. You were being so quiet so I thought that you hated it."
"No, I'm just..." he trails off, looking back down to the picture on his phone. "Just amazed by how talented you are."
She blushes, murmuring a thank you as she grabs some papers from the counter to present them to him. She helps him sit up, and Percy feels a bit dizzy from lying still for so long. Annabeth steadies his shoulder, reading the aftercare procedures for his tattoo, and thank god she gave him the papers with the words written on them because he's way too distracted to actually listen to her.
"How many tattoos do you have?" Percy blurts out, cursing himself for it after a few seconds.
Annabeth hesitates, like she's surprised that he asked her at all. But then she's smiling softly, and she says, "I have eight. I did all of the designs for them except for the first three. Piper tatted most of them for me."
"Can I...?" Percy trails off, unsure where he was going with that question because he doesn't want to pressure her into anything.
She just grins, and god help him because she's lifting her arms and pulling her shirt over her head which just leaves her in a lacy gray bra and—
Percy gulps. Hard.
She turns to the side slightly, and his eyes zero in on a beautiful owl stretching up her rib cage. There's another one on her lower back, right above her jeans—a moon with a quote around it that Percy is way too distracted to read right now—and then there's an elaborate circle thing on her right shoulder blade. And because her jeans are so low on her hips, Percy can see just a bit of the black line that must be the heart on her hip.
Her voice jerks him out of his distraction. She holds her arm up and says, "This one on my wrist, and then this one on my bicep."
"They're… incredible," Percy murmurs, fisting his hands so he won't reach out and run his fingers across the ink staining her skin.
She grins and gestures to her other side that's blank. "I think I want a flower on this side."
And that makes Percy blush because she's told him before that she doesn't know anything about flowers so it must be because of him.
He can't stop himself when he traces his fingers down her side, and Annabeth hums slightly, stepping toward him.
His voice is ruined when he says, "What about the other two?"
"One on my ankle. It's one of my favorite quotes. The last one that I have is on the back of my neck," she explains.
Before Percy can say anything, she's reaching up and pulling her blonde hair out of her ponytail and to the side, holding it up and turning her head so he can see the small, gray design on her skin.
"They're so pretty," he murmurs, voice low and rough.
Annabeth sighs and her breath flutters across his collarbone.
She's so close that Percy just wants to reach out and grab her before he pulls her against him and crushes her lips to his. Before he can stop himself, he reaches out and slips an arm around her waist, dragging her closer until their skin is pressed together. Percy wants to groan right then, but the look in her eyes silences him.
She reaches up slowly with one of her hands, letting her fingers trace his jaw line before ghosting over his lips. Her voice is rough when she says, "Percy."
"Yeah?" he whispers.
"I like you a lot," she says just as quietly.
She leans closer and nudges his nose with her own. Percy brings his other hand up to her face and buries it in her curls. She hums and nods, making their faces brush even more and whispers, "Of course I do, Percy."
"Me too," he breathes. "Um, like you. I like you a lot too."
Annabeth laughs softly, stepping forward until her body was completely pressed against his. She says, "Kiss me."
Percy grins softly, leaning down to press his lips to hers, and it's everything he ever expected.
The bell clatters against the door when Percy pushes inside the tattoo parlor. It makes Piper look up, and she's in the middle of calling out her usual welcome mantra when she notices it's Percy.
"Hey, Lover Boy," she smirks. "Nice flowers."
He grins back, used to her banter now, "Thanks. Annabeth here?"
Piper nods to the back of the shop. "She's at her desk."
He thanks her, sending her another smile before threading his way through the shop and making the familiar path to Annabeth's desk. Sure enough, she's sitting on top of the flat surface, bending down to write something on a piece of paper. Her blonde curls are pulled back into a messy bun, and she's wearing a pair of jeans and a light blue sweater, which contrasts just a bit with her black combat boots, but it's nothing less than perfect.
Annabeth is so absorbed in her work that she doesn't notice he's there until he sets the bouquet down on her desk and leans forward to press a kiss to her cheek.
She reaches out toward the flowers immediately, "Ooh, these are pretty. What are they?"
"Daffodil bulbs," Percy answers distractedly, turning her head so he can press a kiss to her mouth. When he pulls back he says, "Hi."
She grins at him and shifts to the edge of the desk, moving her legs so Percy can stand in the middle of them. He pulls one up to cradle his hips just as she leans forward to kiss him again. Her other leg wraps around his waist, pulling him closer and closer to her, and Percy smiles against her lips and reaches behind her to—
"Hey! Stop frisking each other in plain sight, you idiots!" Someone calls behind them, interrupting their kiss. "I'm trying to tattoo people!"
Annabeth breaks away from him, laughing as Percy turns his head to see Piper standing behind them with an exasperated expression and her hands on her hips. Percy laughs too, pressing another kiss to Annabeth's lips before untangling himself from her and stepping to the side.
She brushes a hand through his hair, and her smile is brilliant when she says, "Thank you, Percy."
And it kind of sounds like she's saying thank you for a million things with those three words, and though Percy never thought that he would be here, standing in a tattoo parlor with a tattoo on his back kissing the most beautiful woman in the world, he can't think of anything that could be better.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Leave a review!