* If you're a newcomer, make sure to check out 'MEMORIES' first because this is a sequel *
(Don't read beyond this line if you haven't read it)
Full story description:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams...
Dealing with the recent passing of her father, Annabeth finds herself slowly slipping back into old ways but isolating herself in her grief not only hurts her but the people who love her most.
Her kindness is her blessing but also her curse...
Annabeth soon discovers that maybe she isn't as strong as she once thought she was. When Helen starts to tighten her evil grip around this innocent young girl to avoid financial concerns, Annabeth finds herself sleeping in class, worrying her beloved and falling apart inside.
But there is a time when everything gets too much. When the flashbacks are too blinding. When the work is too exhausting. And when the hopeless dreaming becomes routine.
Finding herself in a whirlpool of mishaps and danger, involving Percy's wicked half brother, Annabeth realises that her dreams are all turning into nightmares. She must muster up all the strength inside her heart to protect not only herself now, but her loved ones too.
With fear staring you in the face, Comes courage...
But her future seems almost as twisted as her past with the end of High School right around the corner, her feelings for Percy growing painfully stronger and everything she once knew being turned upside down all over again.
~ Hey Angels ~
Welcome to DREAMS!
I am so sorry it's been almost 3 weeks since I last updated but I needed a break and there had to be some kind of build up to Dreams.
I am super excited for you guys to read this book and I hope the wait wasn't too soul-crushing. I know I have a knack for leaving cliff-hangers and it must suck for you ;)
Aw, I've really missed all of you. 3 3 Thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews, they honestly make me tear up a little. I didn't even expect to get 100 reviews, let alone over 500!
I would reply to them all but there were quite a few and I knew it would take forever, as usual, so I thought you guys would just rather I get the chapter up earlier. I hope that was the right call. But I read every single one of them and can honestly say I love you guys.
Special shout-out to the following reviewers: Awesome, ArtemisNewHunter, DatWriterGirlz, Nobody, Chameleondancer, BookFanfiction, Greekdemigodwannabe, ButteryFool432 and Y.S.D.T Fever
You guys either made me laugh, cry or smile uncontrollably so thank you! Lots of love.
Just to say, in future chapters I will be doing proper review responses.
Kyrasaige - Reading your review actually broke my heart. I'm touched that my story has impacted your life and that the emotional descriptions felt real. My heart goes out to you girl. Lots of love x
Kalli - SavLa - HEY GIRL! It's always nice to see a new reviewer who sends tonnes of kisses like me :) My heart goes out to you and your sister. 3 Thank you so so much for the lovely review, it made me smile for like ever. As for your song suggestion, there are couple songs with that title so could you possibly tell me the artist and I'll see what I can do. LOVE YOU TOO XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Are you guys all buckled in? Laptops, phones, iPads at the ready? Cups of coffee?
Okay then, let's begin...
Evil lurks in places you would never imagine and tries to charm its way into your life.
Monday 5th October
Song Tribute: [To Build a Home – The Cinematic Orchestra]
The wind was howling as the heavy rainfall splashed onto the ground outside in thick droplets. I sat curled up in the bay window of the living room, staring into the blurry abyss. My mind was gone. It was as if nothing mattered anymore. Nothing in this world. I felt empty. I felt…nothing.
Time moved slowly. Each blink of my eyelid was long and weary. My breathing; so slow, there were moments where I was hardly breathing at all.
Cars would pass by on the rain-soaked streets, splashing up water onto the sidewalk as if to keep me aware of the moving world outside the window—of a life still going on out there despite all the chaos in here. It was a strange concept; my mind could hardly wrap itself around it.
I'd always been able to get through whatever life had thrown at me but this was different. This was something far worse.
"We're ruined." Helen said for the third time, pacing up and down the carpet. She didn't even care that he was gone. All she cared about was the money. She'd spent the whole morning organising the funeral, reluctantly might I add, and doing all the business calls. Apparently, dad owed money to a few people and Helen was crazy anxious about it all.
I sighed, resting my head back against the wall and closing my eyes to try and picture myself somewhere peaceful and quiet. Somehow, I pictured our place back in London, outside on the front porch with the flower beds surrounding me and the butterflies fluttering in the summer breeze. My mother sketching designs at the table and laughing at some remark my dad had made. She has bright red lipstick on and pearly teeth, a long white gown swimming over her long, slender figure. My dad is watching her with thoughtful eyes and only one thing can come of it: she looks beautiful.
"Don't look so calm, girl!" Helen snapped and my eyes shot open.
Did she really think I was calm about this?!
"You do realise that I'm not paying for your online college like your father did?" I gasped a little. "And I'm not wasting my money on your education at that stupid school." My heart stopped.
She wouldn't. She couldn't.
"This'll have to be your last semester at that place and then you can work for me from home. You can do files and database work I suppose." She said.
"No Helen, please!" I protested, leaping up from the bay window. She snarled at the sound of her name. "Ma'am, please." I begged. "Let me finish school at least. I'll never get anywhere in life if I drop out."
"You think I care?" She scoffed. "Besides, you're not going anywhere in life, you're staying right here." I gulped.
That's it...I was officially a prisoner in my own home. I wouldn't even have my education to keep me going anymore. I would be a failure. No architecture company will ever take me now. No one will.
"I suppose you can work longer hours at the Beach Cafe and you can clean for Mrs. Miller next door a few days a week." She frowned, pacing still as if she were already going through the details in her head. She was planning out my whole entire life and there was nothing I could do to stop her. I was a slave. A slave in my own home.
"I'll go give her a call now." She said turning and walking into her office without another word. I jumped, flinching as she slammed the door behind her and sunk back into the bay window seat.
I didn't cry but all this, on top of my Dad passing, I just couldn't handle it. I suppose that was partly due to what had happened this morning. I thought about it, even now. It was hard not to. He had told me this would happen and I had denied it.
A few hours earlier...
"Rafael." I gasped.
He smirked. "Hello, Annabeth. Did you miss me?"
I lurched up from my seat, wanting to get as far away from him as humanly possible. The guy with the snake tattoo, sitting beside me, gripped my shoulder firmly and slammed me back down into the seat. I winced at the sudden movement as he easily pinned me into the cold leather with just one arm. It was ridden with cords of muscle and scars.
"Don't hurt her!" Rafael warned the guy and I just stared at him incredulously for that.
He suddenly laughed amusingly at my expression and nodded to the other guy to let me go. He slowly removed his hand from my right shoulder. I let out a breath, sitting up and feeling pretty shaken. I glanced out the window to my left, seeing the houses and neighbourhoods disappearing behind us. I had nowhere to go. Nothing to defend myself with. Nothing but my own two hands.
"So..." He grinned, twiddling a knife in his fingers. "How's my little brother's Wise Girl?"
He looked different sitting in front of me now—smarter. He no longer wore those dark, scruffy looking clothes that you'd expect to see on a druggy or a thief. No, he wore smart black trousers, a dark grey blazer and a white shirt with a pair of sunglasses slotted onto the neckline. Surprisingly, I found myself admiring his formal look and the way it brought out his maturity and handsome looks. It felt as though I deserved to go to jail for even thinking that.
"What do you want?" I asked, trying to sound brave.
"Just checking up on you." He shrugged. "How have you been?"
"Why do you care?" I frowned in confusion. "What is this? If you wanna kill me then get it over with." I glanced at the knife in his hands, trying hard not to look so terrified.
"Oh I don't wanna kill you, meu amor" He smiled.
"Oh, is that why you pushed a shelf on top of me?" I shot back. "I could have died."
"Forgive me." He said honourably.
Rafael had a character I would never understand; principled but monstrous. He could be charming when he wanted to, very charming, but he was not someone you wanted to get on the wrong side of.
"My orders weren't strictly followed. I only sent someone to scare you, not hurt you." He paused. "Let's just say he was punished severely."
I flinched, picturing what poor young boy had to suffer Rafael's wrath. And for a while, I just stared at him in breathless shock. It was hard to believe he even cared about my well-being.
"I'm sorry about your father." He continued civilly and I was surprised at how sophisticated he could be when he wanted to. The night at Atlantis, he had appeared as some washed up druggy with revenge boiling through his blood but now he looked like a calm and collected, successful businessman. It was unnerving.
"No you're not." I whispered.
"You're right." He smirked. "I'm not. Parents are a waste of time and energy. I pity anyone who has them."
I shivered with what felt like anger. "I don't understand...if you're not here to kill me then what do you want?" I asked nervously, dreading the answer.
"How is my brother doing?" He asked.
"Fine." I frowned, a little confused as to what was going on.
He sighed. "Why won't he return?"
"Maybe because he's not a murderer like you." I frowned.
"Oh, we're more alike than you think little one." He flashed me a grin.
"Don't call me that." I scowled. He wasn't that much older than me. Percy had said he would be 21 by now. "He's twice the man you'll ever be."
He just laughed.
"Quite the loyal one, aren't you?" He smirked. "You and Percy have that in common."
I frowned. What was he getting at?
"That's what makes you both weak. You see, I don't like people who disappoint me and you may have thought that this all blew over weeks ago but I take grudges to the grave, my dear Annabeth. Percy will pay for betraying me and you...well you're just collateral damage." I gulped. "But you don't have to be." He finished, his eyes lighting up a little.
Song Tribute: [Who Am I – Andrew Judah] - (It's not on Apple Music but it's from one of my fav tv shows)
"What do you want from me?" I whispered and he tucked his knife away into his pocket. I relaxed a little with it out of sight.
"Come with me." He said, his voice soft now and I just stared at him in shock. Why would he want me of all people to come with him? "Come on Annabeth." He sighed. "You don't like your life and you know it. How many times have you wished about moving somewhere else, away from Helen and Goode High?" I gulped, he did have a point but when I dreamt of leaving that horrible place with Helen, my plan wasn't exactly to move in with Percy's evil half-brother.
"What makes you any better than Helen?" I frowned.
"I wouldn't hurt you if that's what you're implying." He said and oddly, something about his tone was believable. "And I wouldn't let your talents go to waste on petty things like housework." He frowned and it scared me a little how much he knew about my life. "You're too smart for that place Annabeth. I need someone like you." He leaned forward in his seat a little and I just stared at him in shock. I didn't believe that this was actually happening.
It was a strange concept—the feeling of being needed. I'd never had it before. I'd always been the girl nobody needed—the girl nobody wanted.
He smiled softly at my expression and it was weird, it made him look handsome. Of course, I'd always known he was good looking but from his cruelness, I'd almost forgotten.
And for that one moment, I saw the tiniest hints of Percy in him.
"I'm not a gang leader Annabeth, I look after my family." I frowned at that. "The people that join me are all people who have had things taken from them in their life, whether it's their money, family, home, freedom or, in your case, all of it."
"And then you turn them into killers." I shot back, willing myself not to be swayed by him.
"I teach them how to defend themselves on the streets. Not everyone is born on the right side of the tracks." He shrugged as though my insult had no effect on him whatsoever. "And we make our living the way anyone would...by working." He said. "In some cases, illegally but who's to say what is right and what is wrong?" He frowned. "You and I deserve a good life just as much as my insipid brother and that whore he dated...what was her name again?"
"Rachel." I murmured.
"Oh, well I was thinking about Drew actually, but I guess he had both of them, didn't he?" He smirked, shrugging and I winced at that. "See, he doesn't appreciate you and he never will. Percy's always been a womanizer, it's in his nature." He frowned as if he disapproved but he was wrong—he had to be.
"But I do." He urged. "I do Annabeth and I'd look after you. I can promise you that. We can go anywhere you want."
"Anywhere?" I breathed.
"Anywhere." He smiled, taking my hand in his and I gulped a little at that. His hand was oddly warm and comforting, it felt a little like Percy's or maybe that was just because they had the same genes. "I've got connections all over the world, Annabeth." He said and I suddenly started to realise that Rafael must be filthy rich from this drugs business. Illegally rich, yes but still filthy rich.
"I can take you far away from this place; France, Greece, England, wherever you wanna go. I'd give you a comfortable life too." He said. "Maids waiting on you hand and foot, a proper home with the biggest library you've ever seen. I can get you a job as an architect. I can get you anything you want." He smiled at that and my heart jumped in my chest. I didn't want it to, but that life appealed to me in more ways than I'd care to admit.
"Why me?" I whispered.
He smirked at that. "Maybe I just like being a generous person." He said and I just looked at him sceptically. He laughed a little at that. "Or maybe you're growing on me." He smiled and for some crazy reason my stomach fluttered at that.
"You would give me all of that...just because I'm growing on you?" I raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
"There's something about you, miss Annabeth Chase." He said, taking me aback. What did that even mean?
"I won't do what you do." I murmured, suddenly steering the conversation back to the real problem.
"I wouldn't make you do anything you didn't want to do. I've learned from my previous mistakes with Thalia and Percy. I'd keep you away from all that." He said honestly and his honesty shocked me further. "Think about it." He jolted his chin up at me.
The fact that I was thinking about it scared the hell out of me. I was actually considering running off with this guy and the worst thing was that the life he'd described to me sounded almost perfect. I wanted to be an architect more than anything. Maybe if I went with him I could visit the Parthenon in Greece and design Ancient Greek styled buildings to my heart's content. I could do anything. The world would be my oyster. But the rational side of me warned me of his trickery and manipulation. Everything he promised could all be a lie. Even with that thought, I was still considering it and it hurt my brain from thinking so much.
"Take me home." I murmured, looking up at him now. "I want to go home!"
"As you wish." Rafael said as the car stopped and to my complete and utter shock, we were outside my house again.
"What is this?" I whispered, expecting it to be a trick or a test.
"Your house?" Rafael raised an eyebrow as if it were obvious.
"You're letting me go?" I frowned.
I was confused. I'd expected him to keep me here like a prisoner but no, he was happy to let me do my own thing and leave. The mixture of freedom and imprisonment I felt when I was with him was suffocatingly confusing.
"On one condition." He said as I reached for the door. "Stay away from my little brother for a while."
I blinked. "Why?"
"That's none of your concern."
"Think of it this way. If you stay away from him, then I will." He smirked. "Seems like a small sacrifice to make to protect the person you love."
"Please, you know I can't do that." I whispered.
He leaned forward. "Well try harder." He said. "And while you're at it, stay away from all your friends." I felt my heart plummeting in my chest. I could barely breathe. Even the thought of spending a minute away from Percy hurt…physically.
"Why are you doing this?"
"I'm practically doing you a favour. You and I both know that you prefer being on your own." He said.
That was before I met Percy and the others!
"You'd do better grieving alone for a while. Even without me, you'd push them away, wouldn't you?" I shook my head in denial. "That's what you do Annabeth; when something bad happens, you push the people closest to you away."
It terrified me how much he knew about what goes on inside my head but what was even more terrifying was that I sort of realised that he was right.
He smiled at my shocked expression. "I'll give you until Wednesday to wrap things up with him." He said. "That sound fair?"
I just blinked at him in shock. How was any of this fair?
"Good." He smiled, taking my hand and kissing the back of it lightly. I just stared at him, utterly speechless. "There's darkness in you yet meu amor. It'll come out one way or another."
"You're wrong about me?" I frowned. "I'll never become like you, even if you have to drag me away."
"I won't need to drag you away. In the end, you won't come with me because you have to." He smiled. "You'll come with me because you want to."
"No." I shook my head in disbelief. How could I ever want that?
"Mm-hmm." He smiled, leaning forward in his seat eagerly now. "You'll ask me." I shook my head, feeling a lump in my throat. "Beg me." He added in an alluring tone that seemed somewhat seductive and that scared me.
"No." I said firmly as if trying to make myself throw the idea away. "You're wrong!" I tried to leave but Dimitri was right there to press me back down again effortlessly.
"Let her go." Rafael said to my complete and utter shock. "She needs some time alone."
"Until we meet again." He murmured in an alluring tone before I heard the click of doors unlocking and he let me go.
They left me on the curb. Still speechless. I couldn't even open my mouth. My throat was dry, my heart was still pounding frantically and I could feel tears stinging the corners of my eyes ever so slightly now.
I looked up at the blurry scene and watched the car disappearing from sight. It moved fast like a shadow in the wake of the misty air. They were gone in the blink of an eye.
It was almost like none of that had happened at all and I'd just been daydreaming on the side of the road this whole time. But I knew that was the denial speaking.
What did he mean? There's darkness in me yet.
He's just trying to scare you, I told myself. It's nothing but a manipulative lie. But what if it wasn't? What if he was right? That would mean I hardly know myself at all.
Who am I?
Everything was as it had been before; a lost girl, staring frivolously out her bay window and across the driveway.
I hugged my arms tightly but nothing was good enough to comfort me. Everything I had built over these past few weeks seemed to be collapsing in my hands and there was nothing I could do about it. I was going to lose everything and that theory just made Rafael's world more and more appealing and I hated myself for it.
I couldn't afford to think stupidly like that and yet I was and nothing I did could get the image of maids waiting on me hand and foot on some remote island. I would never have to be a slave again and although I've always been humble, what girl wouldn't want that kind of life?
Tuesday 6th October
It was a cold, crisp October morning. A chill ran through the air, seeping into my bedroom through the crack in the open window. I drifted over to close it softly and found myself idly staring outside for a while. The garden was hushed; a fresh layer of morning dew coated the green grass and the only movement came from the leaves gently swaying in the cool breeze. A picture of grey skies and cloudy canvases above, like an endless haze of thickening ash.
Time seemed to slow then. The air thick and syrupy like the sun would never rise on the horizon—like the new day would never begin and end. It felt as though I was caught up in some kind of whirlwind and I was just standing there, watching it happen. Helpless and haunted. A ghost of a girl.
Finally, I turned to look at myself in the mirror and at the little black dress hugging me. It was lacey over my shoulders with a diamond open back. I wore black suede high heels with a bow at the top and my hair was pulled up into a fairly tight ponytail. Helen had picked out my outfit, she wanted me to look the part. As long as she was happy I guess…
It was only when I turned to my dressing table that I noticed the rose. It was there; sitting atop the shiny surface in all its pure, perfect beauty. A single white rose with delicate petals that curled at the tips like wings on an angel's back.
Curiously, I wondered over to the tiny thing, picking it up between my fingers and reading the notecard it had been left with.
you have my deepest condolences.
Do not be disheartened, all that live must die and all that die, live on.
I didn't know what to do at first. I was in shock. On I kept, staring at the white rose between my thumb and forefinger, it matched my nail varnish. His letter touched my heart in ways I am too ashamed to admit but he had a way with words that could melt even the coldest of women. I felt like I'd just woken up in some sort of 1920s film, receiving a love rose from a total stranger and yet feeling utterly flattered by it.
It stirred up emotions I thought I'd never feel.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps down the corridor. With a start, I shoved the rose and the letter into a drawer, slamming it shut and turning to block it just in time.
"Ready?" Silena asked softly, coming into my bedroom slowly. She was dressed in black, like me, and was the only person who managed to get off school for today. Percy was coming a bit later.
I managed a nod, walking to the wardrobe mirror again and trying to forget what emotions had just been running through my mind. She came over putting her arms around me as we both looked in the mirror.
"I'm with you every step of the way." She murmured and I managed a smile. Then I wrapped a black shawl over my upper arms and let her lead me out of the room. She didn't even know that starting tomorrow, I was going to have to stay away from her. I gulped, trying to push that aside. One thought at a time today.
Silena was with me throughout the whole service. She sat with me in the church and held my hand, she whispered comforting words in my ear and she walked with me as I watched them put him in the ground. I didn't even know half the people who'd shown up. Most of them were apparently colleagues of his, even his boss turned up. Helen was silent throughout the whole service, not because she was grieving but because she was probably going over in her head, what we were going to do now that my Dad was gone. Of course, she put on the whole handkerchief at the nose, sobbing act. I was angry at her for that.
An hour of constant 'I'm sorry's' and 'God bless you's' from complete strangers later, I was alone with him. Silena had said her goodbyes and for now, I just stood there. I held a white rose in my fingers at my side as I read the writing on the headstone over and over again:
A loving husband and father
I swallowed taking a deep breath as the icy wind blew through my ponytail. Ever since his passing, the weather had seemed to get worse and worse, as if winter was calling.
A few silent moments past and suddenly a warm, firm hand slipped into mine and I looked up to see Percy frowning at the gravestone sorrowfully. He turned to me, his eyes so full of concern and kindness. I felt bad thinking that he looked incredibly good in his outfit at this time but I couldn't help myself. He was wearing smart black jeans, an un-tucked white formal shirt, converses and a black leather jacket. He probably hadn't had time to pick out anything fancy after school but I didn't care. He was here and that's all that mattered.
"Sorry I'm late." He murmured, giving my hand a squeeze.
I smiled up at him softly. "It's okay." I whispered. "You're here now."
He smiled softly back at me, lifting my hand up to kiss the back of it lightly. I smiled before leaning over to drop the rose into the pit. It fell, gently pattering onto the ebony case as if in slow motion. I leaned against him, holding his hand in mine and clutching his upper arm with the other as I rested my head on his shoulder. I looked at the grave a while longer. It was high time we left but I just couldn't leave him.
A few moments later, I let out a shaky breath. "Goodbye, Dad." I whispered, looking up at Percy again. He was looking down at me with those gorgeous sea-green eyes. "Will you take me home?" I murmured, pleading a little. This was the last day I could speak to him and I wanted to be with him as much as possible.
Song Tribute: [Beneath the Surface – Britt Nicole]
He smiled softly, giving me a nod and then we walked away, hand in hand. I looked back at the grave one last time before we stepped out onto the road and made our way towards his car.
We drove away in silence so I put the radio on. A sad song came on but I didn't care. I'd already accepted the fact that my future was going to involve a lot of depressing songs from now on. I sighed, leaning back in the seat and staring out of the window at the moving buildings beside me. Everything seemed to disappear as quickly as he did.
We arrived at my house around 6:30 pm. I fiddled with my necklace nervously as I looked out the window. Our driveway was packed with cars for the funeral reception and the door was wide open as more people went in. In all honesty, I had no intention of going but I had sworn to Helen I'd be there to help out and I felt like I owed it to my dad. It was the last opportunity for me to pay my respects to him, I guess.
"You're doing so well, Wise Girl." Percy murmured and I felt his hand slide down my ponytail gently as he twisted it around his fingers. I smiled weakly, turning back to him slowly. His eyes were so soft and thoughtful. It was clear to me that he was the only person on the planet, right now, with the power to make me feel better at times like this.
"Just a little longer and it'll all be over." He smiled softly. He didn't look at me like most people did—like a lost puppy—because he already knew I was strong. He knew I would pull through this like I had done throughout everything in my entire life. And I loved him for that. I just wondered if he was right this time.
"You ready?" He murmured.
"You don't have to come in if you don't want to." I whispered, wishing he would stay but not wanting to feel like he was forced to come in. Only one of us needed to suffer through this
"I want to." He whispered back and I smiled brighter than I had all day.
I took a deep breath, looking out the window again before getting out of the car. Percy was by my side in a matter of seconds as I stepped onto the sidewalk and walked up the driveway.
It was busy when we manoeuvred our way inside. I gently swerved around older people I'd never seen in my life with Percy close behind me until we reached the living room. I saw Helen swarmed by a group of men who were all laughing and chatting. She had a glass of wine in her hands as she put on that horrible flirty laugh of hers. I knew she was just using the reception for business purposes and to promote her company but I just couldn't believe that even someone as evil as her would abuse my father's death like this.
"Percy!" She smiled shuffling over to us and taking his arm. "You must come meet Mr. Finch. He works with your father and would be delighted to meet you." She pulled him over, brushing me out the way as she went. I didn't even bother retaliating, even when Percy glanced back at me with a 'help me' look. I just sighed and walked around a little.
I nibbled on a small breadstick from the refreshments table even though I wasn't feeling hungry at all. It was more to do with the fact that it was a good distraction.
"You must be Annabeth, Frederick's niece." An old lady said, coming to stand in front of me. She carried a walking stick and her wrinkly face was tired-looking. She walked with a certain hunch in her shoulders as she dragged her feet slowly across the floor. Her almost white hair was pulled back into a low bun and a pair of reading glasses sat at the end of her crooked nose, attached to a chain wrapped around her swollen neck.
I couldn't help feeling a little hurt actually. I was practically invisible in my family. I bet you, people would look at me, here, and not even know what my relationship to my dad even is.
"His daughter actually." I murmured politely.
"I didn't know he had a daughter." She frowned. She striked me as the kind of woman who spoke whatever came to mind without thinking of the consequences.
"Not many people do." I smiled timidly.
"I used to know his mother when I was your age. My name is Frances…Frances Stevens." She gave me a weary smile. "I hope you'll accept my sincerest condolences." She said holding my hand in both of hers. They were old and wrinkled and I could feel them shaking. I managed a polite smile, accepting the fact that I'd be hearing that line over and over again tonight.
"Thank you. I appreciate your kind words." I murmured feeling a lump in my throat and she seemed to smile proudly.
"You are wonderfully articulate for your age my dear." She smiled and I managed to smile back. I wasn't really up for talking about my voice right now but I didn't want to be rude. We stood in an awkward silence for a moment as she looked around the room for a while with a confused expression on her weary face.
She turned back to me a few moments later and her eyes widened in what, I think, was surprise or realisation.
"Ah, you must be Annabeth. Frederick's niece." She smiled and I stared at her with confusion. Hadn't we just gone through this?
"Lovely man Frederick." She smiled. "Would have made such a great father. Too bad he never had any children." I gulped hugging my arm a little and swallowing the lump in my throat. "I'm sorry…who are you?" She frowned her voice sounding harsh now.
Suddenly, I realised that she was probably suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
"A-Annabeth." I whispered.
"Speak up girl!" She scowled in disapproval.
"Annabeth." I said a little louder, making sure my words were clear. "I'm Frederick's daughter."
She scoffed. "Don't be silly child, Frederick doesn't have any children. Fat lot of good that would have done him." She cackled. "He would have made a terrible father." I know it was pathetic but I honestly felt like crying at that moment but I managed to hold myself together.
"Excuse me?" I whispered, hovering away before she could reply. I gulped, slipping into the kitchen and managing to find my way over to the sink. I grabbed a glass from the cupboard and began to pour some water from the tap inside. I sipped it, breathing deeply and trying to forget her cackle when she said my Dad would make a terrible father. He hadn't been…terrible, he was just a little rough around the edges.
"I'm terribly sorry my dear but I've been trying to work out who you are all day." A middle-aged man said politely coming up to me. "I feel as though we've met before."
"My name is Annabeth, Sir." I smiled politely. "I'm Frederick's daughter."
His eyes widened and he smiled. "Well of course you are. How are you doing? I'm terribly sorry for your loss."
"Thank you." I smiled nodding politely.
"Great man your father. Very dedicated to his work."
I smiled at that. "I know." He was an incredibly intelligent man my father. He went to Cambridge and was a genius when it came to engineering and aircraft. That's what his job was, something to do with planes but I never fully understood what he actually did.
"He spoke very highly of you, you know." He smiled and my head shot up.
He smiled softly with a nod. "That man loved you more than anything in this world."
My heart sank. I had never even known that—never even had the chance to know that.
"I presume you want to go to Cambridge like he did."
I hesitated a moment. "That would be nice, wouldn't it?" I smiled weakly. In truth, I wanted to go to Harvard but either would be amazing. But neither was happening...
"I'm sorry, will you excuse me?" I added, wanting to get away from this conversation now.
He smiled bowing out of my way and I made my way back out into the hallway. I couldn't see Percy anywhere so I began to make my way through the crowd. It seemed that with every step I took, a new stranger would come up to me, ask me who I was, look shocked and then offer their condolences. I'd gotten rather used to my response now that I delivered it like a robot. I would smile politely, murmur a thank you, smile again and then think of an excuse to leave.
I slumped down at the top of the empty staircase with exhaustion. At least I had some privacy. I felt bad for leaving Percy but I just didn't have the energy to antagonize Helen or go and find him. I peeled off my heels, my feet were aching a little now, and dumped them messily on the step, in front of me. I sighed in relief as I rested my head on the banister and fiddled with the hem of my black dress. I wanted it all to be over now and for everyone to just leave. I wanted to grieve in my own way and no longer listen to people saying they felt sorry for me.
That's the worst thing about funerals, I think. People think they're doing you a kindness by apologising but what good is an apology when your dad's passed away. I don't want their pity. Unless they can bring my dad back, I don't want anything from them. It's like they think they know me but they don't, they have no idea who I am.
A few moments later Percy appeared at the bottom of the staircase, frowning up at me in sadness. I managed to smile at him weakly, still keeping my head resting on the banister before he quickly made his way up to sit beside me. I sniffled a little, wiping my nose.
"Hey, hey." He murmured, pulling me against him and I let him. He began to shush me softly as he stroked my head which rested on his shoulder now.
"I'm sorry for leaving you." I murmured.
"Hey, you have nothing to feel sorry for." He replied pulling away to look at me and I nodded slowly. "You wanna get some air?"
"Mm-hmm," was all I managed and I reluctantly began to pull my shoes on again but Percy snatched them from me and placed them at the top of the stairs.
"Leave them." He said, clearly knowing that I hated them and with a small smile, I nodded before following him down the stairs.
It was cold and getting rather dark now. The sky was a misty blue colour as the last light began to fade. The garden lights were already on and the terrace was filled with people, all chatting loudly.
Percy and I hadn't made two steps before a tall, rather large man came up to us. I wouldn't have been surprised if his belly exploded out of his trousers. He had deep brown eyes and matching cropped hair. He carried a glass of wine and just looking at him I could tell he was horribly drunk.
"Annabeth, my dear." He slurred with a smile. "You are her, aren't you?"
"Yes, sir." I murmured.
"Sir…how adorable." He chuckled. "Frederick did well with you didn't he, eh?"
I frowned, having no idea what he was talking about but the way he looked at me was a little unnerving.
"Course, you look more like your mother." He smirked. "She was a very attractive young lady like yourself." He winked, making my skin crawl. Who was this guy? I'm sixteen and he's like…I dunno…forty something?
"So, what age are you getting on for these days?" He eyed me curiously and I couldn't help but notice his eyes repeatedly slipping down to my chest.
"I'll be seventeen in June." I murmured.
"Seventeen, eh." He grinned. "You're practically a woman already." I did not like the sound of that. What did he think that I was old enough to harass? "You must give me a call some time so we can catch up." He was so drunk, he hadn't even told me his name yet.
I gulped, the last thing I wanted to do was meet up with this guy. Suddenly, I felt a warm hand on my waist as Percy pulled me into him protectively. I felt shivers run up my side, up to my shoulders and arms. I fitted so perfectly into him it just felt right, like I belonged there. I could smell his dreamy scent permeating the air around him, it was strong enough to put me to sleep if needed.
I looked up at him in shock but he wasn't looking at me, he was frowning at the man in front of us, whoever he was.
"And you are?" The man frowned coldly at Percy and I felt angry at him for being so rude to him.
"Percy." Percy said coldly but confidently and articulately. He'd always had a way with words. "Percy Jackson."
"He's my—" I started but Percy cut me off before I could say friend.
"Boyfriend." He frowned and I swear I nearly had a heart attack. "I'm her boyfriend. Now run along home and apologise to your wife for being such a sorry excuse for a gentleman." He ordered, growling under his breath. I glanced at the man's ring finger and noticed the golden circle. I was impressed with Percy for noticing that.
With the mention of my having a boyfriend, the guy backed off like I was no longer a toy but a girl with explosives around her that would go off with the slightest interference. And Percy was the explosive. He was the one protecting me, ready to guard me against anyone willing to hurt me. He tightened his grip on my waist and I gasped a little, trying very hard not to squeak.
"Well…look at the time…" The guy's eyes widened looking at his wrist which did not have a watch on it. "I best be off." And then he was gone.
I let out a huge breath of air but Percy didn't move his hand and I wasn't about to complain. I looked up at him nervously and he frowned down at me with concern.
"Uhuh." I breathed, giving him a nod and he gave me that perfect smile of his. The one that made me melt into his arms and catch my breath. The one that gave me shivers and tingles. The one that automatically stimulated a response in me where I'd have no choice but to smile back at him. Because who could ignore something so beautiful?
He stopped craning his neck to look at me and lifted his lips to my temple. With a sigh, he pressed a soft kiss to my hairline. I smiled, closing my eyes as he did.
"Come on." He whispered, letting go of my waist to my dismay and stepping away to lead me down the patio stone steps. I smiled weakly. I really was trying my best to act positive around him but it was really hard. He smiled softly, taking my hand and pulling me with him.
Song Tribute: [Perfect – Ed Sheeran]
We walked through the damp grass to the outdoor lounge set in the dark corner of the garden. For a few peaceful moments, we sat next to each other and I flicked through his phone to pick a song. Eventually, I settled one by Ed Sheeran. Percy lifted his arm from its resting spot, behind me on the back of the sofa, and began playing with my ponytail again.
"You look cute in a ponytail." He smiled and I blushed, smiling at my lap. "How you holdin' up?" He murmured and my smile dropped a little.
"I'm okay, I guess." I breathed. "He's gone to a better place now." I said, looking up at the newly appearing stars. "I wonder if he's looking down on us right now."
"He'd be proud of you." He said softly. "I know I am."
I blushed, smiling nervously and we sat in a peaceful silence for a little while.
"Have you experienced it before?" I asked. "Death, I mean.."
He sighed, dropping his hand and glancing away from me. He didn't speak for a while so I could tell it was something he didn't particularly like sharing.
"It was a long time ago." He said and I felt bad for stirring up old memories. "Do you remember at Atlantis when I said I couldn't pull the trigger so my friend got shot." I nodded slowly and he paused for a long time as if going over the moment in his mind—overthinking it immensely.
"Her name was Zoë Nightshade." He murmured, his tone of voice pained like the memory and the guilt physically hurt.
(Shout out to Thunder who reviewed, asking for a reference to Zoe. Thank you, it's perfect for the story)
"She meant a lot to you?" I asked softly.
"She was one of the few people I was close to at that place." He nodded. "It's one thing having someone you love pass away but it's another to have them die right in your arms."
My heart staggered. I couldn't even imagine the horrors Percy had seen in his life. Sometimes I forgot all about the world he knew and how terrifying it was. No one should have to see what he'd seen. No one should have to go through what he's gone through.
"I know you blame yourself, Percy…but you shouldn't. You didn't pull the trigger because you're not a killer and that's a good thing." I told him. "I know you Percy. You're not a killer." I whispered, gazing up into his eyes and he seemed to sink into me.
Finally, he nodded with a weak smile and glanced up the stars. "I like to imagine she's up their somewhere."
With that, I curled up against him, resting my head on his shoulder as we both looked up at the stars. I sighed blissfully, feeling peaceful now with him. Even with my Dad gone, being with Percy made me think that things would get better. And for that wonderful moment, I forgot all about what Rafael had said to me.
"You cold?" He asked when I shivered violently. Come to think of it, I was.
"Now that you mention it." I murmured but before I could tell him not to, he was already taking off his jacket and wrapping it around me, like a cape.
I smiled shyly, burying myself into the warm leather and he pulled his arm around me again. The jacket was warm and it smelt of him. His other arm lay in his lap and I began to mindlessly trace my fingers along his trident tattoo as a calming mechanism which worked far better than I'd expected.
He rested his head on mine and I smiled at the warmth it sent spreading through my body. It was nice to forget about the circumstances with him for that one night—to let myself breathe.
And for that moment, nothing mattered. Nothing at all. But the inevitable disaster of tomorrow was just preparing to set on the darkening horizon.
That's the first chapter of the new book! What did you guys think?
I'm sorry I posted much later than I wanted to today, my wifi has been acting up. I should really be working right now but I wanted to get the second book going. I've made you guys wait long enough... Sorry about that.
I've got big plans for this one...well I had big plans for it because I've already written it ;)
Also, I managed to squeeze in a few recommended tribute songs so shoutout to Demons of Ruby Mae and amyzeng2004 for Beneath the Surface and Perfect.
I'll be updating next week. However, it is going to be a rather busy week so it will be either Wednesday or Saturday. After that, I'll be able to update much more often.
So yeah, please let me know what you thought about the new start to DREAMS! Leave a review, send me a pm, whichever.
Hermione Historia Chase, where are you, girl. I miss you :( Hope everything is okay x
Lots of love 💕💕