Archie and Jay were running through the park. Archie was trying to run faster than Jay but Jay had borrowed some specially modified sneakers from Hephaestus. He would never catch Atlanta but he could manage to keep pace with Archie.
"Eventually you are going to have to tell her," Jay said putting on another burst of speed as Archie tried to lose him in a crowd.
"Why are you following me?" asked Archie although he knew perfectly well.
"Because Theresa has been nagging me to do this for ages. Apparently you'll only listen to me," said Jay.
"How are things going between you and her?" asked Archie, trying to figure out how Jay was keeping up with him.
"Don't change the subject. I know it might be scary but dude, you've faced down man eating beasts. You shouldn't be worried about telling Atlanta you like her," said Jay.
"You know you should be telling me not to tell her," said Archie and then he realised they were in the reaches of the mall. Maybe he could lose Jay in there.
"Why would I tell you not to tell her?" asked Jay, also seeing the mall. Perfect he thought.
"Because it could break up the team. There could be fights and people taking sides and you know that Cronos would love any chaos in the group," said Archie. Then he spotted Herry's truck in the parking lot. I'm being herded he realised. Oh well, that'll mean that the dormitory is empty. I can hide out there but how do I lose Jay?
Archie ran into the mall looking for some sign of the others. He spotted a man with black hair admiring his reflection. "You brought Neil into this," he said, surprised. Jay realised he had been found out. Luckily for him but not so luckily for Archie, Odie had heard hum through the active PMT.
"Jay, get Archie towards the door," said Odie. "Herry are you ready?" A loud munching sound could be heard and then,
"Ready Odie." Archie saw the food store where Athena went to get the groceries. There was an exit straight into the street. I can lose him there decided Archie. He ran through the glass double doors of the mall. The next thing he knew he was caught in a bear hug by Herry.
"Hey! Put me down!" Archie shouted and tried to wiggle out of his grip. Herry just held on tighter. He started carrying him towards a smiling Odie and Neil, who was still admiring his reflection. Jay caught up and hi-fived Odie.
"Told you it would work," he said. Turning back to Archie, he said, "We've come up with an ultimatum for you."
"About?" inquired Archie as he tried to work out a way to escape. Maybe if he kicked Herry hard enough in the shin then he would drop him, then-
"Atlanta and you. We think this pretending that you only like her as a friend thing may have some drawbacks. Like her only thinking you like her as a friend," said Odie.
"So we found someone to help you. Neil, where is she?" said Jay looking over at Neil who couldn't tear his eyes away from his face in the window.
"She's over here" said Neil who pointed to a girl about their age also looking at her reflection. She had long, straight hair and glasses. She was almost as tall as Herry and as she turned around Archie could see deep blue eyes behind her frames
"This is Phoebe," said Jay. The girl waved at Archie, friendly and Archie couldn't help thinking she wasn't much of a threat. "She's a daughter of Aphrodite and she has an intresting little talent." Archie gulped. This couldn't be good.
"She can amplify love," said Odie, taking over "she can't make it but if the connection is there she can make it stronger."
"Which means you can finally tell Atlanta you love her and get this over with," said Neil.
"What makes you think that this will work?" asked Archie. He had been able to hide his feelings pretty well before. This would be no different.
"You really don't get it do you?" said Phoebe. She had a high pitched voice to match her mothers. "This will literally overload your systems. You won't be able to control your actions anymore.
"And that's a good thing?" said Archie. Jay and Odie exchanged a look and nodded. This was their last resort but it had been a year. If Archie had been going to tell Atlanta that he loved her he would have by now. It was time to give it a push.
"Hold still darling this won't hurt a bit," said Phoebe and she reached for his face. Archie could actually feel the love and good vibrations she was giving off. He needed to act. Quick as a flash, he kicked Herry hard in the shin. Or he was supposed to. Luckily for Archie and unluckily for Herry, his sneaker sailed up north of his upper thigh.
Archie ducked and weaved out of the way of Phoebe and Jay and ran for the grocery store. It was full to the brim with customers and Jay couldn't risk using his speed in case he hurt someone. Archie dashed out the exit and into the parking lot.
He took a look at Herry's truck and thought about slitting the tires with his Hephaestus whip but then he thought about what Herry would do to him. Instead he threw his PMT into the back and ran as fast as he could towards the one place they would never look for him: the sea.
Half way through his run to the sea, he collapsed. He looked down and cursed. When he had kicked Herry his ankle guard had come undone and his ankle had dislocated. He dragged himself into a deserted alley away from prying eyes.
Clamping his jaw shut, he put his ankle bone back into the socket. It hurt like hell but it beat the alternative. As he was tightening his ankle guard he saw Herry's truck zoom past. They were heading for the sea.
"When did I become so predictable?" he wondered. That was his last thought as the ground beneath him gave way and he fell into nothing.