Hey guys! Thanks for all the awesome reviews! I have nine reviews, ten favorites, and twenty followers for ONE chapter! That's incredible! You guys are amazing!

And I would like to say to all of my new readers: I'm not one of those writers who update, like, every day. I usually take a couple of weeks. With this story, I'm trying not to take as long with each chapter. You know, maybe update every week or so. I have everything planned out and it's going to be amazing!

So this chapter doesn't have a lot of Percabeth in it. It's mainly an intro into Percy's life, a little background, and a few other things that are going to be important down the road. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. I only own the plot.

Chapter Two

Percy

Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

Love is magical. It's something that no one can understand. It's a feeling inside us that churns and tells us, "This is love." It's something no one fully gets until they feel it themselves.

But love is as complicated as it is magical. You say that you love someone, but really you're just masking all the hurt and betrayal and putting on an act. And the person you say you love ends up getting hurt. It's an endless cycle that I thought could never be broken.

But I also thought that love was a useless emotion that no one needed. How could I have known that a girl, a girl wearing a mask, the exact kind of girl I spent my life steering clear of, would open me up and completely change my perspective on love forever? How could I have known that a journey I never wanted, an emotion I never wanted, would turn out to be the greatest adventure of my life?

Because you never know when love will hit you. It'll just hit.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

I look into my mother's face, which is fearful and tear-stained. Her chocolate brown eyes are wise, but scarred and afraid. She strokes my hair gently, her touch sending shivers down my spine.

"It'll be okay, Percy," she says, fear clear in her voice.

I hear him tumbling through our small apartment, things crashing and breaking as he runs into things. I know that he is drunk.

My hands shake. "Mom..."

"It'll be okay," she says again. "Stay in here. Promise me that you won't leave this room."

"Sally!" his gargled voice demands from the other side of my bedroom door.

"Coming!" she calls. Then she turns back to me. "Promise me."

"I-I promise."

"Good," she says. "I'm holding you to that promise, Percy."

She kisses the top of my head then walks out the door, locking and closing it tightly behind her. I bury myself under the blankets.

But the blankets don't block out the sounds of thumping and my mother's sobs.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

My eyes blink open to sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. I immediately listen for any sound that tells me that my mother was still here. I hear the sound of bacon sizzling, I smell coffee, and I hear my stepdad, Paul Blofis, talking with my mom. I sigh. I've been having these dreams more and more now. It's like the horror of my childhood waited five years to reach me and is just now sinking in.

I sit up and glance at my digital clock on my dresser, checking the time. 7:50! Dang it! I slept late! I jump out of bed and run to start the shower.

Ten minutes later, I'm showered, dressed, and chowing down on my breakfast. My mom watches me with an amused expression on her face. "Sleep late?" she says sympathetically.

I nod.

"I'm leaving in five minutes," Paul says from the couch, where he sits drinking his coffee and reading the paper. "You'd better hurry if you want a ride. You already missed the bus."

I nod again, my mouth full of pancakes.

I watch my mom while she cleans up the kitchen. Her dark curly hair is up in a ponytail. Her eyes shine, but are dark at the same time. I've never been able to figure out her eyes. They hold secrets and memories from the past, which I figure make them look dark. But they also sparkle when she looks at people. Even after seventeen years of seeing those eyes, they still puzzle me.

"You ready to go, Percy?" Paul asks, walking over to put his cup in the sink.

"Yeah," I say, grabbing my backpack off of the chair next to me and walking out the door of our apartment with Paul, ready for a perfectly normal day.

I wish I had known then that my day was going to be far from normal.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

I guess it all started that morning when my best friend was hit in the face with a donut.

Now, my friends are a weird bunch. There's Grover Underwood, my best friend, who walks weird and makes a strange noise when he's nervous that sounds a lot like a goat. He has a girlfriend named Juniper, who's pretty in an elfish way. She has green eyes like mine, but her's are more the color of a leaf, whereas mine are just green. She has bright red hair and pointy ears, which other people find strange but I find unique and special. Juniper's one of the kindest girls I've met.

There's Jason Grace, my cousin, and his girlfriend, Piper McLean. Jason and Piper are the perfect couple, in my opinion. Jason, with his golden cropped hair and sky blue eyes, is the school's heartthrob, and Piper is probably the most beautiful girl at Goode. She tries to play down her beauty by not wearing make-up, wearing trashy clothes, and putting her hair in choppy braids everyday. It doesn't work.

And there's Hazel Levesque, a junior, the youngest out of us all. She's quiet and old-fashioned, always wearing knee-length socks with skirts, and wearing white Oxfords, but Hazel rocks the look, as all the girls say. And she adds her own flair to it; pink striped socks, a neon-colored tanktop under a white unbuttoned Oxford, a colorful necklace here and there. With her chocolate-colored hair and hazel eyes that sparkle like jewels, most girls say she's a close second to Piper for Most Beautiful Girl at Goode.

Hazel's boyfriend, Frank Zhang, everyone thinks of as odd. He's Chinese Canadian and could be mistaken for a sumo wrestler if not for one thing. It's like every other part of his body matured except for his face. It still has those babyish features: chubby cheeks, big eyes, full lips. He has animal characteristics too: he's as clumsy as an elephant, but can be as quiet as a mouse. He's also, "as cute as a puppy," as Hazel describes him.

Lastly, there's Thalia and I. Thalia Grace is also my cousin and Jason's sister. She's eighteen, a year older than all of this (or two if you're Hazel), but her birthday's in December, so she started school late. Thalia is one of those people who you look at and think that she escaped from a teenage prison. She wears all black, usually-black lace-up boots, ripped black jeans, tight black shirts, a black leather jacket that I don't think I've ever seen her go a day without. Dressing like a goth is against school dress code, but somehow Thalia gets away with it. I think it's because the principal is too afraid of her to tell her that she can't wear stuff like that. Other people have other theories, that may or may not involve a bazooka and duct tape.

But whether or not you think Thalia's a goth, if you take one look at her eyes, you'll change your mind. They're electric blue and menacing, sending out a silent message that if anyone messes with her or her friends, a lightning bolt will come down from the heavens and zap them. But if you take the time to get to know Thalia, really know her, you'll find that she makes an awesome friend and will stand by your side until the day you die.

And then there's me. Tan, tall, shaggy hair as black as night, plain green eyes, not particularly handsome. I'm dyslexic and ADHD. I'm friends with the principal, which probably isn't a good thing. But I do have a way with water. I'm captain of the swim team and I hold the record for fastest swimmer by a minute. I'd say I'm pretty popular, but who knows.

And I'm loyal. If you decide to become friends with me, it's like you're signing to become friends for life. I'll always stick up for you even if it means making a total fool of myself.

It's during one of these times when I'm sticking up for a friend that I find out something that changed my life forever.

I get out of Paul's car and he goes and parks in the back with all of the other teachers. I immediately see Grover and all my other friends facing Peyton and his gang. How do I describe Peyton? People should stop thinking that Thalia escaped prison and start thinking that Peyton did. Peyton wears saggy jeans and t-shirts advertising different rock bands that I've never heard of and I don't ever want to hear. He has piercings all over his body. With his black hair and menacing brown eyes, he's considered one of the meanest kids at school.

Him and Grover are both in each other's faces, their friends fanning out behind them. Thalia is eyeing Peyton like she might push Grover away and start World War lll. I figured I better intervene before she really does give Peyton a piece of her mind.

"Hey, Grover!" I call, jogging over to him. They're standing on the right side of the entrance, near the flagpole, and people were starting to crowd around, waiting for a fight to start. Some were cheering for Grover and some were cheering for Peyton.

Everyone turns at the sound of my voice. Murmurs of excitement spread through the crowd. Apparently, since everyone knows that I'm loyal, they think I'm gonna stick up for him and start a fight.

"Oh, look!" Peyton cries, mocking relief. "It's Percy Jackson, here to save your sorry butt, Underwood."

"Leave my friend alone, Peyton," I say, "or it's your sorry butt that's gonna need saving."

"Yeah!" Thalia adds, coming over to stand at my side. "You mess with my friend, you mess with me." Her blue eyes glare menacingly at Peyton, but he seems to be immune to their penetrable ability.

He laughs. "Oh, I'm so scared." Peyton leans towards me, and says with frightening calmness, "I could rip you to shreds, Jackson, and you know it. But I'm gonna show you grace. There's a new girl and I don't want it going around that I was in a fight." He turns away from me and back to Grover. He takes a jelly-filled donut from one of his minions-er, sorry, friends-and smashes it in Grover's face. The white powder that had coated the donut before billows up in a cloud and finds a new home in Grover's chocolate curls.

"That," Peyton snarls while Grover wipes jelly away from his eyes, "was for calling me a two-faced jerk with no sense of style. And you had the nerve to say that while wearing that." He gestures to Grover's outfit-dark jeans, white Oxford, suspenders-the runs off with his buddies.

Seriously? They were about to start a fight over someone calling someone a name?

"Oh, Grover!" Juniper cries, running over to her boyfriend. Today, she's wearing a pretty green dress with a jean jacket over it, protecting her from the cold fall air. Her red hair is braided and curls over her shoulder. "Are you all right?"

"I think I've lost all love I ever had for jelly donuts," Grover mutters, wiping the donut off of his face. Juniper giggles and gives Grover a kiss. When she pulls away, she goes, "You taste like donut."

I turn to Piper and Jason, who had been silent through the whole ordeal. "What was Peyton talking about when he said new girl?" I ask. "Was he bluffing his way out of a fight, or was he telling the truth?"

"He was telling the truth," Jason says. "There really is a new girl."

"Her name is Annabeth Chase," Piper tells me. "She transferred here from California."

"She came through here right before Peyton ambushed us," Jason continues. "Long curly blonde hair, tan, really pretty. But whenever she walked through, she seemed guarded."

I nod like nothing's wrong. "Come on. We don't want to be late for class."

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

Having World Studies for first hour is great, especially if you have Mr. Lee. He gives you a paper with everything you need to know for the test on it. You never have to pay attention, so I always get an extra hour of sleep. Thalia does too. Piper pays attention and nudges us when Mr. Lee looks our way. She's a great friend.

The first three hours of the day were completely normal. Sleeping through first hour, trying to figure out what language the teacher was speaking in Chemistry, not even trying to understand Calculus. It was in fourth hour, free period, when my day strayed from normal.

Thalia, Grover, and I walk over to the school library, having decided to do homework after driving to the nearest Starbucks to get a drink. I always feel more secure with these two. I've known them the longest (plus Jason) and they've seen me at my worst. I know that they won't judge me.

"Ugh," Thalia says as she plops down at a table. "I hate school. We go with no breaks for three months, we get about a week off, then they pile more homework on us. How old do they think we are? Forty?"

Grover and I crack a smile. Thalia always rants about how school is unhealthy for kids, and if we're forced to go, we should at least get paid. I don't really mind school. As a kid, it was a safe haven from my stepdad.

Grover nudges me. "Check it out, Perce," he whispers. "It's the new girl." He points behind Thalia and I follow his finger. At first, I don't see her. I only see Silena Beauregard, another one of the prettiest girls at school, throwing her head back and laughing. But when the librarian gives her a dirty look, I see a pretty girl sitting across from Silena. No, beautiful. She looks like a stereotypical California girl, which makes her stand out in New York. She has tan skin and a thin athletic build. She looks like the kind of girl who's strong and fast. Her hair is up in a pontail, a few loose blonde curls falling into her face. But her eyes, her eyes ruin the California image. They're bluish grey, dark and, like Jason said earlier, guarded. I wonder what made them like that.

"Wow," Thalia says, looking over at the girl too. "Piper's gonna have some serious competition for most beautiful girl."

"Annabeth Chase," Grover confirms. "She's gonna be little Miss Popular for about the next week."

And Grover's right.

Annabeth ends up being in my fifth hour English class. She sits in the back and pulls out a laptop, much to my surprise. The school just now started allowing students to use laptops and tablets for work, but not many students have been using them. I didn't expect Annabeth to use a laptop.

"Percy," Paul says from his desk. This is the class he teaches, which I just happen to have this year.

I walk over to him. "Yeah."

He gestures over to Annabeth. "That is the new girl, correct?"

I nod. "Annabeth Chase."

Paul grins at me. "Kinda pretty, don't you think? You should talk to her. You might appeal to her and she to you."

I playfully punch his arm and go sit down next to Juniper and Frank, smirking. Me getting a girlfriend? Yeah, right. After seeing how my old stepdad treated my mother, and having my birth father abandon my mother once I was born, I've seen enough of what love does and I pledged to myself that I would never get myself involved in it.

"So I heard that Hazel and I missed all of the action this morning," Frank says once I sit down.

I think back to the face-off earlier this morning and realize that Hazel nor Frank were there. "Yeah," I answer. "It was pretty intense. I got there just before a fight broke out."

"What caused it?"

"Apparently Grover called him a name or something like that. I don't even remember." I look over at Juniper, who's on the other side of me, and see that she's texting on her phone. "Now, Juniper," I scold playfully, "we don't text in class."

Juniper giggles, presses send, and puts her phone back in her bag. She puts a finger up to her lips, as if to say, shhh. I grin.

The bell rings and Paul gets up in front of the class. "Good afternoon," he says. "We have a new student joining us today. I know that many of you have already met her, but some of us haven't. So, Miss Chase, would you please stand up and tell us a bit about yourself?"

Annabeth stands up and smiles at us. "Hi. I'm Annabeth Chase. I'm seventeen years old. I transferred here from San Francisco Public Schools. My family is still back in California, so I live with my grandmother."

The speech sounds rehearsed, like she's said it too many times and it just comes naturally now. She sits back down, but everyone keeps watching her until Paul claps his hands and announces that we're doing a unit on Greek mythology. But while he's talking about gods and monsters, everyone glances at her. I know what they're all thinking. I'm thinking the same thing.

There's something different about Annabeth Chase.

OoOoOoOoOoOoO

I watch Annabeth all through lunch. She does have a secret; I can tell by the way she tenses up when Silena asks her something while they're waiting in the lunch line.

"You distracted, Perce?" Hazel asks. She follows my gaze to where Annabeth is, sitting with Silena and her friends. "Oh," she says, her lips slightly upturned.

"It's not like that," I say, tearing my gaze away from Annabeth and to Hazel, who's trying not to laugh.

"Sure it's not, Percy," she says. "You haven't touched your lunch, you're staring at the new girl, and now you're denying it. All signs that you're crushing on her." She laughs. "But you say it's not like that. Okay. Whatever you say."

I groan and take a bite of my sandwich. I keep my angry eyes trained on the table, but soon they soften and wander back to Annabeth. This time, her eyes meet mine. They're dark now, swirling with anger and hurt. She studies me, glances over at my friends, but eventually comes back to me. We lock eyes and it feels like a spark ignites between us. Electricity runs through my body.

Silena follows Annabeth's gaze. She sees me and her eyes widen. Annabeth tears her eyes off of me as Silena starts talking to her.

It's been confirmed. There's something strange about Annabeth Chase, some secret that she's hiding. And I'm determined to find out.

So what did you think? I threw in a little action for you guys, which I wasn't planning on at all. I wrote that while I was tired and I was thinking about donuts, so that was the result. I hope you enjoyed it! And keep in mind that Peyton is an important character in this story...well...somewhat. He has a part in Percy and Annabeth's relationship. And I know that that chapter didn't have much to do with the quote, but if you really think about it, Annabeth was starting to catch Percy's heart.

Okay, random story. Have you ever tried to charmspeak? I was watching the Hunger Games (Which I got for Christmas! Yeah!) and the DVD player started making this weird noise, so I went, "Stop," very forcefully and...it didn't. But it was worth a shot. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has done this.

Review! Review! Review! If all of my followers reviewed, I would have twenty reviews per chapter, and that would be incredible. So please decide to be a decent person and review.

"O, Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. But you, o Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high." Psalm 3: 1, 3