I have never been more scared than at this single moment.
No, seriously. Never. Not those times meeting Zeus or Dad, not fighting Luke, none of that. Anything and everything paled in comparison.
Annabeth's staring in that expectant way of hers, and I want to crack a joke or something just to ease the tension, but that's not what I'm here for. My hands are shaking, so for just a second, I look out at the ocean. The sky's getting darker. It's stupid how metaphorical I'm being recently.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this was just another one of my bad ideas come to full fruition and I was going to make another huge mistake. The stakes were always high, and this time was no different. Maybe I shouldn't do it at all, even though the chance of either of us dying is a little less this time.
She still stares, gray eyes less expectant after the awkward minute between us and more confused. Annabeth likes structure and clean lines and answers and me, a little. She says she likes me a lot. Loves me, even.
I don't know why that doesn't help.
I need to sit down. My jeans are gonna be filled up with sand after, but whatever. My hands are getting shaky and that wise girl doesn't need to see me panicking right now. Especially not right now.
Instead of questioning me, she just flops down close to my right arm. Annabeth, in an almost un-Annabeth action, leans closer and puts her head on my shoulder.
I can smell her hair, and for a girl who prides herself on kicking monster ass and being a less-than-girly-girl, it sure smells nice, vanilla and honey or something. My stomach clenches forcefully when she leans away for just a second to dig in her left pocket.
It's a watch. A bronze watch that looks familiar. "Hey! Isn't that…"
"Yep," she says proudly. "Tyson and I fixed it up last week while you were trying to find that Apollo girl."
I smile widely, standing up and slipping the watch onto my right wrist before pressing the button on the side. A large round shield fans out extremely quickly, and a laugh of excitement leaves my shocked lips. "Wise Girl, this is awesome! You improved it, didn't you?"
She grins and opens her mouth before standing, prattle I don't understand about release speed and valve size pouring out and I know.
I know it now. I am absolutely certain.
It's probably one of the stupidest things I'll ever do, which is saying a lot. But by now, I don't care.
"Annabeth," I cut her off while stuffing the shield away, and she blinks. "Wise Girl, you're amazing."
She blushes, even though I've told her that before. I never get tired of seeing that. "It wasn't hard…"
I can barely hear her over how loud my heart is beating in my ears, so one of my fingers just slips, silencing, over her lips. "Please, for once, be quiet."
And, for once, she is.
I almost punk out again, my nerve slipping away with each and every passing millisecond. What am I doing?
Annabeth stands quietly, so un-Annabeth, that it jars me back down to earth. She's leaving in a couple days to find more half-bloods, all the way to California.
"Wise Girl," I say, finally. "Let's get married."
Her eyes are like halfway out of her head. "What?"
I knew this was a horrible idea.
Soon, she takes a breath—I didn't realize she was lacking so much oxygen—and comes back to normal. Those stormy gray eyes take on a rather nonplussed look. "Is that really how you're going to propose to me?"
My face almost falls off, but instead I just smirk triumphantly at her. "I'm taking that as a 'yes'."