Thanks for the reviews! Chapter two is here for you!

There's more than meets the eye

By Nymph of the Night

Chapter Two – The nightmare is invited home

"You?!" Annabeth Chase gasped aloud, drawing scorching glares from the nearby bookworms who had been buried deep in the bowels of the literary world.

"Nice to meet you too," Rachel Elizabeth Dare acquiesced mildly, not in the least taken aback by the blonde's violent reception as she twirled a string of frizzy red hair around her paint-encrusted finger and scanned the towering shelf of books before her.

"Wh-what are you doing here?" Annabeth sputtered, unable to disguise her shock at finding the 'mortal' in the same departmental store as her.

"Oh, didn't I tell you?" Rachel exclaimed with an expression of feigned surprise. "Forgive me, it must have escaped me … I've been employed as the salesperson here!"

"What?" Annabeth asked, looking utterly baffled.

Rachel rolled her eyes exasperatedly as she pushed past Annabeth and began pulling out books from the shelf, riffling through the pages fervently. "I'm getting art supplies and books and stuff. Duh. What did you except?"

Annabeth stared, dumbfounded, as Rachel continued to rummage through the shelves, now looking harassed and muttering about stupid stores not supplying 'fricso' books, not that Annabeth had ever heard of 'fricso' books in the first place.

"So," Rachel began conversationally, still searching for the enigmatic 'fricso' books. "What's up with you and Percy?"

Annabeth felt her blood boil to dangerous temperatures at Rachel's blatant reference to Percy. Her Percy! That stupid mortal better learn to address him properly! And what was with the 'you and Percy' thing?

"Excuse me, how dare-" she exploded furiously, but Rachel cut her off with an impatient wave of her hand.

"I'm Rachel Elizabeth Dare, that's how," she smirked briefly at Annabeth, before returning to her hunt for the book again. "I simply asked you what happened since the battle at Camp."

"Oh," Annabeth softened her harsh tone a bit, though she continued to glare sullenly at Rachel's turned back. "It's okay, I guess-"

"Where's Percy?"

Percy this, Percy that, Annabeth thought suspiciously. What does she want with Percy?

"With his mom," she replied shortly and Rachel looked up, an eyebrow cocked.

"What?" Annabeth demanded, putting her arms onto her waist as Rachel rolled her eyes for the second time and looked back down again. "I'm talking to-"

"Annabeth!" a voice echoed down the aisle and Annabeth winced and breathed in sharply, whirling around.

"Dad," she greeted half-heartedly, as Professor Chase sighed melodramatically and pulled Annabeth into a bear-hug which she returned reluctantly, cringing and felling sure that half her ribs must've cracked. Rachel pushed aside the book discretely and watched Annabeth turn red enough to match the shade of her hair. An amused smile flitted across her face, and Annabeth assiduously noted a faintest trace of envy behind the leer.

"And this must be your friend!" he beamed at Rachel, holding out his hand expectantly. "And you are-"

"Rachel Elizabeth … uh, yeah … just that," she returned, forcing a smile as she shook hands with the Professor and watched Annabeth mime puking into an invisible bowl from behind him.

"From camp, I assume," he nodded jovially, as he smiled at her. "May I enquire as to which cabin you are from?"

"Uh, actually, I'm … mortal," Rachel corrected meekly, cocking her head to one side to catch a glimpse of Annabeth who was now looking anywhere but at the two of them as though the conversation was mortally embarrassing.

"Indeed," he looked, puzzled for a moment, and turned to Annabeth, who confirmed Rachel's statement with a terse nod.

"Well, that's great!" he said happily, pulling Rachel forward and shepherding the two girls towards the counter where a surly cashier regarded them with a glower. He shoved the articles at him carelessly and looked back at Annabeth. "Lucky you met a friend, huh?"

Annabeth looked like she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. "Yeah! Great!" she said in an enthusiastic voice that sounding nothing but artificial to Rachel's ears. "Rachel's brilliant!"

Rachel snorted in disbelief. Yeah, I'll be great to Annabeth when Tyson dates me, she thought cynically, deciding that Annabeth definitely needed to work on her acting skills.

Professor Chase, apparently, did not seemed to have noticed the false enthusiasm in his daughter's voice; at any rate, this was proved as he walked the two girls to his old sedan. Dumping the grocery onto the back seat, where Mrs. Chase sat mollycoddling her young son, he turned to Rachel with a cheerful, "Well, since you and Annabeth get along so well, why don't you join as at the Chase residence for a few days?"

To be continued …

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