Chapter One: Wise or Unwise?

Disclaimer: I do not own PJO!

(Annabeth's POV)

Being a daughter of Athena, I should be wise. I guess I am, but lately I've made some choices that make me question how wise I really am. I'm twenty-three years old, and yet I feel like I'm still fifteen. That was the hardest time of my life because that was when I led the quest into the Labyrinth, and when we came out, things just became complicated.

After eight years, they still are.

The one person I tried to escape from followed me. Perseus Jackson, better known as Percy (or in my case Seaweed Brain), would always be there in my mind, like a fly that wouldn't leave me alone. It was hard leaving him on Half-Blood hill. It ripped a whole in my heart, one that seemed almost impossible to fix. 'Almost' being the key word. Once I grew up, I moved to San Francisco where time was the only thing that could heal me.

So here I am. I live in an apartment by myself. I have plenty of friends, and I'm single. There are three reasons why that is: one, I still have some serious feelings for Percy; two, I'm afraid of getting hurt; and three, some of the guys here are major freaks! This one time I started a relationship with this guy Davis. He was very nice, and he treated me right, but then one night, after we had dinner, we were sitting on the couch, and he suddenly was kissing my feet! After freaking out, I learned that he had an obsession with my feet! That relationship ended just as quickly as it had started.

I sighed and rearranged myself so I could lean back on my hands and allow the warm sun to kiss my face. I was currently lying on my beach towel on North Beach in San Francisco. It was a strange method to try and forget about the son of Poseidon while being so close to the ocean.

I huffed. The reason why I was thinking about Percy so much lately was because his birthday was coming soon. Usually, I just sent him a card and his gift. However, this year I would be hand delivering it.

See, a couple days ago, I had gotten an Iris Message from Grover (who was in New Jersey) and he wanted me to go with him to Manhattan to see Percy. I had the choice to turn Grover down, but I couldn't do that to him. Even though he had grown up (he still looked eighteen though), he was still pretty sensitive.

So, roughly translated, I had no choice.

I would be boarding a plane to New York tomorrow morning, and I still had to pack a week's worth of clothes. I gathered up my towel, grabbed my bag, and started on my way back home.

The next morning, I found myself in the airport, groggy and upset. I had gotten up at six just so I could be here on time. After I got my luggage checked, I boarded the plane, went to my seat, and immediately collapsed. I hoped to the gods that I didn't have to sit by a chatterbox. Thankfully, I only had to sit by a little girl and her mother.

I leaned back and shut my eyes. I instantly fell asleep.

It felt like only a minute had passed before I felt my arm being shaken.

"Excuse me, miss?" I looked over and saw the little girl staring at me with wide eyes, but it wasn't her that had spoken. It was her mother. "I'm sorry to disturb you, but the plane will be landing in a few minutes."

"Oh," I said, stunned that I was here already. "No, that's fine. Thank you."

"No problem, dear," she smiled genuinely. I smiled back before looking out the window.

We passed over New York under a sunny sky with barely a cloud in sight. I felt butterflies flutter in my stomach. At the same time, a sense of dread washed over me. I hadn't seen Percy for eight years. I didn't know what he looked like, where he lived…I didn't know anything!

It made me nervous, a feeling I didn't like.

Once the plane landed, I stepped off with the rest of the passengers and found my luggage. There, waiting for me, was Grover. My earlier feelings of dread washed away and I couldn't help but be happy to see him. He ran up to me and I gave him a huge hug. We were about the same height—I was maybe a little taller—and he had shaggier hair. I could tell his horns were getting bigger because I saw little pointed tips at the top of his hat.

"I can see that hat will be useless pretty soon," I chuckled.

He grinned. "Yup," he agreed. "Pretty soon I'll have to drop the human disguise. So, are you ready to see Percy?"

My smile faltered.

"As ready as I'll ever be," I sighed.

He smiled sadly, but didn't say anything. I grabbed my luggage, and we left the airport. On the walk to the hotel, I had to wonder… was I ready for this? Was I ready to confront Percy, the guy I was trying to run away from? Was I ready to face my fears?

In summary, was I ready to possibly get heartbroken again?

After checking into my hotel, and after freshening up, Grover and I left for Percy's apartment. Once we arrived, we climbed up the steps of apartment 4C. I took a deep breath as Grover knocked on the door.

"I'm coming!" a male voice shouted from inside that caused my heart to stutter. Suddenly, the door opened, and my heart started pounding.

There, standing in the doorway with a gray t-shirt and jeans, was Percy. His black hair was still a messy slop on his head, and his sea-green eyes seemed to be brighter. He was tall and lean, his muscles from sword fighting prominent through his shirt.

I kept my gaze on my feet as he said, "Grover! It's great to see you! And…Annabeth?" I could hear the surprise in his voice as I continued to study my feet. I was sure I was blushing to my roots when I decided to look at him. His mouth was agape as he stared at me without speaking.

But just then, a new voice—a woman's—called, "Hey, Percy, who is—oh." I looked past Percy's head into the apartment and saw bright red hair.

"Guys, you remember Rachel?" Percy asked.

My heart dropped.