The phone beeped.
Annabeth's roommate Noelle crawled over to the phone. "Who would…" she mumbled.
"Was that Annabeth's phone?" Lizzy asked surprised. "She never gets called."
"I know," Noelle agreed. She settled on a couple of pillows and reached for the phone. "It's a text."
Immediately the movie they were watching with the group was paused and the other two girls moved over to the phone. "What does it say?" Lizzy asked.
Myra was a bit nervous. "Guys, we really shouldn't just go through her phone."
Lizzy and Noelle exchanged glances and grinned. Noelle smiled at the phone. "It says: hey, smiley face."
"From who?" Lizzy tried to grab the phone from Noelle, but she held it out of reach.
"Guys…"Myra warned again and glanced toward the kitchen. "She could be back any second. Popcorn can't take that long." She was completely ignored.
"From some Percy, I don't know," Noelle answered.
Myra couldn't help but feel curious. "Percy who? Brother? Father? Friend? Boyfriend?"
"Let's find out. Text back! Text back!" Lizzy coached, fist-pumping the air.
Noelle's fingers danced above the keys. Finally she typed the same message the guy had sent Annabeth and hit send. Almost immediately the phone beeped. Watcha doin? It read. "What should I say?" Noelle asked.
"This is wrong," Myra tried once more.
"Just say we're with friends watching a movie. Not lying," Lizzy offered and snatched the mobile out of Noelle's hands.
"And ask what he's doing," Noelle pointed.
"I give up," Myra sighed and let herself fall back on the pillows. But when she heard her friends laugh, she quickly sat up again. "What? What did he say?"
"HA! You care!" Noelle exclaimed.
"Whatever," Myra rolled her eyes, then grabbed the phone. "He says 'sounds fun. Aren't the girls you're with all asking who you're texting?' Totally."
"How does he know that?" Lizzy asked.
"Because he knows girls do that," Myra said, giving meaningful glances to her friends.
Noelle texted back. "'Yes. But they're getting popcorn now. Why'd you ask?'"
"What do you mean?" Lizzy asked.
"I want to know more about this guy," Noelle explained.
"What guy?" Annabeth walked into the room, plopping some popcorn in her mouth. Quickly they unpaused the movie and hid the phone under a pillow.
"Eh…that guy," Lizzy pointed at the first male that walked onto the screen.
Annabeth raised an eyebrow. "What's more to know? That's the lead. There's been so many flashbacks."
"Right…" Noelle mumbled. She quickly glanced around and bumped over the bowl filled with popcorn. "Oops. My bad. Could you get some more?"
Slowly and a bit suspicious Annabeth raised herself out of her seat. "Okay…"
Lizzy picked up the phone again as soon as Annabeth was out of sight. It showed they had sent a message that looked like 'sdhfnohjvnsa.n sdjf mvoS.' From under the pillow. Percy had answered with 'What? And I'm the seaweed brain? J.'
"What does he mean with Seaweed Brain?" Myra wondered out loud.
Lizzy shrugged and answered the text: "Had to hide my phone. Girls came back."
"Got it." The phone replied.
"Does this guy have nothing else to do than text?" Myra mused. "No, don't text that!" Lizzy grinned and hit send.
Haha! No, not really. I'm pretty bored. But I love texting you J.
"It bothers me we still don't know what his relationship is to Annabeth," Myra said. "And don't ask him that."
"I'm not going to. That would kind of blow our cover, wouldn't it?" Noelle replied simply.
"I think we can cross off father," Lizzy said. "Or it would be awkward. 'Love texting you smiley face?'" she airquoted.
"I still don't agree with this, by the way," Myra tried to assure them both. She got skeptical looks back.
Wanna do something tomorrow? Percy asked.
"Boyfriend or brother?" Noelle wondered. "I really don't know. I've never heard of a brother or a boyfriend."
Wise girl? Still there?
"Nicknames!" Lizzy said victoriously.
Myra shook her head. "I have nicknames for my brother and boyfriend. Says nothing."
Suddenly Noelle's face split into a grin. "We'll simply say…" her fingers flew over the keys into a message. Sure. I'll see you tomorrow. "Then we'll know.
Lizzy groaned. "Can't wait that long…"
"Curious meddlers," Myra muttered under her breath.
One more beep, quickly followed by another. Noelle smiled and showed the screen to her friends. Great! Can't wait! It's a date. And added to that: Apollo would be proud. Love you.
"Boyfriend," Lizzy announced happily. She typed Love you too and send it.
Myra opened her mouth to tell them to stop it now, but Lizzy was already searching through Annabeth's pictures. She was about to tap one, when Annabeth came back in, carrying a new bowl of popcorn. The phone was thrown across the room in the hurry. "So, what did I miss?"
"Not much," all three girls said in unison and all filled their mouths with popcorn.
Of course Annabeth didn't trust it one bit and knew something was going on, but decided it wasn't interesting. "Who's that?" she pointed at a guy in the movie.
Nobody knew. Nobody had been paying attention. "Uh, that guy was just introduced," Noelle rambled. "His name is Percy," she added, enjoying the reaction.
Annabeth almost spit out her snacks and smiled to herself. "Funny name."
"Have you heard it before or something?" Lizzy asked nonchalantly.
"Yeah, a friend of mine has that name, funny coincidence," Annabeth said. "Or it would be, if that man hadn't just called 'Percy' John."
"Maybe that's his middle name," Lizzy tried.
"I'm pretty sure it's John," Annabeth said, reading the back of the movie's box. "And John's pretty important."
Noelle waved it away. "Probably heard it wrong."
They all knew John was nothing like Percy, but Annabeth let it slide with a strange look.
"I'll get it!" Noelle screamed through their dorm when the bell rang. She raced to the door, but Annabeth wasn't putting up much of a race. She just sat down on her bed, reading a book, not even giving Noelle a sign of that she heard her.
Noelle opened the door, finding a guy on their doorstep. He was wearing a raincoat wet from the weather, but strangely enough, his black hair was dry. His green eyes were kind. "Hi," he said politely, "Is this Annabeth's dorm? Or am I wrong again?"
Noelle had to keep her jaw from dropping. When she recovered herself, she answered, "Yeah, I'm her roommate, Noelle. Who should I say it is?" She knew damn well who this was. And she was going to have to compliment Annabeth.
"Percy, nice to meet you," he said.
Noelle nodded. "Do you want to come in, or wait while I get her?"
Percy shrugged and Noelle couldn't admire the muscles. She opened the door widely and he stepped in. "Annabeth?" Noelle called.
"Yes?" came the response. Noelle noticed Percy smiling as he heard her voice.
"Someone's here for you." Noelle opened the door to their bedroom, where Annabeth was. Percy stayed in the doorframe. When Noelle was sure Percy couldn't see them, she gave Annabeth a dubble thumbs up and grin.
"What?" Annabeth raised an eyebrow.
Noelle rolled her eyes and pushed her roommate out of the room. She stayed in the open door to watch.
"Percy?" Annabeth was pleasantly surprised.
Percy smiled and wrapped one arm around her waist. "Hey beautiful," he greeted her and kissed her on the lips.
After a second or two she pushed him away. "Hey yourself. But what are you doing here?"
Noelle decided this was a time to jump in. She pushed both of them to the door and collected Annabeth's jacket and bag. "Well, have a good time and behave, you kids, bye!" She closed the door behind them. Leaning back against the wall, she flipped open her own phone and dialed Lizzy and Myra's dorm. "Definitely not her brother."
On the other side of the door the couple just took that behavior as normal and went outside. Percy kept his arm around her shoulders as they walked, the rain not bothering them.
"So what are you doing here?" Annabeth asked. "Not that I don't like you being here."
"I texted you yesterday," he told her. "Never thought a daughter of Athena could forget something."
"I'm a demigod, not an elephant, Seaweed Brain."
Percy laughed. "But I'm serious, I texted."
Annabeth searched her pocket for her phone. "Maybe I didn't get your text. I found my phone in the sink yesterday. No idea how it got there."
Percy's forehead scrunched up in confusion. "But you texted back."
"That's weird. I don't remember." She unlocked her phone. "No, no new messages." She scrolled to her old texts. "Yes, a couple from you and replies… how weird." She read the conversation. "This isn't me."
"I knew it!" Percy said. "You didn't call me Seaweed Brain once."
Annabeth's eyes widened. "Oh my gods. They texted you! I was the one getting the popcorn! They…"
They stopped walking. Percy put one calming hand on her shoulder. "Relax. It's not…"
"You didn't say anything about the gods, did you?" Annabeth asked, interrupting him.
Percy rubbed the back of his neck, straining to remember. "I might have mentioned Apollo." He saw Annabeth was going to freak out about that. "But they can't think anything of that, really. Relax. Let's just go to the movies."
Annabeth nodded. "Fine. But as soon as I'm back, I'm going to be living alone."
"But you have a roommate…"
"Not for long, I don't."