You jerk awake at the sound of Annabeth's voice.

"Wake up, zombie! You fell asleep on guard duty again!"

Rubbing your head as you sit up, you find that she was right (as if she's ever wrong): you're sitting with your back against one of the Argo II's masts, a prime position to keep an eye on the ocean, which is currently inky black and smooth as glass.

Your girlfriend is standing next to you; the round full moon hanging behind her in the sky makes her look like an angel complete with halo. She's holding something in her cupped hands, but you can't see what it is from your position.

"Sorry," you say, pulling her down beside you. "What time is it?"

Annabeth checks her watch. "One forty-five. Which means…"

She holds out her hands to you, and in them is−−

"You made me a blue cupcake?"

"Piper helped−−that's why you were banned from the fridge today." It's too dark to tell, but you think she blushes. "It is August eighteenth, right?"

Your gaze returns to the calm water. "Wow. I'm actually seventeen."

"Why do you say it like that?" she murmurs, her tone genuinely curious.

"I didn't think I'd make it this far, to be honest."

She smacks your arm. "Don't talk that way, Seaweed Brain. I brought this out here to celebrate with you, not to listen to moping."

A grin crosses your face. "You're sure nobody will interrupt us?"

Annabeth leans in close, puts one hand on your shoulder, and whispers, "Frank and Hazel are distracting everyone with Monopoly and sparring practice." Her lips tickle your ear, and you can smell lemons.

"Good. At least this year, we won't get dumped in the canoe lake, right?"


Annabeth's lips meet yours, and everything is okay again−−even if only for a little while.