A/n: Heyo, two chapters in one day. I'm off to a good start with this story. Anyway, need to go write for a A Father's Fear now. Enjoy, and REVIEW. I COMMAND YOU. HEHEH.
Disclaimer: I own nada.
"Well….that was fun."
I looked over at my sister with a 'you've gotta be kidding' look on my face as the two of us walked along the side of the street, picking grass out of our hair. As soon as we were in the air, we'd got some weird instinctual surivial urge to duck and cover. Acutally, TUCK and cover. When you roll up in a ball in the air, gravity kind of MAKES you do a flip and then land on your butt in the grass on the side of the highway. From the skyscraper sin the not too distant distance, I figured we were a few miles outside of New York, on a highway that must connect the city to the outer suburbs. I really hated the idea of taking a 5 miles hike, but I really didn't want to get back on another train. I will never trust any train again in my life.
Meely punched my shoulder, "Relax," she chuckled, "I was only kidding. You should' ve seen your face."
"You think that's funny, do you?" I smirked, getting an idea that would wipe that grin off her face, "Well, guess what? We're gonna have to walk 5 miles into the city. Is that funny?" I tilted my head with an evil look in my eye as I laughed when her face fell.
"No," she pouted and kicked the grass, "….wait, why can't we just get a taxi?"
I raised both my eyebrows and laughed, "And pay the cabby with WHAT exactly? We don't have that much money."
She frowned for a few more minutes, until a look I recognized came over her face. Oooooh know, that's her 'I have an idea that's probably gonna get us arrested' look. I know that look. Because I wear it more often than she does. So I know it's bad news.
"Oh, no. No no no. Whatever you're thinking-no."
She fake pouted, "Awwwww, Allie!" she whined, putting her puppy dog eyes to good use, "Pleeeeease," she stuck her bottom lip out and made her eyes all huge and teary.
"Damn it!" I cursed, "Why did I ever teach you the puppy dog technique! Fine! What's your idea?"
The faux sad looked wiped off her face immediately and turned into a wicked grin, "Simple: we get a cab, tell them where we want to go, then at the end of the trip when he asks for the money, we just throw the doors of the cab open and run away!"
I couldn't decide if she was an idiot or a genius, but for some reason I still had the urge to slap her.
I raised an eyebrow at her and gave her my 'I'm not sure about this, but I'm thinking about it and will probably end up going along with you just for the fun of it' look.
She recognized the expression on my face instantly and smiled, jumping up and down and laughing, "Hahaha yes! Let's go!" she grabbed my hand and started running with me.
I laughed and let her pull me along; the wind on my face felt good after all that mess on the train. The fear and worry were slowly going to the back of my mind and the cold air on my bruised cheek was refreshing.
"Just one problem with your plan, Meels; there's no cab around here and WHERE are you taking me?" I laughed insanely, just going along with it.
"I don't know!" she laugh/yelled back, "I'm just running! Even with all this crap we've been going through, we never actually LITERALLY ran away; so let's run. Let's run away."
I looked over at her and knew that wherever we were going, we'd be okay. Because we're crazy, we're survivors, we're smart, and we're together.
"Well, run until we spot a cab that is…." Meely mumbled to herself. I laughed out loud and kept running, throwing gymnastic tricks and flips along the side of the rode with my crazy baby sister behind me.
So, after about a mile and a half of running/falling over and sitting for a while, we finally spotted an obnoxiously yellow taxi. Meely immediately stuck her thumb out and wolf whistled when she saw it. I looked at her like she was a freak and she quickly explained that she'd done research about New York before and that one of those research topics was how to hail a cab. I still looked at her like she was a freak, just an EXPLAINED freak now.
We hopped in the cab and I looked up in the driver's seat to make sure the cabbie wasn't some lunatic monster again. But it was just a middle-aged man with a bad haircut smiling at us, "Where to, girls?" he asked in a thick New Yorker accent.
I restrained myself from giggling at his accent and quickly told him the address that Aphrodite had POOFED onto the very pink piece of paper. The cabbie nodded and turned around, putting the car back into drive, "All right. That's about 10 miles away. Should be there in maybe 20 minutes-New York traffic ya know?"
"Actually, we don't know," Meely offered freely, smiling, "We're not from here."
I mentally face-palmed at her, giving out information about us to strangers like that but the man just laughed, "Yeah, I could tell. You girls have a sort of southern sound to your voices. Where you from?"
"Georgia," I piped up, but said nothing more than that and elbowed Meely in the stomach before I hissed at her quietly, "Don't be so chatty with strangers."
She winched and nodded, "Sorry. I forget that we're on the run," she whispered back.
I rolled my eyes and almost laughed.
"So, since I like you girls, I'll give you a discount; twenty miles usually comes up to about thirty-five dollars, but I'll take five bucks off the total for ya. Thirty dollars, please?" he held a hand back to us over the seat, palm up, waiting for payment from us…that would never come.
Meely spluttered nervously and looked at me, mouthing, What do we do?
Great plan! I mouthed back.
"Um….sorry, sir, but um….we don't have the money….you'll give us a ride, anway, won't you?" I put all the persuasion I could into my voice, trying to sound like a desperate little girl so he'd feel sorry for us. It was the only strategy I could think of. I sadly waited for the sound of him hitting the breaks and telling us to get out, but it never came.
For reason I don't even want to start to understand the cabbie just looked back at us and smiled blanky, "Of course. Sure. I'll give you a ride anyway," he said in a sort of confused monotone. He turned right back around and kept driving us into the city.
Meely and I just stared at each other, baffled, as the man blindly did exactly as we asked.
The rest of the cab ride was spent in silence. I guess we were all three two confused and freaked out to say anything. When we got to our destination, the man pulled up to the side of the curb, turned back to us and said, "We're here," he blinked at me a few times as if trying to clear a fog from his mind, "No payment necessary," he looked as if he didn't know why he was saying the words but couldn't not say them.
"Ummmm…." I started awkwardly, "Thanks."
Just because I didn't understand what the man did, didn't mean I wasn't grateful.
He nodded and I got one last look at his confused face before Meely and I climbed out of the car and stared up at the huge apartment building.
"Woah," I heard Meely say beside me, "So…..what address is this? Why are we here?"
I was so caught up with the monsters and getting a new ride that I'd actually forgotten to tell Meely that we were going to this Percy dude's house. I briefly wondered why she didn't ask, then realized that she was caught up too. She didn't have that much time to be curious; she just trusted me and went along with it.
I smiled at her, "I forgot to tell you. But thanks for trusting me anyways. We're here because I'm listening to our mother. Listening. I know, it's strange for me. But she said the dude that lives here could get us to somewhere safe. Aphrodite said that if we told him she sent us he'd take us to some camp. She said it's the only safe place for people like us."
I purposely left out the part about the world falling to darkness and war…..yeah, that wouldn't lift my sister's spirits any.
"People like us?" she started, "You mean crazy run away teenage daughters of Aphrodite?"
I laughed and nodded.
When our giggles died down, she got a contemplative look like she was weighing our options and then turned back to me,
"So…who is this guy and why does our mom trust him?"
I shrugged, "Hell if I know. All Mom told me was a name; Percy Jackson. And something about a love story….though I don't think that part was relevant…."
Meely actually didn't laugh, she just raised an eyebrow and gave me a look, "If this is our best option, I'm in."
I smiled at her using logic for once, "Well then…let's go up."
We walked into the lobby of the building and smiled at the doormen. We'd never really been in city apartment buildings before. This one wasn't very fancy, but we still felt kind of out place in our two days old dirty clothes, carrying our scratched up travel bags, not to mention the grass and dirt in our hair. I'm just gonna say it; we looked a mess. Hopefully this Percy guy would let us take a shower before we go to this strange camp that Mom had told me practically nothing about. Cue sarcastic yet hopeful look here.
We walked up to the front desk and looked at the lady behind the computer, "Um….which floor is Percy Jackson on? We're….friends of his."
The lady looked at us from over the counter, and stopped herself from laughing at our bedraggled appearance, "Old friends? Yes, of course…but I don't think-"
"Please lady! Please! We just need to see him!" Meely interrupted her with a pleading voice. I guess the stress of the past two days finally got to her.
I expected the lady to awkwardly comfort Meely or call security on us but she just got the same blank look as the cab driver and nodded her head, "Yes, of course. Percy Jackson is on floor 5; room 109."
Meely looked stunned for a minute, but quickly got over it and sighed in relief, grinning. I gave the lady a weird look as Meely dragged me along toward the elevators.
When we got the door of room 109, we started to have a problem…..Neither of us had the guts to nock. We came all this way and now we didn't even have the courage to knock on this kid's door. I mean, what were we gonna say to him- 'Our Dad just died and we ran away and got on a train, but then monsters attacked us so we fought them with some awesome moves then jumped off the train, hitchhiked, then caught a cab, so please help us and take us to this weird unknown camp that you might not even know about. Oh, and our mom is Aphrodite'?
"You do it," I poked her in the arm.
She looked at me, angered and poked me back harder, "No YOU! This was your idea!"
"This wasn't my idea! It was our stupid mother Love goddess' idea!"
"Well Aphrodite isn't here, so I doubt she can knock on the door for us!"
"Well…YOU'RE JUST….right. Yeah, you're kinda right…." I rubbed the back of my neck, not really sure what to do. Just as I was about to start another poke fight with my sister, the door in front of us opened up, revealing a tall cute guy with dark hair and emerald eyes, "So…..what are you guys doing fighting outside my door?" he asked with a sort of endearingly awkward humor.
We both turned to face him, grinning and giggling nervously, like we did when we were little and Dad caught us eating ice cream before dinner, "Heh heh…ummmmm. Hi, are you Percy?"
He pushed knitted his eyebrows together in a cute, confused expression and nodded cautiously, "Yeah, that's me….and who are you?"
I looked to Meely and had to physically stop myself from elbowing her in the ribs again when she didn't offer up any help to me. Instead she opted to stand there staring at Percy and cute-boy-giggling to herself.
"I'm Alice Stevens, and this is my sister Meely…okay how to word this?" I paused to think, "Listen, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I think we need your help. Our mom told me to come find you and ask you to take us to some place called Camp Half Blood, and normally I wouldn't believe strange shimmering ladies that show up out of nowhere and tell me that they're a goddess, but my Dad just died and these creepy monsters attacked us on the train, and…well I just really wanna get me and my sister somewhere safe now."
I hadn't meant to dump all that on this guy I didn't know in a really badly worded ramble, but I couldn't help it. I was so stressed that the words just started coming out.
Surprisingly, he didn't look…well, surprised at all. A little taken aback from my random fast-talking rant-everyone is- but he actually listened, nodding his head like he was used to this, "Come inside."
"Look, I don't know you, but I know you're not crazy, I-"
Meely snorted, "No, she's crazy alright."
Percy glanced over at Meely awkwardly and then looked back to me, "Umm….yeah. Anyway, I believe you. But….just wondering, who IS your mom?"
I had to look at the floor to get the words out, I just kept expecting him to think I'd lost my mind, and this next statement wasn't going to help matters, "…..Aphrodite."
Percy laughed. That boy actually started to laugh. We instantly glared at him, "What? NOW you think we've lost it?"
He shook his head apologetically, "No. No. I still believe you, it's just that…I've never seen Aphrodite girls this….dirty. Sorry, I'm just used to seeing the Aphrodite girls at camp always being so…shiny," he rubbed his neck nervously like I had a few minutes ago, "For lack of a better word. Anyway, that would explain a lot."
He smiled goofily at us and I immediately realized why my mom trusted this guy; it was hard not to. The honest gleam in his eyes, the lovable grin. It was easy to see how loyal and good this boy was.
"Explain the little smacky fight you had out there, and well….the fact that you're both really pretty…."
Meely grinned and bit her lip, "Well thank you," she fluttered her eyelashes at him.
I laughed and rolled my eyes, "Meels…he was just stating a fact; he wasn't hitting on you. Leave the boy alone," I turned to Percy, "You shouldn't have said that. You see, my sister is very…enthusiastic when it comes to boys."
Percy smiled, still a little embarrassed from speaking without thinking, but amused now, "Yeah….I think I know what you mean. I've run into nymphs like that…."
I raised an eyebrow at him and he shook it off, "Oh…yeah, nevermind. You'll understand later. But um….sorry, uh Meely right?"
"But, uh…I have a girlfriend."
Meely's face fell comedically fast; from 'hot boy daze' to 'aww crap balls'. I stopped myself from laughing. With everything that had happened lately, it wasn't that hard.
Instead I turned to Percy, "I figured you did."
He turned his head quickly to look at me and his eyebrows shot up, "How did you know?"
I grinned wide, "I don't know….I just felt it. I looked at you and you looked…taken," I didn't know why I was telling this to him, but once I started talking, I couldn't help but try to explain it, "There's this certain light in your eyes. Not the kind of light that comes from being naturally joyful or energetic, but a purposeful light. A light that someone gave to you, a thankful light."
He looked at me blanky for a second then blinked from shock, "Woah, you're the most perceptive Aphrodite girl I'VE ever met."
I laughed, "I doubt that. Wouldn't all Love Children be able to sense those things? The others you've met probably just never chose to show you it."
He shook his head at me bemusedly, laughing a little, like he didn't quite understand me but I amused him anyway. I get that look a lot…
He started walking into the kitchen area, "You guys can hang out in the living room until my mom gets back. I'll tell her what's going on, then I'll take you to Camp."
"Wait, you can drive?" Meely interjected suddenly, after having taken a few minute respite from talking-probably from embarrassment- I couldn't help but wish just a little for her to take another rest from talking. I grinned mentally.
Percy reached over to a plate of what looked like blue sugar cookies on the counter and picked one up, popping it into his mouth before responding, "Yea-ph, goh ma lishensh lash year," his mouth was so full of cookie that he sounded a bit like a 3 year old.
My sister and I couldn't help but giggle; we were witnessing the epitome of teenage boy-dom: talking while they're eating.
Our laughter caused him to get a little self-conscious; he wiped some crumbs off of his chin-and yes, it was adorable- and choked down the remainder of his cookie, coughing as crumbs undoubtedly got stuck in his throat. I bit my lip as I grinned, to keep from going into another fit of giggles. I walked up to the other side of the counter, and looked at Percy, amused. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Meely following behind me with the same expression.
"Dude, chew then talk," Meely laughed, looking him up and down with her 'hmph, you're a hot mess' look that she so frequently directed at me.
He grinned sheepishly and rubbed his neck, "Sorry. Habit. I guess my friends don't notice my bad manners."
I rolled my eyes, "No, they just don't mind because they're probably used to you."
He laughed, relaxing from the embarassment now, and gave us a bright smile (That almost made Meely go back into 'Hot Boy Daze.), "Yeah, you're probably right."
"So," I started, leaning against the counter from exhaustion, "When is your mom getting back? Cause not to be insensitive or anything-"
"When have you ever cared if you were polite?" Meely cut me off.
For a split second I wanted to slap her, then I stopped and pulled a face, realizing she was right, "Fair point," I turned to her and acknowledged her point as we smiled and laughed at each other, "But as I was saying, we're really tired."
"Like pass out on the floor tired."
"Yeah, thanks, that's helpful, Meely."
"Just trying to back you up," she grinned that innocent smile that somehow made me want to simultaneously laugh and forgive her a noogie AND punch her in the arm.
"So, anyway, yeah. We're really tired and would kind of like to…sleep now. I mean, I feel kind of rude because you let us and agreed to help us, us being random strangers to you, but we've had a terrible week and we're really sad and exhausted and I really just wanna go to bed and pretend this was all a dream," I didn't expect the sob the came at the end of my rant, but I should've. I'd been running purely on adrenaline for the last three days, blocking out any of the sadness or grief or anger and purely focusing on getting me and my sister to safety. I know, repressing emotions is really unhealthy, but nobody ever said I was sane.
Percy looked shock at my sudden mood swing, but I didn't care, I turned to Meely and saw her standing behind me with a sympathetic but sad expression on her face, like she felt sorry for me and for herself. I ran to my sister and she wrapped her arms around me as I immediately started crying on her shoulder.
"Dad's dead….dad's dead…Meely, I'm sorry," I kept repeating useless words and I could feel Meely stopping herself from crying so she could comfort me.
She patted my head, "I know, Al, I know. C'est tout va bien. Vous n'avez rien a etre desole."
"Mais…mais…Je suis cense etre fort pour nous, mais je ne peux pas Meely, car il est parti. Daddy…."
As I held myself to my little sister, refusing to let go, I noticed that Percy had stopped talking. I pulled back a little and glanced at him from the corner of my eye. He was standing awkward behind us with his hands in his pockets.
I laughed a little, watery sounding from my tears, "I'm sorry, we've just…had a lot happen to us recently."
He shook his head sympathetically and his green eyes looked haunted for a second, "No, trust me, I understand. And it's okay. If you want to cry, I know from experience that it's better to let it out than to ignore it."
I grinned gratefully at him, "Thank you…Percy," I lowered my head a little bit in a polite nod as I walked over to him, "Can I give you a hug now? For you know….accepting all this craziness of ours. Besides, it feels like a hug moment," I grinned my best charming grin to get him to agree. I wanted to pay this boy back somehow, show him that we appreciated him helping us.
He eyed me, bemused and relieved at the same time, "Sure."
I laughed as I pulled him into a friendly hug.
Meely stood behind me disgruntled that she didn't get a hug. Percy seemed to notice because he pulled back and looked at her, "I guess you can get in this too," he said very awkwardly. Bless.
I smiled at the sudden warm moment in our day. This was a nice change from the scary and sad moments of the past few days.
"Hey Seaweed Brain, I was just coming by to-…..what the Hades?"
Meely and I spun around simultaneously, on instinct, to see who the pissed off voice belonged to. There was a cute blond girl standing in the doorway, which we somehow left open….
She had blond ringlet curls like mine in a hastily done ponytail, except they were a creamy blond color. Her eyes were gray, but not the dull kind of gray, the intelligent, knowing kind of gray. She wore a blue T shirt and jeans and a very confused/angry expression. Percy's girlfriend. It wasn't just the jealousy that gave her away ; when I looked in her eyes, I somehow knew she belonged with him.
"Hi Annabeth," I smiled brightly, happy to meet the girl that had made Percy, the boy who was helping us, so happy.
She looked thrown for a loop, one eyebrow raised in disbelief, "Excuse me, but just how do you know who I am? And why were you hugging my boyfriend?"
"Dude, you're glowing."
Helpful, Meely. I rolled my eyes.
"What?" both Percy and Annabeth looked at Meely and I like we were crazy. And that's when I noticed that my sister was right-they were both glowing, the same color red. I blinked…people don't usually glow do they?
Think my child, my head whipped toward the sound of the whisper floating through my head, You know what light means.
And for some reason I couldn't explain, I knew what this power was and I knew why I automatically knew Annabeth's name-because Annabeth and Percy are in love, that's what the light meant-their colors matched.
I shook my head to clear it, like I saw my mom do, "Oh, sorry. Right. Wrong order. I'll explain," I said calmly as I could as I walked us all into the living room to sit down. I surpressed a grin when Percy and Annabeth automatically sat right next to each other.
Annabeth stared at us, indignant, "So now would be a good time to explain all of this."
I laughed and for some reason it shimmered in the air. Thanks mom.
"You don't have to be jealous, Annabeth. Believe me, I wouldn't stand in you and Percy's way. My sister however…..she's incorrigible."
Meely scoffed, "Hey! I see it too. I wouldn't get between that. No way."
"Ok," Percy started, slightly red in the cheeks, "You're still making no sense. Introduce yourself first."
I giggled, "Oh. Right. I'm slow. Forgive me. I'm Alice Lyla Marie Stevens. This is my little sister Meely Majjita Stevens. And we came here to find Percy because our mother told us he'd take us to Camp Half Blood where we'd be safe. I was just hugging him to thank him for accepting all our craziness."
I let a breath out, seeming relieved, "Ok, but….what about the light, and you knowing my name, and what were you two talking about when you said 'I see it' and who's your mother that told you to come here?"
I grinned; this was the fun part, "Aphrodite."
She laughed, a sound that came off as more of a scoff, "Of course. That explains the outfits."
I scrunched my eyebrows together, "What outfits?"
I looked down and gasped; I wasn't in my muddy jeans and jacket anymore. My feet were encased in blue satin peep toed heels. I ran my eyes up my legs to see I was wearing a leather mini skirt and a navy lace blouse. I 'aww'd as I picked up my hair-clean, soft, curled, and I noticed that I smelled like raspeberries and sunshine. Meely was all pimped out too.
"I swear we didn't arrive here like this….Mom must've….Oh. Wow," was I could say.
"Wow is right-look at my shoes, Ali! Vintage Prada!"
"Oh my crap, really?" I leaned over to her side of the couch excitedly to check out her shoes, "Brown faded lather with double cross stictching, nice," I nodded, grinning.
Annabeth and Percy blinked at us, "Oh my gods, there's more of them."
I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, anyway, I knew your name because you're in love with that one," I jerked a thumb at Percy, "And I think…when two people are truly meant to be….Aphrodite and her children can sense it. And who they are. And the light well, light is an extension of our souls…..I'm new at this, but I think my mom downloaded this into my brain. But I think the light is a way of telling us what kind of love a person is experiencing- different colors for different feelings probably. And if two people's lights match…they belong together. And Percy, Annabeth…you're lights match."